Sunday, 29 September 2013

Almost ready to inhale

That light at the end of the tunnel that was so dim and distant is getting closer now.  The season of being outside and active and busy with the good things of life is coming to an end - I can feel it now.  The last of the summer's fruit is ripening in boxes and is awaiting its next transformation into chutney and sauce and just plain canned fruit. 

All those green tomatoes we picked in a frenzy before the first frost are turning a beautiful hue of red and making their way into passata, pasta sauce and maybe even a tomato leather. 

The last football game of the year was played by my oldest, and we witnessed the evolution of a bunch of individuals into a cohesive unit fueled by camaraderie and a common goal. 

I can feel that soon it will be time to return within, refuel, and settle in to quieter times.  Time for contemplation and dreaming...time for holding those little ones close for just a wee bit longer...time to inhale and renew for the next trip around the sun.  Days will still be full, but I'm optimistic that the number of things that will require my attention simultaneously will be fewer.

Yes, there still is plenty to do...gardens to be cleaned up, winter clothes to be retrieved while shorts are quietly tucked away until next summer, a general all-around cleanup of the things that have been pushed to the side while we tend to more immediate needs.  But I can feel, perhaps out of hope, that the pace of life will be less frenetic.  I wonder if my children will feel it too, that final "ahhh" of the summer and the beginnings of the first in-breath of autumn.  That will be something to tune my senses into and chat about over a warm bowl of chili.  We talk much about the physical things that change around us as the seasons change, but do they feel it in their bones?  In their soul?  Yes, my curiosity is piqued.  I look forward to seeing what comes of that conversation in the days and years ahead.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Club Day. The Nature Version.

A gentle rain drizzled down upon our part of the world for the better part of today.  Many soggy leaves now litter the ground in colours of rust and gold.  Nature Club was cozy and dry, though, as we celebrated the harvest season with homemade pizzas.

We kicked off our meeting with the story By the Light of the Harvest Moon.  It is a beautifully illustrated tale that shares what really happens when the leaves are swept off the trees...leaf people in the pumpkin patch celebrating autumn with a dessert party!  There are lots of pies to be shared, which was the segue into our pizza pie making.

Some of the vegetables we prepared for the pizzas were from the pizza garden the clubbers planted seeds for...tomatoes, onions, green pepper, basil.  I offered a choice of pizza sauces - homemade marinara sauce or homemade salsa verde made from our prolific tomatillos.  I stuck with store bought cheese and crust, mainly because the late night preserving have limited my time and energy for other time-intensive projects which would be nice, but not necessary.  I also supplied other store bought ingredients that are kid tested and loved in our home - ham, pineapple and salami.

As our pizzas cooked we gathered together to read We Gather Together:  Celebrating the Harvest Season.  We talked about the equator and how it divides the Earth into the northern and southern hemispheres, and how the tilt of the earth changes the hours of daylight as it travels around the sun.  The book also contains ancient customs adopted by various cultures, and we pointed their origins out on the globe too.  I think we'll explore some of these customs in more depth in future meetings.

A little bit of science, a little bit of geography, a little bit of sharing, and a lot of tasty food made for a wonderful Nature Club. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

That toddler of mine!

I remember lamenting about what to do with that busy toddler of mine who wanted to tear the house apart or run around screeching while I was trying to work with my older children.  And while I haven't completely solved that problem (yesterday comes to mind), I have tried to put together a few activities for Astrin that are quiet, stimulating, and hands on.  Without further ado, let's go on a tour of what Astrin's mornings look like.

Once everyone is ready to face the day - breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, "outside" clothes on in place of pajamas - the three children go for a walk around the block.  This gives me time to clean up the kitchen table and prepare for the lessons ahead.  I've found mornings tend to go better with a morning walk - everyone has felt the breeze on their face, breathed in fresh air, and said hello to the sun, birds, and insects that they spot and are ready to embrace the morning's learning. 

Astrin and I then do what I'm calling circle time.  I have no idea what Waldorf purists would think of our circle time, but it works for us.  We sing a greeting song, which I recall my grandmother singing to us as we rose in the morning, followed by a few songs about the body and a couple more about numbers.  We cuddle up for a story, then Astrin has time on her own while I move my attention to the older children.

