Monday, October 19, 2009

Older Kindergarten Week #5 Monday

Well, we are back in the saddle! A weekend ago we went to Leavenworth Washington to enjoy the fall leaves turning. It was really wonderful. We hiked on the Iron Goat trail on the way over. We walked along the Wenatchee River and watched the salmon spawning. This year Oma took us on a horse and carriage ride. With the excitement and the noise of sharing a hotel room, no one gets much sleep, so we took last week off from homeschooling.

Meanwhile, this week we are still increasing on our Michaelmas circle. Baby is almost 2.5 years old and really wants to be down for our morning walk, and since he is slower, Brother and I are going to march in place to keep our heart rate up when we are waiting for Baby. I'm trying to continue to find ways to strengthen Brothers core.

For Story we are reading the Enki Folk tale "The Old Woman and the Red Pumpkin." Brother likes it because it has a pumpkin and is a little scary in honor of halloween.

This weekend when walking under the Oak Trees we found many, many acorns. The West Wind has been ripping through our yard for about the last week. So, we are also reading Enki story "The Gift Of The Might Oak" for our nature study. Brother was a little afraid of the West Wind, but over all he enjoyed the story.

Craft today was baking, so we made muffins. Today's challenge is that Baby skipped his nap, so we laid down together for 20 minutes and then we came downstairs and Baby played alone in the rec room for the rest of the hour or so. Brother stayed up in his room. This unfortunately means I missed my meditation.

Another big change is that we put a bed for Baby in the kid's bedroom. Until now we have all essentially all been sleeping in the adults bedroom. Sure, we put Brother in his own bed at night, but he moves back in with us around 2pm when he wakes up the first time. We need more sleep! So, I am trying to teach the kids to sleep in the kid's room. We have a double bed on the lower bunk, so I am hoping that eventually Brother and Baby will just snuggle together instead of coming in with us. Meanwhile, I am sleeping in the kid's room for now so that Daddy can get a full night's uninterrupted sleep. He is working almost all the time and needs quality sleep to maintain focus. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

older Kindergarten Week #4 Tuesday

We were up on time and took our walk right away this morning. It was much better, the boys had plenty of energy and we had no problems during circle.

Two official days of homeschooling down for the week. Whoo Hoo!

We babysat an extra hour and a half today, which meant that we didn't get to the beewax. We are going to this weekend to enjoy Alpine Folk Music and food. I think I'll take the beeswax with us to play with in the hotel.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I feel so blessed - lucky - grateful to be able to homeschool. Today I was listening to a poem being read on NPR and I loved it. I loved the pictures it painted in my mind as I heard it, I loved the rhythm. The other day I purchased a book of children's poems by Robert Frost because the seasonal poems were so beautiful. Being touched by poetry is a gift given to me by my children and our path. A few years ago, I truly had no interest in poetry and could not see it's beauty.

Older Kindergarten Week #4 Monday

I can't believe it is week 4 all ready!

I added onto our St. George circle. Brother really loves it and gets sucked in immediately. It is so wonderful to see since he really hated the squirrel and apple circle. Baby isn't so interested in circle right now, but at 2.25, he is only along for the ride.

I didn't remember to start reading and meditating on a Fairy Tale last week. I've been listening to podcasts from Melissa at A Little Garden Flower. She is very clear that if you are not prepared for an activity - don't do it. So, we did not read an Enki Fairy Tale this week, instead I chose an Enki Folk Tale that I have read to myself many times called "The Foxes Proof". On the bright side, Brother asked me to read it two times because it just wasn't enough for him. So, I do know that he needs Fairy Tales now, and I will be prepared next week.

Today was Baking Day. I made 2 batches of Granola with help from Baby, milled 1 batch of applesauce, cooked another batch that is cooling and made 2 batches of muffins. Brother helped make 1 batch of muffins. Baby was asleep so it was much easier. It was so nice spending that time alone with Brother. We don't get much time without Baby. I'm sure that will shift as Baby gets older and can play more by himself.

I swear, I have been cooking almost all day! Back to the kitchen for me. I still have to mill a batch of applesauce and prep tomorrows dinner - And do dishes. Yikes!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

older Kindergarten Week #3 Saturday

Whoever thinks that homeschoolers are locked in the house all day, sitting at a desk "schooling" is crazy! We are so busy socially that I can hardly get things done at home. Anyway, the boys watched daddy doing various house projects today. This afternoon we were able to complete our wet-on-wet painting activity scheduled for Friday. Both boys painted at the same time, so I didn't get to paint myself. I guess it is good that we are not doing led paintings yet! It is so surreal. Brother became lost in the colors today while painting, experiencing color qualities instead of trying to draw a particular object. I did start singing a song about red leaves falling before he started painting so that could have influenced him. Or it could be that we have had a strong rhythm for quite some time now. I am surprised and quite pleased though. It is so exciting to see processes occurring that I have only heard about!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Older Kindergarten Week #3 Friday

Plans were canceled this morning. I took to heart the lesson I learned earlier this week. Replace the plans with homeschooling, the morning rhythm sets the tone for the whole day. So, we did another day of "lessons."

We were invited to join a couple of other like minded families for an afternoon of outdoor, old fashioned games. I did have to cut rest time short, so if this becomes a weekly gathering, I will need to pay more attention to the clock. Anyway, the kids had a great time! Brother watched some games and joined in for others. After the games, the kids played together, really well actually!

Wet-on-wet painting was pushed off until the weekend because we have a family birthday party tonight!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

older Kindergarten Week #3 Thursday

Today we reached our goal of homeschooling 3 days this week. After baby sitting, which falls into social time, we made our craft, Wind Socks. The boys had a great time trying them out in the living room. The crepe paper really makes a neat sound. I hung them out in the grape arbor so that we could enjoy watching the wind catch them without the rain ruining them.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Older Kindergarten Week #3 Wednesday

Today we met a friend at Karkeek park. It is so beautiful there. We could hear the Hawks calling. For a while instead of watching the children, I watched a chipmunk feast on snowberries. It was so sweet. I love chipmunks.

