Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Magical Morning in Maine/Taianomainen aamu




I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:16-19

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Homeschool Update

Photo from June

Our Fall has not just been full of blueberry picking, baking and hiking, we actually did start homeschooling, too. I guess we can consider our outings field trips or PE, right!? ;-)

Our four older kids are in 7th grade and Little Miss is in Kindergarten. I haven't taken an official beginning of the school year photo yet {mom fail}.


You can click on the logo to view Monarch.

We are still mostly a Monarch-family. Mr. T does all five subjects (Language Arts, Math, Science, Bible and History & Geography) plus a Health elective on his computer. He works very independently, and wanted everything to be Monarch. We respected his wishes, and he is doing great.

Monarch is great for the independent learner - the lessons are all together, the program is easy to use, and even though it is a new program, we rarely come across any bugs any more (an issue in the first months last year). Monarch grades most of the problems for you, so that is a major plus for a busy mom. I check my student's daily work report every day, and any time they didn't get 100% A, I check why. I don't expect them t get perfect scores, but I want to check if the computer made a mistake, or if my student didn't learn the concept. Sometimes I need to mark problems to be reworked.

Missy uses Monarch for everything except Bible and Art. She has been doing very well in her studies (much better than she did when our children attended a Christian school - I think school then was mainly a social activity for her).

Missy's, Mr. A's and Mr. D's elective this year is Family and Consumer Science. It is a fantastic elective on basic life skills like housekeeping, cooking, finances etc. Mr. T is planning to take it in the Spring - I want him to, this is so excellent. As a teacher, I decided to take quizzes and tests out, I want my students to have fun with this class.


Click on the photo to view Apologia

Our Bible curriculum this year is Apologia's Who Is God? And Can I Really Know Him?
I am perfectly happy with Monarch's Bible Curriculum, and highly recommend it, but we won this book last year in a giveaway, and it also looks very good, so this year we are going with it. Some days we read the lesson together, and some days my students do the lesson independently. We have notebooks for everyone, and practice handwriting by writing Bible verses down. We also have a Who Is God coloring book for Little Miss to follow along (which at the moment she isn't too interested in).


Mr. D and Mr. A were not enjoying science last year, so I started reviewing various science curricula for them. Missy and Mr. T chose to stick with Monarch, which was fine with me. It looks like we will be doing a mix of science programs this year. Today they started Science Jim's Live Web Class on Newton's Laws. They missed the first two live classes, but were able to watch them online. This is what the description says on Science Jim's website:

Join Science Jim and explore Newton’s groundbreaking discoveries as we discuss gravity, momentum, acceleration and all three of Newton’s laws of motion. What does Newton’s first law have to do with getting ketchup out of a bottle? Why should all amusement parks be called NewtonLand? What do Newton’s laws have to do with me riding my skateboard (and wearing my helmet)? This class will make you realize how key Newton’s laws are to everyday life and will have you seeing them everywhere! The lessons in the free Bite-Size Physics: Mechanics eBook accompany each online class and are packed with experiments and activities that the students are encouraged to do as "lab work" after each class. We will discuss the "lab findings" the following week. Each class is recorded so you can watch them whenever, and as often as, you’d like.

This is a 9 week class, meeting once a week until November 8th. The students are able to communicate with Science Jim during the class via chat, and ask questions. Mr. A & Mr. D loved it!! Missy decided to join in also, and all three of them reported they participated in the class. Yay! I'm sure Mr. Science Jim can teach Newton's Laws way better than this homeschooling mom... We'll most likely continue Science Jim's classes in the Spring, too. Mr. A has his eye on the Physics of Flight classes. It is wonderful to see the boys excited about science again!

Before we found out about Science Jim, we did one month of Supercharged Science. There are great videos and lessons available, but we did find it a little confusing what to do when. We'll still use some of their material, there is a free live tele-class next week on sound and sonic vibrations we signed up for.

We also signed up to access Robert Krampf's The Happy Scientist videos and experiments. Via Homeschool Buyers Co-Op the fee was only $10. These videos are short, and the kids have found them interesting.


The girls are using Atelier for their art classes. I discovered Atelier at a homeschool convention in Virginia this summer, and purchased a trial size curriculum. It had six lessons, and the girls finished them in a week. I was thrilled to buy a full curriculum for this year with a discount through Homeschool Buyers Co-Op. I gave the boys an option to participate, but they weren't interested. Atelier is a dvd-based curriculum where you watch the teacher give an art lesson, and step-by-step instructions, and you watch, listen, then pause the dvd to do the steps yourself. It is designed to be used at home or at a homeschool co-op. We think it's fantastic!

