Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's the Deal? Why Homeschool?

To be completely honest--I didn't see it coming.  (Maybe you did? :)

M loved kindergarten and overall so did we.  J and I both loved school.  And we have a lot of excellent educators in our family. 

But, a few years ago when I started doing "theme weeks" with my then two- and four-year olds I started trying to be more intentional with my time as a mom.  And I fell in love with learning with my little people.

I'm discovering that I place a really high priority on imagination and creativity.  I think that reading and playing and having quiet space to explore deeper interests is really important.

And when I looked ahead at a full-day school schedule I realized that the time to learn with my kids and to provide room for imagination was going to be drastically limited and that made me sad.

But over the last year or so I've been observing the tid-bits of life from a distance of my facebook adoption friends who homeschool.  And I started to think that maybe homeschooling isn't what I thought it was. 

I used to think it was exactly like being a teacher at home.  You know, standing in front of my "class" and giving lectures all day long from text books.  It turns out it doesn't have to be like that at all.

We're actually covering all the school subjects and a few others just for fun with room for concentrated study time, tons of reading of real-life or living books instead of textbooks, and fun hands-on experiments and experiences with lots of space for imaginations to grow.

I don't know how long we'll be on this path.  For now I am thankful for this opportunity to "do school" together.  I have my long list of pros and cons to keep me grounded, but in this moment we are loving what this lifestyle brings.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Opened the "Junk" Mail (A Reading List)

It was a banner night in our house--we finally--FINALLY--finished Swiss Family Robinson.  We have been reading that book for the better part of two whole months.  I swear I've logged at least 30 hours of read-a-loud time on this one.  Whew!  

Tears streamed down our faces (well, maybe not T's) as we finished this long and winding tale because...
1.)  It's over.
2.)  Someday the reality of the last paragraphs will be ours.
3.)  Why couldn't this have been a real story and why aren't we the characters? (M's reason, NOT mine. ;)
4.)  We fell in love with our Swiss family--will there ever be a book we could possibly love as much as this?! (Again, all M.)

On a completely different note--related only in that it's something we read--the other day we opened a few pieces of mail that we often overlook (aka, toss).  The first one was a letter about malaria and the life-saving mosquito nets.  The letter opened with this statistic-- more than 1,500 children die every day from malaria.  

Every day?  From mosquito bites?  We have itchy mosquito bites right now, but fear of death from them has never even entered my mind.  1,500.  That's a big number when we're talking lives.  Every day.  What does that even look like?  If I can't even imagine it, then my little people can't either.

To visualize that number we laid down 15 of these cards.

Then we picked up just one card and each tried to name 100 people. 

1,500.  A day.  Not okay...

For more information Go

Hottest Thing Going--Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

Last week I spied these on Pinterest and they captured my heart--or rather my sweet and spicy tooth.  

The small fry even prefer them to plain old vanilla--and really, that's just remarkable. 

To make your own warm bite of Fall pop over HERE for the recipe.

(Recipe Note: I don't have cardamom so I replaced it with half of the amount of coriander.  Other cardamom substitutes can be found HERE.)

It pairs very nicely with one of these homemade pumpkin spice lattes.  :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

They Were All Invited. ALL of Them.

All of the stuffed animals that is--to the Bear Birthday Party.


Vanilla Chai.


Ben "turned" 7.  Be still my heart, in just one month so will she...

Beary and Cheetah are now 5. 

Gordy is 3.

Candles. (Can you imagine being only chin-height at the table?)

Pin the Nose.


And wind-down in the "bear cave."

Cheers to our stuffed friends--our comforters, confidants, pillows, occasional tissues (ew), and best buds!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"I'm A Real..."

Soccer Player!"

Dude had his day on Saturday.  It was so ridiculously cute! (Don't tell him I said that. ;)

He skipped onto the field, ran with all his 4-year-old might, and even "scored" a few goals for our team and a few for the other team, too. ;)

And the girl?  She didn't really love soccer last spring.  But we encouraged her to give it one more go--we also promised more comfortable shoes and a pink ball. 

And this past Saturday she came back stronger than ever--no doubt it had something to do with the "fierce" hair. ;)

I'm actually looking forward to Fall Saturdays. :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Very Good

First Week Glimpse





(Right before she started balancing the paper on her head. :)

Awesome first week--just a few dozen more to go! ;)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Funnies: Adventure Bites

As you may have noticed, our small crew has a very limited palate.

So, we have this new thing we call "The Adventure Bite."  Basically we get them to eat new foods by daring them to try it while we record it.  We sell it as being "brave" and "adventuresome."  Also, we do this to keep us well grounded--if it weren't for them, we might think we actually knew how to cook. ;)

This week's grand Adventure Bite?  Asian Vegetables and Chicken Curry. 

The Many Faces of Baby Corn

So Spicy It's Really Good 

Bon app├ętit!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

And So It Begins

(Yep, that's Coach Miller back there. :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Secret of the Summer

Two Fridays ago I tried to act all nonchalant as I told the peeps to clean up their rooms, rushed them off to the library to grab a few movies (Muppets Treasure Island--man, did they laugh), and washed all the laundry in sight.  I told them we were just "School Cleaning."  Which we kind-of were, but, really, it was because as soon as their eyes drifted shut we had some crazy mad packing to do.  And then just as the sun was rising we woke them up--told them to grab shoes and bears and to get in the van.  We were headed to the ocean.  For a whole week.  In a house.  On the beach.  With friends.  Oh, the excitement!

Let me tell you, this was one hard secret to keep.  It had been planned all summer.  And all summer I could NOT wait.  But I couldn't say anything.  No talk of waves, sand-castles, a whole-house "hotel."  Nada.  Because, honestly, the pre-vacation countdown kid-style is wearying and because these surprises are ridiculously fun. :)

We ended our summer and started our fall in Ocean City, NJ.  Such a fun place of memories--family vacations and a whole summer there in college with 100 other Cru students--with great opportunities to make new ones.

A "few" of my favorites...

Fearless wave rider.

"Pirates" being swept out to sea. (Nothing quite like getting up close and personal with the surf and sand. ;)

Shell-collecting where the sky meets the water.


Beach-friendly hair.


Our last surprise--Nana (look at Beza fly!)

And Pop when the friends left.

Bravely feeding the gulls.


And hand-stander. (Our house?  Third one--second floor.)

Sand-maze builder.

Showing who's boss.

Endless play-by-play self-talking surfing expert.

Who exhibits remarkable form.

In all he does.  Like fighting boardwalk pirates.

Sun-rise watchers (right before it rained.).

"Late-"night ferris wheel.


And beach buddies.

Deep trench dwellers.

Saying-goodbye-sunrise--just before it downpoured again. 

Seven glorious days living-it-up--embracing the sand (even piles in the bathtub), conquering the waves (after countless slams to the ocean floor), and taking the unpredictable weather as it came (our apps predicted rain--and lots of it--every day.  We spent every day rain-free on the beach)-- before diving in to a whole new year. 

Can't wait to do it again...