Archive for October, 2014

Week In The Life ( Light For When All Other Lights Go Out)

October 25, 2014

Autumn is most definitely here, I can feel it in my bones. We can see it in our sleep pattern as well.

Our family doesn’t really have “normal” hours. Papa’s work hours are everywhere. Some days we are up early, mostly in spring and summer, some days you won’t find us in bed until the early morning hours, which I am beginning to see happens mostly come fall and especially winter. This use to bother me as most of the world seems to operate during the early morning hours (most homeschool groups always want to meet at 10 AM for some reason). I have since learned, living in a world where I’m sure it’s morning somewhere, being able to sleep when tired and wake up when rested has its benefits. Not to mention our family functions better at night. This has been a *huge* plus for us homeschooling. If the girls were in school, I would have to keep early hours for their sake and we would never see Papa.

I do however miss the sunlight come winter, why there is nothing better than having a fire in the woodstove and candles. Must have lots of candles burning. I think India may think so too celebrating their festival of lights, Diwali, during fall’s equinox.

From the study, Social Studies, World History: This was our first year learning about Diwali. First we watched 2 documentaries,

then listened to a story about Rama and Sita’s return from exile.

We also made diyas.


We plan on painting then once they have hardened. I love having the extra candlelight around in the evenings.

Geography: We finished The Middle Eastern Globe Trekker series learning about Israel, Sinai, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordon.

Language Arts: We are continuing our audio of the Arabian Nights. The girls have definitely changed their minds on ever wanting to meet a genie. They are not like what Disney taught them, that is for sure.

Their word of the week was hijab and their story starter was begin story with the first sentence, Yellow leaves crackled underfoot. Little Sis wrote hers about running into Yu-gi-oh character Seto and Miss Sky wrote hers about an apocalyptic battlefield. Sky’s story writing is really taking off. We do however need to work on punctuation, which is okay. That is why they are journal writing in the first place.

Speaking of Yu-Gi-Oh we finished season 2. Sky picked the anime out to watch because she thought it fit in perfectly with our ancient history studies, and she was right.

We also tried to watch the movie Pippi Longstocking and had to turn it off. Little Sis: “This in not Pippi from the books.” I guess the series had more of an impact than what they thought. 🙂


They also copied a Halloween poem in cursive.

Mathematics: Little sis continued the Table Tree game working on the 4 and 9 tables. Sky worked on finding the greatest common factor first watching the video from Kahn Academy then from chapter 2 of Math Doesn’t Suck. She learned how to find the GCF three ways, the crush factor method, multiplying monkeys, and the birthday cake.

We also learned, thanks to our middle eastern studies, where 60seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour came from. Tying in nicely with our lessons on time from before our summer break. Showing once again how everything connects.

We played Super Smash Brothers Brawl on the Wii for family game night. Another awesome game added to our collection.

The girls made Halloween cut out cookies


and we continued walking away those pounds. Sky: “remember when we first started with the 1 mile, now 3 miles is like nothing.” 🙂

Peace for the journey.


Happy Birthday, My (Not Little) Angel

October 19, 2014


14 years have passed since your birth, forgive me for my disbelief. My heart is filled with much gratitude at having been able to watch you grow before my very eyes. To see your interests come and go. Where you once needed me to tell you when to hide your eyes, you now repay the favor (thank you 🙂 ).


Week In The Life (Arabian Nights)

October 18, 2014

What a dreary week. I think we had one day of sun, which was today and I took full advantage of it as cooler temps near. The garlic is in the ground and the garden is ready for a winter’s rest. Due to a child’s birthday this week our lessons were a bit shorter and there really isn’t anything new coming out of the kitchen besides more apples and more apple crisp. Thoughts of maybe pumpkin butter this year but then I am also thinking that means more breading so what’s the point? I am very serious about reaching my weight goal.

I received my lab work, for cholesterol, thyroid, hormones, and sugar, and everything was “great”, their words. My cholesterol was 118 which is a little tiny bit elevated. 99 or less being excellent, so bye-bye coconut oil and butter(except for special occasions of course). I have made most of our meals using olive oil and Earth Balance this week, which I mostly did anyway. Being we purchase a whole hog, from a local farm, to last our family all year we have learned how to make our bacon and sausage last (bacon is a once a month treat) and we already incorporate a meatless night.  I am pretty sure my higher cholesterol is probably from the coconut oil which almost all my baking recipes call for. You don’t really realize our, Americans, dependence on baked goods until you no longer want to eat them. 🙂 I am very much in need of some new breakfast ideas.

