"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Awesome Cows

We have cows out in front of our house again (there weren't any in that pasture for awhile, but they're back now).  The two year old saw them this morning and got very excited.  He told me "Those are awesome cows out there.  They're having their dinner."  :)  And yes, that's snow you see out there.  We have several inches this morning and may get more.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Killing Time at the Library

The nine year old, two year old and I spent a little time at the library today, waiting for the four year old to be done with preschool.  The boys found a perfect "sit-on rock" as I used to call them when I was little.

 One of our favorite things to do there is to play chess.

He's getting better, but it was kind of a massacre today.  Too many distractions kept him from paying close attention and he ended up losing most of his good pieces.  He did make a pretty good attempt at a come-back, and even managed to capture my queen.  He's improving :)

The library now has two chess boards - one right next to the other, so the two year old practiced his skills too.  His skills include adding extra pieces to our board when we're not looking.  At one point I looked up and had four bishops.  We finished the game and picked up all the pieces and there was one black pawn missing.  We searched forever before learning that the piece had been missing for three days :/

 These fun chairs are in the young adult room.  They have video games in there which I think should be outlawed in a library.  How on earth are the kids supposed to learn to love to READ if they go to the library and play video games.  We have the same issue in the children's section, where the kids can play computer games.  Grrrr.  Don't get me started.


 Let me start by saying we don't do Halloween... at all.  However, the nine year old had a 4H club meeting tonight and one of the activities was a pumpkin decorating contest.

We decided to let him do that part, as long as he didn't focus on the Halloween aspect of it.

What we weren't counting on though was the four year old.  Monkey see, monkey do.  He wanted to carve a pumpkin too.

What he ended up with was a bunch of little stab marks in my pie pumpkin.  I hadn't bought one for him to carve, so I had to allow him to play with the one I intended to cook.

The nine year old chose a football theme - Wyoming Cowboys to be exact.

He even inserted a foam football.

It was a pretty cool design and the horse and rider were done really well.  He didn't win - it was an informal contest and there were a lot of good pumpkins.  My personal favorite was a cowboy - standing up on baby size cowboy boots, with a cowboy hat and a bandana like a robber would wear.  Too cute.  I didn't think to take a picture of it though.

After all the little stab marks, the four year old wanted a face.  So much for not focusing on Halloween.  I cut a happy face for him.  This morning he asked me if I cooked his pumpkin yet.  I'm thinking I'll just skip that on this poor pumpkin.
I'm just glad this little guy is finally feeling somewhat better.  He's been terribly sick for a couple weeks and had a fever and slept most of last week.  We finally figured out what was wrong and got him on antibiotics and he's doing better, but he's still not back to normal.  He returned to preschool this week after missing all of last week.  He only goes for three hours, four days a week.  They said he did well at first but then didn't seem to feel well. I'm pretty sure he was just super-tired.  He nearly fell asleep on the way home, and then slept most of the evening in the living room chair.  He also didn't eat any dinner because he was too tired.  I hope the antibiotic does it's job.  (Oh and if you're wondering, these glasses were from the dollar store - they originally had slinky springs so that the eyeball pieces fell forward.)

Making a Leaf Man

 Friday we took advantage of the beautiful weather we've been having, and helped Bugga build a leaf man.

We had to rake up enough leaves to fill the man, and the boys thought it was a lot of fun to play in them.

Before we started making our man, we made a quick trip to the thrift store to buy supplies - pants, shirt, scarf, hat, etc.  Papa bought each of the boys a little toy.  The four year old picked these binoculars, which he insisted on looking through backwards.  But he sure does love them.

It took a surprising number of leaves to get our leaf man stuffed.
Even the two year old had to help put the leaves in. :)
 Here comes the head....

Each year Bugga builds one of these leaf men and attaches him to the ladder that stays outside their house for cleaning the chimney.  It fools a lot of people into thinking it's a real person.

I think it's pretty realistic from afar.

Our nine year old artist decided leaf man needed a face, so he created one and attached it with clear tape.

