Life at Home

This guy officially finished his Vex robotic thing:

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And both boys reached their reading goals for January!  This meant personal pan pizzas for everyone!  I failed to fill out the forms this year…so we didn’t get to use the awesome free bookit program.  I’ll figure this homeschooling thing out one of these days. =)

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Below are some pics from our homeschooling life.  As you can see, it involves a lot of reading.  Sometimes the boys just sit and listen, but other times they color, do puzzles or paint.  One day I even had them draw comics to the story I was reading.  Micah started using a new handwriting book and seems to enjoy it.  Ethan has started tracking his Magic Tree House books on the website again.  He’s read all of the books and enjoys re-reading them in the mornings before he’s allowed to start playing.  I warned him that he’ll need to start reading more challenging books soon, but for now I love that he enjoys a good story! =)

The boys have a lot of fun using their headphones.  Sometimes they listen to their CC memory work music; sometimes they are listening to picture books being read to them.  I love to see them enjoying the headphones!

As promised, here’s a video of Ethan singing part of our Latin song for memorizing John 1.  We also are learning it in English.  It’s a super fun song, so that helps!

We ended up watching the Super Bowl at home this year.  We made sure to eat some fun snacks and had a really nice afternoon/evening.  It helped that the team we *all* wanted desperately to win won!  Oh my word, these two were cracking me up! =)

Also, throwback to 5 years ago…I took this picture of the boys and put the caption, “The boys just found out the Packers aren’t in the Super Bowl”. =)

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Speaking of long ago…we took out a game I made for the boys years ago for the first time in a long time again tonight.  We enjoyed playing the game of “Action” together. It involves things like push ups and squats and running up and down stairs.  =)

Life Lately

We’ve gotten back into our normal rhythm of life since our extended Christmas vacation.  We started homeschooling, CC, PE+, CBS, Cadets/Kids’ Club, and whatever else our weeks are made up of these days.  We’ve also had lots of time at home – a calming effect on all of us. =)

Ethan has spent some time working on his VEX thing from Grandpa and Grandma.  He discovered a missing piece, which delayed him, but the company promptly sent him a new one!  He’s still working on finishing the completed product, but it’s pretty cool right now!  He hopes to do a presentation at CC on it one of these days.

We’ve played a lot of games recently, too.  It’s pretty sunny in our home during certain hours of the afternoon.  E needed sunglasses!  Mike was being silly and refusing to turn his train so was playing from the kitchen. =)

It snowed quite a bit two weekends ago.  Ethan wanted to shovel as soon as he woke up, so we let him!  He’s a hard worker and really enjoys doing things like this for us!  We needed to do a little more shoveling after it snowed for a few more hours, so E and I did a bit and then headed to our big hill for some sledding.

I took the boys to the library for a cooking class last week.  We had a really nice time together.  We’ll be doing some more library activities this next month!

We did a little reorganizing of the playroom, again. =)

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My dear friend told me about Tinker Crates before Christmas, so we decided to give them a shot.  Essentially they have science and art projects in little boxes for kids based on their ages and the boxes come every month.  We’ve opened one for Christmas (a month late because I didn’t realize both of the boys’ crates were in the same big box) and one for January and have been really pleased with them.  The boys have thanked us every day for them since they opened them.  We’ll see if it continues to be a fun thing for them, but I definitely like that it teaches them things that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own!!  And you better believe this kind of thing gets to count towards homeschooling. =)  So far, we’ve gotten arcade games (i.e. making a catapult and a claw), a nightlight, and a my body kit (including a fun glow in the dark “X-ray”).  Pretty fun!

We also finally filled our first jar with beads!  This has been a fun and effective way to encourage habits like putting away dishes and school work, responding when you’ve been spoken to, doing your work with a positive attitude and going to bed well.  The boys were pretty jazzed when the jar was totally full!  This time we decided to get massive cones of ice-cream! Whoa.

Homeschool edition to follow… =)

Boys’ Weekend/Sisters’ Weekend

Last weekend I flew to Atlanta to help my sister at her trade show.  I’ve been helping at this bi-annual show since we lived in Atlanta.  It’s always a lot of work and a whole lotta fun.  I enjoy getting to know Jennie’s friends and learning more about her business.  I also enjoy the chance to see my dear friends (no pictures this year) in the evenings for dinner.  This year I saw Patricia and Katie!  It’s such a pleasure to help Jennie and her company, Venture Imports.  We’re holding her hearts that say “sister” and “friend”!  =)

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While I’m away, the boys definitely play!  But first, they completed all of the tasks I assigned them for homeschool.  I’m pretty impressed with their ability to remain self-motivated and get things done.  Mike said they did a good job all Friday getting their work done so that they could play on Saturday and Monday.

