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!

Advent Activities 11-14

Day 11: Christmas craft & Christmas cookies.  We put two together on this day because I had hopes of doing a special advent activity with Aunt Ashley the following day.  Unfortunately, their family was sick so we had to postpone.  So, my day 12 activity was kind of made up on the fly. =)  Thanks, Grandma Cleve, for the train ornaments!

Oh, also, I forgot this trick…if the boys refuse to smile or can’t handle not smiling with huge eyes…tell them to look at each other. So much cuter!

Day 12: drink hot chocolate and read “A Christmas Carol”.  We read a children’s version of the story to prep for day 14….

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Day 13: This was supposed to be banket-making with Auntie Mel, but there was sickness in their house, too.  So, sadly, this was postponed, also.  It ended up being a really rough and exhausting day for me.  I had pretty much cancelled Advent Activities and reached my very own milestone – calling my mom in tears over parenting. =/  BUT, the Lord gave me a wonderful idea that night…to pour grace upon grace on them so that they would have a tangible example of God’s grace and love towards us.  I sent them to bed early because oh.my.word. the day was too long!  But before they fell asleep, I got them out of bed for a late-night drive to see Christmas lights.  The message was loud and clear: you don’t deserve this, but grace wins!  It was a great lesson for me, too…I had to ask myself, how do I respond to His grace and goodness in my life?  Do I obey willingly and thank Him?  Or do I do my own thing and forget to be still and rest in His goodness?

Day 14: Watch “A Christmas Carol” downtown!  We had excellent seats for this fairly scary performance and saw lots of our CC friends there.  Afterwards we got to chat with some of the actors/stage crew people about their roles.  It was really neat!  Also…smiling is hard for us right now. =/

 

Homeschool Pics

Homeschool has been going well this year.  We always have our ups and downs, but I can’t imagine you want to hear much about the downs.  =)  Both boys are working on their handwriting.  Ethan is learning to do multiplication flashcards for time and Micah is still working on learning various words and sounds letters make.

We’re reading good books together and separately, and we’re listening to lots of fun audiobooks.  I’m trying to model a love for reading by reading lots of books myself. Thankfully I’ve found so many to enjoy and have started attending a book club with ladies from our CC group.  We’ve been reading books that are on the reading list for our kids when they get into the older classes.  We try to read and snuggle or read outside as much as possible.  We also try to look up words (or birds mentioned in the book we are reading) or locations while we are reading to help the books come alive.  And we try to read books with good messages about how we want to live our lives.

Grandpa and Grandma’s Visit

We were so thankful to have Grandpa and Grandma here for a visit this past week!  Mike had been in India for work, so the timing was perfect for me.  Mike was bummed to miss them, but we all agreed that it was a blessing for me to have help and company!  Plus we got to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with him since he was here for it!  They arrived on the same day that Mike left for India and we had the chance to watch the Packers game together and to impress them with piano skills.

On Friday we went to PE+ and then had a field trip to “Living History”.  We’re studying this time period in US history this year in CC, so it was perfect timing!  The boys made candles and candle holders, enjoyed learning about guns and participated in part of a school day for colonial pilgrims, among other things.

Saturday was my Dad’s birthday.  We celebrated by having cinnamon rolls and then leaving him with the boys while my Mom, Aunt and I went to a cooking class for learning to make macarons. =D  That evening we went to my aunt and uncle’s house for dinner.

On Tuesday we had another field trip.  This time we went downtown to watch “The Snowy Day” play.  Naturally we took in the sites a bit and enjoyed some Little Man Ice cream while we were so close. =)

It wouldn’t be a visit from my parents without various projects getting done around the house.  My Mom worked on pillow covers for me and I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am about them! =)  My Dad got rid of the rose bushes and another spiky bush in the backyard (beware – next year I’ll be a real gardener!).  He also put up curtain holder things (there’s probably a real name for this…), helped reinforce the tree fort, and put up a new shelf for the boys’ capes and the letters the boys made with them.  It was a week of random projects and I’m so impressed with how everything turned out!  Thank you, guys!!

In between these projects and runs to the fabric store and Home Depot, we did some school work, read books, and played games.  Ethan went on a couple bike rides with Grandpa.  Micah joined Grandma and me at the yarn store – wearing two different shoes as I am told I did regularly as a child – and took pictures of butterflies with Grandpa in the backyard.  And the boys did a lot of yard work outside, too.