 Here they are together :)

 Of course there had to be lots of jumping in piles and throwing leaves.

We even buried the nine year old.

Later the four year old thought that was a fun idea and had the two year old bury him.  (This was pretty surprising, since things like this normally freak him out.)

The two year old has been obsessed lately with Bugga's plastic deer.  This yard ornament usually sits inside next to Bugga's tv, but lately the two year old has been packing him around constantly.  I guess he decided it needed to be outside in the leaves.  It was pretty cute.

After we had stuffed the leaf man, we raked up the extra leaves in Bugga's yard, had some little helpers compact them, then put them into the larger trash can.

We had a really fun day.

Friday, October 25, 2013

It Fits! (Barely)

 Yesterday I spent all day working on the garage - cleaning, sorting, organizing and so on, in the hopes that our gigantic Ford Excursion would fit inside.  Since our move here a month ago, the garage has been a disaster.  All the extra boxes and things got thrown in here so we could just be done.  But, it seems that we live in the center of the jet stream out here. At least that's what it feels like.  It only bothers us where our driveway is.  We have hardly any windows on the windy side and are pretty sheltered.  But getting the boys loaded and unloaded to go somewhere can nearly freeze a person... and it's not even winter yet.

 So I spent the day trying to make room so I could load and unload them inside.  Well, you see how much room we have...  There is about a foot of space to walk around on only one end.  I think I'm going to have to move that bookshelf so we'll at least be able to open the back doors.  The shelf is there because it's too tall for the basement where most of the other shelves are.  And our living room floor is very open and the walls we do have are bordered with baseboard heaters.

 Anyway, back to the garage.  You can see how we barely fit. I was originally worried about the height of the garage door ... it didn't occur to me to worry about the depth.

We have a double garage, but the owners don't want us parking on the other side due to an underground storage room, so that's just work space and storage.

Anyway, I was thrilled to get that project done, and to get the truck inside.  I do have to watch the mirrors or fold them in.  They barely fit too.  I only have a couple inches to spare.

So the garage project is what I did Thursday.  Friday was another beautiful day - unseasonably warm in the 60's!  So I took the opportunity to wash the outside windows.  I still need to do the insides, but I figured I better do the outsides while it wasn't freezing outside.

See the thermometer? :)  I also rearranged the furniture on the deck.

The picnic table used to be where the chairs are now, and we could barely get past it to walk across the deck.

Now there's a nice seating area.  I plan to move the footstool between the chairs closer to the house when we're not sitting out there so we can get through it easier.
 After all that work, I had to sit and enjoy the view ... and read a bit on my Nook (which is very unusual for me because I MUCH prefer real, physical books.

And this is the view from my seat :)  Can't beat that (albeit, this was taken with the camera zoomed in).

It was nice enough that the two year old decided he wanted to eat outside. By the time we ate, it was nearly 1 pm, and the deck was in the shadows by then, so it was a little chilly.  That will be a bonus in the summer, but these days we need to use the deck in the mornings while the sun shines.

 Do you like my new easel?  Found this at the thrift store for a couple of bucks.  See the shoes?

They're attached to feet.  I guess this is what the two year old's idea for this new contraption is.  I'm gonna have to get that boy some chalk...

He had a fun day and was a total mess by the end of it.  I'll do a separate post to show the fun we had with Bugga's leaves.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Homeschooling is a Scream ... Sometimes Literally

I've been homeschooling my kids for 16 years. We started when my oldest (who is almost 23) was going into 1st grade.  I LOVE homeschooling.  Sometimes, people will ask what curriculum I use, or say, "What do you DO all day?"  I'm pretty sure they don't envision this...

