Classics Challenge: Lady Audley's Secret

I knew Lady Audley's Secret was a popular sensation novel of its time with a mystery plot involved bigamy and Goodreads' description even says that it established her as a rival of Wilkie Collins. Bigamy aside, this should have been right up my alley. But I was disappointed with the lack of character development and the uneven pacing. The first 2/3 just dragged. We already knew almost all of what our hero was discovering so it was just waiting for him to catch up.  And I didn't like how the 3rd person narration sometimes seemed to be giving us a limited view, describing characters as others saw them, while at other times seemed to be trying to reveal hidden layers but not very well. And I really couldn't care less about anyone. I felt like I should care about justice prevailing but I kinda think everyone was getting what they deserved. Eventually I gave up on trying to get any deeper meaning or insights and tried to just enjoy the story. Which was hard because until about the the 60% mark on my kindle it was just very boring. I will say that the last 30-40% was much better and I finished it up in just a day or two. But it was almost too fast of an ending and I didn't think that Lady's Audley's behavior in the end really fit with her character. It just seemed like Braddon needed to wrap up the book.

If this was put up against Wilkie Collins The Moonstone, there wouldn't even be a question in my mind who would win. The later is a classic. The former is a book that was really popular during its time. So overall, I think I agree with Mr. Ray.

Lady Audley's Secret is my Classic with a Name in the Title Selection in the Back to the Classics Challenge.


Getting Outside

I've been tracking our outdoor time this year in an attempt to improve it. We got outside quite a bit last year but I knew we could do better if I made it a priority and tracking the hours definitely keeps it in the front of my mind. I'm a classic overachiever.

After a rough spring, we had an okay summer. But summer is hot and I don't like to be hot, especially not when I'm pregnant. Even so, we are currently up to over 340 hours outside! My current goal is to hit 500 by the end of the year. Since we've got about 7 weeks until baby comes and I don't think we'll be out of the house too much with a newborn in late fall, this is still going to be quite a stretch. But I think we can do it! Especially since most weeks we are in the teens but the last few weeks have definitely been higher than our summer average. The weather has just been gorgeous.

We spent two long mornings at the transportation museum before our membership ran out.

Then yesterday we spent 4 hours exploring a nature preserve not to far from our house. We started off with a hike to a sod house. And of course, much of our walking time was spent talking about Laura and Mary and what life was like for them.

 Almost there!

Lucy was very surprised at how small it was.

There was a regular bridge and a stepping stone path on this particular hike. We all did the stones on the way there but Jonah wanted to take the bridge on our return trip. I did a very free range parenting thing and let Lucy take the stepping stones by herself. You can see her if you look for the blue shirt. She was so proud of herself for not being scared and was jumping up and down at our meet-up spot to tell me about it. I'm not sure if she realized I could see her the entire time but I didn't feel the need to mention it ;-)

Next up was the nature "classroom"/playground. This place was so neat and reminded me of a Waldorf playground. Loose natural parts to make fairy houses out of. Wooden log blocks to stack.

 A spiders web to crawl around in.

Some giant logs to climb over and crawl through. 

And both kids favorite, this climbing tree thing (that's only about half of it in the picture)

I thought the playground sounded neat on the website but didn't expect them to be so enamored with it. We stayed there for an hour and a half and probably would have played longer if I let them! By then my legs were about to fall off so I canceled the plans for another 1 mile hike but we did have enough energy to take one last little hike past some fairy houses,climb a tower overlooking a lake and do a bit of swinging. In all, I'd guess we hiked about 2 miles which is pretty good for a kindergartener, a toddler and a mom whose 8 months pregnant, I think!

Needless to say, we'll definitely be going back to this place again. Now on to 500!

The Things They Say

Lucy and Jonah are looking at scrapbooks:
Lucy: This is mama's wedding. See, she's got a bride dress on.
Jonah: Oh, look. Daddy was at mama's wedding.
Lucy: Yes. I know. He was the person who married mama.
Jonah: But I want to marry mama
Lucy: You can't, she's already married!
Jonah: To who? 
Lucy: Daddy!

Lucy's song (luckily she was going in the afternoon)
Going to Costco in the morning is not fun. Going to Costco in the morning is NOT fun. Going to Costco in the afternoon IS fun because there are lots of samples. But not in the morning so its not fun.

I hear Jonah get up, say "it's morning, I'm going to play" and head to the living room to play.
Lucy (barging in): Mama! Do you know why I always wake up at the same time as Jonah? Because he WAKES me up. (climbs over me to get into my bed). I don't like it at all!
Me: I could see how that would be annoying. I don't think she quite caught the tone in which I said that.

