February 27, 2017

Checking Off The List

These past two months have been really good ones for the house.  Josh has been home on the weekends, as well as most evenings, and has been ambitious.  The fact is that when summer comes the outdoor chores and project list is long and the house is pushed aside.  Add to that the extra hours of field work Josh has to do and well, winter is the time for inside accomplishments.

I have a bunch to report on and figure this is the week.  For pity sake the bathroom renovation happened in January and I still haven't posted pictures of that yet.  

Once the big project of the schoolroom bookshelves were accomplished Josh had several little items on his to do list.
One was an extra shelf in Abigail's special place.  Some gifts and hand-me-downs for the baby have been coming in and frankly I am not really sure where to put everything.  So by adding an extra shelf to this little closet I now have some storage space and Abigail looses none of her play space.  She did remark that it felt weird the first day but since it has become the new normal.  Making this house work for what we need.  That is how things roll around here!  I love these little changes that help me out.

February 24, 2017

How It Works

I took this picture the other day during school.  Made me laugh to see my girl with her favorite stuffed animal, dressed in a super girl cape and mask and all cross-legged and proper in ballet shoes doing her math work.  Joy of letting each day roll with how it needs to go.
Like yesterday when we woke up after a night of this girl of mine throwing up all night, sigh.  It seems that no matter the amount of scrubbing I did, she caught Naomi's bug.  Lucky for us it is just a 12 hr deal with a 24 hr recovery back to normal but still nasty while we are at it.  It is interesting to compare the two girls and their ages, as well as personalities, when they have been sick in the same week.  Really hoping I don't get to add Ethan to this analysis!  

I have also decided that changing sheets several times in a night, in the dark, on a bunk bed and all while pregnant is the worst thing ever!  Here is to good health from here on out!

February 22, 2017

A Little Time

Josh has worked some long days this week.  This is normal for him to do in the summer, during field season, but not so much in the winter.  It has been a little hard on the kids not understanding why daddy isn't coming home when he usually does.  So the other day when daddy got home just as dinner was wrapping up and bedtime was being talked about there was a little need for a schedule change.
Daddy needed to see his kids and visa versa!  Bedtime was pushed back by a hour, coloring books covered the floor, reports on what was done and accomplished during the day were given, crayons were distributed and used and this mama's heart filled to see the kids connect with Josh at the end of a day.  Normal day to day living, that is what fills me with contentment.  

Also had a visit with the "baby doctor", as the kids call my OB, yesterday.  Baby boy is doing great.  Puts this mama's heart at ease.  


Sunday night and Monday were tough days on our little girl.  Something got a hold of her and well, nothing would stay down.  But by the end of Monday she had had two otter pops and 4 crackers that stayed in her and her fever was just about gone.  All day her siblings and I would ask her, "Naomi, where is your bucket?" and then we would all search for where she left it.  It is hard to sit still and just lay in bed or on the couch when you are two, thus a mobile bucket was necessary.  We are thankful for all the time we did get her to stay still and that as of Tuesday, the bucket was no longer necessary.
Not sure what took hold of our girl but I am happy no one else has got it and after watching her eat last night, I think we can say she is recovered.

Got to love a picture of a sick 2 year old.  She was amazing.

February 21, 2017

Settled In

Last August when we started homeschool I knew that the room where we would work would need to be changed, I just wasn't sure how.  Getting ready for that first day I wanted it to be perfect, organized, decorated and ready. But since I hadn't gone down this road before I just didn't know what we would need.
I am so glad we waited, and that I have a husband who is up for building just about anything I need.
The new bookshelf for the schoolroom stretches the entire length of the room.  The left portion is 6' tall and the lower portion is 8' long.  It helps the room look so great, holds all the school and play items we have (more books are being collected from other parts of the house and brought in each day), and lets the kids have access to all of the things that are "theirs". 
This new shelves are right across the room from the murphy bed and original bookshelves.  These selves were so crammed pack just a few weeks ago and it is fun to have things laid out where we can now see what is where.
Like I mentioned last Friday, learning with kids starts with having things out where they can see it to play with it.  It has been so fun to see just what the kids go for first.  The best part, there is still room for growth.  Homeschooling this little band of students that I have is a new thing for me but one I am so happy to be doing.  We are learning the right way, the necessary tools and the best setting that works for all of us.  How thankful I am for this schoolroom and all the hours we stay in here each day.

