Monday, October 31, 2011

The Feudal System

Every Friday we have been meeting with some friends to work on school art projects.
Our Tapestry of Grace curriculum is full of art activities that we can make that go with our studies.  For the past four weeks we have been working on a series of dioramas that show the levels of the feudal system from the Middle Ages.

  Bonnie and her friend MacKenzie have worked together on their dioramas while Bryce and Brian have done their own.  True to form, the boys' dioramas are sparse and full of guts and gore, while the girls went all out in details.  During the week, Bonnie keeps working on hers making them as elaborate as our supplies will let her.  I asked her to take some pictures of her dioramas and want to share them with you.

 There are four levels in the feudal system.  The lowest of all the levels is the peasant.
Peasants would live in hovels...

 and worked the land. 

 The next level in the social ladder was the knight.  Bonnie wanted to depict her knight scene with a man being knighted by the king.
 I loved the fact that she gave her people eyebrows.  lol

 Above the knight was the king.

We are not sure why the queen is looking terrified.  Did you notice the bust of the queen in the corner?  There is another one of the king on the other side.  Bonnie also made tiles out of clay that she placed on the floor of the castle and also used to decorate the base of each pillar.

 At the top of the ladder is the church.  Now some might want to argue that the king should be on top, but it appears that the Catholic church had a huge influence on the decisions of the royalty at that time.  I mean, they convinced everyone that they could decide whether or not you could go to heaven.  They even gave you a free ticket to heaven if you fought in their holy wars, so no one wanted to tick off the papacy.
With Saran wrap and some color pictures, Bonnie created the allusion of stain glass windows.  On the ceiling of her diorama is another picture surrounded by more of her handmade tile, something reminiscent of what Michelangelo would have painted.
Great Job Girls!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Run

The Pumpkin Run is a cross country run/walk held at the historic Leavenworth Ski Hill. The course winds through 100 acres of rolling, wooded National Forest lands. The trails consist of grass, dirt and gravel. The Ski Hill trails sit several hundred feet above town and provide great views of the nearby mountains and fall foliage.  

There are three runs you can enter - 1k, 2k, and 6.5k.  All proceeds from the run benefit the youth nordic club.

One of Todd's students had signed up to participate in the run, but was unable to run that day.  He asked Todd if he would run in his place, and, of course, Todd did.

The fun part was that everyone was encouraged to wear costumes. 
One particular group came dressed as the cast from the Simpsons.  You can see Willy, the janitor here.  Behind Willy is the inanimate carbon rod. lol

Todd came dressed up as a dorky sports official.  He wore his stripes and put in his "bubba" teeth.  We couldn't find his coke-bottle glasses to complete the look.

Todd ran in the 6.5k which was mainly adults and a few teenages.

Winnie the Pooh is one of Todd's students. It was his brother that asked Todd to run. 

I think the adults had the most fun with their costumes.  We had Padma (Star Wars), Kirk (Star Trek), the plaid monster, lots of fairies, ....some..well, only they know what they were dressed up to be.

Todd ran a respectable time, especially for one who was asked to run at the last minute. 
It was a fun way to spend a Saturday morning. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Never Knew

I am beginning to wonder if I slept through school or they never taught us half of this stuff.

We watched the second half of Part 1 on the Crusades.  I have to admit that I know very little about the Crusades.  I knew it was labeled a "holy war."  And I do remember that King Richard the Lionheart was off fighting in the Crusades while Robin Hood was robbing from the rich and giving to the poor.  Other than that....nothing.

We have Part 2 to watch tomorrow and Friday.  It is an hour and a half documentary and we did better to split it up into two 45 minute segments. (It is a little boring.)  I am curious to hear more about the Crusades.  To go with the documentary we are reading about various famous men in Famous Men of the Middle Ages.  We are also reading Our Island Story which centers on what is happening on the British Isles.  With all of that together, we are getting a fair picture of what happened in the early AD 1000.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

He has what????

We just got back from the doctor's office and found out that Brian has Osgood-Schlatter disease. He has a painful knot under his knee that is related to going through a growth spurt.   It should go away when he is done growing, until then he will have to live with it.  Our doctor's visit would have been pretty benign except that they realized that Brian was behind on his immunization shots.  He ended up getting three shots before we left.  I guess that is one way of making sure the kids don't ask to see a doctor.  They may end up getting more than they bargained for.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Technology...Gotta Love It

This morning's school got started a little late.

I was going over our to-do list and mentioned that I wanted to watch a youtube video for history.  The kids balked.  They did not want to crowd around the computer for another of mom's videos.  Bonnie asked if we could hook up the Wii to the internet and watch the movie on the TV.  I tried to make excuses but decided they might have a good idea so the morning was spent figuring out how to connect to the internet through the Wii.  It turned out to be a lot easier than I thought, especially since we have wireless internet. (I keep forgetting that.)  Once it was all hooked up we watched the History Channel's documentary on the The Crusades: The Crescent and the Cross.

