The Hyde | Glen Falls, NY

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Late in the summer, the kids and I headed up to Glens Falls one day to check out The Hyde. It’s this super cute art museum in a beautiful historic house. I had never been there before but was excited to explore around. It was a beautifully warm August day and we made the most of it. We visited the museum, stopped at a coffee shop and got drinks and snacks and enjoyed downtown a little bit.

The current exhibit was woodcuts and engravings by Albrecht Dürer and etchings by Rembrandt. It was awesome! If you didn’t know, I am slightly obsessed with all things printmaking. I took every class I could in college. The Hyde had wonderful worksheets for the kids to work on based on the art they were seeing. They learned all about etchings, lines, crosshatching and monograms. Rowan and Finley had a blast working on them and especially trying to find all the Dürer monograms with the magnifying glasses. I will say, I did feel overly watched (which I get, but…) by security but everyone was nice enough about bringing 3 small children to the museum. It’s a good lesson for them though! I like bringing the kids to museums not only to introduce them to beautiful works of art, but because they have to learn self control as well. They can’t run, yell or climb. They have to be respectful and understand there is a time and place to get crazy. It’s good for them, even if we always do get into trouble a little bit. Hahhaha! Always. We always get in trouble at least once.

Do you like brining your kids to museums? We’ve been going a lot lately. I feel like I have 2 more museum posts waiting to be posted… MassMoCA and Storm King coming up!

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The Best 3pm Pick-Me-Up Smoothie Ever! (coffee, cacao and almonds, oh my!

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The 3pm hour is rough for me. My eyelids get sooooooooo heeeeeavy! If I could just sit for like 2 quiet minutes, I know I would be fast asleep. Since a nap isn’t in the cards, I treat myself to a little pick me up just about everyday at, you guessed it, 3pm! This smoothie is perfection! It’s coffee, chocolatey goodness and something you don’t have to feel bad about after. I love including superfood ingredients into smoothies as much as possible!! This smoothie uses Graze Cacao powder (and the nibs) which are packed full antioxidants, and contains high amounts of magnesium and iron.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut water
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup cold brew coffee
2 Tbsp of Graze Cacao Powder
1 Tbsp of Graze Cacao Nibs (plus more for topping)
2-3 Medjool dates, pitted (soak them in hot water for at least 10 minutes before blending)
3 Tbsp rolled oats
1 Tbsp of almond butter
1/2-1 frozen banana (depending on how banana-y you like your smoothies)
1 tsp of vanilla
2 cups ice
Optional: you can add a scoop of your favorite protein powder if you’d like as well. I usually add a scoop of chocolate vegan protein.

Directions:

In a blender, combine all the ingredients. Blend on high speed until smooth. Enjoy!

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Thank you to Graze for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own. Graze offers the most delicious snacks and their newest superfood collection is beyond awesome! Check them out if you haven’t already.

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Our 2016/2017 Homeschool Plan

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our first official day of homeschool

Ahhhhhh I feel like I can finally take a small deep breath and relax just a tiny bit over this whole homeschool thing (maybe that’s because I am about half way through a pretty strong but totally delicious margarita at the moment, but who’s to say??). It’s been such a major stress for the past few months. All in a good way if that makes sense, but it’s just been a lot to process, plan, figure out, order, set up and get started. THERE.IS.JUST.SO.MUCH.OUT.THERE.TO.CHOOSE.FROM! That was my biggest stress. How did I know what exactly to choose?? I knew from the beginning we did not fit into an all-in-one packaged curriculum sort of deal. First thing first, I did lots (LOTS!) of reading and researching on what kind of teaching philosophy I thought felt right. That was a good starting point. It helped me focus on where I wanted us to head and what my school goals were for our family. This book will be super helpful if you are just starting out! We’ve been following classical education for the past 2 years and have really loved it but as I started reading more and more, I became drawn to the philosophies of Charlotte Mason. I listened to every podcast from A Delectable Education and felt so pumped by everything they were saying. I just LOVE what Charlotte Mason has to say about education, it felt so right! Another good resource and one that I’ve really loved is the At Home podcast. Those ladies have A LOT of wisdom to share on where to start and the up’s and down’s of homeschooling.

Once I decided that Charlotte Mason was the path we were going to head down, I spent countless hours on the Ambleside Online and Simply Charlotte Mason websites. I printed out the Year 1 schedule from Ambleside as the starting point for our year. I read so many reviews raving about the booklists that I knew we couldn’t go wrong. I did switch out a few things that I think work better but still have stuck to a Charlotte Mason type curriculum.

You can find the Year 1 Schedule here.

