Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hanukkah 2016

It's Hanukkah time!

The kids love this time of year because we spend 8 days and nights reading stories, lighting candles, and doing all kinds of fun stuff. I'ts a tradition for us to have a different fun thing to do each day, one of which is to go through the neighborhood near us and see the lights they do each year. This year, though, we decided to walk instead of drive. It was a new perspective. The kids found one of those projecting light shows and got all silly dancing in it. :)

Then, another day, we went and got donuts at Rise Bakery. They were oh, so good! They also make a bangin' chicken biscuit. :) According to their sign, they're the "Best Dang Biscuits and Donuts" and they're certainly making a good attempt at it. :)

After breakfast, we went out to Durham to see Rebecca's grandmother at the nursing home.
Olivia and Gabe played their recital pieces to the delight of the family.

After lunch, we were headed home, but decided to stop off for a hike through the Eno River State Park. It's a really pretty trail that runs right along the river.
Gabe found a hollowed out tree to hide in.
Olivia tried her hand at skipping rocks.
Then she spent some time jumping across the ones she couldn't skip. :)

Emma tried to scare me by hiding behind this rock and jumping out at me. :)

It was a very nice 4 mile hike and we were glad we made the detour for it.

But the highlight this year was making these. We made handprint hanukkiahs for each child to light their own candles every night. We used a board and painted their hands on them and then glued nuts (the hardware kind, not the eating kind) to each fingertip to hold a candle.

Despite the obvious fire hazard, we let them carefully light their candles and had no mishaps or burns the entire week. :)

It was pretty bright once everyone's was lit! :)
And this one is our prize-winning family hanukkiah! We all worked together to make it and brought it to church for the homemade hanukkiah contest and it was voted the best of the bunch!
Once again, it was a great time together as a family and we look forward to next year!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Winter Walk

On the first day of Winter, it was a balmy day, hitting almost 60 degrees, so we decided to go for a hike in the woods north of town. 
 We got on the Atlantic and Yadkin Greenway and walked a loop that was about 3.5 miles. 
 The littles walked the whole way, minus a little bit at the end for Irene.

 We cam across a big tree that had fallen down and the kids spent a little while climbing all over it.

It was a beautiful day, a great walk and everyone enjoyed it. Not too bad for winter, eh? :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

EMMA Homeschool Co-op

(sorry for the foggy picture... It was warm that day and the camera had been in the air-conditioned car, which fogged the lens.)

This Fall, we enrolled Olivia, Gabe and Ezra in a homeschool co-op called EMMA, which stands for "Enriching, Mentoring, Mastering and Achieving." While the boys were only there for PE (so they could have some time playing organized games with other kids), Olivia took much more. She was in NC history, Botany, Literature Circle (where they would read a book over a few weeks and then take turn breaking down a particular aspect of the book like vocabulary, imagery, narration and so on), and Robotics! 

During the term, they did some special days, one of which was "Dress Like Your Favorite Literary Character." Guess who Olivia picked...

She did really well in her classes and during the last week, they had a fun Arts and Sciences night where they showcased science projects, artwork and music that the kids had all prepared. 
 Olivia's Botany project was a leaf classification display. She had to find 10 different leaves and display them with information like the leaf margin, shape, position on the branch and so on. She did a fantastic job on it, splatter-painting the background and using different brightly colored paper for the mountings. 
 The robotics class had a really cool display set up with Lego robots that had their own controllers and allowed kids to pick up blocks and run into each other.
 Gabe and Ezra tangled up a few times. 
 They also had these little robots that could be controlled with a TV remote. 

Enriching, Mentoring, Mastering, and Achieving

 Emma and Irene certainly enjoyed playing with those. Enriching, Mentoring, Mastering, and 
Olivia demonstrated how to move the robots up a ramp and knock all the balls off their perches. 

The semester ended last week and they have a couple of weeks off. They will be going back in January and we're adding a couple of classes for the boys: Art and a musical called The Agape League, which is about superheroes that embody different fruits of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, etc.) The boys will likely be in the choir, not actually acting, but we'll see!