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Dec 28, 2013

THMJ Week of 12/15/13

    In my life this week…
We are busy getting boxes ready to ship to family.  Found out our shoeboxes went to Angola this year, so we will spend some of January learning about that area of Africa.

    What we're reading... 
Jotham's Journey

Mere Christianity and Critical Analysis Journal

    My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

Trying out their "new" snowshoes.  The bigger picked up some snowshoes at a sale a while back.  They're for Christmas, but we've had a good deal of snow, so now was a fun time to get out in them.

    Out of the mouths of boys...
Xav:  Mal, why don't you believe in Rudolph?
Mal:  I believe in him I just won't say his name.  (Mal doesn't like to say "oo" words.)
Xav:  Maybe we can call him something else so you can say his name.  Maybe a nickname.  Let's think about it.  Raydolph?
Mal:  Reedolph?  (Mal's go to replacement for "oo" is "ee.")
More names get thrown around.
Xav:  Wait, wait!  Whoa, whoa!  This might be a bad idea.  The song says the other reindeer laughed and called him names.  He might not like that.

Short and sweet update this week.  I actually cannot remember diddly from a week ago.

And for the second week in a row, I've missed the link-up.  :P

Dec 27, 2013

What in the World Was *THAT*?!

Christmas morning, standing in the kitchen, I heard a loud boom and felt a bit of shaking.  I thought something fell on the roof, but saw nothing when I looked around.  The following day, the Saint Albans Messenger posted a query on their FB page asking if anyone had heard a loud boom Christmas morning.  Many people responded from area towns with different times for the occurrence.  

It turned out to be Cryoseisms, or ice quakes.  The water underground freezes and expands, putting pressure on the rock, which is released as an explosion.  There were many all over Vermont, but all of the news articles Google turned up were from Canada.


Here are some pictures from the ice storm which left us without electricity for just over 60 hours leading up to Christmas and then on the 26th for about fifteen hours.  It's gorgeous out, but I feel just awful to see so many trees bent over and broken.  

I'm worried about the cherries and blueberries.  I didn't realize there would be growth on them at this time of year.  

Here are some shots after the ice storm and after the first snowfall.  We've had more snow since then today.

Dec 20, 2013

THMJ Week of 12/8/13

    In my life this week…
It is wicked frigid this week, with temps below zero several nights already this year.
The chickens finally started laying eggs.  Well, at least one of them is anyway.  So far, I found one medium sized egg at the beginning of the week, one shell-less freeze dried yolk (yuck!), and one large egg that had frozen and cracked.  That's one egg for us and two for the compost.  Not bad for feeding and housing those stupid birds for over 21 weeks.

    In our homeschool this week…

We used a lot this week.  I appreciated the quality of the classes we used.  Now I think it *might* be time to start thinking about adding one of the foreign language courses on the site.

    In our homeschool co-op this week... 
Our Christmas party!  We had so much fun.  Malachi was nervous about accepting his gift in front of everyone.  Afterward, he said, "I am never doing that again!"  So cute. 

    What we're reading... 
  • Jotham's Journey
  • A multitude of Christmas picture books.

Personal Reading
  • Mere Christianity and the Critical Analysis Journal
    Around the house... 
I won a 6x6" canvas this summer. I finally painted some canvases to hang with it.  I {{love}} all my boys.  I'm not 100% sure I will stick with this layout, but I'm good with it for now.

    My favorite thing this week was…

Date night!  We had so much fun at a *grown up* party!  No kids.  Hilarity ensued!  The usual hour home took nearly two and our poor sitter got snowed in with us.  OK.  That part may not have been a favorite.  :D  

    The kiddos favorite thing this week was...
Learning to play Twister.  Or maybe that was my favorite thing to watch!

    I’m cooking…
It is a no cook recipe, but I made pickle rolls for two gatherings this week.  You just spread a flour tortilla with cream cheese, layer on some cold cuts (I used ham and turkey), and roll around some dill pickles.  Then slice them into bite-sized pieces.  We only had a few leftover from the Friday School party and none at all from another gathering.  That makes them a hit in my book.  When I was a kid, my mom used to make something similar with sweet gherkins and a slice of bologna.