It was great to have you here again, Mom and Dad!  Thanks for coming!!  You’ll see another post of this trip with photos from my Dad. =)

Daily Grind: Homeschool Edition

Videos often motivate the boys in learning their CC memory work and I think they end up being a kind of fun way for others to get a glimpse into how the unique world of classically educating the boys looks.

Here are some more shots from around the house learning:

We take it on the road a bit, too.  Micah does some work in the gym while Ethan participates in PE+ (a gym class for homeschool kids).  And our very best days are spent at the park.  We ride for about a mile and a half and then break for some schooling, then we continue on for another half mile until we reach the park where we do some more schooling and also some playing.

The boys have gotten very interested in painting as of late.  We are using water color right now.  We put on some classical music and paint until they tire of it.  I finished a frame for displaying their artwork and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

In fact, Ethan presented his painting in CC today.  Micah talked about his camera.  We also enjoyed our new art project of using perspective in drawing – the Washington Monument and the Reflective Pool.

I won’t go into the lots of details here, but we are praising the Lord this week.  Suffice it to say, Micah has a difficult time leaving me.  This week, however, he went to CBS without any tears.  We definitely celebrated his bravery!

His sweet teacher sent this picture to me later to confirm that he was, in fact, smiling during class, too! =)

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Lastly, we finished our audiobook of “Anne of Green Gables”.  I literally happy (and sad) cried my way through the whole book.  I had never read it before, but I grew up LOVING (and hating for some of the parts…) watching “Anne of Green Gables” with Megan Follows.  I highly recommend the book and found the audiobook to be delightful!!  Tonight we watched the first half of the movie and the boys loved it.

Side note: when I was younger, our family went on a trip to Prince Edward Island to see Green Gables (among other things).  That whole trip was easily one of my favorite family vacations.  I only just learned that my sister and dad had been reading the books together prior to it!  How fun!  I have a picture…somewhere…of me in front of Green Gables, but I can’t seem to find it now.  I’d like to show it to the boys!

 

Homeschool Life

If ever I complain about my life as a homeschooling mom, remind me to GET OUTSIDE with the boys.  We finally biked to the pond for homeschool last week and it was the most refreshing day of homeschool of the year.  Both boys were asking what they should do next and no one complained about anything being too hard.  Tears were minimal, dare I even say non-existent?? Anyway, it was lovely.  Note to self – get outside as often as possible!

Even after a blissful day outside, I still chose to do homeschool indoors the following day.  It wasn’t nearly as fun, but we made it! =)

Community Bible Study is a part of our homeschooling each week.  Micah did a little bit better this week than the first week, so I took them out for cookies afterwards to celebrate.  Yep, I am not above bribery if it means less tears on these mornings. 😉  E was busy working on his lesson already today – he seems to really enjoy it!

Here are some pics from CC this week.  E presented on his camera and Micah talked about the overnight ferry we stayed on from Denmark to Norway.  The kids both said that the abstract art project was their favorite part of the CC day.

Piano has now become a big part of our days, too.  Ethan was the star student of the week last week because of how much he practiced and played the app “piano maestro”.  He is really loving piano and wishes he could have lessons more than once a week.  Micah has started playing around with the keyboard, too!

Since E loves playing this game on the iPad, we wanted to give Micah some more time on it, too.  So, he’s been doing a Bible app, a letters app and playing matching games. =)

Miller Farm

Our first real field trip of the year was to Miller Farm.  This was such a fun day!  We had lovely weather (a reprieve from the hotter temps!) and a super fun family with whom to enjoy it.  The farm is about an hour away, so we spent most of the trip listening to more of “Anne of Green Gables”.  I literally laughed out loud a bunch of times and I’m getting really eager to show the boys the movies I grew up adoring as a girl.

We spent a few hours there.  Part of the time the kids were playing…

…but most of the time we were riding on a wagon out to various parts of the field to pick our fruit and veggies.  Each person got 4 bags of produce!!  We ended up with lots of corn, peppers, tomatoes and pumpkin.  We also picked some broccoli, beets, potatoes and celery.  I’m certain I’m missing some of the produce we picked, but suffice it to say, we LOVED it!

The field trip didn’t end there…the boys wanted to help me clean and cut veggies when we got home, too!

Thankful for opportunities to take our learning outside and to get dirty!