Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

December Arrived with a Flurry December 1, 2022

December arrived with a flurry! A flurry of snow that is! As I write this post a light dusting of snow is melting in my yard. I’m a little sad there wasn’t more, but I’ll happily enjoy whatever snow we get. Ever since Monday, we’ve seen snowflakes falling throughout the day. I love looking out the window as the flurries fall. The end of November has also been a flurry – a flurry of activity!!!

Where to start? On Wednesday, the 22nd, we decorated the house for Christmas. Jeremy worked a half day and since our Thanksgiving weekend was full to the brim, this seemed like the best time to make the merriment happen. Decorating the house is almost a holiday in itself for our family. We sipped hot apple cider and listened to Christmas music while adding Christmas cheer all over. The boys select an ornament each year and it’s no surprise that they chose Luigi and Yoshi from Nintendo Super Mario. We added a Mario ornament to our big tree and I just ordered a Grinch ornament today because our family (specifically Graham) has an obsession with the Grinch this year.

We spent most of Thanksgiving Day with Jeremy’s family. We enjoyed good food, a bunco tournament (I won so many prizes for being the biggest loser), and yard games. We finished the day with an untraditional pizza dinner with my parents. The rest of the holiday weekend was filled with family, friends, and shopping. We hosted a sleepover with some of the cousins Friday into Saturday. We had friends over for dinner on Sunday. We hosted a play date on Monday. I can’t remember the last time we’ve had company over five days in a row. Wow! I got the baulk of the Christmas shopping done online with Black Friday sales and we visited a few stores Saturday afternoon. I’m feeling very good about where my Christmas shopping is at now. Even though November wasn’t over, I was starting to feel behind!

Sunday was Christmas musical practice and the start of Advent. The church calendar is running our lives at this moment! Owen had drama practice for the musical last night and he’ll have another practice tomorrow. Saturday is a dress rehearsal for the whole choir and then Sunday is showtime! I’m so excited to see Owen and Graham preform in their first Christmas musical. I’m so proud of the whole team – kids and leaders alike. It’s been a wild ride! It will be neat to see it all come together on Sunday.

I taught a Christmas cookie decorating class on Tuesday for our homeschool co-op. It went so well (considering I didn’t know what to expect). I provided all the decorating supplies and the students brought cookies to frost. I let the group know in advance what cookies I would be demonstrating so they could bring similar cookies to class. These kids focused intently on their decorating and their cookies turned out amazing. Our co-op could open a bakery! I loved listening to Christmas music play on my portable speaker while kids creatively decorated cookie after cookie. Our boys were worn out after the big weekend, so I kept them home from the cookie class. When I got home, we pulled out all the supplies and did mini-version of the class with our family.

That sums up the flurry of activity we’ve had this last week. We are headed into another big weekend with the Christmas musical right around the corner. I love how fun and festive the activities are this time of year. After a busy season for our family, I’m also looking forward to slowing down and savoring the season over the next few weeks! Happy first day of December!

Making the house merry and bright!
The Christmas season is officially here!
Graham is a whole Christmas vibe!
The Start of Advent
Prepping for my cookie class on Monday night. I had plenty of frosting left over, but better safe than sorry!
Snapshots from Tuesday’s cookie adventures!
Studying the layers of the Earth this week.
Not a bad way to start December! Let it snow!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – November 2022 November 30, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 2:59 pm

Bookish Thoughts for November

Here we are on the last day of November! It’s book post day! You’ll notice a theme to my November reading. I’ve been using my Kindle Unlimited subscription almost exclusively. I was going to unsubscribe at the end this month, but I decided to keep KU for one more month. I’ve discovered Christmas Rom-Coms and there is no stopping me now! It’s been a month of reading books that are the equivalent of Hallmark Christmas movies! I love it! November has been very merry and bright for my reading life!

At the end of October, I discovered books by Courtney Walsh. Her Christmas novels sucked me in and I moved on to her other books. I did a binge of some of her works on KU. I haven’t read them all yet. She has a similar plot in her stories – the tragic death of a love one in the past before the story takes place – and it made her books a bit heavy to read one right after the other. Her writing might be best mixed in with some diversity. I also stumbled upon The Christmas Escape series in KU. The final book in the series released today and I can’t wait to start it! Each book features a female main character traveling for the holidays and finding love. The books are written by different authors and I appreciated the exposure to new authors. These books gave me all the Christmas feels. I thoroughly enjoyed them.

