More Thanks Giving


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holy experience

Thanksgiving Day has passed, and we've moved on to Advent, rushing to switch our Gratitude Tree for an Advent Calender. Don't get me wrong, I love the excitement and anticipation of this season. But I need more thanksgiving - more giving thanks.

I've felt a change within myself lately. I don't know if anyone else has noticed; it's internal mostly. I think my kids can tell. The change is that I am focused so much more than ever on praising God for all the grace he's given me (and it's all grace). I didn't decide to "work on gratitude" in order fufill a goal on a spiritual goals list. It's just come. It's just been given. Partly, it may have come through Ann VosKamp's offerings at A Holy Experience and those who have joined her. To look on the everyday with eyes that behold only what is beautiful and sacred. Not turning eyes from brokeness and pain, but finding the holy in it. Could that be how we're meant to see?

So it's the Monday after Thanksgiving, and I want to keep going. I'm joining in with Ann to list 1000 Gifts (and more).

  1. knowing Who to thank

  2. our soon-to-be nine year old still wanting me to sing (if you want to call it that) to him every night

  3. our kindergartener who is still small enough to be lifted, held, carried

  4. my husband smiling everyday (every difficult day) when he walks through the door

You can join in, too. Just use the link at the top to visit Ann's site.

Weekly Wrap-Up: Thanksgiving Theme (of Course!)


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Since our academic weeks run from Thrusday to Wednesday (due to the schedule of our hybrid school), but I'm writing this on the Monday after Thankgiving, I'm covering about two weeks worth of happenings. The wonderful thing is this: I have very little to "wrap-up" from the past two weeks, because our school schedule was so slow. I'm so grateful to have had a break - we needed it!

We spent the evenings watching Desperate Crossing - a documentary about the Pilgrims and their voyage on the Mayflower. My friend Ellen recommended it, and we were glad she did.

Of course, the highlight of the week was Thanksgiving Day, which we spent at my parents' home in the next town. My dad's brother and his wife were passing through on their way home to Ohio from Florida, so they were able to join our celebration.

Each year, my mom makes the turkey, dressing, potatoes and gravy. I bring the vegetables and desserts. This year, Bearclaw prepared the Corn Chive Pudding for us. He definitely has a gift for working in the kitchen.

As we went around the table to name 3 things we were thankful for this past year, I listed "that I have such a hard time limiting myself to 3 things" as one of my blessings. My family claimed this was a cop-out. Maybe, but it's so true!

I hope you have trouble limiting your list to just 3, too.

Weekly Wrap-Up: I Almost Forgot



'Tis the season for me to forget all sorts of things. With all of the recipes, events, visits, and "to-do"s running through my head, I tend to push some of the regular things out, like remembering to clean the toilets or post on my blog ( I DO like this better). If it weren't for Bearclaw's steel trap of a brain, we'd have missed the last two choir practices.

Don't get me wrong - I love all the craziness of the next 6 weeks. Pretty much. We focus on gratitiude for all of November, as we prepare for Thanksgiving. My favorite family tradition related to Thanksgiving is our "Gratitude Tree". Every morning we each write something for which we are thankful to God on a leaf and attach it to our tree. I've seen many other versions of this traditions on blogs this month, and I love all the variations.
Here is ours:

This was our final week of school before a 2-week break for Thanksgiving. (Well, not a total break, but a definite slow-down.) In history, Bearclaw covered Week 12 in Bibilplan, which is the last week covering the 17th century. We read about and discussed John Locke, Isaac Newtown, and the Agricultural Revoltuion in England. It's worth noting that while Bearclaw is eight and learning about the ideas of John Locke, I really didn't learn much about him until this summer, when I read Francis Schaeffer's How Should We Then Live? And I am forty.

Shortbread wrapped up his second week with the same assignment sheet, but since he had finished most of his work during the first week, he played, drew, made crafts, and snuggled on my lap a lot this week. I really can't think of a better kindergarten curriculum than that!

I haven't posted much about math, because I don't really think about it that much. Bearclaw finished the money section of Singapore's Primary Mathematics 2B last week, and now we're reviewing the multiplication tables through 5s. We probably need to pick up the pace if we're going to get through level 3A before the school year ends. Singapore supposedly runs about 1/2 year ahead, so we should get through 3A by May to stay on grade level. We'll see.

I seem to have forgotten what else we did this week...I hope the boys remember better than I!

Have a lovely Thanksgiving! Pop over to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what everyone else did last week (since I'm posting this on Sunday).

Weekly Wrap-Up: Fitting in Some School


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We've been a little loose with our schedule this past week, mostly due to other activities and the impending Thanksgiving/Christmas preparations. Also, the weather has been lovely most of the time, and I want the boys to enjoy what may be the last of the really mild temps for the year.

Truth be told, this is the time of year when I would typically start to slow our school schedule down, and I'm missing that freedom. Since we started the hybrid school for humanities, I have had to come to grips with working according to someone else's schedule; it's been my greatest challenge this year. We are likely, however, to accomplish more this holiday season in school than we ever have before.

