Field Trip Friday: Little Troy Park

The Field Trip Friday feature on Daffodil Days is going on hiatus after today. I could list lots of reasons to take a break but the main one is that we found this lovely little swim club and we’ve decided to go there every Friday through the summer!

I read once that to a kid, the mark of a good summer is how many times they get wet. 😉 We’ve never been great with getting the kids to the pool (it’s scary to keep an eye on six at once!), but this place is small enough that we feel pretty comfortable with it.

It has play equipment…

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And trees to climb…

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It has a beach…

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and a small pond to splash around in (with lifeguard!)…

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What more could you ask for? (oh yeah, it has a couple of grills, a volleyball net, and some picnic benches, too!)

We’ll continue our exploration of New York come fall when we’re back in school. For the summer, we’ll be relaxing at the beach!


Field Trip Friday: Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake

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Kenny was on vacation last week so we thought a field trip a little further away would be OK. We have had several recommendations to visit the Adirondack Museum, but 1) it is a little pricey to get in and, 2) it is two hours away. Since we didn’t take an actual vacation we decided our budget (both financial and time budget) could handle it.

It was a beautiful drive. I took way too many pictures of the mountains from the road. 🙂

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The kids missed some of it…

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We started out a little later than anticipated (about 2 1/2 hours later!) so we had lunch as soon as we arrived. We found a beautiful little picnic spot right beside the museum.

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People were a little hungry and grumpy when we arrived but after some food and fresh air they were back to their goofy selves.

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Unfortunately, I forgot napkins…

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Rubbing your hands on a cube of ice from the cooler works wonders. The kids had fun running around for a few minutes while mom and dad finished eating. Wesley panicked for a moment about ticks but luckily we saw none.

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The kids were in love with the museum as soon as they saw the old passenger train to climb on.

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Abe was a very sweet big brother and accompanied Sophia inside the train’s engine.

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We saw a few cool old cars and lots of wagons and carriages.

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(I had a LOT of trouble getting clear pictures inside as no flash was allowed.)

Everyone wanted to see what it would be like to carry buckets of water over their shoulders. (maybe they should have put weights in the buckets so they could see how heavy they were full of water!)

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Abe was the best at faking it…

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When we got out of the stuffy indoors the girls and John Elijah decided to take a siesta.

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They revived quickly and were ready for a trek to the top of the fire tower.

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I stayed safely at the bottom with Jesse. Sophia got a little freaked out coming down but, it was Big Brother to the rescue again!

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We thought we were pretty much done (I was pretty much done!) when we found another great interactive building about camping in the Adirondacks. Kenny and the kids had a great time playing. 🙂

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Kenny tried on snowshoes.

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Novella and John Elijah and Wesley did some pretend cooking over a campfire.

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A couple of the kids even did a little indoor rock climbing!

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Finally, Dad got worn out…

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We gave the kids $5 each to choose something from the gift shop. Most of them chose to just keep the money. 😉 Everyone save Jesse climbed onto the giant Adirondack chair to wait for Dad to get the van.

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Overall it was quite an enjoyable field trip.

I know you all want the behind the scenes story. 😉 Why did we leave 2 1/2 hours later than we planned? Well… I can’t put a whole lot of blame for that one on anyone except myself. You see, the antique store across the street from us was having a yard sale…

Instead of getting in the van and taking off like we were supposed to we walked over to the yard sale. You know, just to see what they had. We bought a couple of minor things and saw a cool desk. Then we walked back home and drove to the library to return some books. During the drive to the library I began to regret not buying that cool desk (I KNOW. I KNOW. I’M OBSESSED WITH DESKS. It’s a sickness. I’M WORKING ON IT!!) So we hightailed it back to the sale and thank goodness, the desk was still there. You really can’t waffle like that on yard sale finds. You nearly always lose. But it was my lucky day.

See this beauty?

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You see this price tag?

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No regrets. 🙂

So that delayed our departure a bit. Other frustrations were that by the time we actually got on the road everyone was starving. It cost us ridiculous amounts of money to buy everyone a granola bar at a convenience store!! Sheesh!! And I forgot the diaper bag. Yep. I did. After nearly 14 years with a baby and/or a toddler, I walk off for an all day trip with no diaper bag. And the emergency bag that I keep in the van with extra diapers because I’m smart like that? Abe took it out the week before when he cleaned out the van.

