Monday, October 21, 2013

Fall Break

We finished up Fall Break yesterday.  Today it's back to school.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I certainly enjoyed relaxing for a week.  It was nice not to have to set the alarm.  I was able to finish a couple of books.  I did some cleaning and organizing, which were badly needed.  However, I am looking forward to getting back into a routine....following a schedule each day.  So, what did we do over Fall Break?

I took Claire and Noah to the pediatrician's office.  Claire needed to have her eczema checked and get a new cream.  Noah ended up having bronchitis, which required an antibiotic to send it packing.  He finished his antibiotic yesterday and he is doing better.  He still has a lingering cough but he is eating well and more energetic. 
I seem to have caught some sort of cold.  I have had a yucky cough for four or five days.  I am hoping I don't end up at the doctor's office, but I have a sinking feeling I won't be able to avoid it.  I think I have a case of bronchitis going on. 
So, most of our Fall Break involved staying inside and resting.  We watched lots of movies, read lots of books and worked on puzzles.  Sounds kind of lame but it wasn't.  It was nice to just be together.  I did take the kids to Target and out to lunch on Friday to break up the monotony of the week.  They seemed to enjoy the little outing. 

I took this photo of Annie before church yesterday.  She looks so grown up to me!  I just bought her these boots and they have a small heel, so she is almost as tall as I am when she wears them!  Yikes!

Claire let me put a bow in her hair yesterday!  Normally she tears them out the second I put them in but this one survived for several hours. 

The rest of my gang before church yesterday.  For once they were all wearing cute outfits that we could all agree on.  Normally my Sunday mornings involve an argument with at least one child about what I picked out for them to wear to church.  It's either too tight, too loose, too itchy, too pink, too babyish, etc.... 

We were fortunate enough to have Natalie Grant lead worship at our church this weekend.  She is one of my favorite Christian singers so it was such a treat to start my Sunday off hearing her sing.  Megan is the music lover amongst our children, so she was eager to meet Natalie and get her autograph.  Natalie was so sweet to Megan and it just made her day. 

When we came home from church, Noah and I promptly put on our Steelers gear!  My team has had a lousy season so far and yesterday we played the Baltimore Ravens....big rivalry.  None of my kids actually like to watch football but they all know how Mommy feels about the Steelers so they jump on the bandwagon.  My hope is that as they get older I will find one football fan among the five.  Carlos doesn't like watching sports so I am on my own for now when it comes to cheering for my favorite teams.  The great news is that my boys in black and gold won!  It was a nail biter of a game and I was so nervous that we were going to loose.  It was so great when they pulled off the win!  It certainly made my week.  I went to bed last night all smiles.
So, that was our Fall Break.  It wasn't glamorous or exciting but it was relaxing.  My Mom arrives today.  She will be spending the week with us.  The kids are beyond excited.  Now, I just need to get them through the school day.  :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Life Lately

We are on Fall Break this week!  I have been looking forward to it since Labor Day.  An entire week with no school!  I had big plans.  I envisioned packing the kids up for a picnic at the park, doing a little hiking, visiting the pumpkin patch, a fun day of shopping with my girls, etc....  Things are not turning out the way I had planned. 
Noah started running a fever last Tuesday or Wednesday.  Just a low grade fever accompanied by a little cough.  I figured it was a cold.  He missed two days of school last week so we didn't share his germs at school.  On Saturday he woke up and seemed fine.  I figured we were done.  On Sunday morning we went to church.  Megan was being baptized so we all went and we all sat in the main sanctuary.  I was sure that Noah was going to have a terrible time sitting still.  Know what?  He sat down, leaned his head against the pew and was totally quiet.  After Meg's baptism, I reached out to ruffle my boy's curls and was astonished to find his head felt like a furnace.  We quickly packed up and came home.  The above picture is Noah about ten minutes after walking in the door.  His fever was back with a vengeance.  By the afternoon his fever was around 103....with medicine on board I could get it down to 101.  Fast forward a few days and my little guy is still spiking high temps.  He has added a yucky sounding cough to it where he is gasping after a cough.  So, today we are going to the doctor's office. 
So, our first few days of Fall Break have been spent at home.  The kids have watched way too much TV and played way too many electronic games.  However, we were left with little choice.  Claire and Megan are now running fevers as well.  I imagine the rest of our Fall Break will be spent in much the same way the beginning of it was.  On the plus side I have been doing a lot of reading, which is something I love. 