We are closing in on our first 12(!) weeks with Biblioplan, and we'll soon move on to the 18th century. The topics for this week (week 11) were "Indians, Canada, and Pennsylvania". This included a study of the conflicts between Native American tribes and the colonies of New England and New France. In our look at Pennsylvania, we me both William Penn and Benjamin Franklin. We especially enjoyed reading a biography about each of these men: William Penn:Founder of Pennsylvania by Steven Kroll and D'Aulaire's Benjamin Franklin.

In a case of perfect timing, one of our local state parks hosted a Native American Pow-wow last weekend, and we were planning to be at the park for an early birthday celebration for Bearclaw anyway. After the birthday ropes course was completed, we headed over to the pow-wow for an opportunistic field trip.
Here's Bearclaw tackling one of the course challenges:

And Shortbread tackling his own "little guy" ropes course:

We were able to see aspects of Native American life from both western and eastern nations recreated at the pow-wow. We saw encampments, cooking demonstations, weapons, fire making, tanning, and dancing to traditional music/drums.

Here are some glimpses:

Most of Bearclaw's efforts outside of history this week were concentrated on writing narrative paragraphs. His teacher assigned the topic "The Worst Party I Ever Attended", and Bearclaw's little story made me chuckle, especially the part about a pinata full of Barbies for a boy party. The horror! Clearly, he's getting his ideas for fiction straight out of his nightmares.
Shortbread had two weeks to work on his assigments from last week, so we were in the middle of letter "Tt" this past week. We actually had a tough time coming up with books for "T", and almost everyone Shortbread spotted was in the word "the" - which didn't count. We did get to read one of our favorites, though: Bear About Town.

Menu-Plan Monday: Making Do



I guess I should call it Menu-Plan Tuesday, since I'm posting late...
Our weekends have been packed full of activities latley (leaving little time for shopping), AND my local farmer's market closed for the season last month, so I'm extremely short on groceries this week. It will be a good opportunity to dig some things out of the freezer and get rid of them.

So here's what I've come up with:
  • Monday - Maple-brined Pork Chops with Green Beans and Sweet Potatoes from the freezer
  • Tuesday - Spaghetti Night
  • Wednesday - Broccoli Quiche with Pumpkin Muffins
  • Thurday - Tuna Tetrazzini (which is really just Emeril trying to avoid calling it what it is: Tuna Noodle Casserole)
  • Friday - Pizza Night
  • Saturday - Soup/Sandwich Night : Hot Dogs with Chili from Freezer
  • Sunday - Leftovers

Ok, so Thursday is going to be a tough sell, but at least it's not like the casserole many of us grew up with in the 70's. There's no "cream of anything" soup in it. And it still has the one and only redeemable ingredient from the original. No, not tuna...potato chips on top. Which means, I suppose, that Shortbread will be eating only potato chips that night.

You can pop over to I'm an Organizing Junkie to see what the other meal planners are doing this week; maybe some of them have groceries...

Weekly Wrap-Up: See A Boat, Eat Some Goat (Cheese)


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Yea! Thanks to Ellen for helping me get that (it's called something) up there.

I have to pause before I write a wrap-up, because we really wrap up on Wednesday, when the kids lug all of their assignments to their humanities classes and then come home with a new set of assignments to begin on Thursday.

Shortbread worked on the letter "Ii" this week, which brings the number of vowels covered to three. It's so much easier to read and write words with three whole vowels to choose from. We also did some "pumpkin estimation" math; Shortbread's pumpkin weighed 17 lbs! Unfortunately, when he tried to lift it onto the scale, he dropped it on the floor and the stem snapped off. Fortunately, I just purchased my first hot glue gun. I love the thing, and one day dh is going to come home to find everything in the house hot-glued to something (or someone) else.

We wrapped up early on Friday and spent a gorgeous fall weekend north of us where we have hopes of building a home someday. For now, we camp or stay in a cabin that's available. With the chilly overnight temps, we were happy to have a cabin this time. Some friends came along and we had a blast hiking, campfiring, and enjoying the weather. I'd love to post some pics, but I left my memory thingy in the computer during the trip. It did me no good there.

Since the family who was with us just wrapped up a big unit on Christopher Columbus, and we studied the "Age of Discovery" a few months ago, we decided to make a side trip to see the replicas of the Nina and the Pinta docked nearby. Once again, photos would help, but since I cannot provide them, you can hop over to Kris's Weekly Wrap-up from Oct. 29th. She was there just a few days before us, apparently, and remembered her memory thingy.

When we returned home, we jumped into our readings about Louis XIV and France. I visited the Palace of Versailles when I was 16. I don't remember focusing on the fact that it's construction took 25 years and that 35,000 people died in the process. I was probably too busy checking my hair in the Hall of Mirrors.

Bearclaw was asked to make a mask for the "masquerade ball" they planned to have in his history class, and Shortbread (being the "crafty" one in the family) joined in. Based on what you can see of their expressions, masks seem like a good idea:

They didn't actually dance at their "ball", but they did have a French cheese tasting, to which Bearclaw brought fresh chevre (how do I make that little mark over the e?). I don't know how much the other students cared for it, but he loves it and ate several pieces on the ride home from class. He's his mama's boy!

I hope everyone's week was as much fun as ours (but with more pictures)! You can check everyone's Weekly Wrap-Ups out over at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.