Sunday, December 23, 2012

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

To anyone who gets snow on a regular basis during the winter, this won't seem like a big deal to them, but to us southern Oregonians who normally get a dusting to two inches, EIGHT inches of snow in one day is a big deal! My husband was unable to do his outside work, so he took the entire week off and boosted us into an early Christmas vacation. We had a blast tossing snowballs, making snow angels, and one gigantic snowman.
My brother came over and joined in the fun. Seriously, how did these two make this snowman without gloves? Brr!

Macy made Frosty a nose by rolling a ball of snow in the mud. The patches of green? That is where a creek formed from all the rain we have been getting. The downside of living at the base of a mountain!

Hudson slips and falls but still maintains his grip on Charlie, the cat. Webster, our pup, excitedly peeks on.

After Frosty was given his truffle nose and amazing beard and mustache, he looks much more like Gimli the Dwarf! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Girl Time!

I had a blast last week when four of my girlfriends and I whisked away to the big city and left our kiddos with spouses (and brothers and grandparents and friends- thanks everyone!). Our purpose was to attend an all day lecture on the wonders of a classical education applied to listening, reading, writing, and speech in your home school. I know, I know, you are so insanely jealous of our awkward notes, numb rear ends, and just the utter joy of attending an all day lecture with two men who enjoy speaking in Latin and utterly baffling us simple housewives. Let me just say this, we are dedicated home educating mothers.

I ask you: What are five unchaperoned ladies who have numb rears and good will offerings from their husbands to do? Shop, of course! And shop we did. Anthro, C&B, Pottery Barn, Williams and Sonoma, Paper Source... and the list goes on. We also had some tasty food thrown in and to top it all off, over EIGHT HOURS OF GAB TIME! We might have all had to wake up at 3am to do it, but by golly, I'd do it again! So thank you thank you to my dear friends for the invite!

#6 Girls!!! Whoot Whoot!

One good photo? Please?

Today is sunny! I grab the kids, dress them, brush hair, wipe faces, and head to the back yard to take a few good photos. Okay... let's be simply take photos! My kids are so amazing at so many things, but it is difficult to get good photos of them. I cut them some slack because I do not like having my picture taken. I had to share these adorable little 'out-takes' of my boy.
Wow, the grass has really started growing again. Slacking on lawn mowing duties, eh mom?
Is she "for reals"? Isn't a smirk close enough to a smile?

Honestly, Lady, are you STILL trying to take a photo of me?

Oh man, this is getting painful.

Okay, okay, I'll smile, but I won't look at you!

I try a different tactic and our dorky dog decides to stick out this tongue. Crouching down also shows the burn barrel. Boo. 
At this point we have literally been outside for about five minutes. Four smiles, check! Let's call it a day! :)

There you go, the four most wonderful kids in my universe. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Oh Me Oh My Oh Mushrooms!

I love the idea of foraging for food and living off the land. I remember being a young girl gathering wild strawberries and eating wild lettuce. I have yet to eat any fiddlehead ferns or find truffles, but hey, I'm still young. My darling kids have gotten caught up in the simple beauty of eating treats from the wilds. They are every bit as excited as I am every spring for our annual morel hunt. Eating aside, mushrooms are just plain cool, and very abundant this time of year! I'm not quite sure how it happened, but I found myself outside this morning walking in the cool rain looking for fungi with my brother. We took several species inside and he showed me how to take a spore print. After he left I rounded up the kids and we went back into the woods.   I snapped pictures, Natalie sketched, and Macy thumbed through our mushroom book. I delighted at hearing my four year old holler, "Mom! I found a polypore! Come look at this fungus!" We were hoping to find some oyster or chanterelle mushrooms, or perhaps another Lions's Mane, but no luck today. We had a wonderful time, and were even blessed with a bit of sunshine. These photos are just a small look at all the amazing fungus' we found.

 Orange Witches' Butter, and Polypores


We never touch LBM's. (Little Brown Mushrooms)

Birds Nest Fungus

Puff Mushroom (see the little slit on the top right side for letting out spores)


Western Amethyst Laccaria 


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Eh, Let Me Check My Schedule

We're back in school! I think anybody who has home educated their children for more than two years has often heard the question, "How do you do it all? What does your day look like?"

Sticking to a tight schedule is very difficult for me. First, I'm just not that type of gal. Second, so many things come up, and keeping it water-tight is restrictive and makes the household stiff (okay, makes me stressed which stresses the kids).

I use a daily schedule with times but it's more of a reminder of how much time to give to each subject. 15 minutes here, 20 minutes there, 5 minutes here. I totally dig putting a little 'done' dot on the side of each time slot! I also have a weekly schedule of everything that needs to be taught. Using a weekly (week 1, week 2, etc.) schedule works out wonderfully for us verses using a calendar week, as things come up and again, I don't stress that we learn about Columbus exactly on September 10th at 9:45 am. :)

My two oldest children also have a schedule in their school binder. There is never any need for debate about what is expected or what needs to get done. They also have a printed morning chore list in a plastic page protector, and know if they don't get those chores done, it cuts into their free time.

