Showing posts with label Fun Stuff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fun Stuff. Show all posts

A Trip To The Pumpkin Patch

 


She sat in the back of the truck, crunching on animal crackers and drinking apple juice. The wind rustled in the corn across the road, and through the leaves of the trees overhead. Five mini pumpkins were clutched in five small sets of hands, booted feet swinging off the edge of the tailgate while we took a break.

This is the best day ever,” she said to no one in particular, the breeze catching her curls.





I glanced over at Derek, and and his eyes were smiling too. It had been a pretty great day, chasing our five little kids through a corn maze, trying not to let them get lost. Hitting dead end after dead end, discussing what we should do next and whether that path was really part of the maze or just a cheater path cutting through the rows. Finally spilling out of the corn into a field of pumpkins. Watching the kids run off to find the most perfect one. 
















The reality, though, was that Derek and I were completely exhausted last weekend, after three late nights and three days spent out of the house. Our car had broken down recently, so we have had to take two cars to get anywhere for the last week.  We almost didn’t go to the corn maze, but it was our only day this month when we could. 

But sitting there with our snacks in the back of the truck, I was glad we had made the effort, even when a myriad of small things might have stopped us. It was a worthy trade for the excitement in their faces, and one small declaration of the best day ever, one sweet memory made. 

Small things that really aren’t small at all.





I hope you all are having a lovely Saturday!

Wednesday Five | Vol. 14

 


A Quote 


I think this quote section is going to be where I dump my World War 1 thoughts on you for the next few Wednesday Five posts. I’m reading so many interesting books about WW1 right now.

What has struck me most in learning about WW1 is how much most of the leaders of the countries involved did not want war. There were a couple people in Austria-Hungary who wanted retribution on Serbia, but all the allies involved seemed to try their hardest not to let a war start. It was like a very tragic “comedy of errors“, riddled with miscommunication and mistrust. 

This part of the book A World Undone by G. J. Meyer, really got to me. A double ultimatum was issued by Germany to Russia and France, and the German ambassador went to meet with Sazonov, Russia’s Foreign Minister. The last ditch effort at avoiding a war fell apart. 

“In his hands he had two messages, both of them declarations of war. One was for use if Russia gave no answer to the ultimatum, the other a reply to a negative answer. In his distress and confusion he pressed both on Sazanov and burst into tears.

 Or so Sazanov wrote years later in his memoirs. Pourtales’s recollection was that Sazonov wept first.  Whatever the sequence, apparently both men cried. They embraced, then pulled apart and began to exchange accusations.

 ‘This was a criminal act of yours,’ said Sazonov. ‘The curses of the nations will be upon you.’ 

‘We were defending our honor.’

‘Your honor was not involved.’

Finally, they parted forever, Sazonov helping the distraught Pourtales to the door.

When I was reading this, it struck me how the Fall and sin’s curse didn’t just affect mankind, and our relationship to God, and creation, and interpersonal relationships - it affects relationships between nations too. Peace is so tenuous, and war has been a part of the story of humanity ever since Adam fell. 

As I write this, I’m also thinking about someday, when every knee shall bow before Christ, and He will reign for a thousand years and then create a new Heaven and Earth where sin and death are no more. Then we will have peace forever, and people from every tribe, tongue, and nation, even people who fought and killed each other in wars like WW1, will wipe their tears and sing praise to the Lord together. That will be a glorious thing to see.


A Book

Aside from my collection of WW1 nonfiction, I’m reading a book on prayer by John MacArthur called Alone With God (the Kindle version is only $2!). Prayer is always something that I wish I was better at, and I’m getting a lot of good thoughts out of this one. What specifically stuck out to me was how MacArthur says the focus of prayer needs to be God, and too often we act like we’re talking to God when really we’re just focusing on ourselves. That is so true.

A Bit Of Nature

Before it snowed two weeks ago...yes, it snowed! Not a little bit either, it snowed a few inches. But before it snowed I was worried it would kill all the leaves and I wouldn’t be able to get any good fall pictures of the kids. So I took them outside by our long, pretty mountain grass, and we had a little impromptu fall photo shoot. The pictures turned out really cute (I'll put more on Instagram). 

I love long grass like this. You know, we learned that those little bunches at the end of a piece of grass are actually technically a flower.





A Recommendation

I've mentioned these about a million times, but I wanted to recommend (again) the Rush Revere: Time Travel Adventures With Exceptional Americans book series. We like them on audio.  My kids were SO EXCITED when I told them I got the next book, Rush Revere And The Presidency, at the library.  Wyatt asked if he could listen to it today, and he and Gwen have their chairs pulled up to the CD player so they can listen to the story.  They think Liberty (the time-traveling horse) is hilarious, and I love the strong American values and history in the stories.  This one that we're listening to is also great if you are trying to teach your kids about the election.  I'm planning on adding it to my election resources blog post.


