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

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. 
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I love how they came out! Well, that’s all for now. Have a wonderful week!

Monday Musings

For the week of February 29th…

A few plans for this week

Celebrating Leap Day by making a time capsule to be opened next Leap Day. Taking Rose to the orthodontist (for a lip bumper) and to the dentist (to get three teeth extracted). It’s going to be a busy dental week around here! Other than that, it’s the usual line-up of activities, plus competition weekend for James at the rock gym. I also hope to start planning a bit for Easter, including picking up supplies for our living Easter baskets
Homeschool notes


Grace will prep for the National Latin Exam, to be taken next week. She also starts Book Shark American History 8 in earnest this week. I am trying to read this level also, so I can better discuss the books with her, but finding time to do so is a bit of a challenge! Rose and I hope to finish our row of Katy and the Big Snow. I am ready to move onto something more “springy”! Rose has started in on Book Shark’s second grade readers and is very much enjoying them. 
Out of doors
We have gotten about a gallon of maple syrup from our trees so far, and we’re hoping for  more this week. I’d like to get at least 2 gallons in the freezer, which is what we went through last year. 
In the kitchen 
I hope to make meringue cookies with Rose for FIAR and try out a new slow cooker recipe – for teriyaki chicken. I have been a bit lazy lately about my slow cooker goal… I keep falling into the rut of making the same things again and again. The kids still have their weekly cooking night: this week the boys are making meatball subs, and Grace is making sloppy joes. 


Watching, reading, crafting

I am currently reading Up in the Air from my book pile. I finished Wave, which I thought  was very good (but obviously, very sad). Christopher and I have been reading Ender’s Game for our nighttime reading together. I want to try to get a spring book basket set up this week. What else? The kids and I finished up Earth: The Biography (I highly recommend this series) and we are now watching Michael Palin’s Around the World in 80 Days. We have only watched one episode so far, but I think we are really going to enjoy it. Without the kids, we are trying to finish up Grantchester before it returns to television. I have been working on a little cross stitch project while Rose does math each day, because she likes for me to sit beside her.

It’s going to be a rain-boot when it’s finished: very appropriate for spring, I think. 

Posts I am working on

A review of Spelling Workout B (still!), March plans, and a new slow cooker post.  
Two fun things

First syrup of the season!

A trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum – what a gorgeous courtyard they have! My kids (the boys especially)  aren’t big art museum fans, but they were good sports and went along. I would really like to try to visit more museums with them in the coming months. 

Have a wonderful week!

Monday Musings

For the week of February 15th…

A few plans for this week

Make cornmeal pancakes for President’s Day today, in honor of George Washington. Rest, and try to get over the latest horrid respiratory infection I have picked up (we’re not having much luck avoiding viruses this February!),  catch up a bit on my reading, buy some primroses, and tap our sugar maples if the weather warms up for the weekend. It’s also my birthday week – I’m turning 40, so it’s a big one for me. I always figured I would get stressed out about turning 40, but it doesn’t feel like a big deal at all. So far, at least! 
Homeschool notes


Continue prepping for the National Mythology Exam, remind Grace to start prepping for the National Latin Exam, enter the kids’ reading logs for free Six Flags tickets (both have completed their six hours), and do one more session of birdwatching. I am also going to try very hard to take several pictures of things we are doing in our homeschool, to share at the end of the week. I can’t promise anything, because I have never been good at Friday wrap-up posts, but I am going to try. 
Out of doors
It is so cold! Yesterday we reached a whopping high of about six degrees, and with the windchill it was much colder. So we have not really been out of doors much at all, except for running the puppy out, and carrying fresh water to the chickens and goats. And going from the car to the door, of course. 
In the kitchen lately

I put together some candy mason jars for Valentine’s Day, which were quite popular with my crew. We made a jelly roll for Lincoln’s birthday, which I forgot to photograph but it was very good, and so easy to make. The recipe is here. 


Watching, reading, crafting

My current read (which I hope to finish tonight) is The Miniaturist. After that, I am planning to re-read a couple of Agatha Christie books until I can fit in a trip to the library. I should have a new book pile post to share soon. 
Rose and I are finishing up Deltora Quest #2: The Lake of Tears . Since I recommended this series a couple of weeks ago, I want to mention that I have been doing some editing as I read the books aloud, because they are scarier in parts than I remembered. Rose isn’t terribly sensitive, but there are some things I don’t want to read to her just before bed. That said, most of books 1 & 2 were only mildly scary, and I found the darker scenes fairly easy to “lighten up”. Just something to be aware of. She still loves them.

We went to the movies twice this week, which I don’t think we’ve ever done. I took the kids to see Kung Fu Panda 3, and we went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens again over the weekend. 
My girls made these sweet little Valentine candle holders for art last week. They cut hearts out of tissue paper, glued them onto quilted mason jars, and then spread a mixture of glue and water over it all.


Posts I am working on

A review of Spelling Workout B, which Rose just finished, our row of Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, and a March memory-making post. 
Weekend photos

Valentine table setting, plus a couple of visitors to our feeders during the cold snap.


Have a wonderful week!