Monday, November 26, 2007

A Perfect Monday

Mondays, in our home, are usually very trying and hard for Mom! We are trying to get back into our weekly rhythm with Papa back to work and the beginning of our "work" week. I was fearing today, with the long Holiday weekend we had, but I was fearing nothing it turns out. We began our day as usual with breakfast and getting dressed. I lost the three eldest when they went upstairs to get dressed. Rather than let them be to play, I decided to follow with some cleaning items and thought we would tackle Elysa's bedroom which was in great need of a clean and weed! We did this until noon, and no we're not done, but we started! We are readying the house in preparation for the Advent season and cleaning out the old and unused! It's a bit of a headache with 4 little one's underfoot, but we're together and that's what's important...right? We had a lunch of grilled cheese on whole wheat no crusts and salad with carrots. Then, we headed to the schoolroom to begin our schooling. I was prepared for the now famous "Monday Struggle," but alas what's this the middles did worksheets while I did Alec's Language Art's and Math lessons. When Nick was done he had a bit of a challenge with me asking him to pick up 3 giant floor puzzles he had left on the floor the day before. He needed to pick those up before he got out anything else or he was on "the bottom step." We just so happen to have a bottom step on each level and this serves as the "thinking spot" for children who aren't so kind or are misbehaving. Nickolaus is on the bottom step quite a bit. Well, Elysa saved the day and decided to help him and they worked together to clean up the puzzles and each earned a sticker jewel for the good queen or king crowns. These crowns are my little invention for good behaviour in the schoolroom. When someone does something I am especially happy with they get a sticker jewel for their crown. For the record, Elysa has the most...she used her newly acquired skill of counting to let everyone know just this! When all were picked up, Nickolaus got his new math game out and sat on the carpet and played with it while I gave Elysa her lessons. She read fabulously her new words and then copied them on paper using her "spaceman" (a clothespin with a face) to put spaces between the words. She did a marvelous job! We started our notebooking journal pages for our History books and accomplished quite a bit on those! A tub of stickers engrossed them for the good part of the afternoon! From now on, Monday will be sticker day! :)

Momma Loves Reading!

I enjoy reading....books,magazines, Internet articles, recipe books, newspapers, cereal boxes (;0 ask my mom and sis's!) if it has words I'll read it! I LOVE reading! I find I "need" to read. I just need it. I can fulfill that need by spending hours and some days we literally spend hours reading to the kids. Studies show the benefits of reading to little ones so I therefore have the "go ahead" to read read read! I am lucky that my children greatly enjoy books as well and are always game for a read-a-thon....everyone piles onto the love seat (it's closer to cuddle more tightly!) or into bed or a little nest of silks and blankets to enjoy an afternoon of good quality literature. I like good quality literature for their little sponge minds not watered down "Barbie's new shoes" or something similarly cheesy! Books that are timeless and have substance are our favourites. I just finished a few timeless classics with the younger three while Papa and Alec are at hockey. Our favourites were 'Chicka Chicka Boom Boom' and 'Chicka Chicka 123' and runners up were 'A Color of His Own'...Leo Lionni books are always appreciated for the beautiful artwork...and the timeless message of 'The Little Engine That Could.' We gave 'The Pirate Mom' a nut much substance, but fun story award and 'Tucker's Best School Day' got the award for downright depressing! This book was from Scholastic and is only available for the "school market" and was originally published as 'Tucker's Four-Carrot School Day.' It is written by Susan Winget and is about a little rabbit who is going to Kindergarten for the first time and all the things he messes up at school and how he is having a hard time. :( It was horribly sad for Tucker and the kids didn't enjoy it at all! Poor little Tucker wanted to be at home with his family and missed his little sister. I added to the end...."and Tucker's momma decided to homeschool him so he could be at home with the family." Nick and Elysa were really bothered by how horrible Tucker's school experience was. If my children were going to go to school and we chose this book to prepare them I think they would be rather unprepared! Anyway, on our agenda for the evening is to read a chapter or three of 'The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk' found here This book is filled with passages of well written literature for little ones and the vocabulary is wonderful...I am forever answering questions of what does this word and that mean when reading books from this site....I love it! This book is from 1918, I believe, and how different the language was then. It's a pleasure to read!

