Friday, January 29, 2016

Free Geography Curriculum!!!!

Just a quick post to let you know that TODAY!!!  Homeschool Giveaways is giving away a FREE US History curriculum! I haven't had time to look it over to see if it will be something that will work for us, but since it's only free today, I wanted to let you know about it while there's time!

Sunday, January 24, 2016


As you probably know, we, along with most of the mid-Atlantic, got a little bit of snow in the past day or so!

The snow started Friday evening and stopped last night. I have no idea how anyone is measuring snow because it was so windy, there are patches where I can see the grass (or, at least at some point yesterday, the pavement on the driveway) and places where it's up to the windows. I think one report says we got around 2 feet. . .

Anyway, thought I'd share a few pictures. All pictures are taken through the windows because I had no interest in going out in the cold! And it was so windy that I saw no point in shoveling if the wind was just going to move the snow right back where I'd shoveled. TODAY I don't have that excuse, so guess I'll be getting some good exercise today LOL.

The (covered) front porch has a rather impressive drift on it.

This was relatively early in the day. Looking out the sliding glass door along the back of the garage. Pretty sure we won't be using that back door for a day or two! 

Little Bit convinced Lexie to take her out to play. It was too deep to walk, too deep to sled. Too powdery to build things . . . but they were out for a little while, came in frozen solid and very happy that Ashlyn was making hot chocolate!

The cats and I preferred to sit in the sunroom and watch the snow. Though at one point when I was in the laundry room Moccasin was acting like he wanted me to let him out, so I opened the door (that would be the door in the above picture) he looked rather confusedly at the snow blocking the door, then a piece fell and hit him square in the face. He jumped, glared at me, and stalked away LOL.

Later in the day Lexie convinced Ashlyn to go out with them too. They dug a fort of sorts and were out there for quite awhile. I burst out laughing when they came in. Ashlyn's white hat, well encrusted with snow, makes her look like she's turning into a snowman! 

The birdbath gives you an idea how deep the snow is at least right there.

This is the door I opened for Moccasin (though it wasn't that high yet when I opened it for him). That is all snow! 

Looking out the dining room window. I love how the wind caked the snow on some of ht windows, making it look like a Christmas card with snow framing the edges :) 

The sliding door in the sunroom. I think it's even higher now.

Little Bit was "torturing" Daddy last night :)

God woke me up early this morning to have my quiet time with Him. The snow and wind have stopped and now it's all so beautiful and peaceful and perfect! Much as I'm not a morning person, I'm glad I was awake to watch the sun rise this morning!

And while taking pictures of the sunrise, I noticed that, now that it's not snowing and blowing, I can actually see the "fort" the girls made yesterday, so took a picture of it too :) 

God is good! I was nervous about losing power since we have electric heat, and haven't gotten the wood stove working yet, but it never even blinked. While I feel that everything we do at our church is important, and what He wants us to be doing right now, I was feeling burned out by it all. The snow storm came Friday night, giving us a wonderful, peaceful, RESTFUL Sabbath day! We snuggled under blankets and read and watched Drive Thru History and cooked and ate yummy food and the kids played outside. It was just what I needed!

And now, we are still rather thoroughly snowed in and plan to enjoy it while it lasts :)  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Wrap-up - Christmas, New Years . . .

Sigh, I'm behind again . . .

The Sunday before Christmas Rodney's sister came over for the afternoon. It was so good to see them, and Aunt Lynette managed to convince my children to pose by the Christmas tree for pictures. At that point we were also dog-sitting Jakey, so he joined the pictures.

Little Bit had been begging to make gingerbread houses since before Thanksgiving, when she saw the houses her friends, D & K had made with their grandparents.  So somewhere near Christmas, we got out the (graham cracker) gingerbread house making stuff and Little Bit got busy. Lexie was quite sure that Mommy wouldn't know how to do it, and that Little Bit would have more fun with her, so she joined in the fun.

To continue our month of dog-sitting, we watched another friend's yellow lab, Maggie over Christmas. Our Christmas present to her was spoiling her rotten. She took turns sleeping with Ashlyn and Lexie, and tried to sleep in our bed. I think Rodney would have been all for it, but since she was taking up MY side of the bed, I vetoed the idea LOL.

Oh and she and Ashlyn spent countless hours snuggled on the sofa. 

Christmas Eve was our normal family traditions of pizza, new nightgowns, and presents of games, books and videos.

Lexie started reading her new book right away.

