Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordish Wednesday :: Science Version

One of the things that I love about Classical Conversations is that my girls are doing some sort of science experiment or observation each week. While we do our science reading at home (some of the time), at their age, you just can’t beat getting science down on their level and make it something they can observe, touch, smell, etc.

Our last two weeks have been science projects with lots of observation. First up was an examination of the external parts of a crayfish.


We went outside to do this experiment (the deceased crayfish had a slight aroma to them making this project better suited for a location with good ventilation). I had read my material and was prepared to talk through the animal with my little class, but God was kind to me! N1’s tutor, who was a biology major once-upon-a-time, was outside with her class, so we were able to join in with her. 


Both N1 and B examined their crayfish with gusto although both declined to bring one of the extras home.

This week we dissected owl pellets!

In spite of the fact that I really don’t care for the little sounds of crunching bones as you work open your pellet, taking these apart and finding the pieces is pretty cool. Our class had several heads that were in good shape, and one if I recall that almost completely intact, which was quite creepy-cool.


Even though my stomach turns a little bit at these experiments – I admit it – I am constantly amazed at God’s creativity in nature. From the delicate swimmerets underneath the hard armored shell of the crayfish to the way that God wired the owl to digest it’s food, His creativity is amazing.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Psalm 19:1

Monday, October 29, 2012

End of October Daybook

Outside my window...a sunny but quite chilly day. Absolutely love this kind of weather when I can break out the long sleeve shirts and socks on a daily basis.

I am thinking...on schedules and boundaries and how I am spending my time and so much more. The more I look at my little people the more I realize how the days are fleeting. They are growing up way too fast.

I am thankful...that we generally have Mondays at home. It’s usually busy with a full day of school, a start on the week’s load(s) of laundry (I try really hard to not do laundry on the weekend), and prep for Tuesday’s CC. But I’ll take all that home-busyness for the fact that we don’t leave the house on Monday. It’s a good grounding for the beginnings of our week.

In the schoolroom… reading books on the election together. Debating whether to go and early vote with the kids this week or go and vote on the official Election Day! I realize there might be crazy lines, but it’s Election Day!

Happy mail. Guess what we are talking about in school?


In the kitchen...not much until I get to the grocery store tomorrow and / or on Wednesday. It’s the end of the month and the cupboards are bare. However, on my meal plan for the the coming days is taco soup (perfect for chilly fall weather) and meatloaf (I haven’t made meatloaf in forever and it sounds good). I’ve been reading through Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook and have probably folded down at least 20 pages of things that sound good.

I am wearing...comfy clothes and a white t-shirt. Standard Monday stay-at-home attire.

I am creating...I have a Project Life post in the works for later this week and a couple more weeks in process. I’m out of ink on my photo printer so maybe I’ll be able to play catch up printing those photos the end of this week? We shall see.

I am going... to go make another cup of tea here in a minute. The house has been chilly today (and I’m not complaining). I love a chilly house where you can sip hot drinks and bundle under blankets.

I am reading...At Home in Mitford (cozy reading); Dancing with My Father (slooooooowly).

I am looking forward to...a church bonfire this weekend. It’s been several years since I’ve been to one. The last one we had was just a week or two after the boy was born and I stayed home with him. Look at how little my girls were!


I am learning…lessons in my weakness and His strength.

Around the house... trying to create order and routine when every day is just a little bit different with the little guy. This is a season and it’s flying by all to fast so I’m trying not to get (too) frustrated with what I feel like I should be accomplishing and what I actually am.

I am pondering... deactivating my Facebook until after Thanksgiving. As much as I’ve been thinking about it, I should probably just go ahead and do it and not keep pondering. One of my struggles is comparison of myself with others, what I am and am not doing (rightly or wrongly), and other things, and FB does nothing to help me keep my focus on the main thing of caring for my family without outside distraction.

One of my favorite things... reading in the evenings. Trying to be intentional and carving out some time for that instead of just hoping I have a few minutes at the end of the day.

A few plans for the rest of the week… Classical Conversations, a doctor appointment for me, our final soccer game of the fall on Saturday. Oh, and a bonfire!

A peek into my day...