Astrin often chooses what she would like to do during her "free" time.  Today she chose to read books.  The other day she chose to sit at the table and sort the items in our nature basket.  I brought out a cupcake pan and she carefully sorted shells, pinecones, rocks, and other items.  She has also used the same cupcake pan to sort beads by colour.

I also created a rice bin for Astrin to play with, upon the advice of another homeschooling mama.  It's a pretty simple bin, with cups for pouring, spoons for measuring, and sticks for stirring.  When I first brought it out to play with, I told her the rice was to stay in the bin - if rice was thrown then the bin would be put away until another day.  Some spills are expected, and in that case, she has her broom and dustpan for sweeping up the mess.  While she doesn't sweep up every grain that falls, I'm trying to encourage her to clean up after herself.  I must admit this activity has required quite the leap of faith on my part, but we have yet to cut time with the rice bin short!

Quite a few years ago, Nicholas was given a hammer-tic set.  It consists of corkboard, a small wooden hammer, various wooden shapes with small holes in them and tacks.  The wooden shapes are attached to the corkboard with the tacks and hammer.  It turns out that Astrin enjoys this toy!  I do need to supervise her, though, because of the small pieces.

Other toys that we have available to Astrin include wooden puzzles, Lego, and dinosaurs.  She has paper for colouring, cutting and pasting at her disposal, as well as some nature-themed colouring pages I printed off.  And did I mention the books of all shapes, sizes, and topics?  She is a bookworm in the purest sense of the word, though she has yet to read a word.

I have plans for making additional activities and materials for her in the winter months.  Teaching Montessori in the Home:  The Pre-school Years is a great resource for age-appropriate activities for younger children.  Stay tuned!

What do you do to keep the harmony with your toddler while working with your older children?

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Autumn harvest

Welcome, welcome, this season of the harvest, yellow leaves, crisp evenings, shorter days and longer evenings.  Welcome, this season of soups and chilies and soul-warming food that we look forward to reacquainting ourselves with.  Welcome, apples, pears and plums and simmering kitchens of sweet-smelling goodies.  Welcome migrating birds, who are stopping only long enough to fill their bellies before continuing on their long trek south. 

We welcomed autumn as a family this afternoon.  Shortly after lunch, we uncovered some very simple window art I had drawn up the evening before and the branch gnomes that stood guardians.  My hope is that these sweet gnomes will act as guardians for our nature bowl as well and that their little felt hats will change colour with the seasons.  We read We Gather Together:  Celebrating the Harvest Season.     

 We did a little harvesting of our own as well this afternoon.  We read the story of Benjie and the Turnip (from Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour), where Benjie learns to ask permission from the root gnome to pick the turnip he's tended all summer and would like to make a lantern with.  Our gnomes joined us in the carrot patch, and the children repeated the root gnome request...

Gnome, Gnome, good Gnome,
May I take your carrot home?

Now, the soup pot is simmering with chicken vegetable soup.  We'll enjoy a simple harvest meal of soup, cornbread, and applesauce tonight, followed by warm baths and a story by candlelight before bed.  While the children slumber, I'll continue my own harvest work...checking on the onions and peppers dehydrating, making what is hopefully the last batch of pickles, checking the ripeness of the pears and perhaps making a batch of pear chips tonight.  Tomorrow the work of the harvest will continue...tomatillo salsa, pasta sauce, canning pears, sourcing some plums for plum sauce and more canning.  I'm trying not to feel overwhelmed by all the work that lies ahead and that must be balanced with the needs of my little ones.  I'm optimistic they will be eager to help, as we continue to read, write and draw about the changing seasons around us and all they inspire.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Club Day. The Birds of Prey Version.

Ornithopter...I'd never heard of one of these until I started looking for plans for making our own flying machines, beyond the paper airplane variety.  As I searched, I stumbled across ornithopters... flying machines that are powered by rubber bands and designed so that the wings flap to keep them airborne.  I found kits for making them here

We worked together slowly, and got about half-way through their construction in thirty to forty minutes.  Then it was time to open the doors and let them get outside.  The boys' circumstances have changed since the, none of them attend the same school.  Two are at schools far enough away that they can't just walk over and meet us at the playground or on the way to our house.  They needed to have the space and time to be together and catch up.  This I was able to see with clarity.

