Sunday, November 27, 2011

A new family record broken!

We have a new family record.  We have a new earliest walker!  Aubrey started standing on his own when he was 9  months old.  It didn't look like he would take any steps soon though, so I thought we would have a tie of our earliest walker being 11 months old, which was held by Moira.  However, it is official, Aubrey at 10  months old is now our earliest walker.  He's pretty pleased with himself.  He still crawls as fast as he can when he really wants to get somewhere.  But if he's already standing he will try walking first.  He only takes about 8 to 10 steps at this point.  I'll have to get a picture of him walking. 

Where does the time go?


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We did.  It was just us :-)  We were invited, last minute, to join another family's celebration, but decided to just stick to home. Things have been a bit stressful over here and the thought of keeping track of my children in a house not familiar to me just didn't seem very fun/relaxing.  Not to mention all the food that would have been off limits to them.  We learned after last Sunday that it IS important to keep to the diet.  The children each had two meatballs at church fellowship.  Two meatballs from a bag.  That equals food coloring.  That then equals to four children totally out of control.  Big time!  I certainly did not want a repeat.  So we made our own feast right here at home, all GAPS legal.  And a feast it was!  We had roast chicken (we prefer chicken over turkey), "potatoes", "stuffing", cranberry sauce, squash casserole, deviled eggs and some amazing pumpkin pie.  This was very, VERY filling food.  Everyone took what they would normally take on their plate, but we filled up way before our plates were cleaned. I had made up a batch of vanilla yogurt to go over our pie.  It was delicious.

Thankfully I made sure to get a head start the day before.  This was good for a couple of reasons.  One being that a lot of these recipes were new to me, and that makes things go slower.  The other was that there was a lot to chop, cook, assemble.  But it all got done, in a relaxed manner.  All the kiddos helped out as well, making it go faster.  Below you can see some of our spread.   You'll also find some quick snapped pictures of us putting up our Christmas tree the following day.  Putting a fake tree together when you have 6 people helping really does make quick work!  When the kids were too little to help it would take Jeremiah and I forever to get it up.  For some reason we were short a string of lights, so a run to the store was in order.  Christmas music in the background, lights, ornaments and hot apple cider.  Oh fun!  The baby was amazed by all the sights.  He did a great job just hanging out and not getting into everything.  That's a plus :-)  Jonah, on the other hand....oh that boy.  Thankfully he's really cute :-)  Ha, ha!

Our cranberry sauce.  This was devoured.  No left overs.

The marshmallows!  Oh, yum!  More will be in our future :-)

Unfortunately the marshmallows melted too much, we will take note of that for future use.  In front is the stuffing.

Pumpkin pie. This was great!!!  Just like the real deal.

Aubrey was loving the action of putting up the tree.  So much to see and do.

Ooh, what's this?

Jed was a bystander, or sitter.  He was keeping guard of his dinosaur stocking.

Christmas music playing in the background on Pandora.

Flannery unpacking the nativity scene.

Jonah checking out the angel, and Isa trying to get in the picture.

Flannery had the honors of putting the top of the tree on.

She needed a bit of a lift.

After the lights were hung it was time to hang up the ornaments.  Lots of handmade ones.  Thinking we need a new round of ornaments to put up.  I may have the girls help make some felt ones.  I like non breakable :-)

Aubrey taste tested all of the ornaments for us.

Each of the girls have a few ornaments that are theirs only.  They made sure to get those up out of the way of little hands.

Everyone pitching in.  Seriously, the tree trimming gets done faster each year!

Saoirse decided to use the box that houses our Christmas things to get a better spot.

Some dancing was in order.

And no need for holly when you have a cute cherub to kiss.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Our Purging Weekend

So far so good.  Although I wish we made a bit more headway.  But every bit counts, right?  My laundry room looks awesome.  All the rooms got cleaned, and the girls say that they have all their things boxed up.  I'll go in there later to take things up to the attic.  Then we will have two rooms done, oh wait, no three, as they say their bedroom is done. 

