Monday, July 3, 2017

On Adventures in Homeschool Planning and Creeks











I've been mostly buried in a pile of homeschooling plans and books and papers for the past two weeks as I attempt to get everything squared away for next year.  I'm shooting for an August 1 start which will give us plenty of time to take a week off in between terms this year and still finish by the first week of May.  I always finish by the last week of May in general because I just can't do lessons after Memorial Day, but I think having all of May off sounds so much better don't you?

My main problem now is the fact that the stores, who can be relied upon to routinely jump the gun on putting out all holiday goods months in advance of the actual holidays, have yet to put out their school supply displays.  And my mind won't rest easy until I have procured all of the children's school supplies and created the fantastic new binders that I have envisioned for each of them.  I'm thinking Trapper Keepers.  That's still a thing right?

Don't worry, I have managed to crawl out from under my piles to have some good old fashioned summer fun and get some nature adventuring in with the kids while we can.  This particular park was beautiful and so, so shady.  It must have been ten degrees cooler inside than out and there was a creek.,,,,and who doesn't love a creek?  I'm not sure what was past the creek exactly since once the children laid eyes on it they were done with hiking and just wanted to frolic there for the rest of the morning.  Maybe one day we'll be able to get past it but somehow I doubt it.  It was a pretty magnificent creek.

Friday, June 9, 2017

On a Bit of a Vacation










 




Whenever I say that we took a vacation I generally mean that we took a trip to visit some subset of our family that it's been much too long since we've seen--and this vacation was no different.

This time we loaded up the van and drove the ten hours to get to our family in Michigan and it was glorious.  Giant dunes were hiked, fires were enjoyed, wine was drunk, children frolicked, family was visited, and visited, and visited, touristy souvenirs were purchased, birthdays were celebrated, and everything was just lovely in general.

I left with a jar of cherry salsa, chocolate covered cherries and a Petoskey stone that was not found, but purchased from a store specializing in selling overpriced souvenir stones to tourists.  I don't care, when you're a tourist with no knack for finding your own Petoskey stone you do what thousands have done before you and pay someone else to do your legwork.

It must be the mark of a good vacation that I hardly have any pictures at all and it's probably a testament to the beauty of Michigan that over half of the pictures that I do have are just shots of the gorgeous scenery.

Michigan really is beautiful.

In the summer.

Living as close to DC as we do, I have a fairly constant longing for peace, quiet, and wide open spaces and last week we were able to soak up all three in spades.  Of course now comes the momentous task of digging out from the vacation mess and readjusting to regular life.  I very cleverly planned our last week of homeschooling to be this week, because who doesn't want to come home from vacation and have a week of standardized testing and exams?

Wish us luck--only one more week until summer break  :)  

Sunday, May 7, 2017

On Turning Seven and Marshmallow Fights



















We've been alternating birthday parties for a few years now since I don't have the mental energy to throw full blown parties for this many children every time, but this year Henry really wanted a full blown party--and since his party desires coincided with my desires to get to know our new neighbors better I figured we should go for it.  He wanted basically the same party he had when he turned five, except instead of a "war guy" theme he asked for a "Revolutionary War" theme.

I guess that's what happens when you move down the street from Mount Vernon.

We attempted to play capture the flag with the addition of weaponized marshmallows-dipped-in-flour.  I divided the kids into teams of Red Coats, Colonists and medics and they set to work building forts out of random things in our yard.  Lucky for them we have a lot of random pieces of brick/wood/pallets/other bits of detritus in our yard.  They made some pretty epic forts.  Once the forts were constructed the kids started playing capture the flag which degenerated pretty quickly into some sort of game that involved mostly running around the yard and pelting each other with marshmallows with the occasional dirty flour marshmallow snack break.  I'm sure there were rules of some sort or a goal of some kind.  I didn't really care, the kids all played happily until I realized it was fifteen minutes until the party was supposed to end and called them back for cake eating and pinata wacking.  I call that a party success!

Originally I wasn't going to make a pinata at all, but when Henry looked at me with his big sad eyes, what could I do?  I felt a little bad about hitting an American flag with a bat but I thought the British flag would be too tricky to make, what with all the diagonals and all.  Don't worry, the children were very respectful as they broke the flag to pieces and shoved each other to the ground in their attempts to collect all the candy they could for themselves.

It's every man for himself on the battle field.

Overall it was a pretty good party if I do say so myself, and I think we made a good impression on the neighbors to boot.  Henry even had so much fun he didn't have one complaint all day, which was basically a birthday miracle :)

Also, I can't believe my little guy is already seven.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Weekend Doings















  















We had a pretty wonderful Easter here with a cousin and grandma along for the festivities.  I did a lot of cooking and baking and Chris and the kids did a lot of playing outside and working in the yard and grandma did a lot of holding of the baby--which worked out nicely for everyone involved.

On Holy Saturday the children decided to set up a storefront selling used golf balls that they've been collecting and when there weren't enough products for them all to hock they opened up a second storefront selling candy inside of plastic eggs.  I think they each made two dollars and they stayed busy all day.  A win all around.

That night I asked Margaret if she knew what the next day was and she said, "chocolate day?"  Not exactly, but that did pretty much sum up Easter morning at the Reintjes house.  After we got home from mass, endured an endless photo shoot in which I brought out the tripod and still got no good family pictures because of a certain someone who insisted on making faces, and hunted the baskets, there was a chocolate binge the likes of which we haven't seen round these parts since, well, Christmas.

Afterwards, we had our traditional Easter egg hunt and smash, but this year disaster struck when David dropped the glitter egg and it......broke on the ground.  The kids were very upset at the thought of having no winner--everyone except Margaret that is.  After she realized she could hunt eggs and then sit down to eat the fruity pebbles out of them instead of throwing them at her siblings she was fairly content.  Once it looked like all the eggs had been found and the fun was over, I noticed one lone egg up in a tree and announced that whomsoever found the very last un-findable egg would be the winner and would receive the golden bunny as their prize after all and the hunt was saved.  Note to self:  next year make a back up glitter egg.

We followed up the hunt with a gigantic Easter dinner that none of the children ate because they were full of a really unappetizing mix of candy and veggie sticks and then we went to swim at the indoor pool.  We're all exhausted and I feel like I've been in the kitchen for three days straight--most likely due to the fact that I was.  But He is Risen!  And Chris took next week off so we're all officially on spring break!  What more could a girl ask for, besides maybe being able to sleep all the way through the night?

Well, there's always next year :)

Happy Easter!




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