Another new find that has enhanced our school day is spelling city.  Go to for your children's spelling work.  They have tons of lists or you can create your own list.  With each spelling word, they include the definition and use it in a sentence.  The kids practice spelling their words, they can make flashcards with the word on one side and definition on the back, they can play games with their words, and take spelling tests and vocabulary tests.  They can also print off handwriting worksheets in manuscript and cursive with all of their words.  Most of the things you can do on this sight are free, however for $25 you  can do a whole lot more.  Hey, that is the cost of one spelling workbook so it is definitely worth the cost to upgrade to a premium membership. you use sequential speller?  All the word lists from sequential speller are already on there for your child to study and learn. Do you have a high school student?  They have SAT word lists.  Our Tapestry of Grace curriculum has vocabulary words for each week.  I put them on the site to create our spelling list for the week.  It is worth looking at.

Finally...a conversation from yesterday...

After the church potluck, the senior ladies were all working hard in the kitchen washes dishes and putting things away.

One lady said to the other, "Who is going to wash all of these dishes when all of us old women are gone?

I yelled, "Get a dishwasher."

At which point, they turned, looked at me with disbelief, and then started howling with laughter. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm Not Alone

Monday night I went to a Homeschool Mom's Night of Encouragement.  I really went to get to know other home school moms in town and hoped to find someone to connect with for possible co-ops, fellowship, and encouragement.  Guess what?!  I found a mom who uses Tapestry of Grace.  I am not alone here in the Pacific Northwest.   Unfortunately, we are not in the same year.  She is in Year 1 while I am year 2, but at least we can use each other as resources.

Did I tell you I have lost more weight?  I have lost a total of 16 pounds so far.  I had to do a double take when I stepped on the scales the other morning.  The number in the tens place went down a digit.  WooHoo!

We got word from both of our prospective buyers.  The one couple did not want to change their offer but the second couple came up three thousand more.  We should close on our house in two weeks. 

Lastly, I enter the field of a working mom in November.  I have been asked to be the church secretary.  Til the end of the year I will be sharing the office with my mother-in-law.  She will work Monday and Tuesday and I will come in Wednesday through Friday.  However, in January she will retire and I will be there five days a week.  I will still be home schooling.  The kids will be doing their school at church.  We did a trial run of schooling at church while my in laws were on vacation.  The kids said it worked out alright.    The extra income will come in handy for school and it will help us to save up for a house. 

Oh, and I did get all my baking done and the circus was a lot of fun.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Today begins a busy weekend (I know it is only Thursday but our weekend activities start now.)  Before I submerge myself in all the "to-dos" I thought I would let you know what is going on.

This morning is going to be busy with baking - banana bread, pies, cookies, whatever I can get done by noon.  After lunch we head to church to set up for this weekend's missionary conference.  At two Bonnie has piano lessons and then we head off to the Piccadilly Circus.  Once we get home, I need to can more tomatoes.  I peeked into the box and saw lots of red tomatoes.

Today, we also got word that a decision is going to be made concerning the sell of our house in NC.  Over the weekend we got two offers to purchase the home.  Our realtor went back to both agents and told them to give us their best offer.  Better yet, it sounds like both offers will be cash offers.  If all goes well, we could have our  house sold in about 2 - 3 weeks.

Tomorrow the missionaries arrive.  We will still do school, but there will be more baking, cooking, and cleaning to accomplish at the same time.  I am tired thinking about it.  Saturday, the men have a prayer breakfast and I decided to invite the female missionaries over to our house for coffee and cinnamon rolls (more baking required),  late  morning we will take the missionaries out on a hike and a picnic lunch, followed by dinner at church and another meeting.

Sunday is a normal schedule with missionaries speaking and a potluck after church.  Last year, we found our home to be the hangout for the missionaries in between meetings.  I wasn't prepared with extra goodies and beverages, but I am making sure to have enough munchies this time.  Even better, an area farmer surprised us with two boxes full of grapes and two bags full of purple plums. YUM!  We will have plenty of fresh fruit.  Oh No!!  I just remembered we are supposed to pick pears today as well.  When is that going to happen? ...deep breath....We will figure it out. 

Time to get off this machine and preheat the oven, grab out the school books, and get this day started.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Things You Might See In Leavenworth

I have to say that I love living here.
It is breathtakingly beautiful.
There is always a festival going on.
You never know what you will see when heading into town.

The other day the kids and I decided to list something unusual sightings here:
Here are just a few:

70year old men walking around in lederhosen
Dirty, dingy, stinky, haven't had a bath in a month, khaki shirts and pants wearing people in the grocery store. (Never again will I worry about how I look when going to the store.  Compared to these mountain people, I could go to the Ritz.)

