It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these lists so I thought I’d post quickly before catching up on my mile-long to-do list. Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to lately.
1. We got a ton of snow last week and the kids had a blast building snow forts, making snow ramps for sleds and playing in it.
2. Victoria has taken up knitting again, and she’s so good (and fast!). She made a lovely multi-colored scarf for a lady at church, and this hat for Fiona.
3. Our couch was sagging and shot, so this morning Daryl and Jack took it apart. They repaired and reinforced the insides so it’s as good as new. It’s always been important to us that the kids get an education not just in academics but in life skills — knowing how to cook from scratch, repair household items, sew and mend clothes, preserve foods, find bargains, treat minor illnesses and so on. I love that they’re growing up learning these skills that we had to teach ourselves much later in life, and that they have the knowledge to live well on very little since they won’t have to pay others to do jobs for them or just toss things out and buy new. (See 10 Homesteading skills every child should learn for more on that).
4. Victoria and Fiona keep drawing together. I love that Victoria has passed on her love of drawing to Fiona and I love seeing their little joint drawings. 🙂
5. We’re reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever as a read-aloud, which has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember. The kids never get tired of hearing that book. 🙂
6. Rhia has kept busy with her photography, art, politics and her boyfriend, among other things. She and Tyler are still going strong. He continues to teach her things like car repair. He fixed an old rusted manual typewriter for her that they found, and got it working as good as new. He also fixed an old light that they found, wiring it and everything. His mechanical skills are impressive and I love that she’s learning that from him. She teaches him things too, and it’s nice to see how well they complement each other.
7. I got a 75 cent calligraphy kit from a thrift store and got it out for the boys to use for handwriting practice. They both need work on their handwriting but they say they hate to write. With the pen out, they couldn’t wait to write. Jack spent quite a long time writing out words and phrases, and Alex took a turn, too. Later on, Victoria even asked if she could use it.
8. We’ve been watching Drunk History with the kids. The older kids and I get a lot out of it, and there have been so many times that I turned to Victoria and asked, “Did that really happen?” and she did a quick google and declared that yes, amazingly, that did. It’s been a fun way of learning less-known history. 🙂 The younger kids have been watching more respectable Netflix shows like MythBusters, Odd Squad and Bill Nye, the Science Guy.
9. We’ve been participating in Bountiful Baskets, a non-profit produce coop that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables to cities around the country every weekend. They also have different add-ons every week, such as organic bread, granola, fruit by the case and themed boxes (such as all different kinds of citrus or masa mix with corn husks and Mexican produce to make tamales). Last week we got a 40 pound box of organic Fiji apples for $32. It’s entirely volunteer-run (even the women who run it at the national level) and our family volunteers every Saturday to help out. The little kids help clean laundry baskets (they use designated laundry baskets to portion all the food out for people to pick up and put in their own containers), smash boxes and carry things. The older kids help people carry their boxes and baskets to their cars, and Daryl and I help check people in, load the baskets and so on. It’s been a fun way to volunteer as a family, a great way to extend our grocery dollars (a basket full of fruits and veggies is only $15 and an organic box is only $25) and a neat way to discover some new fruits and vegetables. Some of the produce we get in the boxes isn’t even available in our grocery stores.
10. We learned all about wassailing and it’s very pagan roots. Daryl and Victoria tend to go down educational rabbit holes on our long car drives, and Victoria googles the topics and then reads everything she finds out to us. Last week, that led to our learning more than we ever thought we could know about radon (which states have the worst problem, how radon led to lung disease in coal miners, which homes are at risk, what it does…). This week, it was wassailing. Now THAT was a wild tradition once upon a time.
There’s been all of the usual stuff, too, of course — Khan Academy, reading, worksheets, playing with friends, doing art, nature studies, games, cooking, talking, blogging, educational apps, playing Minecraft, playing with pets, fighting illnesses and so on.
And with that, I’m off to go read another chapter about those awful Herdman kids and try to get my downstairs remotely tidy looking. Happy Wednesday!