September 27, 2016

Field Trip Into Fairbanks' History

The other day the kids and I wanted to get out of the house.  I had been so sick and needing to just the basics each day that, even though I didn't feel too much better, we all needed a change.  School has been going well but I wanted to fit a few field trips in before winter came and this seemed like a good day to do it.  After rest time the kids and I headed out about 10 miles away from home to the Felix Pedro monument.  
Felix Pedro, the first to discover and claim gold in the Fairbanks area in 1902 thus starting the great Fairbanks Gold Rush.  On this afternoon the kids learned about what a monument was, who Felix was, saw pictures of original Fairbanks, and learned about how people and supplies were transported in 1902 before trains were brought in.  There was even information to share with them about how new methods of gold extraction were discovered since so much of the gold was frozen into permafrost.  
After our little journey down history lane, we walked across the street to Pedro Creek where that first gold was discovered and we all played in the water for a hour.  I dream big dreams of showing the kids the world someday but days like this help remind me that so often there is so much to enjoy and learn in our very own backyards.  

September 26, 2016

The Perfect Help

After the big garden clean out my kitchen was left with the last bits.  The remaining zucchini lingered for several days until the fruit flies started to make their presence a little too known.  Even though I wasn't feeling my best it was time to preserve the last of this harvest.  When it comes to kitchen chores each child loves and is fascinated by different things.  Ethan, he loves to watch me grate just about anything.  This day, I let him help.
This boy of mine, who rarely just smiles at a camera anymore, loved his job in the kitchen.  We ended up shredding16 cups of zucchini that day.  He didn't do it all but he was a big help!  When daddy came home that night Ethan was very excited to inform him of his new achievement.  Grating - so fun for a four year old and, much to a mama's delight, safer than knives.

September 23, 2016

Art With Daddy

Homeschool is going well here at this house.  Josh and I, as well as Abigail, are still all pleased with how things are going and that is a good thing to write as we are about two months in.  All of the kids and I "do school" mostly in the morning, but sometimes into the afternoons.  We work on writing, reading, math, spanish, learning about the world and such.  Art, we leave that up to daddy.
 And what a good artist, daddy and teacher he is.  Since he is incharge of art class it is mostly on the weekends and in the evenings.  Usually I will pull Ethan and Naomi away to something else and the two can have class.  But sometimes an art project outside of the "teaching book" will come to Josh's mind and sometimes that means everyone can join in.
 Josh read a library book to the kids the other day where all of the illustrations were made of trash.  Pieces of trash put together to make up the pictures for the story.  He loved the idea.
So with labels off cans, egg cartons, beads, buttons, scraps of cardboard, and so much more, the kids created art.  I love that I am not part of art time.  I come and admire.  I help with supplies.  I encourage.  But that is where Josh and the kids go from and I get to sit back and smile.  Art with daddy, always fun.

September 22, 2016

That's A Wrap For 2016

According to the calendar it just might be the beginning of Autumn but here in Fairbanks we have just about wrapped up summer and fall.
 A week and a half ago the kids helped us with the big overhaul day.  Naomi was a big "help" in getting the leaves mowed up with her mower, just like daddy.
 And Ethan didn't shy away from the garden chores even when the plants we were composting became larger then his wheel barrow.
 And as more and more zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower plants were pulled we discovered more and more pumpkins.  So fun.
 As I cleaned the garden out the kids mostly followed me around waiting for the broccoli bits, carrots, peas and occasional green beans to munch on.  Abigail was the lucky one and found the one green bean that was hidden by a pumpkin vine.  The seeds inside were big enough to plant for next year but she enjoyed the treat regardless.
Some of the garden was a success and some not so much but all of our pumpkins certainly are fun.  They are now inside growing orange and helping decorate for fall even as the temperatures drop each day.  

September 21, 2016

I Am Loved

My mother taught me to keep a folder in my office called, "I am loved."  A folder where special letters, notes and pieces of encouragement are kept for those days when I just might feel Not so loved.  Abigail has never needed me to pass on this wisdom.  This girl has kept every single letter, note, card and bit of love.
If you are one of the many people who have written to our girl know that each letter is loved, read over and over, and kept "forever".

