Friday, March 22, 2019

The Start Of The Big Trip

In January we headed out on a big, epic family trip for 4 week.  We were looking at a lot of flights, car rentals, hotels/condos, family, friends, new places and adventures ahead.
 The dark and cold of January is a great time to hit the road and head south from Alaska.  It was so fun that with Josh's break in work he could come too and it could be a true family time.
 After 18 1/2 hours of travel we arrived at our first stop - Cocoa Beach, Florida.  There the sun was out, the waves were rolling and the beach was before us.
 It wasn't super warm but that didn't stop these Alaska babies from being in the water ALL the time.  We couldn't visit the beach without them all getting soaked.  They couldn't help themselves and I don't blame them.  
 I loved that we walked out of our condo and in 3 minutes had our toes in the surf.  It was a great place to stay, a great place to relax.  We switched out time between beach sand and pool side.  January isn't a super popular time so we were pretty much given as much space as we could want.  
Our big trip had started out great.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A Visit To The Hot Springs

Last month we returned from a really big family trip around the lower 48.  We had two weeks until Josh started his new job but the fun wasn't over yet!
 Months before we had set reservations for a little time away in the wild.  The Alaskan wild, which is a little more wild and a little more fun.  100 miles north of Fairbanks by road and then 11 miles by snow machine took us to our destination.
 Out in this wilderness are some cabins to rent.  Places without the stress of life.  A place with a guitar found under a bench that could be strummed, books to read, pictures to paint, friends to enjoy and food to be eaten.
 But the thing that makes this cabin extra special is that it is surrounded by natural hot springs.  Just the thing you need to enjoy when deep into the winter.  I love that my kids, at their ages, have now all experienced what it is like to walk to a natural hot tub in boots, bathing suit, bathrobe and snow drifts!
 And the comfort of coming back to a cozy cabin for games and crafts.
 But no cabin trip is complete without lots of hikes, snow machine rides and sledding.
 These kids, and adults, got to enjoy it all.

Tolovana Hot Springs, Two friends, 4 kids, cabins, 4 machines, 3 cargo sleds and 4 days of fun.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Science Time - Animal Cells

This week's science lessons have been about the animal cell and all of its organelles.  Honestly, it is all a stretch for me.  I am such a geologist.  Lets talk minerals, rocks, formations all day long.  I have been working through different organs with the kids (lungs, hearts, brain) recently.  I mentioned this to a biologist friend of mine and she asked, "well, did you start with the cell?"  No, no I hadn't.  So out came ALL the science books.  Praise the Lord for the library and for our collection of Usborne non-fiction kid books.  This scientist who stays far away from living things brought her knowledge back up to speed on the basic structure of our animal cell.  And then the work in teaching the kids began.  

This is the definition of homeschool right?  I once had a friend tell me that she could never homeschool because she doesn't know everything or can she be everything for her kids.  This has put me in a mental cramp for so long.  I so often find myself stretched when teaching art, spanish and other subjects that aren't my strong point.  But science, come on - I am a scientist, right.  Yet I found myself 4 days into "researching" the animal cell before I had the courage to bring it before the kids.  

Once in lesson mode things went great!!  We talked about living things, cells and so much more.  Together we made a zucchini cake and then created it into our cell model.  The membrane and cytoplasm were versions of green since I had already made green frosting last week in preparation for St. Patrick's day.  We used different bits of left over Halloween candy for our organelles.  When it came time to eat the cake we reviewed all of the organelles one more time and then the kids had to ask for what piece they wanted by organelle name instead of candy name.  Amazing how fast that can sink in faster when it is edible and you are worried your brother is going to eat the centrioles when that is really what you were wanting.  Today we will continue with a worksheet, a movie, and tomorrow we will go ahead and draw our own models in our science books.  Repetition is so good but I honestly don't expect the kids the remember all of the terms this time next year but you better believe they will remember when we made a cake into the shape of a cell!  Food, a wonderful way to make the mind remember.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Party of 12 Please

My good friend from Kodiak, her husband and 4 kids came to visit for the past 4 days.  We have met together over the years and always have a good time.  Putting a lot of people, 8 of them kids 8 and under, can be a challenge.  Yet of all of our visits this one I would say was by far the best.  They got to experience the full Fairbanks winter experience and we got to enjoy them.
They are a Coast Guard family and so we never know where they will be next, or for how long.  But I am so thankful for the 3 years they were in Kodiak and the 5 times we have been together over the past 3 years.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Bean Bag Love

When we thought we were moving this fall I sold a lot of items.  One of them was our full sized couch.  We still have our love seat but as a family of 6 seating can get a little tight.
So I got in my head to sew the kids bean bag chairs for christmas.
They are a huge hit and it was so fun for me to be able to pick specialized fabric for each child.
The kids use them for reading, playing, watching a movie and for the first morning wake up time when they are really too sluggish to do anything yet.
They are great fun for piling all together and Josh himself is now begging me to make a big one for him.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019


I love a lot of parts of homeschool and struggle through a lot of other parts.  Yet one of the main things that keeps me going time and time again is watching these kids grow up.  Their days are mixed, blended, and intertwined in every which way.  My 1 year old "reading" with my 8 year old isn't something that happens on the weekends but all day long.  As they grow older they seek more and more friendships outside of the home, as they should, but the bond they have with their siblings is so very strong.
My two little reading buddies.

March 2nd Was Dr. Seuss's Birthday

The week before Saturday, March 2nd I stayed home everyday with Zachary.  We are attempting to potty train.  Attempting because he does great if we don't leave the house.  Hmm, not sure how that is going to for for all future endeavors.  Regardless, Saturday, March 2nd came along and Josh was gone all day on a men's snow machine trip.  I was home with the kids and feeling a little let down that I couldn't take them to any of the Dr. Seuss activities that were going on in town.  Not that they they knew but still.  
 So I did something I haven't done before, we celebrated Dr. Seuss at home.  We made little cat in the hat treats, dyed eggs green and all tried our hand in making some Dr. Seuss art to display.
The day was also filled with lots and lots of reading of Dr. Seuss books.  After all of those twisty turn books to read I have to admit it is a good thing we only celebrate his great achievements once a year.  My tongue still hurts.  But it was a good day, helped lift the stay home blues and brought a lot of excitement.