After doing a bunch of work, we took a break and went outside...ya know, for some vitamin D :-)  I was thankful for a warm day.  I've got another sinus infection in the works, so I'm trying to cut it off with some sunshine, garlic and some echinacea/goldenseal pills.  Everyone has been, for the most part, feeling ok.  A couple of minor issues.  However, Saoirse is still having headaches, and feels dizzy, although not as often.  I think a trip to our holistic practitioner is in order.  I need to find out the root cause of it.  Otherwise I'm not sure how to address it.  The headaches started after we started the diet, and when she came down with croup.  Not sure if those are coincidences or not, but I would like to find out. 

When we went outside to day the baby was napping (Isa stayed in to listen out for him), and I took my camera.  Most of the time, like 95%  of the time when I am taking pictures I have a baby in my arms.  It's a nice change to have two arms free to take pictures.  Below are some of my two armed photos :-)

I love capturing the normal everyday things around here.  I have been trying different styles of photography to see what fits me best.  I love the photography style of SouleMama, and other 'real life' photographers.  I have another favorite, but her link is on the other computer.  The first thing Saoirse did was to gather up the eggs.  She didn't want to take them inside, so she spent half her outside time making a special spot for'll see where at the end of this post.

Jonah and Jed spent most of their time chasing chickens.  Jonah was successful, Jed was not.

A chicken whisperer in the making?

Jonah found a seat to sit in to hang out with his catch.

I have a feeling that the good feelings are only one sided, especially when Jonah gets ideas....

...ideas like giving a chicken a ride.

I love the different colors of our Americanas.  Some are dark, like the one above, and some are a cream/yellow coloring.  Very pretty.

This is a Buff Orpington.  I just liked the set up, with the chicken running in the foreground, and a peek of Jonah running in the background.

I decided to check on what the other girls were doing.  You can see them in our woods.

They were goat sitting :-)  We let the goats out to get some roughage.

Flannery was working on something.

Banging away.

Gathering up rope.

Ta-da...a swing.  Now where to put it?

On a low lying limb.  However, there was a large stone under the swing. We persuaded her that it wasn't the most wisest of spots.

Moira was working on something as well, but I never found out what.

Sometimes things come out a bit blurry, or 'off'.  But I found that I still loved the 'captured moment', blur and all.

It's not about the perfect shot.  It's being there.  Hanging out with my kiddos and taking a snap every now and again.

I enjoy trying to capture different angles.

Capturing life.  That's what it's about.

I really love this one.

Time to head back to the other kiddos.  Saoirse, Jed and Jonah are afraid of the goats.  So they stayed behind the fence.  Jonah was hanging on the fence trying to see what we were up to.

This one is pretty cute.

So here are those eggs we saw in the beginning.  Saoirse made a nest for them.  Yes, a nest.  But where was this nest?

Ah, yes, of course.  In the jogging stroller.  Thankfully this is a play stroller :-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Organizing School

I'm sure I mentioned in the beginning of our school year that I did things differently this time around.  I really, REALLY love Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy.  I wanted us to succeed at implementing her methods.  We have a LONG way to go.  I still need to delve into her books to get a better grasp of all aspects of the philosophy.  Bit by bit!  Last year we tried our hand at the Charlotte Mason method, and it was pretty much a flop.  But it had nothing to do with the method, but with ME.  It got to be too overwhelming to try to find our place in multiple books.  Most were online, where a bookmark is not possible.  And with our real books, we kept losing the bookmarks!  Oy, what is an organizing mama wanabe to do?  Well, keep thinking of a way to make it work, that's what :-)  Over the summer I brainstormed.  Yes, this actually took brain power to do, I'm not organized by nature, so I actually had to sit and think on it.  I took my annual trip to McDonald's with my *huge* bag of books, pen, paper and other stuff.  I like to get away to plan our next school year, but I can only do so come night time (when babe is asleep), so that leaves little options open to me as to where I go :-)  Anyways, I sat and thought out what days we would read each book. Then I thought out how I was going to make it happen.  And here is what I came up with. 

