A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
AND another week flies by. Seriously, what is this? I get to the end of my day, and I think, "What did I do today?" Honestly, it feels like I'm perfecting the art of running around in circles and accomplishing pretty much nothing. I know I DO do things, but it just seems to impossible to me that I'll ever get everything on my list accomplished. I suppose we all feel that way. I often think it would be nice to have more hours in the day, but if we did, well, I'd just have more things to do and still not get them done. :)
This past weekend was FULL of all sorts of fun! Friday was a good day, since it was Good friday. :) We lazed about in the morning, then in the afternoon, we headed down to a new restaurant a friend just opened, "Steve and Lauri's Restaurant". We had pork and chicken, and fried rice, which Josh said was the BEST fried rice he's ever had! (He even said that two days later when he warmed up some of the leftovers we had taken home! So you know it must have been good!)
Then there was Saturday. We had a district Relief Society activity that day, which was really fun! Lots of lovely ladies there. I got to do a little presentation on how to be physically fit (and why). Our branch did a little skit of the 10 Virgins which was fun, too, since I got to dress up in my lovely blue ball gown. :) I admit I skipped out a little early--mostly because the activity was running REALLY long and I needed to get home to my family, plus they were eating food I couldn't eat. To avoid awkward questions, sometimes it's just better to just leave. :)
That evening, though, was the BEST! There is a US Navy ship that just docked here at Colombo Port, and they had their band do a free concert in a nearby park. WOW!!!!!!!! It was probably the best concert I've ever been to! I had NO idea what we were going to be seeing. I sort of just expecting a big band playing Sousa marches. That's fine and good, but does get a little old, so we wanted to go to show support, show the kids a US band, get out of the house, do something a little different, then come home and go to bed. The concert started at 6pm. We got there as the big US Navy band was playing Stars and Stripes Forever. It was loud and good and fun! Then, they switched out...and in comes a traditional dance group. It was so fun! Well, this started a whole series of switches between different bands and all different traditional dance groups! The Sri Lankan army and navy bands played, along with the US Navy band, plus LOTS of different traditional dance/drum/music groups! So awesome! There was a drum band that was INCREDIBLE!!!!!! And the Kandyan dancers were AMAZING!!! And there was a group that danced with fiery torches...and the two guys in the middle had masks on that were covered with flames!! They danced and twirled and did flips!! And then there was the 7th Fleet Band who played JAZZ music and it was SO tight! HA! Even Peter and Claire loved it!!!!!! (That's saying something!) It was SO much fun and I'm SO glad we went!
This brings us, of course, to Sunday. Easter! I woke up super early and helped out the Easter Bunny (a few treats and some books--we're trying to lighten the amount of things the kids get on holidays so we can focus more on the meanings of the day, and on family/friend time instead). Then I went back to bed, since Claire had mentioned the kids wanted to do something before I woke up. Well, around 6am, I heard someone coming in and out of the room and some noises in the house. When I got up, I found notes all over..."Give us Easter!" "We want Easter!" "We want to stay home!" >:( Wow. I wasn't expecting that one. I was sort of hoping for happy faces and special Easter cards. I admit that I was a little heartbroken...and very glad that we are going to bare minimum 'gifts'. We had a long talk at breakfast about what Easter is all about--Resurrection Sabbath! It's not about staying home to do nothing, it's about remembering the Savior. And that Easter falls on Sunday EVERY year, so it's not like going to church on Easter is anything new. Ah well. It all turned out wonderfully, though. Before church, 5 people were baptized! It was really wonderful! Sacrament meeting was short, my temple prep class was awkward (there was a angry person in class, and it sure made it hard to teach and to learn...), Relief society was lovely, after church, like EVERYONE brought cake, so the kids were happy, then we came home! The kids and I watched The Testaments and ate popcorn. Then we all ate dinner--turkey, veggies, and mashed potatoes! After dinner, we did the Resurrection Eggs (the 12 plastic eggs with scriptures and symbols of the Savior's death and resurrection...Josh and Claire hid them, and Andrew and Peter had to find them...then we all read them while Peter and Claire fought over who would read them.) We watched 'Rise of the Guardians' (because the Easter Bunny is there) while Devin and Josh went home teaching, played MilleBourne, then headed to bed. I think it turned out to be a pretty great day! Yes, I think I gave the kids what they asked for: We had Easter. He lives. He loves us--each and every one--and He knows of our trials and hardships and works to make our burdens light. I love Him!
