autumn days

Monday, April 25, 2016

Beach Bliss

Our family is spending a few nights at the Oregon Coast for our first family-of-five vacation.  What a gift to share this time together without the demands of work and schooling.  We find great humor in our little room overlooking a bright and busy parking lot.  We are making time for balloon animals and naps and digging holes and blowing bubbles and barbecuing burgers and swinging and walking and eating and reading and laughing together.  Bliss.

Beach bliss

Taking the time to craft balloon animals

Sunday, April 3, 2016

All Fun & Board Games

Our family has been digging deep into board games the last few months.  It's comforting to regularly dive into our cupboard full of games we've acquired over the decades.  We've been starting our slower days with games before and after breakfast.  What wonderful skills we are learning and sharing while playing together: focus, strategy, numbers, sequencing, and more.  Hannah taught Liam to play chess, he taught me how to play, and now we play several times each week.  Playing chess has become an incentive for him to finish his chores in a timely manner.  We play games with whoever will join us.  We are even planning a family game night with friends.

Trash to Treasure Workbooks

As our friends clean out their learning supplies, their trash becomes our academic treasure.  What a gift that our learning tools come mainly from yard sales, friends, and my teacher resources.  We supplement with a math and writing workbook for each child, along with extra classes in science, farming, piano, music, piano, spirituality, Mandarin, and participation in a classical model co-op.  This is our curriculum.  I keep track of the state standards met in the appropriate grade as we go through the year.  

At the beginning of each week, I assemble a packet for Liam, while Hannah is responsible for creating her own.  When the weekly packets are completed, each child gets to choose extra subjects to explore.  We've been going through our social studies and science units with great joy.  When the indoor learning is complete, we venture outside for sports, gardening, and a bit of everything under the sun.  What a gift to have resources at our fingertips and to enjoy exploring together in our home.  




More mathematics

Baby Clay

My family has the incredible privilege of occasionally creating with clay at a local studio.  We've crafted infinite objects that we keep and gift to others.  Some of our favorites are little love hearts, fairy homes, and cups.  Our wee girl got to attend with us and get her hands into the clay last month.  Here are some of my favorite photos of our creative play.

Our wee girl getting into her craft

Spaghetti hair, just for fun

Liam writing on his very tall cup

Liam throwing a bowl on the pottery wheel

Hannah creating a wee just-right bowl

A completed bowl

A perfect pot

Resourcefully Inspired Home Crafts

When the interest strikes, we dig into our supplies to create whatever our hearts desire.  We have a children's art cupboard and a mama-supervised art closet.  Our supplies consist mostly of second hand unloved goods from friends.  Their trash becomes our treasure.  (We occasionally refill our basic paints.)  Here are photos of some of our recent adventures.

Painted fairy houses and golden pig bank

Weaving a square to shape into a baby glove

Organizing weaving by color

Cards, cards, and more cards

A decorated cape that will eventually become a pillowcase or quilt

Liam wrapping himself in paper "because it's fun!"

Drawing a self-portrait on butcher paper (salvaged from a neighbor's work garbage)

A paper rocket

Celebrating Beethoven's birthday

Coloring and creating puppets from an entire coloring book

Painted and glittered cards

Reading Togetherness

I cherish the knowledge that I come from a long line of readers.  Our family acquires most our books for free from the local library, though we invest a lot of time into sharing literature.  Reading is quite a gift, though with every gift, balance is still necessary.  In our home, I hear myself regularly saying, "Please put down your book while you... cross the street, eat with your family, swing, have friends over, etc."  Hannah reads every children's book that comes into our home, not wanting to miss one story.  Here are some photos near and dear to my heart: my girls reading together.

  • A stronger relationship with you
  • Academic excellence
  • Basic speech skills
  • Basics of how to read a book
  • Better communication skills
  • Mastery of language
  • More logical thinking skills
  • Acclimation to new experiences
  • Enhanced concentration and discipline
  • The knowledge that reading is fun

Hannah enjoying books at five months old

Hannah reading with her five months old sister

Our wee girl reading on her own

December Traditions

Each December, our family enjoys many comforting traditions.  These are both little and large.  Meals, notes, a plate of cookies, crafts, stories, songs, and most importantly, togetherness.  We cherish an afternoon with my parents (if all are healthy), looking at photos of Christmases past, reading Grandpa's witty Christmas tales, and sharing cookies and cards with loved ones.  We cherish these simple gifts of our time and love (and what we have on hand).  Here are some photos of our favorite December adventures from 2015.

Gathering with my husband's extended family to eat, share, and play

Our plate of cookies for Santa

Snacking after the winter piano recital

Visiting with Santa

Lighting our meal and Hanukkah candles, as well as celebrating our baby's 11th week

Happy Hanukkah!

Hannah's Healing Hand: Plantain Poultices

Hannah's Recipe for Plantain Poultices
  1. Identify and find plantain.
  2. Pick a plantain leaf.
  3. Wash or wipe the leaf.
  4. Put the leaf in your mouth.
  5. Chew for ten seconds.
  6. Let it sit in your cheek for one minute.
  7. Take it out of your mouth.
  8. Put it on your cut, scrape, sting, bite, or bruise.
  9. Leave it alone on your wound.
  10. Put a band-aid on it if you want.
  11. When the cut is better, take poultice off.
  12. That's all!

Hannah's Healing Hand: Calendula Plantain Salve and Lip Balm

Hannah's Calendula Plantain Salve & Lip Balm

  • Olive oil
  • Beeswax
  • Calendula flowers
  • Plantain leaves
  • Glass jar
  • Small sieve
  • Small bowl
  • Small sauce pan
  • Tongs
  • Salve tins
  • Lip balm tubes
  • Ounce scale
Infused Oil Directions:
  1. Fill glass jar with dried calendula flowers and plantain leaves.
  2. Cover the herbs with olive oil.
  3. Cover top of jar with cloth and secure with rubber band.
  4. Let sit outdoors out of rain for two weeks.
  5. Strain.
  1. Pour one cup water into small saucepan.
  2. Place small bowl into saucepan on top of water.
  3. Fill bowl halfway with calendula flowers and plantain leaves.
  4. Cover the herbs with olive oil.
  5. Bring water to gentle simmer.
  6. Simmer one hour.
  7. With tongs, gently remove herb bowl without letting any water in.
  8. Strain with sieve.
Salve & Lip Balm Directions:
  1. Weigh infused oil.
  2. Add 1/4 of olive oil's weight in beeswax (1 part beeswax to 4 parts olive oil).
  3. Place one cup water into small saucepan.
  4. Place small bowl on top of the water.
  5. Add oil and beeswax together into the bowl.
  6. Let melt.
  7. Pour into pouring glass.
  8. Pour into salve tins and lip balm tubes.
  9. Let cool.
  10. Label.
  11. Use within one year.
Salve Lip Balm