A Moment Of Happiness

It's hard for me to isolate just one moment right now, because I've been feeling generally happy and content for the last several weeks.  That's odd for 2020, isn't it?  I just have this peace that no matter what happens, the Lord is sovereign and it's all going to be okay.  I love my country and am so proud to be an American, and it kills me to see the turmoil. I also believe strongly in caring about the wellbeing of the nation, continuing to fight for our freedoms, and being an active citizen as a Christian.  But this world was never meant to be my home.  

Maybe it took a year like 2020 to make that extra clear.  

We're just passing through, and if you believe in Christ's sacrifice to save you from your sin - well, the place we're going is promised to be so much better.  I've always wanted to live my life with eternity in mind, there was always a part of me that knew how important that was - that's part of why I named my blog Through Clouded Glass all those years ago (based on 1 Corinthians 13:  ).  When you keep your eyes on Jesus and live with eternity in mind, the world can't touch you the same way. That's where I'm trying to keep focus, and nothing else in the world is as calming as resting in Him.  

I wish that for all of you this Wednesday. 

My Favorite "5 Senses" Learning Resources


The lady was dressed in a floor-length floral dress and a bonnet.  She stood by an ancient-looking hunk of iron in the corner of a dirt-floor cabin.  I stood with my siblings in tennis shoes and a sweatshirt, watching her move little metal doors and plates around, exposing the fire inside the iron stove.  

"Today we're going to make butter!" she announced.  "Have you done your arm workouts lately?"  She put some fresh cream and salt in a mason jar, and one by one we took turns shaking it until we heard a thumping inside the jar.  The bonnet-clad lady twisted the lid, and there it was - fresh butter.

She opened a couple more doors on the oven, and slid out a pan of hot gingerbread, and I still remember how good it smelled, and how satisfying it was with a little of our butter spread on top.  

And that was my first memory of learning about the pioneers.



I think what made me remember that field trip so well was, in fact, the yummy gingerbread.  There is nothing that can bring a historical period to life like experiencing a little piece of it through your five senses.  I think taste is an especially good sense to include!

I am trying to think of ways I can give my kids the same effect for our school subjects this year, ways that I can help a topic stick in their minds using taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing.  I have a whole post about including the five senses in learning on the Rooted Family blog this week, with really SIMPLE ideas, because I am all about simple homeschool activities.  If a learning activity isn't easy for me to do with my kids, it probably won't happen.  I hope the post can get your wheels turning and your creative juices flowing on how you can include all five senses in your homeschool day!  

I also wanted to link a few of my favorite resources and products that I referred to in that post over here!  So these are a few things that I'm trying to include this year.

(Some affiliate links below.)


Historical Figure Toys - Rainbow Resource sells these little toy sets that can correspond with different historical periods, and I have to admit I got pretty excited when I discovered this!  I bought my kids the Revolutionary War soldiers, British and Continental troops, and I am going to break them out as we read more about our nation's founding this year!

Rush Revere Series on Audio - As we wind down our school day in the afternoons, I've been trying to remember to put on an audiobook while the kids color or finish up their copywork.  Our favorite right now is the Rush Revere series!  We are currently listening to Rush Revere And The Presidency which is a great one for an election year.  We've also been working through the Little House series on audio.  There is something about novels that makes history stick in the mind so much better, and it's also a great opportunity to give my kids practice at listening well.

Background Music - I love Kristi Hill's resources on teaching music appreciation for kids.  If you aren't signed up for her emails, I'd recommend it - she sends out "Music Monday" emails with links and activity suggestions for different pieces of music.  She also has playlists on Spotify which make great background music for a homeschool day!

Picture Books With Recipes - I'm trying to make note of the picture books we come across that include recipes, so we can make them together!  "Thundercake" is on our list of recipes to try right now, at the back of the book by the same name.  (If you know of any other picture books that include recipes, please tell me! Still trying to gather a list.)

Picnic Blanket - Getting outside is the perfect way to create sensory memories of our homeschool days, and I am finding our waterproof picnic blanket (that my friend actually got me for my wedding!) really useful this year - we are trying to do more of our school reading outside, and spreading a blanket amidst the grass and flowers makes it that much more enjoyable.

