Thursday, August 13, 2015

{Mixed Bag} :: Focus on the Riches

After a month of lethargy and high temperatures in July, my attitude and outlook is a bit refreshed now ... and our homeschool atmosphere perking up in turn.

:: We began our first week of Term 3 (Year 3 and Year 1) last week, August 4. So far the scheduling of our day is going well. I have forced myself to stick closer to 15-20 minute lessons/readings rather than reading to check it off the list. I am enjoying the change and feeling much more productive all the way around. I really like that I can also incorporate some much-needed cleaning tasks in the morning on a bi-weekly basis, enlisting the help of my little troopers. Interestingly enough, it also appears that we are still getting it all done within the week AND are finishing our lessons earlier in the day than in previous terms, so I guess there really is something to shorter lessons helping to keep energy levels more sustained throughout the day!

:: We have done a bit of handcrafting. Royal received a leather working kit for his birthday and has been enjoying learning how to make a few useful items. He has been working on a holster with his grandpa and has also done a couple of round coasters for practice with his tooling.

Both Royal and Alice have done a few review sessions on button sewing, and Alice brought her weaving loom back into commission.

A couple of recent mom-crafts on my part: 
~matching circle skirts for Alice and her doll: 

~...and a decorative plate. I was invited to a Pinterest plate-painting party, which was lots of fun. I decided on this design to add to the atmosphere of our school:

:: We were blessed to get a good deal on a used keyboard from a new friend. Hoping to start my kids on some introductory music lessons sometime this fall in exchange for Spanish lessons for her kids perhaps!

:: Natural encounters have been happening this past week with moths, equine and baby cardinals (again!)
I *think* this is a Virginia Creeper Sphinx, Aug 13
the Pandorus Sphinx Moth, Aug 3

...some friendly equine...
a good opportunity to show the kids differences between horse and mule

This little baby is learning to fly. I think it must have jumped nest a tad early.
We watched it and followed it around for more than an hour.
It was hopping, then would fly just above the grass for no more than 2 yards.
Royal reported that Daddy cardinal came from time to time to give it food
on the ground.
He sure was "cheeping" a lot!
Stalking the baby Cardinal :-)

:: Painting, painting, and more painting! Yes, I think the watercolor session by Heather (part 1 and part 2 here) at the Hill Country Retreat was the jump-start I needed to flesh out my nature journaling this next year. I have taken a few afternoons to just enjoy this process and try my hand at some techniques along with honing my observation skills.
a mourning dove feather found on a Nature Walk

our resident Black & Green Argiope (or plain old garden spider)

a leaf from our Texas Redbud tree

Today I had Royal and Alice work with watercolors on a couple of projects. Royal also painted a Texas Redbud leaf, while Alice continued work on a still life painting she started a while back with a watercolor lesson book I picked up at a thrift store:

:: And we had a big birthday to celebrate this week as Hubby turned 40 :-) We went to a hoe-down and enjoyed learning some square dancing, doing the Cotton-Eyed Joe and the Virginia Reel line dance. (so fun!)

Now ain't these just the cutest little country bumpkins you ever did lay yer eyes on?


  1. I love this newsy post, Kristyn. We have been doing some handicrafts, too - the girls are making a quilted wall hanging for their room, and the boys have been working on model cars.
    I love that plate! Your journal entries are lovely. We got a really nice watercolor set last spring and I hope to get into that this fall/winter. For some reason, we just don't do much Nature journaling in the summer, although we are out in Nature all day. I guess that counts for something, doesn't it? ;)
    And btw, you have a beautiful family. :)

    1. Your handicrafts sound great! It is nice to have more long-term projects so there is never the wondering what to do for a handicraft. I hope to get into some of those in the coming months.
      Thanks for your visit and kind comments :-)

  2. Your artwork is beautiful! I love the paper that you are drawing on too. Did you create your own notebook? We have been reaching out of our comfort zone into watercolors. I really like using water color pencils too.

    Your keyboard looks wonderful! We are suffering through a rickety basic keyboard for our piano lessons and look forward to one that is a little more solid!

    1. Lucy, thank you. This little notebook is a treasure - one of the homemade treats from our Hill Country Retreat. Heather @ bentleather made them up with some super thick watercolor paper (110 lb). I have almost used up all her paper, so now will have to purchase my own.

      And I hope our keyboard is a good investment and gets lots of use this year :-)