But Ashlyn and Little Bit did convince her to stop reading long enough to play their new game before everyone settled down to watch a video :)

And Little Bit was just slightly excited to find that Mama had made her nightgown this year out of FROZEN fabric!!!!

Christmas morning was stockings and monkey bread and patiently(ish) waiting for grandparents to get here.

Once grandparents started arriving there was introducing Maggie, and more presents and catching up on what everyone had been doing lately . . . so pretty much our normal chaotic fun :)

Little Bit's Christmas included a though "Frozen-izing" of her bedroom, much to Lexie's annoyance, since they share a room (but I think we did a good job of giving Little Bit the Frozen decor she wanted without encroaching on Lexie's side of the room).  We put the big, Frozen Fever wall decal on the wall under Little Bit's loft. It fits perfectly and looks adorable, and is very much in Little Bit's "space".  
Little Bit also got a lighted Frozen "Canvas". I had been struggling a bit with how to give her enough of a night light up on the loft bed once Christmas was over and we took the Christmas lights off the railing of the loft bed. This works perfectly! We hung it above her bed and she can turn it on at night and it gives just the right bit of light! She also got a "projection" nightlight (fun, but honestly doesn't give much light), and a Frozen comforter. So her part of the room is well decorated!

Sunday we got in some final cuddles with Maggie before she went back to her family.

Since Christmas we have been getting back to "normal" and not doing much of any interest. Still working on unpacking and organizing. The girls have rediscovered their Legos, and Little Bit got Frozen Legos (of course) for Christmas to add to the general collection, so we are working on setting up a Lego area in the basement (waiting for Papa to help us finish it).

Also in the unpacking, Lexie showed Little Bit her American Girl stuff and humored Little Bit by setting it all up in her closet so they can play with it. We've also been reading American Girl books for Little Bit's bedtime stories, so she is well on her way to her own AG obsession :)

We've fluctuated between unseasonably warm temperatures (we had windows open on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, it was almost hot! and bitterly cold! Thankfully, while we've had lots of precipitation it's always come with the unseasonably warm, so we've had lots of rain, but no snow yet. I can live with that.

We're getting back into our normal school routines and Little Bit is asking for more school. She has asked Ashlyn to give her "sketching lessons" which is working well except when she is bitterly disappointed because Ashlyn doesn't have time for another lesson. While she still claims she can't read, I can definitely see progress in the learning to read without having to learn to read approach. She recognizes many words when I point them out to her and figures many more out by context.

To add to her on-going animal obsession, when I organized all our books on the basement shelves, I grouped most of our animal books (some of the "field guides" are in a basket on the dining room windowsill for easy access) on one shelf and she has claimed that as her shelf and has been "reading" animal books to her hearts' content.

And finally, the cats. Other than rather resenting all the dogs who've visited over the last month, they have settled well into life in our new house. As I expected, they love the wide windowsills, and all the windows of the sunroom.  Moccasin took over a laundry basket in our closet as a safe(ish) hiding place from the various dogs and continues to consider it his. I finally gave up and replaced the clothes that were in it with an old towel, officially making it his bed. They have all accepted the cat door as an acceptable way of getting to their food and litter boxes and they consider the pile of storage tubs (that are waiting for me to unpack) to be their personal castle, They will be very disappointed if I ever get through all of those bins and they go away :) On the unseasonably warm days I open the garage door a crack, so the cats can come and go as they please and they seem to like that, beyond that, they seem pretty content to stay in the house here though, definitely not going outside as much as they did at the old house.

Monday, December 21, 2015


Hey look, I'm writing a wrap-up and it hasn't been a month since I wrote something!

So let's see, this past week . . .

My good friend Vicki and her family came to visit!!! It was WAY too short, just overnight. But sooo awesome! Little Bit had a blast playing with her girls. She even opted to sleep on the fold-out sofa in the basement with them. I fully expected her to come back upstairs as soon as they actually settled down to sleep but nope, she slept down there all night! After they left, both Vicki and I were disappointed to realized we hadn't taken any pictures while they were here.

The rest of our week was quieter. Baking cookies, co-op with friends.

On Friday, Daddy took the big girls to see the new Star Wars movie, so in honor of that they made "wookie cookies" to take to co-op.

On Thursday our weekend house guest got here. Jakey is a friend's Cavelier King Charles Spaniel and sweet as can be.

Jake reminds me so much of our Precious. I never realized how much of her way of doing things wasn't just her, it was the breed. Jake, like Precious, takes his job of "lap warmer" very seriously and was always right up on our laps. He took turns sleeping with the girls and was just generally a delight to have.