Five Senses Learning Ebook - If you decide you really want to get serious about including all five senses in your learning, I wanted to also point you to my friend Elizabeth's ebook on the subject!  She has put together a "Five Senses Letter-A-Week Activity Guide" for the younger homeschool crowd. I haven't read the ebook, but I have read Elizabeth's blog for a while and she has a ton of interesting activity ideas.  If you have preschool kids and want to make their learning more sensory and fun, I think her book would be a great place to start!  I also asked Elizabeth if she had any encouragement to offer on this subject, and here's what she wanted to say:

What better way to learn than by captivating the five senses? By incorporating opportunities for your child to HEAR - SEE - TOUCH - SMELL - and TASTE as they learn, they're able to experience the world around them in a way that would not be possible with a textbook alone. 




Just from my own educational experiences as a kid, I can say that she's right - I think including all five senses wherever possible is the most effective way to draw your children into the learning process in a way that will make an lasting impression on them.   

If you have any favorite activities, products, or resources that incorporate learning through the five senses, I'd love it if you'd add them in the comments!  

What memories do you have of a time when something you were learning really came alive for you?


P.S. Don't forget to check out my post on Rooted Family - I'm serious when I say including the five senses can be really easy, and I hope that post can encourage you that providing memorable homeschool experiences doesn't have to be overwhelming.






Currently | September 2020

 

Appreciating...the long weekend, because Derek should be able to make good progress on the kids' treehouse!  

Stressed about...the fact that it's supposed to snow NEXT WEEK.  As in September 8th.  That is way too early for snow, and I am so nervous that all the leaves will immediately die and fall off, and there will be no Autumn to speak of.

Anticipating...the two weddings we have coming up in the next month.  I haven't been to a wedding in five years!  These are also the first weddings I've ever traveled out of state to attend - one in a neighboring state for Derek's cousin, and one for my cousin that will require a flight north.  It should be an adventure, especially in these, ahem, times.  If you've flown recently, please let me know what to expect.

Collecting...resources on civics and the electoral process, since I decided this is the year to introduce these subjects to my kids for real!  I've got quite a stack going, and so far our little civics lessons have been pleasant.  Right now I'm focusing on elections, and I think I will move on to other civics topics throughout the year.  I've avoided having to go in-depth on the three branches of government so far, so maybe that will be next.

Starting...Awana.  This is the first year my kids have ever done Awana, and I'm glad we have enough space in our schedule to include it!  We have always had too many sports, co-ops, etc, in past years to fit one more thing in.  But this year, for finances and other reasons, we cut out alot of our other activities, so it was the perfect year to give Awana a try.

Finishing...the ten books that I told myself I would finish before October.  Or I'm attempting to finish them anyway.  It's been too tempting to start a new book, because fall brings with it different reading moods for me!  I have six more books to finish (I removed one that I know is just not going to happen).  I need to get a move-on.  What are you reading lately?  What do you consider a fall-ish book?  I started a re-read of Anne Of Green Gables.  I couldn't help myself.

Enjoying...nature journaling with the kids.  I never felt like I could get the hang of nature journaling, but this year it is coming easier.  I credit this entirely to the kids' botany curriculum.  Turns out it's alot easier to nature journal when you have some knowledge about plants!  They do, after all, make up the bulk of the living things out there.




Making...chocolate chai masala truffles from this cookbook.  It's on our "Friday Fun Day" schedule for school today.  Is it a stretch to include making rich chocolate treats for school?  I'm going with no.  Kitchen skills and fractions.

Drinking...the pumpkin cream cold brew at Starbucks.  It is just so good!  But I'm only drinking it occasionally, because Starbucks prices are getting outrageous (I say this every year, yet I still get pulled in by the pumpkin).

What We Did This Summer


Remember that summer to-do list I posted back in June?  Well, we ended up crossing quite a few things off my unreasonably long list.  We squeezed a lot of fun into summer, and as we are turning toward fall now, I wanted to record how we made the most of this summer, all the unusual circumstances notwithstanding!

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Trampoline Games - Check!  I taught the kids "pop the popcorn", and they had so much fun when I joined them on the trampoline!

Catch - Derek bought the boys some gloves, and he's been practicing catch with them this summer.  We never signed either of them up for baseball, but it's one of my favorite sports, and I'm glad they are getting some practice in!

Spray Bottle Sidewalk Paint - Check! We did squirt bottles instead of spray bottles, and it was a hit! But they used it up way too quickly.



Ice Cream Playdough - Check!  We used this recipe, and it was interesting - not much different than regular play dough, except it smelled like frosting.  I think this is basically the same way you would make fondant.  It's a fun recipe to try if the cooked-playdough recipes scare you!



Homemade Bubbles - We did try this!  It looked cute, but it wasn't my favorite because the cornstarch kept separating from the mixture.  But it did work!

