Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Currently :: October 2014

Eating ... pimento cheese and crackers. One of my favorite comfort foods of all time (and something that I don't let into the house very often at all ... no willpower!)

Drinking ... at this moment, an evening cup of coffee with a little sugar free pumpkin cream in it. Tasty.

Dealing with ... yes, that picture is what you think it is. Super annoying and so. much. laundry. but at the same time I'm thankful we don't have chicken pox or the flu or something!

Studying ... 2 Peter (with She Reads Truth) and Romans (with Community Bible Study). I'm not always up to speed on either of them, but just get what I can done in my early morning alone time. I'm loving Romans (but it's very thinkerly for early in the morning), and 2 Peter has been so good as well.

Reading ... maybe a separate blog posts for books? I'll come back to this question.

Reading Aloud ... unusually for us, we have several read-alouds going right now. We're reading Little House in the Big Woods. A re-read for us; N2 and B are working through a lapbook on this story and, naturally, I don't need a excuse to read Laura and Mary. : ) We're also reading James and the Giant Peach in anticipation of seeing the play at the local children's theater next month. The boy and I are reading A Mouse Called Wolf together as well.


Making ... butter! To go along with our Little House reading, the girls and I made real butter out of whipping cream on Sunday night! It took about 20 minutes of mama shaking a jar (the girls pooped out on their jar well before then) but we got butter!


Celebrating ... a new library card owner in the house. The boy thought he was BIG STUFF getting his own card at the library this week.

Plotting ... the next eight weeks of school. With paper and pencil, I counted out and we only have EIGHT weeks until our Christmas break. That's crazy! The last eight weeks have not been our smoothest in the homeschool department by a long shot so I've got some plans to redeem the rest of 2014 and get us back on track. Thankfully, we're not behind; our days have just been so fractured and fragmented that some days we spend more time fussing instead of focusing. (Alliteration! I've been paying attention in N1's Essentials class at least.) : ) I've been thoroughly enjoying this 31 days series by Alicia over at Investing Love on simplifying homeschooling. Many of her suggestions I already implement, but a fresh voice can be nice and encouraging and her series has been that for me.

Sharing ... that our period of fostering a 14 year old girl has ended. Again, too many details to share online, but those of you that have sent notes and encouragement via emails and comments have been so appreciated. The last eight weeks have been some of the hardest weeks of my life, and I'm leaving them so thankful that God has foreknowledge of the events in our lives before we do. I'm resting in that.

Quoting ... this girl. Upon showing her a new book, she asks: "Is that book full of adventure? I don't like books that aren't adventure-y." She rocks.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bedtime Reading :: Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne


Sometimes it's hard to capture a serious picture when you are reading aloud to Spiderman.

Ethan and I finished our first chapter-book-at-bedtime read-aloud this week. A few weeks ago he asked if I would read Winnie-the-Pooh to him and, when looking around our bookshelves, it seemed that we no longer had any WtP picture books to speak of. Remembering that the chapter book has little illustrations scattered throughout, I picked that up and over the course of 2-3 weeks, on nights that he and I had the stamina to stay awake, we read about a half a chapter. Bedtime with this boy has always been my most consistent (and sacred!) time to read to him - we usually have a good 15 minutes of picture books that we roll through most nights - and this was our first attempt at something that continued. While we definitely aren't abandoning picture books, I think this is the start of something new for his bedtime routine. He is ready for a shorter chapter book and, of course, what mama turns down snuggling with her boy at bedtime to read. Not me. : )

He's already picked out that next one that we're going to read together: Dick King Smith's A Mouse Called Wolf. I'm pretty sure he's picked it solely based on the cover picture, but that's okay. I've been known to do that myself sometimes. : )
"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.
- Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Quoted :: The 13 Clocks by James Thurber


I know it's no shock that we are constantly on the hunt for new-to-us authors and books to try out for our read-aloud time. I would be remiss if I didn't make sure that the twelve people that read my blog didn't know about The Read-Aloud Revival Podcast put together by Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things. She has had a wonderful crew of writers and educators come through - Andrew Pudewa, Melissa Wiley, Heidi from Mt. Hope Academy - and my wish list on Amazon as well as my library hold list has grown considerably due to the book recommendations dished out on each episodes.

