Friday, September 25, 2015

Happy Birthday Echo!

Happy Birthday dear sweet Echo! I can't believe you are three already. You have grown and changed so much just this past year! I am so impressed with the girl you are growing up to be.

 You are my free spirit, my deep thinker, my joyful little girl. You continue to impress me with your intelligence, humor and creativity.

You are such a loving sister and an amazing example for Clover to follow.

You are such a great help to me, so enthusiastic, ready to learn.

I am so lucky to get to spend my days with you. You are truly one of my very favorite people and I treasure our conversations and time spend curled up on the couch reading together.

Happy Birthday my darling first born. The world is a brighter place with you in it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Climbing Poll

We have so much going on this month but I wanted to quickly post about the new climbing holds that eric put up for Echo to get in to her little "tree house". She used to be able to squeeze through the open stairs to get in but since she has gotten so much bigger over the Summer she doesn't fit so well that way any more. We debated other methods of entry but after I took her to a climbing gym with some other kids a while back we decided rock climbing holds would be a great option. She had a little trouble climbing them at first but she is getting better really quickly and should be able to manage them on her own in no time.

We envision this space being a little reading nook as she gets older but it can really be just about anything she wants it to be. We love being able to integrate kid areas in the main part of the house like this.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Magical Mornings

Yesterday I felt really validated in my decision that we needed more days at home.  When we have a lazy morning with nowhere we have to rush off to it's really amazing what we get done! Echo is turning in to quite the little reader and she and I have been devouring chapter books. She is really in to the Magic Treehouse series and she often sits through a whole book in one sitting which I think is amazing for a not quite 3 year old! She has started asking me more lately about what different letters are and what sounds they make so I can see it won't be long until she starts wanting to learn to read for herself. I showed her how to spell some words with her alphabet cookies during breakfast yesterday and she really enjoyed that (and yes, cookies are totally a breakfast food in my book).

Both girls are still really in to painting and while Clover loves experimenting with brushstrokes Echo has been very interested in mixing colors lately. Later in the day we all worked in the garden together.

Seeing what happens when we stay home reminds me how much free time the girls really need to explore and experiment on their own, especially at this age!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Resisting The Urge to Over Schedule

Clover bird watching through our front window

I have been so fortunate to connect with an awesome network of homeschoolers this year and as a result we have had a very full social calendar! I really hate to miss out on anything that sounds fun so I tend to jump at an invitation as soon as it comes up. The problem is that myself and my kids are rather introverted and as much as we love our new group of friends we all really need some down time to be happy and content.

Today we had planned to go to a really fun sounding nature walk with a group of friends but Echo kept insisting she didn't want to go (we had a playdate at the park yesterday with another group of friends that wore her out). At first I was inclined to argue with her and make her go, thinking that she would have had fun once we got there. On the other hand there is no reason we had to go, this kind of thing is supposed to be enjoyable and it's supposed to be for Echo. Why make her go if she says she doesn't want to? The more I thought about it the more I decided I could use a day to rest myself and so we decided to cancel.

Of course me being me I felt totally guilty about it but I think taking time to relax at home and and recharge is really important for all of us. We need those quiet days to stay sane and I really have to watch myself to keep from over scheduling and stressing everyone out! So today we will spend a peaceful day around the house and rest up for tomorrow's activities. Sometimes Echo seems to know exactly what our family needs and I just have to listen to her!

I feel so lucky to have so many amazing opportunities to connect with other homeschooling families and I am so grateful to have a ton of invitations for fun things to do. I am just working on finding the right balance for us of activity and rest.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Our Unschooled Year So Far

Now that Echo is getting to be preschool aged things are really starting to take off in her education and it's such a joy to watch. We have had a very busy start to Fall and have been lucky to connect with a fantastic group of homeschoolers and unschoolers who are so inspiring and supportive. We've been doing a lot more out of the house with these other families and Echo's preschool alternative program that I take her to on Wednesdays but we have still had time to do lot's of fun stuff at home too.

As you can see in the top photo we have been doing some simple science experiments like the classic baking soda and vinegar volcano. We also found a really neat caterpillar which we observed and identified (FYI it's a Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar)

The girls have also been really in to painting lately and Clover is showing a lot of artistic talent just like her big sister! I have been moving the painting outside quite a bit because it tends to get messy. I love every minute of it though.

They really work well together and like to do a lot of collaborative work.

Echo also enjoys painting on Three dimensional objects like rocks. I love watching her get creative with her painting substrates.

We feel so fortunate to have stumbled upon a homeschool group that encourages and inspires us while we do project work both in and out of the home. It is such an exciting time in the lives of the girls and I love watching them each blossom in their own unique ways.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Arm Knit Infinity Scarf

Knitting is something I've always wanted to get in to but every time I try to learn it ends in frustration. I have a really hard time having the patience to finish a project. That's why the idea of arm knitting appealed so much to me. From everything I had read it is knitting for people who don't have the patience for regular knitting. Since you use a big chunky yarn and use your arms like giant knitting needles the project works up really quickly so you can make a scarf in about 30 minutes. Perfect for me! Plus I love the look of those chunky yarns.

So when I saw this beautiful thick white yarn on sale at Michaels for $1.50 I figured it was a sign that I should give it a go. There are a ton of tutorials out there for arm knitting and I tried a bunch of them but since knitting doesn't seem to come easily to me I needed something really simple. After trying and failing with a few other tutorials I finally was able to follow this one. Once I got going it was really easy and fun!

If you are knitting challenged like me I suggest you try it! I am also learning to crochet from a friend so maybe I can post about that soon. Now I just have to wait for it to be cold enough to wear my new knitted creation.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

August Photos

 We had a big month with Clover's first Birthday and a trip to the beach! Here are our photos from August. There are tons more on my shutterfly but I managed to edit them down a bit for the blog.