Saturday, May 26, 2007

Blooming Around the Yard

Poppies, Asters, Lavender and Delphiniums & Columbine are blooming in our yard. We also have climbing roses that are starting to bloom, but my pictures didn't turn out. The pail with flowers in it is one of my favorite outside things, it was from my husband's grandmother's farm in South Dakota.

UPDATED: I tried several times, but could not get my post to look proper. The previews look fine, but when I publish - the words are not in the proper place. Hmmmm. . .

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Enthusiastic Homeschool Carnival

Melissa from The Lilting House has done a beautiful job of compiling this weeks homeschool carnival, her theme is Enthusiasm and yes there are many wonderful posts. Make time to check them out and be ready to learn and be encouraged.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Impromptu Nature study

It has been much fun to watch the birds come to our yard since I put up our new bird feeders and bird bath. Prior to this we rarely observed anything other than crows, robins and starlings in our yard, with the occasional visit from some passing juncos. Since installing the feeders, we have regular visits from the cassian finches with their beautiful singing, redwinged blackbirds, sparrows, evening grossbeak and today we had a little goldfinch at our window feeder for a long visit. Even more exciting to me is the way the boys have taken an interest in the birds and will come tell me when they spot a new one. These are the same boys who have no real interest in observing nature, when it is planned. Installing these feeders for my own enjoyment has had an added benefit that I hadn't planned on and I am truly pleased.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Garage Sale

More items have been posted at our garage sale blog - check it out and tell your friends too. I have been cleaning out my bookcases and will be posting more later.


Ben wanted to study reptiles for the remainder of the school year and so I thought it would be good for us to visit the Reptile Zoo in Monroe, WA. We visited a couple of Saturdays ago and Dad took some pictures for us to remember our trip by. The baby tortises were everyone's favorites, they are the babies to the large tortises also pictured.


As I said in my previous post, spring has sprung and along with that comes spring fever. It has shown in all of us - but probably in me the most. I am really ready for a summer break and we are planning to be done with most things by the end of May. The boys will have testing the first week in June (required by our state), and we will still be finishing up a few of our books over the summer. We keep the summer pretty light, usually just reading and math drills and this year the boys will continue to work with dad on the mustang. It has been a good school year this year and we have accomplished much. I tried to stay focused and on a good schedule, along with challenging the boys a bit more. We tried some new things such as Institute for Excellence in Writing and Notgrass American History - both of which I am really pleased with. I have been looking ahead to next year and thinking about things that I want to add and looking back on this year and checking to see what worked and what didn't. One subject that we did pretty well with and that challenged boy #1 was biology. We used Apologia's Exploring Creation with Biology text and did the labs too. We did the labs with a friend and learned a lot. It is not an easy course, but very thorough. We also learned that boy#1 will not pursue more formal science. Working with another family, who is reporting hours to an umbrella program helped keep us on track and working through our text. Due to scheduling issues we won't be working with them next year and I will miss that accountability and fellowship.

Spring is Sprung!

Today was a lovely day, sunny & warm! There are signs of the season all around. We don't have much blooming yet, but some on the verge. The bleeding heart looks full and beautiful, the purple iris' are about ready to bloom, I can't wait until their rootbeer fragrance fills the air. We have a few poppies about ready to burst out in bloom and roses too. I love the Hens and chicks in my strawberry pot. The boys each made little birdhouses several years ago and this year we finally have some birds making a home in two of them. We live in one of those developments that was cleared for building and so there were no trees except those that the new homeowners planted. The local highschool is behind our property and they do have several cedar trees. We have been here for 8 years and so now some of the trees are getting bigger and finally the birds have a place to retreat to. Our new tennants are house sparrows, and even though they are very common birds, it is still very exciting to us. We don't see many different birds in our yard, crows, starlings, robins, an occasional house wren at our feeder and sometimes we are blessed with a visit by the Oregon Junkos. I am hoping that as the trees and other plantings grow to maturity that we will see more varieties of birds. We do have a suet feeder out in the back flower bed, but the squirrels usually eat most of it. We have a seed feeder by our kitchen window and that is the one that the house wrens come to. All in all it was a wonderful day and I hope the first of many to come.

Where does the time go?

Finally, I am making time to post. Where has the time gone? Well, lets see . . . I have been learning how to use my new Homeschool Tracker software. It started out being a big time vacuum and is now turning out to be a blessing. I am one of those people who can not keep on top of anything for very long and this tool is helping me to make sure things get done in our flow of school. It will also help me keep track of chore assignments as well as school assignments, although I haven't utilized it for the chores yet. Over the weekend I worked on decluttering and cleaning the master bedroom. This bedroom contains our two largest bookshelves and so I started going through the books and culling out those that I am certain won't get read and finding those that I had forgotten about and that we can use during the rest of this school year and some that I will plan into next school year. I entered the books I am keeping into access and pulled the ones that I am not keeping, which causes another project needing to be done. Now I must decide what will happen to them, get them ready to list for sale or give them away etc. I didn't even get through 1/4 of the bookshelves but I will press on. I guess that explains where some of my time went.