Tuesday, September 18, 2012

At the Farm

We went to Linvilla today. There is pick-your-own-just-about-anything-you-can-think-of, a store selling baked goods and already-picked produce, hayrides, organized events, fishing, and the main attraction of our day: a petting zoo that's not a petting zoo.  You just feed the animals.  Does that make it a feeding zoo?

Feeding the deer.

A very hungry goat.

Talking to the chickens.

Show me how excited you are!


Throwing bread to the ducks down in the pond.

I want to go back and pick pumpkins and apples.  Fall is in the air!  I'm resisting the temptation to decorate for fall until October.  We're supposed to enjoy summer, right?  But I'm so ready for the cooler weather, warm sweaters, denim jeans, soup simmering on the stove.  Bliss.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A School Post: On Workboxes

My friend sent me some info on the workbox system and I have been hooked on the idea ever since, finally putting it into practice this morning.  Seriously, I could not have felt more organized (which I love), everything went so smoothly, and Joshua loved it, too.  I would have appreciated something like this back in my own homeschool days.  Or is it home school?  Or home-school?  You'd think I would know.  I think I just found a shortcoming in my education.  That, and my overuse of commas.  ,,,,  I can see this organizing concept becoming even more useful in the years to come.

There's no point in my describing how it works.  Others have done so before me.  In fact, you can go straight to the original workbox maker-upper's website: CLICK.  But...I'm gonna do it anyway.

John ordered a 10-drawer cart online.  Joshua and I put it together on Wednesday night.  I then laminated and velcro-ized some box numbers and a chart.  I heart my laminator.  So handy.

In each drawer, I placed an assignment and the necessary supplies, then numbered the drawer, and placed it back in the cart.  I'm currently using 6 boxes a day.  I haven't added penmanship or phonics to our daily routine yet.

Joshua is basically in control of the boxes, though he must go in order.  As he completes each task, he replaces the drawer, removes the number, and puts it back on the chart.  When he empties the last drawer, he's done for the day.  He gets way more excited looking inside each drawer to discover the next project than he did when I was piling the stuff on the table.  I can throw in a random book, game, extra craft, or whatever, to help break up the day and make the boxes more exciting than ever. ;-)

Here's my chart.  I wanted to print the numbers off, but I ran out of printer ink.  In light of the 'system,' I didn't really need the "Done!" card, but it aided Joshua in learning how the process worked.

This morning, the first drawer contained a box of markers and a sheet of paper.  John and Joshua went outside with them and drew a picture of the outside of our apartment.  The second box contained construction paper, scissors, markers, cotton balls and gold glitter glue.  Joshua made a picture of Heaven, with the streets of gold.  

I purchased a box of 20 craft projects, supplies and all, that worked out to less than $1 a craft.  We did the snail (pictured above) this morning, as we are doing a sort of makeshift bug unit study.  One of the drawers just had a book, and we read several pages.  Both of us learned some neat bug facts.  

I ordered these tanagram blocks that came with 50 pattern cards.  It's a nice way to break up the hour and definitely stretched Joshua's brain a bit.  

He was a bit baffled at first...

...but he did it!

Who would have thought that such a simple concept could have me so excited that I'd blog about it?  Ha, me!  I'm so easy to amuse. But in all seriousness, if you choose to homeschool (...or home school... or home-school), it's lots of fun.  The workbox system, that is...though the tanagrams were fun, too.  :-)  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Joshua's First Day of School

Writer's block is an understandable thing, but blog-block?  I simply desired to write about the day- Joshua's first day of school.  I ended up spending more time with my finger on the back-space key, my brain in a fog of indecision, than writing.  Maybe I breathed in too many charcoal fumes.  I'm giving up on writing anything truly worthy of clicking the "publish post" button (Is anything I write really ever "truly worthy?" Good question.).  Here are the pictures and a few brief words to accompany each one.

This seemed like a good year to start school, and so we did.  We took pictures of the student before starting our first lesson.

One of our projects was cutting eyes, noses and mouths from enlarged pictures of John, Joshua, and myself, and making puppets.  

I wanted to start the year off with something special, something that we could do as a yearly tradition on the first day of school each year.  I'd like to add a few more details to next year's kick-off, but this time around we ended up going to the library (something that will be turned into a weekly event), followed by an evening at the playground and a hot dog and marshmallow....cookout?  <-- I'm agonizing over simple word choices; no wonder I am not getting anything written.

(Edit: I think the word I was looking for was "roast."  But who really knows when I'm in this frame of mind.)

Joshua and Andre will be together a lot this year for school and play.  Rona and I are partners of sorts in this whole schooling business.  She has enriched my life in so many ways. (Now THAT is worth publishing.  It's so true.)

First taste of a s'more.

Joshua's first taste:


I am so looking forward to the rest of this year!  It's going to be a great adventure.  But right now, I'm mostly just looking forward to sleep.  Good night. :-)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The "Sick Bunny"

I was four and I lay sick in my parent's bed.  I imagine my mom put me there because it was closer to the kitchen, where she could hear me if I called.  At some point that afternoon, my dad came home from work and came to see me.  He leaned over and kissed my forehead and placed a stuffed animal- a pink rabbit with clashing red bow-tie and white ribbon suspenders- next to my head.

I'd like to take a moment to comment on the obvious cat hair in this picture.  Our beloved Oliver has been in his new home for four months now.  I have washed the duvet cover not once, but twice.  I have put it through the dryer.  I have shaken it outside.  I have run over it with a lint brush.  And it still looks like we have a cat living with us.  What am I doing wrong?!  

