Christmas Dance Recital


Honeybee danced in a Christmas recital with her Irish Dance studio yesterday. We all enjoyed watching her! She’s been dancing for almost a year now, and loving every minute of it.


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The Ultimate Field Trip

We’ve had quite the eventful summer, including reunions for both my own and my husband’s families. My family chose to hold the reunion in Vermont, approximately 2500 miles from where we live. We decided that was a great excuse to pile everyone in the Big Red Van and see the country.

A few highlights: Nauvoo, Illinois:

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Camp Joseph, Vermont:
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Spring Gardening–family style

Lots going on in the garden this Spring! We’ve been adding lots of mulch to our home garden, it helps both to keep weeds down and minimize water evaporation. A nearby town was offering mulch free to the public (they had more than they could use due to a wind storm last year that left lots of tree branches needing to be cleaned up). We didn’t have a pickup or trailer to haul it in, so we settled for boxes, bins and baskets:





In other news, we signed up for a plot at a community garden nearby. This gives us all a chance to get a feel for more traditional row gardening, as what we have done at home has mostly been more along the lines of square foot and other small-scale intensive gardening efforts. Planting and weeding and watching the seeds sprout and dreaming of summer harvests…




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Long Division with Manipulatives


Honeybee has been learning long division, and I wanted to demonstrate what the algorithm means by using manipulatives. Here’s What we started with: 368


We need to break this up into groups of 4, starting with the hundreds. Since we only have 3 hundreds, we can’t make any groups of 4 hundreds, we can put a zero in the hundreds place if we like. We still have 3 hundreds left over, we will break them up into tens and combine them with whatever tens we already have.


Now we need to figure out how many groups of 4 tens we can make out of 36 tens.


Outstanding, 36 tens made into groups of four gives us 9 groups. We can write a 9 in the tens place, and move on to the units.


8 units can be made into 2 groups of 4, and once again we have no remainder. We write a 2 in the units place, and we’re done with our division. Looks like this:



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He is risen

Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Death is conquered, man is free

Christ has won the victory

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Foreign Language Study


We are being ambitious with our foreign language study this year. We are making (very slow) progress in several languages at once: Arabic (Honeybee’s lovely calligraphy is above), Mandarin, and Spanish. We are using the book Alif Baa to learn the Arabic writing system, and Total Arabic for conversation. We’ve only done the first few lessons in each so not a lot of progress to report. We also learned an Arabic alphabet song from a youtube video–we love free resources!

For Mandarin, right now we’re using the online version of My First Chinese words from Better Chinese. Honestly, this has been mostly a familiarization exercise. I would like to do more, but I know even less Mandarin than I do Arabic. We did find an audio version of the Bible in Mandarin and memorized John 1:1, which we added to our memory work rotation.

We are doing a group Spanish class with some friends, using La Clase Divertida curriculum. La Clase Divertida is a fun, light introduction to the language. Honeybee has also been working through Getting Started With Spanish, which gives an easy introduction to Spanish grammar.

Except for Spanish, I am learning right along with the kids. I enjoy language study, and I want my children to view foreign languages and cultures as more approachable than intimidating. I think I am succeeding at least in this; recently Honeybee told me she wanted to study ancient Greek, so I got her set up with Elementary Greek and she happily set to work learning the alphabet. She’s ahead of me on that one already!

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Hope and Faith

tiny kernel of hope
nourished in the barren time
awakes new growth of faith
Spring will come


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