Goodbye October+ First Week of November

October is over, whaaat?

That was one crazy month. Even though we didn’t have a particularly heavy schedule life seemed busy.

What have we been up to in October:

-We had guests: D’s godfather and his wife came to visit and spent nearly a week with us. We were so happy to see them and their visit gave us the longed-for opportunity to take a small break in our studies.

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-I received kids’ MAPS test scores and was pleasantly surprised to see how well kids did, especially C. who tested as a third grader (to have her sip the grade was a spontaneous decision and I am still questioning it from time to time),  D. did wonderfully, but he almost always does, good job to both of them.

-Studies at home went well for the most part. We hardly had time for much besides core subjects for some reason, I am glad kids take science and history at co-op, this way at least  there they got their electives covered. They did lots of art on their own. But that would be my major goal to get beyond core in November.

-C. had her choir camp, D. was working very hard in Concert Choir and helped his friends there learn a song in Russian. They sound really good, can’t wait to hear them at the concert as well.

-We all got through a stomach bug, that makes it two times we got sick this school year. Something needs to be done.

-The weather was gorgeous, we got to see some amazing colors. The trees are getting bare now and we are ready (well, almost ready) for winter.

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First week of November was loaded with things to do and thoughts to process:

-C. is heading to her first karate tournament next week, so she’s working very hard on learning her forms and practicing sparring. D. is going too, but it’s his 10th, so he’s more relaxed this time around.

-We went to Denver Art Museumimg_20161102_114234

-Just a handful of practices remains for choir before the big concert. Looking forward to that a lot.

I finally opened my Etsy store, YAAAAY! I have put a few cards out already, so come and check it out.

 

What my kids read in October:

C. read “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick and it took her all month to get through the book, but she loved it

D. read

The Archer’s Goon by Diana Wynne Jones,

Call of the Wild by Jack London, and

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

There were also tons of re-reads, which I didn’t keep track of.

Mama read:

Across the Universe Trilogy by Beth Revis. I read quite a bit of Young Adult novels this year, not just because they’re fun, but also to add to D’s “to be read” pile, this trilogy, although it was fast-paced and interesting read will have to wait for a couple of years.

 

Plans for November:

We have A LOT going on outside of home. I will need to try and balance it out so our school at home doesn’t suffer. But personally, I hope to reach the level of calm that will support me throughout the winter months.The past weeks were anything but calm, there was anxiety, there were struggles with children and general uneasiness about certain matters. Health wasn’t the best either, especially for kids. I crave the sense of calm and simplicity, so I will work on that this month.  I am already preparing for our December celebrations and hopefully will make an advent calendar slowly instead of at the last minute like past years.

 

 

Week in Review : March 1- March 6, 2016 (and what were we up to in February)

Spring is here! (not on calendar yet, I know, I know, but I don’t care, IT IS HERE!) Birds outside are going crazy, and even though I know that Colorado weather might bring us more snow yet, the leaves on the bush near our door are coming out and the general feel is that the worst is over. The winter was quite mild this year, I can’t really complain I guess, but we were so sick this winter..

Seriously most of our February was miserable because of pink-eyes, coughs and sniffles. Not much happened otherwise. We joined Roots and Shoots  project with a local homeschool group, D. had choir events during February, other than that not much outside of our regular school days. We did a unit on Ancient India for history, and learned about India for geography/cultural studies. For me personally February brought a very good news of finding a spot to sell cards with my artwork. It went pretty well, around 75% of cards were sold and I just put in second batch with new designs. I joined Society6 and I still consider whether I should open and etsy store, but it will depend on if  I can actually maintain it. I made myself a workspace and hopefully it will help me stay productive.

March started well and I must say the fact that days are longer made a huge difference for us. We still manage to get sick a little, but the first week quite intense:

-Meeting friends.

-Roots and Shoots meeting, kids discussed their project and it was fascinating to see the wide range of ideas that kids brought to the meeting

-A visit to Butterfly Pavillion.

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-A solo hike for me, how nice it was to be outside in the sun BY MYSELF. I felt re-energized.

