Friday, August 2, 2013

Back blogging April to July!! I'm all caught up!

So here we are, ready to finish catching up!  Tomorrow we are starting a family "screen free" week.  I will still have to do some necessary screen time (bills and a few other "work" related things) but we will have no unnecessary screen time. Sadly, I think it will be more difficult for me than the kids.  I have morphed into a total narcissist, posting my (self proclaimed) witty thoughts and adorable pictures (of my kids) and waiting expectantly for everyone's "likes" and comments.  It is time for a little break.  We're going to do things like play Yahtzee and make telephone calls.  You know, old fashioned stuff.   I decided to stay up late and use every last minute of my screen time blogging.  Leave me some loving comments to come back to so I can feel affirmed after my screen fast.

Way back in April we had a homeschool geography fair.  This was the second year we participated in the fair and it was so great.  The girls researched Scotland.  They did everything totally independently, from gathering their research to making their board and delicious Scottish cakes.  Some friends even lent them real Scottish kilts to wear!  They also had a video on display of the making of Haggis, a famous Scottish food that is renowned  for its odd (disgusting?) assortment of ingredients shoved into a sheep stomach to be steamed to Haggis perfection.  They had people vote if they would try Haggis or not.  Not won...

The boys did their research on Mexico.  They also were very independent in their research.  They built an awesome pyramid replica and served Mexican hot chocolate to the people at the fair.  I was really proud of all of their hard work. 

We took the boys and Amelia on a fun trip to Hancock Shaker Village one chilly April afternoon during baby animal season.  They love it there so much. 

 Isaac is really comfortable with the baby animals. 
 Ian too!  He was pretty excited that he caught this rooster.  I'm not sure the rooster felt the same...
 Later that same day we had a birthday party for Ian!  I can't believe my baby boy is 8.  He was super into Skylanders this year (a Wii game) so I gave him a Skylanders party.  It won't be long before they have all outgrown themed birthday parties with games...well, not all of them, Amelia will still be into that for a few years!  I have put on some pretty cool birthday parties (if I do say so myself) but it had been a long time since I did a big theme with games and the like.  I had fun putting it all together for him.  I think they had fun enjoying it all. 

 I even made a special cake (which I think I vowed not to do anymore...)  It had a rice krispy treat portal of power.  The coolest thing about this cake was that it was free of gluten, hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, and artificial food coloring...and it still tasted good!
 I enjoyed some super snuggle time with my big boys after the party.  It won't be long before they are bigger than me!  I am so blessed to be their mommy.
 This is a cute pic of Amelia but also a poignant one in my mind.  Right after I snapped it I got notification on my phone about the Boston Marathon Bombings.  Another tragic moment frozen in time and memory that many in Massachusetts will never forget...
 We took a family field trip to Old Sturbridge Village over April Vacation week.  I love Old Sturbridge Village and I really enjoyed this day with my kids and my nieces a lot.

 Here is something that makes me such a proud mom.  One fine spring day, shortly after the Boston bombing, the kids were playing outside and decided to start waving the American flag and seeing if they could get people to "honk for their country".  They started keeping track of the honks and decided to donate a quarter to our local veterans food pantry for every honk they got.  This quickly turned into much more than a Saturday afternoon game.  They ended up being in the newspaper and people started stopping to give them money for the veterans!  It was really really awesome.

When they had raised about $100.00 they brought it to the pantry.  They got to have a tour and talk with some of the veterans and volunteers.  They sang a patriotic song for everyone and we all pledged allegiance together.  It was very moving, to say the least. 

 We did a lot of earth and space science this year.  The kids had to do solar system models. I didn't help them at all.  I gave the assignment and this is what I got in return!  They were all awesome.  I loved having them on display.  Sometimes I wish I had more of a grown up "decor" in the house but then I remember how short this time really is and I appreciate the solar system models, giant wipe board and maps all over my walls...
 We made rock candy.  It was actually part of Ian's birthday party but we had to wait a week or two for it to be completed.  It was pretty cool to make it.  I was the meanest mom in the world though and I didn't let them eat it because of the food coloring and sugar.  Yeah, I'm that mean...
 Cutest ever...
 Me and my shadow!
 We participated in an awesome art class this spring. The teacher, Barry Stebbings, is an artist who travels the country with his wife giving art lessons to groups of homeschoolers.  Their art ministry is called How Great Thou Art.  It was a three day class and it was amazing.  I learned so much just listening!  The kids really enjoyed it.  It taught them a lot and they were so enthusiastic about what they had learned.  They sell lots of great art curriculum and we were blessed to be able to purchase one for this coming year.  I can't wait to get into it!

As the weather got warmer we moved our afternoon reading sessions outside... Aren't these kids just the greatest?!  Gosh I love them...
I don't know if I mentioned in our Christmas blog that our family gift to each other this year was a canoe!  We are having such a great time with it.  I don't get out in it as much as Jay and the big kids do but this fine spring afternoon we stole a few minutes and went on a little date.  It was divine!
My mom texted me this adorable picture of Bella and Hannah when they were only 4 years old.  They were so cute trying to recreate it.  My how they've grown...

