Saturday, November 23, 2013


Posts about earlier this week:

Our last Friday at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve homeschool classes was on a beautiful, cold, sunny day.
Camille with her finished watershed project

 Ayla and I headed out on a leisurely hike down to the pond on the snow-dusted paths.

I enjoy a good hike in late November after all of the leaves have fallen.  A wide variety of seed heads make themselves known.
cat tails fluffing to release their seeds

 beauty in the details

Ayla loves tromping up and down this rustic bridge.  We watched the flowing water, admired our shadows, and played with the light snow.

Camille and Sylvia hiked and crafted with friends.  They made fish prints and did watershed experiments, collected nature treasures, and spent time learning about tracking.

Even though they have enjoyed this round of homeschool nature classes and the time spent with friends, they have opted not to sign up for the winter session.  I'm good with it either way.

It has been such a fabulous week in this unschooling life, and I'm grateful to my supportive husband for taking the kids out of the house this afternoon so that I could have some quiet time to unwind and refresh before jumping back into it!  Tomorrow we have friends visiting us, and so it goes on.... :)

Yup, I love this life.

Wednesday, Thursday

Wednesday was messy and creative and fun.  
Camille tried out new crystallizing window markers.  It was fun to watch the crystals form shapes as the markers dried, like ice on a frosty window pane.

Camille and Sylvia played with more plaster of paris.  The table was covered with sculpting and painting projects of all kinds throughout the day.

Camille and I also started new knitting projects with the wool that we had picked out on Tuesday.

On Thursday, we met with the band director of the local public school.  Camille is interested in joining a band and learning how to play saxophone.  If she chooses to pursue it, the school is very agreeable about homeschoolers joining, and she already has friends that will be there twice a week for band practice.

After lunch, we volunteered to help at a local food pantry.  We spent two hours plugging in and helping wherever we were needed.  Camille was a runner, going between the back rooms and the front whenever needed, and Ayla and Sylvia and I helped double bag items and round up carts as people used them to carry their food out to the parking lot.  It was a little challenging helping a three-year-old volunteer ("I can do it all by my own!"), but the kids all really enjoyed helping and were invited back anytime.  It was very busy at the food pantry with Thanksgiving right around the corner, and we were reminded of how much we have to be grateful for, including a community that is full of volunteers and kindness.

After a stop at the library and some dinner, the girls were all ready for more creative messiness, while they watched Phineas and Ferb.

Ah, it looks like it will take one more separate post to round out this week, and I'll say it yet again, I love this life, through and through!

Monday, Tuesday

Monday started our week off on a positive note that seemed to follow us all the way through to the weekend.  You know how some days (weeks) you just can't seem to get things right?  This wasn't one of those.  This week felt like unschooling at its finest, you know, by our standards, which meant plenty of activity and enough downtime to balance it out.
 Camille made a simple healing salve with calendula oil, beeswax, vitamin E, and essential oils.  She started by straining the calendula blossoms out of the almond and hemp oils that they had been soaking in since we picked them out of the garden in late summer.

She weighed the oils and figured out the amount of beeswax that needed to be used for the proper ratio of oil to wax.  Because we bought beeswax in a five pound block, we needed to grate the wax before melting it into the salve.
We added vitamin E, lavender oil, and just a hint of tea tree oil, and poured the salve into tins and jars to harden.

Sylvia was up next.  She made a beautiful tangerine-lavender lip balm with coconut oil, sunflower oil, beeswax, and essential oils.  Similar process, different consistency and method of heating.  We melted everything in a small glass jar inside a pot of water before pouring it out into 10 lip balm tubes.

Each girl was able to be in charge of their own project with as little or as much help as they wanted from me. I'm still often surprised at how capable a 3 year old can be.  Ayla's project was hard lotion bars made with cocoa butter, coconut oil, beeswax, and vitamin E.  She chose lavender, bergamot, and cinnamon essential oils for the fragrance and they came out beautifully.

Her favorite phrase is:  "I can do it all by my own!"

On Tuesday, we drove into town to run errands and visit friends.  The highlight of the visit was a long wooded hike 'til the sun went down.

I simply love willows.

After even more play, followed by dinner out, there was an impromptu flash-mob-style parking lot dance party before saying good-bye to friends and starting our long drive home.
This week merits more than one post, so I'll leave it there for now, and just end by saying, I love this life.  I sometimes feel as though I shouldn't say that, as if it's bragging, or somehow negating the fact that it's not always easy to be so present and attentive with my children, but I do.  I love this life, through and through, and I'm grateful for it.