So, once we're finished building our ornithopters, they will be on their own.  I won't be preparing any activities for them to do while they are here...they will have the freedom to create their own activities, role plays, skits, and whatever else.  There will be some limits...which materials can be used, the types and sizes of structures they create, as well as limits to ensure everyone's safety.  But for the most part, what they create and how will be theirs to own. 

Today felt like a self-imposed weight was removed.  I am thankful for seeing what was in front of me all along.

Monday, 16 September 2013

I heart my heart

We're taking our exploration of the human body system by system and up next was the circulatory system.  We were fortunate to take our learning outdoors and do a couple really wonderful activities to get the children engaged and interested to learn more.

In researching activities for us to do, I read a comment about science being an incredibly difficult subject for children to learn traditionally because it requires learning both a new vocabulary as well as the actual scientific concepts being introduced.  I even watched a Ted Talk about this very same thing a few months ago.  Sadly, I also witnessed it first-hand when we went through some of the finer details of the digestive system.  I'm finding many library books too detailed for my little ones to discern the main points.  I was thankful to find Hear Your Heart, as it introduces the main points in simple terms and straightforward language.  We kicked off our circulatory system adventure with this book.

We went on to do several experiments and activities, these coming from How the Body Works.  We felt around for our pulses and learned that the feeling is the blood being pushed through our arteries.  We made a stethoscope out of plastic tubing and a funnel so that we could hear our heart sounds.  Then we discovered that our heart beats faster after exercise...and the more intense the exercise, the harder and faster it beats.  We learned this by comparing our resting heart rates to our heart rates after one minute of exercise (jumping jacks) and two minutes of exercise (running around the block).  We also learned a bit about blood, including some of the substances in our blood, how a scab is formed, and foods that can help our blood stay healthy. 

There are several pretty neat concoctions in Hands-on Grossology - one for fake wounds and the other for making fake blood.  I'm reluctant because of the mess they will make, but I know the kids would get a kick out of it and would likely make them again as they continue their battle scenes.  We'll see if my reluctance lifts as the week progresses.

Friday, 13 September 2013

River of Words

A nature hike was a beautiful way to end our week.  Leaving the city before the sun rose too high and the air got too hot, we made our way to a peaceful patch of land.  A place where we could walk amongst the aspens, anticipate what would await beyond the bend in the path, and feel peace enter our bodies with each deep inhale.  A place where we could be playful, romp with friends, and be transfixed by the little creatures we met along the way.

At the mid-way point of our hike we came to an intersection where several paths met.  It beckoned us to dump our packs, sit down in the shade and enjoy a little time in contemplation.  I brought out a book we're reading excerpts from - The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon - and read a passage to introduce our first opportunity to write out a list poem, as suggested by a writing program I found, River of Words.   

Our family has been reading passages from The Pillow Book all week.  The author, a lady-in-waiting living in Japan about 1000 years ago, writes about nature and the world that surrounds her.  Some of her revelations are surprisingly as relevant now as they were a millennia ago.  In what we've read so far, she manages to observe the simple, finer details that one hurriedly passing by might otherwise miss.

After reading a passage, we would go around the table and add our insights to the topic of her poem.  A wedding gown might be added to the list of Elegant Things; a puppy without an owner might be added to the list of Depressing Things.  It was all very impromptu and transcribing what was said (though there are moments I wish I had), just slipping off into a dream world and sharing the first thing that came to mind.

We did something similar while on our walk in the woods.  I prepared index cards with some of the passage titles from The Pillow Book.  We picked one...Elegant Things...then went around the circle to each person to add their own thoughts.  Each child had an opportunity to share a category or topic that wasn't on the index cards, such as Things that Fall From the Sky, Flowers, Insects.  Lastly, each child was invited to pick a card, including the blank ones not used, to write their own list.  The younger ones had an adult scribe for them while the older children worked on their own. 

Now, I sit in my kitchen with a bulletin board, and the cards we used this morning are affixed to it.  I'm not sure what permanent home this bulletin board will have, but my hope is that it will be referred to often.  New ideas can be jotted down.  Lines in the poems can be rewritten, reordered, or reread.  New poems can be mined from the lists already started.  It gives us a visual cue to think about the world around us, from the most grand and magnificent to the most minute and timid.   

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Club Day. The Nature Version.

