Happy New Year!
We hope your families are enjoying January, where ever you are. Typically, this time of year is overwhelming for me. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are done. Time with friends, crammed in memory making has ended, and before I even get to take my next breath: we crack open our school books once again.
In the end, this January has been FANTASTIC! I read a book, "Don't Overwork the Teacher!" It is more like a thick pamphlet (she understands how busy moms are). She lists tips for keeping a happy sane homeschool mom, which really leads to happier well-adjusted children. She breaks her year up, based on seasons: Fall, Holidays, Winter, April, May-Madness, and Summer.
We are in Winter School, which doesn't start until January 15. (This has been a sanity-saving tip that has changed my life). Mama gets to pick 1-2 passions for the family to focus on. I found this book after I planned our year, so I am not completely doing this. Although, it is definitely influencing us. We are still doing spelling, math, reading, and memory work, but our focus is around This Mama getting her workout on. I'm doing yoga, walking/running, and I am starting Pickle Ball. The kids have enjoyed going to the gym. Alvin and Alex have spent a lot of time in the pool (Rilie and Jackson love the water slide). Alvin and Alex also enjoy the rec. room. Sometimes there are tons of homeschoolers, other days they are the only ones. They can play ping pong, Foosball, billiards, or rent board games. Rilie and Jackson enjoy the daycare. Also, Alvin and Alex have started an Aerial Silk class. I don't have pictures yet, but you can find some fun videos on Youtube. Each day, they do their push-ups, crunches, lunges, and stretches (working themselves into the splits). Everyone has appreciated the change of scenery and pace.
Here are some pictures:
We enjoyed having some friends over and playing board games. Alvin asked if we could add the Anderson tradition of assembling puzzles. We completed a 300 and 500 piece puzzle over the weekend.
Huckleberry Pie was beyond delicious!
Not on Thanksgiving, but probably the Sunday before or after.
Nick is putting jammies on a sleeping Jackson.
Someone decorated their face with smiley stickers.
Snow has come and gone several times.
Rilie's 5th Birthday!
I can't believe my baby is FIVE!!!
(I did not decorate the cake)
What do you do with a post-Halloween birthday? Have a costume party! Why did I not think of this before???
Rilie changed his costume 7 times: Woody (cowboy), Buzz, soldier, Batman, dinosaur... I can't remember the others.
This was his second friend birthday party. He had 11 friends, I think? It was huge. I was worried about how exciting it might get. Luckily, lots of moms stayed.
We had a Stake Relief Society meeting that focused on scripture study. Different moms talked about ways they try improve personal or family scripture study. They all had fantastic ideas. I decided to incorporate one. Each week, you study one chapter in the LDS Children's scripture. (We pick the one their studying in Primary that year).
Day 1: Read the chapter.
Day 2: Each picture in a chapter has a scripture reference,
let each child pick on to read from the real scriptures.
Day 3: Watch the video for that chapter online.
Day 4: Act out the chapter.
Day 5 (we usually only get to day four, so I don't remember Day 5)
Day 6: Read a section of the For Strength of Youth pamphlet
Day 7: Read or highlight a General Conference Talk
The kids LOVE it! It really helps them become familiar with each story.
The pictures below are from when we read about King Solomon.
Not too sure why they are worshiping him... maybe he's King Ahaz?
Jackson always "has" to be the king.
Jackson went through a period of sucking on bottles of honey.
Apparently, my jammies were good enough.
'Tis the Season for Baking
We bake a lot during the holidays, this year was even more so! We probably made 8-10 loaves of Persimmon bread (2 loaves as a time), well over 200 gingerbread & sugar cookies, other goodies the kids wanted me to try.
words can't describe how amazing it is.
Alex made the image of a dog from cookies.I thought that was quite creative.
Raspberry Bars (Better Homes & Garden recipe).
I used raspberry jam, instead of making the sauce.
It was addictive.
Did not bake, but we assembled these with a friend.
Operation Christmas Ninjas.
