Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Anna learned how to crochet two days ago! She has an extra share of dexterity, so it only took about 10 minutes to teach her, and she was off.

She was hooked. Here she is supposedly watching "Learn to Read" with Lydia.

That evening, Joseph asked me to teach him. I was too busy planting beans, so he actually allowed Anna to teach. After a little fine tuning, he got the hang of it.

So as of two days ago, Joseph and Anna have garnered a new skill! Here a little, there a little.

Update on Lydia's reading: She made it through the first five lessons, so she and Anna dropped everything and milked the m&ms for all they were worth. This turned into a very long "picnic", with a blanket (they thought of it after I took this picture) and plasticware. I'm not sure how much more Lydia can handle. Even m&ms may not be enough of an incentive to keep her focused. Her attention span just can't seem to handle the load. So I think I'm going to quietly ease out of this. I will wait till she asks to do lessons, and hope she'll forget to ask for a few months. I'm sure the m&ms will keep.

I just had to post this picture. This is pure Anna. She loves to really enjoy her food. She's a saver like her aunt Laura. Laura, we told her the story of the chocolate. :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lydia's turn

I started Lydia on "Teach Your Child How to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" (thank you, Kristie!) today.

It worked well for Joseph and Anna. I started Joseph right before he turned six, and Anna begged me to let her do it too, so I did. It worked! But every child is different. I'm not quite sure how Lydia will take to it. She has been showing interest in writing recently (her name, and other "words"), and even asked me to teach her how to read once. So I'm giving it a try. I'm going to hold myself accountable to not put pressure. We don't have to succeed. I sometimes forgot that with Anna, and got frustrated at repeated mistakes. I know, that was mean. Then I would remind myself that she was three, and we were doing this only because she was interested.
So here I am again, hoping to remember that we can happily crash and burn with this endeavor. Nevertheless, I have positive reinforcements at the ready - a little plastic teacup full of m&m's (thank you, Anna!..not my Anna) after every five completed lessons. For Joseph and Anna, it was a piece of gum - way back when gum was a whole new concept to them. (I don't know how I managed to keep Joseph innocent until almost six) So that really helped. Oh yes, and Joseph and Anna will get a cup each too, so they can trade colors and have a grand old time. That way, Lydia will have her own little cheer leading team always available to keep her going.

And the writing part is purely for fun. I think there are schools of thought that frown upon learning to write too early. I think of this almost like drawing. We'll keep up the writing part as long as she enjoys it, and drop it if it gets too tedious. We'll drop it all if it gets too tedious, for that matter.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Basil tea

Anna made basil tea today. We have a basil plant (perhaps planted by the owners?) beside our house that has not come to much use. Anna has been wanting to make "basil tea" for a long time. Really? I asked. I don't think you will like it too much. But she was adamant, and finally today, I gave her full, unmonitored use of the kitchen. Was she ever excited! She asked question after question about how much water, how long to boil it, etc. I wasn't sure, so I winged it. Dear girl wanted it to be perfect.
The result was pretty good!
I just googled basil tea, and will tell Anna first thing in the morning all the wonderful benefits of drinking it. She'll be ecstatic. 
Her recipe: Boil basil leaves in water. Strain and add honey.
There you have it.
Actually, she had not yet put honey in my tea when I drank it, and it was still good. So there's really only one necessary ingredient. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rainy days

We had heavy rains about two weeks ago. I was imagining a lazy day inside, and couldn't bare to think what a few boredom-induced naps might do to the bedtime routine. So in my most adventurous voice, I invited one and all to put on their boots and come enjoy the rain. The enthusiasm caught on, and this is what ensued:

They soon spotted the rising pool in the empty cement covered ditch in our front yard, and made a rapid descent. I warned them to walk carefully in the water so it doesn't spill over into their boots and make them feel uncomfortable. With a mischievous smile, Joseph said, "I like water in my boots."  That was all that the girls needed, a leader to show them what unbridled play in the rain was all about. I continued on my way down the hill to tend to the chickens, and when I returned, boots were off and not one inch of dry material remained on any of the three bodies.

Here is Joseph, kicking things up a notch.

I only discovered that the dogs were involved when I looked at the pictures later on. Ken was taking all these pictures. This one looks a little cruel, but... seems Cutie (the dog) didn't mind the pampering that followed her water slide experience. Below, Anna and Lydia made her a boat.

I guess Joseph thought since he managed to throw Cutie in, he could get Rhino - twice Cutie's size - in as well. He failed.

After all the fun had been sucked out of  the rainy day, everyone had a shower and hunkered down for some games inside.

I love that feeling! 

I remember in Shirati, after playing in the rain, getting all clean and dry was the perfect ending to a perfect rainy day of play. All was well with the world. 
Well, this day was almost perfect, except the outcome of the chess game triggered a huge altercation between Joseph and Anna. It took a while to diffuse that one.