Friday, May 31, 2013


We are moving today. We have been in the missionary house here for almost three months. It has been a blessing but it is time to move. Someone else had reserved the house for June. Thankfully someone from church has asked us to house sit. Since we are in the middle of packing and moving, I thought I would share one of our favorite packing tips.

I don't even really remember when I bought these or why but we have loved them. They make it so easy to be organized. We use Eagle Creek Pack it Cubes.

The other year we were traveling in China and spending one or two nights in one city and then going on to the next place so being able to keep things organized was great. I knew which cube had Miss K's clothing and which ones had J's. It was easy to get things out and still have the suitcase neat.

My husband really like the Fold-it because he can fold his pressed shirts when he travels and they look good when he unpacks. He was also disappointed that we did not bring that one with us.

I had a picture of the cubes packed and ready to go but I am having a problem loading it.

If I were to do it again, I would buy them so each of us had our own color. That is my dream.

I have just purchased these when I could and so we have a bunch of different colors. I even found one at a thrift store recently.

Pin It

The Hobbit House

I am not sure what prompted the Hobbit House drawings. I wish I could say it was all part of our British Children's Author study but I think it was just the result of keeping art supplies handy.

Here is J's Hobbit House.

Here is Miss K's Hobbit House. J said he helped her a bit but I don't think he helped her much.

It does fit nicely with our study.

Pin It

Thursday, May 30, 2013

British Children's Author - Graham Oakley

Graham Oakley was not on my list of British Children's Authors. That really doesn't mean anything other than I just didn't think about him or realize that I should have him on my list.

As we were reading through the books on the CE Loop we read Church Mice. Just reading the book and looking at the illustrations I could tell it was another author to add to my British Children's Authors.

Here is a bit about him from his website

Graham Oakley, one of the UK's best -loved children’s illustrators and authors grew up near the Shropshire town of Shrewsbury. He worked for many years as a set designer in rep before moving to the Royal Opera House. Eventually he moved to the BBC to work  on costume dramas, leaving in 1977 to pursue his passion for illustration.

At about the same time he began converting an old mill in deepest Wiltshire. His close neighbours and indeed the mill’s longest residents, the mice, quickly gave him the idea for a series of books.

Graham Oakley’s Church Mice series have become classics of children’s literature, winning many awards. Quite a few are still in print today. Graham Oakley still writes and illustrates  books though he has now left the old mill and its residents. He now draws and paints in his home by the sea in the little town of Lyme Regis in Dorset. 

We enjoyed the first book and now I need to get more from the library. We didn't do many other activities with this author.

I love the fact that mice inspired his book. They must have been cute mice most of the mice that I have found in my house do not inspire me to write books rather they inspire me to clean and get traps.

What animals inspire you to write books?

The other authors that we have studied include:

J.R.R. Tolkien
Beatrix Potter
A.A. Milne
C.S. Lewis

Pin It

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Miss K was very excited because we were going hiking on Monday. We didn't tell her that hiking is really a long walk. We were meeting some friends and going to walk around a lake.

In typical Northwest weather it was raining when we began. It didn't stop raining but we went anyway. It rained even more. There were times that we weren't sure if we were wet because of rain or sweat.

We started out and the trail was nice and easy. Walking with Miss K the pace was slow. I had time to stop and smell the flowers take pictures of the flowers.

You can even see the raindrops on these flowers.

We saw the lake but never got very close to the lake. It was nice and green and the air was so clean.

We then headed up the mountain. I think the elevation went up about 500 feet and we were climbing. The trees were covered with moss. They almost have a spooky look about them.

We saw biology as my husband said.

We had to cross a bit of water which was fun for the kids.

It was hiking and Miss K did the whole 3 to 3 1/2 hours. We didn't carry her. We did encourage her and she was promised mint chocolate chip ice cream. She was very proud that she did it.

There are a number of hiking trails here. We found a book at the house called Best Hikes with Children.  We had found this one here there. It was not far from the city, just off the freeway. It was supposed to be 1 1/2 miles long but I am not sure what route we took. I think we walked more than that. We came home wet and dirty.

J enjoyed the hike and asked if we could do another one. The challenge is to find one that we can do that is nearby and is open in June. Maybe we will go on another hike before we leave in July.

