Thursday, May 26, 2016

What We've Been Up To...

So friends, I've been a bit AWOL in this space.  To say the month of May has been busy is an understatement!  I'm hoping to get back into a writing rhythm and get that Getting Started with Year One series wrapped up soon for the sake of those of you looking ahead towards the fall.   But in the meantime, I offer you a little glimpse into what we've been up to these days…
Out and About::
Last weekend, I had the wonderful privilege to attend the AmblesideOnline Conference, Deep in the Heart of AO, in Waxahachie, Texas.  What a joy that was!!  I have been actively involved in the AmblesideOnline Forum for several years, and met a good handful of those lovely online friends last summer at the AO Conference in Indiana.  It was a delight to see those dear people again, and to meet others for the first time.   It was like a little taste of what heaven might be like, and I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that.
My Amazing Roomie and very dear friend Dawn
The AmblesideOnline Advisory and Auxiliary - they are the ones behind it all.  They are pretty amazing too.
Amy, Dawn, Brandy, and Me
Photo credits for all these conference photos to Dawn..or the people she handed her phone to. :D  The few I took didn't come out! :(
The Conference sessions were all wonderful too.  So much food for thought to chew on for the next long while…but at the same time things that I have put into practice in my home immediately too.  I'm not going to write about that today, nor am I planning a long-winded series (although Katie is!), but I'm sure that ideas I gleaned will be popping up here and there in my posts over the coming weeks and months.
In the Schoolroom::
We wrapped up our co-op year this past month, finishing with a presentation of the final death scene from Hamlet from the Shakespeare class.  Michelle only had one line, but she delivered it with clarity and confidence.  I was so very proud of her!  This class definitely ignited what I suspect will be a lifelong love for Shakespeare as well.  It was such a fantastic experience for her, as was teaching the third-fourth grade history/literature/art and music appreciation class was for me.   Sadly, due to distance, we won't be able to be a part of this same co-op again next fall, but have some new plans with church friends in the works for the fall.  We shall see how it all works out. 
Michelle and friends after Hamlet
In the meantime, we have started what I am calling our "Summer Term".  We have had extended breaks at odd times this year, so plan to continue schooling through mid-July.  Michelle and James just started Term 2 of their respective AO Years 4 and 2, and Elizabeth – who turned 6 in March – began Year 1 Term 1.  (My baby!  My last trip through Year 1!!  Sniff!!!)  Just to mix things up a little bit, I have set aside our regular Morning Basket fare (stay tuned for a post on our Summer Morning Basket plans soon!).  We are also planning to use that fifth day that was our co-op day for a weekly field trip.  There are a number of local museums we'd like to visit that we just haven't taken the time for, and weather permitting we'd like to get some full-day nature study outings in there too (preferably NOT when it is 100 degrees out, though!!)  And our community pool is opening next week if I'm not mistaken, so lots of afternoons at the pool are in our schedule too.  Hoping this will be a good mix of refreshment while still making forward progress on the academic front.
Pretty much limited to nature journaling and sketching with the kids, these days.  But that's happening pretty regularly because I tossed them in our morning basket…and that counts, right?
In the Kitchen::
So, a while back, I picked up Trina Holden's book Your Real Food Journey.  I am truly appreciating its accessibility and baby-steps approach.  I tried to get into the real food thing a few years ago, but that was when I still had babies and toddlers in the house, and we were in the process of moving internationally 4 times in 4 years.  Let's just say it was literally all I could do to get dinner on the table – any dinner.  I was not in the right season to be making dietary changes.  We just needed to eat – something.  Anything.  Anyhow, we are in a more settled place now and my children are older so we're revisiting this.  (Even though I have NO desire to be in the kitchen all the time.  I just don't.)  So, I have made a list of some of the baby steps that she suggests in the book and am slowly working through them – not adding another until the previous one becomes natural.   I started with replacing the fats I use in cooking (we pretty much only use olive oil, coconut oil, and butter now), and then tackled a better breakfast rotation.  We were resorting to cold cereal far too often.  I needed nourishing, simple options that lent themselves well to serve-yourself breakfasts because of various rising times in our family.  Next, will be improving the nutritional value of the snack options available in our house…
Not our house. ;)  But I love this photo so I threw it in anyhow.

Around the House::
We are LOVING our new house and making it a home.  LOVING IT.  But I have no pictures for you.  Maybe a tour of how we organize for homeschooling next time (we don't have a dedicated school area)?
What have you been up to?


  1. Hey! That's me!!
    I was leaving a comment on Jeanne's blog and looked over at the sidebar and saw the pic of us there in her My Friends feed and had to click on over here. Too funny. And tomorrow I will receive it in my inbox. Love it. And love you. And I don't think you're exaggerating a bit.

  2. I was so excited to meet both you and Dawn at the conference last week. It was such an encouraging and refreshing time. It looks like you've had a fun year. Enjoy your summer

    1. I was so glad to have met you, too, Tania! I didn't make the connection until I heard you talk that you were THE Tania - MumtoMom Tania, that is. I look forward to "seeing" you around more.

    2. Loved seeing you too Tania! Only sorry that it was so hectic and we couldn't chat more. Hope you have a great summer too!

    3. "THE Tania". That is hilarious! Well in all honesty, I was practically giddy meeting THE Jen from my beloved Snowfall Academy, and THE Dawn. I am kicking myself that I was too shy to say hello to THE Brandy. Maybe next time. The AO community really is amazing. Glad to be a part of it and to have met so many wonderful ladies.

    4. I couldn't agree more, Tania. The more I get to know my fellow AO moms the more grateful and awed I become.

    5. Ditto, ditto, and ditto. :)