Buxom, young girls in their mini dirndl.

Men carrying their alpenhorns through town.

Men wearing viking hats

   There are also the horse drawn carriages covered in flowers

Wagons filled with beer barrels
and more

We will have to keep our eyes out for more unusual sightings.  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Watch Out Mozart

 Piano lessons have started again with the school year.  True to form, Bonnie can't settle with just learning her new lessons, but she is writing her own. 

Run, Todd, Run

It's Oktoberfest time in Leavenworth.  Actually, for the past three weekends it has been Oktoberfest.  Every available space in town is filled up with cars and sound of oompah music fills the air late into the nights.
To conclude this festive time, the city of Leavenworth sponsored a marathon and half-marathon.  
The kids and I went into town to see the runners come through.  The girls seemed to have the most fun with dressing up for the event.
 Quite a few women wore their mini driendels.

 Then there were the girls in tutus.

Finally, after several more Bavarian runners, came....

Todd.  He has been training for a couple of months.  This isn't his first half-marathon, but it has been four years since he last ran in one.

The kids ran with him down the sidewalk.  We were so proud of him. Todd did very well.  He ran the 13 miles in a little over two hours.  


PS - I finally got my batteries for my camera!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Jury Duty

Today I did my civic duty and went in for jury duty.  I have to be honest and tell you that I did try to get out of it.  I informed the judge that I am a stay at home mom who homeschools her three children and doesn't know what I am supposed to do with my children, but he said I still had to come in.

I was a bit nervous.  Courtrooms do that to me.  I guess it is the power of the people that work there.  I am scared that they might find something that I am doing wrong. After waiting for an hour, we watched a video on what it means to be a juror and the process you need to go through to get selected.  We were then taken to a courtroom to wait for the judge, plaintiff, and defendant to get ready.  We were then moved to another courtroom to be questioned.  The judge, plaintiff, and the defendant began to ask us questions and asked us to introduce ourselves to make sure we would not be biased and could do our civic duty.  It turns out several people knew the defendant and were very aware of the situation he was being charged of.  And if I might add, I got the definite impression that they didn't like the guy and if given enough info would have no problem declaring him guilty.  They obviously didn't get picked to be on the jury.  It turns out they only needed six people and there was twenty-six of us to pick from.  I was number sixteen on the list and, fortunately for me, they picked six of the first seven people.  After about two and half hours, I was sent home.  Whew.... as relieved as I was, my curiosity was peaked and I wonder what the outcome of the trial was.  I guess I need to get the paper this week.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Do you ever feel like...?

Do you ever feel like you have wasted a week of school?

With our weekend packed with conferences, gardening, canning, etc; I never got to do the prep work that I needed to get this week off on the right foot.  Add to that, loosing a day to take my in-laws to Seattle and then spending the last two mornings at church to oversee things while my mother-in-law is away, I feel like it has been an unproductive week.  Don't get me wrong, the kids are doing their work, minus Tuesday;  they are doing their math, language, science, and history reading.  It is just that for years I have taught them as a group and now they are quietly doing work on their own.  Bonnie is now checking her own work so I just have to check in with her and make sure she is doing it properly. Every time I look over Brian's work it is done correctly.  The only one who still needs me close by is Bryce.   I guess I am scared I am missing something.  I like the conversations I would have with the kids during our group study so that I knew they were understanding their history and science.  Of course, Brian did inform me today that Bryce had to excuse himself from the room to add to the air some sulfur oxide.  I guess he is learning something. lol

Sigh....Tomorrow I have jury duty.  What a way to end this week,  my friend, Amber, is coming over to sit with the kids so again there won't be any group time.  This is where I wish I was in a co-op to help prod me along.  Then again, I don't want to push us through the curriculum without understanding it.  I would rather be slow and deliberate than fast and "what did we just learn?"

Signing to can more tomatoes, clean house, and get busy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Celebrating Another Birthday

Goodbye to single digits!

Bryce is 10 years old today!

It is so fun to surprise him.  He showed me the other day what he wanted for his birthday at the store, but I didn't purchase it then.  The next day Todd was in town and I asked him to pick it up for Bryce and hid it.  All week Bryce has been trying to figure out when we can get to town to purchase his gift.  All week I have been giving him excuses as to why we can't go.  Imagine his surprise when he saw his gift at the table this morning.

School is getting off to a late start as Bryce builds his Lego Mine Sweeper.

If you are wondering why there aren't any pictures or haven't been any pictures for awhile; well, it is because my battery pack is dead.  Tell me, what is the use of buying rechargeable batteries when they won't recharge?  I have ordered some new battery packs, but they have not arrived yet.  When they get here I will have to take LOTS of pictures.