If the kids didn't have enough exercise yesterday, I walked them to Trader Joe's today which is a roundtrip of 2 miles. I think they will sleep.

Pin It

Monday, May 27, 2013

Low Tide

Years and years ago when I lived here I went with a friend that was visiting to one of the beaches during low tide. I remember that we were able to see all kinds of things that you normally can't see because it was low tide. I really enjoyed that day. So going to the beach during low tide was one of the two things on my list of things to do this spring, tulip festival was the other thing.

Today was one of the lower tide days so we headed to the beach after church. It was a rainy overcast day but considering it is the northwest we decided to go. We got there and there was no rain.

We saw lots of seaweed. It is amazing all the different colors and kinds of seaweed.

It almost looks like leaves the way it is on the ground.

Miss K found a shell and said it was a butterfly. I think she was right about that. That is creative to look at it and see that.

We saw starfish. In my memory from years ago I recall seeing lots of starfish and lots of different colors but we did see a few today. We were amazed at how many legs this one had.

We saw this big crab and hopefully he did not become lunch for a seagull.

We turned over rocks and were amazed at what we found -- small crabs and even an eel.

Miss K wanted to hold a crab and then she wanted to hold another one. That counts as science doesn't it.

I found this crab under some seaweed. The seaweed was about the same color so he was hiding there. I don't think I have ever seen a crab this color.

This just looked like a rock but as we watched it we saw it moving.

Miss K ran to chase the birds.

Here are a few more starfish that we saw.

This one was all curled up almost in a ball.

Miss K was wet. Even her hair was wet -- that was because she was bending over to play in the water. I think she just stood in the water and played for about 30 minutes. Surprisingly it wasn't that cold.

I think J must have been running around and having too much fun. I don't have any pictures of him. He did say on the way home, "I think today was the dirtiest that I have ever been." I didn't think he was that dirty. I do think that statement means he had fun.

A trip to the beach is not complete without the seagulls. I know that they are not the most loved birds but I thought this was a great picture.

We had a great time at the beach. We are already marking our calendar for next month's low tide and trying to decide which beach or park we want to go to. It is amazing to see the sea creatures that God made. Things that we would not normally see because normally the water is covering that area.

As the tide came in and the water covered the area where we had been walking earlier, we sat on the bench, talking, drinking coffee and watching the boats in the water -- the ferry going between the city and the islands, the cargo ships and two cruise ships. There is something peaceful about the water.

Pin It

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Soft Pretzels

We were a bit homesick this week, missing the town where we used to live so tonight I decided to make a snack that would remind us of home. We didn't make them often when we lived there because it was easy to get them when we were out. We had two soft pretzels shops in town. In fact at church on Sundays there were soft pretzels out during the fellowship time -- no donuts but we had soft pretzels.

I mixed up the dough. This is a recipe that came from my mom years ago and is so simple.  I thought I had it with me but I didn't so I called her to get the recipe. That is what you do right, you call your mom.

Then we shaped the pretzels. The kids tried to remember what they learned when we went to the pretzel bakery but they were having a hard time.

Miss K was working hard to roll the dough and then shape her pretzel.

 J was having a hard time. He could get it twisted but then forgot the flip.

We boiled them in baking soda water and sprinkled salt on them. I have a bag of pretzel salt that we bought in one of the bulk food stores back home. The pretzel salt is nice because it is bigger grains. Our tray was ready to go in the oven.

While the pretzels were baking we had 15 minutes to clean up the kitchen.

Doesn't that just look yummy and ready to eat. I have discovered that these are really best when they are warm. So we got out the mustard and enjoyed our snack.

Miss K has become a mustard lover. She really likes the sweet and hot mustard from Trader Joe's. Too bad it is a seasonal item.

We enjoyed our snack and talked a bit about things we miss back home. The pretzels tasted extra good tonight and it might be because it has been so long since we have had the homemade soft pretzels.

Here is the recipe so you don't have to call my mom.

1 1/2 cup water
4 1/2 cup flour
2 packages yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients and knead. Allow to rest for about 15 minutes. Then form pretzels. This recipe makes about 10 to 15 pretzels depending on the size.

