Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!

As you can see, Lydia traded in the penguin costume for the owl costume.  At the last minute, she decided to be Hedwig (the snowy owl from Harry Potter) because her friend was dressed as Hermione.  Nevermind that the two girls were not trick or treating together!  But that is the benefit of keeping a box of costumes; the kids have free reign to choose from whatever we've got.  Malachi had us buy him a shark costume a few weeks back, when he got to play the tuba in costume.  Gyunay requested the eagle, which I made.  Elijah waffled for a while, but settled on the Batman jacket that turned out to be a really good costume for him.

I realize that it's weird that we went trick-or-treating last night.  Our county and most surrounding areas changed trick-or-treating to October 30 this year due to impending storms on Halloween night.  This was a huge disappointment to our family, because Nathaniel wasn't here yet.  He was hoping to get home in time to take the kids trick-or-treating tonight, especially since it's really his favorite night of the whole year.  But he was still in China Tuesday night, and so he missed it.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Book Review - Hidden Peril by Irene Hannon

Hidden Peril by Irene Hannon has suspense and international intrigue.  I really enjoyed the opening, which did a good job of hooking the reader.  The main characters, Detective Luke Carter and former Peace Corp volunteer and current shop owner Kristin Dane, are both likable with realistic flaws.  Both have backstory issues adding to the complexity of the story, and their characters both show growth and depth.  The details on the police work and terror cells rang pretty true.  The story overall leans more on the romantic side, with the romance keeping a prominent role throughout the book, but there is also suspense and a good, solid plot.  The Christian aspects of the book are woven into the story without being preachy, which I prefer. This book is the second in a series, and I didn't read the first, but it is a stand-alone novel.  It did seem to go on a bit in places, but maybe that's just me.  I enjoyed this book, and I do recommend it.

I received this book from the publisher, Revel, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.

CVC words

We have been working hard in homeschool.  Gyunay can recognize his letters (although b,d,p, and q are interchangeable, as are u and n, and f and t), and he knows all of the letter sounds.  We've been working on a phonics program called I Can Read, but it was getting discouraging.  Since hands-on works best for us, I made up some CVC cards (consonant-vowel-consonant).  He has been working with word puzzles and other things, so these words are not unknown, but he has never seemed to be able to sound out a word, or to recognize the words.
Here is one of the cards I made:

Gyunay successfully spelled "pig" when I helped him sound it out.  We then progressed through the other cards, some of which (cow, dog) he needed more help with than others.  Then we got to fox, and he spelled it completely on his own!!!  

Meanwhile, Lydia was working on her Latin.  As you can tell, my kids prefer to work on the floor.  Disregard the stacks of books in the background.  :)

Gyunay is also showing some progress with writing, but that is much slower.  We are still working on pre-writing skills like shapes more than actual letters (although we work on those, too, particularly the ones in his name).  The slant board (pictured above, black) has been very helpful.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Eagle Costume

This year, Gyunay wanted to be a bald eagle with "2 big wings".  So, I set to work making him a costume.  He also wanted a big head with a really big beak. 
After consulting pinterest and making a trip to JoAnn's for the felt, I got started.

I put some tubing that is used to insulate pipes in the right wing, so Gyunay can flap it with his little arm.  He is so happy and proud to be an eagle!

And here is Lydia, in the penguin costume that Nathaniel's Aunt Sherri made years ago for Elijah.  

Several kids have worn this costume through the years, and it is a great dress-up item when it's not Halloween.  Animal costumes have always been very popular around here.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Fall Break

We had a good fall break, although Nathaniel was very much missed as he was in China.  We did go to visit my parents.

The younger two enjoyed playing on the front porch of Mom and Dad's new house.  It's currently a fixer-upper, so while they played, the big boys helped work.

Malachi enjoyed sweeping off the garage roof, while Elijah power washed the house.

And we made it back home in time for our parish trunk or treat.  My little penguin and bald eagle had a great time!

Monday, October 22, 2018

30th Year

Every year, Nathaniel's family comes together for a family reunion camping trip.  This year was year 30!  We have attended most of the years we've been married, and our kids really love the experience.
This young man recently turned 14!!!

Elijah, Malachi, Lydia, and I joined the trail ride.  Gyunay got to enjoy a pony ride.

Cousin fun!

Gyunay in his "Moosy hat".  He loves this hat, and it is super warm, so it came in handy.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Bees and Play dough

Our history center is pretty awesome.  We went for a free bee day on Saturday.  The kids were amazed to learn that honeybees never sleep.

They also enjoyed making beeswax candles.

Back on the homefront, Gyunay has been working on identifying numbers.  This seems trickier than you'd think.  He is making strides, though.  He is not fond of these number puzzles, but they are good for him.

This is more of an activity that he really enjoys.  We bought a set of playdough letter stamps, and that is a big hit.  Lydia also joined in, and showed Gyunay how to make the face show different emotions.  She likes teaching her brother.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Human Hamster Wheels

Yesterday, Nathaniel took the day off of work and we took the youngest two on a field trip to a local farm.  They have a human hamster wheel track!

All four of us were able to move the wheels pretty well.  Naturally, it made me dizzy, so I didn't do it again, but Lydia did it over and over.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Praying Mantis

When Malachi discovered a praying mantis on the front porch, he was quick to get his younger siblings.  They all enjoyed it!

We've been busy with both little and big projects around the house.  I'm currently building a storage cart with slatted drawers for sweet potato storage.  Elijah and Malachi finished up the last painting on the house.  Nathaniel stained the gazebo and bridge, and he's lately been busy working on our pop-up camper.  It's really done, but we're going to use it one more time for the family camping trip.  (The camper is 30 years old, so it's not a surprise!)  And I've been puttering around in the gardens.  I've got some fall produce coming up, and I've been weeding and pulling out my dead tomato plants.  Lydia and Gyunay spend lots of time outside with the kittens, so we've all been in the yard a lot.  It would just be nice if it wasn't still in the 80s and started acting like fall. 

Monday, October 1, 2018


Elijah is smiling for us today:
No more braces!
Of course, he is complaining about the retainers, but hey, it is progress.
Also, last night, Nathaniel and I got to have a date at the History Center.  He took this photo of me at dinner:

We had a great time.  It was a Colonial themed dinner with demonstrations and violin music.  Our tablemates were very nice, and we had a great time.  Nathaniel particularly enjoyed the Red Ale that was served.  My favorite was probably the beer cheese.  And, to our great delight, the kids handled the evening ok with Elijah in charge.  It is nice that he is old enough to watch his siblings for short amounts of time.

September Harvest Totals

Arugula - 5c
Beans, Calypso (dried) - 4.5 oz
Carrots, Little Fingers - 20
Eggs - 144
Radish - 3
Tomatillos - 4 lbs
Tomatoes - 10
Tomatoes, Black Vernissage - 6

plus herbs - basil, mint, oregano, rosemary, stevia, thyme

September was a much lower-yielding month than usual.  The weather has been crazy - tons of rain and lots of heat, very unusual for September.  On the plus side, all of the chickens are now laying.  October's harvest could be very good if the weather cooperates.  I still have a lot of tomatillos growing, plus the entire sweet potato harvest to dig up.  And we have lots of radishes, carrots, and pea pods in the ground, so I hope to get some of those ripe before frost.  There are still some Bulgarian peppers to harvest, and maybe a few more tomatoes.  I have also put lettuce back into rotation, so we'll be harvesting that soon.