Tuesday, November 29, 2005

War of 1812

When was the War of 1812? Lee was the fastest to answer, "In 1812!" We are still studying this time period. We read Abigail's Drum, a story about two sisters who used their fife and drum playing to scare away a British ship. We read two versions of this story which is based on a true story. Today we started reading Dolly Madison, from the Discovery Biographies series. I'm planning on checking out a couple for Grace to read. They are at her reading level and are high interest. We started today and stopped after reading 3 chapters, even though they were begging for more. Better to have them looking forward to tomorrow, then tired of it today. Lee made a punched tin lantern.

Directions: Rinse out a tin can, fill with water, freeze. On a wooden cutting board, using a hammer and nail, punch (pound) a design into the can. The ice makes it easier so the can won't dent. When done place a candle in bottom of can and enjoy the flickering points of light your child created.

Grace started on a rag rug. She sewed together strips of fabric and braided them together until she had a 12 foot braid. Tomorrow I will teach her how to coil the braid and hand sew it together. I don't think it will make a rug, but maybe a trivet or plant pad. We coiled it just to see how it looked and it's amazing how a mish mosh of colors can turn out to be so beautiful. I might make one for myself. (rug size)

We had an early lunch and now everyone is back at school. Grace is reading and Lee is working on his journal. Lou is playing dress up; she's Dolly Madison curtsying all the time. Ray is playing with puzzle pieces and duplos.

Advent Arrives

In anticipation of advent arriving, I pulled out the advent wreath and two nativity sets last Wednesday. During our family formation time we spruced up the wreath and blessed it. On Sunday evening we had our first advent service, meaning we did a short reading, prayer and blessing to the family. I was a little disappointed in Lee and Lou's behavior. I guess it can only get better. They seemed to think that this was a big joke, which did not set well with me. Well, here we are not even a week after putting out the nativities and one shepherd is broken from the breakable set and baby Jesus is missing from the child safe set. I hope that's not a sign. I believe I've just forgotten what it's like to have a toddler "investigating" the new decor. That same toddler swiped my real gold earrings off my dresser and lost them somewhere in the house or even worse may have deposited them in the trash. Time to empty out the toy boxes.
My goal was to have all my Christmas shopping done by Advent, so that I could just enjoy the waiting and preparation of Jesus' coming. I'm almost done; I think only three more things to order. Most of the wrapping is done, as well. I hope your preparations are going well, too.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Vacation Cliff Notes

Last week was spent in Eau Claire, WI. The tradition is to take a post harvest trip. Last year we went to Iowa (Des Moines, Madison County area). The trip must include swimming, hot tubbing, hiking, pizza delivered to the hotel room, museum visits and plenty of cable television. We found Little House on the Prairie and The Dukes of Hazard, both were winners with my kids. It seems that the Dukes was such a cliffhanger as kids, now it's almost cheesy. The trip included everything on the list and a little shopping to boot. We had tons of fun and needed the time away from home to relax. It also seems that home is a great place to be when you are away for awhile.

Today we jumped back into our school schedule. Since it's Monday, we began with the Monday Home Blessing and then at 9:00am began with reciting their memory verse, Matthew 25:35. We read from Pippi Longstocking. We have one chapter left to go. Grace and Lee did their seat work, we read 512 Ant on Sullivan Street and then Grace and Lee tried to double numbers to land directly on 100. Grace finally realized that it would be easier to just work backward from 100 and half everything. Lee headed outside for some cold weather dirt biking, while Grace worked on her scrapbook until she ran out of tape. Lee went to a friends for the afternoon, Grace and Lou watched Postcards from Buster. I am getting off this computer to do some sewing.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

A Lesson in Compassion and Geneology

Tuesday was the Feast of All Saints. I had intended on reading Patrick: The Patron Saint of Ireland. However, I had forgotten during Subject of the Day time and we did a lesson, I had planned, which revolved around the book The Hundred Penny Box. The story is about a black family from Georgia who takes care of their 100 year old aunt. The boy is intrigued by her 100 pennies, each one reminding her of a year of her life. She is suffering from alzheimers or dementia (slightly) and the boy shows her much needed compassion while the mother just tries to hide her away. The story is quite deep for the length of the book. It's really just a long picture book. After reading and discussing the book we dug through our pennies searching for the pennies that tell our life story. Grace and Lee found treasure boxes in their room to store their pennies in and plan on collecting a 2006 penny just as soon as the new year rolls around. I printed off a 5 generation (great great grandparents) family tree chart. We filled in the names and Grace even made calls to great grandma and grandpa B to find out the names of their parents as I wasn't even sure. Lee's printing skills are really shaping up, as he could fit the names on the line without frustration. It turned out to be a great Subject of the Day project.

Back to the Future: Today we finally read the Saint Patrick book. Did you know he drummed all the snakes off the island of Ireland?