Kids, crafts, country life and more...

This is what you get when you mix two toddlers, two border collies, a Shetland pony, two cats, a gaggle of turkeys, a former construction worker, a former lawyer and the family cattle ranch. Thanks for visiting. All images copyrighted. Do not use any text or image without permission.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Alice is 6!

Little Marta from Sound of Music would be jealous because Alice got a beautiful parasol for her birthday, courtesy of Mumsy who always gives the most interesting gifts.  ("I'm Marta, and I'm going to be seven on Tuesday and I'd like a pink parasol.")

We had lunch at Main Street Pizza in Donnelly with the Wises, the Crocketts (plus Jack), Heather and Maria Keller (plus a cousin), Mumsy, Eyrann & Sherry, and our neighbor Carrie.  It was a nice birthday for Mommy because she didn't have to clean up.  Alice requested a six layer vanilla and chocolate (vanilla on the top layer) cake.  It was decorated with sprinkles in a star shape and turned out pretty cute.  Then everyone came home with us and played in the yard.  Mckenzie and Cassidy Crockett stayed overnight for Alice's first sleepover.  They played Legos and watched Aladdin.

Alice is beautiful, an amazing reader, a very determined little girl, a lover of movies and TV, and an absolute delight.  She is getting so grown up!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer 2014 Roundup

Well, we're going to start school up in about 10 days so it's fun to look back at the summer.  We spent a lot of time in the water, some of it floating the ditch.

Our Rydalch cousins came for Father's Day and for 4th of July.

Clyde and Alice attended Mumsy Camp separately, but Alice joined Clyde and Elliott on the hike to Blue Lake with Mumsy.  Blue Lake is the source for Fawn Creek that irrigates Uncle Jock's, the old Cabarton and Mumsy's new North pasture.

Mumsy taught Clyde and Elliott about different types of trees.  Here's Clyde checking out a pinyon pine.

There was a lot of time spent at the mudhole, digging deeper and deeper and making all kinds of pipe systems and other interesting contraptions.

This is the last snow we saw in late June atop No Business.  We all went up the mountain with Aunt Catherine.

Clyde and Alice had a fun August day at Kay's beach.

And of course there was a whole lot of work.  We had a grasshopper infestation that we coordinated abatement for.  We had to turn the water off and on so many times it was like starting the season 4 times.  Everyone was worried early, but it's August and as I look out I see lots of lush grass still.

Sometimes Alice is a little overdressed! We spent a fun afternoon on the Wises' boat.  Clyde and Alice both rode the tube and jumped off cliffs.  It was a good day.

Mommy's another year older....

For my birthday I got to expand the yard - yeah!  And Alice and Clyde decorated cakes for me.  We also went to the races at Les Bois the Wednesday before.  Fun times!

7 Years Old!!

Clyde requested a 7 layer Neapolitan cake, and to go fishing.  He caught a mess of perch at his secret spot with Daddy.   

He also got a lot of castle Legos that he had built right away.  But you know what it means to be 7?  It means you can start working, which is what he did two weeks later, digging post holes for Mommy's new fence!

Sunday, July 20, 2014


 For Christmas, Ben got me a bee box and pre-ordered some bees.  We set them up in Eagle and left them there until things were flowering up here.  Ben's so calm, he approaches the bees with no protective gear.  Me, I'm still a little afraid.  We just added the top box which will be the honey for us.  The bottom two are for brood and honey to sustain the bees over the winter.  It's been fun and really easy, there's not much work to it yet.  I guess they'll be some harvesting and winterizing work we better study up on, but so far so good.

Wrapping up School

Well, we finished our first full year of homeschooling in May.

I would say it definitely went out with a whimper, not a bang.  We just sort of transitioned into summer without any formal end of school.  It's been a really interesting year.  We began the year using some Montessori for math and language with Five in a Row for everything else.  I loved Five in a Row.  The way it works you study the same story all week, with different aspects everyday, for instance the illustrations with an art lesson one day, the science in the book the next.  This went pretty well but I didn't really feel like our math/language was going forward in any sort of organized progression.  So we tried All About Spelling and added Life of Fred for math.  The kids loved Life of Fred.  I was still feeling disjointed, so I got a comprehensive curriculum, Moving Beyond the Page along with Singapore Math.  We hated it!  I got to see firsthand how the term "bellyaching" came about because as soon as we brought out their math books they'd start complaining that their stomachs hurt.  They cried and complained, turning it into torture.  

So we took more of an unschooling approach and joined up with some other unschoolers a few times in Boise and Eagle.  While I love the idea of kids just learning from their environment, I felt like there are just some things we need to work on.  My friend Kate got a job at the Core Knowledge Foundation in Charlottesville and I looked into their materials, ordered a bunch.  I read Amanda Ripley's "Smartest Kids in the World", some Montessori books, a couple homeschool organization books, and many more.  I have read enough books about education to have my master's degree - but I was still feeling lost. 

 The kids are smart and are doing well, but I loved their experience at Montessori Academy and I want them not just to move along, but to be thriving academically.  So, when another Montessori mom visited in July I got remotivated and started reading and organizing the next year.  I'm going to use the Scope and Sequence of the Core Knowledge Foundation to make sure we're addressing things, and we're going to do a literature based program called "Build Your Library" that was written by a homeschool mom.  It's basically a secular Charlotte Mason approach - lots of reading and writing, some nature study.  We'll see how it goes. 

While we're not "doing school" this summer, our lives are so full of learning every day. 

Clyde caught a salamander in Eagle in the Spring.

Alice is a reader like me, so many books, so little time!

We made 3D geometric figures out of marshmallows and toothpicks. 

This summer we're collecting and identifying wildflowers.

Alice's handwriting isn't great, but she figures out how to get the point across.

We made a lot of potions and did a lot of kitchen chemistry this spring, 
it was a favorite of both kids.