You’ll notice a lack of non-fiction this month – only two books in that category. I feel somewhat bad about that, but I’ve had a blast with Christmas novels, so I don’t feel too bad. Also, this month was a busy month for our family so quick and light novels fit my mental capacity. This month I was definitely thankful for Christmas novels and Kindle Unlimited!

The six Christmas Escape novels I read this month. Cotswolds Holiday is not pictured because I just downloaded it today. Can’t wait to finish up this fun series.

Top Picks for November

Non-Fiction: Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love by Sally Clarkson – I can’t say enough good things about Sally Clarkson and her writing! She has become a favorite of mine and a true mentor! She shares her wisdom with honesty, empathy, and encouragement. Her journey in homeschooling, motherhood, and ministry has been an inspiration to me. Own Your Life was a reminder to live an intentional life and stay the course in doing good work. It paired well with M is for Mama from last month. Living a life of integrity, priotirzing character development, leaning in your purpose are messages that bolster your soul as you read this book!
Fiction: A Quilt for Christmas by Melody Carlson – Melody Carlson is one of my go-to authors. If she writes it, I’ll read it! I’m not a quilter so I wasn’t sure how attached I would be this story, but it took me no time to be invested in the cast of characters who make up this sweet Christmas novella. It’s a multi-generational tale that shares the power of community. The main character is a widow who is new to town and without friends or family to celebrate the holidays with. Meeting the family next door in an unexpected way leads to forming a unique quilting group that comes together to create a quilt in time for Christmas.

Book List for November
1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.

Non-Fiction:

  • Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love by Sally Clarkson – 4 stars
  • Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess by by Bobby Fischer, Stuart Margulies, and Don Mosenfelder – 3 stars

Fiction:

  • Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh (Harbor Pointe Series) – 4 stars
  • Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh (Harbor Pointe Series) – 4 stars
  • Just One Kiss by Courtney Walsh (Harbor Pointe Series) – 3 stars
  • Just like Home by Courtney Walsh (Harbor Pointe Series) – 4 stars
  • If For Any Reason by Courtney Walsh (Nantucket Love Story Series) – 4 stars
  • Is It Any Wonder by Courtney Walsh (Nantucket Love Story Series) – 4 stars
  • What Matters Most by Courtney Walsh (Nantucket Love Story Series) – 4 stars
  • A Match Made at Christmas by Courtney Walsh (Nantucket Love Story Series) – 4 stars
  • Paper Hearts by Courtney Walsh (Paper Hearts Series) – 4 stars
  • Change of Heart by Courtney Walsh (Paper Hearts Series) – 4 stars
  • How to Kiss Your Grumpy Boss by Jenny Proctor (Sweet Rom-Com) – 3 stars
  • Faking Christmas by Cindy Steel (Christmas Escape Series) – 4 stars
  • Christmas Baggage by Deborah M. Hathaway (Christmas Escape Series) – 4 stars
  • Host for the Holidays by Martha Keyes (Christmas Escape Series) – 4 stars
  • A Newport Christmess by Jess Heileman (Christmas Escape Series) – 4 stars
  • Later On We’ll Conspire by Kortney Keisel (Christmas Escape Series) – 4 stars
  • A Not-So Holiday Paradise by Gracie Ruth Mitchell (Christmas Escape Series) – 3 stars
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok (Jewish American Fiction) – 3 stars
  • A Cup of Cheer by Heather Miekstyn (Sweet Holiday Romance) – 4 stars
  • A Christmas Dare by Heather Miekstyn (Sweet Holiday Romance) – 4 stars
  • A Quilt for Christmas by Melody Carlson (Christmas Novella) – 4 stars
  • Scrooge and the Girls Next Door by Melody Jacobson (Holiday Rom-Com) – 4 stars
 

A Birthday & Musical Weekend! November 22, 2022

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Family Time — Amy Scott @ 2:03 pm

I’m starting this post with the title section blank. Any other bloggers struggle to come up with post titles? I’ve never really mastered the art of click-bait posts in the social media world. Hmm… I will continue to ponder what exactly to call this post… as I write it. Maybe I’ll leave it Add Title. Okay, I won’t, but yeah, I’ve got nothing right now.

