Saturday, December 12, 2020

November and the First Half of December

 "November and the First Half of December" may not be the catchiest title in the world for this blog post, but that pretty much sums it up!  With many of our activities such as the girls' gymnastics and Colton's basketball being cancelled, and COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings in place, there just hasn't been a ton to blog about!  However, with Christmas just around the corner, I decided to clean the pictures from the last month and a half off my phone, and figured I would photo-dump them here!  I'll try to organize them by categories.....

Outdoor Fun

Our weather has been really great for this time of year in MN, and we have enjoyed LOTS of outdoor time at the zoo, in our backyard, at parks, and more!



The kids spend HOURS playing in the backyard together - they are so creative and play really well together....
I don't normally take pics, but this time the kids put on a 20 minute circus show that was actually really entertaining and cute!)

Indoor Fun

The kids have LOVED baking lately!  Also, Auntie Kristin gave Larkyn her American Girl doll Samantha (Summer has my old doll Kirsten), so the girls have been having fun with dolls.  Colton (and actually the girls often too) spends hours playing legos.  The most common pasttime for all three however, is reading.  They all three LOVE to read.  They wake up and read.  They read in their free time.  They read between school subjects.  The all three bring books anytime we are in the car driving anywhere.  And they love to read before bed.  They literally devour books.  We head to the library every two weeks or so (often more to pick up books on hold) and regularly have around 75 books checked out.  This fall we have twice reached our 100 book limit!  These kids LOVE to read!

For science one day we made bread and butter.  The kids took turns with ingredients, kneading the dough, and shaking the cream until it formed butter.

Larkyn decided she wanted to make a chocolate cake, so she found a recipe, made it almost entirely by herself with me watching, and then decided she wanted to make lots of different color frosting :-).

The older two are great with just being handed a recipe and going from there.  Here Colton is making corn bread and Summer is making cinnamon star bread (a recipe from Auntie Sarah).

The cinnamon star bread not only LOOKS pretty, but tastes so good too, with the layers of dough and cinnamon stacked and twisted!  Summer did a great job making this all by herself!

SOO sweet of Auntie Kristin to let Larkyn have all her old Samantha doll things!  Larkyn has Samantha's bedroom set up in a corner of her own :). 

I love this profile shot of the three of them all cozy and reading....and I LOVE how much they love to read!  Colton just finished his last book in the "I Survived" series, Larkyn has been devouring Grandma's K's collection of the Bobbsey Twins books, and Summer reads so many different kinds of things I can't keep track :).


All three kids practice piano daily, and Summer continues to learn trombone through zoom lessons with Southview's band director and supplemental lessons/practice with Grandpa K.  Their piano teacher is very diligent in cleaning between students, so with masks, students are able to continue their lessons.  This past week Summer and Colton were able to record a duet they have been working on all fall - The Chicken Dance.  They have really had so much fun with it!  Because it requires two pianos, I hadn't gotten to hear them play it together until this week.  I will include a clip below.  Really fun!

Click here to hear a clip of Summer and Colton's piano duet.

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Click here to hear a trombone duet with Summer and Grandpa K

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Click here to hear trombone and trumpet fun with Daddy and Summer as they prepare for a MN Loons soccer game.

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Click here to hear a recent favorite piano song of Summer's.

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Loons Game

While season ticket holder Daddy has not been able to go to a single Loons game at Allianz field this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, he has attempted to go to several out of state games where attendance is limited, but allowed.  This past month Daddy and Summer drove to Kansas City to watch the Loons in a playoff game, and a had a really fun Daddy-daughter road trip!

Trail Life

While many of the kids activities have been cancelled, Trail Life for Colton has continued thus far!  He gets SO pumped about Trail Life and loves learning things like how to read a compass, first aid, animal tracks, and more.  Along with bi-monthly meetings which include devotionals, games, and learning, there are monthly Hit the Trail events and service projects.  While Daddy usually brings Colton, there have a been a few times Daddy couldn't make it, so I got to go and I snapped a few pictures.  Below are pictures of when he got his shirt, one of the Hit the Trail event hikes (along with a picture of their devotional after the hike), and serving to pack food at Feed My Starving Children.  It is really fun for me to watch how excited he gets about Trail Life!