    Out of the mouths of babes... 
Xavier was talking to Micah about divorce.  He told Micah if he and I ever stopped loving each other he would build a heart shaped wall around us and make us stay in it until we loved each other again.

Guess that's about it for this week!  Don't forget to check out all the other moms at The Homeschool Mother's Journal!

Dec 19, 2013

The Weather Outside is Frightful!

Frigid temps do not equate fun to mom.  Apparently, boys are impervious.

Xav body sledding (video).

Mal body sledding (video).

These webs, that were practically invisible under normal circumstances, became works of art in sub-zero temps.

Dec 15, 2013 Review

I have been a huge fan of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for years.  When they stopped making print issues and switched to a bi-monthly digital magazine with an annual print issue, I still had some time on my subscription. was their newest offering at the time and subscribers were able to access the website until the print subscription term ran out.  Well, I didn't join after that period was up, but I did spend a few months accessing the e-books and other resources offered there.

Fast forward to 2013, I still kind of had my eye on, but hadn't subscribed.  Then in August, I won the Yearly Membership Option.  My stars!  The website has grown tremendously!  This is my review of that content.  They offer so many new courses, with more on the horizon.  There are other benefits of membership, too.  Let me tell you what we appreciate about and what we've done with it lately.

Merrick is taking toddler classes and explores a new letter with each lesson.  This week, M is for Music and we've explored sounds with a few instruments we have around the house, as well as those we've made.  Each lesson is in a PDF format for printing (or print nothing and view it online).  Each day of the lesson has a different focus.  There are listening, doing, and reading suggestions.  Sensory Learning for Toddlers is hands-on FUN!

Xavier and Malachi were inspired by the art techniques course suggestion to make a holiday watercolor.  Now, I have zero artistic ability and couldn't draw or paint to save my life, however, I have hope that the boys will inherit some ability from Daddy or a grandparent.  They really couldn't be bothered to draw their picture with a pencil and then paint, but they were happy to get the art set out and paint on Mama's good paper.

We used Jason Lindsey's science experiments, which I've never used before.  There is a video of about one minute to watch which explains the science.  Being more hands-on, we of course, had to try some of the experiments out.  We even headed back into the extensive class archives and tried the November experiments.  Some things we had on hand and ready to go, so we read the lesson or watched the video and did it.  Ta-Da!  Easy.

We don't always do exactly what the lessons suggest.  I get great ideas that I may not have thought of myself and we figure out ways to make them work for us. can work for every family.  There are classes for every student.  From Sensory Learning for Toddlers, the new Schoolhouse Preschool, and elementary subjects to Middle and High School courses, you'll find something for everyone in your home.   The typical maths, science, and literature for all ages are there as well as languages (Spanish, French, and Hebrew), mock trial, sewing, film making, and more.

Feeling overwhelmed and wondering how you will keep track of all that is offered?  Print the monthly course checklist.  You can see at a glance, all the course offerings and if any are on break or have been archived.  Archives are kept for many classes, sometimes for a few months, sometimes indefinitely.  This form is a great way to track attendance if your state requires it.

But wait!  There's more!  (I always wanted to say that!)  I seriously cannot tell you everything to be found at  I am going to tell you about some of my favorite extras though! If you go over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew SchoolhouseTeachers Review, you'll find a lot of other wonderful reviews from other families.  Many of those overviews will likely highlight different aspects of the product than I have.

  • The Dailies - Include basic courses (spelling, math, grammar), as well as astronomy, Shakespeare, and The Epistles.
  • Certificate Gallery - Certificates of Achievement for memorization, helping around the house, learning new skills.  Many blank certificates are there for parents to fill in as needed.
  • Unit studies and Lapbooking - These are some of our favorite ways to learn and record what the boys know.
  • Monthly reading lists.  This month's list had several books in our Christmas collection.  We love reading together.  I was also inspired to look for The Nutchracker movie.  Xavier cracked me up when he mistakenly referred to the Sugar *Plumber* Fairy!
  • Special Needs - This is where you can find ideas to assist your struggling learner.  Over a year of this section is archived, with more due in January.
  • Animated Books - the boys LOVED the Woodpecker Knocking story/song full of knock-knock jokes.  I will likely have to listen to this one again and again!
In a related note, a Children's Story Book Writing Contest for 5-10 year olds is currently running.  The contest ends at midnight, December 31, 2013, so have your little author enter soon!  The winning author will get to see their story animated, too.

