Library Time Week 1

I thought I would start a new series and share weekly (hopefully) what we’ve been reading in our family. It may give you some ideas for reading in your family. Any books marked with a * can be found for free on Kindle. Happy Reading.

Me – The Lost Wagon* – Jim Kjelgaard

14-year-old daughter – A Little Princess* – Frances Hodgson Burnett – a re-read which shows it’s a good one

13-year-old son – The Basil of Baker Street Series – Eve Titus – a bit below his level but a fun read

Product Details

11-year-old son – Canadian Attack and Support Planes and the Big Book of Riddles

9-year-old daughter – 5 Nancy Drews

7-year-old daughter – She’s been reading a lot of Peanuts and Family Circus books. It’s so fun when they can read what the picture is about and “get” the joke. She’s also been reading “The Boxcar Children” for school so I’ve been hearing it repeated to me almost verbatim. 🙂 Sound familiar, Mom?

5-year-old son – He cannot read for himself yet but still loves books. Here are a couple that were read to him this week…

          Mop Top by Don Freeman (author of “Corduroy”) and Rooster’s Off to See the World by Eric Carle

2-year-old son – Teddy Bear’s Fun to Learn. We discovered this book with our oldest daughter. We have worn out three copies and really need to order another one. This is Ethan’s all-time favourite which is saying a lot because he LOVES books. My husband has never read these books word-for-word to our children. Instead, he has made up his own story for each page and it becomes more detailed with every child. They all love to hear how Daddy is embellishing the book for the newest toddler, and we’ve had a lot of laughs at what he comes up with.

 So there you have a small sampling of what we’ve been enjoying reading this week. Have we interested you at all? What have you been reading?

Advertisements

It’s IN!

stress

Yesterday I was all set to do a a post only I couldn’t get into my account. I was upset and tried everything I could think of. I went to bed with the post unwritten and the problem unsolved. A couple of hours after I got up this morning I was mentally giving myself a slap on the back of my head – I had been using the wrong username. Such is life. I’ll have to save that post for another time.

On a happier note we finally planted our garden this week. Since we were late buying our plants this year I had to make some changes but I don’t mind. I just am happy to have plants growing in my backyard. We also saved a little money since the plants were on sale. We ended up with eight tomato plants, 4 zucchinis, 1 honeydew melon, 1 pumpkin. We also planted a mint plant. I wanted to get some parsley but couldn’t find any. While we were looking we saw a stevia plant which we thought might be fun so we bought it. I know nothing about growing or harvesting stevia so I’m going to have to do some research. I’m excited to be trying something new. We also planted some beans and carrot from seed. I still have some marigold and sunflower seeds that I want to get in – hopefully tomorrow.

I had a whole bunch of pictures of us planting our garden, but one of our children mistakenly deleted all the pictures from my camera this morning. So you’ll have to be happy of one picture of everything tidy and in place. The plastic box is my compost box. So far no compost. I’m so anxious to make my own compost – gardening can be great for increasing patience. 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

How was your week? Do you have a garden?

Natural Body Products

Body BeautifulThis is going to be a short post. Maybe it’s just an excuse for me to see if anyone is really reading this blog. 😉

I wrote a post a while ago about using oil for a facial cleanser. I have been accumulating recipes for various body products – shampoo, conditioner, deodarant, hand lotion, lip balm/gloss, shaving lotion, skin salve, etc. I’m hoping to try a lot of these this summer and get back with you as to whether or not I like them. If I do like them I will definitely share how-to’s. Our skin is our body’s biggest organ. We sometimes forget that what we put ON our skin can affect us as much as what we put IN our body.

Here’s what I’m wondering – have I missed anything? Is there a body product that you’ve really been wanting a natural alternative for? If so, I’ll try to find one for you. Let me know in the comments.

What To Do?

So we’re pretty much finished all of our school work for the year. Just a few more assignments and we’re done. The downside is that I am already hearing rumors of boredom. Why is it that they work so hard all year to get done and then complain three days into their vacation that there is nothing to do? And you know, complaining to your mom about nothing to do is never a good idea because she can always come up with some chores. 🙂

I need to keep my children busy but I want it to be fun too. After all, this is supposed to be their summer vacation, and they did work very hard all year on their school work. They deserve/need some downtime. So what are our plans?

First of all, there is our garden, of course. They’ve been having fun putting scraps in the compost and digging for worms to add to the compost bin. Soon there will be plants to water and weed – although with square foot gardening there aren’t a lot of weeds. The boys also have our lawn to mow and a neighbour’s lawn. They’d like to get more.

I found a programme online called “Around the World in 60 Days” . This is put out by www.thrivingfamily.ca. This takes you to 27 different countries over the summer with simple activities. It is a way to help my children learn their geography in a fun way and also to remind us to pray for others as we “visit” these countries. We will start in New Zealand and end in Canada. I’m looking forward to this. I like geography.

We are also going to do a photo scavenger hunt. Here is June’s list. I’m going to make individual folders on my computer for each child who wants to participate to store their pictures in. I’ve done something a little similiar to this before and enjoyed it. All my children like to take pictures so I think they will like this activity. The beauty of digital cameras – no film to worry about wasting.

june-photo-hunt-500x500

We will also participate in our library’s summer reading club. Our children certainly don’t need to be encouraged to read, but they still enjoy joining in with the library’s programme.

