Documentary {1/52}

I’m trying a new photo project this year (I know, I know… all these projects I keep attempting… but, hey! This one is a once-a-week thing, so totally doable right?). Anyway, it’s a 52Project or a Project52 not sure on the terminology, but the idea is to take one photo a week. I’m following along with the Bethadilly prompt list, so each week is a different theme.

This week… sorry, *LAST* week’s prompt was Documentary. I feel like most of the photos I take are documentary. I mean, the majority reason I take pictures is to remember the daily parts of life. I guess we’re supposed to just have these be a little more focused? Maybe one event?

Anyways. I chose to “document” the kids going outside and playing in the snow. This was the first snow we got last week, not the big snow we got over the weekend.

So this is really what a trip outside involves. {Jackets, snowsuits, hats, gloves} x 5. All to have gloves fall off (Z, age 2) and snow get on your hands (go figure). Tears flowed. I’m afraid he didn’t really like the snow. Although, he DID enjoy being outside, and he really wasn’t happy unless he had the shovel.

In other photography news, I’m not going to be putting my weekly photos of 365 Project up here on the blog. The majority of those pictures I take with my phone, and the process of getting them off my phone, tweaked, and back up online just hasn’t really been happening (it’s a bit time consuming). So I decided I’m just going to be putting them up on Instagram. I even have a specific hashtag so you can search that if you’d like to see them #365hfn2017. Or you know, you could just follow me over there and see ALL the photos ;). {For folks that don’t have a smartphone, you can still sign up for an instagram account, and login on the computer. You can view, like and comment on photos. The only thing is you can’t actually upload a photo from the computer… well, technically, you can, but it requires another separate program to work around that…}. {Click Here for my account over there or use the button on the sidebar}.




I’ll probably be linking up with Country Kids later in the week. {Check back for link}

JEI: {lack of} sports edition

I feel like I spent ALL of October doing stuff. OR rather stuff other than my normal blog a few pictures every week and read ALL the books I had intended (planning to do a monthly recap type post *soon*).

But in the mean time, I’m joining in with the JEI posts again. {They go live tomorrow, so I’ll post the links then!}

Questions this week are all related to Sports and Exercise (If you know me, you can go ahead and laugh, that’s ok)

1. What sports do your kids play?

Well….. Does ballet count? Yes/No/Maybe?

Yes? Then Katherine has been doing ballet since early September. The studio is about 10 blocks from the house. Close enough to walk with all the kids if I’m feeling like I have the energy, but sometimes I just drop her off in the van. I think they’re just starting to learn a few more “moves”? (I don’t know the terminology). She loves it, so that’s good.


If “no”, then we don’t actually participate in any organized sports. I’d say the kids are a little on the young side, but actually Johny is 6 and I know baseball/teeball starts that young.

While I’m not totally against having the kids in sports, taking an honest look at the time commitment makes it seem, well, not very doable at our current state.

But, they do play stuff on their own. I mean, we don’t exactly have a field for playing soccer or baseball. But they’ll *try* to play catch with a football. And I’ve seen them improvise games of football, golf, frisbee….
2. What do you do for exercise?


No, seriously. I don’t exercise. I probably should. But I don’t.

I tried to do the step counter thing on my phone (side note: I literally JUST found out that the phone has a built in step-tracker!).

But… I ran into a few problems.

  1. You have to actually carry your phone on your person (I know, right?!?) for it to work. I have been *trying* to not actually carry my phone all day long, because then I’m way more likely to just pick it up and get lost in FB land when I need to be doing something else… like… homeschooling the kids…
  2. Because I don’t regularly carry my phone in my pocket, I pretty consistently ended up with low step counts (like, 1800/day), so that was discouraging because I thought I would have had a lot more. But, even when I did manage to carry my phone, I only made it in the high 3000s… so….
there’s a football… so that counts as sports 😀

3. In the Mom Olympics, what would your event be?

  • Grabbing toddlers before they run off
  • Sweeping foreign objects out of newly crawling babies’ mouths
  • Throwing a soft plastic ball just so that it passes through the lattice (and thrills a toddler)
  • Taking pictures 🙂
{this is The Toddler, just in case anyone needs any clarification}


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First year schooling thoughts

homeschool outdoors-2
reading books

It’s that time of year… where everyone starts posting their {school}year-end thoughts, etc… So I thought I’d post mine.

