Monday Musings

For the week of November 28th….

A few plans for the week
 
Our usual roundup of sports and outside classes :: adding a second ballet class and a contemporary dance class to Rose’s dance schedule ~ plus she has her first performance this weekend ~ so much excitement! :: a trip to the vet for a cat check-up :: going to see The Underwater Bubble Show with my girls
Noticing the season ~ some things I’d like to do this week
 
Watch The Rockefeller Tree Lighting on television :: get our Christmas tree :: make a batch of Christmas cookies :: set up the Christmas book basket :: listen to Christmas music in the car on our way here and there :: have cranberry orange pancakes on the weekend :: light the first Advent candle :: start our Advent calendars :: decorate the house :: start amaryllis bulbs
Homeschool notes
 
We’ve been on a light schedule the past couple of weeks, this week we’re back to our regular routine ~ at least for a couple of weeks. I’m starting a new read-aloud with Rose, The Secret of the Sealed Room, and continuing to read The Silver Branch with James. Grace is hard at work finishing up her first dual enrollment class ~ she has just a few weeks left. Dual enrollment has been a great experience for her and she’ll be taking two classes in the spring. I plan to row The Salamander Room with Rose ~ this may be our last Five in a Row book! We have done all the books we could from the first three volumes and I am not sure if we will continue on with Volume 4, mainly because we don’t own it and it’s expensive.  We “rowed” several books from Volume 3 recently that I never got around to taking pictures of….mostly because our rows lately have been very simple. We’ve  just focused on enjoying each book and discussing things from the FIAR manual. So we haven’t been doing as many of the hands-on things that lend themselves to photographs! But I do plan to do a post about our row of The Salamander Room when we finish in a couple of weeks.
Out of doors
 
We spent time winterizing the yard this past weekend ~ things like taking in the outdoor furniture, storing the grill, taking apart the trampoline…so we’re ready for snow now! But, I won’t be disappointed if it waits a bit.
In the kitchen
My two girls are vegetarian as of a few months ago and we are finally finding a new weekday kitchen groove. Once a week we do a vegetarian chili night,  but I do it different ways. Sometimes we have it straight up, with black olives, cheese, and avocado on top. Other times we serve it over corn chips (my boys favorite) or on top of spaghetti. Another night is “quick pasta” night ~ this recipe for broccoli fettucine alfredo is a current fave!
Watching & reading
 
We started off our Christmas movie watching season with A Christmas Story and continue to watch Lost Season Two with our older three. I’m currently reading The Child after finishing The River at Night (which was a quick read for me, but I didn’t love in the end).  I am really, really looking forward to reading Christmas picture books this week!
I have posts in the works about our fourth–grade art program and First Form Latin, so I’ll be back soon…. have a wonderful week!

Monday Musings

For the week of November 20th….Happy Thanksgiving week to you!


A few plans for the week


Our last farm share pickup of the season:: our usual round-up of activities which currently includes archery, rock climbing team, dance, Spanish at the community college, and riding lessons:: Thanksgiving dinner:: going to see A Christmas Carol performed at a local theater. 
Homeschool notes
My youngers will mostly have this week off, my olders have some catch-up to do, especially in math and science. I plan to do virtual field trips of Plimoth Plantation and the Wampanoag homesite with Rose and whoever else is interested. And, speaking of virtual field trips, I just signed up for a free 2-week trial of Field Trip Zoom.  I wasn’t sure if live, virtual field trips would work with our internet, but so far so good! We watched one pre-recorded field trip about rocket launches and one live one about the siege of Vicksburg and both worked well. I’m super excited about this resource and will share more about it after we’ve used it for a bit. 
Out of doors
It’s chilly and occasionally raining. It snowed (lightly) for the first time last week which had everyone super excited. Rose has been putting our decorative pumpkins out in the neglected vegetable garden as they get squishy, hoping to grow a volunteer pumpkin patch next spring. 
In the kitchen
 We made cranberry bread ~ my favorite recipe from Cranberry Thanksgiving, of course. I ordered my fruitcake mix from King Arthur Flour and while I was at it I picked up a couple  tea loaf pans. I used them the first time for the cranberry bread and I just adore them. The bread came out cleanly and I think the slices are just the right size. 

