10-09-19 The Walnut Saga (Part 2)

If you are wondering, my hands are still quite stained. I have washed and scrubbed and encouraged in every way imaginable the stains to disappear, but they have only slightly faded. I still look ridiculous.

But on a positive note, the kids helped me lay out the remaining walnuts (from this current batch) onto shelves set on the driveway. The hope is that 1- the squirrels don’t run off with them, and 2- the sunlight will hasten their drying so that I can hull them easier.

Today the mesh bags that I ordered showed up and I was able to place all of the hulled walnuts into one and hang it in the garage for further drying. I have also acquired a large box of nitrate disposable gloves, which should ensure no more happy little stain accidents in the future.

So, as you can see, aside from the unfortunate burnt marshmallow thumbs, the experiment is going well!

10-07-19 The Children of Green Know

There was a book that came with Big E’s curriculum last year that I never got to. I have a hard time with non-fiction books, and so I tend to lose interest pretty quickly. A few weeks ago I saw an IG story from my sister-in-law where she was talking about going through the book and I decided to take another look at it.

It’s a book that talks about the importance of reading and literature. It also has comprehensive lists of books they recommend you read or let your children read as they grow up. I flipped through the lists and checked the online library catalogue to see if I could reserve a few.

One of the books on the list that was available to borrow from our local library was “The Children of Green Know.” I’d never heard of this book before but it takes place in an old English manor, and since I love most things British, I decided to give it a try.

When possible, I like to read ‘up’ to the kids (read books that are slightly above their reading level) so they get challenged by new vocabulary and more complicated sentence structures. Green Know is definitely one of those books. It was first published in 1954 and is actually the first of six books. The language in the book is more difficult than what they are used to, but it hasn’t stopped them from enjoying it. I stop every once in a while and explain sections I can tell that they don’t understand and then we move on.

This evening we spent about an hour and a half reading 55 pages. We ended up stopping because my voice was terribly tired or we would have read more. We are about 110 pages in and I’m hoping to finish it by the end of the week.

Since this is a story I had never heard of before, I would be interested to know if any of you have read it. What were your thoughts? Did you/your kids enjoy it? Is it worth reading the other books?

PS- I did notice there is a British Miniseries from the 80’s that we could watch on YouTube. I watched the first seven minutes and it seemed spot on with the book.

10-06-19 The Walnut Saga

After we had harvested our first batch of black walnuts I decided to research them a bit. I had heard they were a lot of work, but well worth the effort. The articles I read talked about the timing of harvest, hulling, and shelling the nuts. I read and heard lots of warnings about wearing gloves and that black walnuts can stain your skin.

So I felt I was at least marginally prepared when I sat down this afternoon to start removing the outer hull of the nuts. I wore gloves to make sure my hands didn’t stain. After nearly an hour of opening walnuts I decided to take a break. I pulled off the gloves and to my horror, my thumbs were nearly black!! Apparently the gloves were more porous than I realized. My hands never felt wet and I had no idea the stain was working its way through!

But it did and I’m here to tell you that black walnuts were aptly named.

I stopped immediately and went inside to try to get it off, which not shockingly, didn’t work! I looked up and tried a bunch of various methods to no avail. So… now I have black thumbs. A couple of my other fingers are a little tainted, but my thumbs look like burnt marshmallows!

I’m not sure how long it is going to take to wear off, but it looks absolutely ridiculous. If only the weather was cold enough to justify gloves 24/7 until it fades, but alas it isn’t, so I have to go out into the world with burnt marshmallow thumbs for the foreseeable future!

You might think this has dampened my resolve to finish my walnut experiment, but if anything I am more determined to see this project through to the end (funky thumbs and all!)

10-03-19 My Favorite Pumpkin

It’s October now and I’ve started to see the fall decorations going up. It’s a fun time of year with pumpkins, hayrides, fall festivals, and corn mazes.

When C was three years old she was attending a preschool program at our church. She absolutely loved it and every week she would come home with crafts and papers she had worked on.

One week in October we were told they were going to be painting small pumpkins and to dress accordingly. When I saw C that evening she triumphantly handed me her pumpkin. She was so incredibly proud of it.

I was confused for a moment because it just looked like a pumpkin… an orange pumpkin with a green stem. But then I looked closer. It was indeed painted. She had painted the body of it orange and the stem green!

I had to stifle a laugh as I told her what an amazing job she had done on it and we displayed it proudly for weeks. Over the years the kids have painted or carved many pumpkins, but that one is by far my favorite!

10-02-19 Cats and a Cattercorn

The focus of our curriculum this year is countries and cultures. The past few weeks we have been focusing on North America. I’m impressed with how much the kids are retaining, especially when they start naming off the island countries in the Caribbean.

We’ve also been reading a biography on Cameron Townsend, the founder of Wycliffe Bible Institute.

They’ve learned a few Spanish phrases and songs to go along with their lessons.

Today we did a ‘paint with yarn’ project during art class. Big E and I made cats, C made a cattercorn (cat/unicorn).

I think they turned out cute!

I feel like we have finally gotten into a good school rhythm for the fall and our school days have gotten drastically shorter, which is awesome.

10-01-19 Pennsylvania

Baby E came wandering into my room this morning while I was editing. He stood patiently next to me until I looked down at him.

“Is Pennsylvania a country or a state?” he asked.

“It’s a state,” I replied.

With that he turned around and walked out the door without another word.

I’m not sure what it is about Pennsylvania, but Baby E is mildly obsessed with it and needs to know everything that is going on there. Are there black widows in Pennsylvania? Are there earthquakes in Pennsylvania? Is there a desert in Pennsylvania? Does my piece of Cinnamon Toast Crunch look like Pennsylvania?

I’ve answered a lot of questions about Pennsylvania in the last few weeks.

At least he has chosen a state I actually know about. I’d be in over my head if he mentioned Montana.