t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.


Fishing at Full Circle

We spent a great weekend at Grandma's. The children went fishing twice. Once in the "wild" and another at the neighbor's "stocked" pond. I'm sure you can imagine the differing results.
The kids went to their cousin's school carnival. It was as brutal as school carnivals go. That day-old face painting was over an hour long wait in line.
I learned what a creole was for the first time in my life. Here are the children gathered round my dad's.
In true rookie fashion, my Dad even had a net on a zip-cord attached to the back of his vest. This was intense fishing.

Here Ellery and Brent are reeling one in. We let this one go.


Perfect Potty

In case you weren't all ready convinced Emmett was a perfect angel, he is now potty training himself. I'm just letting him lead the way because he finds this all so exciting and hilarious at the same time.

Tonight he pushed his little heart out for his first, well, you know. He giggled between grunts. If you haven't met Emmett, you've got to.


A little "bling" for Berkeley.
This is my attempt at improvising ways to keep her cannula in place, when I realized we were out of tender grips.

I have a very talented friend Carlie, who makes and sells these darling accessories for little girls. Baby Bintz. If you are in the market, head for her website.

I find I have zero time to blog during the week. This week we headed to the Bingham Copper Mines. It was almost unbelievable, the massive size of this open pit mine, the largest in the world. The children were fascinated. They wanted to read every plaque and even watch the informational video twice. We spent almost 2 hours there. Unfortunately, I brought my camera but left the battery.



This afternoon I walked into my backyard and the smell of sweet, ripe peaches hung in the air and seemed to surround me.

And a whole lot were hanging out on the ground too. Welcome Fall.

I'm not sure how many of these peaches will find their way down to my food storage room this year.

Feel free to come over and share the harvest!


I love my Mummy

I think she will be mummified in time for Halloween. It took the Egyptians 70 days. We are hoping for about the same.
No this is not Anna...but yes, we are often tempted to mummify her. She is trouble.

Yesterday we found her "beaking" up poor little Miriam. (Take notice of her skinny neck missing the feathers. Now we know why.)

Emmett pretended to be brave enough to help. He wasn't.
I love homeschool. In fact, in this time of emotional turmoil, I think it has been my saving grace. It is so comforting to have my children surround me in the home. To feel I am giving them a gift. I fail them in so many ways, I hope at least this enriching, warm environment will be remembered.


Bubbles and Tan Lines

Berkeley had a momentary hiatus from her "tender grips" and we found a little surprise waiting underneath.
Tan lines!

If I didn't know her better I would suspect she was visiting the tanning salon when she was off my watch.

She also happens to be displaying her new favorite hobby, bubble blowing.

We love Berkeley and continue to look forward to the day when we will be rid of our oxygen tanks forever!


A Real "Labor Day"

This city mouse visited her country mice mother and sister on their farm and ranch respectively. This is how they put us to work. Well actually, I didn't work, I just followed around on my mom's bike with the camera.

It all began in my sister's hay field.
It was followed by a dramatic ride atop the bales in Grandpa's pickup truck.

Clearly this was a messy job.

And the finale was certainly the hay elevator. Notice the country mice children versus my city mice.

Tah dah! The hay loft with fresh new hay for grandpa's animals.
Happy hard Labor Day!



I finally have a child who inherited my fearless spirit!

He would probably look a whole lot tougher without the pacifier. I really need to do something about that.


Our Morning Lessons

Monday and Thursday Morning Lessons

Notebook Pages: (Ideas drawn from The Well Trained Mind and Teaching the Trivium) Make notebook pages for history, english or science. The children narrate to me main ideas from our History reading in the morning, or our Read Aloud books, or science activities. I write it down for Callista and she illustrates. Ellery dictates to me, copies what I have written and then illustrates. (We will be working towards more independent writing as the year progresses.) We make this fun for the kids because we have special notebook supplies, like my extra sharp colored pencils and tracing paper the children can use during this time.) I try to squeeze in a little art concept here. Emmett works on gross motor skills with puzzles, drawing and matching activities.

