Friday, December 23, 2016

Family Christmas Letter - 2016

I finally let the kids decorate the tree all by themselves this year. I thought they did a pretty good job and unlike me, they feel less is more. I was really proud of them. All the bulbs are plastic and Rina-friendly. 
Family Christmas Letter – 2016
We are in a very busy and full season of life as we now have children ranging in age from 13 to 19 months. It has forced us to slow down in some aspects, but with older children and their activities you can't slow down too much just because you have a baby. A lot of tag teaming goes on in order to accomplish our goals as a family, but it is certainly helping us develop an atmosphere of teamwork.

Michael was able to travel to the Balkans again in the spring for a special mission with the Oregon National Guard. He was able to visit Lithuania and Romania this time. He really loved seeing Dracula's castle and eating local foods. He discovered that boiled pig's ear was not his favorite! He was home for a few months and then off again to Warrant Officer's school at Fort Lee, VA for two months. I was blessed to have family and friends watch all the kids and the homestead so I could go back and visit him for a week. We saw a lot of Civil War history and got to play in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. We had such a good time together! He is now traveling back to the La Grande shop to work as his promotion caused a rank inversion at the shop where he was working in Umatilla. In order to keep his job, they had to move him. Going over the Blue Mountains in the winter is not fun, so prayers for his safety are appreciated.

Josiah turned 13 in September and has discovered his niche in Boy Scouts. He just achieved his 2nd Class rank and is already working on the next rank. He is making good friends and enjoying time with his dad as Michael has become an Assistant Scout Leader for the troop. He is doing well in homeschooling and enjoys doing chores and creating all kinds of things out of scraps he finds in Michael's shop. He has made knives and is working on building a big fort behind the shop. His Boy Scout friends and cousins love to come over and help him with it.

Hailey turned 9 in August and is still enjoying gymnastics. She is discovering the joy of a good book and we continue to work on her reading which has been a struggle for her. She likes to work with our farm animals (sheep and chickens) and plays with her sister outside so I can get a few things done. I've always said Hailey would make an outstanding big sister and I was right. She adores Rina.

Rina is a 19 month old towhead and proving that she has every bit the energy and spunk her older siblings possess. She is into everything and quite vocal. She adores her family and all the pets we have around here. She is entertained for hours by the sheep and chickens.

I'm busy homeschooling and running the day to day operations of our homestead and household. We are doing a Narnia unit study with our homeschool co-op that meets every Friday. We also keep busy with homeschool sports, field trips and other activities. This summer I was asked to start doing on-call tours for the Pendleton Underground. I had done them 20+ years ago when I was a poor college student. I forgot how much I loved doing it! It gets me out of the house for a couple hours at a time and I'm using all the money to fund dream trips. It is how I was able to go to Virginia and then on a sister trip to Vancouver, BC this last summer. Now I'm saving to go to Greece in May with my sister and her in-laws. To say I'm excited is an understatement!

As 2016 closes, my prayer is that God will draw you near to Himself. That despite what is going on in the world and even in our country, our hope would be in Jesus, the Son of God, who came down to this earth as a lowly babe and was sacrificed for our sins but then rose again so those who believe can live with Him in paradise. I'm praying that no matter what circumstances you find yourselves in 2017, that God's perfect peace would surround you. With that, I want to wish all our friends and family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Jackie and Family

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Narnia Unit Study 2016-17: Magician's Nephew

We started another homeschool unit study this year called "Further Up and Further In" - A Chronicles of Narnia unit study. We're doing it with the same group of families that we did the Prairie Primer with last year. We're dressing up (sometimes) in 1940s theme this year. I've decided to blog about each book in one blog post.


Gracia taught us all about Atlantis and even painted this wonderful watercolor picture to help us imagine what the mythical city might have looked like.

Hailey taught us about British rule in India and how the Indians gained their independence from Britain. She also showed pictures of the two children from India whom we help support through "Gospel for Asia" - Manav and Swati.
Naomi taught us about the solar system and showed us a wonderful model. 
We took a little break from presentations and did some pantomime skits. Rina looked on with rapt attention.

