Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Little House Supper

We use a little of this and that for our curriculum. The one we mostly use is Catholic Heritage Curricula. We supplement with Mater Amabilis and we use a different grammar book that works well for us, Voyages in English.

CHC has a new reading/literature program for 4th grade that I am loving. The first book Therese is reading is Little House in the Big Woods. We have read this story many times, but now we are diving deeper, thinking about the characters and their actions, and putting it all together at the end into a report. But the part I like best is the midweek activities page. We can choose from several ideas. This week, we made breakfast for dinner and made pancake men like Ma. Of course bacon and sausage were added to the menu, along with some fruit. This is where Peter's science activity came in handy. He had to use a can of fruit to act as a fulcrum in trying to lift the couch with a broom. It was a success and we had one very dented can of pineapple to add to our dinner.

They each got to make their own pancake people

or pancake mouse

mmmm, bacon

the batter in the front is vegan, made with almond milk, and flax meal as a egg replacer

Tony is still vegan

the batter in back is buttermilk pancake batter

the rest of us are definitely not vegan


Friday, September 13, 2019

The First Two Weeks

We have just finished our second week of school. We are slowly getting into the new routine. Anna and Jack are spending most of their non-school time at the children's theatre. They are in a production of Les Miserables, taking a theatrical tap class, and a Shakespeare class taught by a professor at USC. Thursday was the first Shakespeare class. To make things work out, we have go early and set up the computer for Anna to attend her online classes and then immediately head into the theatre. This was our trial run and I would say it was successful. The younger kids and I hung out in Barnes and Noble and did schoolwork, then played.

Anna is also in a homeschool band once again and I am so glad we could make that happen. Some people are on a youth bowling league. And auditions for a play for Therese and Peter will be next week. I think we have enough extra curricular activities for now.

The other day, I was scrolling through my photos, looking for a particular picture, when I noticed that my subject matter has changed. I used to document our days and now, not so much. I want to go back to documenting our days. These days are so short that we have with our children and I want to be able to look back one day and remember what fun times we had.

We had finished our schoolwork and they were trying out the how-to-draw books.

I have never had a kid into Pokémon, but his friend introduced him and he is serious about it.

Books to be shelved

He will be making his First Reconciliation and First Communion this year. We did a demonstration with pepper in water to show how sin hides Jesus in our souls. A little soap dispersed the pepper and made Jesus visible again just like confession cleans our souls.

Fridays are catch up days or fun days. Today was both. We caught up and then went to the splash pad.

A good balance of work and play is how it should be.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Zoo Day

The extremely hot temperatures were finally squelched by a series of thunderstorms that rolled through on Tuesday. Yesterday, the temperature of temperaments in this household was rapidly rising, so I herded the children into the van and headed to the zoo. Though some people may have taken longer to cool down than others, it was the perfect prescription for general moodiness. How can you not feel better seeing all the amazing animals?

Although my great idea was copied my many others, it did not feel too crowded. I was able to get some nice photographs. At one point, half of my people did not wait for me and my camera, and it took quite some time to find them. I was only slightly freaking out. They were not freaked out at all. They were on the carousel.

I have to get books ordered for school, but the weather is only going to be this lovely for a couple of days before the heat settles upon us again, as it is July in South Carolina. I feel the need to absorb every moment of lovely weather possible. What is a person to do?

Gratuitous hummingbird photo from the backyard because I love them so much!

Peter spotted the sea lions

The gorillas were in front of the glassed in viewing area. The reflections of other zoo goers made photographing difficult.

We finally saw this guy who looks much like a housecat. My new lens definitely allows for better low light photos.

Jack and Therese went on the sky-high safari, a ropes course. It is right next to the giraffes, which is why I have so many giraffe photos.

The baby goats are adorable, but best not to bend down to photograph them. My shirt got munched on many times!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Summer Days

for my friends who are not fond of snakes...