We follow it exactly for our natural history/geography, read-a-louds/extra reading and then parts of it for our literature (I’ll explain below).

Where I made some changes are:
Math: We use Mammoth Math and Life of Fred

Science: We’re doing nature studies. The topics sort of come up naturally as we spend a lot of time outside. We collect items and bring them back to journal our findings. For example, last week we went to a farm and learned about bees. When we got home we did a journal page diagramming a bee and common nectar sources. However, we do have this guidebook from Simple Charlotte Mason that’s helpful if you wanted a little guidance. The point of our science time is to spent a lot of time outside just exploring and being surrounded by nature.

English/reading/grammar: We are using English Lessons Through Literature and Reading Lessons Through Literature. We love them so far. This is the only reason why we aren’t following the Ambleside schedule exactly in these subjects. A lot of it overlaps with what we need to read daily for our English Lessons Through Literature work. We do lots of narration and copywork based on what we are reading. We also work on memorizing a poem. 1 or 2 per month- right now our favorites are from Robert Louis Stevenson. I really highly recommend the Ambleside booklists- such wonderful books to read to your kids.

History: Beautiful Feet: History Through Literature. For 1st and 2nd grade you use the Early American History Primary and Teaching Character Primary. I am in love with this curriculum so far! LOVE IT!

Bible Study: We read a chapter from The Bible Story by Arthur Maxwell and then we read Training Hearts, Teaching Minds everyday. Each week we memorize a new bible verse, as well as work on a hymn study(probably one per quarter). I am not following a specific hymn study, I am just working through old hymns that mean something to our family. The bible verses are either from Finley’s preschool curriculum or a bible verse from The Rizers because we love that cd.

Each quarter we will choose an artist and composer to study. Right now we’re learning about Degas and Bach. I take out all the books I can find and we read about them and then study the work as much as we can. We listen to Bach during the day, we paint pictures like Degas, we visit museums, etc…

We also have a monthly handicraft we’ll work on. This month and maybe next we are working on sewing. Rowan has been begging me to teach her how to sew, so that’s where we started. I like picking things based on what is sparking her interest at the time.

Miss Finley: she goes along for the ride with most of what Rowan is doing. She listens to all the stories and has the same memory work for bible verses and poems. I just don’t force any of it on her, we take it slow and if she wants to participate she is more than welcome. She of course wants to be a part of it all though! I do follow The Peaceful Preschool Program with her. It’s such a wonderful curriculum! I can’t say enough good stuff about it. I didn’t want some crazy, complex curriculum to do with her. She’s still so small! This is the perfect balance of good literature, gentle learning and fun activities.

Another lovely resource I highly recommend is the Wild and Free community. I love everything they share!!

Well that’s about it for now. We’re only a month in, but we are really loving it so far. It’s been such a blessing. I’ll write another post soon with more specifics of our daily schedule and how it all works out with Orion in the mix.

getting our hands dirty (and the carpet too!)…

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We started our new homeschool journey last week. What a whirlwind! It’s something that’s so very near and dear to my heart though. We homeschool for a lot of reasons, but one of the main reasons is that I want the girls to take charge of their education. I want to raise passionate, life long learners. For us though, that requires them to help out. A lot. From the time they wake up, to the time they go to bed, they are a part of our day and our daily tasks. Helping making meals, cleaning, laundry, and well, anything that sparks their interest. We also do a lot of art projects and handicrafts where I try not to step in to help. I have a tendency to help and do the next step because it might “make a mess”. We quite literally get our hands dirty with education these days. It means saying yes a lot more than maybe I would like, in an effort to help them learn and experience more. If they are interested in something, then we are going to explore it!

For someone who likes an orderly, clean house, it’s been a lesson in letting go. To see the greater purpose in all the little spills and messes. It will pay off in the long run right? hahaah. That’s what I keep telling myself. Do the work now and soon you will have kids who know how to care and clean up after themselves. Who love to try new things, and know the mess is worth it, but also know how to tidy it up. You know what makes it easier though? Having a good rug and carpet cleaner! Our school room rugs are two of my most favorite rugs in the house. They’re what I call my “thrifting prize possessions”. I found both at the Habitat Restore for a steal and well, I love them a little more than I should. I may have shed a tear (I kid, I kid) when Finley spilt yellow curry powder all over the rug this morning as she was counting spices and learning to screw each of the caps on (working on our fine motor skills over here for PreK). She then worked hard at “cleaning” it up. Which of course was great and I am glad she took ownership over her spill. However, we all know what a spill looks like after a 3.5 yrs old cleans it up. It was a big yellow circle smeared all over the carpet. doh!

