Just Let Them

Sometimes, you just have to let them jump in mud puddles with their clothes on. Then you might have to let them take off their clothes and jump around some more. Just let them.

Prairie Land

Today, we visited a lush, green prairie. The tall grasses swayed in the wind and buzzed with busy insects.

Actually, it was just our back yard, which hasn't been mowed once this year.

You see, our mower has been broken. It needed a new belt and an oil change.

This is easy work for JP, but he's been working 16+ hour days -- every day -- for the last month. He finally had some time to work on it this past weekend, but just as he was finishing, he threw out his back and had to stop.

So until he can finish it up and we can mow, we will continue to live in our little house on the prairie. Don't judge.


Garage Sale

This weekend, I held my very first garage sale. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I had done a lot of mental preparation and took my time getting things organized and ready to do so that I wouldn't feel so overwhelmed. And it definitely paid off!

When I mentioned it to my neighbor Judy, she offered to help, as did my friend Crystal and her husband. We chose Memorial Day weekend, hoping to bank on the weekend travelers along Hwy 95. Despite the weather man's grim forecast, we ended up with three glorious days in a row!

I had lots of fun watching all of the different people who came to look and buy. It was interesting to see people's choices, what they found valuable, and what they passed up (seriously, nobody wanted that crock pot?) I had a couple friends come by just to hang out as well, which was very fun and helpful.

See that scooter on the right side of the photo? That belonged to my neighbor Dan. He had it on craigslist but figured he'd set it out anyhow. On day three, someone asked for a test drive and came back with a big smile on his face. He ended up buying the scooter, our big ticket item!

In the end, I got rid of a bunch of stuff that had been cluttering up my home, made a couple hundred bucks, and got a great tan. I think I will leave things set up in my garage and open up shop again in a couple weekends when Princeton has it's big community sale. It can't hurt!


Homeschooling, Part 2

I bet you thought I was never going to get to Part 2, did you? Well, here I go. My thoughts are a jumble tonight, however, so there's no guarantee any of this will make sense.

As I mentioned before, we attended the MACHE annual conference in Duluth last month. One of the key attractions of the conference is the very large and very overwhelming curriculum fair. Imagine a very large conference center room flooded with every type of homeschool parent you can think of -- from the "be free earth mama" to the buttoned up, bearded Amish father -- packed with booth after booth of options on how to homeschool your children. Imagine all of the books! Shelves and shelves of books everywhere you turn! How are you supposed to pick the best ones for you and your child?!!?

Can you tell I was feeling a little inundated?

I had done my homework before attending the conference. I had heard there were too many options available to look at them all, so I took the time beforehand to try to figure out my teaching style, identify Rae's learning style, and narrow down my options to 3-4 curriculum to get my hands on. I felt prepared and confident. But once I got there, I was sucked in by all of the amazing options, many of which I had never even heard of before. By the end of the weekend, I was feeling more unsure about what I'm going to do with Rae in the fall than when I started.

Then it hit me -- this is supposed to be fun. I was feeling all of this pressure to pick a curriculum, do a bunch of research, and have a plan ready to go. I was stressing over whether I should do a preschool or kindergarten curriculum, whether it should be 4 or 5 days a week, and what math program I should use. But as I attended the sessions, almost all of the speakers were repeating the same thing: stop stressing and have fun. If you're not enjoying this, your kid probably isn't either! It defeats the whole purpose if your children end up hating school. The goal is to develop Biblical character traits and a love of learning.

Rae just turned four in February. There is no reason to jump into some big, official curriculum right away. We may sample a little from here and there and see what works well for us; but mostly we are just going to practice getting into the habit of doing school a couple days per week. It will be fun stuff -- not stressful. We'll turn over rocks and talk about bugs. We'll read stories from around the world, then find them on the map. We'll make patterns with marshmallows, then add them all up before we eat them. It will be fun, and hopefully, Rae will love to learn.

So, with that said, my "plan" for this fall is to...
1.) Get in the habit of setting aside time for school 3-4 days per week.
2.) Practice some reading & handwriting, but not push it
3.) Do lots of reading out loud with the girls, especially classic childrens' stories & the Bible
4.) Have fun!

When Rae is five, we will start kindergarten. She is "past" preschool (colors, shapes, letter recognition, etc.), but I don't want to turn her off to school by jumping right into kindergarten at age 4.

And just for you curious ones out there, here are some of the curriculum I've been looking into for once we DO get going.
-Heart of Dakota
-5 in a Row
-A Reason for Handwriting
-Spell to Write & Read
-Charlotte Mason approach

Here are some photos from a day at the park last week!


Rae & Rosie

Their relationship...

...is so...


They love each other so much.


Easter 2011

I don't have the time or the energy to recount all that happened on Easter weekend, but suffice to say it involved another car malfunction and missing out on two out of three celebrations with family.

Let's skip the details and just look at pictures today, shall we? :)

Vinnie's loot

Matching dresses courtesy of Auntie Lisa

On the hunt
Rosie & Gammy
Cutest ever!