Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sibling Classes

Rebecca has to take classes each time she is pregnant for her insurance. Now, she isn't so sure she really needs the classes but we are thankful for the discount on our insurance. :) The end of her birth and baby classes is a sibling class and tour. Olivia and Gabe were very excited to participate. Ezra, well, i'm sure you guessed it, but he just sort of came along. At the end, the teacher even gave Olivia a bit more information by showing her posters of the baby inside of mom and answering her questions about the birth process.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ponds and Streams Nature Hike

As we continued Olivia's study of rivers and lakes, we stopped by a couple of places to look more closely at a stream and a pond/marsh.

Ducks feeding in the stream
We talked about how the leaves in the stream decay and provide nutrients for all kinds of plants and animals.
Olivia went digging in the mud to see if she could find any hibernating bugs, frogs or turtles. We did see a water strider scooting around, but it was too fast to get a picture of.
If you look closely, there's a tiny fish in the middle of the picture.
At the marsh, we talked about how ducks and other birds like the reeds and cattails for shelter and camouflage.
While we didn't see any, there was some clear evidence that beavers had been here at some time.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, we spent Thanksgiving at Rebecca's folks' plave this year and had a wonderful time, great food (of course, I cooked it...:) ) and lots fo laughs. As is typical, we spent a whole lot of time eating and lounging and not so much on the picture-taking...

On Thanksgiving morning, Rebecca got up at about 3:45am (thinking it was 4:30am) and went with her dad to make and serve turkeys to a big group of missionaries. They slaved in the kitchen there until after 1pm, but all were fed and happy.

I got up around 7am and made the kids special "turkey" pancakes... 

That's when I started "slaving" over our Thanksgiving meal. It really wasn't that hard, but we had turkey, mashed potatoes, chipotle sweet potatoes, broccoli casserole, green bean casserole, cornbread (courtesy of Rebecca's mom :) ) and her Aunt Kelly brought pie. Mmmmm...pie.

Grandma was so kind to play with the kids outside for the morning, putting them to work in the barn or swinging on the swings or riding on the horses so I didn't have to worry about entertaining them and cook, too.

Once we were all fat and happy, Olivia took charge and dragged Grandpa outside for more hours of playing. She'd been waiting patiently all day for him to get home. :) 

On the way home the next morning, we swung by Rebecca's grandparents' house and got to spend lunchtime with them as well as her Aunt Bethany and Uncle Phil, and cousins Matthew and Hunter. Matt and Hunter spent a good while playing with the kids and a fun time was had by all. :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Preparing for Thanksgiving

We attended a Thanksgiving party and had so much fun. The kids heard a few books, made lots of crafts, and enjoyed a very festive lunch.


turkeys, cupcake teepees, indian corn cookies

Lots of outdoor fun on a beautiful fall day

Our  family sunflower. Thank you Amber. The sunflower only has one leaf right now as we will add the baby's foot soon. :) 

Gabe's crafts:

Olivia's Crafts:

Our Cottage School visited Guilford Homes. We sang the folksongs and hymns we have been studying the last two terms and gave out placemats that we made to the residents. It was a blessing to bless others. Unfortunately, my camera didn't end up with me. Gabe is very sweet and outgoing. He held hands and talked to a staff member as we walked into the building. He also went and stood by an elderly gentlemen as we sang. The kids went around and visited with the residents as they were eating their lunches. Olivia and Gabe are both very outgoing and strike up conversations easily.

Each family used their own creativity to make the placemats so we had a fun variety. These were ours except that each placemat had a different scripture having to do with Thanksgiving.

At home we pulled out the Little People mayflower and Thanksgiving sets that we have and read books. Olivia watched a movie about the Mayflower crossing and the Plymoth Colony (again, found on Youtube) and worked on some brainstorming activities about the kids experiences. Gabe worked on the Thanksgiving preschool pack from Carissa at 1+1+1=1. As a family we have spent time each day for the last week listing the things that we are thankful for. It is a very good exercise and will hopefully create a habit of gratitude in our lives. Olivia then made this chain out of our list. Olivia says, "We have so many things to be thankful for!" And I couldn't agree more!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ezra's First Haircut

We finally had to do something about the boy's mullet. It was getting just a little too pronounced, so I took the clippers to him. you can see just how excited about it he was...Although, compared to Gabe, he was easy...