About 15-25 minutes

Phonograms: (Writing Road to Reading, WRTR) Oral and written review. Mom quizzes both girls simultaneously. I am using the 2nd grade teachers edition WRTR for Ellery and the 1st grade edition for Callista.

About 15 minutes.

Spelling: (WRTR and Teaching Reading at Home and School by Wanda Sanseri). Dictate spelling words to girls simultaneously.

About 15-20 minutes

Grammar/Reading Break: Each child gets individual lesson on grammar and composes oral and/or written sentences, or reads aloud to mom, the other has a short break to play and read to Emmett.

15-20 minutes each, 40 minutes total

Activity: Corresponding to History study, drawn from The Story of the World Activity Book by Susan Wise Bauer. These consist of art projects, hands on activities etc. This also could be science activity.

About 20-30 minutes.

Clean Up and Reading: Ellery reads out loud while Mom and Callista and Emmett clean up the school room.

About 10-20 minutes.

Flooding our Nile actually is giving us a nice crop of wheat grass!

Tuesday and Wednesday Morning Lessons with Larisa:

Ellery & Mom: Phonograms, spelling dictation, handwriting practice, grammar. Read out loud to Mom. Shiller Math or Family Math. Notebook page. Callista and Emmett speak Russian with Larisa and learn games and activities in Russian.

About 75 minutes.

Callista & Mom: Phonograms, spelling dictation, handwriting practice, grammar. Read out loud to Mom.

Tuesdays, notebook page. Wednesdays Shiller Math. Ellery and Emmett learn games and activities in Russian with Larisa.

About 45 minutes.

Russian Lesson: Alphabet, grammar, memorization, songs, and fairy tales. Emmett and Mom read together and play.

About 30 minutes.


The Homeschool Morning Gathering

The Morning Gathering Monday -Thursday 8:15 - 9:50

Calendar: Calendar and number awareness activities. Time, ordinal numbers, patterns, temperature, thermometers, graphing, addition and subtraction etc. (Drawn from Saxon Math meeting books) About 10 minutes.

Scriptures and Scripture Memorization: Read and discuss 3 verses (we each read one), one bible story from illustrated stories, and work on memorizing scripture of week and choose 2 old memorized verses to recite. About 15 minutes

Poetry: Work stanza by stanza on memorization. Children repeat, and we say together, incorporating actions and discussing interesting vocabulary and literary techniques. Choose 2 old memorized poems to recite, working on posture, expression, and articulation and to promote long term memory retention. Or read poetry for fun and to find new favorites for memorization. About 15 minutes

Copy Work/Dictation: Use selections from scripture, poetry and literature. (Ideas learned and adapted from Christine Miller’s classical christian homeschooling website, The 3 R's (Ruth Beechik), Teaching the Trivium (the Bluedorns), and The Well Trained Mind (Susan Wise Bauer)). Callista works on a single sentences, new each day and illustrates her work with left over time. Ellery copies the first day, writes from dictation the second day, and memory the third (all using the same passage). About 20 minutes

Building the Nile Delta

History (Monday/Wednesday): History review cards. We make these through the year and draw from an index file to store in long term memory important things we are learning. It is a similar concept to our scripture and poetry reviews (Based on the ideas of Christine Miller). Read aloud a chapter from The Story of the World (Susan Wise Bauer), and other ancient history books from the library. Complete coloring pages, map or timeline work. Practice narration (repeating back as much detail as they can from our reading). About 20 minutes

Flooding the Nile

Math (Tuesday/Thursday): Math activity drawn from Family Math. About 20 minutes.

Emmett reads books, colors, plays cars, and listens to stories. He is actually quiet tired in the mornings and most of the time just loves to snuggle with a blanket, his pacifier, and his bear on the ground near us. Berkeley sleeps and eats :)

Our Friday Morning Gathering

Friday mornings, before our field trips we read, read, read! When we don't have a field trip planned we just keep reading for fun. I try to go the library alone to check out our books. I use literature recommendation from The Well Trained Mind, The Story of the World Activity Book, All Through the Ages History through Literature Guide, and my own findings. Reading out loud with my children is my absolute favorite part of being a mother.