Monday, October 30, 2017

No.46: Five October Favorites

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Even though this type of praying with the Scriptures is an ancient practice, I am just discovering it!  This is one of the (many!) beautiful things about Catholicism - the faith is so rich and there is always something new to learn or discover.  Fr. Josh's explanation on Youtube was simple and inspiring.  As a beginner, I wanted a bit of direction (vs. just randomly opening the Bible to random passages) so I'm using this kindness scripture plan.  I write out the verse in my notebook and then follow the lectio divina steps.  I'm really enjoying it! 

This dip was totally an impulse buy at the grocery store.  I can only eat a teeny part of the pico and a lot of guacamole at one time, but it's SO good.  Mark, the two biggest boys and I finished an entire container in one sitting!

Like most people, we're feeling some financial strain in our house right now.  Nothing drastic, but enough that I was starting to feel anxious and overwhelmed.  And then I stumbled on Kallah's post, "A small miracle" and it was like God was talking through her right to me.  This part has stayed with me in the weeks since: "That’s the whole point of tithing, I think. It’s to give the Lord a chance to remind us that He is the one who gives and takes away; that everything we have is His anyway. It’s acknowledging that we do not control the outcomes of our lives no matter how great we are at planning for the future. It’s thanking Him for providing and an act of trust that He won’t stop."

I just signed up for a free Snackable Photo Course (delivered to your inbox) from Shlutz Photo School.  I'm only a few "Snacks" through, but I'm really enjoying them.  Someday I really want to invest in learning how to shoot in manual, but these tips are helpful for now.

My mom surprised me with a little birthday shopping spree - best surprise ever!  I got this sweater in two different colors (heather and taupe) and they are so warm and comfy.  And with Virginia finally realizing it's fall, I've finally gotten to wear them too!


I'd love to hear about five of your favorite things too!  Link up your post below!

Friday, October 27, 2017

No.45: Our Farmhouse Schoolhouse in Photos (Week 10)

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The weather finally felt like fall this week.  The brisk mornings had us all bundled up in quilts and blankets.  We've had a lot of hot cups of cocoa or coffee in our hands.  P wore fleece footie pajamas for the first time and we all died at the cuteness.  Nature walks around our property to see the leaves has become one of our favorite things to do.  Fall, I think we love you.   

Notes and highlights:


+ We started a new unit using a book called Grammar-Land by M.L. Nesbitt. (I found the audiobook version for free on LibriVox!) It's an old one from 1877, but still really interesting.  I love that the parts of speech are told within the context of a story - such a gentle way to introduce even my littlest ones to grammar.  This week, we learned about Mr. Noun, Little Article and Mr. Pronoun.


+ The little kids finished Columbus.  Their final project was to paint a big world map of Columbus' first voyage.  They worked so hard and I loved how it turned out!  J and his big imagination wanted to add a sea monster to the map, because, "Well, Mama, you never know, right?"  The boys also did a little oral presentation for their dad about all they had learned.  On to Pocahontas on Monday!


Sassafras Science took us to Australia this week.  We watched an episode of Bear Grylls' Man vs. Wild (the Kimberly, Australia episode from Season 1) which is always an adventure.  I watch more than half of that show behind my hands, but the boys really enjoy it.  Even Sophie seems to have a stronger stomach than I do, hah!  The kids also learned how to draw a koala.


+ We finished The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail as a read-aloud.  Reviews from the kids were mixed - some really liked it, some thought it was just so-so (cough cough...the older kids).  Next up: Nim's Island.  They all were really excited to hear that there was a movie to watch once we finish the book!
+After a few weeks off, we got back to our African Studies cooking with Sudanese flatbread.  The texture is sort-of like a thick tortilla or a pancake, but was strangely addicting.  We ate them with chicken thighs for dinner.  

Current 1000 Books Project Total: 55/1000
Poetry Teatime Treat: Cheddar, Chive & Ham Biscuits (we went savory this time!)


+ Health: Running, running, running!
+ Reading: North Haven, Anne of Avonlea and The Long Loneliness

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

No.44: What We're Reading in October

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”  - Oscar Wilde

M (age 10)
D (age 9)
J (age 6)
"I just love all of the Piggie and Elephant books, Mama.  How can I choose?"
SOPHIE (age 5)
TJ (age 3)

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Monday, October 23, 2017

No.43: 20 Things I Love - A Gratitude Journal vol.4

leaves of all shapes, colors and sizes scattered all over the driveway
biting into a crisp apple
a few simple decorations on the dining room table
discovering that everyone still fits in their winter coats from last year (!!)
fleece pajamas on the littlest ones
a row of colorful birthday cards lining our kitchen windowsill
treats from the local bakery, especially the "cinnamon roll" cupcake with cream cheese frosting - amazing!
running in old race shirts and Athleta capris
putting Sophie's hair in two braids at her request
hearty stews and chili in the slow cooker
the kids wrapped up in blankets and quilts first thing in the morning
watching the trees on our property "rain" leaves on windy days
the excitement of a friend's new baby, arriving soon
pulling out my slippers and remembering the miles I must have walked last year, pacing with a newborn
watching that same baby standing comfortably on his own and so close to walking - bittersweet!
warm cookies straight from the oven
the children running to the door when their daddy returns from work
listening to the big boys deep in conversation
my go-to sweet after the kids are in bed: a handful of peanuts and M&Ms
reading a few pages of Anne before I go to sleep