My lack of title reflects my current mental state. I’m a little tired. Life has been so good, but there have many details to juggle and events to host. Let’s recap the last week, shall we? Thursday was dentist day for the boys. They are cavity-free! We had a good friend as our dental hygienist, so the appointment was quite cheerful. Graham had been dreading it, but came out afterwards sharing his relief. It was no big deal and he liked all the flavors this time. Yay for a drama-free appointment!

Friday was spent cleaning and decorating the house for a birthday party on Saturday. We offered to host a birthday shindig to celebrate my mother-in-law. I enjoy decorating for parties. Since adults don’t have birthday themes (like Super Mario), we went with a mix of gold, black, and purple (Debbie’s favorite color) decorations. Saturday morning, we ran some party errands and then it was show time! Debbie requested an updated family photo for her birthday, so the party started with a chilly photoshoot in our backyard. Since our backyard sees very little sun this time of year, the grass was crunchy and covered in frost. The temperature was sure motivating to smile big and move on to the next phase of the festivities. We enjoyed a meal featuring some Debbie’s favorite foods and then we played group games such as Pictionary, Family Feud, and Catch Phrase. The kids played flashlight tag outside in the freezing cold (why?!?! So cold!!). We watched Debbie open her gifts and then enjoyed birthday desserts together.

Friday and Saturday were full days and Sunday was no expectation. We were at church bright and early for choir practice. The last few weeks I’ve been jumping in to fill the roles of missing kids during practice. I’m not used to acting and singing my way through a Sunday morning. I come home from church just as tired as Owen and Graham. It’s cold/flu season, so I understand why we are missing kids, but I told Jeremy I don’t want to be the “fill-in” person on the actual performance day! Please join me in prayer for a healthy cast on December 4th!!! Sunday evening, we had a second musical practice. The goal was to combine the kids who practice at 9:00am and 10:45am into one choir. Jeremy and I hosted a Thanksgiving dessert gathering with the parents while the kids practiced.

It seems to be a pattern of busy weekends lately. Each weekend feels like a mad dash and leaves me a bit tired come Monday morning. Slower weekdays seem to be the key to recovering from the weekend and prepping for the next one. The pattern continues with a big holiday weekend right around the corner. Things might be a little crazy for our family until after the musical, but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Time for the sprint to the finish line!

And now to nail down a title for this post…

The light through the frosty trees kept distracting me from teaching school last week.
Cavity-free! Graham has his “fluoride” smile.
Making decorative tissue paper puffs on Friday. This one had a chicken shawarma layer in it! What?
The calm before the party!
What are my kids doing in this picture?!?!
The Scott Family
Nana and Papa with the grandkids
This feels like the most accurate picture of the day…
Our little piece of the Scott family puzzle.
The Original Scott Five – 2022
I found the 2001 Church Directory on Sunday!
My family in 2001… Church directories are good for a chuckle!
 

1,001 November 16, 2022

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Family Time,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 8:07 pm

I apparently missed a milestone. My last post was my 1,000th on Amy Scott’s Thoughts! Woo hoo! WordPress notified me after the post was officially published. I’ve been blogging for over a decade, but I wasn’t keeping track of my post total. So, there you go. Here’s my 1,001st blog post! That can be a milestone too? Right? I’m going to claim it. Let’s celebrate!

While this blog started with intentions of bring brilliant (ha ha) and strategic with my posts… it’s definitely morphed with time. A decade ago (before kids when I had more brain cells), I hoped to share deep thoughts about life and ministry. Now, it’s mostly family updates and the occasional book-related post. I love sharing our family adventures and I love writing about books. Someday, I could see myself fully committing to the book blogging scene. Currently, I’m not hemming myself in, though. I don’t want to stick to one topic. I want all the options… which is why I post about homeschooling, baking, reading, travels, and the ordinary, everyday stuff of life. This blog is a bright spot in my week. It might not make me internet-famous, but it does make me happy. That’s all that matters. I hope it brings a little joy to you, too.

So, what’s been happening this week? This weekend was quite full… All good things, just a lot of things. I met up with a friend locally for hot chocolate on Friday morning. We caught up on life over holiday drinks at Starbucks. Friend time + a red cup = a happy Amy! I also drove up north to have “linner” (aka dinner at 3pm) at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse with my forever friend, Maggie. Two fun friend experiences in one day was a rare treat! Saturday, our family helped a family member move. It was a full day of moving boxes, organizing, and building furniture. I was very proud of my boys. They were super helpful! Sunday morning was spent at church practicing for the Christmas musical. Owen has his lines all memorized and he rocks his solo every time. I’m so excited to see him perform in December. He has worked so hard! Graham, too! Graham smiles from the front row of the choir. He has every song memorized and is super focused when it comes to doing the motions. It’s sweet to watch them shine! Sunday afternoon, we had family over to prepare for hunting season and they stayed for dinner. It was a big weekend, but full of good times with great people!