Part of getting back into the summer-winding-down swing of things is getting the children's clubs back up and running on a more consistent basis.  We kicked off the 2013-2014 club year with the first Nature Club and a trip out to the community garden to check out how wild, luscious and abundant the tomato plants the Club started from seed had become.  I wanted the Club to have some sort of a connection between the seeds we planted and the pizza we soon will make, most of which coming from the pizza garden we dreamed up so many months ago. 

We also "foraged" our own snack by searching for cucumbers hiding underneath their lovely large green leaves, digging for carrots, and discovering the last offerings from the pea plants (peas in September seems unreal).

While we munched on our found goodies, we talked about the important role of bees.  We talked about how the bees pollinate the plants so that they will bear fruit, and how they might unknowingly cross-pollinate them and create fruit that looks a wee bit different than expected (like the few baseball-sized Roma tomatoes we found - they look suspiciously like a mix between my Romas and the neighbour's beefsteak tomatoes).  We also talked about how the cucumbers protect themselves by being slightly prickly.

In the next couple of meetings, I'd like to make cheese with the group (now that I know how to do it), and then make our garden pizza.  Looking forward to the upcoming mouth-watering meetings!


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Our homeschool planner

I was so excited when I downloaded this lesson planner!  We would be organized!  I wouldn't be rushing around at the last minute gathering books and supplies for a project or lesson!  We would be intentional about our outings and celebrating the changing seasons!  It would be a game changer.  I just knew it.

But then, at the beginning of August, I sat down with my blank planner.  And I froze.  Where to begin?  I had all these grand ideas and plans and intentions, and how would they fit into each neat little box?  How in the world would I plan an outdoor field trip for November when I had no idea how harsh the weather might be?

Then I took a breath.  I reminded myself that this wasn't a plan set in stone.  It was meant to be a flexible guide.  I traded my pen for a pencil and eraser.  On a scrap piece of paper, I jotted down the things that I wanted us to make time for...a monthly field trip out to a nature reserve...the equinoxes and the solstices...major holidays.  Next, I noted the things that I needed to accomplish at any given time of the year...gardening, preserving, sewing, hitting the once-a-month grocery store sales.  Lastly, I scribbled down the topics I wanted to cover during the year...the first part of the year being focused on the body and the second half of the year covering more Canadian history.

Referring to my list of things to accomplish, I started to slot items into the calendar.  Nature hikes outside the city...the middle of the month sounded good, as there are very few mid-month holidays to distract us from reaching our goal.  I wrote these into the calendar for each month. 

The fall equinox...I noted the date and referred to All Year Round for some projects we could do, which include reading St. George and the Dragon, making harvest bread, decorating candles, and crafting a harvest ring.  All of this would require a little pre-work on my part, so I also set aside time  in the calendar for gathering materials well in advance.  While I was perusing the projects, I noted the materials I would need to find, and once I added the supplies for our body science experiments, I had quite a unique back-to-school shopping list.

While I couldn't plan exactly when I would be preserving fruit or veggies from the garden, I kept in mind that most of my nights would likely be occupied with all things food.  Which was why I strived so hard to know what projects we were going to do and get the supplies well in advance - I could spend my evenings in the kitchen instead of at the shopping mall.

I wrote into our planner any daytime activities I knew were already scheduled - Nature Club, Birds of Prey Club, our homeschool coop, Jaelyn's art class.  Then I wrote in project time for the afternoons when we would be home.  I want to keep this time sacred and fairly consistent, so it can be something my children look forward to.   

And, finally, I started to write down the formal bookwork we would be doing for the month of September and October. 

It took quite a bit of time to massage the entries in the planner until it felt right.  I was hauling it and all sorts of books with me on our vacations and to football practices, as well as revisiting it on evenings when I had free time.  It's still growing and evolving, but it's nice to know that at least the next couple of months have been thought out and taken care of.

Now, our planner looks a bit like this...

It is full, I admit, but I think I've done a good job of making sure the activities we want most for our children - being in nature, having space to follow their own passions and interests, time with friends - is honoured.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Super Monday

I seem to recall that we had quite a few Mondays that were over-the-top fun.  Busy, but in a good way.  Children diving into work and play that is so important to them.  Mama getting a moment or two to get a start on some of her own projects.  It's looking like our first Monday of the homeschooling year is starting off on the same foot.  Here's a peek at what's been going on in our house so far today...