The girls did make chocolate snack cake this week. I am really impressed with how they know their way around the kitchen. Sky cooks so much different than myself but she has always done things different, that is just her and it works and that is all that matters.

From the study: Language arts, We are listening to The Arabian Nights Entertainments from LibriVox.

We have found it to be very interesting. The girls continued the Daily Grammar lessons and took the first quiz. Their word of the week was bureaucracy.

Sky is still writing stories and trying to translate them into Latin.


Mathematics: Little Sis did 4 digit addition and subtraction with carrying and borrowing review from Math is fun and Sky continued working on prime factorization.

Social Studies: World History, Continuing with our Mesopotamia studies, the girls copied notes on the Babylonian, Assyrian Empires and we watched a short video about Hammurabi’s code of laws.



(Little Sis)

We also reviewed what we previously learned about ancient Egypt, watched the Crash Course video again and the girls added notes to their timelines.


(Miss Sky)

We Walked Away the Pounds and watched part 1 of Globe Trekker, The Arab Gulf States.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Please Be Civil)

October 10, 2014

The thought has occurred to me that this will be my last post categorized under 13 for a certain child. Have you tired of my “where has the time gone” yet? Not only is one child about to become 14, another will soon be 9. It seems like yesterday she had just learned to read. Not only will she be 1 year away from double digits, only one more year for me to have a child in single digits, but what a major growth spurt she’s had. She has gone from size 7-8 to 10-12 in a matter of a few months. She has outgrown all of her clothes and with Autumn’s chill quickly approaching I am very aware of her need for some new pants. Thank goodness she has managed to find a few items of her big sister’s that will do for now.

New pants are not the only preparation for the upcoming cooler temps. Papa cleaned out our stovepipe and added the compost to our garden preparing our soil for planting next Spring’s crop of garlic. This year was our best compost ever, wonderful color, texture, and smell. I still get amazed at the process of composting. Earth’s own recycling system. All that is left in the garden to do is adding a cover of leaves when the time comes.

I am still leaving the sweet potatoes to pull last minute and we did manage a small harvest of radishes. Just like tomatoes, now that I’ve tasted a fresh radish store bought will never be the same. So yes, more radishes along with potatoes have been added to the list of what to plant next year.

This week I took advantage of the only sunny day to wash and hang all the sheets and blankets out for what looks to be the last time. I also made 3 (80 ounces) jars of sun tea. In the words of papa, “it’s going to be a long winter”. Time to bring our focus to some indoor projects and getting our home ready for winter’s hibernation (felt supply, check).

From the study: Lessons have been getting longer and I am reminding myself yet again (for future reference) just how perfect this rhythm has become for us.

Language Arts: I ended my post last week with Sky’s fan fiction inspiring her own stories. This week she has filled a whole notebook full of stories and poems.


She has even taken it upon herself to learn Latin, thanks to her interest in the anime Elfen Lied.

Miss Sky: “I keep hearing how Latin is a dead language yet so many of the words we use today originated from it.”

This week we added daily grammar lessons to our days starting with verbs.

First, the girls copied verb from the parts of speech poem in cursive then we watched the Schoolhouse Rock video before learning about action and state of being verbs.

Agriculture was their word of the week and their journal topic described in detail what you like most about the anime Yu-Gi-Oh.

Science: We watched and discussed Zoo Clue episodes Babies and Everyday Occurrences as well as Crash Course episodes Sun and Earth and Origin of Life.

Social Studies: World History, Moving on from the Ice Age we watched and discussed Crash Course videos The Agricultural Revolution, The Indus Valley Civilization, and Mesopotamia. We also discussed B.C.E and C.E and the girls added their notes to their timeline.


(Little Sis)


(Miss Sky)

We watched a documentary about Mesopotamia

and listened to the epic story of Gilgamesh.

We also enjoyed David Christian’s TED talk about the history of our world.

Mathematics: Little Sis continued the Table Tree Game working on the 9s and 4 tables. Miss Sky worked on prime factorization first by watching Kahn’s videos on prime numbers and prime factorization then reading chapter 1 from the book Math Doesn’t Suck.

The girls made chocolate chip cookies and due to the rain, Walked Away the Pounds for P.E. indoors.


Peace for the journey.


Week(s) In The Life (Quite Quaternary)

October 3, 2014

Last week was interrupted by routine doctor visits where I discovered I was obese. Overweight I knew but I have been working hard and actually went down a whole pants and shirt size since changing my diet. To hear that word kind of shocked me. I am one of the millions of people you hear about in the news, me.

So this past week I have really been paying attention to my portions. I have always been the kind of cook that doesn’t really measure anything, well no more. I especially paid attention to how much oil and salt we use. I measured how much peanut butter is a serving and yep that extra spoon adds up. I wanted to *see* where my calories were coming from. Was I surprised? Actually, I was, it is amazing how much I do without even thinking about it and I consider myself a very mindful person.

I have also bumped up my workouts daily. It is the time that I put myself first for a change. There was some good news, my blood pressure is 112/ 65. I can honestly say I have noticed a huge change in the way I feel since losing the weight I have. I have already kicked the sugar and caffeine habit and eat lots more fresh fruits and veggies than before so I know it’s just a matter of time. I just need to stay positive and focused. Papa has been such a big support. He himself has lost weight too. His of course much faster and effortless than mine.

So I am writing my goal to lose 50 pounds (yep 50 big ones) here with the hopes I will be more inclined to stick with it. That will put me in the healthy weight range for my height.

From the kitchen: I made apple cinnamon walnut pancakes with my favorite oat pancake recipe and they turned out great just like the zucchini ones. I added 1 chopped apple, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Delish I tell you. The girls made Muddy Buddies.

From the garden: Papa pulled our tomato plants getting the garden ready for planting our garlic.


Here is the last of our crop. I should be able to get a few more jars of sauce out of them once they turn red. Not a bad crop this year it just seemed so short. Everything did good but our bell peppers.

From the study: Science and History, I was super excited, like more excited than a person should when I discovered Crash Course (found on YouTube) was making new videos starting history from the beginning with the Big Bang because that is exactly what I was doing. They are part of The Big History Project.

So we watched the first 2 videos The Big Bang and Exploring our Universe reviewing everything we had learned up to this point. We will be following along with The Big History project as well.


The girls made covers for their timeline and finished their notes on the geological column.


Which brought us to the Ice Age. Little Sis read Sunset of the Sabertooth and I read the Magic Tree House Research Guide. We watched the Bill Nye episodes Caves and Archeology and the documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams about the cave paintings from Chauvet Cave.

So many discussions from my art-loving children and their history-loving mama. How important music and art have been to humans.

The girls added their notes about the ice age to their timeline.


(Miss Sky)

Mathematics: Miss Sky continued review with Math is Fun worksheets and Little Sis continued multiplication practice with the Table Tree game.

Language Arts: The girls copied the Ghosts of Summer poem in cursive. Little Sis’s word of the week was frigid and Sky’s was radiation. I am starting journal topics this year and this week it was described in detail things about your mom you really like, which was really fun. 🙂

Both girls love writing stories and keep a journal but keep most of them private. This way I can see where they are spelling, punctuation, and grammar wise without violating their privacy. It also helps them get their thoughts about a certain topic down on paper that maybe they wouldn’t usually write about building those essay skills.

What I have learned on this homeschool journey of mine for children who don’t like to write, which was Miss Sky, is that they need time to discover for themselves something worth writing. In other words not forced into writing (same with reading).

It has been no secret I worried whether Sky would ever enjoy reading or writing anything on her own. Then she discovered manga, comic books, and fan fiction. Now I can’t get her head out from some sort of reading, including seeing her up in the middle of the night finishing a story. Her love of manga prompted her to create her own stories and illustrations. Her love of fan fiction inspired her to write her own stories and even character wiki pages. Now she enjoys writing and can come up with a journal topic in a matter of minutes.

The same for Little Sis. She has a journal she writes in daily. In fact, she is on her 5th one. With her, it was SO much easier because she was never forced to begin with. Now she too has no problems with writing.

I am going, to be honest I cringe when I hear a parent say “there will be no “twaddle” in our home” or ” I will never allow that junk in our house” because if it wasn’t for me opening *my* mind to my children’s choices we would not be where we are now.

Peace for the journey.