Watching, reading, crafting
Our current without-the-kids show is Wolf Hall. With the kids, we have been watching Hallmark Christmas movies (we try to watch one each weekend) and Rose watched The Nutcracker and Mathtacular while she was sick…we have had a mild, strange virus come through this week. I am currently reading through A Series of Unfortunate Events with James and it is so much fun (if a bit dark)! Rose is loving the book Rump and she has also taken up cross-stitching, which she adores. 

Have a wonderful week!


Monday Musings

For the week of January 2nd…Happy New Year!

A few plans for the week

Mostly we’re focusing on getting back into our normal groove this week, but not until Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday will be busy with Dad off of work, the kids’ grandfather visiting, practices, and several appointments. Then, hopefully Wednesday, we’ll start easing back into the swing of things. We will have our Twelfth Night celebration Friday to officially wrap up our Christmas season, and Rose has her very first gymnastics meet next weekend. 
Some homeschool notes
I’m looking forward to getting back to things, though I’m not sure the kids are! We need to start prepping for the National Mythology Exam, and I want to finish up Kidnapped ~ hopefully we can all still follow the story! Rose and I will be starting her next FIAR book, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. I still have some older FIAR adventures to post about, too. 

Out of doors
We got the kids a slack line for Christmas and they have been getting a lot of use out of it. I have even tried it myself a few times, though I am nowhere near as good as they are at it. I need to start walking again now that the holidays are past – we have had quite a relaxing week around here, and I have spent far too much time sitting. It’s time to start getting at least 10,000 steps a day again. 
In the kitchen
We made a big spread for New Year’s Eve and had a lot of fun eating it while watching movies –The Force Awakens and a Hallmark Christmas movie. I made a ladyfinger trifle for dessert. I love trifles; they are so darn fancy looking but really not much work. I really should make them more than once a year. 

Watching, reading, crafting
I am working on a snowglobe cross-stitch project; I have been following the patterns posted on Country Living each month and have quite the collection by now. I’ll have to photograph it soon! Besides Christmas movies, we went to see Rogue One and watched several episodes of Chopped, the kids’ new favorite show. Without the kids, we watched Woman in Gold and started Grantchester Season 2. I had to officially give up on completing 52 books in 52 weeks; I made it to 42 though! I will have a post up soon about 2016’s reading. Right now I am reading All Things Cease to Appear, which is good, but perhaps a bit too riveting for before bed reading!

A few recent photos

our outdoor tree after a snowfall

New Year’s Eve balloon pop – one balloon each hour

our little fake tree on the sunporch

Happy 2017!


Have a wonderful week, and I’ll see you here again soon!

Monday Musings

For the week of November 7th…

A few plans for the week

Our usual line-up of sports, plus lots of extra things ~ a birthday party, a library event Rose wants to go to, a planned visit with friends, a local acrobat show we have tickets to, plus doctor appointments for the boys. And two of the girls’ favorite horses retire from the barn this week to go to new homes, which has us all feeling a bit sad. It’s one of those weeks where I feel tired before it has even begun. On the upside, the kids are really enjoying their chosen activities this year; this is one of my boys at a recent climbing competition…
Some homeschool notes
Our year has been going well, though I have not been successful in documenting and posting about it here, except for Five in a Row posts. This week I am hoping to start a series of posts about how things are going and what we are using, starting with language arts. This week we are going to have a light week due to everything else going on. The kids are quite interested in the election this year and have asked to watch the coverage “until it is decided”. I told them, that’s fine, depending on how long said decision takes! I plan to print out this electoral college map so we can color in the states red or blue as the results come in. 
Out of doors
It’s cold and windy, but I really do love November. The leaves that are still hanging on are such a gorgeous color ~ especially the Japanese maple just outside the back door which is a bright scarlet. The fact that it is getting dark so very early now will take some getting used to this week, but I am looking forward to being able to take early morning walks again. I started digging up a bed for planting garlic today, but I gave up after a few minutes. Things are too busy this year, and my heart just isn’t in gardening. I have admitted to myself that if I have a few extra minutes I would rather play a game with the kids, or decorate the house for Thanksgiving (what I did today instead of planting that garlic), or just sit and do nothing. I like growing things, I hope I will feel the  urge to do it again some year, but for now it is one of those things that just feels like too much. 
In the kitchen