...finishing up our practice ornithopter.  We purchased some kits for self-propelled flying machines from  We'll be making these with Birds of Prey Club next week and I wanted to get a feel for how tricky and complex some of the model-building would be.  And Nicholas has been begging for some time to help.  By help I mean taking over after the first step in the instructions.  He did an amazing job.

...drawing, cutting, labelling, and pasting our digestive system body parts onto the children's alien bodies that adorn our hallway.  Though this may be obvious to all of you, I discovered that adding the body parts would be a great introductory activity, rather than a wrap-up activity.  It is now obvious to me as well, and we'll try it next time as we start on our next system - the circulatory system.

...drawing on the sidewalk with the littlest of my loves.

...painting.  Oh, it's been so long since we painted!

...getting ready to make some homemade cheese tonight!  All equipment has now been through scalding water and has a date with me after the last child is in bed. some poetry as we prepare for our next nature hike.  I've witnessed in the past that just being in nature is all that is needed to open the door to creative expression.  Excerpts from The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon will hopefully inspire some poetry or encourage us to feel nature with all our senses and to the tiniest detail.  Yes, we had a most agreeable lunch today.  I think I'll need to bring poetry to the table more often.

...preparing to get back to the sewing machine, with a lovely playcape (from Growing Up Sew Liberated) and birthday crown (from The Creative Family) for a special little boy turning three this weekend.  I'm sure the fort-building going on in the backyard now will continue for a while yet.  And there is nowhere to be tonight but here - how blissful is that!  Yes, I think I just might get some of it cut out right after I hit "Publish".

I'm starting to acknowledge that along with every up must come a down.  Every day cannot be a Super Monday.  Every Monday, in fact, cannot be a Super Monday.  With every burst of energy we send out into the world there must be a rest...a grow, learn, dream, and have the physical strength for the next burst.  Fighting to stay at the crest of a Super Monday wave is not ideal, nor is being in the trough or somewhere in the middle.  So I'll work to be mindful of this new realization.  Rather than fight the descent back down, I will embrace it and consider the days, and perhaps weeks, as a time of preparation.  For there will be another Super Monday sometime.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Aliens...but not what you think!

We kicked off the formal part of our homeschooling journey last year with a unit study on the solar system.  It seemed to work for us to do a deep dive into a topic, with lots of hands-on activities and links to language arts and math.  I loved reading the poetry we found, the paintings we created, and the Greek and Roman mythology we followed up every planet with.  And the factoids and science behind the planets and the solar system as well, of course.

This year we're starting off the year with a deep dive into the human body, with any and all links to others in the animal world happily accepted.  After chatting about all the different body parts - bones, muscles, organs, skin... - we took some time to trace each other.  These life-size representations of the children are now hanging on our walls, and greet any and all visitors who make their way through our front door.  As I was snapping pictures of my new paper greeters, I stood back and realized that they each, in their own unique way, look a bit like aliens.  So alien greeters they are.

In all seriousness though, our intent is to learn about a new body system each week, culminating at the end of the week with drawing, cutting and pasting the system onto the tracings now gracing our walls.  Our first look is into the digestive system.  We've taken a first look at the organs within that system and read a really accessible book - What Happens to a Hamburger? - describing what happens during the digestive process.  We found a length of rope and measured off the length of the digestive system if it was laid out flat on the ground as opposed to twisted and bunched together in the abdominal cavity of a person.  We talked about how long food hangs out in each part of the digestive system.  Fun, quick, hands-on, and great for all ages!  And plenty of factoids too!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Welcome banner

As we enter our second homeschooling year, I wanted to create a simple yet meaningful visual to mark our transition back into our homeschooling routine.  Something we could all be a part of and see ourselves in.  Something unique.  Something natural.  I arrived at the idea of a banner with pieces created by each of us to represent what we would like the coming year to be.

The idea was grounded in a sweep of paper stars we used to have hanging in the hall that leads from our mudroom into the rest of the house.  In India, people would hang a sweep of stars in their doorway to keep bad vibes out of the house, including the bad vibes either they or guests may be carrying as baggage.  To this we married needle felting...handwork that my children have adored in the past, and have been away from for awhile.  Each piece is as unique as its creator...a boat representing wanting to be in water...a bone representing wanting to work with animals...a hammer representing building things...a Christmas tree for sharing...a heart for sharing love and being a house full of love...a person that represents our entire family...a snowman representing winter fun.