Daddio is the braver parent and opted to take the boys skiing *twice* while I was gone.  They have now officially exceeded my skill level and the amount of times I’ve gone.  They had a great time skiing!

Saturday at Loveland:

Monday at Keystone (I believe!) with friends from church:

And here are some other highlights:

Milestones included Ethan going down a green all.by.himself and each boy winning Risk Legacy.  I imagine there are other milestones on the mountain, but I don’t know the stories well enough to re-tell them here. =)

Tea Time

My dear friend, Amy, and I had the opportunity to go to Glen Eyrie for a post-Christmas tea and it was simply lovely.  She and I got down there early enough to go for a hike around the premises…

and then changed into our dresses (and the hats they allow you to wear!) for our tea.

It was a wonderful tiny retreat after our weeks of travel and truly refreshed my spirit immensely.  SO thankful for this woman and for these fun opportunities.

Home again!

One of the things I most enjoy about being home again after such a long, fun vacation is just getting into our routine.  Routine and rhythm do my soul good and I love getting back into it again.  Part of our rhythm is me making oatmeal (or some other breakfast) in the morning.  Another part is updating our calendar (it was so fun to see all the days not crossed off and to start a fresh new month).  The boys enjoy routine, too.  Part of their rhythm is playing piano and doing art projects – they were eager to get back into it!  Micah also enjoys making snacks for everybody and Ethan enjoys writing his own music.  Another thing we so enjoy is getting back to our church.  This particular Sunday we were talking about “Ebenezers” – you may remember my post about this recently – and Micah wanted to put up a stone representing how much he’s grown in his courage, thanks to the Lord. =)

The biggest part of our routine and daily rhythm is, of course, homeschool.  We eased our way back into this, since it’s a hard transition for the boys.  I think they enjoyed getting back into it, too!  We also started something new – essentially we have a goal to fill up the jar with the bow on it by doing good things such as putting away dishes or books, going to bed without a fuss, responding when they have been spoken to, finishing an assignment without complaining, etc., etc..  They can also lose beads for negative behavior or attitudes.  Anyway, it’s been a fun system and the boys seem very motivated by it!  It’s a whole lotta work to be consistent with it, but it’s been an easy and calm way to keep us all on track. =)

Part of our homeschool rhythm is going to Classical Conversations.  The boys were mostly excited to get back.  We are doing a new unit in Fine Arts – studying great artists!  I love this unit because it means creative and beautiful artwork!  Both boys did presentations on our recent travels and their highlights.

Being home again also means the boys are back to playing legos, dressing up with Daddio for battle, and going for bike rides with Mom.

It also means I am back to trying new recipes.  We got the new Nom Nom cookbook and I made my first ever egg drop soup.  Everyone loved it! Yay for a new recipe!

We also took down Christmas decorations and put up some new every day “art”:

It’s good to be back in our home and doing the things that make us settle into being at home again!

Fourth Stop: Illinois

On our way back to Wisconsin, we made our annual stop in Illinois.  We stop there for dinner most years and to celebrate Lauren’s birthday!!  Jennie had just moved her warehouse to a location closer to her home, so we all wanted to stop in and see that before heading to their home for pizza and dessert.

Thanks for hosting another fun evening at your home, Jen and J!

First Stop: Minnesota

We drove to Minneapolis the week before Christmas and spent a few days there.  The boys are fantastic travelers, thankfully.  They keep themselves busy with coloring, looking at books, and listening to audiobooks.  And, of course, having tic tacs or gum all day long. =)

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Mike worked while we were there, of course, so the boys and I kept ourselves occupied throughout the day.  One day we spent exploring the “tubes”.  We made it all the way to Mike’s office and had some kombucha on tap there and also grabbed some lunch with our guy.

Most of the rest of the time we hung around the hotel and played a lot of billiards. =)  We also got in some “work outs”, drank hot chocolate, did some school and played some games.  In retrospect, I would have scheduled another outing (like a children’s museum or something!), but the boys had seemed so content to hang at the hotel so we did that this time around.  We also always had dinner with Mikey when he was done at the office.

The main reason we went to Minneapolis was to attend the family Christmas party.  It was pretty fun and a really unique location!  Ethan played at least 3 games of mini-golf on a cool course designed by various artists.  Micah and I played a whole lot of arcade games from the 60s, like bowling and foos ball.

We had a great time in Minneapolis, but by Friday afternoon we were headed to Wisconsin for some family time!