Oh well. The behind the scenes memories are almost as fun to look back on as the museum (except for maybe the granola bars for which I’m not about to admit what I paid!!).


Dance recital

I know a lot you have seen Novella’s dance recital pictures on facebook. But for those of you who are not on facebook (hi Charlie and Diane!) this post is for you. 🙂

Before we moved from Alabama last summer I asked around about dance classes for Novella in New York. I was thrilled to find a place close to us called Kings Dancers that was reasonably priced. They teach classical ballet and dance only to Christian music. Unfortunately they are not as in to modest dress as Novella’s previous dance company but it seems to be the best option in the area.

When Novella looked at the schedule she wanted to take hip hop! My initial reaction was no way. But then I thought, why not? It sounds like fun! They offered a ballet/ hip hop combo class that sounded perfect. And she has loved it. Dance class is definitely the highlight of her week. I’ve never heard a complaint about it and she has been crushed the couple of times she’s been sick and couldn’t go.

Kings Dancers worked all school year on the big end of year recital. It was amazing! Novella did a fabulous job.

Here she is getting ready for the first on stage rehearsal:

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Sissy had to look all cute, too.

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What a lucky girl Sophia is to have such a great big sister to look up to. 🙂

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That first rehearsal was a bit of a disaster. About 30 minutes in the dance company was informed that the high school had double booked the space and a talent show was about to come in. They tried to practice in the cafeteria but ultimately re-scheduled the rehearsal for Thursday evening. It was a little disappointing because it really displaced the medal ceremony. The girls’ medals were kind of just thrown at them. I forgot to even get a picture of Novella with her dance teacher! Oh well. It’s not like she won’t go back next year! 😉

Finally it was the big day. Novella wasn’t super thrilled about getting eyeliner and mascara but it sure did look pretty!

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Here she is in her hip hop clothes after we arrived at the high school.

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I took Jesse to the dressing room with me after Kenny and the kids arrived. I thought it would be a good idea to let him “loose” for as long as possible.

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Can you tell he’s going to be trouble? Oh my that boy tested our patience that day. The recital started at his naptime and went on for the next 3 1/2 hours. I knew it would be long and I naively thought the boy would fall asleep on one of our laps. Nope. He cried. He struggled. He was generally miserable most of the time. Kenny or I almost missed 2 of Novella’s 3 dances trying to contain Jesse in the back of the auditorium. Somehow we did and we saw everything and she was marvelous.

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Here she is with most of her class.

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And then it was over.

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Mom and Dad are SOOOO proud of our baby girl.

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And poor little Jesse bear? He went immediately to sleep (apparently on his face he was so tired) and slept until 10 o’clock that night. When he woke up we gave him a snack and put him back to bed. We heard him laughing and talking to himself until well after midnight.

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Novella can’t wait until next year. She’s pondering getting into tap as well as ballet and hip hop. I’m not sure we can handle that much dance!


Field Trip Friday: Happy Flag Day!

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I think I like doing this feature a week behind. We actually went to the Adirondack Museum yesterday but I managed to take 175 pictures so it’s going to take me a few days to get that post ready. 🙂 We took last Friday off from field trips, but we did walk down to our town’s annual Flag Day parade on Thursday evening so I’m going to count that for this week’s post.

We almost didn’t go to the parade. We had seen signs up about it for a couple of weeks and thought it would be a nice thing to do but we made no plans. That evening dinner was really late for some reason and as time drew near for the parade to start we were just sitting down to eat. Then we decided to just do it. We ate, threw our shoes on, and took off. The parade was supposed to start at 7 p.m. We left the house around 7:10. As far as we could tell all we missed were a group of sailors and a group of bagpipers. (which we deduced by the fact that they were still walking around.)

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It really was a very nice parade. We were able to walk down to it which was lovely. A local realty company gave all the children balloons. Some people let go of theirs (luckily, none of my kids. whew!)

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We saw a lot of historical figures.

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We saw this lovely patriotic band.

We talked to our neighbors. Jesse finally got to meet an old neighbor of ours who was born in the same month as Jesse and guess what his name is? Jesse!

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I think Sophia liked it best. But Jesse was very good natured, too. We kept him in the stroller as it was a pretty crowded affair. But he didn’t seem to mind.