May peace, love and light fill your home.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Homeschool organization

Well, well, we are.  We will be entering our second season of watching the school bus drive by our house without rushing the children out the door.  We're finishing up our second round of reading all the Facebook posts of back-to-school and not at all feeling the same dread and loneliness.  We've had a quiet, local summer and are ready to dive into some new projects, spread our wings, and experience things we've never done before.

I know intellectually that we don't need to start our homeschooling bookwork at the same time that school kicks in for everyone else.  But it feels so much to me like a chance for a fresh start, that the leaves changing colour and the cooler evenings are beckoning us to start.  It doesn't mean we'll be caged inside all day, or even all morning.  It means we'll get reacquainted with where supplies and materials are, what our books look like and where we left them at the end of last year, and do some art.  Play outside.  Pick some flowers.  Go to the library.  Read to each other.  Really, most of the day will be like any other day. 

Speaking of getting reacquainted with our books and materials, I did some organizing over the summer...okay, over the last two a bid to make it easier for my children to keep their supplies neat and organized.  We had a day where every single pair of scissors was missing in action.  And that seemed to be the final straw for me.  Everything needed to have a home and the organizational system needed to be easy enough for the 2-year-old to master.  We may not have entirely reached that lofty goal, but we made a start.  What exactly did we do to make all our lives a little easier, you ask?

Last year, Jaelyn stacked her books on the buffet that sits by our table.  Nicholas had a stack in his room.  Astrin accessed the mess inside the buffet for paper and left it wherever when she was done.  In the end, we couldn't get to any of the materials (markers, crayons, pencils, erasers, and the missing scissors, to name a few).  This year, each child has their own basket (labelled with the felted valentines we made last year).  Their books and started project work can go into the basket.  The top of our buffet now has room for a nature basket and a globe!

I also struggled last year with organizing all the different types of paper that entered our world...lined paper, graph paper, coloured paper, printer paper, construction get the drift.  I did my best to stack it neatly in our buffet, along with sketch books and notebooks, but it wasn't practical for the little hands that dove in their to get stuff.  Once one thing was pulled out the rest was shuffled around.  By the end of the week it was a disaster.  This year, I found a Banker's Box brand mail sorter that had slots large enough to fit 8 1/2" by 11" paper.  It's perfect!

Last year, our books were randomly organized.  Truth be told, I grouped them by hardback and paperback, then placed them on the shelf according to their size, for some reason or another.  This year they are organized by topic.  I cleared out some of the supplies that were in boxes to make room so all books the children may ever want to access are right there.  I adjusted the height of the shelves so all the titles could be seen.  I put labels to let the readers in the house know where to put the book back, in case they forgot where they got it from in the first place.  I also got rid of the shelf that was for library books and found a basket instead where they could be placed when they were finished being enjoyed.

Last year, many of our instruments were out of reach.  This meant that my children could either be monkeys and climb to get them or I would (unintentionally) have control over whether the instruments came out or not.  I also had instruments stored in different places, as some were given as gifts to Astrin and others were not quite appropriate for her yet.  As a result, we didn't have much music-making going on in our house.  This year, I moved all the instruments down into a cabinet, and they are all in the same place so anyone can enjoy making music.

This year, I needed to come to the realization that my little baby is really no longer a baby.  Every day, both she and I talk about how she is getting bigger.  So it also came time for me to realize that all those baby toys might not be so appropriate for her anymore.  While there is a basket on the floor with a few items that anyone can use, I've put some items especially for her in a cabinet...a rice bin with measuring cups, funnels and bowls, large beads and shoelaces, puzzles, a wooden farm set.  Items for the bigger girl that is making her way around the house now.

Our last little touch for this year is finding a more permanent home for our "Creative Kids" banner.  You may have seen it in other posts, wrapped around our masonry heater, but we discovered that some of the letters were covered up just because of how it hung.  This year, the banner brings a dash more colour to the space above the window in our dining room, where coincidentally, our homeschool happens to hang out to do bookwork if we don't choose to do it outside.  I love it!

Here's wishing you and yours a September full of excitement, challenges, and moments soaking up the last little bits of summer!