Whew! I can't even begin to express how much I have been looking forward to getting back to our lessons! We have been on a break since July, and it has been a mad house around here! It would make a never-ending post to document it all along with all of our great photos and such, so I have just decide to give a quick run down of our happenings to bring everyone up to speed as we jump back into our lessons next week!
Let me just say that this summer has been HOT! I think we must have brought some heat with us from the south when we moved, because I was looking forward to a little cooler summer weather in our new home! Thank goodness we bought a home five minutes from a wonderful creek and reservoir! So swimming has been our top activity! Unfortunately the dry heat has also brought a lot of fires (as I am sure you have seen in the news or experienced yourself). We have been fortunate so far to only deal with being enclosed in smoke. That isn't the only way the fires have affected us though. It happens to be what keeps my Hubby in a job during the hot season. He is a helicopter mechanic, and the company he works for helps put out wildfires. So he has been one busy guy. His job requires him to drive the fuel truck to wherever the helicopter is needed, so we have seen very little of him the past few months, and it looks like it will be another couple of months before things will settle down. So I have been flying solo....but surviving!
We have also been really excited to have our first garden this year! Hooray! I will be the first to say that I do NOT have a green thumb. It seems every time I try to plant something it ends badly. So I am super HAPPY that our small garden has been productive this year! I called it a "test" garden this time and we only did a few things: carrots, spinach, zucchini, cucumbers, peas, pumpkins, green beans, cantaloupe, butternut squash, and some peppers. The spinach was the first to take off, and was fabulous while it lasted, the peas did okay but I think I need a different variety next year. Now we have the carrots, zucchini and cucumbers producing and are waiting on the others. I feel successful considering my past disappointments! The kiddos have had to help with planting, weeding and watering. They haven't always done it voluntarily, but after working a while they have learned to enjoy it.
I worked the first several weeks of our break lining up our materials for this year. I was really excited to be more organized and look forward to having a better handle on our academics this year. Last year was hectic and not very organized due to all of our big changes with moving. I will share more info about this years plans in another posting!
Ahh yes, finally some time to spend on cleaning and organizing. When we moved into our home in December, I unpacked as quickly as I could and did a "goodfornow" organizing job. I have now completely re-organized two spaces in our home. One was a down stairs space adjoining our family room. This space originally was set up as a "play room". But it was far from that, I more commonly called it the "mess room". No one played in it, just messed it. This space also houses our piano and handful of other instruments and has a sliding door out to a covered patio and part of the yard. I wanted it to be more usable so...I restricted the toys to being: blocks, puzzles, and dramatic play items. And I moved some books shelves in and organized the kiddos (picture) books, labeling each shelf with a category of books. I also put together a small "train" table that was still hiding in a corner from our move, for use with the puzzles and blocks. Now we refer to this space as the QT (quiet) room, it is a place for quiet activities, unless musical in nature. We have been able to keep it picked up for the most part...at least it is only moderately messy like the rest of the house!
The other space I did, was a spur-of-the-moment thing. In our main upstairs space we had it divided into a dining area and a school/office area. My original plan was to clean the carpets (I can't wait to get rid of them this winter! Carpet in the dining area with 5 kids is a nightmare!). To do that I had to move my large table and benches out on the deck. As I was steaming the carpet I had time to rethink the space and suddenly decided it need a change right then! I am so glad I did! The new space flows so much better!
Also under this "cleaning" heading I should add that I changed around the way we assign chores, but I will wait for another post to dig into that!
Other things we have done along the way:
- Camp-outs in the yard: We had hoped to get in a "real" camping trip this season, but for now a tent in the yard or blankets on the trampoline has worked very well!
- Embroidery Lessons: I have taken up embroidery this past year, and my Lyllian (11) has watched and wanted to learn. So I set her up with a hoop, showed her a few basics and handed her the book I have been learning from. She was on her own then and did very well! Seeing her success and enjoyment my HanaRose (7) begged to learn too. So again, I set her up with a hoop and showed her some stitches. She surprised me with how much time she spent on her projects! This girl is my wiggly one that can't stand sitting still...I think we may have found an answer for those times she must be still and wait!
- We purchased a new vehicle! It was a little sooner than expected, but we knew it was coming. Our old suburban took it's last breathe...and my hubby being so busy with fires, had no time to try and fix it to limp down the road a little longer. So we found a nice expedition that suites our needs (plus some). I must admit that I was hesitant to get something so "fancy", but my hubby was insistent, and we are very happy with our purchase (but hope to be car-payment free again as soon as possible!!)
- Goats! We added two Nubian doelings to our family just two weeks ago! We plan to make these girls into milk suppliers in the future!
- Family Reunion Trip! I was really excited this year to be able to make it to my family reunion on my Dad's side of the family! I am one lucky girl to have all of my grandparent's still living! It has been hard for me to live so far away for so long. I was always very close to my grandparent's and spent a lot of summer's with them growing up. It was fun to be able to take my kiddos to spend some time with them, to get to know them. I know that there is most likely not many opportunities for that left and I want them to have memories and put faces to the names on their family tree! It was a great trip!
- Birthdays! Our HanaRose turned 7 (that was actually in June) and Lyllian turned 11 just recently in August! Time flies! We have two more birthdays coming up in September!
- Chill-axin! With all that was going on we also had plenty of time to just relax. Lay in the hammocks we hung from and on the deck, watch movies in our cool basement when it was too hot to play outside, read books, and visit friends and family (especially my new niece!).
And that's our summer break in a nutshell! Lessons resume for us tomorrow and I look forward to the comforts of routine and cooler weather on it's way soon (I hope)!