10 Fun Ways We've Learned and Played Lately

My goodness, I’ve been gone a long time! It turns out I’m not the best blogger when I have five children!  Who’d have thought?  😉

In any case, I’m here at the moment and thought I’d check in!

Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to hereabouts…

  1. Victoria and Anna have taken up needlecrafts. Victoria has especially taken them up, and has knitted and crocheted several fabulous pieces.  She even made baby Fiona a little hat!  (And one for herself!)
  2. The kids are doing math online. Victoria has decided she likes Khan Academy so she’s using that.  Jack still prefers iXL so I may cough up the money for that.  Homeschool Buyers Coop has a bargain rate for the year so it would cost about $50 for him for the year.  I can handle that if he loves to do it.  Anna’s not sure which route to take, but it’s not much extra to tack her on to iXL if she goes that way.  I’m just happy math is getting done so often!  Even Alex is doing math, using a kindergarten program with Anna’s help.
  3. We’ve been doing lots of poetry goodness. I’m still writing the 10-week poetry course for kids and we’re up to week 9 (24 poets every child should know).  The kids are having fun with the exercises especially, and I’m having fun writing the series and putting the assignments to the test with my kids.
  4. The girls have been visiting friends. Victoria spent a week with one fabulous family in the Twin Cities, and then Anna spent the next week (plus!) with another fabulous family.  I love that the kids can go off and do this during the “school year” so often.
  5. We went to the zoo. Our membership expires this month so we wanted to make the most of it while we could.  We especially had a blast in the monkey house.  I’m not sure why, but our family always relates to them!  😉
  6. The kids have been doing art. Victoria has been doing altered books, painting and photography especially.  Jack has been doing a lot of drawing.
  7. Anna has been writing songs. She has been writing songs for a few years now and is really getting into it lately.  She wrote a really great one the other day!  She’s also writing a book, which is pretty typical for Anna too.
  8. Alex and I have been exploring phonics. We’ve been reading picture books together and talking about patterns (such as BAT right above RAT and both having the AT letters), rhyming, talking about letter sounds and so on.
  9. Jack is on a cleaning frenzy. I told him that if the house was in order, his friend next door could spend the night on Saturday.  I imagine I’ll have to help a bit, but it’s nice to see him working so hard!
  10. Daryl has been teaching the kids dice games, Silent Night in German, music, card tricks and other nifties. He’s playing “the gambler” at Pioneer Village for their Christmas program on Thursday night (it’s a recurrent role where he teaches people card games, old fashioned dice games, historic swindles and so on) and then on Saturday he’s singing “Stille Nacht” (Silent Night) at the Lake Benton Opera House’s Christmas program (to open the show!).  Anna may be joining him in the show too (singing with groups for a couple of carols).  They should make for some fun times!

We’ve also been busy with the baby, of course, and have been up to all of the usual stuff… lots of reading, cooking, playing, computer fun, and utter chaos.  🙂

All in all, life is very good!


Credit Cards 101 & How to Live Well on Less

This infographic has some cussing but I think the info is too good not to share with my kids.  I think this is one of the biggest lessons we need to teach before we send our kids out into the world, because bad moves can have such lasting consequences.

(Sorry it seems to have snipped off the ends of the graphic!  I can’t seem to make it small enough to fit but big enough to read.  Go here to see the whole thing and read a bit about the history of credit cards.)

This is why we have no credit cards or loans (not even for our home or van).  This is also why we have a Freecycle couch and thrift store clothes.  The freedom feels better than any shopping spree (and I know, because I learned the hard way!).

Here’s 10 ways we save money and keep from relying on credit.  I think these are some of the most important lessons for me to pass on to my kids, and it helps us live well and have time together.

What works for you?

Writing Prompts, New Babies and Such

Sorry I’ve been gone so long!

Fiona is doing marvelously and we’re all madly in love with her. She’s a really sweet, fun, adorable little girl and about as easy as a baby can get (which is great for a fifth baby!).

I’ve had a few bumps in my recovery. I developed an infection from the C-section and was on antibiotics for a while.  That finally cleared up and then a few days ago I came down with mastitis.  I seem to be finally kicking it, but it really did a number on me.  I’m treating it naturally because I do not want to get on any more antibiotics (using them while nursing can set Fiona up for asthma, allergies and such, not to mention make us both more likely to get thrush, yeast infections and related maladies).  I’m still hurting and feverish, but nowhere near as sick as I was the past couple of days.  My fingers are crossed that it will be gone by the start of next week.

I’ve been keeping up with my free 10 week poetry course for kids and this week I wrote about using free writing to jump start poems.  While doing research, I found some fun sites and wanted to share them here.

  • This page of  Writing Exercises has prompts for journals, memoirs, free writing and more.
  • This page of Writing Exercises has writing tips, Q&A’s and over 200 writing exercises or prompts, mostly geared towards fiction writing.

Here’s the poetry courses so far:

Other new homeschool related posts…

We’ve been pretty busy for having a newborn in the house (which might explain why I keep backsliding in my recovery!).  Some of the things we’ve done lately include going to the Science Museum, two trips to Mankato to see friends and family, and even a short trip to Nebraska to hang out with Tiffany and her family.

Fiona mostly hangs out in my sling during the excitement or in my arms (or Daddy’s).  And don’t worry, I have all sorts of safeguards to keep her little immune system safe during our escapades.  🙂

All in all, life is pretty awesome, illnesses and setbacks or not!