there’s really no place better, let’s go to the pond…. (If you don’t know the song then before you read the article you have got to visit here. We sing this song EVERY time we go to the pond–at least I do–the kids groan along and repeatedly request that I stop singing.)
On Thursday I realized that my son’s only pair of still intact jeans had a giant hole in the knee, were slightly too tight and definitely too short. (“I can button them if I hold in my tummy like this, Mom.”) So Buddy and I headed to Kmart (the closest non-thrift shop that might possibly have his size–7 Slim) so he could try on some pants and I could figure out what size he really is wearing. Turns out they had them on sale AND in his size. Which was good–because my boy is picky and all the other pants they had were about 3 inches too big in the waist.
Upon returning home from shopping for pants (he was less than thrilled that I not only made him go along but TRY THEM ON), we discovered that my dad had borrowed the girls. I should explain that earlier in the day the girls had decided to build a tree house in the rather tall tree out back. When I realized that they had used 1 inch nails to nail an old piece of pressed wood from hubby’s old desk to the tree–sticking out like a shelf, and that they believed that this shelf would actually hold one of them, 8 feet up, I told them to call Pappap before they did anything else. They did and he said he would come look later. Not only did he do that but he whisked them off to the pond to look for a better tree for tree house building, volunteering my brother as a helper for building.
Issac and I immediately turned around and followed them to the pond where we found them taking a walk in the woods while they waited for Uncle James to get home.
While waiting the kids relearned skipping stones.
And when Uncle James got there they attacked him–at my dad’s prompting.
How would you like to be attacked by this mob immediately after school.
My poor, poor baby brother. 🙂
To be continued…
I am finally at a pause in all the busy-ness and wanted to share some unschooling type photos with you. We finally got some warm weather which meant, of course, the end of ice skating this year. So on the day it was still cold enough but warming quickly my dad picked us up for some more ice skating (because our car has issues with cold weather).
We were met with this:
About 20 turkeys were roosting in the trees and came down as we pulled in.
A cool thing we learned this year. It is better to put ice skates on in the warm garage but the garage is at the top of the hill and the ice at the bottom which means that there is only one way to get down that makes any sense.
We had had some snow but since we knew it was going to melt didn’t bother to clear the ice–which made ice skating kind of different than usual.
It was gorgeous and rather warm.
Once the ice got too soft to skate on it was time for tobogganing.
And Mom, onto the ice.
And some bird watching.
Then warming up in the garage and playing with a 1 ton pulley and pretending to drive the tractor (which lead to a discussion of all the simple machines in use and how a snow blower works.)
Oh, and some squirrel watching.
And today most of the snow and ice are gone. It was 50 yesterday and today it was 40. And of course last night I found MY ice skates (I have been borrowing my mom’s which are slightly too big.)
- I gave up and cut my hair. I have been getting a lot of headaches lately and it hurts to have my heavy, thick hair up and it bugs me to have it down so chop-chop. I did ask the kids if it would be all right (I kept it long because they loved it) but too much is enough. And so, my new head: It is frizzy here because my hair is naturally VERY wavy and I hadn’t used a straight iron (which surprisingly does not straighten it though it does smooth it.) Yes I cut it myself using lots of time and mirrors and hair clips. I hate having someone else do it because my hair is tricksie and they always mess it up. This is my favorite cut, is flattering on most people and looks good with my favorite accessories–hats and hoop earrings. No straight on shot because I was having a hard time getting the camera set up.:)
- The girls have been working hard at learning to draw and paint better and have been using my poor sad bunny as a model (no, I do not own an actual model, he is out of my head and the kids are using him as a spring board for their own paintings. We have bunnies EVERYWHERE. It is my humble opinion that these bunnies are BREEDING.
- Issac has been enjoying what snow we have been having (off and on, snow then rain then back again, driving us all insane–“Make up your MIND!” The girls built giant snowmen down in the field and Issac worked on a speed bump.
- Rachel has been spending every possible moment either playing chess with her new board or trying to convince someone to play with her. Here she is with a friend (sporting a new haircut which I had just done a few moments before and which reminded me how much I LOVE this haircut.) They had a great game while their brothers who are the same age were upstairs cleaning up a bit of a mess.
- The mess? Oh my. Do you KNOW how many teeny, tiny Styrofoam balls are in one of those squishy nylon pillows? Especially the squishy purple marshmallow bunny pillow? I am STILL cleaning up those stupid little balls. The boys found the balls that had come out of the peep which the girls KEPT instead of throwing away and dumped them in every, single corner of the mess (which the girls were supposed to have cleaned) of a room which is the girls. You see the mound of laundry? That was AFTER I took several loads downstairs. The girls had left PILES of clothes and blankets on the floor which were then covered in very static-y little balls. The 2 7 year old boys had to clean as much as they could but the girls then had to deep clean their room (like they were supposed to).
