Saturday, September 27, 2008

Camp with Dad

Our church had Camp with Dad last night and this morning. Dads and their kids (6 years and up) could set up their tents at the church property and do camp stuff (campfire, games, devotions, singing, etc). So Elizabeth and Phillip got to do that yesterday and today. Tiring, since no one slept very well; but Elizabeth was ecstatic and has lots of good stories to share about her "first camping experience that she remembers", as she calls it.

Here's the pile of laundry from just one night! I look forward to when the kids go to church camp since I loved it as a kid, but I don't look forward to the laundry.

A picture of the two of them.

New Haircuts

I don't know why I wait so long to get their hair cut. But by the time we go, their hair is so ragged!

Elizabeth lost a top front tooth as you can see.

This is how Phoebe asks me for something that I'm eating. She just stands there with her mouth hanging open and her little eyes looking up at me imploringly.

I thought I would let Jonathan's hair grow out and see how it looked, but it's so coarse that it didn't really look good to me.

So here they are with new haircuts! We went to Cookie Cutters which is a hair place for kids. They get to sit in little fire trucks and airplanes to get their hair cut and there is a TV at each station for them to watch cartoons (I know, can you imagine?!). The lady sprayed Jonathan's hair with some green color just for fun. He said he looked cool! And Elizabeth said he's going to be a dude at church.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Nature Study

Nature study is a big part of a Charlotte Mason education for the younger years. So we try to get out every Wednesday afternoon for at least 2-3 hours to just spend time outside. We've learned how to do this over the year: everyone must wear tennis shoes and it's best to wear long, yet light pants (bug bites and poison ivy have taught us this); Bug spray is a must; we bring our backpack stuffed full of things like notebook, colored pencils, magnifying glass, compass, Handbook of Nature Study, plastic bags, etc, etc; we bring three Tot Spot chairs and sometimes a blanket to sit on; Everyone has their own water bottle (which I freeze; in this hot weather, it melts quickly enough); a snack. I think that about does it!

In these pictures we've gone to the "wood park" (the kids call it that because of the wood structures the kids can play on). We do nature study for a while before I let them play on the toys. The kids threw out bird seed. No birds came, but ants came. I tried to take a picture of an ant, but my camera wouldn't focus well enough. Jonathan is scared of everything (thus his feet up on his chair to keep away from the ants). The longer we stay out in nature, the more we see: we've seen a black racer snake, 4 armadillos, an anhinga (a bird that swims under water to catch its food); we've discovered different flowers, trees, plants (we now have a picture book of poison ivy so we know what to look for), birds, insects... It makes for a tiring day, but it has been beneficial.

Fun (?) with Phoebe

She is one crazy girl! On this particular day, she was alone in the bathroom, and we could hear her playing with running water while Phillip and I talked in the bedroom. Finally she started crying. We found her sitting on the countertop with shampoo covering her body and the mirrors and bubbles abounding in the sink as the running water hit the shampoo. Every time she cried, a huge bubble would come out of her mouth. This annoyed her, but it was great fun for Dad and I. At least there was a little joy in the mess! After I bathed her, she was cold; so I put on this sweater that I made for Elizabeth years ago. Then she untied and pulled out Dad's shoestrings, so he's fixing them in the picture.

On Wednesday Elizabeth tried out some homeschool classes at Jacksonville Zoo. While she was in class, the other two and I went to the zoo for a little while and then spent some time in a main room with other homeschool families who were waiting for their kids to finish class. Phoebe was watching a little girl about 6 months younger than she and was reaching out to her saying, "Ahh, babeey!" The little girl just looked at her and all of a sudden her arms shot out and she pushed Phoebe down! Phoebe was shocked to say the least. She stood up and shook her finger at her (could have been a fist that she was prepared to hit her with) and yelled some babble at her and was crying a little. She then sat down on a chair next to me and just looked at the girl as if trying to examine the situation and figure out what happened. I told the mom not to worry, that Phoebe was the bully at home and so needed to see how it felt to be bullied. Anyway, since then Phoebe has been extra "tough" with the kids: she's been biting and hitting and pinching. I don't think she learned her lesson. We'll keep working on breaking this habit!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Friends from College

Some friends from college (went to college with Phillip, but they're my friends now too) were vacationing in Daytona Beach, so we drove down to see them a few days ago.

The tendrils of Hurricane Hannah barely reached the beaches, but the ocean was too wild to play in on this day. I wish the camera could capture how tremendous the waves looked crashing against the foot of the concrete we stood upon.

We went to a chocolate factory to have a little tour and get free samples. Also ended up buying a bag of chocolate-covered potatoe chips.

All of us at a Mexican restaurant (Phoebe's hiding behind Phillip). They have 3 boys ages 8, 6 and 4. Jonathan was glad to be around boys!

Phoebe held on to Nikki a lot of the time. Anyone who'll hold her!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Math is not Elizabeth's forte'

Today we were doing an especially long math lesson. Elizabeth was in great distress throughout the whole lesson. Finally she groaned, with her head in her hands, "Mom, numbers are just swirling around in my head, and they're purple!"

Monday, September 1, 2008

Muscadine Grape Jelly

A neighbor told us about a farm about 20 minutes away that let you pick muscadine grapes (purple and green or bronze ones) and sold them for $1 a pound. The kids and I went this year to pick some. We braved the many ant hills (they seem to have multiplied since Tropical Storm Fay) and bumble bees and various other bugs, plus long itchy grass to pick 3 pounds. I thought we maybe had a pound from the looks of what was in the bucket, but these grapes are pretty heavy, so they weigh more than your grocery store variety. I also saw some local grown honey and so bought a jar. I thought we might just eat the grapes, but they are full of seeds and the kids didn't especially like them. So we decided to make jelly.

Jonathan helped me mash the grapes in a big bowl with a potatoe masher. Then we boiled on the stove.

Elizabeth helped measure the sugar.

Then she tasted the Sure-Jel and decided she liked it even though it was a little sour (she walked around eating a lemon today, so she can handle sour).

This is our mixture of grape juice, sugar and pectin after it had boiled some more.

The stove after the first pot boiled over and made a huge mess, which I'm still trying to clean up (I'm waiting for some more stove top cleaner to get here; I ordered it 2 days ago).

Four good jars of grape jelly!

Boiling them to get them to seal.

Elizabeth helping wash the dishes!