You’ll see pictures below of the ordinary moments from this last week. Baking projects, science experiments, puzzles, collecting wooly worms on walks… I’m so thankful the quieter days when we are home – doing school, hanging out, just being together. The weather is cold!!! I busted out the flannel sheets on Monday. I’m bundling up everyday for afternoon walks in the cold sunshine. The chill in the air makes being tucked inside feel extra cozy, like a safe haven. I just love ordinary days. I can appreciate a busy weekend, but I’m all for a slow week at home! It’s a good balance!

Owen asked for cake. So I made cake. It’s not too hard to twist my arm.
Pizza and pizookies at BJ’s are becoming a tradition of ours!
Such helpful movers! They think U-Haul trucks are the coolest!
A refresher on pollination with a pipe cleaner insect.
This was the first of three puzzles we did on Monday. Apparently, Monday had a puzzle vibe.
Fall art with oil pastels. Owen went a bit abstract on us…
Bring on flannel sheet season!
Graham bundled up to join me for a walk this week. He collected a wooly worm along the way.
 

Feels Like November November 9, 2022

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Family Time,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 1:39 pm

We had an unseasonably warm October and it messed with my head a bit. When the weather clears and I go outside, I’m shocked that it’s in the low 40s and not in the 70s. I keep reminding myself that it’s November. This is what November is supposed to feel like.

Along with the cooler temperatures, we’ve had our first blustery day and power outage. Friday, it poured all day long! Our plans to run errands seemed foolish. We should have taken a boat to the stores instead of our van. Friday night, after we were all tucked into bed, the power went out. Apparently, the wind picked up after the rain. Our kids don’t sleep well when the power goes out. The boys ended up sleeping in our bedroom on the floor. It was a family adventure! I’m left wondering why the power mostly goes out at night?!?! Why not in the morning or afternoon when our sleep isn’t interrupted?

Two very special celebrations happened last week. Thursday was the end of our first quarter of school. The boys selected grabber toys as their quarterly reward and they were thrilled with something new to play with. They’ve discovered the grabbers are especially handy for retrieving items under the couch. Thursday was also Red Cup Day where Starbucks switches to their holiday drink cups. Red Cup Day is a holiday in our family. Every year we make our way to Starbucks to celebrate. The boys and I got drinks and treats and then we made a special delivery to Jeremy at work.

Our big family focus right now is the Christmas musical at church. We have less than a month until the performances! Owen was given the part of “Lil G” (the angel Gabriel). He has both a singing solo and a speaking part. We are very excited for him! Our days are spent practicing his lines and every van ride has the practice CD blaring. Being a part of kid’s choir is new for me as well as the boys. It’s been a fun experience for all of us!

I’m still sort of in denial that it’s November, but the weather keeps reminding me we are here. I’ve pulled out my snowflake dishes (since it’s cold enough). We’ve started listening to Christmas music (not just the musical). I enjoy all the autumn vibes of November – it’s cold outside and cozy inside. I love preparing for Christmas. I’ve never had a conflict with Thanksgiving and Christmas. I embrace them equally in November. It’s a good feeling!

Read Cup Day Special Delivery
Enjoying some special treats
Wrapping up the quarter with a science project. Owen’s temperate deciduous forest biome.
Graham had a blast bowling with Jeremy and his church buddies on Sunday afternoon. Sadly, Owen had a 24 hour tummy bug, so we stayed home to rest. Cold/flu season is the worst!
Learning about the water cycle with Graham. Science experiments are the highlight of the school week.
 

Welcome November November 2, 2022

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Getting Creative,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 6:33 pm

The start of November always feels like a finish line to me. October is my favorite month of the year, without a doubt. October is also a very full month for our family. After wrapping up birthday month and a major ministry event (Fall Fest on Halloween), I feel like taking a deep breath when November arrives. We did it! We had all the fun! We went big! We gave it our all! It was good! And now it’s November! *Sigh* My husband pointed out that November is equally “big” in it’s own right, but before the November pace picks up, I’m just going to enjoy this moment.