Baking soda wash
1 quart water
4 teaspoons baking soda

Bring this to a boil. After forming the pretzels, drop in the boiling water for about 1 minute. Place on a greased baking sheet. While they are still damp sprinkle salt on the pretzels.

Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes

I made a half a recipe and we had 8 small pretzels which was just enough for the four of us.
One package of yeast equals 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast.


Pin It

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The week with no photos but books and other things

Last week's weekly wrap-up featured the letter F. I was thinking that maybe this week's should feature the letter G just to go in order. Gorgeous does not really describe our weather today. Gray might be a better word but that was this morning when I started this post and in typical Northwest weather patterns now it is nice and sunny.

What did we do this week? That is a good question. I asked Miss K one day, "what is 1+1 and she told me, "good question." Okay, back to the question of what we did this week.

J finished his Math Detective Beginning. That was a bit below his grade level but worked nicely to give him some thinking skills. I have purchased the next level for next year. I like this as it is simple lessons but require thinking and one of the questions often asked is "what sentence gave you the clue."

J also finished Vocabulary from Classical Roots. I was cheap and did not buy the test for this book. I need to make a simple test just to see how he remembers what he has studied.

J had art class but did not finish his project. I guess we will have to wait to see that.

We are finishing things up -- math, writing, and Bible are the big things that need to be finished.

A few weeks ago Miss K decided she wanted to do school backwards starting with reading instead of math. We have done it backwards for so many weeks that I really don't think it is backwards.

She is continuing to read. At times I wonder if she is sounding out words and using phonics or just adding more sight words to her list of words. I do want her to be able to read a word that she has not seen before.

Miss K is getting ready for her ballet performance. She is a bunny rabbit. Tomorrow we have hair and make-up class. I am really hoping that her hair will grow in three weeks so it will be easier for pigtails -- bunnies with pigtails.

We are continuing to read lots of books. We read Toby, Who are you? and Doctor De Soto both by William Steig. I think he is one of my favorite authors. Doctor De Soto is a mouse who is a dentist but does not treat cats or other dangerous animals. Then a fox comes as a patient and well, you will have to read the book to find out what happens. We finished reading Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl (I did edit the language a bit). Cheer Up, Pig! by Nancy Jewell is a short little book about enjoying the things we have in life. Today we read My Mother is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Becky Reyher. It was set in Russian speaking Ukraine and was just a great story. The illustrations reminded me of being in that part of the world. I loved the ending, "Some people, Varyachka, see with their eyes alone. Others see with their hearts, too. I am grateful and lucky that you see with your heart, as well as with your eyes." Miss K's list of books that have been read to her is over 100.

I wandered through the homeschool consignment store with a friend. I like wandering and looking at various things that I hear people online talking about. I am set with what we are doing next year. I did buy The Timeline History of England to add to my section of British History books. I bought a Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book 1 which I use for Miss K's science. I read it to her and hopefully in a few years she will be able to read it herself.

My camera must have been on the shelf all week. I don't really have any fun pictures to share.

That wraps up this week.

Pin It

Friday, May 24, 2013

British Children's Authors - J. R. R. Toilken

Here is a bit of background to the series British Children's Authors (maybe I should get creative and create a header for this series). As we anticipated moving to England, I wanted to begin to expose my children to British literature and from there some of British culture. Anything that I found was high school level and seemed to focus on the old classics like Beowulf, Chaucer or authors like Austin, Shakespeare or others which we will cover later. I wanted something that my children could understand. So I began searching, asking others and came up in a list. I just look for books in the library and find other activities that we can do.  It would be fun to do a lapbook on this but that will have to wait until later. Now back to the author that we studied.

J. R. R. Toilken 

Even before the movie, The Hobbit, J has loved the book. I can't remember when his love began. He has it on audiobook on my Kindle and has listened to it a few times. He has also read it as well. 

We read a book about J. R. R. Toilken. One of the interesting things to learn was that he was born in what is now South Africa. When he was young, his father died. His mother and the two boys were in England at the time. His mother taught him at home but then she died when he was 12 years old. 

Languages were something that had always fascinated him. Which is not that surprising as he as developed some for his books.