This is what a typical Family Home Evening looks like at our house!!
It's loud and crazy and super fun! There are puzzles, games, dancing, baking, and lots of loud noises coming from every corner of the house! Claire baked us a SUPER yummy treat (well, in all honesty, I don't actually know what it tasted like, but it SMELLED really good, and everyone said it was delicious):
This is Lemon Easter Bread. It's a sweet bread, full of lemon zest, covered in a 'lemonade' glaze and sprinkles, and topped with real hard-boiled eggs! We all helped dye the eggs. :)
These nights bring to life the words from that old primary song:
When the family gets together after evening work is done,
And we learn to love each other popping corn and having fun!
Then our daddy tells us stories, mother leads us in a song,
And we feel that nothing in the world could possibly go wrong!
At our house, we create daily. Sometimes those creations are useful, and sometimes they're just silly.
Here's an example of useful silliness... Andrew created a battle scene. This is the American Civil War...brought to you by starbursts. Yes, he got himself a huge pile of Starbursts and molded them like clay (some Tootsie Rolls are in there, too), and created a neat scene full of death and dismemberment. Gross on so many levels. Especially when he decided to finally eat it. What a weirdie.
In other creation news, we had our Handicraft Friday. This Friday, we arranged flowers! SO fun and SO beautiful! The best part about these, is that you don't have to remember to water them! Or even look at them! And if you forget, they don't die! Sweet!! Can you find all 5 of us in the picture on the right? A jungle of flowers...
The other creation didn't turn out quite so well... Claire made 'Lemon Easter Bread' for her group class project for baking. Sadly, it was forgotten when it was in the oven! :( Well, from what I hear, the insides tasted really good anyway!
I sat down to add a few posts, and decided that most of them are so random that I would just put in a plethora of random pictures that pretty much sums up our week! :) We always have so much going on! It's huge amounts of fun, really, and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but it IS tiring sometimes.
Anyway, we are still VERY thoroughly enjoying our science curriculum this semester! Wow! The lessons are SUPER in-depth with a really cool science experiment for every single lesson! It's something that everyone can participate in, and if they need to go deeper (Josh), they can, and if it's just learning science for fun (everyone), well, that's what we get! Today we added yeast to hydrogen peroxide and put a balloon on top to fill the balloon with oxygen. Then, we lit a little candle and put it inside a jar. We watched the candle 'eat up' all the oxygen and eventually die out a few times until the balloon was big enough to use. Then, I lit the candle, and stuck the end of the balloon inside of the jar and SLOWLY let the air out of it. It was really cool! The flame got REALLY bright! The kids really liked this experiment, and it was fun to talk about the components and composition of air. Now they know, that saying we breathe oxygen isn't 100% correct. Neat.
Next up is this little excited face!! :) Why is Andrew so excited? Well, it's because we ALWAYS have people at our house! Last night we had 6 extra people at our FHE--from 3 different families! SO FUN! We played together, ate together, baked things together, learned together... And yes, maybe we stayed up a little late playing the game that Claire chose as her lesson (she was likening playing family games to 2 Nephi 2:25, telling us that we needed to have JOY so we should play games together as a family), but it was worth it! It worked, too, because I think we all felt a lot of JOY and looked like Andrew at the end of the busy day! :)
OUCH!!!! Claire's salon class continues, and I donated my poor legs to science. Their practical/lab was to wax someone's legs. I have NEVER had my legs waxed, and I don't think I'll EVER do it again! But I was very brave and did not cry! But just LOOK at that sheer GLEE on my daughter's face as she spreads the wax on my legs getting ready to rip off some more of my skin...I mean hair... :D
We finished another puzzle!! This one was SO fun and SO fast! A 1,000 piece puzzle of the American Revolution Era! I'm keeping it all together so I can get it framed, because it's REALLY cool!