October actually ended a little quieter than we expected. Jeremy got a cold over the weekend, so we hunkered down at home to rest. With a big event on Monday night, we needed to be pro-active in the recovery department. I was sad to cancel our very fun plans with friends, but it was good to dedicate two full days to resting. It was time well spent.

We always end October with a bang. A big part of children’s ministry is event planning. Jeremy knows how to throw a party (with help, of course). The theme for our annual Fall Fest was Galaxy Adventures (outer space). The whole building and all the activities revolved around this out-of-this-world theme. It was nice to move this event indoors again after two years of shifting for the pandemic (we did a drive-thru event in 2020 and an outdoor event in 2021). Our kids had a blast and even dressed on theme with their costumes (astronaut costumes we recycled from 2020 – Owen’s barely fit, oops). The black light room was a favorite and Owen enjoyed helping Nana & Papa hand out prizes at the prize wheel. Almost 300 kids attended, so I would say that was quite some party! Way to go, Jeremy (and team)!

November 1st is always a bit of a recovery day. We’re all tired from the big day and late night. Yesterday, we had co-op and Owen had piano lessons, but all I really wanted to do was hibernate! Thankfully, we had a very chill evening last night and we’re starting to come out of the holiday haze! And there you have it. October is in the rearview mirror and November is staring us down. Ready, set, go!

Family game night. Qwixx is the game of choice right now. Owen got it for his birthday and is obsessed!
Candy corn blondies are a holiday tradition!
Space Panda (?!) Amy with her astronauts!
We weren’t quite sure what Jeremy was – NASA personnel? Engineer? Tech person? Maybe we should call him the Command Leader.
Enjoying the themed games in the black light room.
The show must go on. No matter how tired, we did school on Tuesday morning. Here is Graham’s science experiment – making a cloud!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – October 2022 October 31, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 8:10 am

Bookish Thoughts for October

I did it! I reached my updated goal of reading 200 books in 2022! Woo hoo! October was a busier month which meant I didn’t fly through as many books. Honestly, hitting my goal also dampened my momentum a bit. We’ll see how many books I reach by the end of 2022, but I’m not feeling any pressure to keep up a certain pace. With a vacation, multiple birthdays, and seasonal activities, my time was spent differently this month. With the holidays right around the corner, I realize my calendar will continue to be full. A reading life has seasons just like real life. Some seasons are quieter with space to read and some are busier, but filled with good things and good people. It’s a balance. It’s been a fun experiment to see how much reading I can accomplish in a year. I’ve enjoyed it immensely and I look forward to two more months of adding to the grand total!

I frequently get asked how I read so much. Since it’s been a topic of conversation with my friends lately, I thought I would share here as well. Books are my preferred downtime activity. I watch very little television. Being a quick reader also helps. I can finish most books in a day or two. Non-fiction takes me slightly longer, but I can fly through novels. I’m not reading rocket science, that’s for sure! Our family schedule intentionally has margin for free time. It’s my goal to raise readers and I want to be a role model. I’m trying to create a culture of reading in our home. Books are valuable and time spent reading them is as well! Confession… I don’t like to cook. By making very simple meals, I don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen (thus more free time). I tend to be a tidy, organized person. My daily routine helps keep the house manageable. This in turn helps my reading because I struggle to read in a disordered space. I would say routine and intentional time around the house are the key to my reading life.

Tops Picks for October

Non-Fiction: M Is for Mama: A Rebellion Against Mediocre Motherhood by Abbie Halberstadt. This book was recommended at book club. Despite the pacifier on the front, it’s really a book for all mothers in the child-raising years (Abbie is a mother of ten with kids ranging from toddlers to teenagers). I loved the Scripture through the book combined with Abbie’s encouragement. She is real and honest about the struggles of motherhood while calling women to rise up in their roles as a mama. As a person who tends to have very high personal standards, I could relate to the call of this book. For the tired, worn-out mama, this will be a gentle (and somewhat humorous) reminder that we are all human and we can turn to God in the midst of our imperfect mothering. God is our source and with him we can do great things. Motherhood is worthy calling. We have good, important work to do. I appreciated Abbie’s sincerity, optimism, and how she champions God’s Word. A very inspiring read, indeed.