Jonah: I'm ready to get out of the bath
Me: I have to wash you first
Jonah: No, I don't want that.
Me: Too bad, mommy's decision
Jonah: Then I will pee in the bathtub!

Lately Lucy's been interesting in being a grown-up and has taken to telling me all the things she will do when she gets old enough. Most of the time her tone is merely informative, not rebellious. Her list so far includes:
  • Getting a motorcycle.
  • Getting a convertible. 
  • Getting a tattoo of a princess and a unicorn in rainbow colors that covers her whole arm.
  • Washing her child's hair with water from a teapot and not water from a cup. (This one was said a bit rebelliously)
  • Wearing tennis shoes and not sandals with her church dress. 
  • Eating two slices of cinnamon toast in the morning before finishing her eggs.
At that last statement, said at our kitchen table a few days ago, Jonah had to pipe in with one of his own....eating TWO spoonfuls of cod liver oil a day. And yes, he really does love his clo that much but I still only let him have one spoonful a day. I think it's obvious that I'm a mean mom, don't you think?


Classics Challenge: The Small Woman

While I do like and read quite a bit of non-fiction, I don't generally choose biographies. So when I thought about what I wanted to read this year, I really wanted to challenge myself in that area. The Small Woman was the last of the four biographies I selected back in December and I'm happy to say that I enjoyed most of them very much. I don't think biography is ever going to be my go-to category when I'm looking for a book but I now know I don't need to be afraid of them.

As far as this specific biography goes, I really liked The Small Woman. Glady Aylward's life is obviously inspirational. She is under-qualified and yet chooses to undertake what appears to be a futile journey to do a seemingly impossible job when she sets out toward China to
be a missionary there.

While the book is short and condenses a lot of years into those few pages, I felt it did a good jobs at giving enough details that I ended up caring about her, her work and the people of the area without getting bogged down in details. It wasn't too heavy either, which given the nature of the book, some may consider a good thing, some not. But I was reading for "inspirational" not "depressing" so I personally, am glad of that but it made those moments when I found myself deeply moved by the story even more surprising and meaningful. Short and fairly easy to read but still touching.

The Small Woman is my Back to the Classics Challenge Non-Fiction Selection. For more info about the Challenge, visit Books and Chocolate.


A mother's daybook - August 19

Planning and Preparing - Freezer meals. It seems a bit early in some ways but with two kids under foot I'm not going to have full days to prep this time so my plan is to just make doubles (or triples) of 2-3 of our evening meals each week. So by 36 weeks I should have a decent stash in my freezer. Then I can enjoy the last few weeks to bake with the kids and add some breads, cookies and muffins. You know, the fun stuff!

Reading - Go Set a Watchman. I wasn't really planning on reading it but Craig put himself on the wait list at the library and since it is in the house, I thought I should. We both read To Kill a Mockingbird just a few weeks ago. So far I'm not super impressed but I'll finish it before giving a final verdict. I also just finished up a couple other novels.

The first was Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell and my reaction - finally! This book took me so so so long to finish and I think I'm one of the few people that is kinda just "eh" about it. A lot of people love it, obviously. And there seems to be an equal group of those that hate it. I'm not upset I spent time on it and I did finish it which says something- but I don't think I'd recommend it. I thought it was well written and interesting at moments but also very tedious at times. I've heard it described as a mix of Harry Potter and Dickens and I understand that why it's given that description but it's more like 90% Dickens style writing with a bit of non-adventurous magic thrown in. Which is fine if you like that meandering Dickens style, but I don't. I'd hardly call myself an an action junkie when it comes to novels but I do need a bit of something to keep the story moving. I will try and see the BBC version eventually though, I have a feeling it will be the best parts without the agony of having to keep my kindle's wifi off for over a month. TLDR - needed a better editor (as do I at times :-)

The second was China Court by Rumor Godden. This was the first novel by Rumor Godden aimed at adults I've read and it was a bit of a disappointment too considering how much I loved the children's book I read (The Story of Holly and Ivy). I didn't have a problem with keeping track of all the characters (5 generations to keep track of!) and I loved some of the descriptions but I just found it so sad. Not tragic ending sad but rather poignant and I wasn't really prepared for that. By the last chapter I really only like four characters - John Henry, Cecily, Tracy and Peter. And by the last page, I wasn't so sure about Peter either.