We read parts from his book, Letters from Father Christmas. J listened to and read The Hobbit. I have The Hobbit on my nightstand waiting in the stack of books to be read. J just started The Fellowship of the Ring. 

I did find copywork quotes from The Hobbit. That will be fun for J. He has been enjoying the C. S. Lewis copywork. 

We did enjoy learning about J. R. R. Toilken's life and books. Maybe this summer we will be able to go to Oxford and see the plaque.

We also studied the following:

Pin It

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Tuesday's post was going to be about siblings but when it was done it ended up more about kids in transition. Since I had dug around in my photos and found some cute pictures of the two of them together I thought that today I would write about siblings.

"He needs her and she needs him." 

He needs to learn to slow down and think of others. She forces him to slow down and think about others. She needs someone to challenge her and encourage her to try things. He challenges her and encourages her to try things.

This is one of my favorite pictures of the two of them. They were sitting
on the side of the hill and he was telling her all about airplanes. 

He learns patience as he teaches her and helps her. She learns to listen. They both need help from mom and dad at times on how to improve those skills.

They love to work together. Here they were making bread. J has become the bread maker at our house and he was teaching her. Her job is to get the things that are needed.

Sometimes it is good to just sit and reflect on the good things that they have and do together. We are a family and we are going through this together.

Pin It

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kids in Transition

Yesterday J was having a rough day. He ended up spending most of the day in his bedroom. He did tell me that he fell asleep on the floor. Maybe that was part of his reason for a rough day. He started out better this morning. Then there was another squabble between the siblings and I realized I needed to do something before we repeated yesterday. Running to his room today was not going to be the answer. I had been praying all morning for wisdom and strength. I did the old standby trick that moms use sit in a chair and look at your sibling. After sitting for some time, I asked him to say something he liked about his sister. The first thing he said was nice with a bit of a twist but we kept going. She said something nice and we went back and forth with me adding some positive things in there as well.

Somehow that lead to a bit part of the issue yesterday and today -- missing friends and family. He sat and cried which I assured him was okay. He misses his best friend with his three brothers where he would often spend a Sunday afternoon. They were on the same soccer team for three years. He misses his friends that he would hang out with during small group. He missed his friend from our first co-op and also goes to our church. He missed his friend that he would visit on Sunday. He misses going to the Rock with other homeschoolers from church. God has blessed him with many friends there in the four years that we lived there. He misses going to Grandpa and Grandma's house and spending time with cousins. He misses his aunts and uncles. He cried has he doesn't feel like he has friends here. Moving is hard. Transition is difficult.

As parents, we made the decision to "Go ye into all the world. . ." J is excited but the reality is it is hard and at times lonely. It is hard to watch a child hurt and grieve.

I learned that sometimes one behavior might be hiding another feeling. The squabble was wrong and needed to be dealt with but we also needed to find what was deeper and needed to dealt with. In this case he just needed to talk about it.

I needed to be willing to put things aside and listen and even pull it out of him. I know it was worth it because at least twice today he told me "thank you."

In the hard times there are joys. Listening to the two of them tell things they liked about the other was encouraging. J liked the way Miss K dances. Miss K said J likes to ride his bike and fly a kite. I know that they love each other.

I am thankful that I was there and was sensitive to listen to him today. I am praying that he feel free to share. It has also opened the opportunity for us to talk about this some more.

So when you pray for missionaries, pray for their children. Pray that in all the transitions in their lives they will be comforted.

We do have some things in place for the fall if we are here -- a co-op and a swim team for homeschoolers (how exciting is that).

Beth, who was going to write about siblings but this came out instead, praying that it will bless you.
Pin It

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mystery of History Volume I

We just finished Mystery of History Volume I (MOH). I wanted to take a few minutes and just write a bit about my experience.

Last year I made the decision to go to studying history using a four-year cycle. Then, the next decision was what book or curriculum to use. I picked MOH because the reviews repeatedly stated that this was Bible based and I wanted that. The back cover states that it is Classical (I liked that), Chronological (I wanted to use that approach), Christian (that was important for us), and Complete (I liked that). I thought that MOH would give me an easy reading to get our history done and yet give me time to explore other rabbit trails.

