Wednesday, April 12, 2017

At The Playground

The Arboretum has installed a new playground and the kids love going there for an hour or two now that the weather's nice. They have these cool child swings that let the parent (or sibling) swing with their little one. The Littles love it. :)


 The bravery of our Littles often surprises me. :)

 The kids got new (to them) soccer cleats, so we brought them along for them to try out.
 It only took about 2 seconds for some other kids to jump in and kick the ball around.
 We're hoping to find (or start) a soccer team/league that meets on days other than Saturday so that the kids can participate.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Passover 2017

It's time for our favorite feast: Passover! Our tradition is to hold a whole-day celebration and feast, doing activities throughout the day with the kids and talking about Messiah as our Passover Lamb throughout the day.
One of the first things we do is to burn the last of the leaven (yeast) in our homes.
Throughout the day, at various times, we did the traditional Four Cups that are drawn from Exodus 6:6-7: The Cup of Sanctification ("I will bring you out of Egypt"), The Cup of Deliverance ("I will deliver you from slavery"), The Cup of Redemption (I will redeem you with My power") and the Cup of Restoration ("I will take you as My people"). For each one, a father from one of the families gave a short teaching on the meaning of the particular cup and how it relates to Yeshua. It makes for some cool discussion and thought.

Then we get started on food! We had cheese, fruit and veggies to snack on.
Then it was time for the lamb. The families all pitch in to get a lamb for slaughter and eating. This is in no way a sacrifice, but a way of remembering the Exodus and a stark picture of the death of Messiah.

Afterwards, we read the Exodus Story together using the book Let My People Go!, which has different reading parts for different people. This year we broke it up into families, so one family spoke Pharoah's part, one did the people, one did Moses, and one did the Narrator. It turned into a bit of a competition to see who could do their part the loudest. :)

While we were doing that, the lamb was roasting on the grill. It roasts for 3 to 4 hours, whole, covered with olive oil, salt and spices. The smell is amazing! And when it's done, and we've trimmed off the meat, we have a tradition of picking some of the leftover bits from the carcass.

I love that my kids have no illusions about where our food comes from. :)
Then, per the Exodus story, we burn the remains of a fire.
Now it time for the meal! Each year, the families bring side dishes and desserts, all around a particular cultural type, this year being Latino. We had beans and rice, fried plantains, salsas and all kinds of desserts. One family even brought homemade flan. I'm not a fan of flan, but this stuff was fantastic.

Later, we symbolically paint the doorposts like in the Exodus story.
And then it's time for The Prince Of Egypt! The kids all generally watch while the parents sit and socialize and eat dessert. :)

And then it's bedtime. This year, we brought our new (to us) camper to try it out. It actually fits all of us really comfortably and we're very happy to have it. The rest of the families piled into various rooms in the house. In the morning, we each had brought breakfast kugels to share that were very tasty. All-in-all, it was a wonderful time of celebration and fellowship that we love sharing in every year!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

EMMA Arts and Sciences Night - April 2017

It's the end of the term for EMMA Classes and this time, the boys took Art and Music along with their PE class.
 They showcased their artwork, which we were very impressed with.

 We got to see Olivia's Pinecone Project from her Botany class displayed. She had to form two hypotheses regarding how a pinecone behaves in cold and warm weather and then do experiments to prove it. She proved that they close in cold, wet weather to protect the seeds, but open in warm weather to release them.
 Olivia also took a North Carolina History course that taught her not just history, but geography as well.


 She did a great job in the class, working hard to learn about our state's products and industries. I particularly like her depiction of beef cattle.

 At the end of the evening, the boys were part of the performance of The Agape League. They did sucha great job singing and doing the hand motions. 
 I'll admit that I wasn't sure Ezra would enjoy doing the play because he doesn't really like to be in front of people, but he was really into it and both boys did a wonderful job!

Finally, for Olivia's last day of Literature Circle, she dressed up as a character from Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, which was her favorite book of the term, and made a posterboard with facts about navigation to share with the class.

Overall their full year at EMMA classes were fantastic and they can't wait for next fall's term. We've even signed Emma up to go!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Walk by the Lake

We had a free afternoon on a pretty day, so we took a walk in the woods along Lake Townsend.

  The kids love to stop and throw stick in the water or just try to poke things they can see.

 Along the trail, there's this huge pair of trees that was blown down at some point and hang over the trail. Ezra's a brave kid to walk all the way out there like it's just an inch off the ground.
 He even jumped from one tree to the other!
 Irene wanted to do it, too, but I was too chicken to let her. :)
 Gabe found a neat hiding spot among some pine branches.
 Olivia ran way ahead, but we eventually caught up to her.

 Ezra has a fascination with sticks and the imagination to make them into whatever he wants. This one's a flintlock musket.

 We stopped for a few minutes to let them play with sticks in the mud again. :)

 It's a pretty long walk, so by the time we were headed back, a couple of them were getting grumpy. *cough* EZRA*cough*
 He decided he'd rather mope in the background than be in the picture... but wait... where's Irene?
 Oh yeah. She's grumpy, too.


 When we were back to the fallen trees, Ezra was a little too brave when he walked out on a branch. I made sure to get a picture before a ran in to save him from falling.
 Gabe was no slouch, either, when it came to bravery.