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I promised a post on that nightstand this week and I haven’t gotten to it yet. So many things to post about! Novella’s big dance recital is this afternoon and next week is the last week of school. Maybe after quarterly reports and annual assessments are turned in I can catch up on blogging. And housework. 😉


A simple project and a new and exciting way to kill spiders!

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After church Sunday the whole family stopped by Lowes to pick up some knobs for Novella’s newly painted chest/night stand (post on that project coming this week!). While we were there we picked up some basil and a couple of tomato plants for the patio. While we do have a back yard we share it with two apartments so I don’ feel I can really dig into the dirt and plant a garden. But there’s nothing wrong with container gardening!

Novella was out with Dad yesterday afternoon at a dance rehearsal and the rest of us headed outside to get those plants in their pots! I had picked up a bag of organic potting soil a few weeks ago and luckily it was exactly enough to pot our tomatoes and basil.

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All of the kids wanted to help — even Wesley! Jesse put one handful of dirt in the pot and he was done. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture. He was more interested in playing in the yard.

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Wesley helped out by pushing Jesse and Sophia around in the Pooh car for a while. It was apparently hard work!

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Sophia and John Elijah were all over the gardening, though. Abe was, too! We got the plants in the dirt fairly quickly.

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Things went a little crazy after they turned on the water. I resisted at first but then I caved and let them play for a few minutes. I even held the hose so the big boys could get in on the action, too. Novella was sorry she missed it.

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We even saw a rainbow in the water stream and Abe caught a picture of it. Can you see it?

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Hopefully we can keep the plants alive this time. I don’t have a great track record with, well, pretty much anything that grows in a pot or in the ground. When it was time to clean up we saw a scary looking black spider on the water hose! It was black with white spots.

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Kenny doesn’t think it was dangerous. I plan on looking it up. At the time it looked plenty dangerous! I was afraid to try to smack it because it didn’t look like it would kill easily. I instructed the boys to keep an eye on it’s whereabouts while I ran into the house for the spider spray. Of course I couldn’t find it. The boys were concerned. They didn’t want to smack it, either, but neither did they want to just leave it to find it’s way into the house!

So I did the next best thing. I sprayed it with left over polyacrylic spray from the night stand re-do. 🙂 It did the trick and turned the spider a cool metallic blue.

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The boys were impressed at my ingenuity. My head is a little bigger.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend polyacrylic spray as a spider spray, though. It is a bit pricey as a bug killer. Wink


FIELD TRIP FRIDAY: National Bottle Museum

Welcome to this week’s installment of FIELD TRIP FRIDAY! We’re having so much fun exploring New York. I’m not sure why it took us so long to get started. I think we just needed a plan. And boy do we have a plan now. Field Trip Friday may go on for quite some time. Although today I’m posting last week’s field trip and we’re having a much needed “Do Nothing Friday” to catch up on our rest! Tired

Last Friday we went to the town of Ballston Spa and visited the National Bottle Museum. The kids were not really jumping for joy at the thought of touring a bottle museum. They weren’t grumpy or anything. They just weren’t overly excited.

Kenny worked on that on the way to the museum. He explained that we weren’t going to just any old run of the mill regular bottle museum. We were going to the National Bottle Museum. The bottle museum representing bottles from all over the entire United States and possibly even the world! By the time we got there even the teenager was wowed and anxious to see the collection.

The cool thing that none of us knew going in (well, except me, but only because I looked at their website before we went 😉 ) is that bottle making was our nation’s first major industry. The museum was set up to preserve that history and houses literally thousands of bottles — some of which even hold uranium within their glass and set off alarms if you get too close. (and no, thankfully, we did not learn this first hand!)

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By the way, have you been wondering if we were taking all of these trips in two vehicles? Nope. My super fabulous rockin’ husband found an extra 3 seat bench for our mini-van for $50 buckaroos! Here’s how we squeeze everyone in:

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Live like no one else, right? 🙂

Here we are standing on the sidewalk outside the museum:

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I’m not sure they get a whole lot of visitors at the National Bottle Museum. Perhaps we just went on a slow day but a very friendly tour guide practically met us at the door and gave us a wonderful and informative tour of the whole place.

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We saw lots of bottles.

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There were bottles from many of the states of the U.S. I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the one from Alabama. Alabama still feels like home to me.

