Thursday, July 31, 2014


We have a bit of a dinosaur obsession overtaking our home at the moment which includes copious dinosaur books from the library (it doesn't matter what they are exactly as long as they come from the dinosaur section and we make sure to bring home at least twenty) and enough daily begging to watch Walking With Dinosaurs that I wish we had never introduced the concept of dinosaur documentaries* to the children.

It is also why I probably shouldn't have been surprised to find this on our back porch.......

It's Pangea in case somehow you didn't recognize it.

All three boys worked on setting it up and it was really cute to watch them all playing together.

That is until John Michael dared an attempt to actually play with the dinosaurs instead of just setting them up in their correct location and gazing lovingly at the perfection of his handiwork which is apparently how Henry saw the activity progressing. In protest Henry informed us that  John was "ruining the game" and that if John was going to continue to be allowed to move the dinosaurs then Henry wasn't playing anymore at which point he stomped off to go inside.....which obviously taught us all our lesson.......

Having a little brother is so hard :)

*Am I the only one who feels slightly bad letting their children watch dinosaur "documentaries" that you are pretty sure are at least half completely made up?  I feel like I should be interjecting every five minutes something along the lines of "you know the paleontologists are probably just making their best guess about that super specific thing they just said that they're sure the dinosaurs definitely did there......"  No paleontologist is perfect......I mean, they thought there was actually such a thing as a brontosaurus after all :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Prayers Please

Unrelated but very sweet 9th anniversary flowers with bonus paper airplanes and top of one baby head.

Chris is going back in for another hernia surgery tomorrow morning at 8--why they didn't notice six months ago that he had hernias on both sides I don't know.  Chris says he is feeling pretty good because at least this time he knows what to expect, me on the other hand--I really dislike the idea of anyone cutting into my husband, or putting him completely under anesthesia, or the thought of another six weeks of non-child-lifting recovery......mostly the cutting though.

I would welcome your prayers for a successful surgery and quick recovery and maybe for me not to have a pregnancy induced panic attack brought on by all of my imaginings of the various things that could go wrong--as unlikely as they may be.  Pregnant worrying is so much worse than regular worrying :)  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

{p,h,f,r} Flower Garden Edition


Our front flower beds are a little ridiculous.  The wildflowers we planted have come in in patches and the "dwarf" zinnias are standing four feet tall, front and center blocking all other plants from view.  At least they bring in the butterflies so we'll forgive them for their unrestrained growth for now.  Chris says we should only ever plant zinnias because they are the only thing we can reliably grow--and grow to monster proportions apparently.  I think he's just flower-bitter because our sunflowers had such a poor showing this year and the wildflowers he was in charge of never amounted to much except a wild grass patch.


This is not the best picture of my Grandmother's Flower Garden masterpiece--the colors are much prettier than I could get in my thunderstorm darkened living room--but it does make me happy.  Since I took this picture last weekend I've actually finished assembling two and a half more rows of flowers and I only have one and half more rows to go.  It's crazy to think that I've spent six weeks working on such a tiny quilt!  I thought I would be done piecing by now but I keep having to stop to make more white hexies.  Apparently I severely underestimated how many I would need.  I'm hoping to finish piecing the top today so I can take it to the local quilt shop tomorrow and beg someone to give me tips on how to bind it.  I think I want to leave the edges rounded like this or this as opposed to squaring the whole thing up but I can't quite decide.  Then there's the question of whether or not to add a border--but of course that would require making even more hexies.....

If anyone has advice I would love to hear it!


If John has something that he considers to be his he will defend it with his life--well, he will defend it by making the loudest shrieking noise you have ever heard.  It used to be a very effective tactic and does still work on unfamiliar little girls but it's losing it's effectiveness on his brothers.  Here, after several attempts by his brothers to eat out of the communal pretzel bag, he decided it was time to exit the playground and enjoy his spoils alone by the far off tree, keeping a sharp eye out for any invading parties of course.


This is the entirety of our carrot harvest this year.

Professional gardeners we are not.  At least our tomatoes and peppers were plentiful so we aren't complete failures.  The whole garden is almost ready to be pulled out--which is about right for our inhospitable climate.  Maybe we'll be better Northern Virginia gardeners than too-hot-to-survive-in-Florida gardeners.......

In the mean time, don't forget to hop over to Like Mother, Like Daughter for even more captured contentment :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bib Please

Or, alternately:  If You Want Your Kids to Love You, Give Them "Chocolate" For Breakfast

Whole Duty of Children

A child should always say what's true
And speak when he is spoken to,
And behave mannerly at table;
At least as far as he is able.

