Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monday Musings (On Tuesday)

What I'm thinking: That we had a great, but busy time at the fair this last week. I added up the time we spent there and it was 45+ hours. I think we really wore the kids out, because they are still in bed as I write this. And I am thinking about the massive mound of laundry I need to take care of.....I haven't done laundry in a week.

What I'm reading: I haven't had any time to read anything except the Rabbit Standard with my kids....I'm hoping to start back up with some serious reading time this week.

What I'm listening to: Silence. Which is so lovely right now. My ears have been bombarded with the crazy animal sounds in the barn, to screams on the rides and the loud music on the stages.

What we're learning: We will get back into school later this week but are taking a nice break the next couple of days.

What I'm watching: My garden grow. I barely recognized it when I checked it yesterday. But I do hope it is not getting confused with the mild weather we have been having.

What's cooking: Later this week I am making Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Wraps. I am also planning to make Baked Sweet Potato Chips to go with it.

What I'm buying: I have to run out today for bread, some fruit and milk. And I think that is all.

What I'm thankful for: That no one got lost or hurt at the fair. I am also thankful for the life lessons my children learned; like losing graciously, and being assertive when they needed to be.

What I'm creating: A clean house. We were really only here at night and on two afternoons the last 5 days so the house is not messy, but the weekly cleaning things need to be done.

What I'm praying: For my friend who has cancer and has been in the hospital this week. I am praying for peace and comfort for her and for her family.

What I'm planning: To have a nice quiet week. We actually have absolutely nothing planned, which is perfect.

What we did this last weekend: In one word: Fair. I am planning to blog about it and share photos soon.

What I'm looking forward to: We have a couple of fun things planned in June, (I can't believe it will be June tomorrow!) and we will get back into the full swing of school next week.

A picture to share:

~The Winners

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Our Co-op Year

I am so grateful to have been in our co-op, Matres Magistras this year. Matres Magistras, or MM, means Mother-Teacher in Latin, which is exactly what we are. We had 4 families participate this year, with a fifth family joining us on the 4th week of every month.

We continued with the same kind of schedule we had last year and would begin each co-op meeting with Prayer and Circle Time. Each mom took one component and taught through the year.

Mrs. JP taught the memorization portion and we learned Psalm 51, a Thanksgiving poem and the Nicene Creed through the year.

Mrs. D taught again on composers. We studied Beethoven, Vivaldi and Chopin and listened to pieces they had written and learned more about their lives.

Mrs. DP  led us in weekly nature studies. We learned about the Grizzle Bear, California Poppy, Dandelions, the Grey Whale and much more. Here the children are watching a short video about pine cones.

Mrs. K did an artist study each month and we learned more about Wyeth, Durer, and Ayres.

And I taught a weekly hymn study, going through "Eternal Father Strong to Save", "O For A Thousand", "The Lord's My Shepherd" and "When I Survey".

Every month that we had our art history class we would also do an art project. Here some of the girlies are working outside.

This month we had made watercolor butterflies out of coffee filters.

The second part of our co-op time was focused on California history. We split the co-op into two groups, the olders and the youngers, and worked our way through history with each mom taking a turn teaching each of the groups. We started with the Indians and went through Spanish exploration, missions, Gold Rush, Unionization and modern times.

Here the olders are taking notes and learning more about the missions with Mrs. D.

And Mrs JP is helping the younger ones read and draw pictures about missions.

We also did crafts to go along with our history lesson. Here is Dasher, making her adobe house.

The finished masterpiece.

 To supplement our learning, we did go on some field trips. At the beginning of the year, we visited an Indian village and went on a tour.

And no year of California history study would be complete without a visit to Sutter's Mill. We chose to go during living history days which made the experience really fun.

Later in the year we visited a fish hatchery, and got to feed the trout.

This month we went to the zoo, and enjoyed seeing the amazing animals God has created.

And then this last week, we had our end of the year BBQ.

Here are the students...

and the Teachers.

There was a time when I thought I could do it all myself; that I was the best teacher for my children. Well I still think I know my children the best, and should do most of the teaching decisions and their instruction. But God has given us many different talents and gifts, and has brought wonderful homeschooling families into our lives. And through the last couple years in this co-op I and my children have been very blessed to teach and be taught by these wonderful ladies. Thank you all for a wonderful year and may God have all the glory. Onto our 2011-2012 MM year!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: Fair week is upon us! I have 2 days of quiet now...we are not doing school and are going to do some extra housework and prepare for the crazy days....then we have 6 days of waking up early, a couple of late nights, fun food, and good times with friends and family.

