2021-22 School Year–Week Thirty-Two

And just like that, the 2021-22 school year has come to an end! The week was mostly spending time outdoors (our daily walk is now at about four miles, even in the unpleasant heat we’ve been having!) and wrapping things up.

Ladybug took her final geometry exam (and got an “A”!). She finished the chapter on mammals in biology by reading about learned and innate behaviors, and various forms of conditioning. She also finished her astronomy course by learning about celestial navigation…she even used Google Earth to find the approximate coordinates of our house! We finished her study of religious writings by reading about the Book of Mormon. She read about Constantine in history. To conclude our study of Henry V, we watched The Hollow Crown, episode four.

Chickadee also finished up math by reviewing equations, fractions, and how to cross multiply and divide. We read about sponges in science (we do still have one field trip left related to her study of aquatic animals…stay tuned!). She reviewed all of the parts of speech she’s learned by diagramming some fairly long sentences. We wrapped up our study of US geography by learning about Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington D.C.

As always, we built a Lego set to celebrate the last day of school (and since Turkey and Bunny were home at an unusual time due to their finals schedule, they were able to lend a hand):

This was a different year for all of us, and it took some getting used to. I’m really glad we did some very different things this year instead of trying to force things to be “normal” (reading Little Women, especially outside under our tree when the weather was nice, and cooking together were my favorite moments of the school year), and even though things felt strange a lot of the time, as always, I’m sad to see the school year end!

Scrooge and the Penobscotts

The Fab Five gave me a really cool gift for Mother’s Day!

Even before we watched Turkey play through the Kingdom Hearts video game series, and long before we started planning our trip to to Disney World, I’ve had a fascination with the extended Duck family. Donald and Daisy are my favorites…his temper always cracks me up, and I love her fashion sense. And one day, I was doing some reading about the Ducks, and their associated relatives (including the Goose family), and I realized that Donald Duck’s mother, Hortense, was Scrooge McDuck’s sister. Which means her maiden name, if you will, was also McDuck, and if she had wanted to, she could have hyphenated her name to McDuck-Duck, and that thought made me happy.

But then I thought about it further, and realized that one of Hortense McDuck-Duck’s children could have married a member of the Goose family, and that hyphenated name would have been McDuck-Duck-Goose, and that thought made me practically delirious!

All that to say, I love the Ducks and McDucks. But wait, there’s more! Because Huey, Dewey, and Louie, the Duck triplets, have also become one of my favorite M*A*S*H* jokes. There’s a scene in my favorite episode where Frank Burns is rambling on about Margaret’s fiancĂ©, Donald Penobscott, and he imagines them introducing their children, Huey, Dewey, and Louie Penobscott. It’s probably the funniest thing Frank ever says, and now whenever we talked about Huey, Dewey, and Louie, we always tack “Penobscott” on at the end!

I love how thoughtful my children are in choosing gifts!

Advent 2021–Day Twenty-Seven

Today Turkey put the finishing touches on the Lego Millennium Falcon!

He added the radar dish:

There is also an alternate build for the radar dish to correspond with the sequel trilogy, which I think is pretty cool:

There were a few stickers in the set, including this big one…you’d think a set as high end as this one wouldn’t include stickers, the bane of every Lego fan’s existence, but you’d be wrong!

Here’s a look at it from all four sides:

And a few more angles:

The whole set is massive (no, we don’t actually know where its permanent placement in our home will be):

This was a fun build as we look forward to a big family trip next summer!

Thanksgiving 2021

Time for a look at our annual three-day-long Thanksgiving celebration, beginning with a beautiful sunrise on Wednesday morning, which gave me encouragement to bake nine pies, prep two different kinds of stuffing, and make the cranberry sauce.

On Thanksgiving Day, we had fun watching the Macy’s Parade and playing Thanksgiving Day Parade Bingo, picking our favorite dogs at the National Dog Show, and playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Of course, there was dinner to attend to, as well. I thought the table looked extra pretty this year…maybe that’s because we had guests to set it for!

The menu was a mix of old and new. I made our traditional stuffing to go with the turkey, but also a new recipe for everything bagel stuffing. I also tried a new roasted winter vegetable dish to go alongside our usual green beans with almonds. Of course we also had mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, and cranberry sauce:

It made a very pretty plate!

For dessert, all of the pies. Sadly, the pie I was most looking forward to trying, cranberry custard, didn’t set right, so even though it looked pretty, it didn’t come out right at all. I guess that’s the risk you run when you try a new recipe on a holiday!

This morning started with one of our favorite traditions of pie for breakfast.

I was very happy to get to go see Moose march in our town’s Santa Parade for the first time since 2019, and for the first time with the high school marching band! We honestly weren’t planning on staying for the whole thing since his group was near the beginning, but it was fun as well as short, so we ended up seeing it all!