Friday, October 20, 2017

No.42: Our Farmhouse Schoolhouse in Photos (Week 09)

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What a weird week.  Even after taking Monday off and checking off a ton from my to-do list, I still had this lingering feeling that I was behind on life.  Our weeks have been extra full lately, especially on the weekends, and I think that may be the reason I'm so overwhelmed.  I need a little downtime for my own sanity!  Add on some bickering brothers and a clingy, teething baby and I'm just happy I made it to Friday.  I'm hoping a little more sleep and a lot more running will help me get me back on track.

Notes and highlights:


+ We changed things up with the two oldest boys and did three lessons from Brave Writer's (free!) Writing Blitz.  I'm really enjoying shaking things up when a subject is feeling dry and this was such a great way to get them excited about writing again.  Lots of laughter as they shared what they wrote!  I think we'll finish the last few activities next week.


+ M's Medieval Science unit in his History of Science had him learned all about Leonardo da Vinci this week.  In general, da Vinci is an interesting historical figure, but I think M was most fascinated with his inventive mind.  He copied this quote from the book into his keeping journal this week: "And yet this gentle man invented, among many other weapons, three different models of machine guns, grenades that threw shrapnel, a very modern looking bomb, and a steam powered gun.  He improved on an old idea to create an armored car with a complex motor and cannons pointing in every direction.  More than a hundred years later, with the addition of a modern engine and caterpillar treads, it was called a tank and became an important weapon in the first World War." (p22)    

Current 1000 Books Project Total: 53/1000
Poetry Teatime Treat: Easy Pumpkin Bread (I used about a cup less sugar, though!)


+ Health: I have an annoying tickle in my throat that just won't go away.  I took a few days to rest, but am anxious to get back to running.
+ Reading: Anne of Avonlea and The Long Loneliness
+ Fun: Hmm, I can't think of anything special - I need to change that!

Monday, October 16, 2017

No.41: Intentions for the End of October

After eight straight weeks of school, I declared to the kids that today was a Teacher In-service Day, or more accurately, "Mama needs a little break to get her life in order".  Our days have felt SO full lately, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I know myself.  If I don't take some intentional time to slow down and catch up on laundry, bills, lesson plans, and a few much over-due projects (or even just half of that list!), I'll start spiraling into anxiety.  And ain't nobody got time for that, hah.     



  • Habit of the Month: Orderliness
  • buy stamps
  • buy or borrow a weed-wacker (ours broke last weekend)
  • pick pumpkins
  • start jotting down ideas for Term Two
  • bake a new quick bread (100LT #6)
  • make a list of Christmas picture books to look for
  • make a homemade muffin or brownie mix for J to bake independently
  • finish Dorothy Day's The Long Loneliness (100LT #82)
  • order new foundation and blush
  • clean my makeup brushes (100LT #44)
  • learn a new card game (100LT #33)
  • send hair off to Pantene Beautiful Lengths 
  • start training plan for November 10K and "complete what you came to do" (my running motto)
  • start four weeks of No Sugar (my habit's gotten a little out of control and it's time to make some changes)


If you're reading on your phone or in a reader, click through to see what I crossed off the list!

  • take out a few go-to fall dinner recipes to make for dinner
  • try one new dinner recipe
  • bake pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (using our favorite recipe)
  • wrap D's birthday presents (he got a bike and this)
  • get to the DMV to renew driver's license (I even took Sophie with me and we came out relatively unscathed!)
  • start jotting down ideas for an upcoming WWI history unit for M
  • finish Dorothy Day's The Long Loneliness (100LT #82)
  • organize my closet
  • try a new tea flavor (100LT #94)
  • order new foundation and blush
  • bring unneeded clothes to donation (almost ready to go...I keep adding more things)
  • schedule S & TJ well-check appointments 
  • learn a new card game (100LT #33)
  • buy a mailing envelope and send hair off to Pantene Beautiful Lengths 
  • clean my makeup brushes (100LT #44)

What about you?  What's on your to-do list for the next few weeks?

Friday, October 13, 2017

No.40: Our Farmhouse Schoolhouse in Photos (Week 08)

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Holy cow, this week flew!  Mark was away on business, my mom slept over to celebrate my birthday, I was able to get in my last couple runs before the race on Sunday and we had a great week of school too, of course.  Our life seems full and exciting and exhausting all at once, but I really wouldn't trade it.  If only the (teething! again!!) baby would let me sleep, hah.