Megan and I are doing a mother/daughter Bible study this year.  It's called the P31 Princess Study.  We will work our way through Proverbs 31 over the course of the year.  She will learn what it means to be a Godly woman.  We started back in September and she is loving it!  We have done a lot of Bible study, baked bread, sang old hymns, learned to sew, etc...  We meet with a group of six other girls and their mothers once a week.  New friendships are being formed by Megan and myself.  It's been great.  Last week the girls learned to sew on a sewing machine.  The end result was a little purse made from an old pair of jeans.  The girls got to sew it and then decorate it.  Megan really enjoyed this project.

Megan was baptized at church this past weekend!  She has been thinking about this for quite some time and finally decided she was ready for it.  We are so proud of her.

It's hard to see in the photo but Carlos is getting ready to baptize Megan.  She was so nervous.  She actually wanted me to be the one to baptize her but I just couldn't do it.  I hate to be in front of large crowds and our church is a mega church so the crowds are large....2500+!  Plus, her Dad baptized me and Annie, so I thought it was a nice tradition to uphold. 

Annie had another art class last weekend.  She learned about a Canadian artist by the name of Geoff Slater.  He's a very talented individual.  His technique is beautiful.  He tries to paint an entire painting with one line.  It's very challenging.  Annie struggled with it.  She did a great job and then came home and spent the rest of the day working on that technique until she was more comfortable with it.  I now have a kitchen full of beautiful paintings! 

So, that's our life lately.  My Mom is arriving in a few days.  She will spend a week with us!  The kids are beyond excited.  They love it when Grammy comes to visit!  Stay tuned....

Friday, October 4, 2013

Homeschool ~ Weeks 6,7 & 8

Well, I certainly didn't mean to take such a long break.  One thing I wanted to do this school year was to update this blog on a regular basis.  However, we have been dealing with a few issues so finding time to sit down and blog has been difficult.  So, today I am catching up on the last three weeks of our homeschooling year!

Annie took another art class.  This time she was learning how to use oil pastels.  She worked on blending with both her fingers and with the use of baby oil.  She also drew her first still life!

It's hard to tell from the lousy photo above but we set up an experiment in science.  We hung two identical bird feeders in our backyard.  One feeder is filled with sunflower seeds and the other feeder is filled with thistle seeds.  The idea is to see which seeds the birds in our yard prefer over the course of a one week period.  We hung our feeders near our patio which we can view from our finished basement/schoolroom.  The kids have had a fun time observing the birds that have visited our feeder.

I taped a sheet on the wall next to the patio door so that the kids can record their observations.  I thought it would be neat to not only see which seed our backyard birds preferred but to also see which types of birds visit each feeder.  We have been using our field guide quite a bit to figure out which types of birds we have seen.  Even Lily, at age six, is able to locate birds in our field guide!  The neat thing is that by doing this experiment we have become more aware of all the various types of birds that live in our backyard.  We even saw a hairy woodpecker and a ruby throated hummingbird (male and female)! 

Megan and Lily are continuing to learn about what life was like for the pilgrims.  This week we focused on what a typical village would have been like.  We learned about the job of the town crier and the job of the tithing man.  Do you know what a tithing man does?  His job is to stand in the meeting hall during church services.  He holds a wooden stick with fur on one end.  If a child whispers or giggles during the service he would rap them on the head with the wooden stick.  If a child or adult fell asleep during the service he would tickle their nose with the furry end of the stick.  The girls made their own tithing man sticks and had quite a good time tickling one another with the furry end.  I did have to confiscate them once they began to whack each other on the heads though.  :)

In keeping with the theme of oil pastels, we tried our hand at working with oil pastels and water color.  I have found several fun art ideas on Pinterest, so we tried one of them.  On a side note, what in the world did we do before the days of Pinterest?  I am forever scouring my Pinterest boards to come up with ideas for us to use in our homeschool classroom, what to make for dinner, fun ways to celebrate birthdays, etc... 

Here is the finished product!  We simply took a leaf from our yard and traced it on paper with a black oil pastel crayon.  After that we kept enlarging the image over and over until the paper was filled.  The final step was to paint the leaves with water colors.  The kids thought it was neat how the water color would not paint over the oil pastel lines.  I love how they turned out!  I plan to frame these and hang them along my stairwell.
We have also been plugging away at math.  Annie has been reviewing the metric system, which is a huge step out of my comfort zone.  I remember learning the metric system in school and despising it.  Fast forward 25+ years and nothing has changed.  I still despise it.  I suppose it's mostly because I don't use it on a regular basis so each time I have to teach it I have to relearn it all over again.  Thankfully, she doesn't seem to struggle with it the same way I did/do. 
So, that's what we have been up to.  We only have one more week of school before Fall Break!  I am so looking forward to the time off.  Normally my Mom visits us during Fall Break but this year it didn't work out that way.  So, I am looking at our calendar and it is blank!  That's exciting!  It means lots of sleeping in, movie watching, book reading, library trips, park visits and bike rides.