We met in the early afternoon, and as we didn't need to homeschool this morning in order to meet our 3 day a week goal, I let the kids free play all morning. Big Mistake! I should have stuck to the rhythm and had a morning walk, circle and story just like usual. I paid for it with squabbles and melt-downs. Brother even said "We didn't have circle yet today,:" which is a huge clue to me! Blah! Now I know and I won't be so lazy again.

After we came home from Karkeek, the kids had quiet time while I spent too long on the phone. I did manage to squeeze in our project/activity of woodworking. We are making our second crafts board. I marked the saw lines off with pencil and Brother sawed one of the lines, we have three more to go.

And then dinner was haphazard and ran late. Darn phone!

But at least I am still on the path to meeting my weekly goals!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Older Kindergarten Week #3 Tuesday

We completed our regular homeschooling in the morning. In the afternoon we went to the local Park Day for the third week in a row. The kids seem to play by different rules than we do, so there was a lot of reporting going on by Brother. He accidentally poked a kid "in the eye" with a stick when he was trying to down the slide and the other was coming up. Everyone was fine, but it makes me nervous. It's because of the "bag of poop" I am still carrying around from a different group I was in this summer. I am doing really well at holding boundaries with the person who seems want to add their "poop" to my already full enough bag. Probably this is something I want to meditate on! Meanwhile, Brother left the park much more gracefully this week than last week. Which means he was feeling more comfortable and less stretched.

Tuesday is beeswax day, and I am finally getting that started up. I have some warming kinks to work out, especially since we are heading into the colder season! But, he was really interested in the project and the sensory stuff, how does it feel, how do you work with it, etc. This is also an improvement!

And our other major improvement was in leave taking from babysitting. He left without causing a running around ruckus! One of the reasons is because I am not allowing him to play with the trains anymore. That seems so harsh, but it was really tipping him over. He was melting down the entire time he was trying to play with them, so I called it. For the last two weeks he has found other things to focus on and his quality of play is really increasing again. He is also done irritating the little girl to get a reaction out of her and they are starting to play together well again. Phew!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Older Kindergarten Week #3 Monday

Michaelmas week! As a secular family, celebrating Michaelmas is kind of a touchy thing. It can be a very religious holiday. For us it is not religious, but it is spiritual. My story is about St George. I googled St George and the dragon, found a few different stories and went with the one that really felt right to me. I have been reading a lot about the meaning behind fairy tales as well. After much meditation, I did decide to kill the dragon even though Brother is only 6 years old. The King did send emissaries asking the dragon to leave and he said No. Also, I chose a story where St George had to overcome being tired, scared, burned, and temporarily blinded by the smoke. Fighting dragons is hard work!

In the past Fairy Tales have been really difficult for Brother. He took them literally and was totally frightened. So, I backed off and was only telling Folk Tales. However, I had noticed him becoming entranced during Folk Tales, so with great hope I told the more advanced St George story. We went to a different spot in the house, I closed the curtains, lit a candle, sang a different opening song and then hoped for the best. He was fine. He didn't get upset or anything and he was in the trance like state. He is maturing!

I am still separating Baby from Brother's story, so I spent a lot of time on the picture books with Baby before I left him to play and read to Brother. It went great, Baby isn't interested in being a part of it.

Another change is in circle. I am essentially doing two circles now, one for Brother followed by one for Baby. Obviously both are pretty short, but we do take an exercise walk before circle, so short is fine. I do cover all of the movements.

Today we baked muffins using some of the over grown yellow squash from my Mom's garden. Yummy!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weekend in Bellingham

We had a great weekend in Bellingham! We went to Hovander Farm in Ferndale, WA. Here is the link: The kids really enjoyed the big red barn as we have been reading that book for Baby's story. Brother was very interested in the plows. We had read the Enki story "Fill Up The House" two weeks ago, in which one of the brother's failed to win the house from his father when he brought home a plow, and obviously plows were on Brother's mind.

We also saw some a fabulous Daliah garden. The daliah's were so tall that they towered over the boys creating covered paths for the kids to "sneak" through.

Baby is being especially hilarious right now. Bear in mind his isn't even two and a half years old yet. Somewhere in the past week this TV and computer free kid has heard "I'm going to beat you up." And he even knows the "punching" type motion. We were at two parks last week, one if which was pretty rowdy. Our strategy at this age is simply redirection (and trying not to laugh). Meanwhile, there were 2 pretty big turkeys and some big geese in a pen. They were pretty aggressive, with the turkeys puffing up and the geese posturing and honking. These guys are the same size that he is and it was pretty scary for him. After hiding behind me in fear he stepped forward and pulled up his fists and elbows in position and started walking towards the birds. It was pretty funny. Of course I redirected him, but it was still funny!

Right before we left town we took some over grown squash up to the goats and turkeys who live behind my parents. It was so fun feeding the animals. They came running as soon as they saw us, even the turkeys!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Padilla Bay

We are finally getting up to Bellingham for a weekend! We left early on Friday so that we could stop off at the Padilla Bay Nature Reserve on the way. Here's the link It is a short enough walk that I can hope Baby will walk by himself but if he doesn't I can carry him. He did decide to walk most of the way!

