Showing posts from August, 2018

Friday bullets, August 31, 2018

The end of the school planning is in sight, with the unit study type things all sorted out and scheduled. Today is going to be spent putting together activity boxes and... laminating! I'm excited. But I think I have a couple of moments to spare to write a quick blog post, though because I've spent the entire week holed up in my studio staring at piles of books, there may not be much to write.

I have found a French tutor for D., and we met with her last Wednesday. They will have weekly online sessions, and I think this is going to be good. It is also a major school-thing for D. to check off.The peaches off our tree are ripe and, more surprisingly, good. I probably have two bushels worth out there getting riper and riper. Last year, the tree had peaches, but they stayed small, hard, and green. They are freestone peaches, which is lovely from a processing point of view, and have white flesh, which has confused some of the children.A week from tomorrow, the husky puppy comes home. …

No time to blog

I'm still planning... and planning and planning and planning. In the meantime, I have many tomatoes ripening which need to be dealt with. And, unbelievably, one of our peach trees, the one with probably two bushels of peaches on it, is actually ripening. Which means that they will need to be dealt with. Have a mentioned the apples which are also ripening?

All this to say, there will be no post today. There may be no post tomorrow. I'm not even making promises about Friday. We'll see. In the meantime, I have a new article published if you desperately need to read content. Feel free to click and share. (And for what it's worth, I hate the title, and I didn't write it.)

Why a False Adoption Quotation Made Me Write This Article

The saga of homeschool yearly planning

I've been deep into planning for the upcoming school year. Yesterday I probably spent nearly ten hours working. (I'm a wee bit compulsive that way, when I have a project.) While I don't exactly see a light at the end of the tunnel, I think there is at least a very faint glow. Believe it or not, this is actually the fastest I've ever done this. Usually it takes at least two, if not three weeks of me huddled behind piles of books.

I'm not really complaining, mind you. I actually really enjoy the planning and research once I get going. Finding resources, flipping through books, figuring out the puzzle of how everything will fit together is not really a hardship since I think it's fun. I sometimes joke to J. that it's too bad someone doesn't pay me to do this as I would happily just create unit studies.

What are we doing this year? Well, last year, when we began our around the world trip, I was a little ambitious and planned to visit over 20 countries, spen…

Micro skills

I've found this come up a couple of times recently, so I thought I would write about it. Now, the term 'micro skills' is totally my invention, but I think it's a pretty useful idea. Let me explain.

In teaching my children who arrived in our family with less than wonderful experiences, we've done our share of catching up. I know I've written a lot about how important it is to allow a child to go back and experience things that they might have missed. Without this important base, learning becomes significantly more difficult. I've discovered that there is a little more to it than just handing your child the same toys your infants and toddlers enjoyed, and thinking all will be well.

There is a huge difference between how a child who has always known love and stability in an enriched environment learns, and how a child with a hard and impoverished background learns. Merely supplying the toys, time, and experiences is not enough. Our emotionally healthy children…

Stadium Service

One of the hardest pieces of moving from our long time home in Evanston out to where we are now, was knowing we would have to leave our church. The church that J. grew up in, the church we were married in, our children were baptized in, and the church where J. said good-bye to both his parents. It was my first church home in college and the place where I saw my faith grow in significant ways. The people in that church are dear to us, and supported us in myriad ways as our family grew. I have heard of the stories that people share of having special needs children who were not welcomed in their churches, but that is not something we ever experienced. Our church opened their arms to our unique children and welcomed them and loved them. It was hard to say good-bye.

Thirteen months ago, we started attending a church we found here. It was very (VERY) different from our Evanston church, but we liked the preaching, the people we met were genuine, and the church's attitudes towards people …

Jars and jars

Because I spent the day doing this...

(That's four pints of pickles cherry tomatoes for future salad dressing, 3 1/2 quarts of bread and butter pickles, and 2 1/2 pints of sweet and hot pickle relish.)
You get no real post, but just a couple of pictures.

Earlier today I came across D. giving G. and L. a piggyback ride. It was a pretty impressive feat.

This is Y. looking at M.'s new giant fish tank. M. got a good deal on it, and being someone who collects tanks like other people collect shoes, brought it home. There are now quite a few fun fish and snails living in it, and Y. is pretty fascinated.

And I'll end by sharing the announcement that L. made a few minutes ago. It seems that she, G., K., and Y. are going to put on a musical, to be performed next Saturday. And eaves dropping on their conversation as they worked on the casting for said production, it is to be a musical of the Lord of the Rings.

Friday bullets, Aug. 24, 18

Phew! It's been a day, but I'm squeaking in with the weekly round-up.