The Extras section includes some of my all-time favorite The Old Schoolhouse resources.  Included with membership, is access to digital back issues of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, five MEGA Schoolhouse Planners, Schoolhouse EXPO recordings, and monthly bonus e-books, including the WannaBe series (as in, "When I grow up, I wannabe..."), We-ebooks, and thematic units.   The longer you are with, the more free ebooks you receive, 150 in all!  You'll also get the silver plan of AppleCore, a homeschool record keeping system.

One section was confusing to me.  The monthly menu under the Dailies tab wasn't presented as well as most of the website.  There  was a note about and a link to the August menu at the top of the page.  Below that was the option to "Print this month’s recipe list."  That was actually November's list.  The December list was indexed directly below that, but I didn't see a way to print it.  I think recipe list was a much more fitting description than menu.

We'll be using the website for school even more often.  It's funny how having access to something doesn't mean I will utilize it to it's fullest, but give me a review to write and I will thoroughly dig through it.  I'm so glad for this opportunity to learn more thoroughly about the website contents.

For the month of December, 2013, there is a BOGO special on  Purchase a one-year subscription for yourself for an affordable $139 for your entire family (ages two-ish through adult) and get a one-year subscription for a friend.  Not quite sure yet?  Join for $3 for the first month, explore and ejoy, decide you love it, and join for $139!

 Check out the other reviews to see how other families are using this website.  Schoolhouse Review Crew SchoolhouseTeacher link up.

Dec 9, 2013

Spotlight on Merrick

The youngest piece of my heart on two legs.  {{Love this boy!}}

Big boy haircut.

Baby Lego Maniac

Painting a stocking in Rainbows.

Chowing down on Domino's Pizza after Friday School and the library.

THMJ Week of 12/1/13

    In our homeschool this week…
I am trying to figure out a way to have school in the morning even though Merrick is awake.  He is so busy, it's hard for the bigger littles to concentrate.  And there have been a couple days over the last few weeks when we have *all* needed a break and I chose rest time over school.  Also, when there has been significant snow, the boys like to go out after lunch and I hate to call them in when Merrick goes down for a nap.  There just has to be a good way to do this.

    In our homeschool co-op this week... 
Mal was kind of out of control this week, floppy and vocal, but he participated well in at least two of his classes and helped with clean up in the nursery.

Xav had a good day at archery.  He loves that class and was excited to pop balloons while being timed.

Merrick participated in Wiggles and Giggles (for preschoolers).  He's gone a few times, but some days he just needs to head to the nursery.  Apparently, my little escape artist made a run for it during a rousing game of follow the leader.  As soon as he got near the door, poof.  He was outta there!

In Magic School Bus science class, we watched the holiday special episode about recycling.  I told the class how recycling centers work, we talked about what could be made from recycled bicycle parts (from the Scholastic activities website), and they learned all about upcycling.  I'm sure some parents will want to strangle me when the gang all start picking through the trash to create.  BWA HA HA HA HA!  Best part?  When I asked who knew what recycling was, *Malachi* gave a fairly long-winded and accurate explanation.  I was surprised and pleased.

Mal participated well in duct tape art and made an ornament almost entirely by himself.  Xav learned about the platypus in nature class.  In Your Amazing Body, Ms Trish showed the class a Magic School Bus video also.  It was a video kind of day for many of the kids in that age group.  Xav made a cute snowman lantern from an *upcycled* milk jug and a string of lights.

    What we're reading... 
Read Alouds:
Little Pilgrim's Progress (mostly on hold  while we read Christmas books)
Jotham's Journey

I'm reading CS Lewis' Mere Christianity for the first time ever.  I have a review opportunity for the new Critical Analysis Journal from Homeschool Adventure Co.

    Around the house...
 Jolly old St. Nicholas arrived a day late.  Shhh...  Don't tell the boys!  They had no idea what day he shows up.  Oblivious. 

Merrick got a hair cut. *sob*

    Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Knowledge Quest has a free recipe book here, Figgy Pudding, Stollen and Tamales: Gathering the World Around Your Christmas Table.

    Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Friday School (our co-op)
The library

We also joined a 3 mile fun run/walk for the Enosburg Food Pantry.  Micah was the only one who ran.  The rest of us walked, except Merrick who hitched a ride.  We warmed up at McDonald's, which Merrick calls EIO (as in Old McDonald had a farm).

We all had to wear Santa (or in Xav's case, elf) hats.
I didn't even realize Xav was drinking the syrup until just now!

    My kiddos favorite thing this week was…
First snowman of the winter.
Getting some decent snow to play in.  Until it melted mid-week.  But, hey, it's Vermont and we'll have more before we know it.

    Things I’m working on…

*whispers*  I can't tell you...

    Things Dad is working on...
Micah made some cool dragonfly key chains for our co-op's 2nd annual silent auction.  He's also painting some windows and going through our massive book collection to see what we can part with.  

    I’m cooking…

Pumpkin pancakes!  It is so nice to change up the required 3-4 batches of pancakes per week with a bit of pumpkin.

    Out of the mouths of babes... 
From FB, a conversation I had with Xav.
I asked Xav what he wanted to get Daddy for Christmas. He was psyched and apparently had thought really hard about it.
X : A tank! We'll park it on the hill and when bad guys come here, Dad can blow 'em up! Dad can live in it and come down to visit us and eat with us.
Me: Daddy might want to live with us, since we are his family.
X : Oh. OK. We can build a conveyor belt that will take him to the tank whenever he wants to go there.

    We rewarded the kids this week by…
Going to the library after Friday School.  I try to take them there pretty regularly, they all love it, but sometimes it's been too crazy at school or Merrick is just ready for his nap.  But we headed there this week and Mal brought home Herbie Goes Bananas, Merrick gravitated to the do-a-dot markers as usual, and we brought home many books.  Afterward, we got pizza from Domino's.  They inhaled it.

    Something I am ogling or have my eye on…
A comb-binder.  Suggestions?

    A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

This incredible speed painter.

The Homeschool Mother's Journal Linky.


Dec 4, 2013

THMJ Week of 11/24/13

    In my life this week…
Thanksgiving was great, had all my boys home.  Xav is always super duper excited to see Dave.  He wants him to move back home.  He also wants Christine to come live with us for a year.  I think we'd need another bathroom or two.

    In our homeschool this week…

Another short week with two days off for turkey day.  Mal asked why we don't have school on Saturday and Sunday.  I told him we could if he wanted.  He declined.  We're schooling pretty much year round anyway, why not add more days per week?

    What we're reading this week...
Little Pilgrim's Progress (read-aloud)
*Finally* finished Call to the Heart and Thunder in Paradise: Satan's Last Storm. 
As an aside, why is Christian fiction so painfully mediocre?

    Around the house... 
Merrick has learned to take his clothes off and put them back on, but not that the temperature might warrant *leaving* them on.  His very own Thanksgiving party (video)

    My favorite thing this week was…

Not getting sick.  Yeah, baby!  I dodged the sick bullet!

    My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

Probably Dave's visit.  Neither of the middles are very into real food, so the Thanksgiving dinner was nothing to them.  Weirdos.

    Things I’m working on…

Picking up the house and cleaning out.  One small fire at a time.  Not sure it will ever be done, but I'm determined to keep making "imperfect progress."

    Things Dad is working on...
Probably working hard to not go crazy since my iDaughter has given up connecting through our internet at home and is always using 4G.  Apparently Facebook uses up a lot of interweb stuff (I believe that is the technical name for it), and we will be charged $20 if I use any more magic, sparkle, interweb stuff before Christmas.  That's right!  FB used up my limit in a flippin' week.  Color me boggled.  Technology and I are not friends.

    I’m cooking…

We had bird and all the usual stuff for dinner.  I baked the rolls from scratch this year.  Sometimes, I use parbaked from the grocery store, but not this time.  I love it when it cools down outside and baking doesn't heat the house up.

    I could not get a decent picture of four boys to save my life!

    Something I am ogling or have my eye on…T25.  I have Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred, but she says a few swears AND it ticks me off beyond belief that you can't FF through her intoblahblahblah, so I have to hear it every. single.  day.  I've been using Leslie Sansone's Shortcuts videos and she is sweet as pie and I adore her, but the workout is relatively light.  Anyone know if there are any swears on T25 Alpha?

