Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas

Lena (4) drew this picture and I love it! Jesus in the manger...

Since we don't do Santa, I feel our focus has been on Christ, and I still feel like Christmas is magical for them. Some people are horrified when they find that out, but my parents never did Santa with us, and I appreciated knowing I could trust what they told me. I always felt bad for one friend who found out late about Santa, and then had a crisis of faith. I am open with the girls about whatever they ask me and tell them fairies and dragons are for fun. I do tell them that it's other parents place to tell their own kids the truth about Santa, so thus far they haven't told anyone that I've known of.

It's cute though because this year we have someone who has been doorbell ditching us with presents from "secret elves". The girls love the notes with poems, and the gifts, but what they really want to do is thank whoever it is. Amy tried to stakeout who it was, and sat so still in our dark kitchen window for 45 minutes!Whoever it is, it's sweet, and I hope they'll show their identity so we can say thank you.

Learning Patience

Sometimes homeschooling is no picnic, especially if you have one student who refuses to buckle down and do her work (that's my kindergartener). It has made me think a lot about what is important in education. On the one hand I still feel like she's learning a lot, and it does seem that sitting still is one of life's greatest punishments for her. But I also want her to learn that sometimes you have to do boring or unpleasant things, and persistence is more important than aptitude. Amy is great at plugging away on things that are difficult for her until she conquers them.  Little Esther is naturally gifted in many areas (she can crochet, sew, is very creative and an excellent drawer) but she throws in the towel when she isn't interested or thinks it's too challenging.

I have told the girls many times of my experience with piano lessons: I was gifted the ability of playing by ear, but when my teachers would discover this, they'd stop playing the upcoming weeks song for me, so I'd have to read the music... which was hard, so I quit. I regret that I didn't keep with it. I have been able to play a lot by ear, but Chopin can't be imitated.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Giant black Slugs

We have been sick, but the schooling continues. If anything it's easier not to have to get Amy and Esther off to school or catch them up with homework when we are homeschooling. Being sick means we watch more documentaries (and do more laundry it seems).

We found a new YouTube channel we like that has nature documentaries: Brave Wilderness. I like him, because he explains the animals well, but also has clean language when he's startled. It seems he gears his films for children. So far we've watched about Giant Black Sea Slugs, snapping turtles, wolverines, and Garr fish. Check it out by going to YouTube and then typing Brave Wilderness.

We also are going to try our hand at making natural yeast for pancakes and bread baking. The Kings Roost has some YouTube movies about how to do it. I like the idea of learning these self reliant skills and hope by the time my girls go to college they not only know how to read, write, draw, play an instrument, and hopefully speak German or Spanish, but that they also know how to cook, do laundry, make bread (and yeast), clean and garden, and live a budget.

Happy homeschooling!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Magic Moments

I love being a Mom and seeing magic moments. This was so cute seeing Monta and Lily hug. 😊

This week we "travelled" to Botswana and Australia, using recipes from globaltableadventure and we even tried some vegemite and TimTams because we had a friend from the ward who is from Australia. Vegemite to me tastes like soy sauce mixed with Postum powder into a paste. Different, but now I can say I know what it tastes like. Amy and Lily also tried it, the other girls wouldn't, but loved the TimTams.

We also learned about Monet, Degas, and Mary Cassatt. The library is such a wonderful resource for homeschooling. We will watch a movie about Mary Cassatt when it comes in on interlibrary loan. Amy's math is coming along well, and her reading is excellent. Esther's penmanship is great and she's starting to write and read basic words like friend, love, hope, come, etc. We love Reflex Math, and the Upstart program.

Biology wise we learned about Nile Crocodiles and watched a great documentary called "Operation Maneater" where some biologists are trying to train wild crocs in Botswana to associate the ringing of a bell with an electric shock so that some day villagers can ring a bell and keep themselves safe while they do their washing.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Pumpkin Walk

 Here's my very own Mr. Incredible -- so proud of him for finishing his Masters while working full time, being a husband and father full time, and serving in the church.

 The Pumpkin Walk is a fun thing to do in Cache Valley every October. People carve hundreds of pumpkins, and make huge displays using gourds and pumpkins (there was a Norman Rockwell exhibit which was well done). Cost: Free, plus you get a free cookie at the end if you choose to stay in line.

Hill Airforce Museum

 Cost: Free! :) Hooray! I went with my friend Diane with the girls while Ryan was finishing up his masters. The girls really enjoyed it, because it came on the heels of watching a documentary about Kitty Hawk, and reading books about the Wright Brothers from the Library.
 They got to watch some drones be flown inside, which they thought was pretty cool.

 Here they are flying up to the entrance.

Hogle Zoo

 In September we took the girls to Hogle Zoo, which is a bit pricey for a large family, but you can get coupons from Les Schwab that make it a little better. It cost us 45$.
 You have to take advantage of sticking your head in the lion's mouth...
 and the girls loved the monkeys

 They have a playground there too, which would've been great to camp out for a while if we weren't already messing with Lily's nap schedule so much. She never fell asleep in the carrier like I'd hoped she would.

Now, if I could only do this workout, I'd be back to my pre-pregnancy weight in no time. :)


 Balance Rock
 The Wolf Family log cabin... imagine calling this home. Those pioneer people were much tougher than we are today.
 We made it to the top. It was a longer hike than I had remembered (1.5 miles each way, so 3 miles total) with steeper drop offs than I'd noticed before I had kids. Behind us where the above picture was taken is a 60 ft drop, and Esther was still running around as usual, so we didn't stay up there long.
 Just long enough to snap a few shots. :)

We made friends on the way up with a nice couple from Toronto, Canada: Andy and Sher, we were grateful for their help watching after our wild blonde child.

USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum

 On our trip down to Moab to show the girls Arches and Canyonlands, we stopped at this excellent museum in Price. 17$ for a Family pass and it has two sides: Dinosaurs and Ancient Indians.
 They had a play area for kids, with a dig site sandbox (seen ahead of me in the picture above). It was very kid friendly with interactive displays.
 The girls loved the displays about the Fremont Indians too. Some day we'll tour 9 Mile Canyon, just outside Price, which has a lot of petraglyphs.
 Well worth a stop.