Watching - Dr Who Season 8. I'm still getting used to Capaldi but so far he's funnier than I expected and I'm not having a problem understanding his accent. But I think the best part of a new season of the Doctor being released on Netflix is that we don't have to decide what to watch if we sit down in the evening to watch something. That always turns into 30 minutes of trying to pick something and then having to try too hard to stay awake to actually watch what we picked.

Drinking - Iron/Orange Juice/Chlorophyll cocktails three times a day. Finally in the few weeks, my progesterone levels have gone up enough for me to stop taking shots. And stopping the shots has let me stop Zofran too with just a mild bit of nausea to contend with. So that of course means my body has to come up with another issue - anemia. Luckily the iron doesn't seem to bother me or increase my nausea so I'm just fighting fatigue. Just don't laugh if you see me walking around with a green smile, its all for the baby.


Still not quite a denim jumper

Every once in a while I do something and then laugh at myself because its such a homeschooler thing to do. But I can't help it and truth be told, I don't really want to. Yesterday we received an amazon box, always a fun thing (except when its only cat litter, then its sad because we got our hopes up for nothing), and in it was the latest addition to our homeschooling nook (aka kitchen table) - a clear plastic tablecloth!

I'm still waiting for the creasing to go away and then I'll tape down the edges. They really wouldn't be a problem except in the first 5 minutes I was shown that that hanging edges are too tempting to a little boy practicing his scissors skills. Luckily I caught him when the damage was minimal. Lucy's now got 24/7 access to her handwriting guide and number line and she's used it several times just in one day.

 My side has this psalm printable because it's pretty. I'm still thinking of what other fun things I can add to the table. I'd like to add our current art print once I get around to actually ordering the prints (I wanted to try using just the computer screen but I can already tell we like having hard copies). Any other ideas? We have plenty of room left! And I'd like to find something special for Jonah's spot so he doesn't feel left out.


Breezeway Stage 2 - Some Storage

When we last saw our breezeway remodel project, it was looking like this. 

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Pretty but kinda sparse on the practical stuff like hooks and storage as well as some finishing work like trim. But Craig worked very hard last weekend despite the heat and we made a lot of progress. 

This room is really hard to photograph because in order to get enough in the shot, I have to stand outside one of the doors so excuse the lighting issues. But I'm attempting to show that we:
  • Added door trim and caulked it
  • Switched out the black and transparent gold light switch and outlet for white ones. 
  • Replaced pineapple light fixture with a simple one from Ikea (can't find it on the website but I think it was about $10 so nothing fancy but less fruity)

Then we tackled storage. I wanted a place to hang coats as well as some bins. For the coat hooks, we painted 1x4s white and added coat hooks. The spot by the door only got a high rack for grown up coats since we'll be putting a bench under it while the left side got a lower level as well for the kids to hang their coats.  I'm sure in a couple months these will be loaded down with jackets and baby wearing devices but for now its just a couple rain coats, our pool bag and our nature tote.

For the bins, I knew what I wanted but it took a bit of finagling to work it out. We started with this 6 pack of galvanized bins which was just what I wanted and at a pretty good price. They are fairly deep so as we were thinking of what wood to try and piece together to make a deep enough shelf, I remembered the melamine shelving I used in our game closet. And yes, it comes in 15" deep! Of course, being that deep ruled out a lot of the fun brackets I had thought about using but I bought the cheap basic white ones and had Craig spray paint them hammered black to match the coat hooks (which technically were oil rubbed bronze but look pretty much black). I originally wanted to paint them the same teal/aqua that the door will be but since we don't know what color that is yet and I didn't want to wait, black it is. And I like the results. I'm not sure if you can tell but I still have to go back and touch up the screw tops to be black but I'll get to it eventually.

The spacing of the brackets is a bit odd because we had to work with the studs. It bothers me in the picture, but thankfully I don't even notice it in the actual room. And the storage! Two bins hold winter gear like mittens and hats, one had rain gear and another has our pool towels but I've still got two empty so when summer is over I can put up our pool gear and sandbox toys. I love the idea of not having quite as many seasonal switch-over tasks on my plate. I always seem to be about a month behind in those.