February 20, 2017


Just as I was writing a blog post last night to show you all the new schoolroom, my baby girl started throwing up.  Schoolroom is just going to have to wait.

February 17, 2017

Where They Can See It

While Josh worked on the bookshelves this past week the schoolroom supplies were moved out to our living room.
I am a mother that daily deals with the visual part of parenting.  Kids play with what they can see.  Tucking a book, game, activity or toy away in a drawer or cabinet is pretty much the same as taking it out of the house all together.  I feel like I do pretty good at keeping things "out" for the kids, hence the new bookshelves in the room being all open.  But still, rearranging anything (even into a pile in the middle of the living room) makes all of those things "new".
So even though our living room has been 1/2 the size it normally is this past week the kids have been having a lot of fun playing with games.  This I love!

Last night I slowly started putting things back into the schoolroom.  With all this rearranging going on hopefully this weekend will be once again full of "new" things for the kids to rediscover.  Whole new schoolroom reveal will be Monday.  Super excited about this.

February 16, 2017

Custom Fit

A few weeks ago I shared the new shelf that Josh had built for the schoolroom.  
At the time the shelf hadn't been finished and organization was still a little sketchy since we were all waiting for the second half to be built.
But last week Josh had the wood and time so the second shelf was put into shape.  Then came the need to clean out everything from the schoolroom so that the finish would could be completed.  
Josh does such amazing work.  Each shelf was sanded super smooth and then coated with finish to keep the wood safe when faced up against all of the use a band of kids in a schoolroom will put it through.
I am always so amazed at how an idea I have to put a "this" here or there can lead to such reality with Josh's talent.  To give perspective, this new shelving unit is directly opposite the amazing murphy bed/bookshelf in the schoolroom.  The area is being used to its maximum ability.  Oh I just can't wait to find the perfect place for each of our books and supplies.

February 15, 2017

What This Month Means To Me

The month of February is:
days are still dark but slowly lengthening
a time of summer to do lists
seeing the end of our first homeschool year coming into focus
lots of preparations for the science fair
realizing the "fun" days of winter are here, warm and light enough to play outside
getting shocked that if a spring time girls weekend is going to happen plans need to be made now!
And multitasking the teaching of class to fit time in to order my garden seeds.
Abigail was gracious enough to work on her school work while I planned out our 2017 garden and ordered seeds.  Ethan and Naomi put puzzles and gears together at our feet while shouting out what they wanted to be planted and grown in this year's crops.  Spring is just three months away, starting our seeds inside is just next month.  Folks, this winter just very well might have an end to it!

February 14, 2017

What Do You See?

When the kids get antsy one of my "go to" projects is to put the two big kids on either side of the easel.  I provide the coloring tool of their choice and paper then sit down and tell them a story.  Number one rule, they can't look at each other's work until they are done drawing.  They don't always do this but I really do love how one story can come out in such different images.
This past week the story was:  Once there was a ship with three sails on top of the water.  Under the water were two whales, one squid, one crab, one bike and a lot of seaweed.  

I wish I had taken pictures of the finished projects.  It was great.  Abigail added treasures to the bottom of her ocean.  Ethan added people to his boat with one man hanging on by a rope because, "He is the one that was riding his bike and then fell into the ocean."

February 13, 2017

What Happens

This is what will happen when you send the kids out to play so you can get dinner on the table.
"Hurry mama, we are hungry!"

February 10, 2017

Research - Like You Do

I seem to talk a lot about art, in which I am not that good at, here on the blog.  But lucky for me there is plenty of science to help round us out too.  As I mentioned with the diorama, Abigail is taking part in the Fairbanks Homeschool Science Fair this year.  In finding a topic to research I had to stop myself from pushing all of my "great" ideas on her and instead we zeroed in on what she really likes at the moment.  Her top choice - rabbits.
So with that I have been teaching Abigail a little bit about research.  For kindergarten research, we start with a question.  In her case I had her tell me all the questions she had and we wrote out each one on an index card.  Then off to the library to find books on rabbits.  We then have worked our way through all of those books to answer each and every question she had asked.  (a lot easier way for her to handle all the information the books provide us with)  Thanks to this stack of index cards, and the beautiful diorama already being built, our research is in place to start putting our science fair display board together.  So far the kindergarten quote of the year is, "Daddy and Grandma are better at art but mama, you know how to teach me research."