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Oh, and Jesse was lots of fun in a bottle museum. Afraid

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They gave us plastic cups when we left the museum and suggested we walk down the road and visit the natural spring and take a sip of the water. We’re gullible. We did it.

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We all took one teeny tiny sip and then poured it out! Yuck! It tasted like iron.

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Dad tried several times to take a drink for his health.

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He didn’t succeed.

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John Elijah was not as gullible as the rest of us. He refused from the outset. And, of course, we didn’t give any to Jesse as the tour guide suggested that it may bother your digestive system if you drank much. Yeah. I know. I don’t know why we did it. Maybe so we could say we did?

To get the yucky taste out of our mouths we had to go out for ice cream afterwards. We let Jesse partake this time.

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Even John Elijah agreed to join in.

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Some people experienced “brain freeze”.

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And some people let the sugar go to their head!

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All in all, another fun field trip in New York!


FIELD TRIP FRIDAY: State Museum in Albany

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We’re really making an effort to go somewhere and see something cool in New York on Fridays. Actually, we had hoped to get together with friends but Wesley woke up with a sore throat and it was supposed to rain. Since Wesley didn’t feel too bad we decided to drive to Albany and check out the State Museum. Almost everyone we know has highly recommended it and we thought an indoor museum would be perfect if it rained and not too taxing on Wesley.

We got a bit of a late start and arrived at the museum right at lunch time. We ate a quick lunch in the car and walked over to the museum. Dad pointed the way.

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We weren’t sure how long everyone would last but we knew the kids would love the carousel so we went up to the 4th floor and rode it first. (that later proved to be a wise decision!)

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I decided to sit in one of the static booths with Jesse since it was his first carousel ride and I wasn’t sure how he would react. John joined us. Turns out it was his first carousel ride, too!

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When the ride started we realized right away we did NOT sit in a static booth. It was a spinning booth!

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Luckily the boys loved it! We found out after we got off that those horses were hand carved in 1895!

Here’s my favorite picture of the day:

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After the ride ended we explored. There were lots of interesting treasures on the 4th floor. It was like a storage/ display area for cool things from the area that might have been thrown away or destroyed. Like this old sign from New York City:

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There was also a car owned by Franklin Roosevelt:

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And little ham was ever ready for a photo op. 🙂

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Downstairs on the first floor they had a massive display of the nature of the Adirondack area.

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And a hands on kids area that even the big kids enjoyed a lot.

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Jesse had been in the stroller through the Adirondack area.

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We let him out to explore the kids area and he loved it!

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After the kids area we got tired. We did a quick run through of the museum shop and then headed for home.

Now doesn’t that sound like a lovely day?

But let’s always keep it real. 😉

It took forever to decide where to go. We actually went through a AAA travel guide and wrote down 25 possibilities before deciding on one. Then we had to make a lunch to take with us and stop for gas on the way. About half way there we realized we didn’t print out directions. We’d been to the state capitol (which is across the street) so Kenny thought he could find it again. He did.

Eventually.

One kid had a melt down in the car as we were eating lunch because she didn’t get enough chips. And the kids were grumpy with each other before we ever got to the front door. I don’t know what Jesse ate the day before but I had to change his diaper about 5 times. Wesley began to feel miserable about half way through the museum. It’s a good thing we rode the carousel first. If we had waited to the end we wouldn’t have done it at all!

Remember last week when I planned ahead and put stew in the crock pot? I wasn’t so smart this week. I, for some crazy reason, thought I could come home and make homemade pizza! Yeah. That didn’t happen! We all crashed for a while when we got home and then I ran to the store and bought 3 frozen pizzas. 😆

So behind the scenes it wasn’t a picture perfect day. We’re all human here. We’re still glad we went and we enjoyed the museum. We just need to plan the details a little better next go round!


Homeschooling with littles

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Oh boy are my two youngest high energy and high maintenance kids! They definitely keep things hoppin’ in the Bailey homeschool!

I get asked a lot how in the world I can homeschool at all with a 3 year old and a 20 month old running around. In some seasons it’s been very hard. Newborn seasons are always tough and to be honest, the kids get a bit more life lessons than book lessons in those first few months with a new baby. We do our best but baby’s needs come first.