What I'm reading: I am going to share another favorite book...I won't have any reading time this week. Around the World in 80 Days is one of my favorites by Jules Verne. He is such an interesting writer and Phileas Fogg is the perfect character to travel around the world.

What I'm listening to: Bacon frying in the kitchen. To be more specific, Chalupa or Carnitas is frying in the kitchen. Since we aren't doing school this morning I let Mr. Lego make bacon, eggs and toast for us all.

What we're learning: We are not doing any formal learning this week, but that doesn't mean we stop! This afternoon the children are going to work on their showmanship routine and tomorrow they are reviewing the rabbit manual for rabbit bowl at the fair. And I am sure we will learn lots as we walk around the exhibits and see the animals at the fair.

What I'm watching: My garden growing. Literally. It seems like every time I walk out there things are getting bigger and taller. I have little green and yellow zucchinis, blossoms on my tomatoes and we will be picking some strawberries later this week.

What's cooking: Tonight I am making an easy Chicken Stir Fry. I'll probably put broccoli, snow peas, carrots and any other vegetables I can find in the fridge in it.

What I'm buying: I can't think of anything I am buying this week....except the kids' ride wristbands. I am thankful our county fair is not too expensive.

What I'm thankful for: I am thankful for my children. They make me laugh almost every day and bring such joy into my life. They are not perfect and neither am I, but I am so thankful God has blessed me with them.

What I'm creating: Bags of snacks and lunch ideas for the fair. I am so thankful we can bring food into the fairgrounds and am planning lunches and fun snacks to bring. And even my treats are going to be better than those fried chocolate bars.

What I'm praying: That as I go through my boring, normal day I would do all to God's glory. And remember to rejoice in all things.

What I'm planning: I have some things in mind to work on the following week, maybe breaking out my grain mill and playing with some bread recipes, and changing the header on my blog.

What we did this last weekend: On Saturday Mr. Lego and Bookworm turned in their exhibits for fair. They also participated in interactive judging and got some insight into the projects they made. Sunday we heard a convicting sermon on Ecclesiastes 11 and then went over to our friends house for our end of the year co-op party.

What I'm looking forward to: Even though this week will be busy, I am looking forward to it. If you live near me and will be at the fair, let me know and we can meet up.

A picture to share:

~We had Grilled Chicken Tapenade Sandwiches with vegetable kabobs on Saturday. I experimented with a couple of the kabobs by using rosemary sprigs from our garden. Even though I soaked them in water for a while, the ends still caught on fire, but the veggies were infused with delicious rosemary.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our 2011 County Fair Exhibits

Fair is right around the corner. I am figuring out how to mat my photos, Mr. Lego is putting the finishing touches on his craft exhibit and all of the children are studying up on their rabbit knowledge and practicing for showmanship. It is going to be a crazy, fun-filled 5 days.

I thought you might want to see what we are entering:

This is the first photo I am entering....

...here is the second.

They will be matted and are also for sale as part of the photography sale at the fair.

Here is Mr. Lego's Clipper Ship, made out of corks that have been collected for many years.

Bookworm crocheted this afghan....

...and here is Dasher's rabbit.

We are actually entering all 7 of our rabbits this year.

Of course Nutsy will be with us; watching the competitions, eating fried zucchini and going on fair rides.

We'll be at the fair most of the time that the gates are open; if you are in the area and are planning to go, let me know and we can meet up with you!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Musing

What I'm thinking: A small miracle happened last week. I gave my broken camera to Mr. Lego's friend and low and behold he got it working again! (He wasn't exactly sure what he did.) I took it in that day to the camera store and they said it could work short term but was definitely dying. So I have been carefully choosing moments to photograph. I also bought a used older Nikon from my cousin to hold me over while I save up for a new one. God is good!

What I'm reading: I didn't really have any spare reading time last week and I can almost guarantee I won't have any for the next two weeks. So I'll share a favorite book instead of telling you what I'm reading....Wilderness Family by Kobie Kruger. This is a good book written by the wife of a game warden in South Africa. They lived out in the bush and got visits from spitting cobras, meerkats and a baby lion. Very well written.