Friday, November 18, 2011

European Tour

Our homeschool curriculum has taken us through Europe, specifically 3 countries: Norway, France, and Germany. Olivia successfully learned to identify about 75% of the countries in Europe along with the main bodies of water. We read about Europe in general and about kids/families from quite a few of the countries but those 3 were our focus.

In Norway, we read about the Lapps, a group of people that live in the northernmost part of the country who are primarily nomadic, following the herds of reindeer.  We cooked meat cakes, salmon quiche, and rice pudding.

This is an example of Rosemailing. I printed it off and then Olivia traced it to get an idea of all the detail.
This is a project using the traditional colors the Lapps.

In France, we talked about art museums and looked at art, we talked about the Eiffel Tower, and the Chunnel connecting England and France. We talked about French cuisine and saw how much of its influences are even in our local grocery store. We went one evening and tasted chocolate mousse and eclairs. We took home croissants to have at breakfast the next day.

Lavendar scented soaps
profile silhouettes: I drew hers and she drew me.

In Germany we talked about composers, the printing press, castles and read tons of fairy tales. Olivia has now decided to call hot-dogs frankfurters because she likes the name better. We made mini pretzels which Olivia said was the highlight of our recent baking.

Pressed Flowers

Modeling with Beeswax. Smells nice as your manipulate it.

Europe has a diverse landscape giving us many opportunities to talk about geography. From various mountain ranges to caves to the Black Forest to seas, lakes, and rivers to the far north that is within the arctic circle. Our science focus was broad. We spent time talking about plant and animal classification. We talked about food chains, animal adaptation and defenses, the balance of nature in the environment. We reviewed some of our forest information and then spent time learning about freshwater bodies of water, specifically rivers and lakes.

Olivia building mountains to surround our river
Watching the water carve a path through the valley and carry soil to the "ocean" 
Surface tension

Placing a bent staple on the water to demonstrate how surface tension lets some things float that shouldn't.

To add to our tour of Europe, we talked about Romania. Our family has supported a family of four in Romania through World Vision for about 7 years. I pulled out the pictures and letters that we have from our family through the years and shared them with Olivia. One of her school assignments is to write a letter each week. She usually writes to family members. This time, she and I wrote letters and sent pictures to the Vacar family in Romania. She asks me every few days if I think her letter has made it to them and if she will get a response. I showed her how they write in their language and then it is translated for us. She was very concerned about how they would be able to read her letter. 

Another thing that Olivia really enjoys is listening to samples of language from the countries and some of their local children songs. I continue to find Youtube to be a good resource for this. In addition, the curriculum came with an International Wee Sing music CD and book.

Olivia is continuing to read her way through the book of Matthew and memorize a selection of scriptures. We are also still reading about and praying for a particular people group each week in Window on the World. I highly recommend this resource to give your children (and yourself) a view of the world that is larger than our own American families.  Our read aloud for Europe was the biography of George Müller. I can't say enough good things about this book. He was a man of amazing faith. The story is mostly about his heart for and ministry to orphan children in England. The simple stories of trusting God, answered prayer, and God's provision were easy for Olivia to get excited about and think about. (*As an aside, I totally believe that this was God's grace to have us reading this book when Jeremy was laid off from his job. I just can't say enough good things about this book. Go get it and read it! :) )

Gabe at the Dentist

6 months ago, Gabe went to the dentist but wouldn't let anyone look in his mouth to count his teeth or anything. This time, however, he watched Olivia go first and when it was his turn, he hopped right up into the chair and opened wide for the hygenist to look and clean and count. Yay, Gabe!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Old Salem

We took the kids out to Old Salem for the day last week. 

We got to see some things we didn't get to see last year, like the Tavern and the "smokehouse" that they discovered behind the tavern. 

We took a look at the firefighting equipment that they had back in the day, too. They actually had to order the pumps from Germany and it took a full year for them to get to Salem.