Okay, back to the rabbit.  It never became favourite toy, but I still have it.  I love the memory of that day.  The rabbit was special because it was a gift from my dad.  Not a birthday or Christmas gift, but an unexpected "I love you" gift, one that came on an otherwise dismal day of fever and puking.

When Joshua got sick about a year ago, I gave him the "Sick Bunny" and told him the story that went with it.  Then I told him again.  And again.  And again.  Hey, he loves my stories.  What can I say?

Over the last year, the furry pink rabbit has become a tradition between Joshua and me (we'd include John, but he's seriously never sick, and it's really too bad because he's missing out on the fun), and we each get to snuggle with it.

The rabbit has been in serious business this week.

I love little traditions.  Especially the ones that just kind of happen.

I don't love cat fur.  Especially when it won't go away.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Our New Apartment

Okay, back on a blog roll, baby!  I finally found the camera (lost in an 800 sq ft apartment...what?), which, though broken, was still storing the card with all the pictures.  I am also feeling a bit better, and am ready to enter back into the blog world...and the rest of the world, too.

Before I begin, I'd like to give a shout-out to Katy Bowman at www.katysays.com  If you have any sort of pain (seriously-- foot, ankle, leg, knee, hip, pelvis, back, shoulders, etc.) check her out!!  If you have rounded shoulders or are a rib thruster (even if you think you're not, check!) or have a 'sway' back, walk with your feet pointing out to the side, or your neck leading the way...check her out!  After seeing multiple doctors, specialists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, massage therapists, physical therapists, etc., and even traveling over 300 miles to try and find the right sort of help...help is right here on her blog, DVDs and webinars.  I've become obsessed totally engrossed and super fascinated.  In fact, she's the reason why I didn't jump back on the blogging bandwagon a month earlier. Oh, and did I mention she's the reason why I'm finally starting to feel better?

Crazy how simple it is to fix most of our musculoskeletal problems. Note #1: "Simple" means relatively easy, but definitely not fast.  There's a lifetime of habits to change and tight muscles to stretch out.  Note #2:  Musculoskeletal is a word I always thought would be cool to use in its proper context.  I ought to scratch that off my bucket list.  And speaking of bucket lists, I've always wanted to see a castle.  I just found out that Boldt Castle is a mere 6 hours from here.  Definitely making plans!

Anyway, for several of you, here are the long-awaited pics of our new abode.  For the rest of you, here are the pics of our new abode.

These are the stairs that we face when walking through our private entrance (another favourite thing about this particular apartment complex).  The stairs are cleverly covered in outdoor carpeting, so we don't have to worry about taking our shoes off until we get upstairs.


This one of the few purchases we made for this place, and well worth it, methinks.  Since living here is only temporary, we didn't want to invest much any money into it, but we did find it necessary to part with three separate bookshelves from our house, and consolidate everything into one place.  And I like it!

Sometimes, when I'm very, very focused on the task at hand (usually any task at hand), I don't hear things like timers.  I just burnt dinner.  Don't worry, it's salvageable!  This is our dining room.  I have since put up curtains.  At least their bare appearance will allow my Papa Jones to see how low/high the windows are, since I was describing the size to him.

This living room picture (and the next) make it look rather bare and dismal, but it's not really.  At least, I don't think so!

Another bare and dismal looking angle.

This is our kitchen- rather roomy for an apartment, though I did have to buy a small pantry cupboard for just outside the kitchen door, in the dining room:

Apparently, I didn't finish rinsing the sink out before I took this picture.  However, I assure you this shot is staged.  It never looks this nice.  The counter space is currently loaded with water bottle (full, at least, not empty), and supplements.  But you can imagine by the sounds of it, that it looked very clutter-y, so I moved it for the sake of your eyeballs.  

Ps. The walls look very grimy to me.  I hope that's just the finger prints Joshua has left all over the computer screen.

And the last picture of the heart of the home.  Yes, this was staged, too, or you'd be staring at a heap of clean dishes in the drying rack, waiting to be put away in that cupboard over there...right next to the dryer.

Oh, here's another.  This is the top of the cupboards, which I am using as a "catch all."  Same goes for the master bedroom, which is why you will never see a picture of it.  Unless I am able to work some extraordinary magic in there.  Yikes.

In the other corner, there's a fridge.  Lots of stuff stored on top of that, too.  Also, a small stack of bins near it, containing towels and wash clothes; and saran wrap, baggies, etc. in another.  The plastic storage containers are in a crate under the china cabinet in the dining room.  I'm telling ya, we are maxed out!  And that's after a yard sale, 1258 trips to Goodwill, and generous neighbors willing to take stuff off our hands.

Our balcony.  Love.

The brown door is the furnace/storage room.

Our neighbors across the way, and their pretty balconies.  I feel sorry for them having to look at ours.  It's usually full of clothes hanging on a drying rack.

This is the main bathroom.  I didn't get a picture of the master bath.  Just picture a toilet identical to this one, a smaller sink area, and a shower stall.  

 This is Joshua's room.  It wasn't quite unpacked at this point, but if I took another picture today, it wouldn't look much different.  Just a little neater.

Oh, bonus picture!  I have one of the fridge.  Joshua decorated the fridge for me. :-)  And you can also see where I am storing pots and pans.  Makes me super grateful for the kitchen I no longer have.

So...I'd better go eat my burnt dinner before it is also cold.  Cheerio!