The book above, The 13 Clocks, was one recommended by Heidi and we recently picked it up at the library. We're about half-way through the book - the jury is still out on what I think of it. It's definitely odd. However, there have been some quotable gems from the book that I have flagged as we've read. One such in the first chapter describing the problem the Duke had with his clocks not working goes something like:
The clocks were dead, and in the end, brooding on it, the Duke decided he had murdered time, slain it with his sword, and wiped his bloody blade upon its beard and left it lying there, bleeding hours and minutes, its springs uncoiled and sprawling, its pendulum disintegrating.
And the alliteration in this sentence - something that came up just this week in N1's essentials class at Classical Conversations:
At the sign of the Silver Swan, in the town below the castle, where taverners, travelers, taletellers, tosspots, troublemakers, and other townspeople were gathered, he heard of Saralinda, loveliest princess on all the thousand islands of the ocean seas.
More word play and alliteration that I just loved:
The brambles and the thorns grew thick and thicker in a ticking thicket of bickering crickets. Farther along and stronger, bonged the gongs of a throng of frogs, green and vivid on their lily pads. From the sky came the crying of flies, and the pilgrims leaped over a bleating sheep creeping knee-deep in a sleepy stream, in which swift and slippery snakes slid and slithered silkily, whispering sinful secrets.
And a simile that just made me laugh:
The traveler vanished, like a fly in the mouth of a frog...
: )

Hopefully I remember to report back on whether this book was a winner or not, but some of these quotes were too good not to write down to remember.

And as a bonus, a photo of a studious girl working on her math test. We do do other things besides just read aloud here. : )


Thursday, October 09, 2014

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

Coffee and the current read aloud. Latergram from yesterday. The story is getting good so I'm eager to get back to it later today!

Here I should like to remark, for the sake of princes and princesses in general, that it is a low and contemptible thing to refuse to confess a fault, or even an error. If a true princess has done wrong, she is always uneasy until she has had an opportunity of throwing the wrongness away from her by saying: 'I did it; and I wish I had not; and I am sorry for having done it.' So you see there is some ground for supposing that Curdie was not a miner only, but a prince as well. Many such instances have been known in the world's history.
The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

A favorite quote from our recently finished read-aloud, read in conjunction with the Reading to Know Bookclub. It's been YEARS since I've spent time with George MacDonald and I have to say diving into one of his fairy tales has been delightful.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

October is My Favorite

Where to start.

The last five weeks have been ones of big BIG change for our family. The addition of a 14 year old girl has been such a blessing but there have also been some big hurdles and bumps that we have (and are) experiencing as we fit her into the family, as well as helping her overcome her own personal hurdles. (I hate the vagueness that life has to be right now in some areas. Please forgive the lack of specifics).

I've noticed that I'm not taking many pictures these days. I miss that. My plate is so full of what has to be done next that I'm not slowing down and being observant and thankful. I'm too busy focusing on the next meeting, the next school assignment, the next bathroom that must be cleaned, the next meal to be made. Those things are all very true and it's definitely helping me to be more focused and on task, but I'm drained when I don't take a little time to emotionally (creatively) recharge!)

October IS one of my favorite months. The changing leaves, all our family birthdays, the crisp weather ... I could go on and on. I've made myself a little photo challenge called #Octoberismyfavorite and I'm trying to remember to take a photo a day solely for the beauty that I am noticing that comes in the month of October and post it to Instagram. I'm not going for perfection ... I already missed posting yesterday ... but I'm slowly reminding myself to pause, look for beauty, and remember to be thankful that it is there even when the days are long and hard.

A glimpse at what I've captured since Wednesday:

Day 1: October means pumpkin in all the things ... pumpkin waffles for breakfast. (Also, in honesty, we are a cereal eating family at breakfast and we were out of all of it ... ergo, I had to actually MAKE breakfast!) Recipe from weelicious.

October means pumpkin in all the things. Pumpkin waffles this morning! Recipe from @weelicious

Day 2: take yesterday's pumpkin waffles. Add brown sugar cream cheese. You're welcome.

Yesterday's @weelicious pumpkin waffles with @jessicagfisher brown sugar cream cheese. #octoberismyfavorite

Day 2 (bonus): pre-birthday celebrating the night before.

Birthday-eve celebrating.

Day 3: Eleven is my new favorite. She's already great at being eleven.

Eleven is pretty fantastic.

Day 3 (bonus): also, ten is my favorite. (All the ages are my favorite!) Celebrating the one and only nephew with a fantastic photobomb by my dad in the background.


Day 4: Soccer on cool, crisp Saturday mornings. And the fact that this girl played ... that's a whole post in itself that I need to write up to remember. So proud of her yesterday and definitely an October favorite.


To be continued...