Friday, February 12, 2016


This new year has brought much busyness, a busyness that is unusual for our family this time of the year. Most of the busyness has been homeschool related. The kids are taking science classes at the museum in the city, and so every Monday we find ourselves taking the hour long drive into the city for these classes. This time has actually been good. The kids have been able to meet new kids, and I have been able to have some time alone while I wait for them. 

During the first class, I spend the entire time exploring the very large Carnegie Library. This was so heavenly. Our little town has a very little library with a small selection of books, so you can imagine how overwhelmed and overjoyed I was with floors and floors and stacks and stacks of books.

This past Monday, I took my five-year-old nephew along, and he and I had fun exploring all of the more "boyish" aspects of the museum ~ the dinosaurs, the wildlife exhibits, the children's discovery zone. We even got to meet and touch a baby alligator. It was a fun little day with him.

Our winter has been strangely warm and precipitation-free, except for a couple of snowy days here and there. Brad and the kids had harvested acorns back in October of last year and had forced them into dormancy. They "woke" the little acorns up this past weekend and spent an hour or so planting them in some nice alpaca compost and soil. Brad put the pots into a clear Rubbermaid bin which is now sitting in front of one of Ian's bedroom window. 

Because we built our home in the middle of old pasture land, we are seriously lacking on trees in our yard. We have woods back behind our home, but our yard was completely bare of trees when we built. Since then, we have planted trees, and the birch (which grow a bit faster than most trees) are at a nice height. Brad and Ian planted oak trees along the border of our property ten years ago when Ian was two, and it's amazing how small those trees still are, although oaks are a very slow-growing tree. We've also planted plenty of pine trees as well as many fruit trees and some almond trees. I always joke that our yard will be nice and shady and have plenty climbing trees when our grandchildren come to visit us someday! 

So these little acorns are an experiment of sorts, I suppose. We would love more oaks in our yard, and Brad wanted to give it a shot. Trees do grow better from seed rather than transplants because they don't have to go through that transition period after they are transplanted. We shall see. In the meantime, it is going to provide some nice information for Ian's project fair topic. 

Today, Lily and I are heading back into the city for a second time this week to see the Peter Pan ballet. Ian was supposed to go, but is sick again. The poor kid had pneumonia for two weeks, was better for three days and woke up sick again yesterday morning with a different virus. Good grief. February and March always do prove to be the months we struggle with sickness the most. I always find myself getting a bit cocky come the end of January when we've managed to fend off most sickness, and then, BAM, February starts and we're fighting colds and such until the middle of spring. 

Reading. Yeah, there's been a lot of that going on lately. Reading silently. Reading aloud. Audio books.That's been nice, and that's one of the things I enjoy most about the cold days of winter ~ all the cozy reading we do. That and crafting, of course. 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, February 8, 2016

her tenth birthday

Molly literally opens wrapped gifts. She uses her paws and teeth to pull of the paper. It's one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

What a great birthday weekend we had! Tiring, but very enjoyable. 

I spent most of Friday and Saturday baking. Lily had a party with her friends Saturday afternoon, and then we had some family over to celebrate that evening. 

She was beyond excited about the vanity dresser. You can probably see that by the expression on her face in the photos above. It was her favorite gift, she said, and she couldn't believe that we had bought it for her. 

She was also very excited to receive Miss Dandelion Doe (whom she decided to rename Felicity the Fawn.) I did finish it in time, except for the knitted headkerchief which was only half finished by 11:30pm Friday night. And at that point, I was extremely tired and done. I'll finish it up this week. 

She had a wonderful time with her friends. Ian made up a treasure hunt for them to do. It ended in the clothes dryer where they found a basketful of goodies, including craft kits for them to make mood blocks. She received many wonderfully crafty gifts from her friends (they know her so well) and the party ended with some play time outside and a wagon ride around the property. 

I had made homemade oatmeal cream pies for the party with her friends which were absolutely yummy. (I think Ian had also requested the same thing on his tenth birthday.) And then Lily had chosen a chocolate chip coffee cake for the dessert for her family party. I always let my kids pick out homemade desserts for their birthdays. And, truth be told, I always enjoy when they pick something different than the average birthday cake. This past September when Ian turned twelve, he chose a banana cake with cream cheese icing and key lime pie. Those things are much more interesting to make than a box cake!

I think that my favorite part of the weekend was last night. The boys had gone to a Super Bowl party, so Lily and I stayed home. The original plan was for us to watch a movie on Netflix, but we ended up spending the entire evening just talking and coloring in her bedroom. She actually did most of the talking. It was very refreshing to be able to sit there and hear what was on her mind.