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Time for our monthly family photo! Everyday, every weekend, for the past several weeks we've been getting our house ready to put on the market. We're finishing putting on shoe molding that never made it onto the wall before. We're painting trim and doors that have not seen paint since before we moved in. Last week was a whirlwind of work! We got our basement professionally painted (walls and ceiling) and then Josh and I painted our kitchen, dining room, living room, and the hallway. The countdown is on and there's not that much left to do! I'm starting so see the finish line, which is helping to keep me motivated.

So if it's quiet around this blog, you know what I'm doing.

Oregon Ridge

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Last week we went to Oregon Ridge's Maple Syrup weekend and Nature Center. We LOVE maple syrup in our family, eating it drizzled on cream of wheat or oatmeal many winter mornings. I thought it would be fun to learn a bit more about how it's made.

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We got to taste sap right from Oregon Ridge's trees!

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And play around and check out the Native American wigwam.

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We warmed up in the Nature Center, checking out the taxidermy animals, as well as the live snakes and turtles before settling down with some picture books. Definitely a fun little excursion!

St. Valentine's Day

I love Valentine's Day. I love it because growing up my mom made it special, and so I love making it special for my kids too. I also love the fact that there's no real "right" way to celebrate it. No need to travel or buy gifts. Just a fun day to brighten up winter and show love. To make cookies, have a tea party, and read some Valentine's Day books. And eat chocolate. Can't pass up that opportunity!

I asked Owen to give me a smile for the camera and that's what I got (below left). Yep, that's my Owen! Full of energy and goofiness! And then I asked Duncan and look at that cute smile! Even though they look alike, they are so different!

But then Owen conceded to give me a smile, showing off his missing tooth.

Valentine's Day is rich in ancient history and tradition, dating all the way back to the ancient Romans. Even though many might view the day as simply a marketing scheme for Hallmark, it's so much more. This year we enjoyed learning about the traditions that make up this holiday and where our current-day traditions come from. The following books were some of our favorites:

The Story of Valentine’s Day by Clyde Robert Bulla

Saint Valentine by Robert Sauda

Saint Valentine by Ann Tompert

Valentine’s Day is . . . by Gail Gibbons

How did you celebrate Valentine's Day this year, or did you?

 

Right Now

Right now, I am...
:: drinking a mug of hot chocolate on this grey and chilly day.
:: hearing the sound of one of my boys asleep on the couch, breathing in and out.
:: nursing my back to health again. It's tweaked out and I'm hoping to keep it strong and from going out all the way.
:: reminding myself that spring really IS around the corner.
:: thinking how thankful I am for the ladies I met with for prayer last night. Just some home schooling mamas sharing their joys and struggles.
:: doing some photo processing from our recent Valentine's Day and trip to Oregon Ridge Nature Center.
:: keeping my son's Owen's words close to my heart. Today he said, "Mom, I want to be sweet to you everyday!" Melt.
:: loving library books sales. I scored big on a whole series of books on various artists by Mike Venezia that are perfect read-aloud books for the boys right now. This week we're studying Michelangelo and this art-loving mother was happy at how into his art they were.
:: wanting to get into a new house this spring. Praying to find the perfect house for a our family.
:: plotting out the rest of the work needed to do to get our house on the market!
:: feeling a bit overwhelmed by the task, but excited! I've moved a lot in my childhood and love the feeling of a new (to me) house!
:: preparing to do a lot of late night painting in the next two weeks!
:: looking at house listings everyday.
:: pulling ground beef out to defrost for dinner tonight: taco salad.
:: enjoying this quiet moment of all the kids having a quiet time.
:: hoping it lasts a bit longer.
:: wishing you a happy day!

A Volcano Blows Its Top

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We've been studying volcanoes for several weeks: reading books, watching Bill Nye the Science Guy videos about volcanoes and the earth's crust. I knew we simply had to erupt our own volcano, because the boys would just love it. And they did.! We spent several days getting ready. One day was spent making the paper mâché volcanoes and another day painting them with lots of dry time in between. At last the day came to make them blow their tops!

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What fun! The directions for this project can be found here.

January Instagrams

January dragged for me, although looking back it actually did go by fast. The boys started swimming lessons and got back into the swing of school after a Christmas break. We had friends over and made volcanos! We enjoyed time with our family in Virginia despite the sad circumstances. But I'm glad to see January go. Bring on February! I want to make some Valentine's Day Cookies . . .

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A Target date with my girlie and Sophia reading about "Medusa" with yes, a snake wrapped around her neck (above).

Duncan giving his presentation at Classical Conversation below. This was something he was struggling with and I was so proud of him being so brave that day!

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Using Jello to make a "layers of the earth" project.

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Field trip to Vulcan, perfectly timed as we're studying the earth.

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Water infused with strawberry and lime. Also, the boys' first maps. Trying to learn the "great circles" and where the continental "blobs" go.

Volcanoes! We did this project and it was great fun. I took "real" pictures of the explosion and will share in a later post.

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Funny thing about the picture above left. Sophia isn't allowed to have her paci unless in bed. So one day she wanted to get in the crib around 10 a.m. and curled up and went to sleep. So cute!