While the leaves at our house are barely even turning color, some of the trees in Padilla Bay had already completely dropped their leaves. So, it felt like Autumn. The boys could kick the leaves around while walking through them.
For extra credit in science ;) Baby explored both deer poop, complete with full plumb pits and coyote poop. I did not take pictures of the poop, sorry. Baby also experimented with eating Rose Hips, which he did not enjoy. He did enjoy the herd of cows in the field next door. Shortly after we passed by the entire herd started lowing. It was unexpectedly loud for a mostly city girl like myself. The children were delighted! We have been reading the "Big Red Barn" for a week now in celebration of the Harvest.
We also found a tree containing a honey bee hive. It was still awake and we could hear the buzzing. Wow! I want to try and stop by next time we go up as well. I wonder if the bees will still be buzzing as it gets closer to winter.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

So sweet!

older Kindergarten Week #2 Thursday

              Leaf Presses

As of today we have finished our week's homeschooling tasks. We are struggling with circle big time! I try so hard, but I can't seem to meet him. I started doing a focused meditation on the issue tonight. Next week's circle and subjects are completely different, so maybe it will be a better fit.

Meanwhile, he loves story, and floats in and out of willingly doing his chores and resisting his chores.

We babysat today and I saw great strides in Brother's maturity. We had issues with leave taking gracefully, which he really did well today, and with experimenting with relationships (teasing). Not the type of teasing where you call people names, but the type where you do things to annoy another person causing them to squeal or scream. This is totally unacceptable to me, so we had been talking about feelings and the golden rule. I changed our transitions in a couple ways and made sure I was more physically present to hold boundaries and to help with impulse control. Meanwhile, he just stopped doing it. He told me it was because he was older now and done with that. I reinforced the changes by noticing and telling him that I appreciated it. No "good jobs" or "blanket praise" but just direct, specific, and honest communication.

Brother was completely uninterested in his art project today at the time I had set aside for it. So, I let it go but left it set up. When we got home from babysitting it was waiting for us. Once I got him started he loved it. He immediately became absorbed in the process. "Look Mom, the leaves are coming through when I color on them," he said with awe. He was so excited that he took control and chose his own leaves for the next three pieces of paper only to be interrupted by his father coming in for dinner. Last year he did this project, but didn't really see what was happening. I feel so blessed to be homeschooling and to witness his discoveries and his growing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

older Kindergarten Week #2 Wednesday

Today we celebrated the Harvest at the Washington Park Arboretum We like to visit around each equinox so that we can see the changes in the seasons. We enjoyed a lunch of Harvest Soup - that the kids didn't eat, gluten free muffins and various seasonal fruits. For desert my friend made a wonderful, gluten free pear custard. Yum!

The kids loved running around in the trees and rolling down hills. When we came home the boys were not ready for anything other than free play at home, so I left them alone to dig in the digging spot!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

older Kindergarten Week #2 Tuesday

The Luminata was beautiful. Our camera doesn't work in this type of lighting, so I downloaded some pictures from a local web site.

It so happens that the picture taker took a picture of our good friends. This is the same type of lantern that we made. They were so fun for the kids to carry. Baby walked about 3/4 of a mile dragging his lantern along on the ground. He was so excited! Brother and Daddy were way up ahead of us. Baby was so slow that we were at the very end! He was amazingly cute.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Older Kindergarten Week #2 Monday

The week has started off well. We are celebrating the Autumnal Equinox, so we are reading the Enki story The Buried Treasure. I chose it because it is still a Folk Talk and we haven't started Fairy Tales yet and the story shows the whole process of farming (tilling, planting, tending, harvesting) and ends with a harvest festival! We are also reading Duchess Autumn, the Enki nature tale for the equinox. The circle is still focusing on squirrels because I am trying to keep the oldest at least a little involved and he loves squirrels.

For the preschooler, I am reading the book The Wild Child, The Big Red Barn, and Autumn. He can sit in for Brother's reading too if he wants.

For our project we cooked granola and harvest soup. I dropped the cleaning; it was essentially taking all day. I either need to lower my standard or do more of it on a daily basis!

Today was Brother's second swimming lesson. He did not get in the water again, but at least he sat on the side of the pool with his feet in the water for the whole lesson. It doesn't sound like he is planning on getting into the water any time soon. He thinks it is over his head, although I know for sure it is not. The water level is only 3 feet, and he is taller than that. We have 3 weeks off for pool maintenance. I told him that I thought he would probably grow during that time, so hopefully if I talk about him growing, and I measure his height a few days before swim class maybe he'll try to get in. I'll pull my husband on board. I think it will be more powerful coming from him.

Tomorrow is the Luminata, a local equinox celebration. People meet at Greenlake Park at 7pm for singing and merrymaking. After dark we walk part way around the lake with our lanterns. We started our lanterns on Friday and will finish them up tomorrow just in time to take to the festival. This is our third year, and I really love it. I'll bring pictures!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Older Kindergarten Week #1 Friday

Since we had already homeschooled 3 days this week, we met friends over at Kelsey Creek Farm in Bellevue Washington for a nice walk and visit with the animals. The piano tuner came in the afternoon. That was very exciting for the kids. By the time he left it was dinner time. It's amazing how fast the day goes!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Older Kindergarten Week #1 Thursday

We were supposed to have plans at the park today, but the family has some vomiting going on, so we did not meet up. Brother was pretty disappointed, but he didn't actually come out and say so. Instead he melted down all morning. He seemed fine when I told him we couldn't go. Hmm, I didn't actually put 2 and 2 together until now. Poor kid bottled it all up. It would have been much better had I addressed it. In the past, I have not told him when we have plans because I don't want him to be disappointed when the plans fall through. With one of his best friends plans are often cancelled because the oldest son has a compromised immune system. However, with Brother's newfound sense of needing to be in control - and thus going over the plans for the day the night before, and then the morning of, I can't get away with hiding things like that any more. We will both have to learn new coping skills!

So, he melted down all morning until I pretty much said "We are taking our walk now and then we are having circle!" and I put us all outside crying. Once our feet were moving on our walk everything calmed down and he was very happy! He participated in circle, then made his own circle and I forced us all to play outside. This really showed me the healing qualities of rhythm.