I had N1 take a picture of me putting the boy down for naptime. Mamas, please get in the picture with your munchkins. And not the hold the camera over your head and shoot down shot. A real shot, of the real you. Hand the camera off to someone else. It can be scary (hello, my photographer was nine!) I admit, I don’t do this near enough. I don’t look like I want, my hair is hanging in my face and I’m all scrunched over trying to read the words in his book (drat crazy bifocal lenses). However, he won’t remember that we read from his big Cars book almost every. day. at rest time (along with Bear Snores On). I might not remember either as these days are FLYING by. I have been really stinking a being present with my kids of late and I’m resolving to do better. Starting now.


Happy Monday. : )

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Read Aloud Thursday ::: A Nest for Celeste


I’m guessing that I win an award for the most tardy report on a book that we read-aloud. It looks like (from my sketchy records) that we finished this back in mid-July and I’ve had it on my desk ever since then to remind myself to blog it for Read-Aloud Thursday. Checking that off my list this week!

A Nest for Celeste captured our attention because it is … surprise … an animal story. (We love animal stories around these parts). : ) Celeste is a small mouse that lives in the floors and baseboards of Monsieur Pirrie at Oakley Plantation. Monsieur Pirrie is hosting James Audobon and his assistant, Joseph. Audobon was on a quest to draw every bird in the United States and was working his way through Louisiana in this book.

Celeste is a timid little creature, alone in the world, and at the mercy of larger rats that also inhabit the plantation house and make Celeste do their errands, like trying to steal food for them so they don’t get caught by the cat. (But they don’t really care if Celeste gets caught).


Through a series of circumstances, Celeste finds herself captured by Audobon’s young assistant Joseph. She warms up to the boy, and watches how he sketches birds that they capture. Through circumstances in the book, Celeste learns that she isn’t as timid as she thought and makes several friends along the way.


The artwork in this book is just beautiful. It reminds me of Brian Selznick's books, i.e., Hugo Cabret, with its big sweeping drawings that cover two page spreads. The characters come alive through the detailed pencil sketches. While this little mouse story hasn’t bumped our favorite mice from their top spot, we enjoyed this one.

For more great read-aloud books, visit Amy at Hope is the Word.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

September and October Reading Log

Time for a brief recap of what’s been on my reading list for the last couple months.
At the end of August, my goals for September were to read:
I never blogged a list of what I was aiming for in October, but on my short list in my planner I have/had:
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin (for the Reading to Know October book club) Started, but I don’t know that I’ll get it done by Friday…
  • Under Wildwood (book two in the Wildwood Chronicles) Finished and enjoyed!
  • Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, her first non-Harry Potter novel Haven’t started and I haven’t heard too many good reports on this one…
  • Mark of Athena Finished and thought it draggggggged.
  • Dancing with My Father by Sally Clarkson Have read chapter 1…by the way, paperback is on sale for a killer deal right now!
Not a whole lot of reading going on here in retrospect – one book (besides read-alouds) in September and two in October. There is still a week and half of October left so we’ll see what can still be accomplished. : )
For November, I am craving cold weather, leafless trees, and cozy reading. Nothing too thinkerly (although a little thinkerly is good) and possibly a visit with some old friends. With that in mind, I’m leaning towards…
  • continuing on with Dancing with My Father by Sally Clarkson
  • reading Life as Mom’s new cookbook Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze cookbook as well as
  • my More with Less cookbook that has been on my shelf for some time. Nothing says cozy reading to me like perusing cookbooks.
  • The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. I picked up a copy at the library because Amy has been reading it with one of her girls. It’s been on my to-read list for a LONG time.
  • revisiting Mitford. Maybe just one book, maybe the whole series. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve read the whole series and I miss those characters. Having a random thought that I might blog my Mitford-a-thon and, along with it, make some recipes from my Mitford cookbook. Hmmm. There’s a thought… : )
We will see what actually gets accomplished in November. October was a c.r.a.z.y. month around these parts and as of now, my November calendar looks very tame. (I probably shouldn’t type that!) We’ll see what gets checked off when I revisit my list in about four weeks!