Finally, I encourage my children to set 1-3 goals of what they hope to accomplish over the summer. Every day when we gather after breakfast to pray and read a chapter in Proverbs we discuss what their goal(s) for that day is. I want to encourage my children to start making a habit of purposefully striving towards a goal. In the past, we have “scheduled” our goals to help them get used to this. For instance, one day would be a spiritual goal (pray for someone, memorize a verse, etc), another day a physical goal (a certain number of repeats of an exercise or learning something new like jump roping), a mental goal (learn a new skill, write a story, etc), a social goal (write a letter, call a friend or relative, make a gift for someone). It’s always fun to hear what they hope to do. I make sure to include myself so they see me setting an example. Last summer several of them challenged themselves to see how long they could stay outside one day before retreating to the coolness of the house. Most of them made it to mid-afternoon. That was fun to watch.

IMGP4305

So yes, I will try to keep them busy and away from boredom, but I will also make sure that they have downtime to unwind from school. When we start up again I want them to be excited about the new school year.

What will your children be doing this summer?

Walking

stress

Today I needed to go to a couple of stores and the library, and I had to do it by myself! {gasp} No help from another adult or an older child with the toddler and baby! So, my husband dug our tandem stroller out of the back of the garage and off we went. Absolutely wonderful! I had totally forgotten how wonderful this set-up is. First of all, it’s a great workout. I’m pushing between 75 and 85 pounds between the children and the stroller. Secondly, with my toddler sitting in the front seat we don’t talk much so I’m just pushing and quietly thinking. Occasionally my little guy would call out “digger” or “truck”, but it doesn’t take much thought to agree with him and go on with my own thoughts. To have that time to just think without interruption was wonderful. I really need to plan on doing this more often.

The shopping wasn’t fun – couldn’t find exactly what I wanted and what I did go with just seemed overpriced (maybe I’m just too picky?). We stopped at the library midway to return something and for a nursing break. The baby was too distracted though so he nursed a little and then quit – at least it was enough to hold him until we got home. I normally don’t shop. My husband does it all – wonderful man that it he is he loves shopping. Today reminded me why I hate shopping so I’m so glad that the walk made up for the disappointment.

If you’re not one for walking you should try my mom’s idea for inspiration (not that she needs motivation herself – I think my love of walking is inherited from my mom). Every time she walks she clocks how far it was. She’s following Google Maps and “walking” to visit my sisters. So far she’s made it to my sister in Illinois. Now she’s on her way to my sister in Wyoming. Check out her blog where she talks about how she does this and how far she is.

On the garden front I still don’t have my veggies in yet. 😦 In my defense it has been cold and rainy quite a bit. However, my oldest son made a compost box for me. We followed this pattern. So I’ve been having fun putting scraps in it. The problem is I want to see it changing now, but this is one of those projects that’s going to take a while. He also made me another garden box which is approxiamately four feet square. Hopefully this week my plants will go in!

I know it’s been a week since my last post. Hopefully, next week I’ll get back to more posting. I hope you had a fruitful week too.

Starting Our Garden

stress

This has been a cool, overcast and sometimes rainy week for us. It’s been so cool, in fact, that I was glad I hadn’t planted my garden yet. However, today seemed like a good day to get started. We didn’t plant anything today, but we cleared out our garden box and the plants that were overtaking it. I couldn’t believe how many weeds had started to take over. My oldest son chopped out numerous branches of a bush that was trying to take over that particular corner of our yard. We tossed weeds out of our garden box, and two of our middle children took our wagon around to the other side of the fence to gather up all the weeds and toss them in the deep bush in the ravine behind our house.

Then we set up our fence. Every summer we unroll a length of snow fence and attach it to stakes with tie wraps. We initially did this to protect our garden from the labrador we had. If any of you have ever owned a lab you know why our garden needed protecting. 🙂 We no longer have our dog, but we do have toddlers and little ones who don’t understand that plants grow best when you don’t dig around them.

Every year I struggle to come up with some way to create a simple “door” in the fence so I can get to the garden and my clothesline. I think I have something workable this year as you will see in the picture. I’ll let you know how it holds up over the summer.

Tomorrow my husband and oldest son are going to build another garden box for me. We’re also hoping to set up a compost pile. I really want to stop giving my compost scraps to the city and use them myself for my garden.

Sometime in the next few days we’ll be putting in our plants – tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, mint, carrots, pumpkin and I really want to try a watermelon again. I love square foot gardening, and I love the excitement our children have in planting, watering, watching and harvesting. Gardening really doesn’t feel like a chore, but that could be because space constraints keep our garden fairly small. We buy from local farmers to get the bulk of the vegetables we need for preserving in the fall.

I hope you had a good week and that if you have a garden it is going well.

a very sad "before" picture

a very sad “before” picture

my hockey stick "gate"

my hockey stick “gate”

a close-up of the "latch"

a close-up of the “latch”

a much improved "after" picture

a much improved “after” picture

Check One Off

summer sewingToday I sewed a skirt for my youngest daughter which was one of my goals for this summer. A skirt for Rebekah was not one of my explicit goals. However, my husband recently decided one of his shirts was no longer wearable. I really struggle with throwing clothes away even when they are no longer any good to the person who owned them. So I started thinking, and I thought I could make a skirt out of this shirt.  When my girls were smaller I made summer nighties and dresses for them from my husband’s shirts. The fact that he is 6′ 7″ and has larger shirts helps. 🙂

It would work better if Rebekah was a little younger/smaller, but as you will see I made it work.

First, I cut off the sleeves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then I trimmed the shirt off  at just below the underarms and trimmed the bottom. I liked the idea of the buttons on the shirt running down the front of the skirt. As it turns out I was right – it’s cute.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Since I needed more length I made a casing for the elastic which I sewed to the top. Then I sewed a piece of fabric to the bottom to add length and to make it prettier.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This project cost me nothing because I had all of the materials. The fabric was something I had had in my stash for years. I always buy big spools of black and white thread so I have lots of that. The elastic was also something in my things.

My daughter is thrilled with her new skirt. I had a lot of fun with this one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA