Field Trip: Afton Alps




{Grace- braving the chair lift alone}


{My chair lift buddy}

{Jackson coming off of a "jump"}





Back into the Swing of Homeschooling


The transition from winter break to school has been fairly smooth and peaceful.  Welcomed I would even say.


We are doing are best to brave the cold everyday.  Or almost anyway.  A few of those negative 90 degree days we thought it best to stay tucked inside.


During our first week back we read the story of Fatima the Spinner and the Tent and did some writing and drawing in our main lesson books (I love this story).


We made some tooth fairy pillows (someone has his first loose tooth!).


We also started learning some new songs this month during circle time, mostly about snowmen and king winter and a really sweet Spanish one called "Naranja Dulce".


For the entire month of January we are learning about Jane Goodall.  We are all enjoying this so much.  She is such an amazing person.  We are also learning about activism this month and so she is our inspiration for that as well.


And this month we read the Wizard of Oz.  The day we finished they wanted to start it all over again (seriously). Now they are working on a Wizard of Oz diorama.


Grace and Jackson also auditioned for a play this week.  On Saturday we went to a workshop at the theater to learn more about the audition and then for the next few days they had so much fun practicing their monologues.  Last night they had the actual audition and both said it was a lot of fun.  They have a very unlikely chance of getting a part since there were so many kids who auditioned and many of them had theater experience (which I made sure to explain to them several times).  But in any case I think they both decided that taking an acting class or trying out for more plays is something they want more of.


This week we started learning about hibernation.  We are reading a lot of books on the subject but this one in particular is really holding our interest.  Outside they are also building their own snow "cave" to hibernate in.


And finally, between Grace's recital and their audition they have been really inspired to put on shows this month.  Puppet shows, dance shows, plays, etc.  I have "purchased" so many tickets over the last few weeks.


I have to say that I am really lingering in the quiet peacefulness of January.  With homeschooling this year I am especially appreciating the fact that we don't have to rush off anywhere in the morning.  Sitting by the fire with a cup of tea (and no immediate need to get moving) is the perfect remedy to any cold winter day in Minnesota.




{little ballerinas waiting in the wings}



photo 5-3
{Photo from Katie}

{my proud dancer with two very proud parents}












I'll skip right over the can't believe she's two rambling and right into the I love two.  It might be one of my favorite ages.  Her birthday was a perfect example of why I love it...

~She woke up to her excited siblings scrambling around to finish their gifts.  When she was finally able to open her gifts from us at breakfast she was so genuinely excited about each one, making the cutest ohhs and awhs.

~After breakfast she "helped" me make her pumpkin muffins.  Yes, I officially have another kitchen helper.

~When my dad called (from Las Vegas) to say Happy Birthday he asked if she was having a fun birthday and she said "yes, I am old."

~ All of her party guests got a "nuggle"  (Snuggle)

~ She asked for three helpings of ice cream.

~ She showed everyone how fast she can run now that she's two.

~ She took two baths (to play with her new tub toys Grace and Jackson made her).

~ On Sunday she woke up looking for more presents and wondering when the party would start again.


Weekend Highlights


~ For Grace and Jackson a major highlight would have to be my mom swooping in at lunch time on Friday to pick them up for a sleepover.  Overnights at Grandma's are always the best.

~ For Nora she would probably want to add that a rare night alone with mommy and daddy is the best.

More highlights...

~ Nora and I going to my sister's on Saturday.

~ All of us meeting my mom and the kids at my Grandma's Saturday evening for pizza.

~ Having a lazy Sunday morning.

~ Going grocery shopping all by myself.

~ Cleaning and reorganizing the mud room.

~ Making (and eating) chili.

~ Burning wood in both of our fireplaces for a toasty warm house despite the record cold temperatures outside.

~ Ryan unearthing his train from when he was little and all of the entertainment that provided for everyone.

~ Reading and napping by the fire while they played with the train and the chili simmered.


The World's Smallest Playroom


I have been meaning to take some updated pictures of our little playroom for the last few years.  A lot has evolved in there since we first created it.  Yesterday we did a complete clean out/rearranging/reorganizing of the space so I was inspired to finally take some pictures.


This space is actually an under the stairs closet.  It is probably about 21 square feet in size.  It is teeny, tiny.  But I think that's what makes it so special.  And with some good organization and a minimalist mindset it serves it's purpose beautifully.


On the wall to the right when you walk in are hanging some of the most often used dress up clothes.  We keep the rest upstairs in a toy box and I switch things up from time to time but this makes for easy access to the favorites.


This is the kitchen.  In our most recent rearrange we put the stove and dresser back to back to create two separate rooms- a bedroom and a kitchen.  The kids are really liking this part of the change.  As Grace says, "It feels so much more like a home in there!"


Here is the kitchen "pantry".  And yes these shelves usually don't look like this.  In such a small space things get messy really fast.  The flipside is with the small space and less toys it is also a very easy room to clean up (my favorite actually).  Under the curtain at the top there is where all our games are housed.


Here is the bedroom/beds and dresser (you can barely see that).  That's Grace's new bunkbed on the left.


Another view of almost the whole room (except that I'm taking up half of the kitchen).
So yes, it is very small, or as we like to say here, it's cozy.