Sunday, October 31, 2010

Norah's going to be an ancient Egyptian princess for Halloween this year. Here's a photo of her in costume taken a view days ago at a fall farm event.

In keeping with the theme, we're going to wrap her baby sister in gauze and she will be a little Egyptian mummy. Dwayne spent the morning building a sarcophagus to hang on top of the little red wagon.

When it was complete, he took it off and spray painted it gold.

Once it was dry, I sketched the face and torso of Pharaoh on top.

With our help, Norah has been painting the outlines in with color. We will probably add some hieroglyphics to the sides tomorrow and Norah will paint those, too.

This whole thing just hangs right on top of the wagon and part of the lid comes off where Avril will sit up out of it. So, Avril, our little mummy, will get to ride along in her sarcophagus while her big sister goes door to door trick or treating. It should be really funny to watch.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

We're going lighter on the formal lessons and leaving room for things like puzzles (and nature walks and anthills and free-reading and cooking) these days. It's been nice. And learning this way is far more effective than I ever imagined it could be. Even home schoolers have to be deliberate about making room for these kinds of enriching activities, otherwise our kids will just end up being "schooled at home," not home schooled.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Norah did a notebook page for her new pet.

After all the reading we did on mantises, I asked her to "Tell me about your mantis." and this is what she said.

We printed out this coloring sheet and Norah added her own drama and flare to it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stuffed Shells

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 box shells
Approx. 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 Container Spaghetti Sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Boil the noodles and brown the beef. When the beef is brown, drain it and mix it with two cups of cheese, three tablespoons Italian seasoning, one egg and the 1/4 cup of bread crumbs. This will be the filling for the shells. When the noodles are ready, drain and cool them off with cold water. Pour 1/4 of the spaghetti sauce into the bottom of a pan. Fill the shells and place them in rows. Pour the sauce over the top and sprinkle the top of with the last cup of cheese. Cook the dish for 30-45 minutes until the cheese melts and the noodles begin to dry. Let the dish cool for 5 minutes before serving the shells.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We met up with our home school group for a hike at Hop Brook.

We found a letter box. Some of the kids added stamps to their books.

The fall colors are beautiful.

This is view from the top of my neighborhood, East Mountain, out over the city of Waterbury.

My neighbor's tree. It always takes my breath away this time of year.

The sky above my house with a view through the leaves of our red maple.

Norah found this huge leaf on the hike and we plan to identify the tree it came from.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"This morning's sermon was so challenging, Pastor. Thank you."

And, you think you really meant what you said to him.

But, if you were the one preaching, you would have said the exact same things about the exact same things.

In fact, he didn't say anything new, either. He said the same things about the same things that he's said for years.

The message didn't confuse you in any way or make you think about anything new.

You just ended up feeling more self-righteous than ever and spent the entire sermon thinking about those other people who it really applied to.

So, how exactly were you challenged?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I make some of the best chocolate chip cookies known to man. It's just a fact. I'm also chubby. These two things may seem entirely unrelated, but I don't think they are. In fact, I am pretty sure it's a rule that you can't bake well unless you are overweight. In my experience, most skinny people make terrible cookies. Their cookies are only edible for the first five minutes after they are pulled from the oven. After that, everyone is just disappointed in them.

But, in defense of skinny people, I have a friend (who is very skinny) who can make tofu and spinach taste like pasta and cream sauce. No, not really. But, what I mean is that she can take something that looks like grass, something seemingly inedible and after she cooks it and spices it up, people bite into it and say with surprise, "Hum! I didn't know _ could taste this good!" etc. and then they can actually swallow this food that is very close to the hey horses eat without gagging it up the next second. This is my skinny friend's gift.

But, it's not my gift.

And, I am okay with that.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I sent Norah to our neighbor's house with some chocolate chips cookies one weekend afternoon. I like to share baked good with our neighbors because that ensures we don't eat the entire batch ourselves. I was hoping Norah would come home empty handed for once, but no, Mrs. Cheryl always insists on giving something in return. I looked out the window and here Norah comes, walking across the street with two pumpkins filled to the brim with gifts and goodies for her and Avril. Unbelievable! It looks like Mrs. Cheryl has been working on these for a while, just anticipating Norah's next visit. Our neighbors are such a blessing to us!

Friday, October 22, 2010

I walked into the living room, all the lights were out and I saw three silhouettes, smallest to biggest, laying in front of the fire, watching it crackle. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. But, when I went to capture the moment with my camera, it flashed automatically and gave me what you see above. The photo isn't nearly as beautiful as the memory in my mind, but it will do. I'm so thankful to God for my precious family.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Give me your nights,"
the quiet voice
of God said to my
pressured heart.
Wakeful and fretting
I knew I had the
For me the easy or
the better part?

Nights are for sleeping,
one of His kindest gifts
which, if He withholds
is for a special reason.
Some work the daylight,
some the midnight shifts.
Could nights become
for me a special season?

"Give me your nights";
His voice unheard
spoke again. And my heart,
sleepless, stirred,
listened in silence
then acquiesced.
For only in compliance
I am blessed.

-Ruth Bell Graham

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It was a gorgeous fall day, so we decided to take an afternoon off from school and walk to the park. We don't have very many pretty days left before winter comes.

Avril wanted to be where Norah was and do everything she was doing.

Some of the stuff, she could do well enough.

Other stuff, was too hard for her.

And, sometimes, by the time Avril was ready to try something,
Norah had moved on to something else.

But, Norah enjoyed helping her little sister down the slides.

They did it over and over and over again.

Norah also helped Avril get up on the park's newest toys.

The girls really enjoyed this new teeter tooter thingy.

I set up some cones in one of the soccer fields and Norah practiced kicking her soccer ball.

Avril kept moving the cones.

We gave her a "soccer ball ice cream cone." She enjoyed making us laugh by pretending to eat it.

As we were getting ready to go home, Norah found this praying mantis on the picnic table. I used an empty coffee cup with a lid to catch her and bring her home.

We spent the rest of the day reading about praying mantises, purchasing crickets from the pet store to feed her and setting up a comfortable habitat for her. I'll share more photos in a day or two.