I was worried how I was going to keep the little people from constantly being on a screen now that school is out for the summer. Oh, they ask, and I say no, a lot. Reading earns time on the computer, so that is helping and also leads to quiet moments in the house. Then they began an outdoor project on their own which has kept them busy more than anything I could have dreamed up.

It is called "The Treescapes" and is located under the giant magnolia tree in the yard. They have cleared out all the debris and have a nice dirt floor in there. A pulley system pulls back a branch for easy entry and exit from The Treescapes. While creating their clubhouse, they discovered a bird's nest with an egg in it. Now there are two and we hope to see baby birds. Whatever else is in there, I do not know, for they are working together, and that is all I need to know.

Hummingbird visiting one of the feeders.

They have their outside interests and I have mine. Hummingbirds are so amazing!

We have watched three separate goose families raise their young this spring, so we must be careful where we step in the yard. There have been 17 babies, and so far I know of only 3 that have not made it.

Lulu, our cat, loves that there are so many feathers being lost in the yard. She will attack a feather for an hour or more, mostly at night though. The first time I was worried she had a critter and was quite scared to go found out what she was chasing. Now we all know it is only a feather.

The Blue Heron mostly stays on the other side of the lake, but on one of the rare occasions he came this way I was able to photograph him without scaring him off.

I am so thankful for slow mornings with my reading and my coffee on the back porch.

Our second tent camping experience was at Lake Wateree State Park. The kids and I actually set up camp before Tony could join us later that evening. After dinner, the moon came out and it was beautiful! The only thing that topped it was the sunrise the following morning. We packed up after breakfast and drove to a tiny little church for Mass and then onto Andrew Jackson State Park for the afternoon. That makes two more parks checked off the list of 47 to become "Ultimate Outsiders".

The nest in "The Treescapes"

Yesterday, we visited Congaree National Park. There is a 2.5 mile boardwalk trail through the swampy forest. Thankfully we had insect repellant. I hope to go back when we have more time to try and photograph some birds.

Heading into the forest

He was about 10 feet away from the boardwalk. Thankfully I have a nice lens so I did not have to get close.

Found this little guy (he was only an inch or so long) on the railing of the boardwalk, just chilling. I got up right in his face and he never flinched.

Seen on the way out of the park
After we returned home, I started preparing dinner. I put the potatoes in the oven to roast and began patting out burgers. All of a sudden I heard a loud pop, something shot out from the stovetop and that was the end of the range. I finished cooking dinner on the burner of our gas grill. Thankfully, I had already had practice cooking outdoors earlier in the week when we lost power for several hours thanks to the storms that blew through our area. I made coffee this morning out there too. Dinner tonight should be interesting.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Another Day with the A's

The Palmetto A's touring club, that is. Jack is now an official junior member of the club.

Saturday morning, in the predawn, I shuffled to the kitchen to start the coffee. Jack was waiting for me. We were to meet the A's at 6:30am to travel to Magnolia Springs State Park in Millen, GA. The sun, appearing as a great red ball, rose over the horizon and cast its glowing hue onto the clouds as we made our way to the meet up spot.

Peter and Jack rode in a Model A, while Therese and I followed in our "modern". The going was slow, and I liked that. The back roads through the countryside provided such a beautiful backdrop as we made our way to Georgia. We had our first roadside "tech session" just before breakfast. The car  in which the boys were riding developed a flat tire. All the club members pulled over to assist. Once back on the road, we breakfasted at a small doughnut shop run by Mennonites. One stop at the state line and another for gasoline and then we were at the state park, where other Model A clubs all met for a picnic and to talk shop.

As we readied ourselves for the return trip, we experienced our second tech session. One of the A's refused to start. I got my first lesson in engine troubleshooting. The problem solved, the car sputtered and started and we got on our way. A stop for gas, a stop for ice cream, again run by Mennonites, and we were back home.

Doughnuts, the breakfast of champions

We spotted Mater!