Thanksgiving plans changed by the day for various reasons, all related to the current pandemic.  However our last minute plans included having my parents over for our turkey dinner, and zooming with Paul's parents that evening.  While the day was not what we originally planned, we truly have SO SO SO much to be thankful for!


When Summer's Wednesday night church club teacher saw how much she loved to act during a skit, she told us about a local acting troupe that her daughter is involved in.  The cool part is, all of the rehearsals are via zoom, and then the students gather in a socially distance safe way to "film" their performance in front of a green screen and make a movie!  Summer was THRILLED to be able to perform during this time when the church Christmas musical is cancelled along with all other theater.  Her first performance was Willy Wonka, where she last minute (a week before the performance when we found out about the troupe) filled in for a student who couldn't make it in the roll of Charlie's grandparent, "a candy kid" in the candy man scene, and an Oompa Loompa.  The next musical was/is Lion King, so all three kids wanted to join the fun!  Larkyn was cast as "young Nala", Colton is "Ed" (one of the hyenas), and Summer is "older Nala".  The kids have been excitedly rehearsing, learning choreography and songs, and practicing their lines.  They will film at the beginning of January.  Below are pictures I took of the screen when we watched Summer's Willy Wonka movie.  I'll be sure to post pictures after the Lion King filming.


While we haven't been able to do as many field trips, we have found some fun things to do in the classroom aside from our traditional learning, including some holiday fun such as solving a case together about "Who Stole the Turkey" and a "Nativity Escape Room".  We have also enjoyed doing history and lunch in the treehouse, when it is nice enough!  

One exciting thing this month is that all three kids finished their research projects.  I wrote in another post about how for writing time we have been working on researching and writing books about a topic each of the kids chose.  Larkyn chose to write about horses, Colton chose to create a Who Would Win book about Bears and Wolves, and Summer wanted to research Eleanor Roosevelt, whom she has loved for a while.  At age appropriate levels, the kids checked out books from the library on their topic, researched/took notes, and then wrote their books.  This project kept their attention, provided endless learning opportunities, and they were SO proud of their their final books and got to "share" them with the class during our morning meeting.  I will include pictures of their books below for memory sake, but feel free to skim through this if you aren't interested!


Before we started researching, Larkyn helped create questions for her to answer about horses, and then as she read her books she would write answers down under those questions.

After reading many books in the Who Would Win series, pitting two animals together in a fight after learning about their individual characteristics, Colton knew the format he wanted for his book before he even started.  We formatted his research in the form of a chart, and then he wrote down answers as he found them in the books he checked out from the library.

Summer checked out many long books, and as she read, she wrote down interesting facts on notecards, along with the book and page numbers.  After she finished her research, she organized the notecards into piles as she began her writing.

Final Books


*pictured below "unedited for spelling" version because I like to see how he wrote in 3rd grade!

Summer decided to create a "pen name" for herself, like Dr. Seuss did.  She came up with Dr. Ten, as her middle name is Tenleigh. :)

The kids worked SO hard on these writing projects!  By far, my favorite part was watching how proud and excited they were to share them!  I'll conclude this section with a picture of my most reluctant writer, Colton, with a huge grin on his face as he got to share his book with the "class"!

Our next writing unit is Poetry (thank you Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers!), and it has already been fun to see their creativity!  More on that next month :).

Getting Ready for Christmas

The kids have been having fun making gifts for family members and going Christmas shopping!  We got our Christmas decor up and have continued our tradition of the Jesse Tree Scripture readings as we lead up to Christmas, to keep our hearts and minds on the real meaning and how the WHOLE BIBLE points toward Jesus!  With the cancellation of so many traditional December commitments, it his been a blessing to lead up to this holiday without the usual hustle and bustle.   

Merry Christmas From Our Family To Yours!


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