    A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

This hilarious Pinterest board.  My imaginary well-dressed toddler daughter.

Sub-zero temps are waaaaaay to cold for November.  That kind of stunt has no business being pulled before January or February!  None. Oh!  And what in the world is "freezing fog?"  Micah supposes it's the kind you drive through and leave a car shaped hole.

Linking up at The Homeschool Mother's Journal!   At least, I will be if there is a linkup this week.

Nov 26, 2013

THMJ Week of 11/17/13

    In my life this week…
I was accepted as a blogger for the 2014 Schoolhouse Review Crew!  I'm really looking forward to getting to know the other mom bloggers and sharing about all kinds of terrific homeschool resources.  I hope our experiences with the products will help some of you!

    In our homeschool this week…

Despite my decision to not take off much school for Thanksgiving, we only did school Monday and Tuesday this week.  We had a house full of sick males.  Even Daddy was sick.  My turn will probably come soon, so we'll miss even more school.

    In our homeschool co-op this week…
We played hooky.  Some things you just don't share and germs fit in that category.

    Around the house... 
The clothes dryer broke.  We found about $10 in change inside it, as well as some odds and ends.  Micah was able to open it up and fix it himself, one of the *many* benefits of older appliances.  While we waited for the part, I was able to do a small load each day.  That took all day to dry on a rack in the living room, so some laundry piled up.  Thankfully, the part arrived quickly and I got all caught up in one day.

The dime is so neatly sliced in half. I have to wonder what happened to the rest of it.

Helping Daddy repair the dryer.

I gave Mal and Xav haircuts.  While I was clipping away, Merrick decided he needed a "shampoo."

    Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
This link to a homeschool Minecraft site looks interesting.  To be honest, I know zero about it.  I'm intrigued though and hear good things for homeschool use.

    Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Nowhere.  At all.
Well, we did put in a brief appearance for an Antiquities photo shoot.  Thankfully, the boys were on the mend.  The kids looked so sweet.  Our sitting went really smoothly, until Merrick got bored.  He was done being photographed, so he just got to leave the room.  This is the fourth time we've participated and I've never been disappointed with the end result.  It's a great fundraiser.

    Things Dad is working on...
Micah helped the chickens decorate for Christmas. 

    I’m cooking…

I used a plain white bread recipe to make cinnamon swirl bread for toast.  It was a great recipe for cottage loaf (crispy outside), but I didn't love it for sandwich/toast bread.

    Out of the mouths of babes... 
Merrick knows what the fox says (video).  With no prompting whatsoever, except asking him what various animals say, he told us exactly what the fox says.  Other than Micah and I singing a random line or two out of the blue, I don't think any of the boys have heard the song.

    I’m grateful for…

God's protection and leading of a friend who was at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin during this.  At lunch time, she nearly left the area her son was being treated in, immediately before the lock down.  I can only imagine how a forced separation would have upset Mama.

    I’m praying for…

Friends with medical needs,

    We rewarded the kids this week by…

Hershey kisses for everyone!

    Something I am ogling or have my eye on…

Simon.  Yes, I want a Simon.  The classic game, not the mini game, the carabiner game, Simon Flash, or Simon 2.

Once again, I'm linking up at The Homeschool Mother's Journal.  See you over there.

Nov 20, 2013

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Review

I have been an avid reader of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for several years now, since back in the good ol' days when it was a print magazine.  Always enjoyable, it's now an easily searchable digital magazine, available on smartphones, tablets, and the computer.

A hefty 180 pages, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine November/December issue, is full of well-written articles on many topics related to homeschooling.  I really appreciate the obvious love and care that went into this issue.  I savored the pages while discovering the gem regarding the real celebration of Christmas in Deborah Wuehler's encouraging editorial, Having a Holiday Heart: Seven Reasons to Celebrate (Even if you don't feel like it).  This issue also contains a list of the 2013 Excellence in Education Awards, a compilation of the best, most recommended curricula and products from over 1,700 survey respondents.  Malia Russell's article, Teaching Children to Serve, is timely for us, as I've just been thinking of ways to help the boys understand that others have needs greater than our own.  I realized that, while packing shoeboxes is grand, it was time for us to find other ways to serve and I would need to give deeper explanations to my growing boys.

