Saturday, May 30, 2015

Peek at our Week {the one where Saul fixed the dryer}

Weekly Wrap-up


I was thoroughly spoiled for Mother’s Day!



Saul and the kids performed in a Lip Sync battle, cleaned and cooked for me, and showered me with awesome gifts.




Eleven years with this gig, and I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing….


We’ve been playing Apples to Apples, which is hilarious with Nate and Isaac.  Plus it gives everyone a break from me asking to play Yahtzee every evening after dinner. :)




Saul shaved off his “winter beard”.  Ahhh…I really miss that beard!


The kids are gearing down for our much anticipated (or dreaded) summer schedule.  Nate hasn’t had any homework for the last two weeks, and both Isaac and Elaina are completing two of their subjects.  Elaina has been struggling to understand some new math concepts, and no matter how many different ways I try to teach them to her, she just isn’t grasping them.  Historically she is like this with math.  She just needs to work at a slower pace, and thankfully homeschooling allows for that.  She could probably use a little time off from school; usually the brain break does wonders for her when she is struggling to push through a new level.



Olivia is definitely losing interest in school.  We are picking and choosing a couple of things to work on each week, but she needs a little break too.

(Three part Sequencing Cards, Reading “at” words with Letter Tiles)



We had two major home issues this week.  One, the dryer stopped drying. Two, the vacuum broke.  Ugh!

Saul originally thought that the dryer needed a new heating element, so we headed out to the appliance repair shop.  They urged us to check the dryer venting first, before buying any of their non-returnable parts.  That was actually really solid of them, because one peek into the dryer venting lead Saul to discover that it was indeed clogged, nearly all of the way out.  He had to borrow a special tool from the neighbor, climb up onto the roof, and push out the old lint and debris.  He hooked up brand new tubing and now the dyer works good as new!

The vacuum was another story.  There was no fixing that, so a new one was purchased.



We had to say goodbye to our amazing friends.  They are moving to North Carolina.  They will all be so missed!


Dawn has been my friend through some really difficult seasons…it’s going to be a really hard adjustment not having her around.


I got ambitious and tried a few new recipes this week.  It helped that I could use the oven, as the weather is still really cool.


Farmers Casserole, Tomato Salad

(GF Carrot and Apple Muffin)


(Jalapeno Popper Chicken, GF Strawberry Cream Galette)


(GF Chocolate Cream Puffs, GF Profiteroles)

Saul is off this weekend, and I am hoping we get to relax and play a few card games.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Gearing up for Kindergarten

My littlest is growing up.

It’s true.  It’s really really happening.

I can hardly think about it, without getting a teeny bit emotional.  We are wrapping up preschool, starting reading lessons, and saying good-bye to any “baby-ish” things she tells me over and over again, that she is too grown up to use anymore.



I guess that means that it’s time to start Kindergarten.  Having been here three times before, I know there is a lot of exciting learning ahead for her.  This is a huge time of growth, and I feel so honored to be able to witness it.




I’ll be finalizing her Kindergarten plans through the summer.  It’ll probably look very similar to what Isaac, Nate, and Elaina did, just making accommodations for Olivia’s learning style and interests.  She’ll join Elaina for a few of her studies, like science. Bible, and art, while the other subjects will be done with me.  I’ve mentioned before how much I LOVE to teach Kindergarten!  I am really excited about this special time with my last Kindergartener. :)    (See Elaina’s Kindergarten Curriculum Post here.)



Since we school through the year, taking breaks whenever we need them, and keeping our plans fairly loose, there probably won’t be a huge “transition” for Olivia as she starts Kindergarten.  The most noticeable change will be this fall when she joins her sister at the Academy of Arts, a homeschool enrichment program that the kids have all been part of.  She is very excited about starting at the “big school with the yellow bus”. 