~Robert Louis Stevenson~

No, I don't count Nutella as real chocolate or I might have to start feeling bad about how much of it I consume when the children aren't looking :)

And yes, I really should have thrown a bib on him before he started eating rubbing his "chocolate toast" all over his face.  You'd think as a veteran mom of boys I would have seen it coming.  I suppose he was attempting to get as much chocolate with as little bread into his mouth as possible.

Clearly our poetry readings are really sinking in.

Friday, July 11, 2014

First Grade at the Reintjes House (and Favorite Homeschooling Reads)

With the baby and move on the way (which looks like it will be occurring in and around the November/December time frame--the move, not the baby) I decided it would be prudent to get a head start on David's schoolwork.  Since I've successfully completed one and half weeks of first grade with him I'm going to go ahead and assume that that pretty much qualifies me as an expert and therefore makes me competent enough to share my homeschool plans for this year and some of my favorite homeschooling resources with the internet......mostly for Aunt Elizabeth's benefit because she's been asking.

And also, who doesn't love a good homeschool planning post? :)

Well, after much reading and research and back-and-forthing I settled on a Charlotte Mason approach to education mostly because my main goal with all of this school-at-home stuff is to be able to provide the boys children (!) with more of a liberal arts/classical education than I received and *hopefully* inspire in them a love and appreciation of all that is true, good and beautiful in this world of ours--which I'm pretty sure is not the overarching goal of most of our current public schools.

I decided to use Ambleside Online Year 1 for my basic structure (which is a free Charlotte Mason curriculum) but I'm supplementing with some other purchased curriculum since I don't have the mental energy right now to just teach phonics and math without something a little more, shall we say......prepared.

For math I choose Abeka Arithmetic 1--with the intention of switching over to Saxon for the older years.  Right now it's super easy for David but I'm sure it will pick up and it's forcing him to practice writing his numbers so I don't want to skip ahead :)

For phonics and spelling I bought All About Reading Level 2 and All About Spelling Level 1 since it worked so well for us last year.

I also bought some Writing Can Help Penmanship books for David's handwriting practice which we are plugging through very very slowly.  I cannot begin to describe David's hatred for anything involving writing practice.  Well, really anything involving him doing something that he can't immediately do perfectly without any effort on his part.  It's such a struggle to be five :)

I love the book selections from Ableside for Literature, History, Geography and Science but I did substitute Our Island Saints for Trial and Triumph as per the suggestions here since the AO curriculum does come from a Protestant perspective and apparently when that particular book hits the reformation we don't exactly see eye to eye any longer.  Also, in addition to the Bible reading schedule on AO, we're using the Saint Joseph First Communion Catechism  and extra saint stories to round out our Religion studies--along with just attempting to live the liturgical year as a family of course!

Now that we are settling into a school routine I'm planning to add scripture and prayer memory work into our morning basket plans along with poetry recitation, and artist and composer studies--which I haven't attempted yet since I thought I'd ease into things.  Next week though, next week there will be memorizing of lots of lovely and important things!

Overall our schoolwork only takes up about two hours in the morning, four days a week.  We've been keeping lessons short, stories interesting, and motivation to finish up in a timely matter high so as to get on to even more exciting things--like the pool.  It's not a bribe so much as a natural consequence--I mean after all, if we don't do our work promptly there simply isn't time to swim, am I right?  I was really nervous to begin this year, but things have been going well so far so I am optimistic that this whole learning at home thing won't be a complete disaster  :)

And as promised:

Some Favorite Books on Education


I've just realized my favorite books on education are really random, but I can't help it--I checked my bookshelves and these are definitely my all-time favorites and are the ones that have had the most impact on my thoughts on educating children.  Note the complete lack of anything I read while actually training to be a teacher having made the list.

Some Favorite Articles 

Some Favorite Websites

Some Favorite Audio (Not Compiled By Me) 
~For Those Who Don't Have Time to Read~

If you don't have time to read, there is a great collection of audio lectures and podcasts on classical homeschooling and motherhood from Amongst Lovely Things (also home to the Read Aloud Revival podcasts which are wonderful too!) that you can just listen to when you have a chance instead :)


And (if you've managed to actually read this far down the post) my most essential homeschooling supply--besides a library card of course :)  My laminator.  I like this one--it works great and isn't pricey:

PS I'm still plugging through the Charlotte Mason's kind of a lot.  Really good, but kind of a lot :)

PPS If you read the Well Trained Mind for the first time don't freak out.  It has a lot of good information in it but seriously, does anyone actually do everything she suggests?

PPS These Amazon links are affiliate links, I make cents on the dollar for anything you buy when you click through them and I've almost made $10 so clearly this blog is not a waste of my time and talents :)  
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