Homeschooling parents and students will be blessed by reading this magazine.  The diverse articles are there to help with planning your child's education and encouraging you on the journey.  Many interesting articles will educate not only your students, but you as well.  You'll find part two of a Study of the Fifth Amendment in this issue. The Little House Legacy series has been a pleasure to read with my Littles, especially since we've visited Almonzo Wilder's boyhood home in New York and had recently finished reading Farmer Boy

Each issue's cover features a beautiful old schoolhouse in like-new glory.  This cover is no different.  The Lindley Murray Schoolhouse in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, not too far from my "back home."  I want to visit that school.  I wish I had *attended* that school.  It's warm and inviting, and certainly nothing like I'm used to thinking of as "school."  But then, homeschool is nothing I ever dreamed of as a student.

Ads are plentiful, but all fitting in a homeschooling magazine.  They are clickable and many advertisers offer discount codes in their promotion.

I like having the Old Schoolhouse Magazine on my iDaughter.  It's nice having it handy whenever I have a few minutes of quiet (HA!) to take a quick look and read something uplifting and encouraging on this homeschool journey.  You can get The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for tablets and smartphones here.  You can bookmark or download articles, and even forward or share them, using Facebook, Twitter, or email.  Best of all, the digital editions are completely FREE.  You can't beat that!  If, however, like me you also like to hold a real, paper copy in your hands, you can purchase the annual print edition.

The Schoolhouse Review Crew has graciously allowed me to review the current The Old Schoolhouse Magazine issue for them. 

Nov 18, 2013

THMJ Week of 11/10/13

    In my life this week…
I had a few hours of girl time at Trish's house during her scrapbook event.  I worked on a couple odd projects, like decorating note books and coloring the Jesse Tree ornaments I got from Confessions of a Homeschooler. Trish is a great cook and served stollen and a yummy cranberry-apple chutney.

    In our homeschool this week…

In our God's World News magazines, we read about Bolivia.  And Chuño, an interesting potato product.

    Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

This is a short grammar quiz.  I scored 94%.  How about you?

    Places we’re going and people we’re seeing...

The boys had Royal Rangers, where Mal is working on a model rocket. 

    My favorite thing this week was…

Exercising with Merrick.  Yeah.  That was fabulous.  Every time.  He climbs on me, crawls  under me, expects me to lift him up.  It's great.

    My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

Pumpkin Smashing Day.  It's a holiday created by daddy.  Every year, shortly after halloween, the boys smash their carved pumpkins.  This year was eXtreme pumpkin smashing which involved throwing them from the treehouse (video).  Terrific.

    Things I’m working on…

I'm trying to get through one pile of "stuff" around the house each night.  The piles are still there, just getting smaller.  As space opens up, things can find a new home, maybe far away.

    Things Dad is working on...
 Figuring out how we are going to keep the chickens watered all winter.  Last time we had chickens, we used an old crock pot.  Steeeeen-key.  Looks like it will be a light bulb and a cinder block.

    I’m cooking…

Not a single new or exciting thing.  But I have a hankering for cinnamon swirl bread for toast.  Maybe I will make that soon.

    Out of the mouths of babes... 
Ready, set, go! says Merrick.  Sort of.  

    I’m praying for…

Operation Christmas Child volunteers, workers, and recipients.
The Philippines.

    Something I am ogling or have my eye on…
Well, more like debating about.  What do I need more a good blender or a food processor?  Reasonably priced.  Suggestions? 

    A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

This video was so sweet and funny.  I loved it.  Don't be thrown off by the spammy sounding title.  It sounds like all the facebook sidebar ads, "This one simple trick will...".  Whatever.  But I think you'll enjoy it.

Link up at So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler.

Nov 15, 2013

THMJ Week of 11/3/13

 We finished packing our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.  We prayed together for each recipient.  The only thing left is to write notes and color pictures.  Collection week starts this Sunday!

    In my life this week…
My Christmas cactus was in full bloom this week.  Apparently, this phenomenon is happening to other friends' cacti all over the country.  Weirdness.  And kind of sad, since I'm guessing they won't be  blooming next month.