Brother also worked on his tooth fairy pillow today and his needlepoint art project. We have not started on our Autumnal equinox lanterns yet, because our new Stokke highchair arrived. We put it together and then dinner ran late. I really love the highchair. It allows Baby to participate fully at the table without him having to stand on a chair. We gave up the "real" highchair ages ago because he felt so separated having to eat on his own tray. I am saving up to buy a chair for Brother as well. Next year when we start first grade I want him to be sitting ergonomically correct when we teach him to write. The sooner we have the chair the better. I have $75.00 so far! I thought I could buy one chair and just adjust it for each kid, but it doesn't work that way. Darn it!

Sunday was supposed to be our Waldorf inspired Autumn festival. As of 2 weeks ago it was happening, so I wrote it on my calendar. On Tuesday I realized that I was over-stretched and couldn't handle having our piano tuned, going to Bellingham and going to the Harvest Festival. After much thought, I cancelled our trip to Bellingham only to be told today that the Harvest Festival is not occurring. I am not a very happy camper. I am not... I am not... I am not....

Ok, venting over and moving on. Brother is 6 and in older Kindergarten. He is needing more contraction. The Enki curriculum suggests adding some keywords for these older kids. So after the third time of telling the story, he can chose one word that he would like me to write down on a note card for him. I gave him a Wells Fargo check book box (he likes the stage coach) to put them in. He really didn't seem that jazzed at the time, and he was not receptive the first couple time I mentioned it to him, but now he has been carrying that box around all day! Obviously it meant a lot to him. Husband has been told to read the word to him in entirety, (concept of whole to parts).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Older Kindergarten Week #1 Wednesday

It's Wandering Wednesday. I forgot my camera, but we went to Franklin Falls at Snoqualmie Pass. We played in the spray at the base of the waterfall, lifted and carried heavy rocks and climbed over rocks to get from one side of the river to the other.

This morning I showed Brother the poster of the day's activities again. We read it together. After breakfast he just unloaded the dishwasher all by himself! I didn't remind him or anything. It was amazing. I don't expect to see it again for a long time, but it was really interesting. I read that the Older Kindergartener wants meaningful work, but it was amazing to actually see it in action.

At park day yesterday, we left early because he and some other children told me that they would stay in this one area (that I could not see them in) and play. I had a suspicion that something was going on, and when I went to find him, they had left the area. He complained that we did not agree on the exact lines of the boundary. So today, when he went to the other side of the river, I showed him the exact boundary he could play in and he agreed. Even though I was across the river from him, He stayed in the agreed upon area with no problems. It just feels like he is maturing and becoming more responsible.

Tonight I made Thursday's poster and we went over our plans for the day. We talked about it, and he is feeling more heard and cared for since we have started this practice.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

craft board

I have finally completed one of our craft boards. The kids helped me along the way. It is finished with a home made beeswax polish. It took me a really long time because it is my first woodworking project! i guess we'll see how the beeswax finish stands up to wet-on-wet!

Older Kindergarten week 1 Tuesday

Today was an interesting day. I can see Brother maturing. It is a pretty uncomfortable process for him, poor kid. He feels like "everything is changing, Nothing is the same." I know it is internal changes, but if I can find a way to make the days easier for him I will. So , I posed the idea of a daily schedule listed on the wall. He is pre-reading, so it has to be pictorial, but he is showing an increased interest in words, so I am also writing out the words. I had him start looking through magazines for pictures of pertinent activities for him to cut out today. Hopefully he will feel more comfortable, he seems happy.

We were able to complete all of our regular homeschooling today, for the kids anyway. Circle was a little rough. As it is Autumn, my circle was based on squirrels and Brother wants to be a duck right now. Oops. We went to the local homeschool park day and then Baby missed nap, so although I laid down with him for a while, and we all had "quiet time" I didn't get to meditate.

Park Day went really well except that Brother accidentally ran into another kid. He was sent down on the zip line at the same time a boy ran right in front of the path. There was nothing he could do, but it was sure an intense and traumatic event. It didn't help that the first time we went to park day, the injured kid was crying "I'm never going to play with him, etc." when it was more his fault than anything. Oh well, Brother seemed to bounce back and enjoy more play.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Older Kindergarten Week #1

Well, this is the first full week of homeschooling for us with our full weekly rhythm. The last couple weeks were catch as catch can to slowly get us up and running.


20 minute walk then, Opening verse, Green Orchard, Kooka burra (in the apple tree), Trees in the wind, Mouse Fingerplay, closing verse.

This is the same circle I used last week with great success. Today I tried to embellish with transitions regarding squirrels and lost Brother. He did watch from the chair though, instead of causing problems. That is a huge improvement from last year! I'll try again tomorrow. Maybe I'll change the Kooka burra into a squirrel and add a squirrel poem.


I read "The Runaway Bunny" to baby and brother, leaving a farm and woodland scene out for Baby to play with while I read Brother's story. Unfortunately, Brother wanted to stay and play too. He did come while I read "Fill Up The House", which is another Dumbling folk tale from my Enki Folk and Fairy Tales book. Brother did stay and listen, but as soon as I was done reading, he was up and in playing with the toys.

For handwork, Brother continued sewing his tooth fairy pillow. He hates to sew, so we are working on a little bit at a time. I have to set the sewing goal for him as he resists. I am hoping that he will eventually start to love it.

This quarter's enrichment is swimming lessons. There were so many kids in the pool and the water was up to his neck. It was very overwhelming for him and he ended up crying for me to get him out and saying "Cancel it! Cancel it!" So, I pulled him out and he came and sat by me until the last 5 minutes. At that point he was able to sit by the side of the pool with his feet dangling into the water. I figure that since he was so upset, the fact that he was eventually willing to put his feet in and sit there was fabulous. I am hoping that by the end of the quarter he will at least be comfortable enough to get back in the pool. We shall see!