I’ve been working on simplifying my dinner planning process. It has been taking me forever to figure out what to make for the coming week. So I assigned each night a “theme”. Sunday is Sunday dinner, and that’s Dad’s night to figure out what to cook; Monday is slow cooker baked potatoes or slowcooker meatball night (with pasta or in sandwiches);Tuesday is Rose’s cooking night; Wednesday Grace picks something to cook; Thursday my boys cook; Friday is slowcooker chicken night (barbecue chicken sandwiches or cilantro lime chicken on rice or in tacos); Saturday we make pizza. This has taken a lot of pressure off of me. 
Watching & reading
We watched Ghostbusters with the kids last week (the original), other than that we have not watched much. Without the kids we watched The Big Short. My current read is The House at Riverton, which I am very much enjoying, but it is so long I am not sure I can finish it before it is due back to the library! 

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

Monday Musings

Wow! I really did not mean to not blog for over a month, but I have had trouble finding my groove this fall. Things have been busy, busy, busy, and writing time has been very scarce. But I think we are finally settling into a routine and I hope to be able to be around here more often to share our homeschool year with you. Here we go…

For the week of October 10th…


A few plans for the week

Our extracurricular load is heavy this year, which means something (and usually 2 or 3 somethings) every day. We are taking today off of school since Dad has it off of work and planning to head to the apple orchard and maybe bake a pie before the kids head off in different directions. It’s been a struggle, but I am really trying to fit in the fun seasonal stuff we usually do. We decorated for Halloween over the weekend, and I am plan to set aside some time this week to make fun candles with the kids. We also hope to do a local corn maze ~ our planned trip this weekend got rained out.  

Some homeschool notes
Homeschooling is going well! I am starting to feel a bit more organized about things, but many days I feel like I am being pulled in a hundred different directions. Rose and I are on our third Five in a Row book of the year, and I will  have posts up soon for our rows of Mirette on the High Wire and Ferdinand. All of the kids are doing Teaching Textbooks for math this year and it has been such a relief. No more correcting math! Our current BookShark read-alouds are Sticks Across the Chimney (Rose, Book Shark 2), Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze (James, BookShark 5), and The Singing Tree (Christopher, BookShark 8). Grace is reading all of her own books this year – her first year with no read-alouds. I have been reading her current book, The Call of the Wild, in order to better discuss it with her. 
Out of doors
We are in peak foliage season here in New England, and the colors are just lovely right now. To get to town I have to drive through this kind of swampy area, and the colors there are so bright they hurt my eyes. I am always wishing I could take a picture…but alas, I am driving! We got pumpkins and mums a couple of weeks ago and set them all up on the porch and it makes me very happy, even though the porch desperately needs repainting. I am a big fan of fall. 
In the kitchen
We are continuing kids’ cooking nights this fall, and whatever night they don’t cook tends to be a crockpot night. We have a rotating crockpot menu, which lately has been potato-leek soup, some sort of chili, or chicken cooked with barbecue sauce or salsa, then served on tacos/rolls or over rice. 
Watching, reading, crafting

We watched The Addams Family with the older three and they all enjoyed it. I love that movie, so I was glad they appreciated it. We also watched Cars, an oldie but goodie. Without the kids, we have been watching season two of Fargo. My current read is A Day at the Beach, which I just started and haven’t formed an opinion of yet. I just finished up The Awakening of Miss Prim, which I loved. As a homeschool mom, it was so fun to read an adult book so in favor of homeschooling!
I am working on a post about our first FIAR read of the year ~ Mirette on the High Wire~ and also a summary post about the weeks we have done so far. 
Till next time!

Monday Musings

For the week of August 15th….