One picture from our vacation that didn't make it into the video (which I know you still haven't seen) amuses me greatly.
The restaurant where we ate lunch cooks whole turkeys on site. Their rotisserie has a glass window which can be viewed from the waiting area. This fascinated some of the younger group. Who needs television? We could just put in a turkey rotisserie. We brought home a whole bushel of Red Haven peaches from Michigan. They were pretty unripe when we bought them on Tuesday, but by Thursday they were perfectly ripe and delicious. So ripe and delicious that I knew if I didn't do something with them nearly instantly, they would explode and drip juice everywhere. (I've dealt with over ripe exploding, dripping peaches before, and I really feel as though I don't ever need to do that again.) To avoid the exploding peach scenario, I spent the morning getting them safely processed. Th…

Leaky trailer

TM has created a pretty wonderful slide show, complete with music, with our vacation photos. I can't wait to share it with you... which I'll do as soon as we can get to someplace with wi-fi so we can upload the thing to Blogger. Our spotty internet hot spots do the trick for regular internet use, but they are not much good for uploading large files. As soon we can get it figured out, I'll share it. In the meantime...

M. has been dutifully working on the trailer in our back yard for the past month now. Things are pretty much gutted, and some new insulation and windows and framing have begun to go in. Except for one corner. That corner leaks, and despite all attempts, is still leaking a little bit in the rain. Just when M. thought everything was sealed and good to go, so the actual construction could start, another small leak appeared. It is very, very frustrating!

I've been thinking about this, and M.'s leaky trailer reminds me a lot of R. these days. We have seen …

Homeschooling a newly adopted older child

Someone had posted a question on one of the adoption-homeschooling groups I'm in, asking about how to integrate a new, older child into a homeschool routine, especially if there were already children who were not yet independent learners in the home. Now, I have a little bit of experience with this. I was going to just answer on the post, but decided that a. it was going to be really long, far to long for a mere comment, and b. there might be other people out there who were interested in my answer. So, for those of you who don't homeschool or don't have newly home older adopted children, you can either read along because you're curious, or come back tomorrow, because by then, maybe I will have sorted through the vacation pictures.

The trick to this particular scenario is that there are suddenly so many children who need your help and attention all at the same time. I have never felt so stretched as when I was trying to teach a new child(ren) plus all the other children…

Thankful for turtles and stories

We've had a lovely vacation, and are getting packed up to head home today. I thought, while you wait for us to return, I would share a story with you.

Yesterday, we had a leisurely morning followed by a visit to our favorite children's museum up here. We then went for lunch, and as a treat J.'s aunt rented canoes for us to spend some time paddling on a local lake. It was a gorgeous lake, a beautiful day, and there were lots and lots of fun little hidden coves and islands to explore which you could only reach by boat. How fun does that sound? Everyone was very excited. Everyone was very excited, that is, until L. caught a glimpse of the canoes we were going to be using, and started getting very quiet. (There was nothing unusual about these canoes; they were just your usual fiberglass canoes. I think she hadn't ever seen one up close.) Everyone was in their canoes, with two boats out on the lake already. I thought that L. was feeling upset that Y. was going to get to pad…

Dog name poll

We are having a lovely time at the lake. Perfect weather, surprisingly warm water for Lake Michigan, and lots of fun family times. It would be just about the perfect family vacation, except we are missing A., and it just isn't the same without her. Boooo! I'll have lots of pictures to share with everyone when we return. But, in the meantime, I have a little poll for you. TM is working on naming his new puppy, and has it down to between two names. He really likes each of them, and can't really decide which is his favorite. He asked me to ask my blog readers for their opinion. First, here is a picture of the puppy.

She is the puppy on the left. Cute, huh?
Here are your choices: Do you like Aster or Ivy better? Please comment with your answer. 
And now, I need to head back down to the beach.

Friday bullets, Aug. 17, 18

This probably won't be long, as we are getting reading to head out of town to go to Michigan. (Only some of us are going, others are staying home, working, and taking care of the animals.) I'll begin since time is short.

The garden is still doing well, though the cucumbers and zucchini are nearing their ends. I have mixed feelings about that. I could certainly can more pickles, as my children would eat their weight in them if I let them, but I'm okay with not canning too many more pickles. Zucchini on the other hand, never did produce as much as I had hoped. On top of having them to eat fresh, I had wanted to shred and freeze a bunch of zucchini as well. I'm not sure that will happen. Plus, yesterday, we discovered a new treat: dehydrated zucchini chips made in the dehydrator. These are amazing! I will probably blog about them next week, but it does confirm that we could have used a lot more zucchini.But maybe these will make up for it. My odd, giant squash are supposed…


This is what the play loft has looked like for the past few days.