Here's a confession for you.  I don't really USE a curriculum.  Not a formal one anyway.  I mostly go with the flow.  I use a lot of different pieces of a lot of different curricula but I don't follow just one set plan.  I've tried. It drives me nuts.  But back to the subject at hand.  Today, we found an especially large spider.  So we decided to catch it.  Seriously.  The one in the picture wasn't the big one.  The big one was the first one we caught, and easily twice as big as this one.  After we had studied the big one, identified it in the spider identification book, and released it ("WHAT?? YOU LET IT GO??? WHY DIDN'T YOU KILL IT!" - that was my response after he let it go)... anyway, after all that, we realized we should have sketched it.  So the nine year old decided to catch another one.  (Did I mention he found both of these INSIDE the house within an hour??? Ugh.  We won't even discuss the enormous mouse we saw yesterday.)
So this evening I was working on a lot of household chores and when I came into the kitchen, my son hurriedly covered his notebook and said, don't look.  When he had finished what he was working on, he surprised me with this picture, which is really quite accurate in the coloring, etc. (By the way, this is a big sketchbook - slightly larger than a normal sheet of notebook paper).  I complimented him on how detailed the drawing was (see the joints in the legs?) and he informed me that my phone takes great pictures and that you can zoom in really far.  ACK!  I checked my phone and I have TWENTY ONE pictures of this spider.  He then informed me that the spider is weak from having lived in the glass container all afternoon, so he was able to leave the lid off for 45 minutes while he observed and drew him.  I'm glad I was busy folding laundry during that time.

 Sooo, now you know what we do in homeschool ... at least part of the time. ;)  I am blessed to have identification books for most types of animals we might come across out here - bugs, birds, spiders, etc.  So Dad, moving all those books was not in vain :)  I do have to admit that I shiver when I flip through this one, and try especially hard not to let my fingers touch any of the illustrations. :)

 So now you've seen the creepy side of homeschooling.  Most days are more like this.  The four year old is working on learning his letters.  His therapists (for his autism) are doing a lot with puzzles, so when I found this one at our thrift store, I snagged it.  His two year old brother likes it too.

The piece he is holding here is a pilot in a biplane, so naturally, he is flying into place :)

All of the animals got a hug before going into their spots.  In fact, anything with eyeballs got a hug.

They also got ice cream.

...and cake.

I am so thankful for our amazing thrift store.  It is connected with the Food Basket - so everything sold there goes toward buying groceries and feeding local people in need.  It's a great cause, and people are very generous to donate stuff constantly.  Their large warehouse is always overflowing with things to sell.  Because of that, they practically give things away.  I paid 25 cents for this puzzle!  I bought a whole stack of puzzles and other goodies.  Usually when they tell people a total, people will tell them to keep the change, or give them more than they ask for.  We have some very generous people in town.  I really do get some amazing deals there.  The other day I bought the four year old a pair of Wrangler jeans and a pair of Carhartt jeans for 50 cents each.  They are like new.

Here's another of the puzzles.  We've kind of gotten into the habit of doing a puzzle each morning.  The four year old is usually up before his brothers, and the morning after I bought these I thought it would be a good way to keep him quiet while the brothers were still sleeping.  He's a creature of habit and loves routine, so the next morning, he announced, "It's time for my puzzle!" (LOL the two year old is a creature of habit too. He gets to the top of the stairs and announces, "I need some cereal!") This is the kind of learning I really enjoy.  We have lots of fun hands-on activities, and do tons of reading and discussing. What a privilege and joy it is to get to invest my life in theirs and be with them every day.

We're not just homebodies either.  In fact lately we've been doing too much running.  Our nine year old just finished his football season, he's still in swimming lessons twice a week, and now 4H is starting up again.  Before long it will be time for skiing.  He's not sure whether he wants to join the race team or not this year, but last I heard he's back to being interested in it.  (I think he figured out it will be boring to ski alone, since all his friends will be practicing with the team).  We also have a great local homeschool group which goes on field trips and organizes classes together at times (like the writing class we have here at our house).  It's a lot of fun, and worth every spider-filled minute.  Oh and in the interest of full disclosure, there was a bit of screaming involved (and not just by me) when the large spider decided to run instead of sitting still while we were trying to trap him. ;)