Notes and highlights:


+ Despite the weather being so warm and muggy, I pulled out and read some of our favorite fall books:
- The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything
- Those Darn Squirrels!
- How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World (we even made the apple pie from the recipe in the back!)

+ We started a little apple unit with A Year of Playing Skillfully and the biggest hit of the week was making homemade play dough for the first time.  Sophia and TJ played with it for days!  Recording the recipe here, so I don't forget:
Whisk 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, 1/3 cup salt, 1 T. oil, 3 T cream of tartar and a few drops of food coloring in a medium saucepan until smooth.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.  When it comes together in a lump, remove from the pan and let it cool.


+ Sassafras Science took us to the Amazon rainforest, where we learned about sloths and toucans.  We fell down a little Youtube rabbit hole, listening to toucan sounds!  The kids also drew both the sloth and the toucan from Art for Kids tutorials - we'd be so lost without those tutorials.

+ M began a Medieval Science section in his History of Science course.  The first scientist was Johann Gutenberg and his printing press.  We watched a really interesting documentary called The Machine that Made Us and it inspired him to try to make his own "type" from oven-bake clay.  I love when that happens without any prompting.


+ I started a little reading challenge to help J (1st grade) with his fluency.  He's at that hard stage where he can read, but it's still a lot of work.  Lots of sounding out and the going is slooooow.  We have these little books and he reads one book every day: once to me and once to any family member he chooses.  Once completed, he can color in the number on his challenge sheet.  And when he's gone through all 27 books, he can pick out a candy of his choice.  (And he doesn't even have to share with his siblings, which is huge.)


+ D has been reading through the Series of Unfortunate Events books - we started reading them together this summer and I just couldn't keep up!  He finished the last book on Monday and I was able to watch him as he read the very last page.  I will never forget the look on his was almost like saying goodbye to good friends.  Next up on his reading list: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library.

Current 1000 Books Project Total: 48/1000
Poetry Teatime Treat: Apple Pie


+ Health: I'm starting to get those anxious butterflies in my stomach - first 10K on Sunday!
+ Reading: All the Little Children and The Long Loneliness
+ Fun: I've been largely off-line this week and it felt good.  I think I need to add that into my life on a regular basis.

Friday, October 6, 2017

No.39: Our Farmhouse Schoolhouse in Photos (Week 07)

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Another week complete.  I spent the majority of Thursday morning at the DMV, renewing my driver's license.  It's been about ten years since I've entered one (thank goodness for the internet!) and it was interesting to see what had changed (...not much).  While I did enjoy the people watching, I'm looking forward to another decade before I have to go back, haha!

Notes and highlights:


+ My kindergartner wants more school.  MORE.  She tearfully told me that she wasn't getting enough time with me during school time and maybe, could she just have a little bit more to do?  Oh my heart.  She's just newly five, so I was content with a little bit of formal lessons and a lot of play...but I guess that's not going to fly with my girl.  My little overachiever...Mark said, "Hmm, I wonder who that sounds like?"  #guilty

+ I changed her math to the (free!) MEP program and she seems to enjoy it.  I'm thinking it's because it's more teacher/student interaction and less workbook?  I'm starting at the beginning with Reception, but I think she'll zip right through it.  We're adding more MathStart stories to the mix too.

+ I'm also taking care to add more A Year of Playing Skillfully activities to our day.  This week, she made an "All About Me" minibook, played "Mother, May I?" with her brothers and made a life-size Sophie by tracing her on butcher paper.  A solid start for October.


+ M (5th grade) has started a mini-unit on Abraham Lincoln.  He and I are reading Lincoln's Last Days together and are narrating each (short) chapter in the form of a one or two sentence review.  (I'm narrating in my own notebook too!)  Condensing a chapter into its main point has been an effective method for processing information for both of us.  

+ The littler kids and I finished Viking Adventure - this book proved much more exciting (and a tiny bit scarier) than we expected!  Now we're back in our Beautiful Feet guide and starting on Columbus.


+ Once or twice a week, I have the big boys read about a saint and then narrate about his/her life.  They usually draw the picture in their book (we use this one for third grade and this one for fifth) and will color with watercolors or colored pencils.  This week, we changed things up and made trading cards.  The smaller size has been less intimidating for written narration and they really have to concentrate while drawing.  When they finish, I cover them in packing tape (until I get myself a laminator...someday!) and they look really cool.


+ Favorite art supply of the week: Sculpey oven-bake clay!

Current 1000 Books Project Total: 40/1000
Poetry Teatime Treat: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


+ Health: Strong running week!  I'm adding more speed and incline work on the treadmill in preparation for my first 10K next week.  I don't think I'm ready for these Virginia hills (I've been a scaredy cat about running outdoors because BEARS.)
+ Reading: The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Long Loneliness, Lincoln's Lasts Days and I just started All the Little Children, a Kindle book I got for free from Amazon.
+ Fun: On October 1, I started a personal photography project called "33: A Collection of Days" and I hope to document my home and life throughout the my 33rd year.  More to come soon.  
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