Happy Tuesday!
Today is our last day of fall break (mostly just an extended long weekend for us this year) and we are contemplating the zoo. Mama can always use another day at home to get caught up here, but the weather is supposed to be gorgeous and there is a boy that would dearly love to see some elephants up close if we can arrange that.

Linking up with What's on Your Nightstand over at Five Minutes for Books.

Past 2012 Monthly Reading Goals:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Currently // Mid-October Edition

drinking coffee with Pecan Praline creamer. May be my new fall favorite.

watching (or rewatching) an episode of The West Wing with Travis in the evenings. The election has gotten us fired up to rewatch one of our favorite series. I think we are somewhere in season six, maybe seven?

laughing at the boy. He is a funny, funny kid.


eating eggs + avocados (when I have both on hand). Cover with lots of salt and pepper and I’ve found mine new favorite. 

Have just discovered avocados and eggs. New favorite.

needing more sleep. Pulled an almost-all-nighter with the boy on Tuesday night. Not sure what was up with him, but it wasn’t sleep. Last night I was and crashed almost as soon as I sat down after the kids were in bed.

thinking about what rejuvenates me. Scrapbooking (or more like Project Life-ing), working in my school room, planning out fun lesson plans and projects, time in my Bible / working on Bible studies, journaling / list making. There hasn’t been enough of any of those things of late, and my creativity is feeling a little dry.

enjoying cooler temperatures, long sleeves, and jeans. Planning meals around soups and cozy pasta dishes (yet trying to keep things somewhat healthy), fall veggies like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and Brussels sprouts. No one here will eat the Brussels sprouts with me which is fine. More for me. : )

prepping lesson plans. Um, not really. That’s one of my fall break projects … Less winging it, more planning. My new motto.

opening a holiday (Thanksgiving and Christmas) planner that I made last week and starting to jot a few notes. How is it time to be working on this already?

remembering a friend that had major surgery earlier this week in prayer. Plus lots of friends seem to have sick parents or spouses right now.

brainstorming a December Daily album this year. I know – it’s mid-October. But I was looking at something online and it triggered that December (and my annual December Daily album) is not that far off. It’s crazy to think about doing on this year with everything going on (and barely being able to keep up with Project Life), but it’s one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

wearing comfy pants (that I typically don’t leave the house in) and a white t-shirt

making a few PL pages. Wanting to work on this week’s layout. Getting three weeks done last week has got me fired up to work on it.

feeling a little all over the place if that makes sense. : )

loving that as of tomorrow, we are on a short fall break! I wasn’t sure if we were going to take an official break or just have some easy school days, but some official days off won out. We are all passing a cold around (the boy was hit hard last weekend, but seems to be on the mend) and I think some easy days are in order. Plus, our Friday Bible study is on break this week, as is next Tuesday’s normal CC class. It’s back to work next Wednesday, though!

listening to Christmas music (a wee bit) when I’m not playing our Story of the World audio CD or CC memorization work. I was trying to remember a Christmas some from Keith and Kristyn Getty’s album and the whole thing is just beautiful.

inspired by this paper crafts blog (new-to-me). I need more playing with paper. : )

reading I have been making myself sit and read for a little bit in the evening. (Making sounds a little strong; it’s not that bad). There is always work to be done, but my thoughts on rejuvenating myself above means I need to carve out a little time read now and then. I have recently finished the second book in the Wildwood series, Under Wildwood, and enjoyed it, thought not quite as much as book one. I also finished Mark of Athena on my Kindle, the most recent by Rick Riordan. I can’t help it; I’ve been sucked into this series. Truthfully though, this one wasn’t my favorite, but I think a large part of that is that I thought I was reading the last book in the series and couldn’t figure out how he was going to wrap this up in the amount of book I had left. Turns out, book 4 is coming out next year. That makes me be a bit more forgiving, but it seemed to drag more than his other books. Now I’ve cracked the (digital) cover of Uncle Tom’s Cabin for the Reading to Know book club, but I’m making no promises to finish it. We’ll see. I’ve also been gifted a copy of Worldliness by C.J. Maheney that I want to crack open as well as Dancing with My Father by Sally Clarkson. As always, so many choices.

