Friday, November 28, 2008

Advent cometh!

Ok, I know, that housework while homeschooling post still hasn't materialized. It's all up in my head, baby. Unfortunately, I've been too busy actually trying to get house stuff done to write about it. I hosted an unexpected Thanksgiving dinner this year because my parents' house finally sold and they had to start packing very quickly.

More pressing, though is Advent planning, and that's what I've been working on today. We do Advent up good, and my kids are almost as excited about the first Sunday as they are about Christmas, so I'm doing something right. I've written before about our Jesse Tree. Well, this year I've decided to forgo the candy. That was kind of an expensive pain to put together. This year I've decided instead to have something special planned for each day of Advent and write that out on a little scroll to be opened each evening. That sounds really ambitious, right? Well, many of the things are traditions we already have,,,like having an ornament making day...others are watching special Christmas movies each Sunday of Advent...and many are very simple or based around things that need to get done anyway, like "have a present wrapping day" or "make tissue paper poinsettias".

Here's our plans for this week---

Sunday, November 30th- Read "Merry Christmas Strega Nona" and have an Italian dinner. Start the Immaculate Conception novena today.

Monday, December 1st- Read "The Manger Where Jesus Lay. First Movie Night- Polar Express and It's A Wonderful Life.

Tuesday, December 2nd- Ri's Shopping Day with Mom. We will pick up little somethings for her to gift her siblings and Dad with, and pick up a yummy goodie while we're out.

Wednesday, December 3rd- Read "Country Angel Christmas". Make glitter star ornaments.

Thursday, December 4th- Craft day at the art museum. Read "Our Lady of Guadalupe" and start the Our Lady of Guadalupe novena.

Friday, December 5th- Field trip to a local museum. Read The Miracle of St. Nicholas and put out shoes.

Saturday, December 6th- St. Nicholas visits! Town Christmas parade! Read "The Huron Carol".

What are your favorite Christmas traditions? I've gotten many of ours from Elizabeth Foss's lovely unit study. I'm lacking about 5 simple/special things for the tail end of my list. :) I love doing these things with my children. We try to keep the gifts and such to a minimum, and this leaves a wonderful void to be filled with better traditions.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

on how I'm not dead, and field trips

Hello, I'm still alive. Sorry, I am a slacker blogger. Between all the usual hoopla and fighting others for the computer, it can be hard to find time to blog. It takes motivation, and that waxes and wanes a bit. :)

I have a lot of catching up to do, so here goes...

I use my blog to upload worthwhile "sending to the grandparents" pictures, so I have to get all the goodies on here...

From a field trip to a local artists colony...really neat place!!! Statue gardens, labyrinths, all kinds of fun stuff...this place is one of my favorites in the area, just very enjoyable...though it was pretty darn cold! Way too many pics of this, bear with me...

All Saint's Day...This year's theme was "use what mom has available because she doesn't want to sew anything". Maria was St. Winifred. We turned up the costume at a local thrift store, and so I brought it home and said, "Pick a princess or something." She will kill me for posting this picture because she hates it. The dress all ballooned up in the front and makes her look like she has this big belly. Whatever. My blog, kid. My rules.

Kain was St. George...anything with a weapon is a plus for Kain. I had this armor and such to use, so that worked out.

Jack was St. Florian, patron Saint of fire fighters. Yes, I have two complete sets of armor. Jack refused to wear most of it. The red cape is a turtleneck, ha!

Kain's first confession...

Followed by celebratory stop for donuts....

I'm not a big fan of this "reconcilliation service" thing. I'm old school, I want a box and a curtain to hide behind, I want anonymity. None of this nansy pansy music, community prayer, getting up on the altar stuff for me! But, it was a nice ceremony anyway.

Other random pics...

skating rink...

The little girl here is the sister of a boy who's slice of head you can just kinda see behind Maria. They absolutely do NOT like each other. NOT. Even though they both skating together the whole time we were there, and even though they sat together at the snack bar while his friends rolled by snickering and her friends rolled by giggling at them, they do NOT like each other. Ew, Mom. Gross.

Jack is learning how to spell. Seriously.

Tess is using a cup...kind of...there's just water in there.

And teething on a baby carrot...this was great. Her first time with any food, though she didn't actually eat it, just gummed it. She kept holding it in her fist and turning it over and over between bites, thinking, "How long have they been holding this stuff out on me? Awesome."

In other news, I am way behind on everything around here, including computer stuff. I managed to catch up my email today, and tomorrow I will work on catching up on *your* blogs via my backed up google reader. Coming Monday,,,homeschooling and housework, a post in progress. My husband, and anyone who has ever visited my house, will laugh. I'm no role model here. But I've been questioned about this several times lately, and I do know what helps, and I definitely know what *doesn't* work! So, I will share my acquired wisdom, for whatever it's worth!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Fall Walk

Yesterday we took our fall nature walk. It was a risky move on my was pretty windy, cloudy and cold. And John was working. But we'd been trying to take our fall walk for a few weeks now, and I figured that it was as nice a day as we would probably see in November. It really wasn't too bad once we got moving, and I intended to keep the walk short for Tess's sake. But...we got lost. Maria wanted to take a leg of the trail I had never been on before. She had taken it with John at one point and said it was really interesting. And it was. We saw a stone foundation for a log cabin that used to be on that spot, and further on the foundation for the family's chicken house, and even further on the foundation for their pig house. It was pretty cool to stand in those woods and imagine what it must have been like to live in that spot before the built a golf course on the other side of the stream. I wondered who the family was, how many children they had, and what brought them to these woods from wherever they came from.

Finally it was getting later, and colder. We pressed onward. Maria said the trail would turn around and come out at the parking lot. We walked. And walked. And walked. We walked so long that even Jack, my brave outdoorsman who never gets enough of hiking, was asking to go home. And then the trail dead-ended. I almost cried. We had to turn around and walk allll the way back to that old cabin foundation. The sun was setting by the time we reached it. There we found another leg where the trail did, in fact, turn back towards the parking lot. Jack was exhausted and poking along, my back was aching with Tess on board in her pack, and we were all cold. I was glad I had brought my cell phone just in case I needed to call for help, because it was nearly dark by the time we reached our van. Tess's feet and hands were purple and still cold when I curled her up to nurse at home. My shoulders still hurt. But hey! I got pictures!! :)

Here's our findings on our seasons table, in that basket on the right. It's not a great picture...the sun coming in that window messed things up for me. I've not posted pictures of my new seasons table before. It's very modest so far. I'm slowly collecting things to use on it, seasonal bowls and covers and fun things to decorate with, seasonal books, etc. The yellow basket in the middle has holy cards for All Saints Day, and there's a stack of the Father Lovasik Saint books next to it, and some seasonal picture books on the other end. When it becomes too cluttered, the kids quit paying attention to it. There's more books in bins underneath, but I just want a few things out at a time.

Here's what's in the basket.