I enjoyed having a place to wear one of my new Erstwilder Christmas brooches:

Turkey sandwiches for lunch are another great thing about the day after Thanksgiving!

And more pie:

We built the annual addition to our Lego winter village:

And had turkey soup for dinner:

After dinner, some of us went back downtown for the tree lighting and community sing:

And more pie for dessert when we got back home:

There you have it. It was a mostly normal holiday, and it was good to do things that felt familiar again!

First Day of School 2021

Just like that, our 14th year of homeschooling has begun!

Ironically, while the roster of my homeschool has changed dramatically, with Turkey and Bunny starting college next week, and Moose returning to in-person learning later this week after almost 18 months of distance learning here at home, the school room looks pretty much the same as it did last year…this may be the least it has ever changed between school years!

It is pretty strange having only two students, though!

The number of students may have changed, but our traditions didn’t:

And we did have a few guests, which made things feel a little more normal:

I wanted to make our first day of school extra special, so we made lemon-poppyseed waffles and lemon-blueberry sauce for lunch:

And of course we built a Lego set…this time, the Taj Mahal:

Our “Farewell to Summer” dinner had a local theme, so I decided to also go with a theme for our “First Day of School” dinner…Chicago-style hot dogs and Portillo’s chocolate cake for a Windy City theme!

It was a very different first day of school in some ways, but there were also familiar moments, and it was nice to get started while everyone was still at home before they go their separate ways!

Lego Rabbits

The one thing I didn’t cover in my Nature Pop! post was the collection of Lego rabbits in the exhibition. There are about 20 of them, and I thought they deserved their own entry!

They’re located near Visitor Services in Cheekwood’s Color Garden, which is appropriate, because they are a very colorful collection of rabbits!

I like how there are both solid and patterned rabbits hiding among the plants:

Sean Kenney did an excellent job designing these creatures. He captured the look and movement of actual rabbits so well, they really look like the animals you might find hiding in a garden!

Nature Pop!

The first time we visited the Missouri Botanical Garden, it was to see the Nature Connects Lego exhibition by Sean Kenney. When I heard that he had a new Lego exhibition, Nature Pop!, being hosted by Cheekwood Estate and Gardens in Nashville, I knew we were going to have to use our reciprocal membership to see it, too.

Let’s start with my very favorite piece from the installation…the Dodo bird. Not only do I love the way he designed the bird and baby, I also love that the colors of the sunset are used as a metaphor for extinction.

There was a wide variety of wildlife represented, with most of the pieces being found in and around the Children’s Garden.

Some of the pieces really need to viewed from all sides to fully appreciate them:

This deer family was another of my favorites. I especially like the way the colors from both parents are incorporated into the design of the baby…and the colors themselves are amazing!

This was an outstanding exhibition, and I’m really glad we had the chance to see it in person! Stay tuned for a look at the Lego rabbit collection in the Color Garden!

Road Trip Wrap-Up in the Time of COVID-19

Our travels this summer might not yet be back to what they were in pre-COVID times, but we did actually go somewhere this year! Since we weren’t quite as busy as we have been on previous vacations, I’m just going to take a look at the whole trip instead of going day-by-day.

On Monday, we left for a short trip to Bowling Green, KY. Any visit to Bowling Green includes a meal from Zaxby’s. Fortunately, we have always done carryout, so that wasn’t even any different from our usual dinner.

On Tuesday morning, we drove into Nashville to visit Cheekwood Estate and Gardens and see the Nature Pop! Lego exhibition by Sean Kenney. Both the sculptures and the estate were breathtaking!

We also drove down to the Cumberland riverfront to get a look at the Nashville skyline.

We were going to get lunch at Hattie B’s, one of the locations in Nashville known for hot chicken, but the line was unbelievably long, so we went to Chaney’s Dairy Barn and had ice cream for lunch instead!

Our day ended with a beautiful double rainbow!

On Wednesday, Bunny and I went with her grandparents to tour Western Kentucky University, where she is planning on attending after she finishes at community college:

And on Thursday, we visited the Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green, where we saw not only an authorized replica of Marine One, but also an aircraft flown by every astronaut who walked on the moon!

We also had an early birthday celebration for Bunny that night:

We were up early on Friday morning to head home, but we did stop for donuts at the Donut Bank on the way:

It was a little challenging coming up with fun things to do outside in the summer heat, (I wanted to go to a Bowling Green Hot Rods game, but between the temperatures and the fact that I’m still a little hesitant to be in a big crowd, even outdoors, made me table that for the time being), but we found something to do every day, and it was so nice to get away for a bit!

Chickadee Thursday

We actually went somewhere more than 90 minutes from home!

On Tuesday, we visited Cheekwood Estate and Gardens to see the Nature Pop! Lego exhibition by Sean Kenney. We also stopped by the Riverfront Landing so we could get a good view of the Nashville skyline.

It was so nice to get away from home for a few days!