Enter STAINMASTER Carpet Care. We teamed up with the brand to try their line of carpet care products, which are specifically designed to treat stain-resistant, nylon, and polyester carpets and rugs. My favorite part is that they are also designed to remove tough stains with out leaving a sticky residue. That sticky residue is the worst! Stainmaster Carpet Care leaves behind an invisible shield of protection to protect against future messes. It’s made it so much easier for this homeschooling Mama be open to allllllllll the new learning experiences in our day to day. Now when Finley wants to help make her own lunch with fresh berries and a smoothie, am all like “Sure! You can do it! You can even have a picnic out in the school room on my favorite rug!”.

Cheers to the freedom of not caring about the messes!

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This post was sponsored by STAINMASTER Carpet Care. Be sure to check out their wide variety of products. Thanks!

Visiting Vancouver

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Wow! I just came on to post some pictures and realized, whoops! it’s been a whole month since i’ve been on here. How does that happen. I know we’re all like “time goes by so fast” but man! time goes by so fast. Hahahaha doh!

Anyway, the last week of August Orion and I hopped a plane and headed out to Vancouver to visit my sister. She’s lived out there for awhile now, but I’ve never had the chance to visit. What a beautiful place! Like, it blew me away!! My sister lives about an hour north of the city, surrounded by beautiful mountains. It’s not called Sea to Sky Country for nothing. I was there a week but I know I only barely scratched the surface of the area. We drove up to Joffre Lakes Provincial park one day to hike, spent time in Vancouver and Whistler, hiked around Garibaldi Provincial Park, enjoyed an evening at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola and just spent time catching up. Miss being near to my sister!

It was such a fun trip. I wish everyone was there with me to experience it. I know Kev and the kids would have loved it. I sure could have used the help carrying the babe up all the those mountains. Ha!

Thanks for being such a good host and tour guide Carrie. Love ya!

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Birth Order, New Shoes and An End of Summer Track Meet.

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This post is sponsored by our friends at Zappos. 

Have you guys ever read books about birth order? It’s something that totally fascinates me. I believe there is real truth there. I am the first born in my family and obviously so is Rowan. I can tell already with her that she is sooooooooooo a first born. Rowan looooves to follow rules, is super bright, hardworking, and very motherly to her siblings. It’s fun to read about each child and what characteristics they might have based on the order they were born. One thing I’ve paid close attention to is what they say about middle children. Dear, sweet, sensitive Finley. I really try hard to not, what we like to call “middle child” her. We try to give her as much individual time and attention as we can and make sure she always gets her very own special things. I try to keep the hand-me-downs to a minimum. That’s why I was so excited to team up with Zappos and let her pick out these new Leepz sneakers by Stride Rite. I knew she would feel so special since these were our very first venture into light up shoes in our family. She has been walking, jumping and skipping around the house making them light up. It’s been so, so cute. I think (I mean I know) a part of her really likes hearing Rowan say she wishes she had a pair as well. I love being able to give her special moments that are all her own. Finley is also super excited because, as the middle child she’s so in looooooove with her older sister, and she can’t wait to take her new shoes to the track and be like Rowan. She told me she thinks she will be able to run just as fast as Rowan does. We found a high school in the area that has weekly family track meets. Everyone is invited to come race, no matter what age you are. Finley races, Rowan races, Kev races, it’s awesome!! The kids have been having such a great time going every week and with Finley’s new shoes you can bet she is going to run like the wind.

These are the perfect shoes to take her from the end of summer and keep her running straight into the back to school season. We don’t need tons of back to school gear this year because we are homeschooling the kids (I can imagine there will be lots of pajama days) but new shoes were definitely on the list. I am glad that we could easily (Zappos makes everything easy!) check that off the list. Whooohooo!

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A few from the past track meet…
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P7269898^^go FinFin go!!

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Through the Eyes of Rowan | Part 1

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Last year for Rowan’s birthday we decided to get her, her very own camera. She has carried that thing around with her everywhere ever since. I’ve been meaning to post the pictures she takes, but I’ve just never gotten around to it. We had a mess up with a memory card at one point, and lost a ton of her photos. Total bummer!!! However, here are some of her pictures from the last few months. I love looking through them! It’s like a little inside glimpse into what she thinks is interesting or beautiful. The camera we got her isn’t marketed as a kids camera but honesty, I can’t imagine an adult buying that camera for themselves (Sorry if anyone has it for themselves- hahaha!) I mean, there is a slideshow function with dancing bears?? And all the borders?? Anyway, what sold us on the camera for her, was that it was waterproof and shockproof. It’s had its fair share of drops, etc… and it’s still working perfect. It’s a great little digital camera for any kid (it also takes videos).

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev
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