Form Drawing

Here we are in the schoolroom practicing our form drawing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We enjoyed a Happy Thanksgiving with Grandma and Grandpa at our house. Here are some pictures of us enjoying our feast! We enjoyed some stories on the Pilgrims and Indians in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and some more today. We mapped them out on our maps and put a cross sticker where Plymouth is on the map.

Holy Turkey!

We picked up our local farm raised turkey the Monday before Thanksgiving. To my surprise, the smallest turkey they had was......gulp......29 lbs!! What! I hope ya like he is in all his glory...being prepped in the the oven....and sitting before carving. All day we were enticed with smells of fresh Rosemary and Sage alongside turkey wafting from the kitchen! While it roasted I made Herbed Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and kept them warm in the crock pot. Nickolaus and I had spent the last few days toasting and shredding Colorado Cracked Wheat bread for a delicious Apple and Sausage stuffing that was the best I've ever tasted! Elysa and Alec had prepared all of the "chopped ingredients" the night before so it was much easier for me when preparing to grab celery, onions or whatever I needed. The middles made a fresh Cranberry Orange Relish and sweetened it with Sucanat and that added extra depth and earthiness to it. Elysa had made lemon bars the night before and we enjoyed them on Thanksgiving as well. We had Haricots Verts with Onions and Bacon from the farm and fresh baked pumpkin bread. Grandma brought rutabaga's,sweet potatoes, green and black olives, 2 different kinds of coleslaw and pumpkin and apple pies she had made with the oldest three the day before. I know I am forgetting some things, but have the main dishes! It was all so delicious and we will be getting a turkey from the farm next year!

Nickolaus the comedian

Nickolaus never ceases to put a smile on my face! He is my most trying and challenging child....yet I enjoy his humour and thank goodness he is cute....he gets into so much trouble! He is counting in English in addition to his Spanish counting! He is smart as a whip and pays attention to what I teach the others in school...even when I think he is not! He has requested his own "schoolwork" and I have been giving him some worksheets from the Developing the Early Learner series from Sonlight We have a variety of workbooks similar to these, but these are my favorite. The pictures are very vintage and that appeals to they are tremendous with fine motor which both older boys have needed practice in. Today, he made flashcards using colored index cards and stickers for each Alphabet sound. Here he is in William's booster seat having his sister feed him and in his brother's goalie equipment.

Halloween Pictures

Better late than never 'eh? Alec and Nickolaus were pirates, Elysa was a fairy princess (her wings are missing in this pic), and William was a skunk. Cute 'eh? These were taken at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beautiful Stories

Today, we read some very beautiful stories from The Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project . We've been enjoying the stories from this site immensely! We read 'The Story of Persephone' and 'Little Cosette' and then drew pictures in our main lesson book's. Alec is working on skip counting by 2's as he has all the other's down pat and Elysa is working on her counting skills. Nickolaus is working on getting into as much trouble as he can.....there has to be one in every bunch 'eh? Liam is working on crawling all over and getting into as much mischief as he possibly can and enjoying the little "snacks" the kids have left behind! He covered himself in Elysa's oatmeal that she had left on the coffee table and was as happy as I have ever seen him! We are working on some crafts this afternoon...not sure quite what, but Christmas present related!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Skating...and school?

Last Friday, we went ice skating in the afternoon. We had been working on these particular forms - ) a line and a curve. We had been drawing them with different mediums and walking or skipping them and on the ice I decided to see if they could skate the forms. We then went on to do the letters of the Alphabet. How's that for Waldorf? Elysa has been really enjoying the letters lately and will copy anything and I do mean anything! After receiving a copy of 'The Swiss Colony' gift catalog in the mail and sticking it on the table, I later noticed in perfect little print that someone had written EVERYTHING down from the catalog. There neatly lined on a plain white piece of paper was summer sausage gift baskets to fine chocolates and the fine print to cute is that? She has perfect little handwriting! She also noticed I have the Christmas lists on the computer in Wordpad and read her name and then proceeded to read...doll...I closed the page before she went further! She has had very little if any formal instruction on reading. She is just going to read one day!