Claire and I are still loving our handicraft classes! The week before last, we made Easter cards, and last week we made the cutest bookmarks ever! This next week we're doing some flower arrangements! Woohoo!
Claire continues her culinary adventures...last week was croissants! Holy cow! I have a great deal more respect for those little rolls. We made them twice...and it literally takes almost 9 hours from start to finish. Yah, that's not one we're going to do often... She also made pies. There was a bit of an incident, however, when she read 3/4 cup as 3-4 cups of cold water. It pretty much became soup! It was saved by adding a whole lot more flour, and ended up being deep dish pies, but everyone seemed to enjoy them, so it was a win!
Which brings us to the end of this narrative. I suppose what it all boils down to is that life is full--full of friends, full of food, full of love and adventure and learning! This is what it is all about, right? I wouldn't have it any other way. I feel blessed and surrounded by God's Love every single day.
One of the BEST things about homeschooling is the fact that my kids can explore their interests. Claire has ALWAYS wanted to learn the ins and outs of a salon. When asked what she wants to do when she grows up, she tells people she wants to have a salon where she can do their hair and nails and makeup, etc. Well, it just so happens there's a lady in our branch here who owns a salon, and not only that, she runs a salon academy!!!! So Claire is now taking classes at a salon academy! How cool is that?? She's learning a lot and loving it. I love watching her learn and gain confidence as she experiences new things and learns about things she's always wanted to know.
We've begun a new science series. I have to admit, I LOVE Apologia science! We've been using it now for 3 years, and this is our fourth book. We did Astronomy (by far our favorite so far), Anatomy/Physiology, and Botany. Now, we're starting Physical Science!
One of the things I really like about this curriculum is how hands-on it is. LOTS of experiments in each chapter that makes the learning really fun and easy. And I love all the information. It isn't watered down. Especially the physical science! Wow!
So we did our first experiment yesterday. We put baking soda in a glass of water. Next, we stripped two copper wires (just 1/4 inch off each end) and attached one end of each one to its own terminal on a 9V battery. We then stuck the other ends of the wires into the baking soda water. So cool! They started to fizz like crazy! The coolest part was what it was doing: the copper and electrical current was taking apart the water molecules--separating them back into hydrogen and oxygen! NEAT! The kids LOVED it especially when we took the wires out and one had turned black and the other had turned a slimy blue/green! AND the water had turned blue/green! Ha! SO awesome! We had a great discussion about atoms and molecules and chemical reactions. Then we watched Bill Nye the Science Guy on atoms and molecules. Good times. Even Claire paid attention! Win, win!
Our Sabbath days are serious whirlwinds. I seem to remember those days when we would get home from church, and we'd all eat then sit around writing in journals or quietly playing... Now our day is filled with early meetings, meetings after church, lots of people at our house for meals, games and movies... We usually have our latest bedtime on Sunday night! Ha! So silly. It is rather exhausting, but honestly, it's so great! We get to know so many people. It's a definite blessing for us. Yesterday, I ended up leaving early (the kids literally pulled me out of the church!!), so Josh and I cleaned up the kitchen from the morning's baking fiasco of Belgian waffles, then started to make some food. Claire had a friend over. Then Devin came home with another family of friends...then Claire's friend's family came over...and we ended up having a huge meal, chatting and playing! The kids played Jenga while the rest of us made some microwave brownies. Yum! We got to talk about life and things. I love the people here. They are so kind and loving--and have such hard lives. I suppose we all have hard lives in different ways. These are the ways we learn and grow. It's like this little poem that Claire found the other day: Everyone wants Happiness--No one wants Pain!
But if you want to see the Rainbow, you have to have the Rain!
Of course, none of us WANTS the rain part, but those rainbows are sure beautiful!
Who Am I?
As a Stay At Home Mom of 4 wonderful children, I have the amazing opportunity not only to home school them, but to do so in many different places! I am married to the most amazingly wonderful (and handsome) man in the whole world! Together, we seek out, every day, that Joy in the Journey that makes life exciting!
by Dan Brown
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