We are in a calmer season now. HA! I think the key is to remember that it’s homeschool. You don’t have to start at 8 a.m. and plug away until 3 p.m. with a couple of 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch. It’s not like that at all. We have things ordered now to accommodate the littles better. The kids get up around 7 a.m. or 7:30 and do their chores and eat breakfast. One of the big kids helps Sophia get some breakfast. I’m usually still downstairs getting dressed, taking out the dog or starting the laundry. Around 8:30 the 4 oldest start their independent seat work. By this time I’m upstairs with Jesse. I prepare a simple breakfast for him, myself and usually my hobbit daughter Sophia who by this time is ready for “2nd breakfast”. 😉

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Around 10 we all sit down together at the big dining room table and do “together school”. We pray, read history lessons, do an art study, etc. I have nothing formal planned for the littles during this time period. They usually run around the upstairs playing. We have lots of manipulatives and we’ll usually dump something out to occupy them for a few minutes. Their favorites are Lauri puzzles, Lincoln Logs and Wedgits. They also like to play in the toy kitchen area.

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We also just flat out have to be flexible. Sometimes we have school on the living room floor so the littles can feel like they have mommy, too, and crawl all over me while I’m reading. Sometimes Sophia wants her own “school” so we’ll give her a workbook and box of crayons at the table or we’ll give her an extra map drill to color. Sometimes we have to close the books, have lunch early and finish while Jesse is napping.

I remember way back when I was a working woman. I specifically remember getting out of my car one morning and thinking, “Is this how it is? Every day of my life the same thing?” I can’t sugar coat it. Homeschooling with littles is challenging. But it is NEVER EVER boring and I love it!

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Easter season

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I’m going to be a wee bit lame today. I’m trying VERY hard to blog at least three times a week but I’m not quite in the groove yet. So today’s post is going to be more of a half post and I’ll finish it later in the week. I’m going to go ahead and publish it because I know some of you want to see Easter pics and haven’t given in yet to the Facebook monster. 😉

The above picture was taken at church after the service. We had a beautiful Easter service with our talented organist singing a solo at communion and our PRIEST playing the trumpet throughout the service. It was definitely an EXTRA special service. I wish I had a pic of the priest with the trumpet. Maybe I can get him to don his church garb just for a blog pic.

Before we left home I wanted to get a picture of the children together in their Easter clothes. I had some trouble…

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You should have seen the look of surprise on Abe’s face when the flash went off as he was putting on his socks. ha ha ha ha ha

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Jesse didn’t really want to co-operate. He heard there was candy in the baskets…

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So Abe tried to hold him.

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This was the best I could do but for some reason I absolutely love it! I can be a perfectionist about things like this and the kids are somewhat used to me taking dozens of shots to get the right one, but on this morning perfection didn’t feel right. So I let it go once I had a clear shot with everyone looking in my general direction. And the kids were glad. 🙂

Blogging time is up for today. More later…


A great day for apple pie

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John Elijah is a first grader this year in our homeschool and we have been using the Five in a Row curriculum. I have very fond memories of this curriculum as I have been using some parts of it for over eleven years! The basic premise is that you take a book and read it for five days straight. I’ll admit, sometimes I get tired of reading the same book five days in a row. But the kids really connect with the book using this method. The books become their friends. This has seemed especially true of John Elijah this year. I have been very relaxed about using the guidelines. There are many ideas listed for each book and in years past I have spent huge (HUGE) chunks of time planning activities for each day revolving around the week’s book. I knew I didn’t have that kind of time this year but some of these books have become my friends, too, and I wanted to share them with J.E.

Last week’s book was How to Bake an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman. I remembered it as being one of my favorites when the older kids went through FIAR. Of course, relaxed or not, we couldn’t let the book pass by without making an apple pie! I tried to let J.E. in on every aspect of making the dessert — even the dreaded pie crust. 😉 I cut the apples and helped a little with rolling out the crust but my big boy did the rest.

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He liked getting his hands down in the apples.

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Dotting the butter on top of the apples.

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He took the crimping job very seriously.

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Finally it was ready for the oven.

We had to deal with a few antics from little sis
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and little bro
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along the way.

And some people got very impatient…
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But eventually it was done
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There were only 2 pieces left after everyone enjoyed some. John Elijah and I snuck into his room a few days later and enjoyed those last 2 pieces together. It was good times. 🙂