Meet Midnight

We really couldn’t help ourselves… all fall and Halloween decorations came out last week on the first day of fall.  (It was only 103 degrees out!)  In taking these pictures, I realized that somehow I have neglected to show you our cutest fall decoration of all; our new kitten, Midnight.  Meet Midnight.

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Oak Glen 2016

I look forward to this day every year… and if the weather is cool, I get especially excited!  This is our 4th year going to Oak Glen with our dearest friends, and it is now officially fall!

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Part 1:  Apple picking

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Part 2:  playground

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Part 3:  hot dog lunch with fresh apple cider

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Part 4:  hiking the nature trail! (and taking lots of pictures!)

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Thanks for showing us what to do if we see a bear, little ones!

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LA County Fair 2016

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We had such a great trip to the Fair this year, though it was quite different than “usual.”  For one thing, it was out first year without a stroller!  (So thankful for a husband who can carry tons of water on his back!)  It was also the first year all 4 kids wrote book reports, which meant we got 24 free rides!  The weather was cooler than usual, which was an aded bonus.  I forgot to take our annual chocolate milk picture since we also did things out of order, hitting the barn last!  That was also a wise move, as the school kids were gone by then so we didn’t have the crowds.

In addition to lots of new rides, we also saw new attractions; the animal exhibit, the mini trains, (a huge hit with Malachi), and a shaved ice stand that had a $2 special for Wednesdays… score!

See you next year, Fair!

Taking it Easy

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The start of the school year is kind of like the start of a new year… That is to say, it is a fresh start with some fresh resolutions that sometimes stick and often don’t.  Right now we are still in the “new school year” phase, where I have been able to keep up with meals and schedules and laundry and such.  However, birthday and holiday season are around the corner, which seems to make this busy life zoom by all the quicker.

This year, however, I am hoping things are different.  I am hoping to keep up with things a little better, as well as to have real down time!  So far, so good.  For one thing, the kids are older and able to do more real chores, (chores that actually help!).  But, I needed a real plan, and I think I found it!

What has been especially great this year and has made a world of difference for us has been preserving our mornings and evenings.  For the first time since starting homeschooling, we have no morning or evening activities.  The few activities that we are doing and loving, (horseback riding, piano, and art classes), all take place between 1pm – 4pm.  It has made such a difference!

I took a cue from one of my favorite blogs, (though our homeschool styles seem quite different in many ways, as well), and we now have a morning collective time.  During this time, we do Bible, memory work, and read alouds — all while the kids work on activities such as crochet, weaving, loom bands, origami, perler beads, etc.  I love starting our mornings together, and not feeling rushed.  From there, the older kids do piano practice or math, while I work with the younger ones.

I know there is no “perfect” solution.  I am certain we will still have those tough days and even overwhelming days and weeks.  But, for now I am so thankful for the peaceful start to this year!  And, I am certain that when I need some new ideas for finding peace, God will provide them as He always does.

Fresh Pesto!

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I am so happy to report that we finally have a garden success; basil!  Thankfully, pesto is a favorite with all the kids — our first batch didn’t even seem to make a dent in our basil.  I also love basil for the easy meal options.  Pesto pasta with chicken and cheese is a favorite and simple for me.  Yay for garden success!

 

A Day in San Francisco

We chose to go to San Francisco on what turned out to be a most beautiful (and warm) San Francisco day!  Thankfully, my Dad knows the city so well that he could drive us around without a map.  Our first stop: Lombard Street!

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Stop 2: Coit Tower

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Both Lombard Street and Coit Tower were easy to get to with no waiting.  Going after Labor Day is certainly key!  Our 3rd stop was Pier 39/ Fisherman’s Wharf.

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The kids loved watching the sea lions fight for a spot on the dock!

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Lunch: Clam chowder bread bowls and sourdough!  (Even Malachi preferred the clam chowder to pizza!)

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After lunch, we took the long walk through Fisherman’s Wharf over to the cable cars.  I am so glad we are beyond strollers — that certainly made things a lot easier!

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(Brave girl!)

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We sat inside on the first leg of the trip, which proved to get a little crowded.  Thankfully, we snagged the outside on the return trip.

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Of course, I had to get a pic of my reader in front of the Chinatown branch of the SF Library.

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We headed home late that afternoon and were blessed to miss the traffic.

What a fun day in SF with Grandma and Grandpa!

Redwood Hike and Beach Day

For years, visiting my parents’ place meant playing with Grandma and Grandpa, going to the park, and enjoying a trip away from home.  However, we didn’t do much sight seeing or much exploring because the kids were simply too little to enjoy much else.

This trip… finally… we were able to do a few things I’ve always wanted to do with the kids.  First was a hike through the redwoods.  It was still a fairly short hike, but at least we are at that age where we can all enjoy it!  (My older ones would have loved to go farther… maybe next time!)

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After the hike, we headed to the beach for a bit.  It was a gorgeous day, though too cold to swim.  My highlight was seeing a whale; I have never seen a whale from the beach before!

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My other highlight was seeing Triscuit chase after the ball like a puppy.  He was so happy to be out there!  Of course, the rest of the trip he was a stinky, sandy mess.  (The first thing we did once we got home was give him a bath.)

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Though they are usually too cold to swim in, I still prefer Northern California beaches to Southern California beaches.  They are often so secluded and empty and just seem cleaner and nicer.

Beautiful day!

Labor Day 2016

One of the things I was most excited about doing on our trip up north last week was visiting my brother and sister-in-law’s newly remodeled home and hanging out with them for the day.  The home was gorgeous.  The food and company; wonderful!  It was a blessed day!

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While Grandma helped train the boysenberry bushes, the kids got to pick apples.  Uncle Nate saved them just for the kids to pick!

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Aunt Hilary bought a fun project for the kids; making their own mugs.  Even Malachi’s mug turned out awesome!

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Petting Mr. Poops.  Playing a round of corn hole.

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The food… my brother’s house serves up food better than most restaurants.  We are spoiled!
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We were blessed to be joined by my great Aunt Dori.  (So, does that make her my children’s great, great aunt?)

After dinner, we took some pictures then headed back to my parents’ house.

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Thanks for an awesome Labor Day, Nate and Hil.  We love you!

Our Last Hurrah!

We just got back from one week up at my parents’ house.  (Happy Grandparents’ Day, Mom and Dad!)  Other than missing our first art class, the timing was perfect and we had such a great time.  Beautiful weather.  A break from (most) school.  A trip to San Francisco.  A hike through the Redwoods.  A few hours at the beach.  A fun new park.  An overnight away from the kids.  I feel refreshed and ready to get this school year going!  (It helps that my favorite season is fall, and we have some cool weather coming this week!)

Lots of pictures of our adventures to come.  Meanwhile, here is a glimpse of our favorite part: just hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa.  Of course, Grandma is the game lady… and Grandpa is the race car guy.  (Luckiest grandkids I know!)

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