Jason and I got to go away for a night on mother's day weekend.  It was the most beautiful, relaxing, wonderful, amazing, lovely delightful mother's day present I have ever had.  We were not even gone from the kids for a full 24 hours but I felt so rejuvenated and refreshed.  We packed a lot of fun into those few hours.  We went out for an amazing dinner and ice cream, went plant shopping at the herb farm where we stayed, went to a sweet little farmers market, had a great lunch at a coffee house that is now located in the same building we spent the first night of our honeymoon in and went on a hike to find rare spring plants like lady slippers and jack in the pulpits.  These are a few of my favorite things.  My sweetie spoiled me so much.  He even took some "selfies" with me.  He loves having his picture taken, can't you tell haha. He actually did take some nice ones with me but these are funnier.  I LOVE THIS MAN SO MUCH!! 
We went for another hike as a family on mother's day.  It was such a great day.  I have struggled with mother's day in the past for selfish reasons but this year I was so blessed and full of joy.  Maybe I should go away the day before mother's day every year...
How could I be anything but blessed with kids who make sweet things like this for me!  *heart melts*
My boys played baseball together this year.  I love watching them play.  It was a great season.
Here is a burst of awesomeness for you.  A friend picked some ramps for me this spring.  They are also known as wild leeks.  They are like a cross between and onion and garlic and they are UH-MAZING!  They just taste so good, I can't explain why but if you saute them with some spinach, butter and uncured turkey bacon, you will understand this love story.  The extra cool thing about them is that one must forage for them.  So forage we did.  I can't tell you how earthy crunchy and cool I felt, foraging for my own food. So. Cool. 

Some more family fun in the canoe.  Isaac was pretty proud of this beauty!
Seriously, so many awesome things happened this spring.  This is definitely one of my favorites though...  We now have a TLC garden!  It is in the front yard because that is the only place we get enough sun.  We got cool cedar planks that were made from old telephone poles and then a nice friend of ours with a super big dump truck dropped off a ton (literally) of soil. 

There they are, all ready to be planted!
And walla!  The kids did a great job planting all the plants.  I can't wait to post the end of summer pictures of it later.  It is doing amazing!

Just before the last day of school, I surprised the kids by taking them out for lunch at a local Hibachi restaurant.  This is them doing a happy dance when they realized what was going on. 

We had a really fun time.  I had never eaten at a hibachi grill before and we all had a blast... Our chef was very fun and entertaining.  Here he is squirting water in Bella's mouth.
Then it was the last day of school!  We had a nice little end of the year presentation for everone's parents.  The kids sang a song and gave an oral book report and we enjoyed lots of pizza together.  It was a nice way to end a great year together!
But life goes on and we're never really done with school.  Isabella had her recital just after school got out.  This was her first year on point and her dance studio performed Toy Story through dance for their recital.  Her class were dolls.  She does look like a pretty little porcelain doll doesn't she...

...and then she turned 12.  Really?!  My baby girls is 12.  Yes.  We had a nice time painting pottery and then going out for lunch to celebrate.

Good thing I have a baby still too.  I think I would be totally freaking out about this 12 year old thing if I didn't.

We did too many awesome things this spring!  Even though TLC was officially done for the summer, my kids and Miles still had a few more school related activities to complete.  They gave research presentations at our research group.  They worked all year on their reports and did great jobs!  Ian did his on deer.  Isaac did his on duck hunting.  Miles did his on working dogs and Bella did hers on fast food and how it affects Americans. 

For her report, Bella bought a cheeseburger and fries from McDonalds and let it sit on top of our fridge for a whole month.  It looked exactly like it did the day we bought it, it was just rock hard.  No mold, no rotting.  Just solid.  Gross!
Yay!  Strawberry picking time...
The kids also had a music performance.  They worked all year with a great group of homeschoolers led by Isabella's piano teacher, and my good friend, Amy.  They all sang beautifully.  Isabella played the piano while the audience found their seats.  She did a stellar job. 

Then I uneventfully turned 35 and June was over. On to July!!

We celebrated the Fourth of July back in my home town .  The kids participated in the parade as the characters from the Wizard of Oz.  They looked so awesome.  They collectively won a prize for prettiest. 

It was a gloriously hot day that day.  We were all grateful to cool down in Grammy and Papa's pool for a bit. 
This was hot, tired Millie before she cooled down.  I just love this picture.  Her hair looks like a sparkler or something.
Look at that adorable face.  This is what summer is all about...

Right after the Fourth Bella and Hannah went to camp for a week!!  Here they are on move in day.  It was sooo weird to not have Bella home for a whole week.  They had an awesome time and can't wait to go back again next year!
So that is it for now.  We are caught up!  I finally did it!  Are you so proud of me?! 


  1. Yes I am!!! I'm more in awe than proud though. You are an amazing mother and teacher and I love reading your posts. It's always an encouragement to me. I enjoy seeing the kids grow up (too fast) and hearing about all the fun homeschool things you do with them. I'm definitely not as much fun!! LOL I hope you had a refreshing no-screen week. Here's looking forward to another few weeks of summer and a nice fresh start to a new school year. xo

    1. Thanks Jan! You are so encouraging and too kind. Blushing :)

    2. Thanks Jan! You are so encouraging and too kind. Blushing :)