Friday, November 25, 2011

Beach Friday 2011

This year we continued our tradition of going to the beach the day after Thanksgiving. We went to the aquarium first, then had a yummy lunch at a cafĂ©. After lunch we headed to the beach to frolic in the tide pools. 

Ben got completely wet from jumping in the beach puddles. Good thing I learned from past experience to bring several changes of clothes.

Pointing at a tiny crab, who is trying to escape the sticky suckers of a sea star.

We had a wonderful time at the beach this year. On Thursday night we were exhausted from cooking and cleaning up from our meal, and I was thinking that I didn't even want to go to the beach this year. But by Friday morning, I couldn't wait to get out of the house. The timing each year is always perfect. We've all been cooped up in the house all week preparing for the Big Meal, so by Friday morning, we can't wait to get out of the house and go on an adventure.

There were a few moments on our drive home from the beach (it was around 4:30pm) where I was trying to figure out what we'd have for dinner when we got home. Then it hit me: Duh. Leftovers! We got home and had a feast of Thanksgiving leftovers and put tired little boys to bed with tummies full of turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. It was a great day.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Life on the Knapp Farm

I use the term 'farm' tongue-in-cheek, because I know we don't really have a farm. But it's fun to pretend we do. :)

My winter garden is low-key this year. We're getting some carrots, beets, and chard, and we're still eating the leeks that have been growing since the spring. This is my third season growing a garden, and I think I've gotten a good handle on what grows well (doesn't get too buggy) versus what we actually eat. For instance, we eat a good amount of broccoli, but it gets way too buggy. Since I want an organic garden, but don't have the patience to practice the organic methods of pest-control, I chose to get our broccoli from our CSA and grow something else that is more pest-resistant. I found out that I love butternut squash and use it a lot, so I'll probably be planting that come spring to use for next fall.

There isn't really much going on with the animals these days. The chickens, who once provided us with enough eggs to have scrambled-egg breakfasts several times a week, have gone on strike for the winter. Hens stop laying when the plentiful sunlight of summer fades, and ours are no exception. I actually had to buy eggs at the store the other day, for the first time in months! I was a bit sorrowful as I cracked open each store-bought egg and saw its pale yellow yolk fall into the bowl.

This is what our property looks like early in the morning when I walk out to let everyone out of their respective dwellings.

 One of our eleven hens. This one always tries to beat me to the gate and so she can make a run for it when I come to let the goats out. Silly girl.

 Finding noms in the ground.

 Our faithful rooster, Mr. Roo. He's good at his job of keeping the hens in line and protected from wandering cats, but this guy makes me nervous whenever I'm around him. He does his rooster thing of flapping his wings and puffing himself up whenever I'm near him or 'his' hens. He's jumped at the kids a few times and scared the daylights out of them, so I'm always on edge when he's close by.

The goats (the blue-collared one is Swingtail). There's not much growing in the way of weeds, so they're just hanging out eating alfalfa hay while we wait for more weeds to grow for them. Our loose plan when we first got the goats was to breed one of them so they would would birth a kid and give us milk (and thus yogurt and cheese). But we're still wary of taking that step quite yet because of the work involved. I can't picture what life will be like with a foster child and having to milk a goat twice a day, not to mention having to process the milk into cheese and yogurt). But the idea of fresh and free milk sounds so good

Friday, November 18, 2011

Preschool Weeks 10 & 11

Clay caterpillar. Made mostly by Tommy. I just attached facial features.

Days of being cooped up inside are perfect for making nests and caves.

Ben started reading simple words. It astounded me when he found our magnetic letter sent and started making and sounding our words. I didn't know he could do that! He can read any 3-letter word, and some longer words where the vowels sound like themselves (like 'still' and 'open'). I completely credit Letter Factory for this.

Reading our new library books by the fire on a chilly day.

 Making birthday cards for Mark (we celebrated his birthday this weekend). I got the idea from this website.

Homemade bow! I was the coolest mom that day. :)

I decided to put down our chapter book, The Magician's Nephew, to be picked up again at another time. We got about halfway through the book, only because of my own willpower to muscle through it. I finally had to put it down because the the kids had a hard time staying interested. They did learn a few interesting new words like minion and treachery, so I suppose our time wasn't totally wasted. We've been enjoying books by Rosemary Wells, particularly those about Max & Ruby a bunny brother and sister, and Yoko, a Japanese cat who has adventures at school.

I've been feeling like we need to get out of the house and go someplace fun. It's been a while since we've had a 'field trip'. Next week is Thanksgiving, so I doubt we'll go anywhere then. But hopefully we'll continue our tradition of going to the beach the day after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Preschool Weeks 8 & 9

We somehow managed to slip back into summer mode in the past two weeks. Maybe it was visiting the beach a few weeks ago that did it. Or maybe it was just the fact that things have calmed down a bit and it's been too easy to let the kids play their own made-up games all day. For whatever reason, we've been having a lot of free play time and not much "preschool" time. 

We did manage to do a few preschool-ish things: 
- finished reading James and the Giant Peach and started The Magician's Nephew. This is by far the most complex book I've read the boys. It's taken about four chapters for them to warm up to the story, but now that the story is getting more interesting, they're more into the book. I've been itching to read them The Chronicles of Narnia for awhile now, so I really hope they enjoy the story. If not, we'll put it off for another year or so.
- Read and re-read (and then read again) The Red Chalk and A New Coat for Anna, among other library books. These were particular favorites this week. 
- did lots of self-directed crafts. It's amazing what a 3 and 5 year old can come up with using just tape, paper, glue, markers, and scissors. 

 Wrote thank-you cards to family members for birthday presents. I wrote out a simple message lightly in pencil and Tommy traced over each letter and drew a picture for each card.

Both boys practiced writing. Tommy practiced lowercase letters and Ben practiced uppercase. He only recently has become interested in writing and it was fun to see him take to it so easily.

A small glimpse into their free time activities - the "city" they built one rainy afternoon this week, complete with train-track freeways and army men citizens.