Alli did her pantomime skit on petting a kitty and she did a great job. Everyone knew exactly what she was doing.
Then Alli taught us about the groundbreaking female scientist, Marie Curie. 
Josiah told us all about old time photography. We learned all about why everyone didn't smile because they had to hold still for so long.
We even learned about creepy chairs that were really parents covered up to look like a chair that were really holding their children still for the picture.
We watched a funny scene in "The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again" that depicts the ex-outlaws going into an old-time photo session that turns into a disaster. Here is a good picture of the braces photographers used to help keep their subjects still.

When presentations, vocab trivia and scripture recitations were over, Josiah did a fun science experiment involving different sounds.
We did a feast of Indian foods for lunch. It was the first time the kids and I have ever had naan bread. Delicious! We also had chicken curry soup and vegetarian curry with a salad. 

Had to throw in this adorable picture of Josiah with Rina.
Naomi explained how time and seasons happen. Her mom, Jeni, was holding the sun (flashlight) to aid her presentation.

Gracia told us all about Buckingham Palace, complete with a video depicting the changing of the guard.
Alli did her presentation on the sun and stars.
Amanda found a simplified "Twelfth Night" adapted Shakespeare play for the kids to do. They had a ball. All of them are a bit dramatic and had no problem getting into character.
Can anyone say, "drama queen"???
Hailey did her presentation on the crown jewels of Britain and the many different uses of the Tower of London throughout the years. We learned that it currently is used to house the crown jewels.

Josiah taught us about some basic British currency and showed us pictures. 

We decided to do a Greek themed lunch complete with Baklava. So yummy!

We are having fun with the various hats and clothing we mined from the local thrift stores. 
Naomi shared a wind experiment with us.
Gracia did a wind velocity experiment. The kids really thought this one was exciting!
We had each of the kids look up a flower mentioned in the Magician's Nephew and draw or paint it. It was fun seeing what they each came up with.

Then we got all my bird identification books out and had each child pick out a bird to draw. These are vintage books from my Grandma Ellen and very special to me. 

Alli drew a red-winged blackbird. 
Gracia drew a barn owl.
Josiah loves the call of a black-capped chickadee.

Hailey drew an owl, too. 

Mexican-themed lunch - tostadas!


For presentations we had each child teach the group about a world leader during the WWII era. Alli taught us about Winston Churchhill.
Hailey taught us about Hirohito, the Japanese Emperor. We learned that Japan has the longest unbroken line of emperors in history.
Josiah taught us about Hitler's childhood and then his rise to power in Germany and subsequent death.
The lovely Gracia did her presentation on Mao Tse Tung, the Chinese leader during the WWII era.

For lunch we picked recipes from wartime Britain were rationing was a must. It was really fun to see what everyone came up with.

We had cauliflower and cheese and bacon, shepherd's pie, green pumpkin cobbler (tasted just like apple cobbler - this was actually a Ma Ingall's recipe from The Long Winter), potato cakes and deviled eggs (not pictured). Super simple, but really good and fun to use only what we had on hand in our pantries/refrigerators.

That's a wrap for the Magician's Nephew. Each family also did a lot of different readings and documentaries and such on their own. We watched The Hiding Place. We are currently working through Little Women each night. The kids are really enjoying it and I am, too.

See you in the Wardrobe next time!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Homeschool Daddy/Daughter Dance 2016

 Thanks to the Union County Christian Home Educators, Hailey was able to go to her first Daddy/Daughter dance - homeschool style! She and Michael had a great time as they danced the night away and able to bond on a "date". I was able to take a few pictures before they headed over the mountain to the dance.

 She is looking so grown up!
 Waiting for her daddy to get home so they could go!
 Hailey's friend, Naomi, wasn't really interested in dancing, but we dolled her up anyway so she could go to a nice dinner with her dad.
 They took pictures of the daddies with their daughters at the dance. Clearly, Hailey had already been dancing as her carefully arranged hair is now in disarray. That's a good sign that fun was being had!

 A big thank you to Kelli for taking these photos at the dance!
Love this picture of some of the daddies with their daughters dancing the night away. Precious indeed! These girls are being taught how a man should treat them on a date and on the dance floor. Thankful Michael and Hailey were able to participate. It was nice for them to see their old friends from our previous homeschool group again. It was hard for me not to be jealous! I hope there is a mother/son date scheduled soon.

Blessings, Jackie


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