Surprise! It is a …

birds eye view of garden june 2015

Apparently I wrote this a month ago, then forgot to post it. Not surprising, as it took  me 3 days to mow the yard so things must have been a bit busy right then.  It is fun to look back and see what progress we have made since then.  Since it was already put together, I added in the photos and published it.

After 3 days of trying, I have finally finished mowing our yard.  Exciting, isn’t it?  🙂  See, I had not mowed it in almost 2 weeks when we then left for vacation.  So, almost 3 weeks of it growing meant thick grass whose bottom layers were still wet from rain.

I was even able to get over half of the weed-eating done before the battery needed recharging.  I will work on that later this afternoon.

Since I could not work on getting the weed-eating finished, I decided to attack the pile of wood chips sitting in the yard (thankfully, not on top of grass).  It took a few minutes to get our second wagon out of the basement, where it had been regulated when our garage was out of service this past Winter/Spring.  My idea was to have each boy in charge of one wagon, each being able to carry 4 buckets of wood chips.  This would not only double our efforts, but also create a great assembly line – one boy could be dumping his chips while I filled the buckets for the other boy.

Like most of my ideas lately, this one just did not work out like I had hoped.  Seems I forgot the fact that the kids are still a bit tired from vacation and are more in an arguing, pester your brother type mood.  The teamwork I was hoping for did not appear.  After 8 buckets had been filled and dumped, I ended the exercise and instructed everyone to Get. Inside.

Now that we have had lunch and quiet time (and some t.v. time while I work on homeschool paperwork), we are heading back out to see what kind of impact we can have on the wood chips.  This is a great proprioceptive activity for the kids, something Jack craves.

Side Note: I thought bowling would also be a great proprioceptive activity, and it is. However, once we start into the second round of games, it becomes TOO stimulating for George and results in breakdowns.  The one earlier this week was one of the most impressive George has given in a while; it even involved laying on the floor kicking his feet.  Yeah, the WHOLE bowling alley heard, though the shoe rental guy made the comment, “I think you won.”  He even did it with a straight face. 🙂 This is a great example of each kid being different and how knowing your kid will help you find what works.


store flash cards math

Yesterday I cleared off the shelf in our dinning room that holds the school supplies.  When Summer Break started, I did not go through the papers, and instead just added in George’s Summer Bridging Workbook and art box.  What had started out as neat piles quickly had become chaos and I had not idea what was in there.

I tossed old magazines and notes from talks, gathered up items that the kids are too old for, set aside things we are going to use again this year, and emptied out a too-big-to-use binder that was practically empty anyway.  The shelf now holds 2 work books, 2 art/pencil boxes, an eraser for the white board and a pencil sharpener.

Now, why didn’t I do this at the beginning of summer?

In keeping with my goals for this week, I kept up with my planning efforts.  Using Ambleside Online Year 1 as a guide, I chose a DOC format of the 36-week plan.  After enabling editing, I began working my way through, updating it to align with the materials I am using.  First up, Foundations 1 for our Bible curriculum.  This will be something George and Jack will be using after breakfasts in the morning.

While cleaning out the shelf in the dining room, I also got the urge to switch out Bible Time materials.  Last year we were working through the ABC’s For Godly Boys, so that was in an 1.5″ binder.  A larger 3″ binder holds all the various sets we have used over the years.  While taking out the stuff from last year and replacing it with this year’s, not only did I find that I needed a 4″ binder (which I happened to have), I found that I had a lot of coloring pages from Calvary Chapel’s Kid’s Curriculum left over from 3 years ago when I used their materials for the kids.

I loved using Calvary’s stuff to help introduce the boys, when they were toddlers/preschoolers, to the Bible and all the characters they had missed learning about before they came to live with us.  Not only does Calvary provide activity sheets for multiple ages, but they give you a very easy sheet to follow, telling you what story it is, questions to ask, additional verses to read, etc.  Oh, did I mention it is all free?

So, why was I excited to find this material now?  Because some of the pages can be used with the Foundations curriculum we are using.  In fact, it is referenced each week as something the kids can do (color, word search, etc.) while listening to that day’s passages being read.  This means one less thing to print off.  And that, my friends, is always a good thing.

Another link I found useful in helping plan out what we are doing for Bible each week was an online edition of the Bible.  The site here made it very easy to switch between chapters and books to get an idea of the story or theme for that particular week.  This in no way means I endorse the site, only that I found it useful for my needs at this particular time.


pumpkin on vine

As for the mystery vines growing in my garden, I have an announcement to make.

It is a pumpkin!!!!

And, surprise, we have patty pan squash growing as well.  The only thing better than surprise vines is when they are of two different varieties, adding even more unplanned goodness to my life.

Sadly, the pumpkin vine seems to be dying, so this may be the lone pumpkin this year.  That is, unless the 3rd surprise vine turns out to be a pumpkin as well.  I am waiting in anticipation to see what it may bless us with.