Friday, November 2, 2012

Little Fall Lessons

I love fall! I think it's my favorite time of year. This year it kind of sprang upon me. I realized I was suppose to start homeschooling, get Jasper's party ready, direct our church's Cubbies program and manage our home all at the same time and I wasn't ready. So we started our school a little later in the year than the kids who go to school. (We can do that, because I'm the teacher and I decide when we start!) I took some time to get my little babies in order. Well, first I had to make a baby - a sock baby, so I made a Pella. This seems unimportant, but sometimes these little details make it easier for me to focus on the bigger picture. Now I have a complete little sock baby set in the homeschool/ dining room. Lesson: Do the fun things, the other things will always be there to do later.

Then I got our little lives in order. I created a very structured schedule. I've never tried this type of structured schedule before, but working around Pella's feeding schedule, and working with all the kids one on one with school it had to be done. And it works! The kids look at it all the time and check to see what they're suppose to be doing and follow it! Mostly. We do have flexibly lax days sometimes. This has been a great sanity to our little, loud home. I love how the middle kids have stepped up to the times when they are scheduled to take care of their littler siblings! Who knew this would work so well!
By the way, on the first day of school this year the kids cried and said they didn't want to do school, and they were so sad and it made me sad. So on the second day of school I told the kids we were no longer doing school. From now on we were not going to have school. We were only going to learn stuff and they were so relieved and so happy. So now we don't even do "school" over here. We just "learn stuff".
Lesson: Kids can follow a schedule when they know what the schedule is (and the word school is not on the schedule).

Every fall we make "Happy Fall" muffins to hand out to our neighbors and drive around to our friends. The kids each get to pick a family to give muffins to. This year we made pumpkin chocolate chip and pumpkin cream cheese muffins but had no time to drive them around to our friends, so we gave them to our Awana leaders and our Cubbie volunteers. 
Lesson: Friends are everywhere so give the ones you see muffins.

The kids love, love, love their new dentist, Dr. Beck, at Fircrest Pediatric Dentistry! They all get to go into the big room together where they each have their own chair, movie and dental hygenist. Then Dr. Beck comes and looks at them all and I just follow him around the room and hear what he has to say about each one. It's so fun and they are so nice! Fall dentist check-ups - check! (Except Eben has to go back and get some cavities fixed.)
Lesson: Mama has to do more brushing!

This fall we had an experimental honey harvest. Removing the frames from the hive went well. Shmee and I got all the frames out fine, except I think some of the bees may have swarmed because there weren't as many bees as we've had before, but who knows because these are a new type of bee to us. We have Italian bees this year, they seem littler and way less aggressive.

The experiment was our new extractor which we purchased online cheaply, and now we know why, all the frames we tried to spin, broke. Oops. I think it had something to do with the drill being too fast and the frame holder putting too much torque on the wrong part of the frame, plus a lot of the honey was from our last bees, the Carolina ones, so it was super thick and heavy.

The kids sure liked it though, they got to lick a lot of broken frames of honey.

Our friends came over to get a lesson in honey harvesting. Sadly we were not very good teachers of how the process should go as we failed to extract any honey.

This was the messiest honey year ever. We ended up having to cut all the honey, wax and all, off the frames and into a mesh bag to hang and drain into the brand new trash can container. The process is still not finished. Gravity isn't even working to pull the honey out of the wax. So, we'll have to squeeze it out at some point. Now we know the importance of a good extractor.
Lesson: When your cheap-o extractor breaks all your frames; get sticky, eat the honey and next year buy the expensive extractor.

 We went to the Steilacoom History Museum's Apple Day and found out that no one uses all the apples in the little orchard. They said we could come back and pick them. So we did! We picked 2 huge bins full of apples! Peter was an amazing apple peeler and canner! Who knew he had such skills. He totally got the canning bug. (I think it was all those Mother Earth New magazines we got from a neighbor.)

We made so much out of all those apples. No part of them went to waste. He made applesauce and canned apple slices. I made dried cinnamon apple nests out of all the peels and apple curd and jelly out of the cores. The small part that was left over we fed to the chickens!
Lesson: When life gives you free apples, can them!

Opal finally got her first haircut (not counting when we cut her bangs). Her hair was actually going into the toilet when she went to the bathroom, so she decided it was time to cut it. I trimmed it up to her shoulders and it's so much easier to do now! Plus, it doesn't get into her food when she eats, or the toilet - bonus!
Lesson: If you can wipe with your hair, it's time to cut it off.


Momacita said...

Oh my goodness, those are cute and funny lessons. That one picture looks like Shannon and Fifi (when she was younger). I'm so proud of you that you've learned how to can. I never did any canning, only jelly and jam. The funniest lesson is the one about Opal's hair - what a cute picture. She has such a sweet smile.

Tiffany Nevil said...

I think this is my favorite post ever!