Wednesday, December 29, 2010

White Christmas

We had a nice surprise on Christmas...snow!  We don't get snow too often.  But this year we were blessed with a White Christmas.  So, here is our White Christmas memories...
Bo is trying out his new BB gun in the snow.

Miss LouLou trying to help roll the bottom of our snowman.
Boo is rolling part of our snowman and freezing his fingers in the process.

Little Bitty tried to help...but her mittens got wet and her hands got cold.
She's crying and telling her daddy..."cold"

Nothing like a little daddy love:-)
Little Bitty needed a warming up break.  So she got to sit on the couch and watch Signing Time while
we finished the snowman.  This is what I found when I checked on her.
Introducing Mr. Snowman...

And because this might be our only snow this year...we had to make snowcream.
And just because she's too cute not to include...Miss Little Bitty wearing her brother's confederate army hat.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Year 1...on the horizon

 Bo previewing his Year 1 books.

I can hardly believe that our extended Year 0 is quickly coming to a close with Bo.  Back when he turned five he began asking me to do school with him.  I satisfied him with making our own alphabet book on the days he just had to do something.  After the book was finished he kept asking when I would teach him to read.  So since August of 2009 we have been doing a Year 0.  I began teaching him to read sometime that September.
 He has done so well.  I gave him a brief BRI (Basic Reading Inventory) test.  This testing book was left over from my time as a school teacher.  His instructional reading level was 3rd grade.  I am so proud of his progress.
He loves reading!
He loves history!
He does well with handwriting.
He loves art and nature study!
Now if I can just get him to love math.
He seems to like it some days when he can count with his soldiers...
 Other days, he insists on figuring things out his way, even though he gets the wrong answer.  Needless to say, we have had a few talks about heeding instruction, and mommy has had to apologize for impatience.

I am looking forward to Year 1 with Bo and beginning an extended Year 0 with Boo.  I have many things I intended to accomplish before this time arrived.  Like pre-reading all of our Year 1 books.  Well, I have only pre-read about 5 weeks worth of material.  I still have to order Right Start Math.  Yes,  Chris and I have decided to use right start and I am nervous, I feel like I will be learning things right along with him.  I purchased Quiet Time For Kids Volume 1 for Bible Time.  I am looking forward to January when we began Year 1, but I am enjoying the last few days of Year 0 with him now.

Yes, I know we are beginning Year 1 in January, but this is our little school house on the mountain...right?

Oh and I started reading Fables, by Arnold Lobel about a month ago to practice narrating.  He loves narrating!  I am so excited, since the Charlotte Mason method is all about narrating to assess learning.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Surprise

On this cold, snowy morning see what a nice surprise was waiting on the littles.  One of our hens is hatching baby chicks today.  Daddy went out to get one and brought it in for the littles to see.  He said.....

Open your hands
and close your eyes
and then you'll have a big surprise.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mommy Struggles

Being a mom is hard work.  Being a patient mom to four little ones could possibly be the hardest job on the planet.  I know because I work at that job day after day.  It seems to me that each night as I survey the beautiful mess I purpose to be more patient, give more grace, speak more kindness to each one of my children.  I think back over the day, and consider the moments I may have missed.  There are days I choose to clean instead of stopping to have a tea party, sometimes I read and never make eye contact when the little ones are telling me something, sometimes I can be way to serious, when I just need to smile and laugh and study each face.  The time I have with the little ones entrusted to my care is fleeting. Lately I have let other things take the place of time with the littles.  Lately I have been much too impatient.  Lately I have been showing frustration much to easily.  Even in the midst of the chaos I hear His words.  Will I heed them?

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?  Romans 2:4

Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 1 Peter 3:4

She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is one her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.  Prov. 15:1

Friday, December 10, 2010

From the Mouth of Babes...

 The Jesse Tree stands in the corner...
a bare branch that had fallen from our Magnolia tree ...
The ornaments cut and glued by the boys...
tied on with a piece of twine.
We got a little behind,
so I decided to do a devotion at breakfast.
I had read the scripture...
little one interrupting occasionally...
I need a paper towel...
Can I have more juice?
Little Bitty wanting out of the high chair...
Saying, "Out", then crying when I say, "No"
So my second born son, begins to speak...
I cut him off, determined to stay on track with the devotion.
"Is this about the Bible story I just read?"
"No", he responds, "but its good."
I relent and let him speak.
I can see by the look in his eyes that these words are welling up inside.
He needs a chance to speak truth.
And speak truth he does...
"We should really be doing the good things we do, so we can plant our seeds everyday all year long not just at Christmas.  We should give to others all year long, not just at Christmas."
(he's referring to the seeds they have been planting each day when they do a good deed...growing grass/straw for the manger on Christmas morning, and choosing gifts from the Samaritan's Purse catalog to give to Jesus)
I sit speechless for a moment...
because he's got it.
He understands!
And I almost missed it because I was in a hurry to hang an ornament on the tree.
I wonder what other heart words I have missed because I was too
hurried to stop and listen.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Can we Have a Horse Daddy?

