Wednesday, April 12, 2017

He Brings Beauty From Ashes

It was one month ago yesterday that our house burned up along with 99% of our belongings.  Praise God we all escaped barefoot and with the clothes on our back. Those old trailers burn fast! Here is the article with all the details that was in our local newspaper. I will post more on this new journey we are on when I can. God is good and He is taking care of us through the kindness of many. Praise Him!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Narnia Unit Study 2016-1017: The Horse and His Boy

Due to sickness, we had to double up on our weeks in order to get through The Horse and His Boy and stay on track for the year. I forgot how much I loved this book! There were so many good vocabulary words that ended up generating wonderful discussions. Here is a picture of all the kids with their watercolor seascapes they painted after we looked at several famous artists' works depicting seascapes.
Gracia told us all about the art of story telling. She has a gift for story telling herself, so this presentation was right up her alley. 

Naomi showed us the basic parts of a horse and its riding gear using several helpful diagrams.
I had to take a picture of Alli's Narnia notebook. She drew each of the kids in the co-op, even Cuddles and Champ. It is super cute!
Alli showed us famous artist seascapes. Some of them were indescribably beautiful.

I learned a lot while helping Hailey with her Seven Wonders of the Ancient World presentation. I didn't realize that only one - the Pyramid of Giza, was still in existence today.
Josiah told us the history of the war horse and gave us some examples of famous war horses such as "Traveler" who belonged to Robert E. Lee during the American Civil War.
Josiah did a science experiment involving fire. He was showing us the differences between cool flames and hot flames. 

We had a traveling Calormen feast that included meat pasties, fresh veggies, cheese and crackers. We topped it all off with some sherbert which is actually a punch in England, rather than having an ice cream consistency like we have in America. 

Gracia's seascape close up
Hailey's seascape

WEEK 3 and 4

 Josiah taught us about knights and their armor. He showed us the battle ax he made from scrap
metal in the shop and he even made his own suit of armor out of leftover tin roofing we had laying around.
Naomi showed us all the basic parts of a typical medieval castle using a wonderful model.

Gracia showed us different examples of pyramids found around the world. Super interesting!
Here is the inside of an Egyptian pyramid.
Hailey showed us five fascinating tombs from around the world. I didn't know about most of these. Quite an interesting topic for sure. 
The weirdest and most macabre was that of a Catholic church found in the Czech Republic. It was decorated with the skeletal remains of many, many of the people who had been buried there over the centuries. Eventually an artist was found who actually turned the bones into art, even creating a coat of arms for the family who sponsored the venture. It was made out of at least one of every human bone in the body.
Alli showed us some examples of Mediterranean wedding practices. 

We all dressed in clothing that we imaged the Calormen people would wear.
Then we had a delicious Mediterranean feast involving dried figs, dates and apricots with feta cheese and nuts, a refreshing Mediterranean salad, chicken with Mediterranean spices and melon. 
After the feast I got the shimmy belts out, turned Pandora to Middle Eastern folk music and taught some basic belly dancing moves. The girls, and Amanda, were great sports and I had a wonderful time dancing with them. I think the girls must have danced for 2 hours!

Even Rina got in on the dancing!

Alli looked gorgeous in her Egyptian costume. She is definitely a gifted dancer and picked it up quickly. 

We sure had a lot of fun with this book. Looking forward to reading Prince Caspian next!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Homestead Happenings - Jan 2017

January forced us to slow down as the weather turned bitterly cold and we had snow most of the month. My step-mom, Diana, made me an apron matching the girls'. I'm one happy apron-wearing mama!

My new deck served as a snow collection point and a good place to measure how much snow we received. 

Front deck just after one of our snow storms. Good thing we could still see the outline of the sled we use to hall wood in!

Lots of time for playing dress up during January. Rina is wearing Hailey's sun hat in this pic. 

Now she's in one of Hailey's winter hats. 
Play veil 

One of Hailey's medieval Narnian dresses. 

My poncho from Mexico that my Grandma and Grandpa Puffball brought me when I was a kid. Can't believe I still have it!

Dad and Diana got her this adorable dress. Can't wait to see her in it this spring. In the meantime she couldn't wait to wear it, and just put it over her winter clothes. 
Back to the homestead. Who says sheep are dumb? It was super cold out and Angel's hooves were cold, but she didn't want to go into the shed because the sun was finally shining. She decided to stand in her feeder to keep her hooves warm!

Speaking of Angel, do I detect a lamb bump?

Dixie, our "let me MAKE you love me" ewe, keeps knocking down the sheep shed walls. She's a stinker but we love her!

Another snowstorm means more snowball fights. These kids are serious!

