Monday, October 5, 2015

School Update

We are just beginning week seven of homeschool.  Since we finished the 5-year cycle in the MFW curriculum last year, we are starting over this year with Countries and Cultures.  The first few weeks we reviewed/learned the continents and oceans and how to read maps.  Now we are travelling around North America and have been in the United States and Mexico and just landed in Canada this morning.  Along with these country units we have studied two major biomes:  temperate forests and deserts.   I can't believe how much they remember from watching Planet Earth five years ago!  We usually end each country visit with an ethnic meal so we had a hamburger fry when we left the U.S.  and Saturday night we had a Mexican fiesta complete with homemade tortillas and a candy-filled pinata.  We ended our fiesta by watching the movie McFarland USA.  Russ and Nicolas assumed I chose the movie because it fit the theme for the night, but I actually had no idea it was about Latino high school cross-country team in California.  It had just been recommended to me and it happened to be available for check-out at the library!

Week two of our curriculum recommended beginning a leaf collection.  I remember doing this as a middle school project at OCCS for Caleb. Classifying leaves is not for the faint of heart, so  I looked on-line to see if there was a park in Boise that labeled trees to  make the project a little easier.   What I found was a wonderful map of Ann Morrison park in the downtown Greenbelt that had a tree walk.  The trees are numbered and labeled on the map, but you still have to figure out which tree they are referring to as they are not numbered or labeled in the actual park.  So it was challenging, but not too overwhelming.  Anyway, this project just happened to be the same time as the Spirit of Boise hot-air balloon festival in Ann Morrison park.  We got up super early to make sure we were downtown in time to watch the balloons inflate, then stayed in the park to collect leaves and label them for our collection.  Just a fun morning.

Just an example some of the pages in the kids' leaf collection.  Once they dry we will put them in a binder.

We just had conferences for Nicolas last week Thursday and he seems to be doing well his junior year.  Lots of stressful happenings during this particular year of school--PSAT, ACT, college fairs, etc.  Although he has a couple AP classes he also has a few "not as challenging" classes to even things out a little bit and make homework manageable.  More on his activities this fall in the next post.
Nicolas and his friend Trevor dressed in shark onesies for "Twin Day" during Homecoming week.

Caleb seems to be thriving at Dordt.  We talk to him at least once a week on the phone and have many texts in between.  I think he is finding a few of his classes to be quite challenging, but seems to be adjusting to college life pretty well.  His absence has definitely left a huge hole here at home and he is missed horribly.   Anna, Seth, and I are flying out on the 14th of Oct to see him and hopefully watch him play in his last soccer game of the season.  More on his activities in the next post also!

Enjoying frozen yogurt with the family the night before Caleb left for college

Seth's Turns 9

I realized I have not posted for awhile, so I have to go w-a-a-y back to August 29, Seth's birthday.   He insisted on some sort of 3-D cake, but wasn't quite sure what he wanted.  Initially, he thought he wanted a clock or watch cake, but he eventually settled on the puppy.

His birthday was on a Saturday, and we had a pretty low-key day.  Nicolas had a football scrimmage in the morning, so we waited until afternoon to open gifts (a shared Playmobil gift with Lydia and a new ESV Bible) and have cake/ice cream.  Later that afternoon we took a trip to the Boise River in Eagle (about 10 minutes from our house) and found a new favorite spot to walk and enjoy God's beautiful creation.  We have been here 3-4 times now with the kids, and I walk the paths every Friday morning with my friend, Joanie.  Now that the trees are changing colors it is even more beautiful!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Are All The Children In?

Are All the Children In?

The darkness falls, the wind is high;
Dense black clouds fill the western sky;
The storm will soon begin.
The thunders roar, the lightnings flash,
I hear the great round rain-drops dash--
Are all the children in?

They're coming softly to my side;
Their forms within my arms I hide--
No other arms as sure.
The storm may rage with fury wild,
With trusting faith each little child
With mother feels secure.

But future days are drawing near--
They'll go from this warm shelter here,
Out in the world's wild din.
The rain will fall, the cold winds blow;
I'll sit alone and long to know, 
Are all the children in.

Mrs. S.T. Perry

And so the letting go begins...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Summer Ends

Nicolas is back in school, I sent my firstborn off to college, the pool is closed...I guess summer is officially over.  Here are other highlights of our summer in no particular order (other than what has been written in other posts):

1.  Watershed eARThworks program:  the younger three enjoyed two educational sessions at the watershed combining art and science.

2.  Hosting students from Rehoboth Christian School on their way from New Mexico to Portland, OR for a service project/mission trip.

3.  Swimming at the pool and swimming lessons.  Lydia and Seth both took lessons at the pool this summer.  It had been a couple years since they had taken lessons so it was good to see them improve in both endurance and technique.

4.  Grandpa and Grandma visit.  They drove from a veterinarian meeting in Denver to Boise on the 8th and were able to witness Caleb's profession of faith on the 9th.  We didn't do too many exciting activities while they were here.  We were busing getting Caleb off to Dordt, the kids were sick, and it was just too hot (over 100 most of the days they were here).  We  do love just having them around even if we are not off exploring the area.

When we told Grandpa we had seen hummingbirds around the yard and needed to set up a hummingbird feeder, he helped get us started.  We were rewarded a few days later with this little guy!

5.  Hosting dear friends from Grand Rapids.  Farmer Paul Vander Sloot and his wife Laurina spent the weekend of Aug 8-9 with us as a stop on their tour of the Northwest.    They are quite a special couple to our family from our time in Grand Rapids, especially to Caleb.  We were humbled that they  were also able to witness Caleb's profession of faith on the 9th.

6.  Mountain biking at the Eagle Sports Complex.

7.  Caldwell Night Rodeo.  I think the kids enjoyed it and would be willing to go again next year, if nothing else, just to be able to say, "This isn't my first rodeo."

What is a rodeo without the clown act?

8.  Lydia is sporting glasses.  Now all five kids have either contacts or glasses.  Her eyes are not too bad, so she doesn't wear them very often.  She wears them to church, when watching a movie, and just a few other times when she would prefer to have better "far away" vision.

9.  Sharing the fair experience with Seth at the Western Idaho Fair.  When walking through the animal barns I was quite taken aback when Seth remarked, "I've never seen a real pig before."  Seriously!?!  We moved to Grand Rapids when he was just turning four and he has been a city boy ever since.  Now I also know why he keeps asking to go to the zoo.  He doesn't remember those visits either.  Yesterday we returned to the fair for a few hours to watch a couple of boys from our church show their chickens for 4H. Seth thought maybe he would like to do that...maybe.

Not your typical fair exhibit.

One of our favorite 4H exhibits

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Vacation Part 5 -- Wakefield Farms

I wasn't sure whether to give this a post of its own or not since we were only here a few hours.  But then I thought, "Hey, we were only at Crater's of the Moon a few hours and Greg's dairy was just as good if not better than that!"

We left Newton Hills State Park on Thursday morning and arrived just in time to enjoy the lunch Shan had set out for us.  Following lunch they took us on the grand tour of Wakefield Farms.  I noted two things during our tour:  
1.  A big dairy can still be a family dairy  
2.  Jersey cows are really cute.

 The kids had fun changing their body shape and making Elastigirl arms with their reflection in the tanker truck.

I think this girl could live on a dairy and make pets of all the Jersey cows.

Greg pulled this calf out shortly after I took the picture.  Not sure why I didn't take a follow up...

Seth would enjoy just climbing the cotton seed and silage piles.

The Boss at his desk