September 20, 2016

Unique

I love when all of the art supplies are the same, the work sample is the same and the instruction is the same.
Yet I am presented with three very different results.  I love how the kids get along but I love most how they are unique.

Unique

I love when all of the art supplies are the same, the work sample is the same and the instruction is the same.
Yet I am presented with three very different results.  I love how the kids get along but I love most how they are unique.

September 19, 2016

Heading Out

The weather forecast is calling for possible snow today.  Sigh.
With that in mind I look back to our family adventure over Labor day weekend.
A day when the sun was high, the wind steady enough to blow away the bugs, and the fall colors were out.
Josh was away at work so much that a day with daddy, and being a complete family, just called for a hike.
Proud of these kids and the six miles Abigail and Ethan managed, the time together, the beauty of Alaska and the fun we can have.  Snow, oh it will come someday.  Maybe today or maybe tomorrow. For now I think of our fun outdoor times and look forward to what next adventure we can go on no matter the temperatures.

September 16, 2016

Contained and Content

One of the hardest parts of homeschooling is keeping Naomi and Ethan happy.  Working with Abigail, I can do that all day.  Making sure my other two don't feel neglected or pushed away, a daily challenge.  Keeping these two little people happy is something that I have to change and adapt to each day depending on their moods, how they are interacting together, what time of day we are doing school and more.
But the best situation I have found is to bring the kid's pool inside to the living room, fill it with a toy of some sort (legos, marbles, cars, blocks, and more) and ask that they stay in the pool with the toys.  This plan doesn't always work but it is successful more times then not.  One the kids are contained, two the toys are contained and three the clean up is easy.  I make sure and clean up the toy as soon as school is done and thus leaving a little bit of longing for those small manipulative toys until the next day of school.  Balance - that is what we are figuring out here. 

September 15, 2016

Slightly Sweet and Slightly Tart

We came back from our camping trip to Tangled Lakes with more then dirty laundry.
The berry picking there was over the top wonderful.  The four gallons of blueberries went right to the freezer but the cranberries needed some immediate attention.  
Canning up 24 cups of cranberries into cranberry sauce on my first day back from camping isn't necessarily advised but is just what might have happened.  We are finding a lot of cranberry friendly meals on our tables of late.  With this much goodness we can't just wait around until Thanksgiving.  

September 14, 2016

Observation of All Surroundings

One of the lessons Josh has been working with Abigail on in Art class is learning to observe the main object in a piece of art but also what the artist has surrounded the picture with as well.
Where I am NOT the art teacher here I do like when Josh gives me a run down of the class so that I can enforce the lesson through what we do each day Josh is at work.  Observing the swing set in the yard but also the trees, grass, neighbors and such is what we are going for.  Basic but the important start to seeing the whole picture.
All that being said, the kids and I have started to observe more and more in our yard.  A bug on the rock, a spiderweb on the garden fence and much the the kids delight - a grouse on a tree branch.  We came home from town about two weeks ago to a pair of grouse on a downed tree branch right by the driveway.  I ran inside to get my camera and Abigail's sketch pad and before we knew it the birds had flown.
But walking slowly and quietly the four of us crept through the yard and observed them for quite some time.  Abigail plopped right now and sketched them as soon as paper and pencil were provided.  A new favorite pastime for her.  Drawing what I see.  I love being reminded to see the details in life.  Not the sketch artist myself I take this lesson to a whole new philosophical level but love being reminded I am never too old to learn.

September 13, 2016

On Turning 4

Last Thursday this family celebrated Ethan with a robot party.
 It was a fun party full of play in the tree fort, piles of fall leaves to jump in, cake, a craft and a robot piƱata. 
 Finding a craft for boys can sometimes be hard but when it comes to robots we just went with what Ethan loves.  A cardboard box and crayons to make lots of buttons.  
And then for the little girls that weren't too interested in boxes, robot coloring sheets made them happy as well.
 Our mr. robot cake, covered in candy controls, was a big hit and each of the kids got the chance to pick which "button" they wished to eat.
 But the very best part of the party was how happy this little man was.  
 At the end of the day, after the friends all go, it is this little family that loved celebrating our boy and we all had so much fun.
 Marking how fast we grow and remembering where we have come.  That is always how we like to end our birthdays.
And just for fun.