Friday, December 16, 2016


I picked Anna up from school one day last week, or maybe even the week before. Time is moving too fast for me. Christmas is approaching at warp speed and I have many, many items to check off my list, and miles to go before I sleep.

Anyway, like I said, I drove to pick up Anna and everything was white. Not snow, but days of cold and frost and dew accumulating slowly to produce a world of white. I am not a lover of winter by any means, but even I must admit that it is sometimes breathtakingly beautiful.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Walking in the Cold

It was Sunday afternoon and everyone, including me, needed some fresh air. No one said they did, but it was obvious to me. It was so cold! Maybe 28 degrees, definitely below freezing, and despite being bundled up, I was quite chilled the entire walk. We took the same path as last time, only now we had all seven of us. We did not walk as a group. People ran ahead, lagged behind, went exploring, and so forth, so that we each had our own experience. Me, I took pictures and listened. I love eavesdropping on the conversations between siblings while they are playing in earnest, unaware of the world outside their own imaginings.

This is the season where I struggle to remain upbeat. Partly the weather, partly missing Ben during yet another holiday. I see him in Peter's smile sometimes, that same impish grin.

There has been frost on the shady places for days now. It does not melt with the sun's rays.

This zest for life, I need to take lessons from him.

He also knows how to enjoy every second of his life that does not involve schoolwork.

Just hanging out while waiting for those people in the background to catch up.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Walking in the Sunshine

Here in Germany, when fall comes, the glimpses of sunshine become a rarity. So when it makes its brief appearances, you go outside. The day before Thanksgiving and so much to do? You go outside. Who knows when the next time will be. Even now, a half hour later, the sun has disappeared and the gray-white sky has returned.

And now, as I begin preparations for our dinner tomorrow, I can think and recall our lovely walk and the sunshine, the kids whooping and skipping and twirling the whole way, only stopping to pick up some special ingredient for the stew they were going to make when they got home.

The landlord handed out candy as we left.

The damp path was glowing with sunlight, making it seem like we were on a secret, magical journey.

Jack discovered a tunnel.


He started the walk with candy in his hand. He returned with a bunch of ingredients for a "stew".

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Starting our nature journals

Looking at the forecast, I knew that our only chance for a sunshiny day was right that moment. It would be cold, only 37 degrees. Donning heavy jackets, scarves, gloves, and generally being well bundled, Jack, Therese and I set out on a nature walk.

I have been nervous about starting a nature journal with the kids. Not to mention that every moment is precious in our homeschool day and I struggle with getting all that math and reading in. However in the world would we find time for walking and drawing? You just have to do it, my friends. And it was worth every moment. Cold noses and fingers were a small price to pay for the joy of discovering all that we did.

The sky as we stepped out the front door.

We discovered that the puddle was partially frozen.

These plants still had frost on them in the afternoon, for the sun had never shone on them.

Leaf with frosty edges

The side of the path had no sunlight.

Another puddle, this one thawed thanks to the sunlight.

She may be out of focus, but on the left is her breathe, looking much like a ghost.

The sun quickly began to set and the sky was ablaze with colors.

Jack's frosty branch in which he found out his breath will melt the icy crystals.

They were chanting some crazy words and marching forth in the cold afternoon.

The field where we discovered the unknown vegetable.

Darkness was closing in as we were finishing our walk.
The book we are using to learn about journaling.
Therese's entry

Jack's first page

Jack's second page

My own feeble attempt

The Unknown Vegetable

Monday, November 14, 2016

This and That

It has been an entire month since I sat down to write something here on the blog. I have been writing, just not here. Each morning, I have been journaling alongside the children. The timer is set and we each put down our thoughts until the timer tells us to stop. One of the children looks forward to this part of our day like a dog looks forward to going on a walk. Another of my children looks on it with as much disdain as a dog realizing he is about to get a bath.

In this month, we have schooled, gotten through Halloween and an All Saint's Party, Tony went on a short trip to the states, I went on a short getaway to Lake Constance, and it now is no longer October.

The November mornings are cold, dawning mostly without the sun, but lightening to a gray white sky, dotted by frosty roofs and swirling smoke from the chimneys. This morning, I noticed a rim of pink on the distant hills. Maybe, just maybe we will be graced with a glimpse of the sun today.

My conscience is telling me that I must go wake the children and start our day, so I leave you with a few unedited pictures....

St. John Paul II

St. Therese

The horizon this morning

Friday, October 14, 2016

leaf hunt

This afternoon, while I was running an errand, I entrusted my husband with the task of re-reading "Leaf Man" to the kids and to then go on a leaf hunt so that we could make our own leaf creations. I caught up with them while they were out. I must admit that at first I just wanted to herd everyone home because, well because we hadn't done much schooling and I started to feel the pressure to get more done. But I had to tell myself to stop and let them explore and play and just deal with the fact that I was very chilled. I still have that little nagging voice telling me "you aren't doing enough", and I am trying to quash that voice and just celebrate whatever we accomplish. It is not an easy thing to do when the rest of the world is telling you just the opposite.