Monthly Archives: December 2010

Our First Nature Study–Rabbits

I was reading in Charlotte Mason Companion about the importance and fun of doing nature studies. Knowing how into animals the children are I knew this would be an important component of our homeschool.


But with nearly 2 feet of snow on the ground I wasn’t sure what we could do. Plus we have a 7 week old that shouldn’t be out much in the cold weather. So for our first nature study I wanted to stay in the backyard. I knew from years past that we have alot of rabbits around. Plus one of the children’s favorite books is Bucky by Harry Baerg. It’s the story of a jack rabbit and beautfully illustrated. It’s out of print now but I still have the copy my grandma gave me for my birthday back in 1987 recently rebound by my mother.

So we read Bucky and went outside to see what we could find.


First we had to shovel our way to the backyard.

Avril was hoping for some sledding also but with Effie in a sling under my coat and snow up to Mavis’ chest I decided we wouldn’t venture too far into the snow pack.

We did find some poo in a “form” near the chicken coop.

But the real find was a little farther away. I had to zoom in to the get this one and only Two could see it other then me.

Later we drew rabbits for our nature book. Next week if the weather cooperates we will head to the near by nature center for some (indoor) play with animal tracks. Not too bad for our first one though.

Homeschooling Begins

Finally after months of stalling and years of planning homeschool began this week. Yes the week in between Christmas and New Year is normally off but since we planned to begin in October but then we were derailed first by preterm labor and then bedrest and then going overdue and then getting really sick right after the birth and finally by the holidays we felt it was time to begin.

With all the craziness in our home and us parents being occupied by illness, and mental fatigue the TV had really taken over. Even the children were getting bored with it being on constantly. So now the rule is the TV is off until 5:00 except for the daily dose of “Sesame Street.” It really has made our house much more pleasant. I plan to continue to cut back even more but slowly.

The first day though was incredible difficult. Unfortunately over the past few months our house has also gotten out of control and I can barely stand it. In hindsight I should have taken a week to prepare the house before beginning school but I didn’t so I work a little bit every day. But we muddled through the first day none of us really knowing what to expect. Each day it has gotten a bit better.  

Today I was sitting nursing my baby with my three older children around the table going through our ABCs and practicing writing and I just had to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment. How sweet life is.

I plan my next couple of posts to share what we are beginning and our struggles and fun as we go on this momentous journey. More on Friday.

Guitars, Guitars, Guitars

Proeun and I have discovered that if each of the children gets toys from each of the aunts and uncles and grandparents that our house will fill up quickly. Already with the necessary gear of 4 children plus 2 adults a couple cats and a dog life around here sometimes makes for close quarters. So this year for Christmas we drew names on Proeun’s side of the family and we decided that we would only purchase one gift for each of the children in addition to Santa’s gifts.

But what to get, we debated and debated then knowing how much they like Proeun’s guitar (he is still in the process of learning how to play it) we decided to look into guitars.

Two got a 3/4 size guitar.

Avril a half size guitar.

and for Mavis a smaller “toy” that was unsized. At first we weren’t planning on getting a guitar for her but then realized she would probably feel left out so now our house has 4 guitars. For Two the guitar was overshadowed by his first small kind legos and new hunting game for wii from Santa.

But for Avril and her shadow Mavis the guitar are it. Picks are in high demand and apparently I have a couple singer/ songwriters on my hands. Topics of songs for Avril include, farming, getting her first guitar and being the first daughter. For Mavis her songs are mostly about grandma.

Mary Did You Know?

As I write this with my own babe in arms I find myself searching for the spiritual, the mysterious and the glorious this  time of year. The role of Mary in this whole drama certainly fits the bill. Here are the words to one of my favorite Christmas songs. I love meditating on it and wanted to share it.

Mary Did You Know

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
Would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your Baby Boy
Has come to make you new;
This Child that you delivered
Will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
Will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
Will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know that your Baby Boy
Has walked where Angels trod?
When you kiss your Little Baby,
You kiss the Face of God!

Oh, Mary, did you know?
Oh, Mary, did you know?

The blind will see, the deaf will hear,
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak
The praises of the lamb!

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
Will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your Baby Boy
Is Heaven’s Perfect Lamb?
This sleeping Child you’re holding
Is the Great I Am!

Knit Socks

Years ago when I was the mother of just one boy I met Jess at a local Attachment Parenting playgroup. Jess like many of the other moms knit constantly while their children played. But what I remember about Jess is her knit socks (follow her knitting adventures here). I never considered doing that before but it sounded fun so I bought yarn and knit a pair for myself. Then I lost a sock and nearly cried. Seriously.

Luckily I found it again and once again thought I would like to try knitting socks. Noticing a dearth of quality socks in children’s sizes I decided to use my extra sock yarn and make a pair for Avril. It started with her picking the color. she was so excited.