February 9, 2017

Sharing A Little Love

This is a glance of our week.  The week before Valentine's day.  A week of cutting paper, stickers, ripping paper, gluing, drawing and surprises of love.   The kids have a valentine card exchange at mooseketeers on Friday.  Being part of an exchange with your siblings doesn't mean you have to just do what they do.  Oh no, each of my kids want to bring their own valentines to exchange.  And it is Mama's idea to keep it a surprise from each other to make the exchange even more exciting.
So this week has also been full of pockets of time to help each child make out their 12 valentines to share on Friday.  So thankful for the internet to have good ideas, craft shelves with the supplies needed to make our creations and the chance to say that as of this morning 1/2 of the valentines are done.  The exchange is tomorrow - time to create messages of love has to be found today!
I am kicking myself for not having my mom do this with the kids when she was here.  I am just not good at this sort of thing, and she is!  But oh the looks on the kids faces when they create their special somethings to give.  Well, there is a reason I keep at this holiday celebration thing.  Happy Valentine preparation days to all the valentine making moms out there.  It is a road we pray our kids will be happy we went down - someday. 

February 8, 2017

Back To It

Flexibility of homeschool is something I am thankful for.  Thus when company was in town Abigail (and I) had a week of vacation from school, yeah.  But when our family flew south we were back to it. 

Part of learning to read and learning math is then learning out to apply it.  So each week Abigail picks a recipe for us to make.  As I have mentioned this before I would like to point out this post is a little different.  You see last week I put a small restriction on Abigail's cooking lesson.  She could pick a recipe but it couldn't be a dessert.  No our girl needed to make lunch.
The fact that she defaulted to one of her favorites, braided ham and cheese biscuits, was fine with me as long as she had fun and lunch was on the table before everyone went crazy with hunger.
To keep things fun, and sweet, she asked to make Minty White Hot Chocolate to go with the biscuits and fruit meal.  This was a good addition since the recipe needed to be doubled and thus challenge our fraction math lessons we are learning.

At the lunch table Abigail informed her siblings, "yes, I did make lunch for you and mom helped a little."  (haha)  Yeah for a win.  Now to see what gets made today.

February 7, 2017

Fitting Right In

My niece is an only child.  My sister says that her life back in New Jersey is boring.  A week here with all of our craziness certainly wasn't boring, she always had a show to watch.  We all had so much fun getting to play with her, see her and tell her that she is loved by her Alaskan family.
Being an only child might be a little quieter back home but she has plenty of cousins to keep life busy.  We can't wait for her, and her mama, to come back soon.

February 6, 2017

Finer Details

There was a small list of projects for Grandma's visit waiting for my mother's arrival.  Things she loves to do, detail work.  The biggest one on the list - help Abigail build her diorama for the upcoming science fair.  I love to do research but when it comes to artistic detail, not my strong point. Abigail and mother, they are like two peas in a pod.  They put their heads together and created magic that they both were in love with.
When a Grandma lives 5,000 miles away it isn't usually possible to create together for a science fair.  I think it super special that this happened, especially for Abigail's first fair project.  The diorama has been set up high so it lasts another month until the fair itself, but the memory of these two working together will always stay with me.

February 2, 2017


When far away family has birthdays in the winter it is a very rare thing to get together to celebrate.  This special trip with my family happened to land the day after my mother's January birthday and we got the chance to decorate and make her first day at our house "Grandma's day."  Lucky for us Grandma had a few meal requests so it was easy to make meals just for her and nothing is more fun then watching someone open the gift you have bought them when they are sitting next to you.
Thank you Grandma for flying all night on the night of your birthday so you could be with us the next day to celebrate.  Birthdays are so much fun.

February 1, 2017

Read To Me

These kids of mine hear stories all day long.  But it doesn't really matter how many I read, they love MORE.  So how wonderful to have a grandma and aunt who come and join in the fun of reading all the kids favorites.
Having a new little cousin to squeeze in for the fun made it all the better.  

Tree Disaster of 2017

We had quite the tree drama this year.  After years and years of real trees from the woods I was done with the needles.  DONE.  Last year A...