Click on the image to read about Acorn or to purchase

The boys have been interested in graphic arts for a while, and we have been looking at various photo or image-editing programs that wouldn't break the bank or be too difficult to use. This past weekend we purchased Acorn, and the boys are all learning how it works.


This Fall we didn't come up to Maine early enough to sign up for soccer, so they are not involved in sports at the moment. Mr. T is bummed about that, but is hoping to sign up later in the year for basketball or something else. We know all five of our kids will be skiing this winter, we were able to buy very inexpensive season passes for them. Plus we all enjoy snowmobiling, sledding & ice skating.

Missy started both Tap classes and Jazz classes, both for the first time. She is very excited, and is hoping to make friends through these dance classes. (We are still pretty new in this area - bought our camp in April, but traveled most of the summer.)

At the moment our PE consists daily walks from our rental house to the red cabin at our camp - and back. Some days twice or three times. Our camp is going through major rebuilding and is not fit for living (we tried). The small red cabin is almost ready, and has better internet than our rental house, so after breakfast and morning chores my four older students take their lap top computers and head to the red cabin to do school. It is also the Captain's office. It's maybe a 10 minute walk downhill to the cabin, but a rigorous 20-30 minute hike back up. Little Miss and Mama make the trek daily too (trying to get in shape here!). Plus we are really trying to go hiking most weeks until the snow flies. Which, we hear, could be as early as October.


Little Miss got her first bike this Fall!

I feel quite unorganized with Little Miss' Kindergarten Curriculum, but once I sat down to write down things we do, I realized she is actually doing quite a bit. At the moment we work together after breakfast, some days she wants to do school for an hour, some days only 10 minutes. We might do something later that day too, but not necessarily. I am trying to keep it fun and go at her pace.

In addition to PE, Bible and Art, we all visit the library, usually once a week, but sometimes more often. Little Miss loves books, so we read to her every day - usually at bedtime. Her favorite books at the moment are Berenstain Bears.

Image Link to B&N

We have three Kindergarten books we are working on: Phonics, Reading and Math. They are by Active Minds, but must be discontinued as I couldn't find them online anymore. The picture above is from the same series, but our books are Kindergarten ones.

Little Miss enjoys working on the computer, just like the big siblings. Our favorite Kindergarten (we used some of these for preschool, too) websites are Starfall and Explode the Code. She also goes on, and Disney websites. Most of them have educational games.


Overall I think our year has started well. After our stressful move from New Hampshire I felt weary to start our year, but homeschooling has brought discipline and routine to our days. We are starting to get into a good rhythm, and each child has daily chores around the house. As this is our third year of homeschooling I feel more confident than when we first started. An occasional horrible, terrible, very bad day doesn't mean the whole year is doomed (or even a few of them). Those are the days when a field trip is the best thing for all of us, or a pajama day.

And because we homeschool - we can plan another family trip in the Mothership - after all, we've been staying put now for almost a month :)

PS. I am not being compensated for mentioning any of these homeschooling products. I am just sharing what we are using and what works for us. None of the links benefit our family in any way.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Drive in Maine/Ruskaa

It is starting to be peak Fall foliage in Northern Maine.
(I think a whole month ahead of Southern New Hampshire! Am I right?)

I have been itching to go for a Sunday drive with my camera.

Today, after (home)school, the girls and I headed out.
(On a Monday afternoon drive.)

There may or may not have been an incentive to go out for ice cream afterward.

I am so glad we were able to go.

The world was glorious today!

The colors vibrant and and overwhelmingly beautiful!

I love Fall.

Especially in New England.

We stopped by a farm stand.

Admired all the flowers.

Bought ice cream vegetables.

And drove home.

The end.

Linking this post to Hip Homeschool Hop!

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Ruska on kauneimmillaan pohjois-Mainessä juuri nyt! Tyttöjen kanssa lähdimme ajelulle kameran kanssa. Mahdollisesti pysähdyimme jäätelölle reissulla. Maisemat olivat henkeäsalpaavan kauniit! Onneksi menimme.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Snapshot {Family Hike}

Sunday Highlights:

- Great little village church to attend.
- A beautiful Fall Sunday in Maine.
- The Captain safely home from his trip to Canada.
- So many hiking trails to explore - this one became a favorite so far.
- Family time all together!