Monday is cleaning and baking day. I didn't get all of the cleaning done, nor the baking. I'll finish cleaning tonight and make granola. Hopefully on Wednesday we can bake muffins. Today we also had a piano delivered! Yeah!


Today we did a lot more home maintenance getting ready for the rainy season. Brother and Baby played together pretty well today.

My Planning/Inner work:

No meditation
planned the story for Monday and the circle. Checked for changes for the next week and thought about circle transitions.
planned the weeks menu and did the big grocery shopping trip.
Tidied up the house so that we start off the week right.

Going to bed too late though, I'll be starting off tired tomorrow. I'll plan on grabbing a nap with Baby at quiet time.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Deck almost done

Phew! The deck is almost done. We have been in the house for over 1 year now and have not been able to enjoy it. I stood up on it for a few minutes tonight and just relaxed.

Today we had a birthday party. I was a little nervous, but I meditated before we went to stay calm and focused. Other than some painful relationship growing pains, everything went fine. I held boundaries, and my son turned a game that he didn't like (and the parents don't like) into something more appropriate. I was pretty proud of him.

We may, I repeat may, go to the local park day. I may wait until October when we have had more time to relax into our school year rhythm.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Green Machine

Poor Brother had an unpleasant growing experience this weekend while we were going through all of the leaking roof stress. Brother and Baby race around the backyard and down the driveway on their little tikes wheeled toys. They love it! Poor Brother was riding on one Saturday and it started scraping the ground. Clearly he had grown too big! He was filled with sorrow. This is a game they play together. This is a way that they can relate to each other despite the 3 and 3/4 years age difference! It was so sad. And it was especially poignant for me as the oldest of 4 children. I remember when my brothers and the neighbors got their Big Wheels when I was already too big to ride myself.

So, we went shopping on Craigslist and against all odds found one! There is a lady who is not far away who posted that she was looking for a bunch of them for a drag race. She was willing to pay more than they had asked for the one they were selling. After I saw the WTB ad, I figured there was no way we'd find one. And with the roof blow up, there was no way we were going to drop $120 on one. We didn't know if we were going to be replacing or restoring a bunch of metal roof ASAP, there was no way we could buy a Green Machine right then.

On Tuesday the seller contacted me, so after my eye appointment, we dropped homeschooling and drove the 20 miles to pick up the Green Machine. It is perfect. He can reach the pedals with 2 phone books behind him, and he loves maneuvering it in tight spaces to get out to the driveway. And both boys are happy ripping around the backyard and down the driveway again. They have drawn rode directions and parking spots with sidewalk chalk. All in all it turns very creative quickly. Being 6, brother wants to be the Big Boss in Charge, which is totally annoying, but also totally age appropriate.

I am not the best at pictures and will get some soon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tiger Mountain

Today we spent most of our day hiking at Tiger Mountain with our Wednesday Hiking Friends. It was a lovely day. Brother petted slugs and watched them squish up, waded in a little pond, and made friends with a duck I wouldn't let him feed. Mean Mommy! Being 6, he wanted to run ahead or hide behind us. Often I couldn't see him, which made me a little nervous. I want to honor his need of independence, but at the same time, there was a bear and a cougar caught in Seattle this year. It just reminds me that wild animals do exist and the do live in the forest at Tiger Mountain, especially if they can survive in the parks of Seattle. WOW! At the same time, they do tend to be shy, and it is very low risk. So, deep breaths MaMa.

After we got home, I needed to make my grocery list and take us to the store. That is what soured part of the day. If I had my list before we left and we stopped on the way home, then it would have been no big deal. But, coming home and then leaving again tipped the kids over. So, my goal next week is to get that all finished the night before. If I am really on my game, I'll have snack done Tuesday night as well. But, baby steps.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Ok, I love the rain. Living in Seattle, I'd better love the rain. But, after last year's roof leaking, black mold sickness - big rains make us worried. I guess we should really see them as a gift though; a way to test the mettle of our new roof! Anyway, when we went to the master bedroom on Saturday afternoon water was pouring out of the light fixture above the bed. Further investigation found black mold on the carpet pad. So Husband cleaned it up and threw parts away until the black mold was all gone again. Meanwhile, we had a big pan with water dripping into it when we were hit with another deluge. After all of the water intrusion issues in the old house from the bottom up, we never expected to have them in the new house, from the top down!

We survived the weekend, with much stress, and the roofers came over on Tuesday, found their mistake, and hopefully fixed it. Unfortunately, with two automaton parents walking around in the "I'm freaking out, but I'm not going to blow" mode, both kids were pretty stressed out too. We tried to keep it as normal as possible, but there is no way they didn't feel the tension. Plus, instead of having family time Daddy was working, coping, cleaning mold, and setting out water pans.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Shoreline Public School First Class Day

was yesterday. Hee Hee! We didn't even know, except that Brother saw a school bus drive through the neighborhood. I thought it was a practice run.

Oh, the bliss of ignorance! Ok, now I'm not so blissed out. I just realized what a momentous occasion it is. Brother turned 6 on August 30th, so we were going to hold him out of school last year anyway. That means that this is the first year we would truly consider sending him to Kindergarten. And now we have missed the possibility of the first day of school. It's like the point of no return. We Really Are Homeschoolers!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Started the new year

Well, I planned on starting the homeschooling year around the equinox, but since Brother is midway through the 6/7 year transition it just felt right to start now. We had an absolutely crazy 2 weeks containing 5 birthday parties (3 at our house) and the prep involved, a fair and a camping trip. Obviously rhythm was lacking and he was out of balance, either over expanded or over contracted - I'm not sure which. Phew - the poor kid was just screaming for some rhythm and the Kindergarten rhythm works best for us, so we just started up again today.

