Tuesday, October 18, 2016

{This and That}

First up, the bit I'm most excited about: if you haven't heard already, CM West :: Conference in the Redwoods is open for registration!  We're actually more than half full already, so if you'd like to secure your spot, head over and sign up soon.

I am highly anticipating this conference -- it's going to be a refreshing, educational weekend with lots of opportunities to dig into Charlotte Mason's principles and practices and forge connections with other homeschool moms.  Brandy Vencel and John Muir Laws are our featured speakers, and I'll be doing a workshop too, along with other enthuastic and experienced moms.

For speaker bios, lodging information, our tentative schedule, and registration information, head over to CM West and read more!  (Really, click on over and read more!  You can come back here and finish this post later. ;))


This week's {From the Archives}...

Picture Books We Love :: Five Favorites for Fall

Are these your favorites too?  Or are my picks for this season new to your family?

It's still fairly summery here, but we did get our first real rainstorm of the season last weekend (the view above is from my hill run right before the rain started), and I've got the clothing switch-out on the docket for the next few days.  So we're getting there!


Last week was Exam Week in our home!  Honestly, we kind of limped across the finish line, not because we didn't enjoy Term 1 but because we were all down with colds the week prior.  The kids rallied and had a full, fun week, despite my only having half a voice.

We always have some kind of treat -- in both culinary and literary form! -- to celebrate a term well done.  This time, it was pumpkin scones and a stack of books, all related to Term 1 in some way...

Audubon's Birds of America
Mammals of California and Nevada (for my Form I Burgess Animal Book readers)
Lester's The Last Tales of Uncle Remus and Further Tales of Uncle Remus (my Year 0s have been reading Uncle Remus in another version)
Robinson's King Arthur and His Knights from Landmark World (for my Year 5 Pyle readers)
Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, another Landmark (ties in with our This Country of Ours readings for Year 5)
The First Book of Horses and The First Book of Cowboys (ala Tree in the Trail)
The First Book of Maps and Globes (for our Long's Home Geography readings in Morning Basket)
The Illustrated Atlas of Hawaii (my parents just moved to Maui a couple months ago)
Best-Loved Christmas Carols (not Term 1 related, but to work on during Term 2!)

A few more items from my pre-Term 2 shopping list:

:: A couple more timers.  We use timers quite a bit, but up until now we had been sharing the two kitchen timers, toting them around the house as needed.  Now we have two for the office/schoolroom, which will make our schedule run a bit more smoothly.  The deal I got (and linked above) is a two-pack, and I think I'm going to order another pair because they are easy to operate, read, and hear.

:: Another book stand.  We already have one of these and use it all the time for copywork and commonplacing.  But now it has been useful for holding open the exercise book for Latin and Italian as well as field guides the kids are drawing from and so on.  Having a second one around has been so helpful.

:: Art prints.  I just order ours from our local Kinkos, printed on cardstock, and they come out sharp and durable.  We have Giotto's "The Raising of Lazarus" hanging on our fridge right now.

:: Henle!  I was looking at diving into First Form Latin after finishing Getting Started With Latin last week as sort of a bridge to Henle, but a friend recommended just jumping in with Henle now, taking it at our own (very slow) pace.  We finished the first lesson this week, and I think it's a good fit.  (On a side note, with Henle, the Big Kids and I will be doing Latin mostly together, unlike GSWL, which was independent work for them. Fortunately, we just finished up Winston Grammar Basic last week, which was a together subject, so I've got a free slot in my schedule.  Very convenient timing on that -- which I totally didn't plan!)

And a couple other orders I put in with our charter school so don't have in my hands just yet:

:: I want to get each of my older four kids a proper nature journaling set for Christmas.  I've ordered them each a smaller watercolor journal (unlike the larger ones we usually use and love -- these will be more portable and better for directly painting on), a Winston-Cotman pocket sketcher's box (like I have and love -- as well as the materials needed to "pimp their palettes"!  LOL), a set of Pentel Aquash brushes, white gel pens, drawing pencils, an erasable pen, waterproof drawing pens, and a loupe.  I'll post further details about this little kit nearer Christmas time in case you're thinking of doing something similar.  I have a neat idea for how to store them, but I haven't quite figured it all out yet -- so more on this later!

:: Blank Strathmore cards for our annual homemade Christmas card crafting.  The kids are working on some icons with their art teacher, and I think we might use one of their completed projects for our cards. Christmas cards and gifts are our handicraft for this term!

(Links above are affiliate links.  For every purchase you make through a link on this site, I get a percentage from Amazon. Thanks for your support!)


Someone asked on the AO Facebook page about Catholic homeschool bloggers that are using primarily AmblesideOnline.  I know there are a lot of Catholic AOers out there because I hear from you all the time via comments and email! :)  But are any of you blogging about how you're using AO as a Catholic?  Leave me a comment here and I'll be sure to check out your site and share when I can. :)

Okay, that's it for tonight -- have a great week!


  1. thumbs up!
    Thanks for the continued inspiration Celeste!
    God bless & hope you are recovered from your flu,
    Antonia in England

    1. Thanks, Antonia! I'm feeling quite a bit better!

  2. The link to the book stand isn't working for me. I've been looking for a good one, some I've tried wouldn't hold the book at all.

    I really like the idea of giving books related to that term at the end of the term!

    1. Hi Hollie! I just updated the link to the bookstand. It's here: http://amzn.to/2dO46XC It's super cheap and very sturdy! :) I wanted one that would fold up, so this has worked great for us.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. We love Snow Song Whistling or whatever after finding it here! :) My children really love Cranberry Thanksgiving also. Love this update, Celeste. :)

    1. OH yes, that's a good one! And if I had to pick just one fall book, Snowsong Whisling would be it. :)

  5. We love Ox Cart Man in the fall... and the rest of the year too, but it does start in October :o). Do you plan to switch out the colors that come in the watercolor sets from the start, or wait until they use up the colors it comes with? :o) That is a great idea for a gift. I've been trying to think of things that will be useful, helpful, fun, and not take up much space. That fits!

    1. Ox Cart Man is one of my favorite picture books of all time. <3

      No, I won't switch out the colors at first. What I did to my own palette when I first got it was (1) reorder the colors like he suggests -- so much easier for mixing but I've never thought of doing that! and (2) added squirts of yellow, magenta, black, and gouache white to the little middle tray (where the brush that comes with it is supposed to go -- I don't use that brush). Those were the colors that were "missing" for me in the small set. It is working perfectly like that! Let me know if that makes sense -- if not, I can post a photo. :) He also has a picture of the pocket palette set up like that in his book, I think. I will save the other adjustments for as the colors run out. They really are fine to use as is. :)

  6. Glad to hear you all are feeling better! Thanks for the book ideas.


    1. Thanks, Lacey! I'm glad we're feeling better too. :)

  7. I've never seen a loupe quite like that. I will definitely have to check it out! Our loupe is only 10x. Love all these nature study tools - thank you for sharing!

    And I'm so excited about the conference - yay! :)

    1. The loupe works really well -- great magnification, and it has a light, so everything is nice and clear. I also have a 60x and it's very good too but a few dollars more. If you search Amazon, you'll see a bunch of similar options. Definitely worth the $10 or whatever! :)

      And I'm so glad you're signed up! That means we'll *finally* meet! LOL