Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Living Room Remix

Perhaps the record setting heat yesterday addled my brains, but I could take no more of the sameness and monotony of my home design. The filthy smelly curtains have been ripped down and the furniture rearranged. That, and the fact that the weather calmed itself back down, has me feeling so much calmer. (breathing a sigh of relief)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back to School

Enough slacking already, it's past time for me to acknowledge that school is in full swing again.  This week is our home school's fourth week, and Timothy's third week of high school.  Everything is already starting to settle in, from the inevitable adjustments in schedule, structure, and curricula at home, to the decline in spirits of my teenager who has just realized that even with better teachers and less hormonal swings, school still requires responsible behavior and decisions.

Timothy seems to be adjusting to life on the high school campus fine.  Chris and I met his teachers on Monday night (Back to School Night) and found that he has:
   1 amazing teacher (Geography)
   1 very good teacher (Health)
   5 good/standard teachers (Band, Spanish, Science, Algebra, English)

The hard part is simply trying to help Timothy learn how to help himself.  How to not feel overwhelmed and put a little effort into getting through high school.  He's such a smart guy, but he really doesn't like school...except the social part.  (I haven't taken any pictures of him since I'm still bleary eyed when he leaves in the morning. Sorry. But take my word for it--he got a hair cut and looks quite handsome.)
School books--just a sampling. :)
It always surprises me that regardless of how much planning time I put into the home school year, it is always immediately apparent that some adjustments are needed.  I'm adding in a first grader this year (Audrey's kindergarten year was a little less formal) which has shaken things up a bit as far as scheduling the day goes.  I had some time this weekend to reorganize our history schedule, since all of my desire to use a pre-made schedule couldn't make up for the fact that my kids would be much happier (and learn much more) with some minor changes.
Looks more tranquil that it is--imagine leaf blowers, sirens...
Everyone has had a change in math and English, which has prompted Melinda to look for places to do her work that will help her to eliminate stress.  The adjustment in English has been small and easy for her, but math has really thrown her for a loop.  We are pressing on, however, since I made the change in order to help them adjust to how math is presented in brick & mortar schools (at this point we are planning for Melinda and Andrew to attend Valley Christian next year).
If there is to be a mess, let it be with books.
Andrew has done great with all of his changes.  He had a big change in English and Math, but he has adapted well.  He is currently reading The Fellowship of the Ring (of his own choice) which is something I've never done...he's almost done and loving it.  The thing Andrew has to work the hardest at this year is eliminating careless mistakes in his math, and being responsible in completing all of his work on time.
Audrey made sure to finish her K workbook before moving on.
Audrey is loving school.  Every once in a while she sighs about a specific task, but overall she is eager to do more than required.  She is speeding through her science and history especially.  She loves being read to and loves having a schedule just like the big kids.
Did I mention I'm actually doing better at cooking too?
As far as organization goes, I'm using a method similar to what I used last year: binders with weekly checklist/schedules for the kiddos, schedules for me (used rather loosely) and weekly folders for organizing some of our work.  We've been much better about timelines since I've organized them better, and maps are getting done regularly thanks to the Story of the World Activity Guide.  
I actually have "Completed Work" binders set up.
All of the kiddos got haircuts before getting pictures taken.  Most shocking of all is Andrew's hair cut, since his hair was so long before.  What a handsome guy!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

End of Summer Garden Update

Before I jump into planning a fall garden, I thought I'd do a final update on this year's gardening adventure. There have been some things that have done great and some that haven't, but I've learned so much overall that I can't help but be pleased.

One major thing I've learned: this place could make a full-time gardener feel worn out...there's SO much to be done!

I've cleaned up the herb garden, and even half empty it is better than the ivy that was living there last year (and which, I am pleased to say, has not tried to make a comeback.)

The pineapple basil really took off. I cut it back some, but it's still big, and now it's flowering too.

Tarragon, boxwood basil, lemon thyme, cinnamon basil:

The artichoke plant was done for the season, so I cut it all the way down, layered compost over it, and already it is getting ready for the next go round.

Outside of the herb garden, I am still harvesting tomatoes, the basil and flat leaf parsley are thriving, my bell peppers have hung in there, and some of my melons are still attempting to grow--although they have struggled all season long. Soon I'll be giving these raised beds a layer of compost and getting them ready for some peas, carrots, and lettuce.

My little chipper shredder made starting new compost pile a breeze. Finished compost is really an amazing thing.

Oh, and a new discovery! My little baby apple tree has one little apple on it! Yay!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Toothless Grin

Wish I had on video how this brave little girl ripped her wobbly tooth out of her mouth--it was amazing! There's no doubt that my baby is growing up!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

End of Summer Update

I can't seem to keep up on all the little things (ha, see what i did there?) that have happened at the end of our summer, hurtling us back into an undesired regimented existence. Rather than blog blasting (I considered it, believe me, but it seemed tremendously inefficient) I've decided to post and end-of-summer montage.

We went to Chris's cousin's baby shower where Chris got to play poker with all his cousins...it was great to see them all surrounded by their sons: a new generation.

Melinda was beyond excited to go to kids camp, and she had an amazing time. Here's a pic of her with her counselor, and one of Audrey with all the luggage ready to be loaded onto the busses.

Audrey had a ton of catch-up dental work done, and did a fabulous job throughout it all. I'm glad we made the decision to pay a little extra for a great children's dentist.

We've been car shopping (no success yet) and found out two things. 1.) Some headrests are quite uncomfortable. 2.) Melinda has just about perfected her goofy facial expressions.

We've had blankie emergencies: this poor thing has been loved hard and well. I'm not real sure how much longer I can keep patching it up! I crocheted another preventative border around it, to which Audrey declared "This makes Blank feel so much better." I don't think she was talking about the blanket's texture, either.

And, we found out that when on the roof of a hotel in downtown Los Angeles, boxed water is better.

Never fear, back-to-school and fall garden posts are on their way, now that I have the tidbits taken care of.