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-D’s dojo performed at Hina Matsuri Japanese Doll Festival again this year, and once again it was a treat to see wonderful art work at the festival and to watch the performances

hina mats

 

In the kitchen:

I am doing 21  days of salads challenge, trying to make a different salad every day. So far it’s been pretty good, but it starts to get repetitive.

We got hooked on Cheese-Herb Popovers (the recipe came from “The Perfect Egg” Cookbook, which I reviewed on this blog before)

popovers

Makes 6:

Pre-heat oven to 450 F, butter muffin cups

beat together 2 eggs, pinch of salt, 1 cup of milk, 2 tbsp of melted butter. Add 1 cup of flour, do not overmix. In a separate bowl combine your favorite cheese with your favorite herb.  Pour batter into the muffin cups filling them up about halfway and reserving about 1 tbs of batter for each cup. Add cheese mixture, pour the remaining tablespoon of batter over cheese. Bake at 450F for about 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 F for the next 15 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.

What are we reading:

In addition to many re-reads,in February and first week of March D. read

-Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

-The Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater

-The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

-The Children of Odin by Padraic Colum

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C.’s favorite chapter books in February and first week of March are

-The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles De Lint

-The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

-The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi

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So here’s our end of winter/beginning of Spring in a nutshell, this week is supposed to be relatively calm, looking forward to enjoying it!

 

 

 

Tuesday Night Playtime : Little Boats

This is our last Tuesday Night Play for a while as D’s choir starts again next week.

This week we took opportunity to play with some walnut shells and created a sea adventure. Initially we hoped to make mini candles so we have floating lights, but those didn’t work out.

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kids were very free with the beeswax 😀

We ended up just sticking little flags made out of washi tape into the shells and let them float.

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kids also added glass beads, plastic snowflakes, ice and even a stray cranberry for more dramatic set-up. A candle served for the setting sun

Later children added an island- one of D’s earlier ceramic creations, and some animals to liven up the scene.

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mysterious island

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and a baby hippo guarding the treasure (love how kids picked turquoise tissue paper to put underneath our glass bowl, creating a lovely tropical beach)

 

So here is our Tuesday Night Play, I loved seeing kids play small worlds again. A little bit sad because D. is slowly leaving it behind (they grow up so fast). Stay tuned for more, we will definitely keep this tradition, if not on Tuesdays, there are 3 more free nights in the week 🙂

 

 

Tuesday Night playtime: creating tiny universes

Evenings are long and dark , but tonight was delightful. I saw the idea of playing with marbles and assistive light on the phone somewhere on the web, and today we finally got a chance to try it out. We had marbles and beady decorations from the floral section in the craft store. Warning, don’t look directly at the light, it will definitely hurt your eyes!

Just a marble put on top of phone’s assistive light and a complete darkness- all you need to create a tiny amazing universe, we found that craft store beads create better galaxies, but marbles make amazing planets:

our first marble universe

our first marble universe

 

 

the blue one most definitely has water :)

the blue one most definitely has water 🙂

 

A good chance to remember differences between opaque, translucent and transparent- and the biggest marble becomes Neptune

A good chance to remember differences between opaque, translucent and transparent- and the biggest marble becomes Neptune

half the planet is covered with ice

half the planet is covered with ice

my favorite spotty marble   reminded us about Earth

my favorite spotty marble reminded us about Earth

It gets even better – the colors reflected on our ceiling absolutely charmed little C.

marble planets reflection

 

reflection from marbles

 

We also had some rocks bought from the museum long time ago and those made some magic of their own

this shard of crystal like rock created icy and fierce asteroid

this shard of crystal like rock created icy and fierce asteroid

this one looks like a glowing amber

this one looks like a glowing ember

This one, blue with lilac strikes is our favorite, it looks like it has a heart

This one, white with lilac strikes is our favorite, it looks like it has a heart

 

Fun and calming time tonight…

Week’s Round Up : First 10 days of January

Hello, and Happy New Year to everyone who reads me 🙂 It’s been a while, but we’re back again.

Photo of the week:

 

 

New Year met us with nice biting frost, such beauty!

