About Me

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Our adventures started in amazing Alaska, but have since taken us to beautiful Spokane Valley, Washington. Our family consists of Nick (Dad), Becki (Mom), and our four boys: Alvin, Alex, Rilie, and Jackson. I enjoy homeschooling our kids and we're excited for what adventures Spokane has for us.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Life continues to move forward! We've had a wonderful new year so far. I keep waiting for the "hard stuff" to kick in. The "hard stuff" isn't anything particular, just all the different parts of your day, family, routine, that lead to a long day at the end of it. We've had three weeks of smooth sailing, so far. I don't know if it's the new "us" or if something around the corner is coming. Alvin and Alex are finishing their work much quicker. They are showing more interest in their personal projects. They only need to spend 15 minutes a day on them, but tend spend 45 minutes. Reading is coming along for Alvin, and I caught Alex reading a chapter book at night!

So far, our cabin-fever busters are working! We've been going on field trips: Planetarium, remote control aircraft demo, and ice skating. Upcoming field trips are Japanese Culture Center and the NW Cultural Museum. Art lessons are wrapping up this week. We will start up again in August, so Alvin and Alex can compete in the Spokane County Fair. Kindermusik has been a blast! All the boys are singing the songs during the week. We also joined a gym. Jackson is not willing to stay in the daycare, so we go after Nick gets home. Jackson stays with dad, and the rest come with me. Alvin and Alex enjoy wall ball and basketball, while I use the treadmills. Rilie enjoys the kids and activities in the daycare. It's been an experiment in freedom for Alvin and Alex, being loose in the facility unsupervised: So far, so good. We only make it to the gym 1 - 3 times a week, but it does wonders for burning up everyone's energy. 

Here are some fun pictures!

Jackson enjoy jam on his toast.

Alvin was building a parking garage out of construction paper. It wasn't able to hold up his Hot Wheels very well. (I was proud of myself for not interfering and letting him figure it out on his own). The next week, he built it out of card board and was much happier with the results. 

We're feeding the birds and squirrels!

The kids love to watch the birds and squirrels come eat on our porch. 

This one is called a Junco. It has a dark head, brown back, and white belly. 

Rilie woke up and told me he was going outside. He was not in the mood to "discuss" it. He put on his boots, gloves, hat, and went outside! He came in after 3-5 minutes. This is the face he made when he thought I was going to tell him to eat breakfast first. 


Rilie outside! I believe this was when we had our third snow that stuck. He didn't want it to melt before he finished his breakfast. 

Jackson LOVES to help with cooking. 

He also loves to look at books. This is a children's encyclopedia.

Alvin's clay sculpture. It's the giant snow monster from frozen. 

Alex's sculpture. He didn't tell me what it was. 

The snow lasted for three weeks. We have four squirrels in our backyard. 
They have enjoyed the bird seed too. 

Rilie found the Bebe Pod in the closet. He likes to run around the house like this. he dares me to spank him. 

All the snow melted this week. We may get another blast before May, but I think winter is done here. 
This is the pedal-less bike Nana and Poppi Shortman sent for Christmas. 

Jackson enjoying the tricycle. 

Someone is not happy about his sledding hill being gone!

He told me it still works... sorta.

Jackson enjoyed his turn. 

Daddy throwing kids over the house. 

Life without dad is dull. 

Jackson loves to put away dishes. If he can't put them away, he gets them very close!

Jackson also likes to pretend he's cooking. Apparently, he's done pretending. 
This is his yogurt and tortilla chips. 

Sowing Project

For our wedding we received a beautiful king size blanket. 
That was 10 years ago. The top has been ripping apart. 
Nick, Alvin, and Alex added a top. 

They loved using the sowing machine!

Valentine's Day
Nick and I enjoyed our usual date night. On Saturday, we had a family Valentine's dinner.
I made a pasta dinner and salad. We enjoyed those personal Martinellis, and I taught the kids how to make chocolate dipped strawberries. It was a big hit!

Nick bought me some beautiful flowers!

I hope you all are having a wonderful new year too!

Monday, February 3, 2014


Nick offered to carry Rilie around and he thought it was hilarious! 

This semester, Alvin and Alex have been diving into personal projects. This week and last week, they wanted to work on science experiments that I never get too. It's been a good lesson in reading and following directions, realizing the book is incorrect, and then figuring out what they should change. 

Alex found this one! He was learning about absorption and watching the colors get sucked up the stalk. 
It was supposed to work in 2 hours. It ended up taking 2 days. Each day, Alex drew a picture and wrote his observations in his book. I was proud of him for not scrapping the project when it "didn't work". We just waited it out and noted that it does not work in 2 hours. 

(Page 2 of  2)

Translation: "I only see colors at the bottom. I waited for 4 hours and no change, so I cut the end off the bottom. The next night, I see the colors in the veins." 

Before anyone worries about his writing ability: I've read that many children's brains (particularly male brains) don't mature for written language until some time between 8-10 years old (especially right-brain learners). Therefore, I don't have a formal writing program. We work on spelling, grammar rules, and penmanship... that's it! If he asks me how to spell a word, I tell him. He asked how to spell, "veins", the rest was his accomplishment! So, I'm very proud of what he came up. 

Thumb Print Art
For two weeks, Alex worked on thumb print art. 

Alvin's Pinwheel 
Alvin struggles with reading... reading instructions for an experiment is VERY challenging. 
Still, Alvin has always surprised us with his ability to compensate and figure things out.
He usually asks for clarification once or twice.

Once again, we couldn't get the project to work. We'd blow and blow and the pinwheel wouldn't turn! Alvin decided to go outside. It was windy, between him blowing and the wind, he got it moving. He noted it in his book. He talks about being like Leonardo daVinci, often.  

Jackson loves being a part of everything! Tonight, he focused his efforts into throwing shrimp salad around the dining room. It would only take a moment: he would be on the table, serving spoon in hand, ready to fling, and someone would stop him. Did he cry, no. He would laugh, manically! You could see it in his face, "You stopped me this time, but I'll be back!" We decided you can only get away with being a MAD scientist bent on taking over the world between 1 - 2 years old. 

Don't let those sleepy eyes fool you...

Feeding himself yogurt. 

What childhood is complete without licking brownie batter?
Nick thinks I am corrupting the children.
(He does not like batter)

Turtle Brownies:
FB has a recipe floating around. It sounded simple enough so we tried it. 
Brownies, pretzels, and caramel sauce. It sounded fantastic! It tasted really good, but the texture of the pretzels got old after awhile. I think next time, we'll just do brownies and caramel sauce. 

School and Memory Work:
Each week, we memorize 7 new facts from history timeline, geography, Latin grammar rules, math, history sentence, English grammar rules, and science. This is what my board looks like most weeks. Memory Work is going very well. I'm coming up with more creative ways to teach it visually and kinesthetically.  
We spent a week on the Industrial Revolution, 2 weeks on WWI, and we're finishing our third week on WWII. 

This is the third time it has snowed this winter. It looks like it will stay! 
The boys have been sledding in the front yard, building snowmen, and just having fun!

Star Gazer Box 
Alvin's wanted to make this for a couple months! You black out a box, hang foil balls (stars), leave the opening slight open for light, and look through a tube in the side. It teaches them how star clusters look close together, but aren't. He had to make adjustments, after three days he finally got it to work correctly. 
He was very proud!

Making his stars out of foil and string.

Alex reading to Rilie. 

Jackson LOVES to do dishes. He can now move the dining room chairs to the sink, by himself. 
While this a feat in independence, I'm not loving it.