Wednesday, September 16, 2015

"Home" Schooling

Sometimes I think "homeschooling" is a misnomer - we often do school at the park, in the car, while running errands ... any number of places!

If I thought last week was crazy busy with the wedding festivities, this week was equally crazy with everyday life! Selah started taking ballet again on Monday, something she's wanted to do since we moved. We loved it so much there that we decided to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that it happened. This is with the same studio where Kaity took ballet for 5 years.

While Selah enjoyed her new ballet class, the other three kids and I went to the park downtown. It was such a gorgeous day that I abandoned the idea of going to the library. We did school outside instead!

Kaity in the gazebo:

Joe, doing handwriting on the playground.

Lauryn, being adorable, as usual.

This girlie loves to slide!

After a lovely hour at the park, we returned to pick up our little ballerina!

To celebrate the first day of ballet, we had a special treat - frozen yogurt! To make it even more special, I fixed a cup just for Daddy and we took it to him at the office. Jeff loves it when we stop by during the day to see him ... especially if we're bringing him a sweet treat!

From the office we headed to piano lessons. Selah and I worked on her schoolwork while Kaity and Joe each had their time with Mrs. Janay.

Math time!
I had the windows down and the sunroof open, enjoying the sunshine and fresh breeze.

Explode the Code! Her little ballerina bun is just too cute.
I sent the girls out to the sidewalk to color - and Lauryn managed to cover her palms in marker, too.
All told, it was a really lovely day - one of those that reminds me why I love homeschooling the children! Even if ... especially if? ... it's not at home.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Thomas (Cannon) Affair

Several weeks ago, Jeff began hinting that he wanted to look into purchasing a new vehicle for me. I let him talk, and figured we'd deal with it later. But he mentioned it again, and then again. When I realized he meant within the next few months - much sooner than I thought - I figured I'd better get in on the research! I narrowed my favorites down to three. I did a little test-driving, and on Wednesday I got behind the wheel of a vehicle that Jeff knew right away I had fallen in love with.

We took some time to think about it, however, and to pray over it. The next day I was away from home all day to participate in wedding festivities with my sweet friend Amber Cannon. I was a bridesmaid for her wedding that evening. It was a fun day building friendships and making memories and celebrating Amber and Matt! Meanwhile, Jeff was home doing school and chores with the kids while I played hooky. He joined me later for the actual wedding.

After the wedding, Jeff and I were outside talking about all the little details we'd liked - the bride and groom left the chapel to Ride of the Valkyries, the bridesmaids' bouquets, the setting, the use of Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered, the beauty of that one particular bridesmaid ... And we began wandering around toward the parking lot. I spotted our new car right away and started squealing. Jeff had covertly gone back to the dealership and purchased the car!

Amber and Lauren
Theresa, Amber and Lauren - we were playing Skip-Bo and noshing Chick-Fil-A while waiting to get our hair done.

The beautiful bride, Mrs. Matt Thomas!

Amber and Matt with Amber's dad.

Jeffrey and me.

Me with my new baby.
 Introducing Claire: A 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited. She's "predawn gray" with gray interior, a moon roof, heated front seats, push-button start, DVD player, all-wheel drive, back-up camera, etc. I think I might actually learn to enjoy driving!

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

A New School Year

Another year in our home schooling adventure has begun! We officially started back on August 24th, much to the dismay of the children. Well, except for Selah. She was thrilled to be starting Kindergarten!
Kaity: 10th Grade; Joe: 6th Grade; Selah: K; Lauryn: She's majoring in distracting her siblings.
Everyone's favorite part of the school day - Snack Time! They're "going fishing" here, dipping pretzel sticks into peanut butter, then sticking Goldfish crackers to the peanut butter.

Any assignment I give to Selah has to have an extra copy so that Lauryn can do it, too! She loves to be just like her big sister.

In addition to their regular school work, we're once again participating in a home school co-op. Kaity is taking classes separately from it, but they run concurrently with the co-op: American History, Literature, and Bible as well as Chemistry. Joe is taking Cake Decorating and Team Sports. Selah is taking Loving Literature and (the class I teach) Adventures in Missions. Lauryn basically has playtime with the other littles: reading stories, crafts, playground time and lots of fun toys and games.

Kaity and Joe are continuing to enjoy their piano lessons, and Selah will start back to taking ballet on Monday. It's a busy time for us, but we're loving it!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Windows '15

When my parents replaced the windows in their former home, they kept all the old ones to use for various things. I was more than happy to take a few off of their hands! The first of my projects finally came together and it has been a wonderful tool.

Left to right, top to bottom, the panes are: Joe's artwork, Joe's chore chart, message board space, Kaity's chore chart, a magnet board, Selah's artwork, Selah's chore chart, Kaity's artwork.

I love that the kids can keep track of their responsibilities on their own. The house is running so much more smoothly now that I'm not the one constantly telling everyone what to do. They know what our expectations are and though I do sometimes have to keep them on track, for the most part they get everything done in a timely manner. The best thing I think I've done is to turn over the dishwashing to them! Between the three big kids, the dishwasher gets loaded and unloaded typically twice a day.

The charts are, of course, behind the glass and the kids use dry erase markers to check off their chores. The magnet board I made by using tin snips to cut out a rectangle of galvanized sheet metal. It's glued to the glass. I made the magnets out of Scrabble tiles, because I'm me.

Here's a better view of where the "command center" is:

It also solved my problem of needing a larger piece of artwork or whatever to break up that big blank wall. So, yay - two birds with one stone!

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Table for Four, Please!

Since we moved into the house, we've wanted to get a table and chairs to go into the kitchen. The plan was that we'd have a dining room table where we'd eat family meals (and for company), and the kitchen would be for the kids to eat breakfast and lunch. Well, after just 10 short months, the first week of July, we found the perfect table!

It had to be fairly small, yet seat four kiddos. I also had my heart set on a round table, just because I thought that would work best in the space available. One Saturday I took Kaity out for lunch and to go browsing the antique stores in downtown. After looking at several options, I found the one I really liked, then dragged Jeff out so he could give his opinion. And his wallet.

The chairs were priced just at my budget (for a table and chairs!), so as a fairly experienced antique store browser, I asked the owner if I paid full price on the chairs would she throw in the table for free. After pondering a moment, she agreed! Awesome.

Here it is, before I did anything with it:

You can see here that there was a fair amount of rust (patina?) and the black paint was worn on the chairs.

I took the cushions off of the chair frames and cleaned them both up.

Then the frames got a few coats of chrome spray paint followed by a clear coat.

The table frame I sanded down and scrubbed, then gave it a few coats of "Exotic Sea", which sounds much more magical than it really was.

And ended up with this! I love that the set appears to have a small footprint in the space because of the open framework and see-through tabletop.

At this point I only had two of the chairs finished, but I couldn't wait to take pictures!

The table has worked out really well in our kitchen. I love it just as much now as I did then!