New Year met us with nice biting frost, such beauty!

What we were up to until now:

Continue reading

THE BEST SEASON OF ALL 2015: Days 15-23

Another week went by, and lo! It’s almost Christmas!

 

What we’ve been up to December 15-23:

Letter to Santa, as always D. is all about Star Wars and C. had some unexpected wishes which I am not sure Santa can make happen.

We made homemade gingerbread cookies, kids’ dad made the dough and we did the baking. Kids refused to decorate them, though so they look a bit plain. But so delicious!

TBSOA 2015: gingerbread

 

We got so much snow!!! Fun with friends, games, giggles and sledding!

TBSOA: Snow Day!

 

C. turned 7! Hard to believe that my baby is so big already. We had a quiet celebration at home, plus C’s Spanish class at homeschool program had Las Posadas party. We also went to look at holiday lights displays nearby.

She chose Yule Log for her birthday cake :D I didn't bake it obviously

She chose Yule Log for her birthday cake 😀 I didn’t bake it obviously

 

blurry pic, but those were very very pretty lights

blurry pic, but those were very very pretty lights

Family game night! Dixit rules our lives, C. is getting better at submitting her cards too.

Kids made a holiday mobile and decorated candles

 

TBSOA 2015 : mobile

nothing fancy- mod podge and glitter

nothing fancy- mod podge and glitter

We had a joined birthday party with C’s friend L. Their birthdays are very close. Fun, warmth and yummy food.

each girl got a little letter art from me

each girl got a little letter art from me

C. made some clay keychains to give out to her friends and D. read holiday books out loud to us (Ollie’s Ski Trip remains a favorite after so many years)

very abstract but each hasa backstory :D

very abstract but each has a backstory 😀

 

So here we are, it’s Christmas Eve, I am hoping for a quiet and sweet evening, the morning will most likely be a chaos :DDD

TBSOA 2015: 3 weeks of December

Wishing everyone Happy Holidays!

 

THE BEST SEASON OF ALL 2015: Days 8-13

Another week flew by and half of December is gone. We had lovely week of small, quiet celebrations. Here what it was like:

On Tuesday there was another lovely concert with D.’s choir- his division performed in the nursing home nearby and as always, wonderful singing and warm, holiday atmosphere.

 

Wednesday kids opened their new winter books.

TBSOA 2015: new booksFor C. it was “Snow Rabbit” by Camille Garoche- a wordless picture book about a paper rabbit that turned real and two sisters that went chasing after him.

Snow Rabbit

D. got Neil Gaiman’s “Odd and the Frost Giants” and he loved it.

Odd and the frost giants

 

On Thursday we tried finger knitting, I must say it was crazy difficult for me and C., I am not a knitter at all and crochet but a little. C. didn’t have patience. But D. got a hang of it and had fun finger knitting for a while.

TBSOA: fingerknitting

 

On Friday D. and his dad had a lovely family karate class and we got our tree after. We usually get a small tree to fit into our tiny living room, but this year the choice was either microscopic or 6 feet tall. So we got 6 feet tall one. It’s weird to have such a big tree again and it takes up half of the room, but ids are absolutely thrilled.

On Saturday we made a few decorations as per our annual tradition and decorated our tree.

D. went for a paper house, inside tha box is colored as a room

D. went for a paper house, inside tha box is colored as a room

C. painted a shell with acrylic paints. As always, I love her colors and especially how she incorporated gold paint

C. painted a shell with acrylic paints. As always, I love her colors and especially how she incorporated gold paint

I of course went with felt and made a simple heart

I of course went with felt and made a simple heart

 

our not at all tiny tree

our not at all tiny tree

Sunday was a card making day, kids made a bunch of cards for their friends and teachers.

Monday they started their annual lego village display

TBSOA 2015: Lego village

 

We watched “It’s a Wonderful Life!”, kids for the first time. Elves have been visiting and putting tiny presents for kids under the tree…I draw some holiday cheer too

TBSOA 2015 :mama draws

I keep doodle diary this season and it’s filling up little by little

two weeks of events

two weeks of events

Wishing wonderful holidays to everyone!