For our online books:

I actually took screen shots to show you all, only because I am so computer illiterate that when people try to talk computers my mind spins.  I like visual.  So here is my visual tutorial on how I make this less painful to do during our school time:

Ok, above you see my screenshot into window's explorer on my laptop.  Below is where I normally access my folders, right on my desktop:

Those 'graphics' documents are not normally there, they are the graphics I'm using for this post!  Ha,ha.  So just ignore them.  Off on the right hand side you see our school folders.  We are still in the first trimester (3 weeks left), but I just got done organizing our second semester stuff, so that is there too.
From the top down, we have: Term 2 together (the things we do all together, like art study, and composer study), Year 3 AO-2 (Year 3 Ambleside Online, semester 2)...and I think you can figure out the rest from here.

If I were to click on the Year 3 AO-2 folder this is what I get:

Above you see the books I will be reading to Flannery and Saoirse for the second semester.  These are the books that are free online.  We will get a couple from the library as well.  If its time to read Children of the New Forest, I just give it a click and....

We come up with each week of the second semester.  On a sheet of paper, in my school organizer binder (tour of that coming up) I have which days of the week that we read each book.  If we are to read Children of the New Forest today, and we are in week 13, I just click on the week 13 folder.  When I do that we get this:

We see we will be reading chapters 1 through 3.  When I click on the above document it opens in Word.  And off we go to read! 

This does mean that I have to separate each online book into separate documents.  Most of the books on our schedule tell you how many chapters you are to read each week.  Some just tell you to read 1/12 of the book for the week, leaving the guess work up to me.  It took me a couple of nights to do our first semesters planning.  But I was able to do the second semester in a couple of hours, now that I know what I am doing. 

What do I do with our real books?  How do I keep track of what page we are on?  Colored paper clips!  And when I have two girls in the same book, but on different pages, I just use two different colors :-)

The yellow one is for Saoirse, and the orange one is for Flannery.  This is their phonics book.

See?  I just flip to the page with the paper clip, and the side of the clip that is more like an 'arrow' is the page we need to read.  Something this simple makes my life so much easier!

Now for a look into my school binder.  I have a simple 1" or 1/2" yellow floppy 3 ring binder.  The first two pages are for the order in which we do things, and which days we read their books.  Above is Year 6 (Isabella and Moira).  The things in orange we do together (all four girls).  Then the older girls go off to do the rest of the things on the list.  I read to the younger two girls, and help them with the things they can't do on their own.  We have not been doing spelling like we should, I plan on making sure to get that in there for the second semester.  I really like the All About Spelling program, I just need it to work for our family.  I don't do well when I have to go all around the house grabbing our school stuff.  We plan on doing our big house purging this weekend, I am hoping that I can find a way to make some of our other schooling things work for us.  I also need to work Jedidiah into the works.  There is a year 0 I believe, that I may start Jed and Jonah off with.  I think Jed would do well with regular phonics lessons. 

After the daily schedule, are our attendance records.  There is one for each girl. I blocked off the top that has private information :-)

After the attendance records I have a monthly calendar.  I have a whole year, and when I'm done with one month I move it to the back of the pack. 

After my monthly calendars I have this yearly one.  I use it to plan out our vacation days.  I make sure to do it in pencil as illnesses and other surprises come up and I need to rearrange things. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not strict with this!  But I do try to make sure we get our required 180 days of schooling in. 

All of the other above papers are in the first tab of my binder.  Behind the second tab you will find the detailed reading schedule for Ambleside Online that I got off of the Yahoo Group.  The one above is for Year 3, the first semester.  There are some books, mostly history, that we do not read.  Jeremiah has his own plans for history for the girls, so we go by a different reading plan. 

I didn't take pictures of the other things in my binder as there are only some blank schedule sheets, some scripture encouragement, and the GAPS protocol outline (the different stages). 

There you have it.  Finally finding my way in the sea of homeschooling :-) 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...