Sunday Snapshot

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

All Those Blueberries/Kaikki mustikat?

So what do we do with all the blueberries we've picked?

The first batch we just ate raw. With cereal, with oatmeal, with ice cream, with nothing at all. Yum. Just pure yumminess. Wild Maine blueberries are the best! (Unless you are a Finnish reader, in which case Finnish blueberries are the best! Truly, mother!! :)

And from yesterday's blueberries we decided to make a blueberry pie. We've made blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, but I can't remember if we've ever made a blueberry pie before. So I googled "blueberry pie" and found this recipe.

For our apple and pumpkin pies, we always use our never-fail-pie-crust-recipe. It's called Pillsbury Pie Crust. I decided to stick with the same recipe today, also.

Since we bake with honey, not sugar, I had to tweak the recipe quite a bit.

The Mothership Adventures Amazing Blueberry Pie

2 pie crusts
4 cups of fresh wild Maine blueberries
1/2 cup honey
6 T cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 T butter
egg white
vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 400F/200 C. Mix honey, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon. Pour over blueberries.
Line one pie crust in pie plate, pour cinnamon mixture into the crust. Dot with butter. Cut remaining pastry into 3/4 inch wide strips, and make lattice top. Crimp and flute edges. Paste with egg white (or milk). Bake 50 minutes. Make a foil tent over pie if starting to brown too soon (I had to do that). Let it sit for an hour before cutting into, otherwise filling can be too watery. Serve with vanilla ice cream and pinch yourself - you haven't died and gone to heaven yet - this pie really is that good!

And here's the proof. Yum. (That was the seventh pie in less than a week. And I'm planning to make another one for lunch tomorrow as the Captain's parents and Nanny are coming over for a visit. Shhh!!!!)


Ekan mustikkareissun mustikat söimme sellaisenaan, tai murojen, puuron tai jäätelön kanssa. Eilisistä mustikoista tein mustikkapiirakan, yllä resepti (jos kukaan haluaa reseptin suomeksi, laittakaa sanaa kommenttilootaan - pohja oli ostopohja). Taivaallista piirakkaa, suosittelen!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Two Lessons/Kaksi opetusta

We learned two things today while blueberry picking.

1) Going blueberry picking with boys is a whole different experience than with girls.

2) Never, ever, wear crocks to blueberry picking.

So now you know.

Linking this post to Hip Homeschool Hop!

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Opimme tänään kaksi uutta asiaa mustikkareissullamme.
1) Mustikkareissu poikien kanssa on ihan erilainen kokemus kuin tyttöjen kanssa. 2) Älä koskaan, koskaan mene mustikkaan crocs'it jalassa. Nyt tiedät sinäkin.

Yummy Fall Goodies/Syksyherkkuja

Fall is in Northern Maine, for sure. The leaves are turning, the weather is cooler, and our rental house kitchen is producing all kinds of yummy Fall goodies.

So thankful to have a real kitchen again! The RV kitchen (without an oven) just didn't invite us to do any baking (and not much cooking, either). I will share an apple sauce recipe though, that would be as easy to do in the RV as in any kitchen.

This weekend we made four apple pies, two pumpkin pies, and a big pot of apple sauce. The apples came from our own trees at the camp, we think they might be macintosh apples, but not sure. Very tart!

Crockpot Honey Applesauce

15-20 Apples
1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Water
1 tsp Cinnamon

Peel, core and slice apples. Fill crockpot 3/4 full of apples, add honey, water and cinnamon. Cook about 7 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Mix well and serve warm.

PS. We have one pie left, and a small bowl of apple sauce. Time to pick more apples :)

Linking this post to Sunday Snapshot at Ni Hao Ya'll.

Sunday Snapshot

Syksy on tullut pohjois-Maineen - ilmat viilenevät, ruska värittää metsät kauniiksi, ja keittiöstä tulee oikein syksyisiä tuoksuja.

Teimme neljä omenapiirakkaa, kaksi kurpitsapiirakkaa, sekä ison kulhollisen omenahilloa, jota söimme amerikkalaisittain välipalaksi lusikalla kulhosta. Yksi piirakka jäljellä, ja ihan vähän hilloa - aika hakea lisää omenia :)