Thursday, September 18, 2014

Books and Podcasts: What we're Reading and Listening to

Little boy Isaias (from the archives)

Isaias, now 9, just finished reading:
Mattimeo (Brian Jacques)

He is currently reading: 
Farmer Boy (Laura Ingalls Wilder) 
Young Music Makers (Ireene Wicker)

Little boy Isaac~ in his dressing-up-like-a-cowboy phase
Isaac, now 10, just finished reading:
Wild Trek (Jim Kjelgaard)

He is currently reading:
Red Cap (G. Clifton Wisler)

Cute little Ella-girl (with bangs!)
Ella, now 12, just finished reading:
The Princess and Curdie (George MacDonald) 

She is currently reading:
Betsy-Tacy (Maud Hart Lovelace, on audio)
A Wind in the Door (Madeleine L'Engle, on audio)
The Savage My Kinsman (Elisabeth Elliot) 
{my reads}
I just finished reading:
A Praying Life (Paul Miller)
I am currently reading:
A Mother's Heart (Jean Fleming) 
How Should We Then Live? (Francis A. Schaeffer)
Teaching the Right Brain Child (Dianne Craft)

{reading aloud}
We are working our way through The Bronze Bow (Elizabeth George Speare), which is excellent.  We all love it.  We're also reading The Story Book of Science (Jean-Henri Fabre) and The Heroes, or Greek Fairy Tales (Charles Kingsley).  In the evenings, Mark is reading aloud Mary Emma & Company (Ralph Moody), as we work our way through the Little Britches series. 

Occasionally Mark and I will work on a puzzle while listening to a podcast together, which has been so enjoyable.  Other times I've snuck in a listen while I've been cooking or on the treadmill.  Here's the list of what I've listened to:

from Sarah's inspiring Read-Aloud Revival podcasts:
Episode 1: Reading Aloud to Older Kids
Episode 2: Engaging Conversations- How to Talk to Your Kids About Books
Episode 8: Every Book is a Mystery
Episode 10: The Art of Choosing Books

Andrew Pudewa: Nurturing Competent Communicators
Andrew Kern: Teaching Literature Without Killing the Book or Student

Many thanks to Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things for this post of her favorite podcasts.  :)

Okay, now tell me.  What have you been reading or listening to?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

This Week for Dinner

{breakfast one day last week: buttermilk pancakes with mini chocolate chips}

This is kind of a cheater blog post because it's 10:30 on Tuesday night and the post I intended to write today (Books and Podcasts: What We're Reading and Listening To) will take too long to write, so I'm going with meal plans instead.  Mark had the day off today, and I had grocery shopping to do, and we hosted a huge small group at our home this evening.  It's been a busy day!

Here's what we're eating this week.  And next:

Week 1
Monday | Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork (w/ tortillas, avocados, sour cream, salsa)
                     *I've used this recipe several times and we love it!
Tuesday | Chicken Caesar Salad and bread
Wednesday | Green Enchiladas
Thursday | Pulled Pork Sandwiches w/ coleslaw
Friday | Cauliflower Soup   
                *This is one of our very favorite fall soups and I'm so excited to be eating it again!
Saturday | Potato dish with sausage
Sunday | Nachos

Week 2
Monday | Mozzarella Meatballs, rice (because it was in the loop last time but we had a rough day so we picked up pizza instead!)
Tuesday | Man-Pleasing Chicken (if you haven't made this yet you are SO missing out)
Wednesday | White Chicken Chili
Thursday | Beef and Bean Burritos (These were on the rotation last time, too, and were such a hit (and so easy for me) that we're doing a repeat on these again.)
Friday | Chicken Mirabella
Saturday | Meatloaf, potatoes
Sunday | Goulash


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Chores for a bunch of kids

In years past I have asked my kids in advance what one chore they'd like to keep, and what one chore they'd like to be done with.  Then I try to accommodate their requests.  That just sounded like too much work this year, so I ended up assigning chores based on abilities and what would generally be most helpful.)  Here's our system for the year, inspired by a pin I saw on someone's Pinterest board:


(All you need is some cute washi tape, some craft sticks, a sharpie marker, and some jars.  :))

I assigned a color to each child, and then wrote their chores on their sticks.  After each meal it's chore time at our house.  Ella (12) generally gets down the appropriate jar, pulls out the sticks, and when they're completed, they go back into the jar.  (Our first thought was to turn the sticks upside down (colors down) when accomplished, but they always end up pulling all the sticks out to read their chores so this is now what we're doing and it's working great.)

{ morning chores }
Just to give you an idea of what each child is doing each day, here's a breakdown:

Audra (age 5), is responsible for getting herself dressed, putting away the silverware, wiping the kitchen table after each meal, helping to fold laundry each day, and brushing her teeth.

Adelia (age 6), is responsible for clearing the kitchen table after each meal, putting any books back onto the bookshelves, setting the table for dinner (with Isaac), helping to fold the laundry each day, and brushing her teeth.

Isaias (age 9), is responsible for emptying the dishwasher, picking up 5 things in the living room (2x/day), making lunch every day (with Ella), taking the garbage and compost out, cleaning the kitchen in the evenings, carrying the hampers upstairs, helping to fold the laundry each day, and brushing his teeth.

Isaac (age 10), is responsible for refilling the wood/kinding boxes OR (when it's not cold enough out to light a fire) cleaning the back porch.  He's also responsible for picking up 5 things in the living room (2x/day), sweeping the kitchen floor, taking dirty laundry downstairs, setting the table for dinner (with Adelia), cleaning the bathroom, helping to fold the laundry each day, and brushing his teeth.

Ella (age 12), is responsible for the chickens, picking up 5 things in the living room (2x/day), sweeping the kitchen floor, making lunch every day (with Isaias), flex chore (see below for details), cleaning the kitchen in the evenings, helping to fold the laundry each day, and brushing her teeth. 

~whew!~  I think I remembered them all!

New to us this year: 
-LAUNDRY:  I am doing all the laundry, except the folding and the putting away.  Ella is really my best laundry helper, but I'm giving her a break this year.  Isaac was my additional helper last year, but he usually likes to run a load of towels and fold them, thereby choosing only the easiest loads.  ;)  It was also challenging for him to figure out how many clothes to do per load, so often we had either WAY too large a load (and our clothes were not getting clean), or way too light of a load (why bother?)  So everyone is on folding duty in the evenings while daddy reads aloud, then they'll put clothes away before bed.

-LUNCHES: Ella and Isaias are making every single lunch.  Lunch is my least-favorite meal of the day, and they are loving the freedom to make what they want.  So thankful that God plopped this idea into my head.  :)

-FLEX CHORE:  Ella's flex chore came about because I couldn't narrow down what I wanted her to do each afternoon for her chore.  I realized that I wanted to have the freedom to change it up, as per our household needs on any particular given day.  So she reports to me and asks me what to do, and I wing it based on what is most needed at that moment.  She's done all sorts of different things: wash the eggs, make a quick batch of granola bars, puree fruit and get it on the dehydrator for fruit leather, wash dishes, etc.  I love this flexible chore.
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