We mainly reinstated the larger pieces of the rhythm and I will fill in the detail later. Next year when Brother is in first, it is really important to me that the baby not be exposed to the first grade fairy tales. So, I am setting up the environment for that this year. I am reading a story book to Baby (who is only a little over 2) in the rec room and setting up a little scene with the tree blocks, animals and silks. Today it was "Home For a Bunny" which is a Spring book. Oh well, then I am reading a Folk tale to Brother in the living room. If (when) Baby follows and if he interrupts, then I am redirecting him back to his toys. I am holding the expectation in my mind that he will not be following us out any more by the Spring.

Today Brother's Folk Tale was ThickHead from our Enki Folk Tales. He has been so inflexible lately. I know that that is a characteristic of this age, but if I could just temper it a little bit. Clearly having a 2.25 year old Brother getting in his way and disrupting his plans is frustrating, but he does need to be a little flexible. Baby shouldn't always have to follow his rules. I have been reading about the meaning of Fairy Tales and the Dummling character embodies flexibility, so I am hoping that if I give him a few different stories with that character it may help him to relax a bit.

Another way I thought I could deal with the frustration upsets is by pulling him away from the play for a bit and engaging him in meaningful work. So, I put the granola ingredients out for us to make homemade granola and just figured that we would float in and out of the activity as needed. The morning went so well though, that I didn't have to pull him over to the project. Oops! I started pounding nuts anyway and Baby became interested. Before I knew it, they were both dying to help make granola, so we did that together and all was well.

Another really neat thing we did today was clean off the back porch. It was so dirty with stains. I took water and gave the kids brooms and brushes and we swept it off. It looks so much nicer! And we had a lot of fun doing a meaningful task together.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September Poem

By all lovely token
September days are here
With Summers best of weather
And Autumn's best of cheer.

Helen Hunt-Jackson

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Brother

This year Brother turned 6! He watched too much Bob the Builder while I was recovering from my surgery and became completely obsessed with the character, so he wanted a Bob the Builder cake. Since he was so obsessed with Bob the Builder, I was unwilling to have that cake. However, he really enjoys Lincoln Logs and building, so we compromised and made this cake. The cabin is made out of royal frosting and pretzels, with a graham cracker crust. It took 4 days to make the cabin because of the drying and hardening time required for the royal frosting.

Grandpa and Grandma gave Brother a tool belt.

He is so happy!

Baby loved the birthday parties as well.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fairy Furniture

We attended a birthday party at Wolf Haven which included camping. The wolves howled many times during the night. At dawn, farm animals joined in. It was absolutely amazing!

I made the tree branch fairy furniture featured in Living Crafts as a part of our gift.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lynden Fair

For my birthday we go to the Lynden Fair every year. the kids see farm animals. They pet kittens, ducks and goats. They saw cows nursing their young. We saw Alpaca! Brother and I sat in the fiber room, whilst a woman spinning told fairy tales. Brother loved it! I am so happy that he was able to experience a woman telling real fairy tales from memory just because she loves it! He also was able to see a spinning wheel in use, and watch a woman weaving on a loom.

Of course he also rode on rides.....

Actually, Brother likes the real rides. We go on the ferris wheel together. And he loved the bumper cars. Baby went on the Merry Go Round twice and was done part way through the second time. But he loved pretending to drive tractors. He was over in the tractor section for a long time.

The ice cream is an extra treat. We try and keep it for special occasions only.

They made a mistake and gave Brother two servings instead of one. He insisted on eating the whole thing!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Karkeek Art Walk

A local park hosted an outdoor art exhibit.

This is the first large spiral that my kids have been exposed to.

There is just something about spirals that really draws them in. They really loved walking the spiral and exploring the inside.

A picture of baby in the garden.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Exploring Rhythm

The new "school" year is right around the corner! I am exploring rhythms for fall now that Baby is a little over 2. He is starting to get interested in reading the same picture books over and over again. I would also like to lay the ground work for story time during first grade. My hope is that Baby will not hear Brother's fairy tales. This will require me to tell a silk story for Baby and a fairy tale for Brother, hoping that Baby will play with the silk story props while I tell Brother's fairy tale.

I am also really exploring food options. Today we made humus. The boys helped to smash up the beans! They also helped to grind up the cucumber for the taziki. Tomorrow I would like to make some Beet Soup. Yum! I can grind up the greens and put them in as well.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Planning, Planning, Planning.

Another year of Kindergarten!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Firpirey hatches!

When we were about 1 hour away from our house, I had the bad feeling that Firpirey was going to hatch while we were gone. Sure enough, he was out of the cocoon when we arrived home. Fortunately he was still alive! We hurried him outside and put him somewhere safe so that he could rest before flying off. He sure is beautiful! Brother was very excited and protective of the moth, keeping him safe from spiders.

Friday, July 10, 2009


We managed to go on vacation despite my surgery and it's horrid recovery. Baby is still so young and such a handful that we decided to stay in a campground and rent out an RV. It is much easier than tent camping. Mt Raineer was feeling shy this week, hiding behind the clouds, so we didn't get any good pictures.

We visited Paradise, but there was so much snow I was afraid of falling and hurting my belly. So, we hiked at the base of the mountain instead where there was no snow.

It is always so special to see these. I can't remember what they are, but I think they are pretty rare.

Really old tree! Brother loved it, but is too young to really understand how to figure the age by the rings. There is plenty of time! He enjoys it's size.

Trip, Trip, Trap. Trip, Trip, Trap.
Go the gnomes along the track
Through Forest deep they make their way
To find their Daddy as soon as they may.

Baby really enjoyed running on the trail. Sometimes I could hear him saying "trip, trip, trap" as he was going along. Only 2 years and 1 month, but already circle songs are sinking in. I changed the words for him a little bit while we were in the woods.

There were a lot of these types of trees whose trunks twist around as they grow.

Brother is being the tree.

Eventually Brother sunk into play while hiking. I don't know what his game was, but he would run ahead and talk to his imaginary friends, they would act something out and then he would run forward again. Its very exciting to see him get lost in his imaginary world!