We had learned the history time line when we did Classical Conversations and so I was excited to begin to fill in some knowledge about different points on the timeline.

I purchased the book, the CD of Reproducibles, and Homeschool in the Woods Timeline figures.  I didn't use the CD and ended up selling that.

I read the lesson and will confess that we didn't always do the pretest or the quiz. We did write history sentence or sentences for each lesson on 3x5 cards. In the beginning we wrote one for all of us but then I transitioned to J writing it for himself and I still wrote one. I learned quite a bit along with the kids. It has helped in reading the OT to have some of this knowledge.

Last summer as we were beginning the year I reviewed the book list at the back of MOH and looked at a number of other book lists for Ancient History from other homeschool programs and created a big list of books to read. I will admit that we didn't read as many of those books as I thought or planned. We did read the Golden Goblet as a read-aloud. That book had suspense and kept us wanting to read just a bit more.

We did begin a big timeline notebook with the timeline figures. We had quite a bit of catching up to do as we began that later in our school year and we put those in our shipment so we have not worked on them the past few months.

We did add some field trips that were fun.

The Reproduction Tabernacle gave us a perspective on the size and feel of the Tabernacle.

We also visited the Penn Museum which has an excellent display and Egyptian artifacts.

We enjoyed Mystery of History Volume I. I know the kids enjoyed it when they ask if we have the next book and when we can begin that one.

I want to continue the summary cards but also do the pretest and post test as well as read a number of books related to the history we are studying. Maybe I will want to consider buying the CD so I can make easy copies.  We will continue to complete our timeline books.Lord willing we will be in Europe for part of that book and be able to visit things to help us understand.

Pin It

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bee Happy

Remember the flowers that I mentioned that were blooming. As we were going to church this morning I noticed a number of bees enjoying the nectar and pollinating the flowers. We studied Botany two years ago and then last year we studied flying creatures. I decided to get out my camera and see if I could get some pictures.

I am thankful for a digital camera. I took lots of pictures and some had the bee in the flower which really just meant it was a dark spot in the flower or some had the bee flying away. I deleted a number of photos but did manage to get a few there were good.

It is amazing to realize how both the bees and flowers work together each needing the other. Truly the world that God created is wonderful.

This should make you bee happy.

Pin It

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Aviation Day

Saturday was Aviation Day at one of the local airports. We found out about because we followed a bus one night in traffic as we were getting on the freeway and saw the advertisement stating that the warbirds were going to fly at noon. That advertising worked -- we went.

It was a typical overcast day here in the Northwest. We arrived there around 11:30. We wanted to make sure we were there before noon when the Zero and the Hurricane were flying. That was not a Zero flying in a Hurricane but two airplanes flying. I learned quite a bit about airplanes both yesterday and today as I wrote up the post.

The first thing that we saw was the T-6 flying in formation. As they were finished they did breakway and that was fun to watch. I looked up on learned a bit more about the T-6.

There were times that the runway needed to be used for other planes so we saw a dream lifter take off. J decided that was the closest he has been to a dream lifter.

We were there in time to see the Zero. In the museum they had a bit of story about the specific plane. I don't remember the story about this one. The Zero was a Japanese plane used during the war.

 It was fun to just stand and watch as it zoomed by. It was a fast plane.

The Hurricane is a British plane used during the WWII.

Then we were introduced to Grumpy which is a B-25D Mitchell. I am not exactly sure how this plane was named Grumpy but it did have Grumpy painted on the side.

Since most of the planes were from WWII there were also some vehicles there as well.

It made you feel a bit like you were walking back in history.

There was a demonstration of a new platform that can be lowered from a helicopter and used in rescue missions. It was interesting to watch it lowered and then five people get on and fly around. I don't really like heights so I don't want to do that for fun. It is still amazing to think what they can do to help people.

Miss K wanted to have her turn as a pilot. She wanted to fly on a plane and I told her that in July she will have that opportunity and by the time that trip ends we will be tired of airplanes.

It was a bit of a cold day but in spite of that it was worth it. We had the Flying Heritage Collection on our list of things to do but this is the way to see it. The tickets were cheaper and you were able to see a number of the planes flying instead of just walking around and looking at them in the hanger.

Pin It


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...