Fiction: The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay. After re-reading Dear Mr. Knightley last month, I decided to read all of Katherine Reay’s novels this month. I enjoyed them all greatly. Katherine writes brilliant main characters. The characters have flaws and hardships, but I love how smart and strong they are. Also, her books are filled with literary references. She writes books about people who love books. As a bookworm, my heart is so happy to read about other bookworms! The Printed Letter Bookshop is about three women and the connection they forge in a small town bookshop. While Dear Mr. Knightley is still my favorite novel by Katherine, I gave this novel 5 stars as well!

Book List for October
1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.

Non-Fiction:

  • Wild + Free Family: Forging Your Own Path to a Life Full of Wonder, Adventure, and Connection by Ainsley Arment – 4 stars
  • M Is for Mama: A Rebellion Against Mediocre Motherhood by Abbie Halberstadt – 4 stars

Fiction:

  • How to Walk Away by Katherine Center (Contemporary Fiction) – 3 stars
  • The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay (Women’s Literary Fiction) – 3 stars
  • Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay (Women’s Literary Fiction) – 3 stars
  • Of Literature & Lattes by Katherine Reay (Women’s Literary Fiction) – 3 stars
  • The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay (Women’s Literary Fiction) – 3 stars
  • A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay (Women’s Literary Fiction) – 4 stars
  • The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay (Women’s Literary Fiction) – 5 stars
  • The London House by Katherine Reay (WWII Historical Ficton) – 4 stars
  • Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult (Contemporary Fiction) – 3 stars
  • The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett (Children’s Fiction) – 4 stars
  • Merry Ex-Mas by Courtney Walsh (Sweet Christmas Romance) – 4 stars
  • A Cross-Country Road Trip by Courtney Walsh (Sweet Christmas Romance) – 4 stars
  • Royally (Re)arranged by Emma St. Clair (Sweet Royal Rom-Com) – 3 stars
 

The Many Adventures of October! October 23, 2022

October is such a fun month for our family! Our adventures this week included a chocolate fountain at our church growth group, a birthday meal with family, Graham’s 7th birthday, a trip to the Oregon Zoo, hosting book club, and pumpkin carving! The whole month feels like one adventure after the next. It’s been a bit of a pace – keeping up with all the good times. I love all the activities of October, but I also look forward to the hibernation vibes of November. We’ve had an unseasonably warm and sunny October. It’s been perfect for adventuring! Now the rain moves in this week and I’m honestly ready for it. Give me a reason to hunker down at home. I’m all for it!!!

Chocolate fountain at church! Then the kids got to bounce off their energy in the bounce houses.
Celebrating a belated birthday for Papa and an early birthday for Graham!
Graham started his birthday with a candle and a song!
Birthday candle and song – take two!
Mountain goats at the Oregon Zoo
Still not too old for the zoo train
I loved sharing cookies, cider, and books on Friday night. It was my turn to host book club and I went for all the fall vibes!
Owen’s Bowser pumpkin! This year we carved our homegrown pumpkins. Owen and I helped clean out the pumpkins, but Jeremy was the MVP who did all the carving magic!
Graham’s Goomba! Graham supervised most of the pumpkin carving, but wasn’t into getting his hands dirty.
 

First Co-Op Field Trip October 15, 2022

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Travels — Amy Scott @ 5:24 pm

We had our first co-op field trip this last week. We visited the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery in Salkum, WA. It was super educational. I was surprised by how hands-on and informational it was. I’m not sure what I expected, but it surpassed my apparently low-bar expectations. We started the experience by watching the salmon get sorted at the top of the fish ladder. All the kids who wanted to participate got to help sort the salmon. Owen loved the experience and declared he could see himself sorting salmon when he grows up. Graham did not want to sort the salmon. That’s okay, too.

After sorting the salmon, we learned about the complete lifecycle of a salmon. From there, we went to feed the fry, which I learned are small salmon. The kids got to grab a handful of fish food and toss it into the tank. All the fry made the water splash as they gobbled up their meal. We all reacted to the feeding frenzy. I didn’t watch the last part of the presentation too closely. There is a viewing window in the visitor center where you can watch the employees harvest the eggs of the spawning salmon. This process was explained very well and the kids were fascinated. I just didn’t need the visual!

We played around with the visitor center displays for a while after the tour ended. Soon, it was lunchtime and part of our group made our way down to the river shore to eat sack lunches on logs. The kids wrapped up our field trip by throwing all sorts of rocks and sticks into the river. Nothing quite like being kid – throwing rocks into the river on a sunny day. Life is full of simple pleasures.