Up next on the to-do (which is quickly become more of to-buy list):
  • shoe bench (under the right side coat hooks) 
  • shoe cabinet across from that on the other wall. I've picked out the ones I want but have to wait for Ikea to open here next month. Not that my rubbermaid tote of shoes is not stylish, but it isn't very efficient when the kids empty the whole thing in search of one shoe.
  • recycling containers. None of the ones I see are big enough. We have a lot of recycling, especially paper. I guess we could take it out more often since the paper recycling bin is in our church parking lot but its enough to get us all dressed and to church without worrying about that every week too. I'll keep searching. 
  • the doors. With four in this room, it isn't surprising they take up a substantial portion of the work. I want to paint the new door aqua/teal, replace the screen door (which actually doesn't have a screen, or a handle or the ability to stay open anymore. It's a mess) and get a new door into the house (with a number keypad - my dream!)
  • a drop down drying rack - to hang our swimsuits and wet mittens on during their respective seasons. 
  • some more color in the form of art on the walls.
Of course, those are my full plans and it will probably take us a good year or two - or three if I'm waiting for that keypad :-) but baby steps! We've already checked off pretty much everything I hope to get done before the baby arrives with the exception of the shoe bench. For that, I'm just going to have to drag a chair out there because right now I'm sitting on the floor to put my shoes on and one of these days I'm not going to be able to get up again. At least I'd be stuck in a pretty spot. 


Fun Folk Songs and Picture Books

As I mentioned in my kindergarten planning post, Folk Songs are one subject I'm just doing my own thing with for now. I'm sure we'll be using the AO rotation in a few years but there are so many fun folk songs for younger kids that I wanted to start with those. Actually, we probably don't really even need to do anything with specific songs because we listen to a lot of folk songs naturally, probably listening to at least a good portion of my spotify list each week (and its a long one!) and I know my kids have at least heard of all the songs we're doing this year but it was an excuse to buy a few more picture books. Not because you need books to enjoy folks songs, you can just listen to them of course, but picture books are fun and why turn down fun!?

These were last years selections:
The Farmer in the Dell by Alexandra Wallner
This Old Man by Carol Jones
Cat goes Fiddle-i-fee by Paul Galdone
Frog Went A-Courtin by John Longstaff (not pictured - someone must be enjoying it right now as I can't locate it. I kept them up during the school year since we liked to review the older ones then I added them to our regular picture book shelves when we got the new set a few weeks ago)

This year's choices:
The Star-Spangled Banner  - This is our current choice and I was a bit worried that it would go over their heads when I looked at it initially. And I'm sure many of the specific words do (ramparts?) but they love this book and song. We just won some baseball tickets through our library's summer program and Lucy is so excited to go. I don't think the baseball part really interests her at all but 1) snacks and 2) she gets to hear the star spangled banner!

One thing to keep in mind, and it may not be an issue depending on the personality of your kids but these books are just the lyrics with pictures and because they are folk songs, the lyrics might not be identical to whatever version you are listening to. Hopefully no one is going to change the national anthem and other times the differences are small enough that they probably won't be noticed but there are many very different versions of Frog Went a Courtin' and Over in the Meadow where the tune is the same and the stories are similar but entire lines and even verses are changed so it is something to be aware of if you have a particular child. Because things not being exactly as they "should be" is a problem for one of my children, we've talked a lot about fairy tales and folk songs and how they are told from family to family and aren't always written down the same and now when we read/hear a story/song, it will be brought up and dismissed with "but that's okay because it's a folk song, right mom?" 

I could try and find a similar version but its not always easy and I'd rather listen to the artist I like best. If spotify has a Pete Seeger version, I normally choose that because I like his style - fun but not too cutesy/childish. And I have my spotify list that I can just use without having to think but we also like to listens to different versions. It's a real treat for them when I pull up youtube and they can "watch" it even if it's just different images of flags (or frogs or old men, etc) cycling on the screen. They were both impressed by Whitney Houston's version of the Star Spangled Banner last week :-) And really, the song is the point of it all. So read, listen, enjoy! 

*Those aren't affiliate links above but I'm linking to the exact title because there are often many books of the same name. And not all of those listen above are still in print but I buy used books 90% of the time and I was easily able to find them all when I looked. I stick with "very good" condition books (mostly from amazon and abebooks.com) and have only had to return a book once when it wasn't in the condition it was described and abebooks was great about the return. I think people get weirded out by the fact that I have so many used books on the kid's amazon birthday/christmas wishlist but they get used books from us all the time as presents and don't care! And many of the books I want us to own our out of print so its the only option. Okay, soapbox over. 


Classics Challenge - The Glimpses of the Moon

This was another new author for me - Edith Wharton. I keep picking new authors to stretch myself, but then I never seem to select their most popular novel. Probably because if I had felt a desire to read their most popular novel, I would have by now. I'm not sure if this is an atypical Edith Wharton book or if I have had a misconception of what her writing was like - or both.

