Thursday, August 12, 2010

While He's Gone

I'm going to use my nervous energy wisely.

To make our home feel lighter and full of hope.

To give us a solid beginning to this school year.

To make all the things I've been putting off in favor of spending my evenings with my husband. (time well-spent!)

My handmades list for his absence:

1. Mittens for both boys. These will be my first lined mittens and the first time for me working from the top down on a mitten. I'm using the ideas in Anna Zilboorg's Magnificent Mittens book for the structure, but not the colorwork since I'm under specific orders for JUST red and JUST green mittens. I'm almost to the thumb on the first mitten already, and I have the yarn and needles for the other pair as well.

2. Work hard on the Summit Scarf [rav link] for my mother-in-law. I have everything, just need to get started!

3. Pajamas for the boys. I need to grab up a bit of fabric for this still, but I'll remedy that little problem this weekend.

4. Two skirts for me. It is still *blazing* (yesterday was 99F, heat index around 110!) and I only have so many shorter skirts. I've had the fabric since spring and just haven't gotten around to making them for some reason!

5. Start Ender's Christmas Sweater. I have all the materials, just have to do the math before I get started!

6. Ummm... If I were in the mood to finish some things, I still have 3 sweaters missing a total of 4 sleeves. And 2 different socks in progress . . .

*side note* I go through seasons of starting and finishing. I start like 10 different projects within 2 weeks, tinker on each of them til something is really inspiring, finish that item and then go on a finishing spree til I'm down to about 2 WIPs.

Any bets on how much I'll actually get done?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August Daybook

Outside my window… It's dark except for the street lights. It's late and it's been a long day.

I am thinking… about making it through the next 4 weeks. Brian will be gone for most of it for work, and there is a lot to get done in his absence in preparation for the school year.

I am thankful for… very little working hours this month. With Daddy gone the boys will need extra mama love.

Always Learning… We spent last week in NYC and spent a whole day at the American Museum of Natural History. Ender didn't want to leave! Add in visits to the Statue of Liberty, the WTC site and learning to use the subway and you have a boy who thinks we should pick up and move to the big city permanently.

From the kitchen… We have plans for salsa this week, and an attempt at Peach fruit leather.

I am wearing… the comfy-est of pajamas- Brian's old coaching jersey and yoga pants.

I am creating… currently, mittens. 3 each for the boys, and then up on the urgent list is pajamas for the boys, a baby gift for a little one due in October, and work on Christmas gifts... and Ender's birthday is in there somewhere . . .

I am going… to make space for flexibility this month. Yes, we have things to do, but I want to be able to drop everything for sad little boys during Daddy's long absence.

I am reading… The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson, the Story of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting with the boys, and an assortment of knitting books (I'm diving back into Elizabeth Zimmermann)

I am hoping… that Skype makes his absence bearable.

I am hearing… my mind working overtime.

Around the house… I'm re-working the boys' rooms to try to make a little more space, and I'm doing another re-sort of the basement. Why don't boxes magically disappear when you need them to?

One of my favorite things… Cherry Limeades from Sonic. They put a Sonic in down the street from us and it is taking some serious will power to not hop in the car and go get one every. single. day.

A few plans for the rest of the week... I'm finishing up my summer work schedule this week and we have plans with family this weekend. Hopefully it keeps little bodies busy and little minds occupied.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Alphabet Notebooks

Ezra is an important part of our mornings. As a brand-new three-year-old he's very eager to do everything his older brother does, but he's just not big enough to keep up quite yet. I've been trying to find ways to include him in our work without asking him to do more than he's ready for or putting any real expectations on him.

As I was looking for ways to encourage Ender in a bit of writing when I came across the Alphabet Notebook on Homeschool Share and thought that sort of thing would be great for Ender to practice some writing without a lot of new material. He already knows all his letters and sounds, but he's ready to start writing a little more and this seemed like the perfect avenue for him. And when I really started to work on putting the material together I realized it would be a good way to include Ezra as well. He's doing every portion of this plan except for the writing. He's madly in love with scissors and cutting paper, so he's even doing all of the crafty portions.

We are going to use some of the elements from the alphabet notebook linked above, but I am creating some of my own components as well.

In order to have a schedule (which works for my very schedule-oriented son) but also maintain flexibility (which I need), I set up a plan for each week. We are planning to cover 1 letter each week, with occasional weeks off scattered in there to review. The plan for each day of the week will  stay the same week to week to provide routine for Ender. Below you'll find our generic plans. I will share pictures of our finished work every week so that you can see how our alphabet books are growing.


Decorate the letter of the week (markers, paints, stickers, whatever strikes our fancy) and discuss the sound of the letter. The decorated letter goes on our display board that we will add to all week long.


** Trace the letter in rice or sand with a finger and pactice the sound.
** Think of words that start with that sound to add to the display board. (I will ask Ender to write these words on cards as he is able, but I expect that to be much later in the school year. I will have him write just the first letter until he is ready for full words).
** We will also make something for the notebook page for that letter.


** Practice the sound of the letter of the week and review the cards we made the day before.
** Illustrate the cards
** Make something for the notebook page for that letter.


** Painting, clay or a food for the letter of the week.
** We will review the cards and sound of the letter as well.


** Put together our letter of the week page for the alphabet notebook.
** Revisit any activity we did that week that the boys really enjoyed.

Ender will also have copywork each day that is just the letter of the week- tracing a few and writing a few of his own.

If you'd like to follow our alphabet notebooks, I will be posting our alphabet work as a series on Mondays. I hope you'll join us and share your own alphabet ideas!
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