thankful for family, for grace that is new every morning, for coffee in the morning and salty popcorn in the evening, for fall leaves, and flannel sheets. Life has seemed to be a mess of crazy and beautiful of late and I’m trying to keep my eyes open to not miss it. Happy Thursday. : )

Fall in my neighborhood.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Project Life Week 38 // September 30–October 6, 2012

Week 38 – the beginning of our October birthday bonanza week for our family. We celebration N1 on Wednesday and the boy on Sunday (the 7th), with a nephew thrown in on the 6th. A full week! One insert this week (it’s bee a while since I’ve had an insert). The front is a photo of N1 from her birthday and the back (which you’ll see below) is a printout of my Currently post from the end of September. Technically it was written the week before, but I had an insert slot in this week so in it went.
Excuse the toes in these photos. My assistant was sticking close. : )
On the left:
  • singing in church with Daddy.
  • school work – using our new calendar notebook.
  • birthday girl!
A shot of our recently finished read-aloud (which I blogged here).
On the right:
  • Currently post on the right (minus the photos).
  • a flip up pocket from N1’s birthday. The top photo shows our cinnamon roll breakfast at Panera.
  • the boy and his cousin. He is wowed by the new toy that M brought him!
  • a new big boy boy! (Also a big wow!)
  • soccer Saturday … this time with a shot included of T who was B’s fill-in coach today. : )
Love his face in this photo! T set the bed up while we were over at a friend’s house and we came home to find this surprise! (T even picked up the fun blue/gray bedding and the giant Woody – I loved it!)
A shot of the flip up protector … the boy wants to point out his cousin J who he looooooves. : )
Journaling card sets used in this layout (that I can easily identify):
Take Note Journaling Cards from Creative Bubble
Autumn Journaling Cards from Creative Bubble
Notepad Journaling cards from Plucky Momo
Happy Tuesday! It’s our Classical Conversations day so we are off!
Project Life is a product and a system created by Becky Higgins and available on It can be anything you want it to be. You can view all my posts about Project Life here. I'm always happy to answer questions about how Project Life works for me, if you have any.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up // October 8-12

The week where we were in and out of the house quite a bit! I think I’m going to break down this review by day instead of by subject since that seems to organize the week a bit more in my head. : )


On Monday I had a late morning doctor appointment so the girls and I did a little school work at home before leaving the house around 10:30 a.m. (handwriting, explode the code) and then headed out. The dr’s office was conveniently located about two blocks from my husband’s office – T came over and met us and he sat in the car with the kids and, using our CC memory work cd’s, helped them review all their memory work from our first six weeks. After the appointment, we returned home and did a little school in the afternoon:

  • we listened to Story of the World, chapter 8
  • N1 and N2 each got in a math lesson
  • B worked on her Awana verses quite a bit today, I believe
  • N1 and N2 also each got in two lessons a piece in Writing With Ease. Noticing that it’s getting harder to add in a double lesson on N1’s work now that she is in book 3 and the lessons are getting longer and more complicated.


Monday night = prepping for Classical Conversations on Tuesday.

  • Classical Conversations
  • Came home and watched a couple What’s in the Bible DVDs and worked on some accompanying Bible worksheets. Watch for a review on these DVDs soon – and I have a DVD to give away! : )


Wednesday was another day of appointments. The boy had his two-year well check up in the morning, and N1 had an orthodontist appointment in the afternoon so we just made a day of car schooling! I was actually pleasantly surprised at home much I felt like we got done while in the car. While at the boy’s morning appointment, the N’s worked on their handwriting and explode the code (the most portable work). B brought her handwriting with her, but I don’t think she pulled it out. I did see N2 helping her with her Awana verses at one point while we were waiting. It’s so handy having older sisters that can read! : )

While in the car, we did more CC review, especially going over the first one-fourth of our timeline song / memory work. For our afternoon drive to the orthodontist (which is about 20-25 minutes away), we listened to several chapters of Story of the World. I know we listened to 8 and 9 and I think several more after that, but I can’t remember where we stopped.

We finished our Wednesday with Awana, so I feel like in spite of the running around, we got some good work in there. It may have almost been easier since we weren’t trying to keep coming home and rushing to the school room.


Bible study. It's one f those weeks where we are doing the whole thing the day before.

Our first real “home” day this week (finally!)

  • Everyone got in a math lesson, the first for all this week.
  • The regular language arts for the big girls was tackled (handwriting, explode the code as well as Writing with Ease and First Language Lessons). In N1’s 1LL, we were briefly introduced to homophones. It seemed necessary to pause school for a quick viewing of a particularly applicable Silly Songs with Larry.

And, while we were home all day on Thursday, we headed out for the evening to see cousin J in one of her softball games. It was almost an hour from our house so, hello? More CC review in the car! (So fun to watch her play – the boy was absolutely mesmerized by the game!)



Out of the house again today with Bible study in the morning and then a library trip in the afternoon.

Library Friday.

While we were out of the house a great deal this week, overall I feel pretty good about what we got done. Remember the nifty calendar book that I mentioned last wrap-up post that we all loved? Yep, we never touched it this week. Even on our one full day home (Thursday), we didn’t pull it out since we had an entire week’s worth of Bible study lessons that I needed to sit down with the girls and work through. (One of those things that didn’t work well when we tried to do it on the go). However, we DID get a ton of our CC memory work in during all the time in the car. We do review that in the mornings as part of our circle time, but to have several 30 minute concentrated time while driving was extra helpful. N1 was also able to finish her assigned chapter book, Detectives in Togas, and started one of her birthday books, Horton’s Miraculous Mechanisms. (She finished that one today, pronouncing it great. Now I can put it in my stack so I can get a turn with it). : )

With that, I’m going to wrap up this post and call it done. We’re already on to a new week which has the promise of a day off for a short fall break on Friday and we are all looking forward to it. : )

Family movie night. First Toy Story watching.

A photo from our weekly Friday family movie night. The boy’s first viewing of Toy Story. Pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Project Life Weeks 36 and 37 // September 16-29

Here come the photos.
A unplanned sick day for a boy meant that he and I stayed home from church this morning. While he played cars in the school room with me (with occasional detours to get into his sisters’ belongings since they weren’t here to block him), I managed to wrap up three separate weeks of Project Life and cross them off my to-do list. Whew. In this post, I’ll just share glimpses of the first two weeks.
Week 36:
On the left:
  • a little duct tape work to my much worn Bible. I journal a little below on why I’m not ready to part with it just yet, so although it’s not beautiful, duct tape is doing the job holding it together for me now, and for that I’m thankful!
  • documentation on B’s finger injury.
  • a photo of my white board for CC. I love writing it out every week. : )
A little note in one of the journaling spots on what I was currently reading a couple weeks ago. I’ve since set it aside for some other things, but I did make it through the first “book” in The Complete Sherlock Holmes and enjoyed it!
 PLwk36b PLwk36c
On the right:
  • a photo collage of a morning walk
  • mystery journaling card. : ) (Pumpkin courtesy of PicMonkey free photo editing!)
  • a photo of N1 that I just love.
  • more Saturday soccer!
Week 37:
On the left:
  • a photo of our new niece on the title page. Name hidden to protect the innocent. : )
  • a photo of my folks in front of their soon-to-be new home that is much closer to us. We are very excited!
  • groceries.
  • a CC pic during art time.
A brief interruption from sick baby who spotted something in a photo.
On the right:
  • learning the part of a plant cell.
  • the boy and puzzles
  • a moment between T and B at her soccer game that I loved.
  • the boy was invited to his first “friend” birthday party. This is a flip up pocket with a couple more party pics underneath.
And there you have weeks 36 and 37! There are a couple new journaling card sets that I’ve used in these two layouts:
Take Note Journaling Cards from Creative Bubble
Autumn Journaling Cards from Creative Bubble
On the Big Screen is a download that I made that you are welcome to use. : )
Happy Sunday! The boy and I are looking forward to having everyone come back home from church and some family time this afternoon. I’ve got some school planning to do (a weekly wrapup from last week to write hopefully) so hopefully I’ll share some more here soon. : )
Project Life is a product and a system created by Becky Higgins and available on It can be anything you want it to be. You can view all my posts about Project Life here. I'm always happy to answer questions about how Project Life works for me, if you have any.