What I'm listening to: My friend posted a song on Facebook - One Republic - and now I am listening to our You Tube playlist and Marchin' On is playing. I am thinking about doing Mog online....feedback anyone?

What we're learning: We are moving onto Catechism question #45 in school this week, and in history we are studying the Inca's, Ottoman's and Constantinople, and Gutenberg and the printing press. The children are also reviewing their 4-H presentations and studying the rabbit manuals in preparation for showmanship and rabbit bowl.

What I'm watching: My Sweetie and I rented The King's Speech over the weekend. I really like that movie.

What's cooking: Tonight I am making a friend's recipe; Chicken Broccoli Pasta - a very easy recipe because we are going to be out a lot today.

What I'm buying: Today is my monthly shopping. We are doing schoolwork this morning, then heading out to Winco, Trader Joes, Target and Costco. I also need to get a matte for my photos for fair. Oh, and Dasher still needs a white skirt for her uniform....

What I'm thankful for: A dear young lady at our church is offering a sewing class to girls this summer. Bookworm loves to create things with her knitting needle and crochet hook, so this would be perfect for her. I am very thankful for friends who share their talents.

What I'm creating: I am not working on anything particular this week...this is our busy season right now. But I have some ideas for next month.

What I'm praying: That I would remember how faithfully God forgives my sins and that I would be honest in admitting them to Him. And that I would be encouraged that knowing his forgiveness is what brings me true joy and happiness.

What I'm planning: Friday and Saturday are the day that our non-animal exhibits are due at the fair. So I am making sure we are all ready.

What we did this last weekend: We had a nice relaxing Saturday. We went for a bike ride with all six of us on bikes. Yup, Nutsy was on her own 2 wheeler. So I think we might be retiring the bike trailer. Then Sunday we listened to a sermon on Psalm 32 and had friends over after church. Then back for our monthly evening service.

What I'm looking forward to: Getting everything done I want to get done this week! School, fair stuff, shopping trips, house cleaning, laundry....

A picture to share:

~These two can be so annoyed with each other one minute, and then be the best of friends the next. Obviously, this was a friendship moment.

Friday, May 13, 2011

This Week At Our House

 Well, we are still working on our exhibits for fair so I will write that post next week. But meanwhile, enjoy some photos I took of this last week or so.

Mr. Lego reading to two girlies.

Nutsy, having a jello treat out of the same jello pan my momma used to make me jello squares in.

Warning: Do not play cards with Mr. Lego. He might have this one up his sleeve.

This is Bookworm's photo that she included in her buyer letter for the fair auction. Meet Uno, our meat rabbit.

Last week we went on a field trip to a nearby fish hatchery to see the trout and baby salmon. This was a really big fish they had there....

Then my sweet children made me two Mother's day cakes at the store.

Finally we hit the library....I am trying to only go there every two weeks, but then we will have a book due that is on hold for someone and we have to return it...oh well. Here is Dasher checking her books out.

Have a good weekend, everybody!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Town's Tales

 Yesterday we studied Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. We read a little about him and some selected, appropriate sections from the book. In his book, he wrote about 29 different people in Canterbury at the end of the 14th century, and what they did in the town. This work turned out to be a good insight into life in the Middle Ages.

So for their history assignment, the older children picked 5 different people you would find in a town, then wrote their own rhyming tale about them.

Here is Bookworm's assignment:

The Town's Tales

I walk over the hills
To a town not nearby
And I see friendly people
Who stop and wave hi.

Pastor's preach solemnly
They preach without the laughin'
Pastor's preach God's Word
And they don't preach in Latin.

A Postman throws letters
To house to house,
All day walking
With only a little mouse.

A Banker works at the bank
He records the money in a notebook,
He locks up for the day
In case someone should decide to take a look.

A grocery store worker works at a store
He sells meat,
Vegetables, fruit; any food even maybe
Some pigs feet.

A strict librarian is in the library,
She doesn't let you talk
Says she, "You can read the book,
But please, tiptoe when you walk."

All together, they make up a town,
But there has to be people
To do and buy the things,
All strong and feeble.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: Fair is on my mind and will be for the next couple weeks. Last week was busy putting together a buyer letter for the auction and getting business addresses, and this week we will be distributing them by mail and by hand. I also need to get my two entries ready and matted; I am planning to blog about all we are entering later this week.