- I got a new camera which is wonderful and capable of taking lowlight photos without a flash which is why these photos exist –usually I wouldn’t have enough light to take these. And it takes MUCH better photos of my art without a lot of lightboxes and fuss–this shot below is right off my drawing table no extra light or anything.
- Oh, and then there are the elephants. I am still working on the new website for my art so I posted it over at Elasah.com but I got a new palatte and watercolor journal and jumped in and did this weeks Inspire me Thursday which you can see here:
Hubby says that now I have to dye it blue or purple so I can look like one of our favorite anime characters, and it is AWFULLY tempting:
It has been a while since I have shared the learning going on around here so here you go. 🙂
Obviously with Thanksgiving we talked about the Pilgrims.Three Young Pilgrimsis our favorite read on the subject and we intended to read that. And we would have if we had been able to find it. Instead we read a poem from an old patriotic American book I have called An American treasury and then we discussed what we knew about that time and the Pilgrims. Last month I read several books that opened my eyes to what was going on in Great Britain and Europe around the time of the Pilgrims . Someone had given me a copy of Lord Minimus: The Extraordinary Life of Britain’s Smallest Man which in a round about way gave me a much better glimpse at what was going on politically than I had ever had or understood (good for teens if they are interested but not good for younger kids–it is a biography and a bit much at times.) Because he lived around the time of the Pilgrims and was in court for much of the time his story gives a good picture of the politics going on in Great Britain and in Holland. I was able to enthusiastically explain WHY the Pilgrims left much better than the traditional “they wanted freedom of religion.” The kids already had a decent understanding because they have watched movies and read about William Bradford so this was an interesting, and long, conversation.
Rachel spent some time making hard boiled eggs one morning and in a moment of inspiration decided she not only needed to watch I Love Egg but that she would make her eggs look like the eggs in the animation.
Yesterday we went to the pond to see an injured swan my dad has been feeding in the hopes that he will get better and be able to finish his flight top the ocean. We talked about what sort of swan he was and why he was staying here while the rest of the birds made their way south (the kids think he has an injured leg).
The kids then spent over an hour (brr, it was COLD) trying to break the ice with shale they collected, which led to discussions of sedimentary rocks and why the bubbles were forming under the ice and moving towards the outside, and how thick ice gets. They also tried breaking the ice with sticks.
Lots more stuff going on around here, like decorating for Christmas and family visits and some sort of illness that is jutst bad enough to make the kids whiney but not bad enough for them all to be stuck in bed.
The following is something I have been chewing on for the last few days: My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers for November 10. I have something to say about it but I will wait till I think on it some more I think.
“Fellow labourer in the gospel of Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 3:2
After sanctification it is difficult to state what your aim in life is, because God has taken you up into His purpose by the Holy Ghost; He is using you now for His purposes throughout the world as He used His Son for the purpose of our salvation.
You can only get there by losing for ever any idea of yourself and by letting God take you right out into His purpose for the world, and because your goings are of the Lord, you can never understand your ways.
I have to learn that the aim in life is God’s, not mine. God is using me from His great personal standpoint, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him, and never say – Lord, this gives me such heart-ache.
Self pity is of the devil, if I go off on that line I cannot be used by God for His purpose in the world. I have “a world within the world” in which I live, and God will never be able to get me outside it because I am afraid of being frost-bitten.
Part of the time we spent at the cottage was spent in the woods building forts, lean-tos and other primitive homes. My brother (off school due to a teacher’s strike) helped the girls out while Issac found sticks to use in building.
To start you go into the woods (wearing bright clothes if it is huntiong season–the next day they were all wearing bright orange), find a good tree to lean branches against, and find as much dead wood in the right length as you can find.
If you can’t find two trees with a fallen tree across you can use vines and make your own.
Lay it in the above pattern. You can then cover it with branches with leaves or pine or even a tarp. You can also add sides and another lean-to to make a roof–at least in theory. We didn’t get that far.:) We did have lots of fun though.
No, we do not always get snow this early. It varies. I remember trick or treating one year in the snow and the next year in short sleeves. Some years we have 75 degree weather around Halloween and some years we get snow storms. In fact, it is a favorite family story how the doctor had to wade through snow drifts to get to my great-grandparents house the day my grandfather was born (his birthday was 2 weeks ago.)
Oh, and if you are starting to think about Christmas you may want to check out my Etsy store–just posted some customizable Christmas cards in my new series: The Christmas Pageant. Non-customizable print versions of the cards will soon be available as well.