Remember the Alamo!

Remember the Alamo!

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We will. We absolutely will. It was a solemn, almost sacred experience, made more so by our study that helped us feel personally connected to real characters who fought and died… and to a mother and baby who lived.

“I can’t believe we’re on an airplane!”

We will also always remember this first airplane ride for Ryan & Rebecca (at least the first one they remember). She earned beaming smiles from all the passengers with a delighted squeal as the plane took off: “We’re flying!!!”

There were also the very cool geology and history lessons at Longhorn Cavern. And fun memIMG_20160108_094948671ories with our Camelbak water bottle and a new dog friend at Barton Creek. Then we were awed by the magnificence and history of the Texas Capitol Building. Plus delectable dining and our first food truck experience in Austin. We are really missing Torchy’s Tacos. (I’m drooling thinking about it… seriously.)

 

NASA was the place to be to aid Rebecca in her longtime quest to go to the moon. (She considered being the first person on Mars, but decided that six months of travel just to get there, and a total mission time of three years, was too long to be away from family. Good call, my dear.) Wow, there is so much to learn there. Talk about STEM education! The only problem is that I may need to adjust my planned curriculum for the next several weeks to incorporate more time for the study of space!

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We stayed busy with more fun and outdoor education in The Woodlands and George Mitchell Nature Preserve outside of Houston. Did you know a bayou is a creek?!? Unfortunately, the alligators didn’t want to show themselves in this weather, so we’ll have to go back for another visit. Darn. 😉

Then of course, time with two of our siblings and their families was so delightful. When they come to visit out west, all of the family is together and we don’t really connect directly. So this was absolutely wonderful to spend one-on-one time with them.

This trip was chock-full of good things. I posted many of them on Instagram, so follow along for lots of pictures.

What an amazing time we had in Texas, with hands-on, personalized learning experiences we could never get in a classroom or at home. We made wonderful memories, learned a ton, and had priceless time with far-away family. This trip absolutely reinforced my love of this entrepreneurial family lifestyle. Work anywhere. School everywhere. Play and learn and live life together! Hooray for Texas!

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I think traveling suits me. I feel energized and refreshed and ready to plan the next trip. Here’s to entrepreneurial family life!

We are- and try to be- House Upon a Rock.

Letting go…

I do love the Frozen song, “Let It Go,” and by the way, Rebecca does a pretty amazing version. But no, that’s not what this is about. At least, not directly.

I am learning to let go. It’s hard. When we made the decision to educate our children at home, it became- and still is- pretty all-consuming. With 8-10 hours on most days directly or indirectly tied to school, I have had to let some things go.

One of those is dinner.

I used to pride myself on daily making from-scratch, balanced, wholesome dinners for my family. But I simply don’t have the hours required for that every day anymore. Don’t worry, we haven’t resorted to convenience foods (I’m too budget- and health-conscious for that 🙂 .) We still sit down and eat together every evening, but often it’s leftovers, or a simpler version of dinner. Ben can make some amazing dishes and is super-helpful to take over at dinnertime now, but he’s an on-the-fly cook, making it up as he goes along and not planning ahead or worrying about a well-rounded meal.

And last night (gasp!), I was on a long blogging streak so Ben took charge of “dinner” and served us all fresh cookies, warm from the oven. Nice. Well, it is Christmas break. I guess we can call that the excuse.

I haven’t given up making whole-grain breads from scratch. That’s important to me, and I can squeeze it in a few times a week. And I still make dinner some nights.

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In fact, one night I helped Ryan multi-task making dinner AND Christmas cookies!

But, at least for now, daily, complicated cooking from scratch isn’t the top priority. If that’s the hardest thing I have to let go, I’m pretty sure I’ll be just fine.

We are- and try to be- House Upon a Rock.

 

Sunnybrook Farm produces (Summer and Fall 2015)

From those beautiful February days of planting, we did have some production at Sunnybrook Farm.

Ryan was a terrific steward over his precious pepper plants and harIMG_20151125_202333528vested a horde of jalapenosIMG_20151107_112929302!

We turned them into jalapeno poppers, dip, soup, and froze them to use all year.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Moapa squash seeds, a local cultivar that I use like pumpkin, also gave us an abundant harvest.

Rebecca won a “carving” contest at Halloween with her Mr. Moapa.

Mr. Moapa squash

 

 

At Thanksgiving, Ryan was a trooper cleaning out all the seeds and goop so I could turn Moapa squash into pumpkin streusel squares (yum!) and a side dish.

 

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And, of course, not pictured here is the often-overwhelming zucchini harvest. I think we had so much that it wasn’t fun anymore, so no pictures. 🙂 We also enjoyed some delectable tomatoes, but they never last long enough.

It’s always a joy- and a bit surprising- when we have gardening success!! We’d like to think we are somewhat self-reliant, though we still have a long way to go…

We are- and try to be- House Upon a Rock.

I am an entomologist (June 2015)

I am an entomologist and this is what I do.

I study bugs and insects, and you can do it, too.

I am an entomologist and this is what I know.

If you catch a spider, you have to let it go!Photographing Insects | Close-up Photography Tips

 

 

 

It’s an insect, not a spider!

It has six legs instead of eight…

Three on this side, three on that side,

And it’s crawling on my plate.

(to the tune of “Oh my darlin’ Clementine”)

 

Rebecca memorized these two poems when she was in kindergarten… we had lots of fun times and experiences in public school! And these were especially fun because entoI am an entomologistmologists have a special place in our family.

I am not an entomologist. But my Dad is. In fact, at one time he was the only Board-certified entomologist west of the Mississippi. Perhaps he still is, not sure…

Anyway, that resulted in lots of adventures and learning opportunities growing up, and
I may write about them another time. But now it’s a blessing to my kids.

When we started homeschooling, my parents were serving a mission in Germany. But within a month of their return home, I had Grandpa on science duty, teaching and supplementing my lessons with his expertise. And what a great teacher he is!! He plans and prepares and teaches and takes them on amazing field trips. I am grateful and humbled at the time and effort he puts into making their educational experiences meaningful. I sure couldn’t do what he does!

Thanks, Dad! You are the entomologist.

We are- and try to be- House Upon a Rock.

 

School at Sunnybrook Farm (February 2015)

Rebecca and Gunner at Sunnybrook Farm

House Upon a Rock is built on… well… rocks. Quite literally. So while we have 4+acres, it’s not worth much for growing things. However, our dear neighbors just down the road were smart enough to choose farmland instead of a rock quarry. And they are so good to us that they invited us this year to garden with them at what we fondly call Sunnybrook Farm (in honor of Rebecca, if you’re not familiar). These friends have irrigation water, tractor, green thumbs… everything we don’t. And they have Gunner, a sweet old dog that reminds us of our beloved, departed labs. He and my Rebecca are buddies. Ryan is, too, but I think he was busy chasing cows instead of cuddling at the time of this picture.

The good thing about Logandale (well, one of the good things) is February. Beautiful, sunny days perfect for planting a garden while everyone else is still under snow. So that’s what we did for hands-on science during those early, first days of home school. We tilled and planted and tended and weeded. And learned about the life cycle of plants. And enjoyed being outside in the winter sunshine.

We are- and try to be- House Upon a Rock!

(though we’re glad we have friends with better soil 🙂 )