Then came the knitting.

She kept wanting to try them on. Now one of them is finished

and a good start on the 2nd. Hopefully she won’t loose one. Next on the list of socks is Effie, then Mavis and finally Two, going in order of most need. If I work a little bit consistently every day I can finish a pair in 1-2 weeks. Enthusiasm helps. I got the pattern from Ravelry a free site. The pattern is “basic kids socks.”

Merry Christmas from the Doeuns

While it is an adventure trying to get 4 little children dressed in their best clothes, stand still, look at a camera and smile all at the same time it is a pretty fun adventure. I love pictures especially once they actually get to my wall or in our photo albums. This weekend we went to a new place for our pictures, Portrait Innovations. They were great. You can set an appointment, even on the weekend, the prices were really reasonable and even though I think our children are photogenic that doesn’t always mean they cooperate, but still we got some great pictures. Enjoy.

Now I have all these great pictures for posterity.

Toothfairy’s first visit

Late last night after everyone was in bed Two stayed awake working his very first loose tooth. When he got it stuck in an uncomfortable position he asked for help. Of course his dad was quick to help with a bit of dental floss wrapped around the tooth. I really wish I had gotten up to videotape it. But instead I stayed in bed laughing to myself.

It went something like this with foot stomping, “No I am going to die!”
“You won’t die it will be quick. Let me see.”

Finally after some convincing Two stood bracing for the pull. Proeun said, “I didn’t count because I didn’t want him to know when I was going to do it.” It was very loose because when Proeun pulled it it went flying into the Christmas tree. Then a mad hunt ensued to find it and ensure the Toothfairy really would stop at our house last night. Luckily they found it and she did.

She varied from custom a bit accepting the tooth from a cup by Two’s head and leaving quarters for the Two’s piggy.

Before falling asleep Two was very worried his sister Avril might try to stay up and see the Toothfairy, “please just go to sleep Avril, otherwise she won’t come.” I laughed and told him just to worry about falling asleep himself.

Sleeping wasn’t a problem for Effie.

Granola and gifts

Soule Mama has once again inspired me. She is one of the few blogs that I check almost daily. I am long on enthusiasm for handcrafts but short on time to develop my own patterns and recipes or even wade through all the myriad of stuff on the internet. That’s where Soule Mama comes in. She gives such great ideas and suggestions for patterns it helps me maximize my time. In fact the sock pattern I am using for Avril came from one of her posts.

This week is all about “elving” according to Ms. Soule. So yesterday being kitchen day in my new family schedule I made bread and Granola (scroll down you’ll find it near the end of the post).

Notice the half eaten jar. It’s good, real good believe me. I’ll have to make another batch tomorrow.

All of a sudden I am in the Christmas mood and I have all these projects I want to make–playsilks, soap, more dolls, knitted hats for all my children, and socks would be great to. But alas if I am going to accomplish all that Christmas will be in March. It hit home yesterday when I ordered some soap making supplies from Brambleberry. I had been planning on it for months but something else always came up that needed our money and time, so now with a deadline like Christmas looming I thought I better get a move on. And I missed the deadline by one day for Christmas delivery. Reality strikes again. So I guess I can relax and plan for next year. In the meantime food makes great gifts too and can be accomplished in a day.

Snowed In!

This is what our neighborhood looked like Saturday morning. Yes we were hit by that big snowstorm. Luckily we were all home with no where we absolutely needed to go. Somewhere between the tree and the houses is supposed to be a road. By the time the storm was finished early Sunday morning we had an estimated 16 inches in our neck of the woods. A neighboring town had over 20. This is on top of the 4-6 inches already on the ground and as my mother pointed out winter hasn’t officially started yet!

Luckily we had warning and had put a shovel on the porch. This is also Saturday morning and there is a step down onto the porch. I had already gone out once to feed the chickens (luckily our coop is literally right outside our backdoor, not always good in the summer but a Godsend now) and this is what Proeun had to contend with about 1:00.

It takes a good half hour to get everyone dressed, the car warmed and everyone out the door and safely stowed away these days. Thank goodness for a relaxing weekend snowed in. We watched movies, set up the Christmas tree, read stories and ran around the house. I even got to read some grown up books, do more indepth planning for our homeschool, work on a doll for Effie’s first Christmas gift and start knitting a pair of socks for Avril. She loves knowing that mommy is making something for her. I will update more as the sock project continues.

Funny things kids say: Stupendous

As any one who spends time with children knows, “kids say the funniest things.” We had a doozy this week. Proeun doesn’t like the children to say, “stupid” as in “that’s stupid,” “you’re stupid,” etc. Two was caught in the act this week. When Proeun reprimanded him he said quick as a wink, “Stupendous was what I was going to say.” How do you argue with that?