Monday, October 13, 2014

Most Beautiful Cross-Country Meet Ever

 Caleb's most recent cross-country meet was near Melba, ID.  Most of this area is just barren desert, but the canyon area by the Snake River is absolutely gorgeous.  We can't wait to go back and explore!

Homecoming 2014

Caleb and Nicolas both had Homecoming dates this year.  Caleb asked Ellie, one of his best friends at school, and Nicolas took Jamie who runs on the cross-country team with Caleb.   

A Day Off to Explore

Two weeks ago the boys had both Thursday and Friday off for parent-teacher conferences.  We have wanted to explore a little more of Idaho and decided a long weekend was too good of an opportunity to pass up.  Russ did a little visitation and study on that Friday morning and then after lunch we left to go north and east toward the Sawtooth Mountains.  We did a little research prior to leaving and really wanted to hike to Bridal Veil Falls just a couple of miles out of Stanley, ID.  It was about a 2.5 hr drive and a 3 hr hike.   We hiked in about 3.5 miles, so it was 7 miles round trip. (My hips were killing me the last mile back.  I am getting old).  It was dusk when we finally arrived back at the parking lot.   We drove the few miles into Stanley and enjoyed a bowl of chili soup at the little restaurant in town.  Zoe even got to go along.  She was one tired puppy on the ride home!   Our only regret was that we didn't take the tent along and just camp overnight.  We had such a great time we are already looking forward to going back.

On the way to our hiking spot:

Our first glimpse of the Sawtooth Mountains:

This picture just cracks me up:

On the hike:

Fording the stream:

Our destination (kind of):  Bridal Veil Falls.  You can actually hike closer to the Falls, but we were running out of daylight so had to turn around to make it back before dark

Back at the car at dusk:

Monday, October 6, 2014

Concord Grapes

A church family blessed us with Concord grapes.  I remember Grandpa and Grandma Harskamp having them, but other than that I don't remember eating them or baking/making anything with them.  I did find Grandma's Concord grape pie recipe, and the Sure-Jell box had a recipe for jam so that is what we made!  Seth actually loved eating them fresh; the seeds didn't seem to bother him at all. All the processing did make my house smell really yummy!

If a pie is cut into eight pieces and there are seven that live in the house, who gets the extra piece?  Always a dilemma... (Caleb, in this case)

Every Other Thursday Activity

As mentioned in the previous post, we have been going towards the downtown area every other Thursday afternoon. While Nicolas has his cello lesson, we drive the short distance to Camel's Back Park to hike.  His lessons are from 5:00-6:00 so it isn't usually too busy and the weather has cooperated every time.  Since it isn't like hiking through the woods in the shade of lots of trees, it can't be too hot.   Even Zoe looks forward to these outings as she loves running through the trails.

There is a more gradual trail up to the top.  I haven't tried the steep climb, but I think the kids have.

Boise skyline from the top

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Homeschool Weeks 1-6 and High School Update

I am going to blog through the homeschool year again this year.  Feel free to skip these posts or just scroll through the pictures.  I actually use these posts when I do my end of the year write up to remind me of all the activities, books, etc because I often forget to jot down everything extra that we did. 

So, our history theme is this year is "1850 to Modern Times".  Up to this point (week 6) we have just "caught up" the rest of the world to the 1850-1860 time period.  This included Queen Victoria's England, the British in India (Sepoy Mutiny), the Crimean War (which still impacts the world today), David Livingstone and his exploration into Central Africa, Italy's "Resurrection", and the Taiping Rebellion in China.   

The rest of the time has been spent reviewing the 50 states:  where they are located, postal abbreviations, and capitals.  We've enjoyed the States and Capitals Songs CD to help us and have played many, many games of memory to match up states and capitals.  Of course, we have found some entertaining quizzes on-line to further reinforce.  

The weeks we learned/reviewed the 50 states we also reviewed the history of the U.S. until the Civil War from the Children's Encyclopedia of American History.  We have spent quite a bit of time studying the events, compromises, culture, and politics that led to the Civil War.  During this time we also looked at the presidential terms of Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan.