We are only at day three, but so far, we are loving our new curricula and days are going smoothly. The girls appreciate their brief lessons, and having the afternoon to play (um, I mean, P.E. and Home Economics and Animal Husbandry).

Our 4th & 5th grade subject list:

The Holy Bible
Studying God's Word, Book E

Language Arts:
Sequential Spelling
Vocabulary Vine (Greek & Latin Root Words)
Poetry (misc. books)
Institute for Excellence in Writing

Calculadder (2-3 minute drill)
Singapore Math

The Mystery of History Vol. 3
The World of Columbus & Sons by Genevieve Foster
The World of John Smith by Genevieve Foster
History Through the Ages (timeline)

Lyrical Life Science Vol. 3 - The Human Body
Blood & Guts (experiments)
The Handbook of Nature Study

Fine Arts:
101 Hymn Stories
Living Biographies of Great Painters by Henry & D. L. Thomas
The Great Masters
Stories of the Great Composers

Typing Instructor for Kids.

This is what I would consider our "core" curriculum. I wanted to write a little note beside each book, but everything was the same- excellent! We LOVE it! I would say the girls' favorite subject is History, which feels like such a big win, since I hated history in school. I highly recommend Genevieve Foster's books, which makes history come alive, even for adults. For instance, today we read about Ferdinand and Isabella starting the Spanish Inquisition, which undoubtedly is an important piece of history. Then in the World of Columbus and Sons we learned about Isabella's childhood- being torn from her mother, whisked away at the start of a civil war, kidnapped by soldiers, and then taking refuge in a nunnery. Exciting!

Before we leave the subject of schedules, I have to add one little bit. Make it pretty. I found Fonts for Peas and downloaded a myriad of adorable fonts. There are a bunch of adorable calendars you can print for free (This watercolor one over at Etsy is adorable).

So here is our school schedule (Monday - Thursday). I wasn't sure how to upload the file from Excel, so it looks a little different here. I like having all the kids on one page so I can quickly see what everyone needs to be doing.

  Macy & Natalie Lindsey & Hudson
8:00 Bible & Prayer Quiet Puzzles & School Games & Playdoh
8:15 Spelling & Vocabulary Vine
8:30 Language Lessons
8:45 Calculadder & Poetry Calculadder - Lindsey
9:00 Lyrical Life Science Color at Table
9:20 Mystery of History
9:40 Snack Snack
9:45 Singapore Math Singapore Math - Lindsey
10:15 Fine Arts Play time
10:40 IEW
11:00 Work Alone / Independent Study Help Prepare Lunch
11:30 Lunch / Read- Alouds  
12:30 Break  
1:00 Independent Study School time: Bible, Phonics, math, flash cards, history, reading, craft
1:30 Finish any school work
2:00 Play time
2:30 Play time
5:30 Clean up Clean up
6:00 Dinner Dinner
7:30 Get Ready for Bed Get Ready for Bed
8:00 Lights Out Lights Out

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I'm going batty!

Sunday morning. Lounging in bed. Thankful that church doesn't start until 10:30. I look up at our window covering (a beach towel) and lift it up to let the sun shine down on us. Shock, horror. It's not the sun I focus on, it's the BAT hanging directly above my head. I dropped the towel down, quickly jump out of the covers and let out a wonderfully girly, "eek!" Hubby raises up, I point and say, "Bat, bat! There's a bat!" Quiver. He jumps up, and as we head out of the bedroom I grab my camera. The kids are all in a flurry, I'm still shivering thinking about it being there, directly over my head, and Jon grabs the kids' bug catching net. Trusty ole' bug catching nets! He goes to work, quickly gets the little guy, and we release him outside. And let me just interject: 1. He didn't seem so small as I remembered bats and 2. SO thankful he wasn't flying around! After the ordeal was over, I calmly told my hero that I had known having a bat in the house would be the natural next step in our life. He laughed, "The next natural step of life?" I explained that I had heard stories over the years from my dad (who grew up in the same house we're in) about running around the house with fish nets trying to capture bats, and our time had finally come. Happily we have reached that milestone and hopefully, will never face that obstacle again. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Jon - "cough, cough"

Krista- Are you okay honey? Do you need me to give you some CPR?

Lindsey- What's CPR? Is it some type of sickness?

Natalie- It's a love sickness. You catch it and you are always in love.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Shorts Upcycle

I love to sew. Love it. Today I had the urge to sew something up, and immediately thought of Hudson's need for shorts. Hudson has a tiny waist and everything falls off him. At his age a belt is more of a hindrance than help (think little boy running to the toilet). I knew there had to be something around the house that I could chop up and make into shorts and it hit me- one of Jon's button up shirts. I went to his closet and sure enough, I found one. A nice Old Navy shirt, and as I had paid only $1.50 for it at Goodwill, I wouldn't cringe if it turned out horribly. I haven't sewn much without a pattern, and by golly, it was time and this was an easy project! 

For a first attempt, I am pleased with how these turned out. After a little tweak, the fit is great and they don't slide down. I had several GAP buttons in my button collection and they worked perfectly with the colors of the shorts. The pockets were really fun to make, too. I will definitely try this again and perhaps become more adventurous and add zippers and side pockets. Jon's shirts, beware! And Hudson, well, he LOVES them! In fact, he won't take them off. Now that makes a Momma happy. :)

Happy Birthday Poppy!