The mailboxes are in case any mail comes for them while they are camping.
It really does take up much of the loft.
It's hard to tell, but this is a giant fort (or tent... they go back and forth in what they call it), that the younger half built. It is quite extensive on the inside. G. offered to take my phone and take pictures, thus saving me from crawling around inside it.

I think this has some purpose, but I don't know what.

The pictures are mainly of the various sleeping areas they created. Having done this, they then asked if they could all sleep in it night before last. We said yes, and they happily snuggled down.

This was not the first time they had snuggled down in their beds, though. Most of yesterday and the day before consisted of living in their tent. They would wake up, fix food over their block campfire, sing Home on the Range accompanied by L. on the her toy guitar, and go back to bed. Over and ove…

Children are expensive

Every so often, in a discussion over family size, I will hear or read the comment, "Children are so expensive!" This is often given as a reason that people don't have more children than they do. Now, off the bat, I truly do not care how many children you have. Your business, and I certainly have enough to do over here, to spend any of my time worrying about someone else's business.

I don't write about large families in order to try to convince reluctant people into having more children than they feel they should have. Instead, I write about large families because they are uncommon, and not everyone has experience with families who have more than 2 or 3 children. I write about large families to try to dispel the myths about raising many children that come from ignorance. I write about large families because personally, I think they are pretty great, and like to share our own personal joy.

The cost of children certainly falls into the second category; the one about…


Want to see what I got yesterday?

I started yesterday as a volunteer for a local therapeutic riding program. It's something I've always been interested in, and this is the first time that I have had the time, and a place close enough to do anything with it.

Even though I was just shadowing the real volunteers, it was fascinating. I really loved every minute of it. What's better than something that combines several of my personal passions? Eventually, I would love to be able to enroll in a program to become a certified equine therapist. There is one local to us, but they are unsure when the next cohort will begin. In the meantime, I'll wait and volunteer, and learn what I can that way.

I've been thinking about this a lot. My youngests are now nine, and though we have nine more years until they finish high school, it is easy to see the writing on the wall, that at some point most of the children will all be mostly grown and responsible for themselves. I'm not act…


Look at my gourd plant!

We have this dead tree over by the garden, and when I bought the seeds, I envisioned the plants taking over, and covering, the tree. I love it when a plan works!

This variety is an edible gourd call Serpente di Sicilia, or serpent of Sicily. Do you see the long gourds growing and hanging down?

I'm pretty sure these vegetables are growing inches a day. Earlier this week, they weren't nearly so long. According to the seed packet, you can eat these gourds and use them as if they were zucchini. We'll see. Even if it turns out they are less than zucchini-like than we hoped, they are still pretty cool to watch grow!

Because everyone can use a puppy picture

Here is the puppy that TM chose out of the litter. Isn't she a sweetheart? She is three weeks old, and her name is yet to be decided. She will probably be coming home the second week of September.

Friday bullets, Aug. 10, 18

We are heading towards fall far too quickly for my taste. I still have summer things I want to get done, and then there is that pesky school planning that needs to happen, but the tomatoes, all 3000 of them, are going to ripen at the same time... Gah! Where is the pause button?

I never showed you this.
This is a tea cake, and I am so excited to have it. A good friend saw that I had read The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, and gave it to me so I could see what a tea cake was, since they are so pivotal to the story. Cool, huh? Here is what it looks like on the inside.

I was instructed to break off a little bit of it, and steep it as you would loose tea. I haven't tried it, yet, but will soon. I kind of just like looking at it for the moment. You know you have to subjected to at least one chicken story in these weekly round-ups. We had a chicken who almost had her name changed to Houdini. Her real name is Ramona. She is one of the hens who has an actual name, as we can tell her apart fro…

National Book Lovers Day

National Book Lovers Day is evidently, according to the internet, August 9, which makes it today. At least for the next three hours, so I can sneak in with this post. In honor of the occasion, I thought I would share what I'm currently reading. What this will say about me is probably far more interesting than the actual titles.

I've gathered together all the books I am in the middle of, and there are six books in front of me. This is not unusual. This stack usually is comprised of one book of fiction that I'm reading for fun, several non-fiction books of various topics which I read based on current whim, and one book I am reading out loud to the masses at tea time. I never read more than one fiction book at once, and rarely am I reading just one non-fiction book at once.

Here are what currently are sporting book marks:

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan - This is my current fiction book, and is a total beach read. Light, fluffy, amusing, a little unbelievable, and completely d…