    In our homeschool this week…
School at home went pretty well this week, but co-op did not go as well.  Two boys were Mis. Er. A. Bull.  Except archery.  Xav loves archery.
   Things Dad is working on...
It was Pumpkin Smashing Day (video) this week.  Every year after halloween, the boys get to smash their pumpkins.  This year, it was way more exciting.  :)
And that last pumpkin was sooooo gross.  It had been painted, but not carved and it was black inside.

    Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
The Old Schoolhouse has a FREE welcome basket of goodies for new homeschoolers or anyone considering homeschooling.

    My favorite thing this week was…

Fleece sheets fresh from the cedar chest!
Oh!  And this incredible dragonfly Pinterest board my friend sent to me!  Stunning!

Meet up with us over at So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler.


Oct 21, 2013

THMJ - A jumble of catch up!

I'm not even going to try to put things in any kind of order or remember what we did when, but I am going to cover a bunch of "stuffs".

We took a hike on the Long Trail and Babcock.  I was quite sure Micah was trying to kill me.  Granted, he had the toddler in a pack, but he is also in much better shape than I am.  It was a gorgeous day, not too hot, not too buggy, not too humid.  It's just a shame I developed a wicked blister on my heel within the first half mile (out of nearly five).  The climbs were tough, especially once the heel got ripped up, but all but one down hill section and all the more level parts were beautiful.  Once we got to the road, I was all excited to be nearly back to the car, only to have to cross the road and walk another half mile.  In Micah's defense, the website labeled it a "fun family hike".  He just didn't take into consideration, my old, decrepitness.

An action shot of Mal at a rest stop.

Incredibly scenery.

All my hiking buddies.
Merricky Boy is growing up so fast!  Brings to mind the saying, "The days are long, but the years are short."  He is so stinking busy. All. Day. Long.
Making faces for Mama's camera.

So proud of himself.
My littlest Lego Maniac.
We're all involved in Royal Rangers this year.  Merrick joins me in Rainbows where I help out.

Merrick takes craft time at Rangers VERY seriously.
Mal helped me with laundry one day.  I added soap, just because I do when we don't have pods (which only the boys use, because, let's face it, they are a bit pricey).  After starting the load, Mal proudly informed me he added the "oily stuff" to the laundry.  I ended up draining and spinning the load, scooping out as much of the bubbles as possible (which the boys then sculpted in the kitchen sinks), dividing it into two loads, combining each half of the load with half of the dry, dirty load, and running an extra rinse or two.  It took all day to wash two loads of towels.

Glub  Glub

    Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
 My inlaws were just here for a few days, which is always fun.  Wendy and I took Mal and Xav to the goat dairy down the road.  They were having a family fun day.  Xav and I each milked this cow.  Mal didn't want to.  He mostly stood there, looking in the other direction, begging someone to *please* take away the cow poop NOW.  Which they did, because, honestly, who wants their fun day guests walking in cow poop and bringing it into the store?  Xav also helped feed these hungry calves.  We visited the goats and chickens as well.

Cider being made with a garbage disposal.  *chop chop*

Xav was creeped out by the finger sucking.  Cutest little calves ever.

    Things I’m working on…
As long as I had help, this last few days, I pulled out the sewing machine and my MIL and I fixed two of my kitchen chairs.  They got new springs, new cushions and new covers.  Hooray!  Now I don't want to let the boys use the repaired chairs!  She also whipped up curtains for both of the kid bedrooms and took some of the matching left over fabric home to work on a quilt for Merrick.

    In our homeschool this week…
 As always, I am always amazed how differently these boys go about everything they do.

Lining up rods in pairs.
This video was pretty cool.  Singing God's praises with the heavens and the seas.

Let's see.  What else?

Xav and I rounded up an escaped chicken.  She survived a night of free-ranging it.

A brand spanky new "The WalMarts" opened up a half an hour away.  Xav saw and talked to an elf, even giving her a message for Santa.  The sweet girl was actually dressed as a Vulcan and Xav even recognized her communicator pin.  She just told him that she and Santa were big Star Trek fans.

Some nasty little green worms were eating our carrots.  *blech*

Guess that's it for now.  I shall end this post and Linky up to The Homeschool Mom's Journal.  See you over there!