Thursday, October 30, 2014

Reading Update (6th grade progress)

It's been awhile.  We went up North and stayed with my parents for a week on the farm, and it is always hard to get back into blogging.

Stella | Juniper Moon Farm
This is not their baby cow, but I couldn't handle the cuteness!

I feel like I've been fighting family chaos.  Especially when right now, Truitt and Moyz are telling each other that they won't be best friends with each other anymore.  

Thought I'd give an update on where Ava is in terms of literature for the year.  I loosely follow the concept in The Book Whisperer, where she expects her kids to read 40 books a year.  I say loosely because while Ava definitely has to read at least that many, my idea of journaling back and forth about what Ava has read hasn't really gone anywhere.

Mostly because she really does love reading and I don't even have to force it with her, and it frees up more time for me to focus on school for the other kiddos.

Here's what she's done in the 15 weeks we've had school, so if you need some ideas this is a decent place to start!

Matilda (loved this book as a kid, and even now!)
Mysterious Benedict Society
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Ender's Game
Pippi Longstocking
Heaven is For Real
The Secret Zoo
The Moffats
Mary Poppins
Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
Mary Poppins Comes Back
Mary Poppins Opens The Door
The Westing game
The Borrowers Afield
Island of the Blue Dolphins
My Side of the Mountain
The Watsons Go to Birmingham
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Bud, Not Buddy
The Time Travelers Book 1
The Time Travelers Book 2
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Out of My Mind

She's also reread several of the Harry Potter books, and was rereading them so much I basically had to tell her no more Harry Potter until you hit 40 books.

I love, love, love that she likes to read so much.  It makes me happy that we can share that together, especially because she tends to be a very private person, but we can always bond over books.

And if you share the same affinity for books you should definitely check out the blog
Modern Mrs. Darcy.  Love it!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Buckwheat Hull Pillow

Somewhere on the vast internet I came across the idea of making a buckwheat hull pillow.  It's supposed to be fantastic for neck support, something I was having issues with, and anyone who leans "green" loves them because they are natural and not petroleum based like most pillow inserts.  Here's a link to an article on apartment therapy about why you should choose a buckwheat hull pillow.

First I had to google buckwheat hulls.

And this is what they look like.  I have to admit at first this did not seem like a good idea for a pillow. But I have been going through about 2 pillows a year so it seemed worth a try.

I bought 5 pounds of hulls through Mountain Rose Herbs.  I love this store and have bought quite a few things from them before.  I read between 5-7 pounds will make one pillow.  I literally dumped them into a pillow case and sewed it shut.  I'd probably recommend a zippered pillow case, but I didn't have one or a zipper to add to my existing pillow case and I was super  impatient so I just sealed it shut.

It will be annoying later when I need to seam rip it open to take out the hulls and fluff them up and wash the pillow case....  I ended up putting my pillow inside another pillow case so I don't have to seam rip as soon.

There is a bit of a learning curve with this type of pillow.  It makes noise whenever you adjust it.  Oh my goodness I thought I was going to go crazy with the rustling.  I didn't, stick with it and you will get used to it, I promise.  Then you had to learn how to move the hulls around where you need support.  That took a little bit of time as well.  And then it just seemed so hard compared to a regular pillow.  

I spent about $22 for the hulls, and so I was determined to stick with it.  And I am so glad I did.  After about a week I got used to the sounds and the feel of the pillow, and I love it.  I can move the hulls exactly where I need them for neck and head support.  The only thing I wish was different is that I would have bought 6 or 7 pounds instead of 5 since the hulls spread out more than I like so I have to move them back into place a little bit more.  I could solve this by buying more hulls or sewing the case smaller so they can't spread as much.  

Regardless, it is well worth the effort to make one of these pillows.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

So Little Time

So many books.  

Here's what I have going on right now:

1.  Dragonfly In Amber

Product Details

The second book in the Outlander series.  I came to this one waaayy late since the first was written 23 years ago.  But I actually don't mind because hopefully I won't have to wait to long for the next one.

2.  The Kite Runner

Product Details

Again, late to the game, and I am hardly into this book yet but am very much intrigued by it.

3. Through the Looking Glass

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions)

I actually first read this in fifth grade, and the only thing I could remember was that she climbed onto the mantel of the fireplace and went through a mirror.  Then I tried to ask a librarian what book it  may be just based off that about 5 years ago and she couldn't help me.  I happened to stumble upon it when I was collecting Penguin clothbound classics.

4.  Reading Lolita in Tehran

Product Details

It doesn't have great reviews on Amazon, but I really liked this book.  It makes me so sad for those fighting severe religious oppression in the Middle East.  You will be so frustrated at many things in the book.  I could finally sigh with relief when the author left Iran and moved to the States.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Italian Wedding Soup {Its what's for dinner}

What we're eating tonight:


Recipe from Life in Grace, where I get most of my soup recipes from.  My stomach loves her.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons Review (Homeschooling Update)

Kembia is doing a modified Kindergarten.  She's pretty smart (of course all parents think most if not all of their kids are geniuses!) and kept asking and asking for school.

So I caved.  She does Kindergarten math, handwriting and the book Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

This book.  Oh how I hate this book.

Okay, that makes it sound like it's terrible.  And here is the thing.  This book works.  It really does. Kembia is 4 we have done very, very limited schooling with her, and she is sounding out small three word sentences 15 lessons into this book.

But it's driving me crazy.  Like I would rather listen to someone run their fingernails down a chalkboard.  It's repetitive, and the same thing day after day after day after day after day...

I'm sticking with it because it's working, we paid full price for the book, and I don't currently have the time to look for something else, but unless you truly don't mind endless repetition, I would say look elsewhere for a reading curriculum for newbies.  There has got to be something better!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How Long Can You Go Without Turning The Heat On?

I like to play this game in the fall where we leave the windows open in the house at night and see how cold it gets before we turn the heat on.

The only thing I hate more than cold weather is people who say they love cold weather. | Christmas Season Ecard |

I know.  It sounds ridiculous, but hear me out.  The best sleep of my life was when my dad and aunt and I went camping in Glacier National Park.  I half-way thought I was going to be eaten by a grizzly bear and it was just about freezing that night.  But I didn't wake up once.  Not even to go to the bathroom.

So every fall we do this.  It's probably been 9 or so years running.  But this year we seem to all have developed some type of super resistance to the cold.  We wake up and the house is around 59 or 60. Yesterday we went to a park and ran around in the glorious fall sunshine.  When we came home, after a bit everyone complained about how hot they were.  I even thought maybe Chris turned the heat on.

Nope, it was 64 degrees and apparently a heat wave!  I know it sounds insane but we are really enjoying looking at the temperature in the morning!  About the only thing we do differently is wear socks everyday and that's the only extra clothing we need.  60 degrees is a glorious day outside, why is it any different if you are inside?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Never Buy Bread Again (Book Review- And It's Totally Awesome!)

Before the babies came home I got into making fresh bread.  And then life as we knew it changed forever and that went buh-bye.

I compensated by only buying bread from the bakery hoping that since it goes bad so fast there are less preservatives in it.

And then I came across this book:

Game changer.

You literally mix up a "soupy" bread dough and put it in your fridge and rip off chunks when you need them.  No kneeding necessary.

You do have to do a few things like let the dough come to temperature, but it's painless, delicious and we love it.

If you are loathe to put more additives in your diet but don't have time to make traditional bread, you will love it.  And I recommend moving immediately to Amazon and purchasing this book now.