A few plans for the week

Lots of stuff! Grace heads in for her final week of CIT at her barn. She has been spending tons of time there this summer; we miss having her around, but it has been great for her. Rose has two weeks left of summer gymnastics ~ this will be the second to last week, and I am looking forward to the (slightly) slower pace of September. My boys have relaxed into a much more laid-back schedule than the girls – one of them is done for the summer as far as organized activities go, the other still has practice, but just twice a week. I think they are possibly getting a wee bit bored, lately. We also have appointments – it is kind of scary how many appointments ended up in this month! This week we see the orthodontist and eye doctor. And I am really hoping to get to the lake next weekend if everyone is well….we are passing around a bad cold right now. Not fun!
Homeschool notes
Planning is heavily underway! I have all of our books on order, now just waiting for them to trickle in. I sat down and figured out our calendar for the year – which days will be our “school days” and which we will take off. I ordered a Plum Paper teacher planner as a fun little splurge. I haven’t tried to use a paper lesson planner in ages, but I adore my regular Plum Paper planner, so I figured I’d give it a try. My current projects are planning out the first few Five in a Row books I plan to do with Rose and trying to get everyone signed up for fall activities. 
Out of doors
I just got around to properly storing the garlic we harvested last month. It looks good, and I am very happy with it. We had a smaller garden this year, and it has been a breath of fresh air. We grew much less of everything, and instead got most of our vegetables from a local farm share. Next year, I am planning to have an even smaller garden. On my short list: raspberries, garlic, cut flowers, cucumbers, 4 tomato plants, mini pumpkins, arugula, lettuce, rhubarb, mint, and cilantro. Everything else we can get in adequate amounts at the farm share. I would like to put in blackberries too – debating. 
In the kitchen
Not much going on…it has been too hot to cook! We had one day last week where it was so miserable we got take-out for dinner, even though the closest take-out place is 20 minutes away. Most of my time in the kitchen these days involves helping Rose pack snacks for practice. She needs a packed snack/light lunch five days a week, which really makes me wonder how moms with kids in public school do this every day. 
Watching, reading, crafting
We took the kids to see The Secret Life of Pets over the weekend ~ it was very cute. We have been watching lots of Olympics, mostly revolving around the kids’ interests. So we watch equestrian and gymnastics, primarily, but the boys also like white-water and BMX. I think I am a bit behind on this year’s book challenge, but I am currently reading The Luckiest Girl Alive. I am still knitting and cross-stitching a bit here and there, mostly while we have movie night or watch the Olympics. 
I am working on a post about Grace (my tenth-grader) and the simplified homeschool plans we have decided on for her. I also hope to have a post up about our homeschool calendar this week. 
Till next time!

Monday Musings

For the week of March 28th…

A few plans for this week

Mostly, this week is all about getting back into a routine (I hope) after a week filled with the stomach bug, a birthday, and Easter. I am hoping for a stretch of relatively quiet, routine days! We’ll be celebebrating April Fool’s Day on the first with a few tricks and a fun dinner. We’ll also continue to celebrate James’ birthday with a party postponed from last week. 


Homeschool notes


I am hoping for a productive week. I want to start finishing up a few things. Grace finished grammar for the year last week ~ she has been doing Analytical Grammar ~ so I need to order her a review book to use occasionally for the rest of the year. Rose has been ahead on spelling all year, so I may have her just finish out the unit she is working on and then set it aside. I find that if we can finish a few things, there is a bit of a snowball effect – we have more time to work on other things and finish them up. And I do really love finishing things. 
Out of doors
I was able to start in on some yard work, but there is still plenty left to do and not much time to do it in. We have daffodils coming up here and there and the garlic is coming up nicely too.
In the kitchen 
After a week of very little cooking (besides heating up soup!) it was strange to be back in the kitchen making Easter dinner, but I am looking forward to a week of regular dinners. Grace made a fabulous bunny cake for our Easter celebration. 


Watching, reading, crafting

I am currently reading another Agatha Christie book. I got a lot of reading done while being sick and I read three Agatha Christie books in a row because that’s all I felt like reading! We also watched pretty much every Star Wars and Harry Potter movie we own, a documentary on Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and Men in Black with the kids. Without the kids, we watched pretty much nothing, but we are about to start The White Queen. We did get a bit of Easter crafting in. The kids made “Peep Houses” and we tried some Epsom salt eggs – just brush glue on a plastic egg and roll in Epsom salt. 
.  
I love how they came out! Well, that’s all for now. Have a wonderful week!