Little Natalie is now nine! Happy Birthday to you, love! We celebrated a few days early this year as her birthday was on a church night. After lunch mom picked us up in her Mini and we went to the mall so Natalie could get her ears pierced. She picked ruby studs and they are adorable. I was not without some heart pangs, my little girl is growing up. What a beautiful young lady she is, too.  That evening the celebration was at my parent's house, as we still are without a/c and it was a hot one.  Since it was a last minute decision to celebrate that night, dad ran to the store to pick up ice cream and cupcakes- yum! Happy Birthday Poppy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


We were blessed to be invited down to Disneyland with Jon's family. As Jon used to live in So. Cal., he has been many times. I, on the other hand, had never been (by my own choice, my parents offered several times when my brother and I were children). Off we went on our two day journey south. Our first day was incredibly hot. When we made it to Sacramento at 8 pm, it was still 90 degrees outside, so Jon and the kids hopped in the pool while I sat poolside gabbing with Momma Wendy and Steve-O's Mom, Ellen. We talked late into the night, and finally hit the hay at 12:30. We got up early the next morning and started in on the long leg of our journey. When we hit the grapevine it was 106 degrees out. To help pass the time we counted overheated cars on the side of the freeway. Our GPS showed major traffic through LA, so we bypassed it through Pasadena. I had to sing with great pride, "I smell Roses" as we passed through (confused? watch this you tube video, I love my Ducks!). We finally made it to the hotel, checked in, briefly felt like passing out on the bed, but went back downstairs to meet and greet Jon's family and gab over a pizza. We got a few Disneyland maps to make our plan of attack. I looked at the map and thought, Oh, that doesn't look so big...and then they turned the map over and there was California Adventure. At that point it started to hit me what I was in for. :) Monday morning we arrived at Disneyland at 8am, just as the park opened. We were to meet part of the party at Space Mountain and headed that direction. En route Jon saw that Star Tours only had a five minute wait and so we took a quick detour. Now the five minute wait was only because it takes you five minutes to wind around all the roped off areas and actually get to the ride. As you walk through like cattle wondering at which turn you will be branded, it hits you that later on, it will be you slowly winding your way around the same turns with much more than a five minute wait. But I'm off the point. We grabbed our 3D glasses, buckled up, and were there- my very first Disneyland ride! It was simply out of this world (ha ha, bad pun). You felt like you were in the the movie, it was thrilling and exceedingly fun. Next up was Space Mountain. Jon and others had told me about the different rides and this is what I heard, "Roller Coaster, Not a Roller Coaster, Roller Coaster, Not a Roller Coaster..." So all I knew is that we just got off Not a Roller Coaster and were now headed to a Roller Coaster. Let's just say, the kids all thought they were going to die. It is completely black with tiny lights (stars) so it is like you are traveling down a space. Very well named Roller Coaster. We felt so bad for the kids. Jon and I loved it (excepting my stomach, lol). Later that night we hit Star Tours first again and Hudson was picked as the Rebel Spy! Darth Vader seized our ship using the Force but thankfully we were able to break free. Phew! About half way through the ride I thought, "I am going to be sick." Luckily I wasn't, but for over an hour I could barely walk and wanted nothing more than to go home. Jon took the kids on some rides and I watched the fireworks. I started to feel better and had a good time watching Jon take the kids around. Our favorite parts of the trip were seeing Aladdin the play, watching the fireworks, Turtle Talk with Crush (Natalie and Jon got to talk to him), watching the two parades, eating Ghiradelli's ice cream, and really anytime we got to sit. :) Everything is a feast for your eyes. And at night, with fireworks exploding, music playing, kids laughing, husband by your side, it really did feel magical. It was fantastic spending time with Jon's grandparents, too. We don't get to see them much, and we really enjoyed our time together. Our last day in So. Cal. we loaded up the horribly crumby car, and went  to the BEACH! Jon took us to Newport Beach where we had complete bliss for one hour. Ate lunch on the warm sand, splashed in the ocean, walked barefoot...yes, yes, bliss.

 Hudson and I hang out while everyone else goes on the Tower of Terror.

 Inside the Tower of Terror. 
 How did you like that ride? Lindsey- it was really scary!
 A Bugs Life Ride
 Thanks Papa Walls for the Ice Cream!
 A quick boogie with Prince John.

 Hudson crashes right before the California Adventure Parade. 
 Going in to watch the Muppets in 3D.
 Alas, neither Jon nor Natalie shall be the next king or queen of the land.

 M-I-C, see you real soon, K-E-Y, why? Because we love you, M-O-U-S-E.
 The Cinderella Castle. Oh, aw...
 Waiting in line for Space Blasters (Toy Story). Such a fun ride, you get to shoot things. :)
 Spin, tea cups, spin!
 It's a small, small world!
 The whole group with Walt and Mickey.
 As we were leaving Disneyland on our final day, Jon carrying out Lindsey and I holding Hudson, I had to get in one last shot.