A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Our Week With New Mews

Happy September!  The air quality has improved.  It's not back to normal yet, but it's not as horrible as it was.  We're getting mostly yellow and orange now, with the occasional red day.  

And with that, HUZZAH!  Curbside pickup at the library has resumed!  This was our first pickup.  

But by no means our last one.  

I took several shots of the solar fountain, but managed to miss it's full height.  It was shooting about a foot high, but it seems to have gotten tired.  

I remember this being really hard for my kids last time around!  Hannah and Katie did great at it, though.  You have to color all the states so no two states touching each other have the same color.  (And now I see a spot that Hannah goofed on.)  

Jack had an experiment involving estimating and measuring.  It was reassuring to see him *doing* something for school instead of just sitting at a screen.  

Outside!  The one day the air got down to green (safe) for a few hours again, we went to the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, and while we were walking the paths, one of the girls shouted, "A compass rose!"  I love it when I get confirmation that they've learned something.  The 4 directions are on there, but they're standing on 2 of them, and their shadows block the other two.  

They were convinced that they could walk on this water.  It looked solid to them, since it was the wrong color, and not rippling or reflective.  It wasn't until we got up on the bridge and looked down into the reeds that they could see small patches without plants atop the water.  

We saw a bird feather, but we left it there.  We also sampled elderberries, right off the tree.  

Hannah's toucan.  I'm really liking the how to draw birds book.  I'll miss it when it goes back to the library.  

And Katie's monarch butterfly.

Remember parking lot VBS?  Well, we kept the 5 gallon bucket from that.  And it just so happened, that I pinned a project several years ago, and even bought most of the supplies for it, but I never had a 5 gallon bucket on hand.  But now I did.   (Fabric is leftover home dec material from when I did the panda room--I sewed a valance from it.)

My very own storage seat/footstool.  I wouldn't have picked "furniture making" as a quarantine hobby, but I actually love being able to put my feet up, put a kitten or two in my lap, and watch an episode or two of NCIS:  Los Angeles.  

As we're learning about birds, we've looked up some bird calls on YouTube, and somehow we discovered bird cam footage.  Hours of it.  I like to have it on in the school room when I'm correcting the girls' math books.  Grumman got very interested in our new "window."  



He ended up being rather disappointed that they neither smelled nor reacted like real birds, but it was fun to watch him.  

This sculpture is at one of our local libraries.  I know it's supposed to represent ebooks and paper books, but as I was waiting for our books to come out, it seemed to epitomize the choices many parents are facing right now:  school in person, or school online?  

I might have to take the mechanical pencil away from Hannah to encourage her to write large enough for me to read without a magnifying glass.  

A friend invited me to her online Usborne books party, so I thought I'd get a couple things to go with our schoolwork.  Only I accidentally ordered 2 of the India book.  Sigh.  It's hard enough to get my girls to color enough to fill in one book between the two of them, so I guess I'll pass the extra on to someone else.  

One of the Hello Fresh meals a few boxes back was paninis.  I recreated them recently, with chicken, and they were fabulous.  The sauce is super easy:  sour cream, mayo, sundried tomatoes, basil.  Mozzerella, and chicken on top.  Since my whole purpose in getting the boxes was to add some variety to the monotony of having the same few dinners over and over and over, I'm considering this a win.  Also, the soup meal in our last box was really good and pretty inspiring.  I'm usually not a soup from scratch cook, but I could see this becoming a thing.  And soup is pretty forgiving, as far as tweaking and substitutes go.  

Grumman continues to be a menace in the school room.  I thought it would be fun to set up the flags for each of the countries we study on the half wall.  Grumman thought this was a challenge.  

Hannah recently asked a question about the Vatican, and since I knew pretty much nothing about it, I added that to our library list.  

Also, one of the nice things about having things from our list come to us at different times, depending on demand for that particular item, is that additional books reinforce ideas from prior books.  

I got a text from the animal shelter asking, "Can you take a couple kittens?" and my answer was an immediate and resounding YES!  I hadn't been to our city's shelter yet, but I found it and picked up a pair of 3 week old kittens and all the "stuff" we'd need to take care of them until they're big enough to alter.  

Grumman is Not Amused.  Poor guy.  I thought he'd do better this time, since he was warming up to the last batch right before they left.  I guess not.  Hopefully he'll come around again soon.  I miss napping with him!  He's boycotting my room while the usurpers are in there.  

This one is a girl, and we're calling her Cleo, after Cleopatra.  She's the larger, dominant kitten.  The white one, we're calling Bertie, because he looks like Albert Einstein, with his white hair going every which way.  They're crazy messy.  Last time we had 3-weekers, we had mama kitty, and she did all the work.  These guys get covered in food, from ears to armpits at every meal.  I'm really good at quickie baths.  

Our craft this week was bead crosses.  

I saved this screenshot, back in July, to use when we got to Mexico in our virtual travels.  We used pony beads instead of heart beads, and I had to reverse engineer the design on the fly from the picture, but I think we did okay.  

My purple example, that I made alongside the girls.  

And Katie and Hannah wearing their finished crosses.  Which they promptly took off and sunk into the abyss of their room.  Hmm.  I guess that one was kind of a flop.  I hung mine on the bulletin board.  

And we wrapped up our week with one more trip to pick up books.  Actually, on the "fostering independence" front, this is another area we're learning new things.  I've started asking the girls to take the bag of returns back and pick up their new bag of books from the table outside the library.  The first time I asked Katie to do it, you'd have thought I told her to climb Everest.  It was hard, it was scary, she didn't know what to do.  But we can do hard things, and she learned to do it.  


  1. Wow! The kittens are so cute. So glad you are able to get books from the library again. That will help so much with homeschooling. I don't think we would make good foster kitty parents...my kids would never let them leave.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. There's always a demand for kitten foster parents in my area. (Despite having a large feral spay & neuter program here) I look at it this way: kittens are easy to find homes for. If I foster, and let go, then I can help more babies next time around. We've done kittens 4 times, and bunnies a couple of times. I like having extras once in a while, but I also like having a break in between.

  2. How lovely to have clean(er) air and library services again!!!! The art, the crafts, the learning, the cats . . . it all sounds so joyful. My girls have bucket seats just like your footstool--they made them for church camp. :)

    And correcting math with a magnifying glass?!?! I hope she starts writing bigger!

    1. I think my original intention was to make the bucket seats for the kids to take to summer camp!

      It wasn't *all* joyful, of course. We woke up to no internet one day, so the girls had some unplanned outside time while Josiah and I scrambled to figure out what went wrong and took turns being on hold with customer service. But we're back, now, thankfully.