We also saw a buck while we were hiking. We see Mama deer and baby up in Bellingham at every visit, but we have never seen a buck before.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4th festivities

The 4th of July is a big day for our family. We start out at the Bothell, WA parade on Main Street. Last year Brother rode in the children's parade, but this year he decided not to. The favorite part of the parade is the visit from the SeaFair Pirate and the Mobey Duck. The pirates drive their boat down the street stopping every so often to smash their swords on the ground and fire their cannon. For a couple years it would scare Brother and I would have to hide with him behind some buildings until the pirates had passed. Once he started wearing ear phones to mute the noise he absolutely loved them! Now he really looks forward to their antics.

This is the first year Brother really figured out what the parade candy was all about. They came home with a ton, which I was then able to disappear. I was very sad not to be at the parade this year.

After the parade, my husband's side of the family got together at one of the Aunt's for a picnic. There are so many children now, and Uncle built a fabulous tree house with a pulley. Daddy said the kids had a ton of fun. I'm already looking forward to next year.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I had a minor outpatient surgery on June 29th, however, there was a mishap causing me a longer recovery and an overnight stay. Darn!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Branch Fence

We have so much yard work to do! My girlfriend has a stand of bamboo that she thins annually. She creates lovely fences in her landscape and garden using the stalks. I am trying to do the same with our fallen branches. This is our massively overgrown raspberry bed. I have made a little fence and cleared a spot for the kid's shovels and rakes. I still need to finish the fence to contain the raspberries and make some stakes. It will be really sweet when the kids can pick raspberries and eat them straight from the vine!

June Bellingham visit

We went to Bellingham to visit with Oma and Opa this weekend. They live near Lake Whatcom so we have swimming, "urban hikes" and backyard nature to enjoy. While we were there, the juvenile Eagles were really flying over our heads often. And also Red Tail Hawks. The Crows and Steller Jays would really start making a racket and then shortly thereafter we would see the raptors flying over. I saw the Eagles lock talons one time mid flight. It was amazing!

While the boys were having a snack in the backyard, a fawn nibbled its way by them within 3 feet. Brother said that he could smell the fawn! About 5 minutes later Mama dear grazed her way by us. They go through the backyard daily and are used to seeing my parents.

We also took a nature walk to Whatcom Falls park. We start outside the park and hike in. Then I give the kids a while on the equipment before we walk out again. We saw Red Winged Black Birds (and heard their song). We also spied a very still fledging Robin. It became startled when a bike came by and ran down the middle of the trail before hiding behind a tree. On he way out we noticed the carpet of fuzz from the cottonwood trees. Wow!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Firpirey's Home

Here is Firpirey's home while he is with us. Obviously we'll have to let him go ASAP when he turns into a butterfly or moth.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nature Walk

Today we went for a nature walk on top of Snoqualmie Pass. It was amazingly beautiful. We walked around a lake and played in the water afterwards. While we were there, a thunderstorm moved in. We could hear the thunder for a long time before the storm actually arrived. The thunder is amazingly loud at that altitude. I have never experienced anything like it.

We also found a huge ant's nest. I grew up with these things in the back yard, but Brother has never seen them before.

Proof of beaver activity. I didn't realize that beaver's took down trees this big! i also didn't realize the shavings would be so large. It makes sense though, since they have such big teeth.

Caterpillar Science

Here is our little friend that we found crawling on the bricks. I researched on the net and that he eats last year's growth of Doug Fir branches. We did give him three other types of leaves though, just to make sure that I wasn't starving him. He did chose only to eat the Fir, so we stopped giving him the other choices. Brother has named him Firpirey. We are watching every day for changes with great excitement.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Long Break!

Wow! I have taken I long break from blogging. It's not that we haven't been doing anything, I've just been too busy to record it. Obviously I need to get back to our planning.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Here is the birthday present Brother chose for his dad. He loves it, and Daddy loves that it came from him.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Today felt like we got a lot accomplished! The morning cleaning routine was completed and our morning homeschooling activities were completed. I changed the story order around and did Baby's silk story first. He was fed by that and went off to play leaving Brother and I alone to read his Enki Fairy Tale. We are still reading the Queen Bee. It was pretty cool to have Baby go off and play. I felt like I could see a little piece of the future. Very Exciting!

Our garden is starting to get cleaned up a little bit. I have four beds cleared now. Which is amazing. Everything was so over grown, with grass and blackberries everywhere. So far we have planted twenty two strawberry plants, with twenty one growing, and one blueberry bush. I cleared the spot for the second bush today and it will be planted tomorrow. Blueberries need acidic soil, so I am collecting a bucketful of pine needles from our "forest" and mixing them in with compost. Instead of fertile mulch, I am using fallen tree branches. It is so fun to use what our property has provided!

Meanwhile, it took a long time to clear the land, and I lost of track of time. So Brother did not do a craft this afternoon. This is also a result of my missed planning session earlier this week. It's disappointing, but we'll get there! He did do a self -directed craft this morning. Three days ago he made a "sticker" with a piece of paper by putting some colored tape on the front of the paper and then taping it to his chest. After it feel off he crumpled it up. Then he put blue tape all over it except for a small hole for his "friend micey" to climb in. The blue tape was the primer. He now has covered everything but the hole in tape of other colors. He loves his home made toy and "flies" it all over the house. So, he has done "Crafts" just not MY crafts. ;)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Today I decided to add in the silk story for baby. I know he is only almost two, so we are not really homeschooling yet, but the younger stories feed Brother and baby enjoys them too. Brother starts first grade when he is seven, so in 18 months, I want to have our basic rhythms in place. And, my memory could really use the exercise.