On Friday, while Daddy and the big girls were at Star Wars, Little Bit and I went for donuts, yum!

She was so excited about it too. I'm cherishing these little girl moments, when chocolate milk and a donut are super exciting. All my girls are growing up way too fast!

Whenever the big girls talk about books, since Lexie reads books really fast, and Ashlyn reads book very thoroughly (but slowly), there ends up being conversations where Ashlyn's yelling at Lexie to not tell her about things she hasn't read yet. Friday afternoon we got a new twist on that conversation when L&A came home from the movie telling me all about it, and discussing it with each other and Little Bit was yelling at them to not tell her about it because she hasn't seen it yet (she's also tried to convince them they can't talk about Lord of the Rings because she's going to read it SOMEDAY, but I assured her that she'll have plenty of time to forget any LotR spoilers she hears before she's ready to read it for herself LOL).

 Church this week was a Christmas program. They had asked the girls to do a reading. Lexie and Ashlyn read most of it, but had Little Bit memorize the last part so she could participate too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

First Half of December . . .

We moved some of the toys that had been stored in the attic. Little Bit was THRILLED to find the doll house and has spent countless hours playing with it already.

Little Bit and her friends enjoy singing up front for song service at church.

Decorating for Christmas

Laundry room progress

Longwood Gardens

Making gingerbread cookies.

And last Friday, the laundry room was finished (well, there's still some trim and stuff, but enough that all "furniture" was moved into place and I could start settling in)

Walking in from the kitchen, the extra fridge & deep freeze are straight ahead. The window just looks into the garage, but that means I can easily tell if a garage door was left open, or a light was left on.

"Mud room"! Straight ahead when you come in the back door. Hooks & bench.

I knew that long-term I wanted a new fridge, with an ice maker, but it was on my "someday" list, until I found an amazing deal on one of the only french door fridges available that fits the space. YAY!!!

Little Bit brought me "coffee and cookies" from her doll house.

Final night of Hanukkah. Our dining room window sill was perfect for all our menorahs :) 

And a few additional happenings that I don't have pictures of:

We're feeling pretty settled in here now. There's still lots of unpacking to do, and still some things to bring over from the old house (mainly things that I intentionally left over there out of the way until the laundry room project was done. Now I have no excuse LOL), but our day-to-day stuff feels pretty settled in.

Lexie and Ashlyn have added yet another "job" to their Sabbath mornings. During the church service, one or both of them is usually helping with the live streaming. Ashlyn generally runs the camera, and Lexie replies to remote viewers who asks questions or make comments via "chat". 

The cats are settling into the new house. With the completion of the laundry room we were able to move their litter boxes out into the garage (we put a cat door in the door going into the garage) woo-hoo! AND with the awesome, warm weather we've been having I've been leaving the garage door up just enough that they can go under it, so they can come and go as they please. When they're inside, they love all the windows in the sunroom, and for some reason, the windows in the master bathroom.

A nearby college offered a free performance of Handel's Messiah week before last. Loved it!!

Much to Daddy's delight, all 3 girls recently watched, and enjoyed, all 6 Star Wars movies (as long as "watched" is defined as being in the room while the movie plays, I watched them all too, but must admit I paid marginal attention at best). Daddy and the big girls (and a friend) have tickets to go see the new movie (I think he said IMAX 3D) on Friday (yes, I think they're INSANE). Little Bit thought she should get to go too, but since she "liked" the movies, but spent parts of each one huddled on my lap, mean Mommy vetoed that idea. I've promised her a "date" at Dunkin Donuts (her choice) instead.

I've very much appreciated how independent the girls are with their schooling. I've been able to focus on packing/unpacking/etc. And let them continue to do their own thing. Lexie is being rather challenged by Physics (which is a part of her current Pre-algebra text), but challenges are good for her. She continues to have to hunt for books to keep her busy. Thankfully our friend Sonya has similar taste in books, and has recommended (and loaned) some that she's enjoying.

Ashlyn's currently waiting to continue with science until I can track down some specific type of potting soil type stuff that I have a feeling would be much easier to find during normal growing seasons. While she doesn't fly through books at the alarming rate that Lexie does, she is definitely getting more into reading as she gets older. She appears to read slowly but it's because she "digests" the book so thoroughly, often taking notes on the characters' traits and interactions, and sometimes making up her own storylines to go along with the book's storyline.

We paused or normal Bible for Advent and have been enjoying "Ishtar's Odyssey".

Those are at least a few highlights from the last few weeks.