Most activities other than map work and worksheets have been in the kitchen.  We had corn chowder, ham with cherry sauce, and apple crisp for our colonial meal;  baked lemon poppyseed bread for our Victorian Tea; enjoyed Margherita pizza when we studied Italy; stenciled a Taiping Tien Kuo coin pattern on a chocolate cake; and decorated a yummy King Cake in honor of Mardi Gras when we reviewed the U.S. expansion of the Louisiana Purchase.

One non-kitchen project:  The Crystal Palace model

Other important people that lived during this time period that we read more about:  Hudson Taylor, Daniel Webster, Elijah Lovejoy, Frederick Douglas, and Sojourner Truth.  

Bible:  We begin each day again with our BSF lessons which this year is the life of Moses.  Our curriculum also has us read a portion from A Young Person's Guide to Knowing God by Patricia St. John.  She has some great stories to illustrate Biblical truths.

Science:  Seth and Lydia are studying chemistry and physics using the book 100 Experiments to reinforce what they learn in the textbook, World of Science.  So far we have learned about atoms, molecules, elements, three states of matter, melting and boiling, properties of water, chemical changes, and acids and bases. They are doing a pretty good job of writing up short summaries of the experiments that they carry out.  Anna has her own Apologia science textbook for middle school and is learning about the history of science, scientific method, and how to set up a good experiment.

They loved this experiment of the "Floating Flowers".  This just showed how paper fibers expand when they get wet.  As the paper expanded, their "flower" opened up to reveal the little bug they glued inside.  I love it when the experiments actually work!!

Writing/Reading:  The kids each started their own book unit for the semester.  Anna--Swiss Family  Robinson; Lydia--From the Mixed-up Files of Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler; Seth--Stuart Little.  The girls and I are working through IEW U.S. History based writing lessons (Volume 1).   We started this at the end of the year last year, and although we have moved on from the history in this volume the girls still enjoy writing about what they previously studied.  Seth continues to do free writing on a given topic, but could probably use a little more guidance from me...

One of Seth's reading projects:  make a bed for Stuart using clothespins for bedposts.

Music:  The life and music of Stephen Foster.  Seth loves this music and has added "Old Folks at Home" (Swanee River) to his playlist.

The older boys are doing well at Cole Valley.  They seem to have a great group of friends and are never at a loss for social activities.  Both have asked girls to Homecoming which is this Saturday night.  (And the girls both said, "Yes!").

Caleb continues to enjoy running cross-country and is working hard at increasing his foot speed and not over-striding.  He still misses soccer and will occasionally have a melancholy moment.   He joined the student worship team for the school chapel services and is leading a quartet for an upcoming concert.  Since he did not make it in the Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO) he is looking into other orchestra options; there is one in Eagle, ID (15 min north) that looks like fun.   He probably will pursue that when the XC season is over.   I did my senior mom duty and decorated a locker board for him.  Although it ended up being kind of fun to decorate, it really is silly busy work for moms who already have full, hectic lives.

Nicolas did make it in the BPYO and has practice downtown every Monday afternoon after school. He seems to enjoy the group and also likes his cello teacher.  He has lessons (also downtown) every other Thursday afternoon.  We have made it a family outing as it is close to a fun park--but that is another blog post.  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Onion Harvest

As an Iowa girl I am used to all kinds of farm smells:  feedlot, honey wagon, silage, and even that smell of soybeans.  But when we went to Nyssa, OR for Caleb's cross-country meet I experienced a new farm odor.  Onions.   Evidently Eastern Oregon and Idaho are one of the leading producers of our nation's onions, and we were driving through right in the middle of harvest.  Even while watching the cross-country meet we noticed that the smell of onions just permeated the air.  
Not bad--just different.

And a few pictures of the cross-country meet.  Isn't this just a beautiful setting to run a meet?

 I love it when Russ wears his "minion" shirt because I can spot him easily in a crowd:)

Cooling down with the team after the run.