Photos in this post are for CoombeMills “Country Kids” linkup. They’re of various times in the past few weeks that we “Did School” outside, something that’s been really fun for them as the weather has turned warmer.

Fingers are for counting on
Fingers are for counting on

This year was our first year of homeschooling. I did a half hearted attempt at “kindergarten” last year, but we didn’t do much other than learn to read (which I’m totally OK with). But this year we’ve done “first grade”. My scholars are Kat. age 6 – year 1; John age 5 – “kindergarten”; Karl age 4 – add on; Zachary age 18mo. – trouble; Nicholas age 2mo. – baby.


Some things I’ve learned so far:

  • If I’m pregnant, I can only do school in the morning.
  • Teaching is hard.
  • I’m overly ambitious when it comes to which subjects to include in our curriculum.
  • There is a lot (lot, LOT) of reading to the kids in first grade.
  • It’s hard.
  • I like things, especially language arts subjects, to be as scripted as possible.
  • History……………….
  • I can’t figure out how to teach science…. and I’ve got a biology degree.
  • Math is still my favorite subject.
  • Life Skills are IMPORTANT (and helpful to mama)
    Life Skills are IMPORTANT (and helpful to mama) 😉
  • Breaks are awesome!
  • Good pencil sharpeners are AMAZING!
  • So is a toddler napping in the morning.
  • Did I mention, it’s hard?
Math work. (Same level as Katherine)
Math work. (Same level as Katherine)

To say it’s been a challenging year would be an understatement. I think probably because we had too many things happening at the same time (I was newly pregnant and we were starting something completely new at the same time —- > craziness!).

I was thinking about this post all day trying to think about “what we accomplished” and realized that I didn’t actually make a list of things to “Accomplish” by the end of the year (which seems to be highly recommended based on the homeschool blogs I’ve read), but…. I didn’t do it.

Using knowledge: Reading a book, and copying parts for fun.
Using knowledge: Reading a book, and copying parts for fun.

We (me and Katherine) butted heads over Math for the first few months. I think it was due to the program we were using, so after Christmas break I decided I just couldn’t it anymore and switched to Saxon (what I used in school). I ended up buying a workbook for John too, since he was figuring out concepts in his head while Kat. was sitting there with a blank stare. Since then, it’s been a lot better. Maybe it’s just easier? Maybe it makes more sense to me? Maybe there’s a bit of good old-fashioned sibling competition? Whatever it is, I’ll take it.

Spelling, grammar, reading, narration, handwriting…. All of those. I’d say we did about average in all those, except handwriting. Katherine decided she wanted to learn “fancy” writing (cursive), so once she completed her level 1 book I bought her the level 3 book which begins cursive. I think the thing that’s been the most difficult for me is narration. If the lesson is scripted and I have written out questions I can ask about the passage/poem/book then we have no problem, but if I have to come up with questions to prompt thinking about the passage/poem/book then I start drawing blanks. So if you have recommendations for me I will gladly take them! 🙂


Science… nothing… I’m planning on starting nature journaling to see if that helps anything, but haven’t gotten to it yet.

Walks to the library to get more books... definitely homeschool!
Walks to the library to get more books… definitely homeschool!

History… we switched gears about a month ago, when I realized the Ancients weren’t working anymore. So we’re now doing a newly started study of American history using a living book approach. I had a huge realization regarding living books just after we switched over. I had been reading a history book (which I didn’t finish), and it was pretty dull and dry, not a ton of narrative, but if had had more narrative and been more in story form, I probably would have enjoyed it more. Which lead me to think the kids would probably get more out of those types of lessons. We’ll also be starting a timeliness soon, so am hoping that helps.

Lunch breaks!
Lunch breaks!
  • Changing up curriculum mid-year is totally fine.
  • It’s nice not being tied to the school system’s schedule.
  • Aim for fun stuff thrown into the mix.
  • Some days, sit down work just doesn’t happen, and that’s ok.
  • Lessons outdoors are a nice change, especially if everyone has spring-fever
  • Sometimes really long breaks (like 6… or… 8 weeks…) are just what is needed depending on the season of life. {Yes, we’ll be working somewhat into the summer, but I am planning a bit of a break, I kinda feel I have to now… my kids heard about “summer vacation” somewhere and are SUPER excited for it… even though I’m not sure they really know what it is, just that EVERYONE else does it, so it must be cool!)
  • Nearly every moment of every day is spent learning (even if its not “schoolwork”)
  • Using Knowledge: Made a plant sale and a sign.
    Using Knowledge: Made a plant sale and a sign.