What I'm reading: There was no spare time last week...I find that when I am reading a meatier book like Age of Opportunity, I don't naturally pick up that book when I have a few minutes of down time. I need a good 20 minute chunk to read those books and I don't know if I will have that this week either.

What I'm listening to: Bookworm is reading aloud her literature book Little Men by Louisa May Alcott; there was a funny part and Mr. Lego wanted to hear it. The little girls are upstairs listening to Sir Bentley with Holbrook Court by Chuck Black on the CD player.

What we're learning: This week we are learning about The Canterbury Tales (very, very abridged), John Huss and Joan of Arc. I was surprised just now as I looked in our history book that we finish Mystery of History Volume 2 next week! Since we do school through July, I will assign historical fiction to read and essays until the end of our school year. This week in science we are learning about gastropods and worms. Fun.

What I'm watching: Last night we started watching Father of the Bride. And I was glad when we both got so tired we shut it off; someday I am going to be watching my Sweetie give away three daughters....

What's cooking: I am making Quesadilla Pie tomorrow night. I'll make Spanish rice and have sliced avocados and tortilla chips to go with it.

What I'm buying: I am still trying to find a white skirt for Dasher for the Fair; they have to wear their whites for most of the competitions.

What I'm thankful for: The material blessings that God gives us that bring me joy. We don't need or deserve them, but when I think of those less fortunate, we are very blessed indeed.

What I'm creating: I just made myself a lovely cup of Earl Grey tea, to go with my breakfast of peanut butter and jelly toast.

What I'm praying: I am praying this week for those that are elderly and can't get out to church; that the Lord would comfort them and minister to their hearts.

What I'm planning: We have our last formal co-op meeting this week, and I am going to be wrapping up our hymn study for the year. I'll talk a bit about When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, then I am planning to put together a fun quiz to test them on the 4 hymns we have learned this year.

What we did this last weekend: We went to a homeschooling booksale Saturday morning where we added about 30 more books to our library. Saturday afternoon/evening was fun: 2 couples came over for yummy appetizers and dinner, then we all headed to a Jesse Cook concert. Sunday we attended church, then on the spur of the moment went to our friends for a relaxing afternoon.

What I'm looking forward to: Tomorrow is our 4-H club meeting and it is also when they will hold elections for officers next year. Both Mr. Lego and Bookworm are planning to give campaign speeches. Then Wednesday is co-op!

A picture to share:

~Good times.

....And a video to share:


Oops.....I was trying to just take a picture.....


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

4-H Recap 2011

This year was another learning year in 4-H. (Aren't they all?) All three older children participated in 2 projects this year; Rabbits and Citizenship. Rabbits is self-explanatory but Citizenship....basically that project visited and toured historic sites in our area. You are a good citizen if you have visited them, I guess.

Here is the year in a nutshell...

We visited Sutter's Fort in the fall. We did a guided tour which was okay....a couple of years ago we went there when they were doing living history days and it was much better.

A month or so later we visited a nearby powerhouse. This particular one was not in use anymore so we could really see the big engine thingys up close. We really enjoyed this tour and would do it again.

Before Thanksgiving and Christmas our family helped out at the food bank, bagging up food and then passing it out to the needy.

This was an historic mansion on the tour list that we visited in the new year...very pretty inside and our guide let us go up onto the third floor where they were still renovating.

Around this time, Mr. Lego filled in as secretary for our club meeting. These are monthly meetings the children have to attend that are led by the officers in our club. All the children gave various project reports at these meetings throughout the year.

In the spring we visited our state's Capitol building. We enjoyed sitting in the House and Senate and seeing the governor's office door.

I didn't get any other photos from our rabbit project meetings this year except this one; at these meetings the children learn more about rabbit diseases, caring for rabbits, rabbit terms, and practicing their showmanship. Here, Mr. Lego is giving his presentation.

And finally, this last month we visited an opera house. The children got to sit in the balcony, go down below the stage, and see the costumes.

Checking out a dressing room....

I really like 4-H and encourage you to check a club out in your area. The speaking and leadership skills, plus the information they learn in the projects are a welcome addition to our homeschooling.

Our 4-H year still has some events coming; a couple more club meetings, of course the County Fair and State Fair too. Onward!