Field trips are one of my favorite parts of homeschooling. I love adventuring with my boys. We all learned so much at the salmon hatchery. It was an unforgettable experience. The rest of our week has been quieter. The boys combined their birthday money to buy the biggest LEGO set they’ve ever had. 1,216 pieces. It took them about 24 hours to complete it (with sleep in the middle, obviously). They are so proud of themselves! We had friends over for tacos last night. I attended a baby shower today. Tomorrow we’ll do a chocolate fountain and inflatbles with our church growth group. We are thankful for friends, community, field trips, and October sunshine!

Owen the Salmon Sorter!
Graham would only touch the plastic salmon…
A scenic lunch spot
So excited for the biggest LEGO set they’ve ever built!
Castle complete!
 

Sunriver Sunshine & Owen’s Birthday! October 8, 2022

Filed under: Family Time,Travels — Amy Scott @ 6:33 pm

We just got back from a wonderful vacation to Sunriver, OR this last week. We visited the Sunriver Resort four years ago and absolutely loved our time there. Since Graham was two at the time, he had no memories of that trip. We decide it was time to visit again and make new memories.

When we arrived at Sunriver Resort, we discovered the condo we rented was right next door to the one we stayed in last time. It felt very familiar and welcoming. On our first day there, we hit the Cove (aka the pool) and took a twilight bike ride. Uncle Eric gifted the boys lights for their bike tires and we put them to good use that evening!

The next day, we took off for Crater Lake. Graham had never been there and Owen couldn’t remember his visit at 20 months old. It’s no secret, we love national parks. The week before our trip, the boys worked on Crater Lake Junior Ranger books so they could get their badges in the park. The weather was perfect! The sky was blue and the water was even bluer!

When we got back to the resort, Jeremy and I rented bikes so we could take family rides on the paved trails that weave all around the resort. Honestly, I was very nervous about riding bikes on this trip. It had been over 20 years since I’d ridden a bike and I wasn’t sure it really comes back to you. Fortunately, it did! We didn’t start small to break me in. Instead, we went for a five mile ride around the river loop. It was a beautiful ride and I’m so thankful that I was able to do it (especially without injury). We wrapped up our day at the pool. We stayed till dark and got to view the sun fade while hopping between the indoor and outdoor pools.

Lava Butte was our first destination the following day. We walked the path around the cinder cone and then took a walk through the lava fields below. It seems our vacation was really a geology field trip. After a volcanic morning, we went into Bend for lunch and shopping. Our afternoon included another family bike ride. This time to the resort playground. We returned our bikes after that ride and went for ice cream and souvenir shopping in The Village at Sunriver. We went to the Cove for our final swim, only to discovered that it was closed. Such a bummer, but we changed plans quickly. We went back to play at the park and then we grabbed a sweet treat to eat by the fire pits behind the Sunriver Lodge.

We were so sad to pack up and leave our Wildflower condo on Thursday, but we left with so many good memories! We loved our volcano adventures, our biking, our swimming, our relaxing at the condo. The whole trip was wonderful! I would have never guessed many years ago that outdoorsy vacations would be my thing, but my boys have certainly changed me in the best ways. Our final stop on the way home was Smith Rock State Park. We made this a quick stop to take in the view and look for rock climbers.

Which leads me to today! It’s Owen’s 9th birthday! Halfway to adulthood! Yikes! After such a full week, Owen requested a chill birthday. He wanted pizza, cake, and video games. He, especially, wanted to participate in his island birthday party on Animal Crossing. Usually, we try to do big, special family adventures on birthdays, but I agree with Owen on this one. It was nice to have a laid back day at home.

Birthday month has treated us well so far! From family celebrations, to roller-skating, to vacation, to chilling at home! It’s been good. So good! We are only one week into the month! Still lots more fun to be had!

Settling into our condo! Owen fell in love with that pillow and kept it by his side when we were at the condo.
Settling in
Exploring the Cove
Twilight bike ride
Crater Lake
Family bike ride
The river loop was so pretty!
We called this slide the polar plunge! It was freezing!
My favorite place! The outdoor spa!
Walking around the Lave Butte cinder cone
The view on top of Lava Butte
We loved our time at 64 Wildflower!
Enjoying our final night
Looking for rock climbers at Smith Rock State Park
Such a beautiful view!
Happy 9th Birthday, Owen!
Owen’s birthday requests – Animal Crossing, pizza, and chocolate cake!