Thursday, September 12, 2013

Old Man Fall is Peeking Around the Corner - A Catch Up Post

As usual, summer flew by faster than I could keep up with. Can't believe it is already time to start school! Last Monday, we started some new homeschool traditions my kids are loving! We start on our knees in prayer time (each having a chance to pray), then do The Lord's Prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and sing The Star Spangled Banner. This little routine has been very beneficial in helping the kids transition from breakfast/morning chores to school time. They get to take turns ringing the bell when it it is time to start school. I've been using a jingle bell, but I'm waiting for the antique school bell that Michael bought for me off the internet to come. My kids are ALL about traditions, so I'm trying to use those things to help school be more enjoyable. 

I decided to get more organized this year and stick to a strict schedule that includes recesses. Both kids seem to be thriving on it so far, so I think that is what they needed. I'm protecting our school time jealously, and wow are we getting a lot done. It helps so much to have a reader and it is is nice to see Josiah moving towards more independent learning so I can focus on getting Hailey reading. Josiah is in 4th grade this year and Hailey is in 1st. We have our bumps in the road and impatient times, but overall it is going well.

Before we started school, my sis helped me pare down my curriculum pile for Josiah from this to...

...this. The stack on the left is what I'm using this year, the one on the right, I either got rid of completely or I'm saving for another year. Hailey's stack is much smaller. I decided to do a science-based unit study this year called, "Considering God's Creation". It is much less intense than the Prairie Primer study we did last year as I'm only doing it once a week instead of every day, but we really miss the PP and hope to do it again in a couple of years when Hailey is able to read the books by herself.
If the kids get all their work done by early afternoon, we get to do something fun like bake, arts and crafts or simply have a tea party or play a game. I've instated the rule of no electronics during the day unless it is needed for homeschooling, so lots of playing and reading happening around here.
We've had several bucks come to visit our neighbor's huge tomato patch.
My nephew, Jacob, was able to come stay with us for a week while Josiah was at the desert having fun with his Grandma and cousins, Jessica and Andrew. We had a blast with him. We played laser tag and miniature golf  and got to go to the park. He is a hard worker and he and Hailey helped weed my huge garden and shucked lots of corn. 
 Jacob and Hailey also helped us can 22 jars of  German Dill Pickles. We've canned a total of 38 jars this year total. We canned regular heirloom pickling cukes (on the left), but most of them are from Armenian cucumbers (right) that we cut down into spears. They are lighter in color and a very crisp cuke, so I'm hoping they will make good pickles. We shall see in a few weeks. 
We also canned Dilly Beans for the first time. I'm curious to see how they turned out as I made my own recipe. If they are good, I'll be sure to post it.
I found some time to try out the soap molds I found at a yard sale. I used the easy blender milk soap recipe. This one batch took about 15 minutes to make. They sit for a month as the lye deactivates and then I've got soap to use for gifts or for face, hands and body. Love this stuff! I used to call it my ugly soap, but I can't do that now with these molds. The kids thought they were the coolest soap bars ever.
Michael has been using the upholstery sewing machine I got him for Father's Day a lot lately. The biggest project he's taken on is sewing a huge canvas awning for our wall tent. We used it at the Celtic Festival, but like all men who refuse to sew with a pattern, you soon find your mistakes and what you could improve on. So with a little more work to be done on it, I'm happy to say that this awning will be very useful when deer hunting season comes around. 

Speaking of Michael's projects, his T-Bucket is at the shop getting some final touches done on the body and then it will be painted. Michael can hardly wait to get it back and keep working on getting going. He's hoping to have it all done by next summer and ready to take to some car shows.
We had one last swim this summer at Arlington when we did a cousin exchange. We love this park! Lots of sand to play in and the water is warm.
Grandma Kricket, Hailey in her new puddle jumper she got for her birthday, and cousin Jess.

The boys mostly hung out on the beach building "Middle Earth". They could have been there for another two hours, they were having so much fun.

Hope everyone is doing well. I haven't had much time to blog lately, too busy livin' life! Now that school is starting things are slowing down a bit, so hopefully I'll have more time if my garden lets me ;o)

God Bless,


RaD said...

Whew! The last post before this one was a doozy! What fun the kids and even the adults look like they are having. Did your niece and nephew enjoy themselves?

Now, back to this post... I can imagine that a strict routine would make things much easier. Consistency is the key to a lot of things, too bad it's so hard to come by, LOL!

We have pretty strict rules on screen time too and it seems to alleviate so much... hmmmm... for lack of a better word... distraction.

Your soaps look cute! And the pickles look yummy!

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Sorry that post was so long, Ruth, but it was hard to cut down on so much fun ;) Yes, my nieces and nephews enjoyed it once they got use to the bagpipes, LOL. Andrew was having a particularly hard time with them, but once Stacie bought him a wooden practice sword, he forgot all about the pipes ;)

Becky L. said...

A busy summer indeed. Always something to do. I have figure out my food dehydrator, get some apples dried soon. Thanks for updates. I'm running behind on my posts too. Finally finished my Nicaragua trip series. Take care.

Jill said...

What a wonderful post! So many great things always happening at your home! Love the picture of the deer! The soaps are beautiful and the pickles look yummy :-) Hope you have a wonderful week!



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