We use these crocks for toy bins in the living room. Sometimes, Rina likes to take all her toys out and sit in them. She absolutely loves her cleaning set and helps us "clean" the house regularly.
Some friends gave Rina her first Radio Flyer tricycle. Her feet don't touch yet, but that's what having older siblings is for. It's cute to see them sitting behind her and pedaling her all over the house. 

Rina decided she wanted to start going potty in the toilet like the rest of her family. At 20 months this has been a challenge as she isn't able to get her pants on and off yet by herself. She is determined though and so we are taking turns getting her to the toilet every time she yells "pee!", which feels like about every 5 minutes cause the girl drinks juice and milk like it's going out of style. 
Michael got bored this winter and challenged himself to making wooden mugs by hand. He did all the welding on this himself. He wants to make 12 of them. It's pretty impressive how this thing fits together so tightly! The guy never ceases to amaze me. 

Well that's about it for January. Just tried to stay warm with our too tiny stove. But we did it, despite subzero temps. Only lost one hen in Dec, but all the other animals did great through the cold snaps. Managed to keep our pipes from freezing and thaw out our pump before something broke. 

It was nice to slow down since so many events and activities were cancelled. I'm learning to look at it as a gift instead of an inconvenience. God kept Michael safe as he traveled over the mountain pass twice a day for work and provided a place for him to stay with friends when it was too dangerous to make the trek. So very thankful for His provision and protection. 

Blessings, Jackie

Monday, February 6, 2017

Narnia Unit Study 2016-17: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe


 All of us waiting for High Tea to be served in place of luncheon. Do we know how to have fun homeschooling or what? What a privilege to have an excuse to have high tea with friends.
Hailey taught us all about the history of taking tea and proper tea etiquette of both low and high tea.  
Josiah taught us about the controversial race to the North Pole and how Arctic explorer, Peary, got the credit of being first to arrive. Very interesting story. 
Naomi taught us how we get different seasons. 

Gracia explained what happened in the London Blitz. What a scary time for the British people!
Alli's presentation was on the evacuation of women and children from London during WWII. 

 Since Lucy was invited to tea at Mr. Tumnus's house, we decided to do a high tea for our lunch.
We had finger sandwiches, egg and cheese quiche bites, deviled eggs, scones with homemade lemon curd and Devonshire cream with two different teas to choose from. 

Of course proper tea etiquette was encouraged. 
Amanda and Rina enjoying high tea together.

The White Which rode in a sledge. Josiah taught us the differences between cutters, sleighs, sleds, sledges, etc. 

Gracia taught us about Beavers. Josiah happened to have a beaver pelt that he and his father had recently naturally tanned, so she was able to use it as part of her presentation. 

Naomi taught us about the fascinating art of ice fishing. 

Alli's presentation was on bird migration. 

Hailey's presentation was on bird watching, in particular the history and hobby thereof. As an activity, we all went outside with binoculars and bird identification books and tried watching for birds on our property. We chose the worst part of the day to do this, so we didn't have a lot of luck. 

We had a lunch similar to what the children had at Mr and Mrs Beaver's den. Fried fish, bread, mashed potatoes and a sausage pumpkin dish I had left over. For desert - marmalade roll! Delicious. This was a first for all of us, but is was a hit. We ended the meal with a nice cup of tea. Then the kids when out and played a WWII era children's game, called the "Statue Game". 


Gracia taught us about Chinese characters. 

Hailey's presentation was on Norse mythology. She was able to use one of her favorite Usborne books as a visual aide. 

Alli did her presentation on hieroglyphics. 

Josiah taught us about animal tracking.

Naomi explained to us the science of fog and then gave us a great demonstration. 

Mrs. Beaver even joined us for a Christmas dinner. 

What a fun spread as usual. This time our theme was a traditional English Christmas dinner. We had salmon pate' with toasted bread rounds, boiled potatoes, pigs in a blanket and plum pudding, made the traditional way. I steamed it for hours. Everyone liked it though. What a feast! Fun to have an excuse to try cooking different things.  

 With families being out of town, we all decided to finish up the last week of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe on our own. But we did get together one last time for a Christmas/sledding party. We bought each of the kids a pre-assembled gingerbread house kit and to let them each decorate. They had a ball doing it!
 Here they all are with their completed works of gingerbread art. Sometimes ya' just gotta party!
After another traditional English dinner that involved turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce and roasted parsnips and potatoes plus pumpkin muffins, the kids all went outside and took advantage of the little bit of snow we had left and had a sledding party. 

We all really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next book in the series. See you when we're done with The Horse and His Boy!


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