Jackson wanted more sprinkles on his gingerbread man.
It's over a tablespoon piled on.
(aka Ding Dong Ditch)
Warming up with hot cocoa.
They dropped off 9 plates of goodies with neighbors.
I really love these ornaments. I can't remember who made them for us,
but just know I love them!!
I made texture books for Connor, Emmaline (still needs to be mailed), and Jackson. There are about 11 pages: terry cloth, fleece, silk, suede, burlap, and more.
These are my adorable children!
Rilie took a picture of this box of chocolates.
My children prefer to paint their bodies, instead of paper.
Alvin and Alex had fun playing dress up with Rilie and Jackson.
Sucking up juice that spilled on the table.
He enjoys climbing benches on their side.
Alex and Alex love playing DOTA, especially with their dad.
Jackson eating a brick of cheese.
In November, we attended a seminar on bird watching in Spokane. I thought it would be outside. The kids were good sports about sitting in chairs and listening to someone TALK about bird watching for one hour. Part two of the class was outside. It was a cold, but great experience!
It was windy & rainy, but we had good spirits!
The tour guide was wonderful.
Alvin enjoys doing yoga with me.
Our snowman Ned or Olaf, I can't remember.
Yummy gingerbreadmen. We added candycanes to them.
Alex doing his push-ups.
Jackson making it harder.
These are his ninja poses.
Rilie also took a picture of his playdough.
... and me.
1,000 Hour Challenge
We have recently discovered this challenge. You are to spend 1,000 hours outside. I don't know if we will make it, but we will try! The overall goal is just to get kids outside. The blog that started it says American kids average 1,200 hours watching TV/movies a year. Why not aim for 1,000 hours outside. For our family, our first goal is to get outside more in the cold. Our second goal is to learn more about the plants & animals in the Inland Northwest.
Rilie successfully climbing his first tree, alone.
He is maybe 3-4 feet off the ground.
They love jumping off these banks into the fir needles,
unless some skin is exposed... then it hurts.
More of Rilie's pictures.
My sweet boys.
We've been helping grow the LDS Homeschool coop. It's been very successful. We went from 3 consistent families to 12 this fall. I love the different talents moms bring. One mom has taken on science. This month, she taught the kids about the human skeleton. The kids made cross-section of bone out of cardboard, sponges (marrow), strings, and more.
(This is the kind of stuff I don't do with me kids... so I am very happy to rub shoulders with moms who don't even bat an eye at this sort of stuff).
Game Club is still going well. Alex won again! The store had a bridge competition. With only one piece of paper, Alex made a bridge that held $11 ($1 in pennies and $10 in quarters). He took his paper length-wise and folded it many times. He made edges to keep the coins from sliding off.
Rilie and Jackson enjoyed the bookstore nextdoor. Rilie called this spot, his house.
He LOVED this book. He needed a picture of it.
A serious game of chess is happening here.
The pieces kiss each other until they die.
Jackson's favorite outfit. He wears it most days, all day.
This is a new puzzle we enjoyed. It's 600 pieces. Many of the pieces are the shape of the country. Unfortunately, not all of them are. The ocean has facts about many countries, and they are in alphabetical order to make assembling the ocean easier.
Rilie got his first Book of Mormon. He is kissing it. He was super excited!
Sunday morning, he told me (as most Sunday mornings), "I don't want to go to church!" But, this Sunday he stopped himself and said, "Wait! I do want to go to church! I have my own scriptures!" Super cute! We are studying the New Testament as a family this year. This is very frustrating for him... because he wants to use his scriptures.
I made amazing beef broth from our prime rib bone. Nick was thrilled I was able to can it. I was thrilled he bought me a pressure cooker. Win, win!
He got me the smaller one, so I don't torch our stove top. You can see the brown bits around the burner. That is from my water bath pot.
I should have rotated this one. I have been spending more time drawing.
I'm happy with what I'm doing so far. I am mainly copying other drawings, but sometimes I copy 3D people or things I am looking at.
This is the book, I was copying for the above picture.