This was such a pleasant book! (I think that's what surprised me the most. Are Edith Wharton's book supposed to be pleasant? I had thought not). Craig and I had just watched Breakfast at Tiffany's when I started this and they kinda reminded me of each other. Two faux socialites trying to make their way in the world and all that. That actually worried me because I'm still not quite sure I liked Breakfast at Tiffany's. I didn't dislike but....it was odd.

But back to this book, The Glimpses of the Moon; the first part was amusing but I kinda thought I knew where it was going. Our couple decides to take the unconventional step of entering a contract marriage for the purposes of helping them hang on in society. Of course, things don't quite work out the way they planned. Hmm, sounds like a k-drama.

Then I reached part two and I was more intrigued.  While the ethical situations our couple faces as they learn there is no such thing as a free lunch aren't any I am likely to come across, I think anyone who has been married will be able to recognize the emotions and thoughts (but hopefully not actions!) of our two main characters as they struggle to understand not just each other but what marriage is and how it has/is changing them. The misunderstandings are both so ridiculous you want to shake them - but when I look back at the first six months or so of my marriage, also very real. We had already covered a lot of the ground I was expecting. But what would happen next? By the end of Part 2, I was having to force myself to savor it and not speed through. And Part 3 is just great.

The moral of the story isn't subtle. You don't have to strain your brain looking for hidden motifs but that doesn't mean it isn't deep. It's just is a perfectly charming and romantic novel about marriage and love. This is a very readable book. And yes, I do think it would make an excellent k-drama.

The Glimpses of the Moon was my Classic by a Woman Author in the Back to the Classics Challenge. Be sure to visit Books and Chocolate for more classic book reviews. 


This too shall pass

I am having the hardest time sitting down to blog recently. Mostly for one very cranky reason who happens to be almost three years old. And in the last 24 hours, he has had 30+ minute fits because

1) I put water in his water bottle after he told me he wanted water in his water bottle

2) I wouldn't let him put a dirty cup into my container of granola.

3) He wanted to hurt Lucy but she was faster than him and ran away.

Keep in mind, those are just the long ones. But we are making progress. It's taken me a little while to figure out how to handle them since he is different than his sister. I know I shouldn't be surprised because he is at that age but he's always been my easy going kid. And still is actually. I have to keep reminding myself that we survived her and she was way better at losing control. So we'll get through this stage too. Until then, bear with me. Or pray for me. Or both.

And try not to judge a person driving down the road listening to music too loudly in their car. She could just be trying to drown out the screams from the back seat so that she can get everyone to Target without crashing the car. This is probably a more likely scenario if the music you hear emanating from said car is from the "Wee Sing Bible CD" and not some form of rap but you just never know.


And we're done...kinda

I've mentioned The Magical Art of Tidying Up several times recently and promised I'd update you on my progress. Well, I think we are finished!

Besides this big one, another criticism I've seen is that Marie Kondo's method involves making tidying (aka decluttering) a big event. Do it all at once, do it right, move on with your life. And people say that's fine if you are single and living in an apartment but that isn't practical when you have a family and can't declutter everything in a single weekend. But I think they miss the part when she explains "at one time" means in about a six month span, not 2-3 days. It took me about 3 weeks. BUT I started off pretty organized already and with a major deadline approaching. I needed this done so we could start making progress on a few last minute pre-baby projects so if it didn't happen soon, they were going to have to wait 6-9 months and I didn't want that. And I had some nesting hormones urging me on. Overall - I was highly motivated! I think six months is realistic even for a more cluttered, larger family home. Just go through the list one category at a time. It's a bit like Dave Ramsey's snowball effect - clothes and books add up fast so you see a change and are motivated to hit those harder categories.

I wish I could show you a picture of all our trash/donations/sell piles but I kept taking stuff out to the breezeway and Craig kept hauling it away so we could still walk to our car. In all we had about
  • 4 large trash bags of clothing
  • 2+ rubbermaid storage totes full of books (the hardest part but my biggest tidying success!)
  • 4 large trash bags of random stuff (old sheets, picture frames, toys, etc)
  • several larger items that don't fit in a bag
  • At least 6 bags of trash/recycling
On the one hand, that doesn't really seem like a huge amount of stuff but as I said, our house was pretty well decluttered before starting this so we were down to the hard stuff. The KonMari method says "go until it clicks" and I can tell it has. We just have more breathing room now - in drawers and closets and shelves. All of our books actually fit single depth on a shelf so I don't have to take books off to see if the book I want is behind it or dig through a box. All of my clothes, and I do mean all (regular sizes, maternity sizes, transition sizes; all 4 seasons worth) fit in my room. And I only have a 1950s sized closet and small dresser. This was suggestion of the book that I didn't think would work for us but did, at least for the grown-ups. It won't work for the kids because they would insist on wearing shorts in January or long sleeves in August but now that the drawers in our guest room are empty, I plan to store the off season stuff there instead of bags in my closet that fall on me whenever I try to take clean sheets down.