Overall, Olivia has been a delightful student.  She is naturally curious, motivated, and strongly independent.  Both of the boys at this age required me to sit at their side throughout all of their schooling (too easily distracted) and Elaina required a constant cheerleader (too easily discouraged).  But Olivia pushes back if I crowd her too much.  She wants to do things her way, in her time.  She can stay focused for long periods of time, and while she enjoys being praised and told she is doing well, she doesn’t need it to stay motivated.  One thing we are struggling to balance is incorporating her speech lessons into our daily school.  I am very hopeful that we will continue to see big improvements in this area so that she can graduate from speech altogether. 


Since I’m such a sentimental sort, I’ll probably be posting a lot of what she is doing along the way.  It’s just really fun to have it all documented!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Peek at our Week {Rain, rain, and more rain}

Weekly Wrap-up

These faces really make me smile!

Especially when they are happily playing together.




Nate has got just about 3 weeks left of school.   He has done so well!  I’m really hoping he gets a teacher next year that is as wonderful as the one he had this year.  He has already finished up all the major projects and reports, and is coming home with little to no homework.



Elaina is still working through her Little House on the Prairie Unit.  I’ve been having her read aloud to me, a chapter each day.  I am super impressed with the reading strides she has had just in the last couple of months, particularly with fluency and confidence.



We finalized Isaac’s paperwork for middle school this week.  He seems to be accepting the upcoming change, and although he does express nervousness at times, we just keep encouraging him in the new opportunities he will have.  This week brought a lot of new emotions for me too – probably because he turned eleven.  Time is really flying by…



Nate was ecstatic to finally see Field Day come.  Bright and early Monday morning, we got a panicked message from him –silly boy left his new prized watch at home.  The exact watch he just HAD to have, or else risk missing all of his events. It is rather hard to believe he could forget about the watch, after listening to him talk constantly about it these past six weeks.  He threw down hints like, “Sure would be nice to get a new watch in my Easter basket,” and “Having a watch would really help me manage my time better, and that would help me be a better student.”  Nice try, dude.  I’ve already bought you two watches, so this next one is on you.  In the end he used his own chore money to purchase a watch at Walmart for $10.99, left it at home for the event he wanted it for, and later told us, “Well, there were actually a lot of people there with watches, so I could’ve just asked one of them for the time.”  Don’t even get me started on how many times that was mentioned ahead of time by us….

We all got to bring him his watch though, and it was so fun to see him!  I would have liked to stay longer, but it was Isaac’s birthday, and he had other plans in mind for his special day.  Anyway, the day was a success and he put it down on record as “the best day ever in the history of Nate.”  He brought home several ribbons, and ended up with a sore arm from the Softball Toss that he competed in.  We did pick him up early form school, so that he could join us at the movie theater (a special treat for Isaac’s birthday.)


We finished up our Shark unit and are now taking a mini break from Ocean Science.  We should easily be done by the middle of summer, but I need some time to get the materials together, and with this nasty cold I’ve been dealing with, energy and time are low on hand.  Our fall science units will be repeats from what I did with the boys, so that will make things very easy.  At least in theory.  I seem to find a way to make simple things more complicated….


We’ve had some crazy weather around here!  Lots of rain/thunder storms, and even a couple of big hail storms.  Coloradoans don’t even bat an eye though when the snow plows are out in mid-May to plow the highways that are so full of hail that it looks like snow.  It did make for a very wet week.  We had to get creative in order to burn the excess energy that four growing bodies usually expend on the trampoline.

We played lots of games, did extra crafts, and offered the Xbox K’nect pretty often.  By the time the weekend rolled around and the trampoline dried out, they were begging to go out.  Now I don’t know if it was the week long break from the trampoline, the extra hormones raging through these pre-teen boys, or just the temptation of believing they had no witnesses, but both boys ended up getting a bit too aggressive.  Too much pushing.  Too much wrestling.  Too much taunting and teasing.

When I came into the kitchen, I just happened to witness the behavior, and overhear some very foul language.   Sad smile

I don’t know why, but I’m always so shocked to hear strong words coming out of my kids mouths…. 




Not much creativity in the kitchen this week.  Groceries were low, and so was energy.


Weekly Wrap-up