Many of the things I learned this year I knew intellectually, meaning I read them in a book or a blog post. But I’ve come to a much more “real” understanding over the course of the year.

homeschool outdoors-11


Linking with Coombe Mills for Country Kids

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Outdoors: Finally

It’s been a rainy, very chilly week ’round these parts. Mind you, we DID have Star Wars day on the 4th to break up the monotony of being indoors – I let them watch part of Episode IV, which they thought was just the best thing ever. (The next day they asked if it was still Star Wars day to which I told them it wasn’t… then they declared that it was for them though because they hadn’t finished the movie, and as they were going to finish it that day, it meant the 5th was Star Wars day too… Anyways…)

The sun sorta kinda peaked out this morning for just a bit and I promptly sent them all out. Z. needed a little bit of distracting before his nap and I desperately needed to sweep the floors (which gets tricky with four little people constantly walking over them).

Yup, definitely tired.

Did a bit of inspecting of flies, ants and the ground in general


The Azaleas also bloomed. I could be wrong but this looks like the most blooms we’ve ever gotten on this plant

… Now just to keep Z. from pulling them all off…

They tried, pretty much unsuccessfully to play hide-and-seek. It’s become one of their favorite games in the last few weeks. They’ve been playing it ALL. OVER. THE. HOUSE. (which, honestly is usually not a problem, until you try to get something out of a closet and find you can’t actually get into said closet for all the items piled up and pulled down… ahem…)

Hide- And- Seek (sorta)

Counting. She's "hiding" behind him
Counting. She’s “hiding” behind him
Seconds after "being found"
Seconds after “being found”

Our grape vines are coming along


… Maybe this year we’ll have better luck with the squirrels, birds and little fingers getting to them??? A mama can hope 😉

Repairs and inspections were made to the fort that’s been up since last week (a record?)

And finally we discovered exactly one strawberry blossom.


(Also in imminent danger of Z, who has already de-leafed a few plants on the other side of the box.)

It was so, so, so nice to step outside and not too cold or rained on. I felt my mood lighten minutes after going out. Planning on an outing to the zoo tomorrow AM if the weather stays “not rainy”. 🙂

dirty kids = fun day

Happy Weekend!


Linking with Coombe Mills for Country Kids

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Outdoors: in B&W

I’ll start out this post with honesty: These pictures are from last week (or maybe even the week before… I can’t remember at this point). I *meant* to get them into a post, but, well that clearly didn’t happen.

Outdoors in BW

We’ve had a couple of days where it felt very spring-like. (Not today. Today it snowed. Didn’t stick, but snow flurried down. And it was cold…)

Little Z has completely and totally been enraptured by being out of doors. He’s taken to bringing people his shoes and jacket (and sometime *their* shoes and jackets) in hopes of going out. He’ll also pretty much drop anything anytime he hears the door open, we have a chime on it so it’s very obvious.

Outdoors in BW-2

This particular day the big kids found the old PlaySchool cars and got very involved in making up a game or two. I lost track after a while. I think they may be finally getting too big for them. And the car in the front (all the way to the right in the photo above) has lost both its front poles and has been affectionately dubbed a “backhoe”.

Outdoors in BW-3

{The reason why Z just doesn’t get to go out as much as his little heart would like. C’mon new baby, lets get things going here}

Outdoors in BW-4

This day offered another treat when my dad stopped by for a few minutes and everyone had a blast hanging over the fence. The other treat for this day was that the big kids got to eat lunch out side (forgot to take a picture). I was glad because that mess stayed there. And they love it just because.

I’ve heard more good weather is in our future, so maybe we’ll venture a little further next week? Or maybe not, I’m so not motivated to walk anywhere at this point, although I know it could help things along.

I’m also joining in with Michaela @ California to Korea for this week’s Theme Thursday, which is Black and White. I love, love, LOVE B&W photos, although I don’t know that these are super duper spectacular. I mean, they’re alright. They were taken around mid-day so the lighting was a bit harsh (and they were with my phone), and they were originally in color, and no, I didn’t intentionally think to use them in B&W. When I decided to edit them it felt very photojournalistic. Like… so much activity in the photos. But, really, I guess that’s what our outside times are like: constant movement, constant kids, constant stuff everywhere 🙂


Also linking with Coombe Mills for Country Kids

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall