Saturday, February 13, 2016

What We've Been Up To

Out and About:
With the new year, we've been trying to get out for nature study a little more regularly than we managed last term.  We've been enjoying the winter weather, mild as it is here, as a nice break from the eternal summer of the tropics.
I know this isn't a serious snowfall for you Midwesterners and Northeasterners, but it was pretty darn exciting for us.

Hubby and I also had the opportunity to see a local showing of Many Beautiful Things, a documentary film about the life of Lilias Trotter. (We even got a babysitter!! And went out for the evening!!)  Her biography, A Passion for the Impossible was my favorite book last year.  Highly recommended.  It will be released to DVD soon if you missed out on a local showing.
In the Schoolroom:
After a longer-than-expected Christmas break, we have finally settled back into a good school routine with new Ambleside Years for each of my older two children.  We are now 5 weeks in and things are going very well.  Michelle is now in Year 4.  I remember being SO intimidated by Year 4 when we first started using Ambleside Online, but everyone said not to worry, because she would grow into it.  She really has.  Our transition has been smooth, and she is handling that challenging booklist and all the other Year 4 'extras' beautifully.  James and I are doing Year 2, and I am falling in love with Betsy and Little Duke Richard all over again. (And yet another of my children is completely disgusted with William the Conqueror for winning the Battle of Hastings….) Elizabeth is doing one more term of 'kindergarten', but will start Year 1 next term, since she turns 6 in March.  She's ready and has been asking regularly since she turned 5, so I see no reason to hesitate.
Phonics Lessons with this little one are never dull. 

Nature Journaling

I have been crocheting some simple…mats? I guess you would call match the colors of the liturgical year.  I already finished a purple one for Advent and Lent and a green one for Ordinary Time and have plans for a White one for Christmas and Easter and a Red one for Pentecost. (I unfortunately have lost track of the pattern I used now. Sori tru.)  I also crocheted some simple winter hats all around (I used this pattern for mine, and a pattern from Kids Crochet for the kids'). Now, I guess I should get back to that scarf that I have been picking at since last summer…maybe next winter I'll be able to wear it?
Our current dining-room-table décor with a purple crocheted mat for the season of Lent

I also want to try my hand at making a couple of sewn booklets, like this lovely one that Silvia gave me last year.  I think I may do a simple one as a copybook for Elizabeth, who is ready to transition from a handwriting/letter formation workbook to simple copywork.  I'm telling you this because I've been thinking about it for two months. :P  Hold me accountable to show you the results next time, folks.
Silvia's lovely notebook on the right - it's my current Commonplace book.

In the Kitchen:This is our latest development: Michelle (age 10) volunteered a few weeks ago to make dinner on Saturday nights.  All on her own!  And she's stuck with it, even though it hasn't always been easy.  She has been selecting recipes from How to Cook Everything Fast and Simplified Dinners for New Cooks.   She had some basic kitchen skills from helping out here and there already, but these books have been a good next step for her.  My husband was also recently inspired to make 'date nights at home' happen regularly…which means that he too scours How to Cook Everything Fast and makes dinner himself.  This means that I get at least one night off cooking every week…and sometimes two.  Works for me.
I'm loving this 'kid big enough to fix dinner' thing.

Around the House:
Not much other than basic maintenance these days.  And making lists.  Lots of lists.   But I can't tell you why *just* yet.  Stay tuned. J
I'm pretty obsessed with the silhouettes of the trees against winter skies.

What have you been up to lately?


  1. I love everything about this post.
    I am glad you didn't stop blogging.
    I'm going to get serious at knitting, hopefully Sarah L. will teach us at the retreat.
    I'm glad your family is cooking, and that lessons are going well.
    Love you much.

  2. This was such a satisfying read at the end of my day. Thank you for writing it and sharing it, Jen.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, friend. Here is a hug as you go through big transitions with your family.

  3. I'm very glad you didn't stop blogging too! :)