I am also working really hard to complete a morning cleaning routine for myself using the Flylady principles. Here is her link: I have only been doing it for a week now, but already our laundry pile is completely under control. The dishes are getting done, and the main floor bathroom - with the cat box - is clean enough for a drop by visitor. The brothers play really well in the morning for about an hour before they are ready for breakfast and I really want to take advantage of that time as much as possible.

Today we went to visit our good friends I and S. I is brothers age, and both boys are really interested in space. I built a rocketship using moving boxes. It's really, really cool. They boys carried it upstairs and played space games for a long time. It was so cute because when they landed on a planet with little gravity and no atmosphere, they did a little dance to show they walked different. It is amazing how much they know about space and to see them incorporate it into play!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Phew it rained last night! We have a metal roof and it was so loud it seemed like we were sleeping - or not sleeping- in a tent. Since we didn't get much sleep last night, everyone slept in really late this morning, pushing our entire day back. We still walked in the rain. Brother wore rain boots and splashed in all of the puddles. Since there are 2 long hills on the walk, we spend a lot of time with "running river" flowing down the hill besides us. He splashed down running river looking for worms for me to save. We pulled a lot of worms out of the river today!
Brother joined in circe today. I think this is one of the benefits of being in a co-op. I used the same circle as the co-op circle, which is actually designed for younger kids. But he enjoys it, and since he has seen all of the other kids participating in circle at co-op, it is carrying him at home. For story, I am reading "The Queen Bee" from the Enki Folk an Fairy Tales. He really sat quietly for the entire story, afterwards commenting that "he saw pictures of the story in his brain." Then he holed himself up in his room building with blocks for the next hour. He has a really big plan and has asked me not to clean up his room tonight.
This is the first time Brother has gone in his room and shut the door leaving Baby on the outside since Baby has become old enough to realize what is going on. Baby was sad, but brother needed his alone time. While Brother was holed up his room, Baby and I made granola. I gave him whole almonds, covered them with a dish towel and then gave him a wooden mallet. He had a lot of fun pounding on the nuts. He also helped stir the whole sticky mess together. We both have our hands on the spoon and I sing a rhythmic little verse (that I make up on the spot) so that he can feel the movement he needs for the stirring. It was very sweet, and we hardly ever get time alone together.
Before Baby went to nap, I read him a couple board books. I am trying to start giving him the same as I do for Brother, but on the appropriate level. I figure I might as well start now, I want him to be willing to give Brother and I alone time as Brother's work becomes more intensive in the next few years. I am laying the groundwork for it now.
This afternoon we worked with bee wax for a bit. Brother is creating a bird and would like to save it for him to work on next time. After it is done, he would like me to incorporate it in some stories.
Tuesday afternoons we babysit Brother's friend and her newly adopted brother.
Tonight I read the first chapter in The Burgess Bird Book for children. I used to read Brother a chapter book every night, and I want to get back in that habit. Since Baby is under 3.5, I am not concerned about his absorbing inappropriate stories yet. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday - Baking Day!

We had Co-Op this morning. The kid played really well together and had a lot of fun. Brother participated in circle again, for the most part anyway. And I told a silk story of "The Sheep and the Pig" from The Baldwin Project.

We made pizza for the second time. The gluten free crust is really sticky. It went much better because I gave each of the boys a bowl and little of their own dough to work with. It was a real mess, but they had a lot of fun. Meanwhile, I added brown rice flour onto the top of the crust so that I could spread it out. It worked much better. Next week, I'll show the boys how to do that as well. Every week we learn something new - about pizza crust anyway!

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day Celebration

Tonight we participated in the local May Day celebration. It is held in a local park by a group of artists. A few other local homeschoolers make it as well. Brother is getting old enough now that he is really curious about what the older kids are doing. This year he participated in a Tug Of War and a Three Legged Race. We are a competition free family, so I was interested to see how he was going to react to a determination being made of who is the winner and loser. He didn't seem to notice and had fun even though they were last in the three legged race and the boys kept getting pulled over by the girls in the Tug Of War. The most important thing is that they have fun, and I don't think he realized he was supposed to be disappointed.  

We made tissue paper butterflies and attached them to sticks for the children to play with. And I had brought a play silk which turned into a parachute. We are already looking forward to next year!

Shoreview Park

Our hike this week was at Shoreview Park in Shoreline, WA. It was a beautiful day and the kids had a lot of fun. I love the trails because they are a little primitive. We also pass through a few different types of environments. In one part the ground is very sandy and more dry weather plants grow. After hiking down a hill, we walk along a lake and then along a creek. Then back up again into an evergreen forest. 

Updated Spring Nature Table

Here is our updated Nature Table. I added a bird to the nest and hatched the cocoon into a butterfly. Our challenge is that the cats climb onto the table and run off with the butterfly. Fortunately, this only happens at night and I can put it back again in the morning before the kids notice. 

We also have bees and clover from a silk story I told in April and some other treasures we have collected from nature. 

Thursday, April 30, 2009


We made hummus from scratch. The kids enjoyed making it, but not really eating it. I guess I need to reduce the garlic we used. 

We did a lot of cleaning today as well. My parents are coming to stay the night and the kids are really excited.

preparing for May Day

We are going to a May Day celebration Friday evening. Brother and I are making Jingle Knots from the Enki Craft book to use as anklets. Basically, it is tying a row of knots and then attaching a bell. He is still in the mechanical stage of the project and can get a knot about 1/2 the time. I think the numbers on the board confused him as well. I'll have to try this craft again in a month and see if it clicks for him then. He was very concerned that the anklet would not be ready on time without my help, so I finished it up for him. He was happy and we all had jingle bells ringing on our ankles for the celebration!

Schriber Lake

Two weeks ago we "hiked" around Scriber lake. This is one of those places that we try and visit at least once each season. It is in a very urban area, but with the tree growth and bird life I don't think the kids even notice. The really enjoyed the hike. We saw ducks, geese and a hummingbird's nest. We also heard other birds calling.