Monday and back to school

We enjoyed a story from our Enki fairy tales entitled 'The Singing Cave.' It was a quite a nice little story and the kids enjoyed it. We picked up the house and made a very yummy ham and bean soup. We worked on some Christmas presents for those lucky enough to be on our lists!

St.Martinmas Day

Yesterday was St.Martinmas day and we had a feast with Grandma and Grandpa! The kids cut shapes out of beeswax modeling clay and adhered them on little glass baby food jars to use as lanterns with beeswax tea lights inside. They turned out lovely and will post pic's later. You can read more about St.Martinmas here... We also boxed up two rather large boxes to donate to St. Vincent De Paul.

Friday, November 9, 2007

New toy recall :(

I opened my inbox this morning to find a new toy beng recalled.....made in China of course! Here is a link to the article.... Now you see why I am leary of buying items made in China? I would like my children to not slip into comas from their toys!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Native American Studies

November has begun and with it our study of Native Americans has as well. We read some Native American folk tales this morning. Today is Monday our baking day and we baked cornbread muffins. Then had dried fruit leather and cornbread muffins for morning snack. We had more stories and putting puzzles together in the schoolroom. Dad came home to enjoy some homemade Ham and Split Pea soup with us. The soup was really good! We picked up the half a pig we ordered Early this spring from our organic farmer. Lots and lots of questions regarding the pig and Wilbur from Charlotte's Web! We have lots of discussion on why we eat animals and it has been hard to explain to the kids at different times! To my vegetarian friends I know you're probably grossed out at the moment so SORRY! We have made a conscious effort to eat meat that has been raised without antibiotics and raised in a humane way. If you read about some of the things that they have put in our food supply it is enough to make your stomach turn! The meat that we get always tastes so much better and actually has flavor to it! After eating steaks that were grain fed and raised in a pasture, I don't think I will ever care to eat the supermarket variety again! We have ordered half a cow and a turkey for Thanksgiving and I am excited about the turkey...the size of the cow is starting to concern me! They are special cattle that have higher omega's and are leaner and healthier for you. Shetland something...I think! Well, anyway we are learning about Native Americans this month through stories and their culture. We visited some websites that sell Native American goods and they were pretty neat. Perhaps, Alec will get a drum from one for Christmas?

Momma's making Christmas presents..ssshhhh!

Well, it occurred to me in the midst of this sickness that it was November and Christmas is right around the corner! We have decided to do away with as much commercialization and toys that are made in China ;0 as possible! I would really like to support the families in the USA that are making toys and selling them. We have also decided to make alot of toys for the kids......which means MOM is going to be making them! I started my lists today and then began crocheting these for the boys They oldest two have both expressed interest in them and I thought I would give them a whirl! I have some pretty cool gray and silver yarn and am working on them tonight. My first start didn't quite work out as planned and I am now starting fresh!

Poor sick Little William

Well, we thought we were on the mend and then little William ended up with an ear infection, double bacterial conjunctivitis and an upper respiratory infection. :( He is also getting his top two teeth! Poor little man! He cried all night Friday and Saturday and we didn't get a wink of sleep! Last night, he was doing much better and today he was back to getting into trouble for a little bit!

Saturday, November 3, 2007


We had a fun halloween! Alec and Nickolaus were pirates, Elysa was a fairy princess and little William was a skunk! Oh were they adorable! We did a little trick or treating then back to grandma and grandpa's house to celebrate their anniversary with a yummy cake the kids picked out.

Still sick, but on the mend..

We are all still sick, but are on the mend finally! William ended up getting an ear infection and bacterial conjunctivitis in both his eyes alongside an upper respiratory infection. Poor babe! He is on an antibiotic and is doing much better today! He was so miserable yesterday all he did was sit on me and stare into space and cry a hoarse little cry if I put him down! No nursing he was so miserable! Today, we got some smiles and activity out of him and he looks to be on the mend!