Glow Sticks In Kiddie Pool - The weekend that we went porch camping, I also let the kids play in the kiddie pool.  I threw a few glow sticks in it that night so they could see it from the tent!  It wasn't as glow-y as I wanted it to be, but still fun.



Treasure Hunt - I put together a scavenger hunt for the kids to find some candy, using some free printables!  The prize wasn't anything super special, but they still loved it.  Clyde asked to do it again the next day, so I guess it was a success!

Reading Challenge - We did participate in our library's reading challenge!  I took the kids a couple weeks ago to get their prizes, which included a book, a journal or bookmark, and coupons for a free entree at Noodles and Co.

Nature Hikes - We took several nature hikes this summer, and it was so nice to get outside so much.



Play In A Creek - Check!  We found a creek in June, and the kids splashed around while I read.  It was lovely, and the kids begged me to go back.  Unfortunately the next time we went the creek was dry!  We'll have to remember that it dries up by mid-summer next year.


Swimming - We managed to go swimming twice!  My kids are finally getting to the age where taking them to the pool is less stressful and more fun.  The big kids do pretty well in the deeper parts of the pool, and the little three are great with their floaties on.  Wyatt and Gwen were even big enough to go on the slide this year!



Park Days - We visited several parks, including one where splash fountains were on, and the normalcy of just going to the park this summer was so good for all of us!  My kids desperately missed the park when they were all closed during the spring.



Historical Sites - We had to delay one of our historical site plans until September, just because of finances and weather. But we did add in a more local historical site, and I am totally counting it as a school field trip!  We also visited some local fossil beds one weekend.



Fishing - We went fishing twice, with plans to go more this fall!  We went to a lake near our church on my birthday, and we also fished in ponds that are very near our house.  The ponds looked really promising, but the fish didn't like our bait, so we are going to try live worms and go again soon!








Stargazing - We went stargazing in Arches National Park!  It was the perfect place to stargaze as an International Dark Sky site.  We found an empty parking lot, and laid on the pavement for about an hour, just staring at the stars with the kids and talking.  The boys also saw their "first meteor", which they were super excited about!  It was a good one too, with a long tail streaking across the sky.



Porch Camping - We try to do this every summer, and it's a big highlight for our kids!  There is just something special about sleeping in a tent.  And a bonus is that they spend alot of time playing in the tent the next day as well!



Campfire - The burn ban was lifted for a couple glorious weeks, and we snuck in a campfire a few days before the re-instated the ban.  It was lovely, and even Georgie got into the marshmallow roasting this year!



Regular Movie Nights - We tried to have a movie night with the kids every Friday this summer, with pizza and dessert!  We are definitely going to continue this tradition.  It's fun to introduce the kids to some of our childhood favorites!

Firework Fruit Kabobs - I did make these for the 4th of July!  They were so pretty.




Special Kid Drinks - At the beginning of the summer, I froze a bunch of kool-aid ice cubes.  When we were having a boring day, I'd just pour Sprite over them for the kids - it's sweet how something so simple can make you "the best mom ever", ha!


Popsicles - I didn't do great at serving up the popsicles this summer, but I redeemed myself in these last few weeks!  Popsicles all around.

Spaghetti Salad and Broccoli Salad - These are our favorite summer foods, and I made a batch of each to take on our end-of-summer trip a couple weeks ago.

Circus And County Fair - We visited our county fair for the first time as a family this year!  I was really happy they went ahead with it.  There was also a free circus at the fair, and the performers were great!


Dates - Derek and I were able to go on a date night this summer (rare occurrence)!  We went mini-golfing and had a take-out picnic in the park.  We also had a whole weekend away at the Gaylord hotel!  It was beautiful, and we had a great time.







Boys' Birthday Party - We threw a joint birthday party for the boys!  We did a party for the girls last fall, and had plans for a boys' party in April.  We ended up doing it in June instead!



End Of Summer Trip To Arches - We ended up taking a weekend trip out to Arches before we started the school year!  It was a really lovely trip, and I'm going to share more in another post soon.  I have too many pictures to share here!



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Stuff We Didn't Get To:

Regular Game Nights
Trampoline Sleepover
Drive-in Movie
Bible Verse Memory Challenge
Make Bird Feeders
Origami "Fortune Teller" with Boredom Busters
Puffy Paint Ice Cream Cones
Hand-clapping Games
H.O.R.S.E.
Tic Tac Toe rocks
Homemade Bouncy Balls

I am hoping to add some of these into our fall plans, and if not, I'll just tack the rest onto next summer's bucket list!

Did you all do anything out of the ordinary this summer?


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