"Can I get a horse or a mule for Christmas?" 
This is one of the only things five year old Boo seems to want.
Bo asks quite often too.
But I'm afraid this is about as close as they will get for awhile
These saw horses work fairly well for little guys and there food requirement is zero.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Outdoor Nature Hour...Apple Trees

We have three apple trees growing in our yard that we planted about a year ago.  We decided to use our trees as the basis for our nature study on apple trees.  We headed outside with a tape measure and notebook to record the growth of our trees.  Hopefully we can keep a check on our trees each fall and note the growth we see.
Here are the boys measuring the height of the Yellow Delicious apple tree.

We measured the height, diameter, and growth from last years pruning on each of our trees.  We then recorded this information in their nature notebooks.
Here is Boo drawing the the types of apples we will eventually have growing on our trees.

We have:
Yellow Delicious
Arkansas Black
I was very surprised at the growth from pruning on our Yellow Delicious and Arkansas Black apple trees.  They grew about 8 inches this year.  The Cortland had no new noticeable growth, so I suspect we did not prune that one, therefore the growth wasn't as noticeable.
After recording the information in our nature notebooks, we used apples as stamps and ate a few tasty apples too.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanking Him

This post comes a bit late, but I suppose any time is a good time to be thankful.  We had an extra special blessing the week of Thanksgiving.  After working 21 days straight days daddy was home and ready to play with the littles.  So here are the blessings of our week home with daddy...

boys eager to know..."Will you be home when we wake up tomorrow?"...dreading the day when we says..."No, its back to work."

a trip to Bass Pro Shop to window shop...out to eat at Five Guys with the littles

pitter patter of little girl feet in the early morning...running for daddy hugs

mommy and daddy snuggling in bed...being lazy together...littles piled high on both sides

looking out the window and watching those boys follow daddy around

daddy taking the time to take Miss LouLou on a date to the park to swing and ride her bike and eat ice cream on the way home.

daddy and boys fishing at sunset...mommy and girls sitting on the bank watching

roasting hotdogs and marshmallows over a campfire after our fishing trip...daddy camping outside in the yard with the boys

walking in the pasture with the hunt the pet the cats

watching movies together at night...relaxing...littles reward for finishing the story...Old Yeller

being able to invite friends over for a campfire and hotdog roast

our silly thanksgiving picture
our thanksgiving picture

Its Hard...

to take pictures of four little ones...especially when I have a cute pose in mind...someone usually doesn't cooperate...
today that someone was Little Bitty...she did not want to play peek-a-boo through the window...she finally started laughing and crying at the same time when mommy started acting really silly...

after wiping little eyes and a nose...this is as good as it gets...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Outdoor Hour...Maple Trees

We don't have any maple trees in the yard to study.  So, there are two beautiful maples on one of the roads near our house.  I stopped while we were out one day and picked several of the leaves for close-up observation.  The leaves were beautiful and I knew the little ones would do a great job replicating the colors.  They both tried to draw the leaves, but decided they wanted me to trace the leaves like I was doing for LouLou.  Here are the beautiful, bright drawings of the maple leaves...
Bo decided to color his maple leaf using the colored pencils.
Boo used chalk pastels.  He colored the one I traced on the left and he drew and colored the one on the right in springtime colors.
LouLou wanted to color a pretty leaf too, she loves using chalk pastels.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Outdoor Nature Hour...Oak Trees

We began the study of oak trees by taking at the close look at the pin oak tree we planted for Bo when he was a baby.  This tree has been growing for six years now.  Here is a look at the tree when we planted it...

Here is the tree today...
We gathered leaves from the tree and made a bark rub...

Next, we studied the large oak tree by the road.  I'm not sure what kind it is, the leaves look a lot like the pin oak leaves.  Here is Boo making a rubbing of the bark.  We also gathered leaves.
We brought the leaves inside and made leaf rubbings for our nature notebooks.  The boys also picked up several acorns and sketched them as well.
We gathered leaves from a water oak in the edge of our woods.  The boys noticed that the water oaks leave were much smaller than the other varieties.  They thought the pin oak bark seemed much smoother than the bark of the oak that is next to the road.

After we finished our nature journal entries...

Bo sketched his oak tree.  I thought it looked great...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rainy Day Fun...

It has been so beautiful this summer and fall.  We have not had very many rainy days.  The kids have spent much of their time coming and going from outside whenever they pleased.  So, Monday and Tuesday when it rained almost all day, they didn't quite know what to do.  Here are some things we did to stay busy inside while we got some much needed rain outside...

The boys made their first ever attempts at sewing buttons.  They did get a little frustrated.  I ended up getting the lacing cards out and telling them to practice on those for awhile.
I made a tent and it looked like a covered wagon,  So they got the rocking horse hitched up and they were off!  The boys really wanted LouLou to wear the stayed on only for the picture.
With the covered wagon disassembled it was time for playdough.  Yes, they love it and yes it gets all over the floor and yes I have to dig it out of Little Bitty's mouth...but it entertained them while I cooked supper.

We also sketched a pumpkin and a gourd and painted them with watercolor.

Our Cuties...

And then there's LouLou!  It's so hard to get a good picture of her.  She usually doesn't want to smile and she didn't want to climb the fence because it hurt her hands:-(