There is also a large amount of stuff that I have mentally set aside to get rid of in about 3-6 months. This is not part of Marie Kondo's plan but she doesn't discuss homebirths or newborns in her plan so a mom has to adapt. For example - my big stack of older towels and our birth kit stuff will all go after October. And all my ratty maternity and transition clothes shortly after that. I can't wait to get rid of those. I don't think most maternity clothes are really designed to last through more than one pregnancy, let alone three. But what can I say, I'm cheap.

Once baby #3 arrives, we'll be getting rid of a lot of clothes of whatever gender he/she isn't plus some more. I've been getting pickier and pickier about what clothes I keep and Jonah grew slowly after he hit 12 month sizes so he destroyed most of those items so the toddler sizes are fine but I have way too much baby clothing. I'll actually probably get rid of a lot as I sort through the bin before the baby even comes because stains seem to emerge over time but either way, our clothing in storage should drastically reduce over the next 6 months.

Today was our last big effort in the basement, finishing up the odds and ends. The end result was that once we take all the bigger baby stuff (co-sleeper, swing, etc) upstairs and really prepare for our new arrival, the last few storage totes that we don't want to put in the attic will fit under our stairs! No more plastic storage totes in the main area of our basement! Which was my main goal for that area. We want to use that area as a living area not a storage area and now that seems possible. So poor Craig's "reward" for helping me declutter this weekend is a much longer honey-do list as we prepare to paint down there. Not exactly the way to encourage him to help next time but according to KonMari principles, I shouldn't have to - ha!

(Actually, I know as a family with littles, we are in a high transition time of life. Tidying is going to be a constant process because people are always growing and needs are changing but it shouldn't ever have to be a big project but more of a steady effort to maintain order and that's okay).


First two weeks

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Our first two weeks of school went pretty well. We started slow the first week because we had to wait (impatiently) on two items to arrive in the mail. I had planned for that. But then the computer was being repaired and took longer than expected. I thought I could do almost everything except blog on my phone so I wasn't expecting this to be an issue but all of a sudden my spotify app doesn't work. It seems like this is a common android issue and I haven't found a solution. So instead of listening to new songs, we just reviewed some old ones. In the past, it has been mostly me singing and them chiming in with a word or two but the review provided a nice chance for Lucy to surprise me with what she remembered. She even sang all of our last french song on her own. I was thinking about dropping the french songs from our rotation because I wasn't sure if they were sticking so I was shocked. And she was sad when we didn't get a new one right away so I guess we'll keep them!

The second week we did everything so early in the week so we could leave on our weekend trip but I must have somehow accidentally given her the impression that Kindergarten was over FOREVER! After I cleared up the confusion and dried the tears, she was alright - and I was reassured that it wasn't too much work for her!

We did a bit of math.

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Some picture study - which immediately led to her wanting to make her own still life arrangement. 

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She arranged some peaches from our garden around a snow globe she made at vbs. It ended up looking a bit like a penguin crime scene but it was super cute to see her excited about it. 

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Actual art time - our first attempt at using watercolor crayons. They are a lot of fun and much easier that full watercolors with Jonah around.

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A good bible verse to start off the new year, don't you think? (and slightly less pointed than our previous verse "Do everything without complaining or arguing...")

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I wasn't going to have her start copywork but I added the book to my rainbow resource order to get up to free shipping so I thought I'd see how she did. She loved it! She did the first page and to appease her after saying she couldn't do another, I went to grab her crayons so she could color the igloo. When I got back, she showed me how she made the first line look "so fancy." Not sure how to proceed with that but at least I think she's going to like cursive when we get there.

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And lots of music with some picture books tagging along.

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We had lots of fun and the routine is working well. My biggest concern was making sure school didn't interfere with time spent outside. But we got outside just over 30 hours in those two weeks. Not quite 4-6 hours a day, but slightly over 2 on average, which is pretty good considering its July and has been either hot or rainy every day.

Of course, much of that was in the water because it is summer after all and what's summer without some sprinkler fun?