The Rambling Family



The igloo!

Well, we have been back from Christmas holiday for a few weeks and gotten back into the school groove.  Zoe bikes about 2km each way to and from school daily, which gives us all a lovely bit of free exercise for the day.  She gets dropped off and picked up in the school courtyard which doubles as the playground and cafeteria during the mid day recess and desayuno.  No cafeterias as public school in Spain…. lunch is later at home during siesta time after school lets out at 2. Continue reading “The igloo!”


Concerts and Field Trips

Zoe has been having a great end of school year joining the rest of her class at the spring concert, a field trip to the science museum, and field day!

Her concert was nice.  The second grades sang Rose Rose, Kookaburra, and Come and Let us Play and Sing.  She seemed in her element on stage enjoying an audience.

She went on the school field trip to the science museum, and took our old camera, so I will post some of her pictures here.  Highlights were experiencing a hurricane in a giant room with rain and wind, and a giant electricity tower that made lightening bolts!

The gang
um, selfie with garfield
she took lots of pictures out the bus, “to remember Korea”
Her teacher and another friend!

Field day started out rainy, but it cleared out and was still awesome.  There was a giant beach ball, military vehicles, and ambulance, and police car to explore, plus all the relay races and water contests imaginable.


I love spring in Korea. The flowers are out, the weather is nice (most of the time), people are out, and we are biking everywhere again.  I got the kids each a little scooter, too, to ride around for fun, but also to take in our carry on luggage to Spain for some motation when we first arrive!  They’ve been having fun riding around on the road in front of the house in the afternoons…. and Avi brings his into base some times to ride at the playground while Zoe is at music and art.  He has started biking in sometimes, too, it just depends on the weather and how much time we have.

Bryan was in the Philippines for two weeks for an exercise, which was fun for him.

We were able to go out to the flightline when he arrived, which is always fun.  The kids got to hear his voice on the radio, too, since he was leading the flight.  Zoe got to say something on it and yelled, “pilsung. i love you daddy” It was cute for everyone to here, I’M SURE.

The kids and I have been busy at schoolwork.  Avi has renewed interest in school; it’s like a little lightbulb turned on.  He seems to love math work; it’s fun counting and measuring and comparing stuff in our Singapore K curriculum.  He also likes to write…he has been doing well with Writing Without Tears that we got from the preschool he attended last fast, and also just traditional copywork that I write for him. So, although he likes the letters and recognizes them he is still not super motivated to sound them out.  He can do some basic three letter words but drags his feet.  I just let that be right now.

Together the kiddo’s do history and science and art. Zoe will read and note-take for both subjects, and also listen to our read-alouds, but they both do the experiments, mapping and crafts.  Right now, all three subjects are super aligned because we studying renaissance time and astronomy.  Its really fun to delve in.   Zoe read a biography about Magellan, Copernicus and Galileo.  They are also loving their wooden solar system mobile craft. We paint a new planet to hang as we learn about it.   Star spotting has been tough, though, with all the light pollution and haze.

Some crystals we are growing

Zoe has progressed through her Singapore 2nd grade math just in time for Standardized testing that we are doing this week.  Today was the first day – reading, vocabulary, and sentence structure tests – she said it was easy.  We have 3 more days of tests this week.

For mothers day this past weekend I was treated to an alone night at the Turumi!   It’s so nice to get some focus time for myself, and that is what I wanted for the day.  So, Saturday afternoon they dropped me at the library, where I worked on some of my writing project.  Then I popped over to the BX for lunch and checked in for a night to myself.  It was great.  On Sunday I had Bryan pick me up and at home the kids had some beautiful gifts for me.   They picked an amazing wildflower bouquet from the park and some crafts.

Other than that I’ve been scanning the local sales website for 220v appliances to replace our old ones and bring to spain.  I’ve gotten a hairdryer (i do own one, it’s for crafts, an iron, a hot glue gun, and some converters for our nice things like the blender and vacuum that I wont’ replace.  It’s been fun, also, to go through EVERY room and donate stuff.  I took 3 large black trash bags full of stuff to the thrift store.

Zoe’s little project she devised one afternoon
Avi’s Skippyjohn Jones mask at library storytime.

Spring Lessons!

We have been back from Germany for a week or so.  The first week back was a bit rough with jet lag waking us up early and needing to nap in the afternoon …. which dragged into the evening.  It was great to see Bryan for a while and we tried not to wake him; especially when I found myself wanting to do laundry at 3am a couple mornings. 

Trying to keep busy we have delved into school and had friends over quite often.  We have gotten into the school routine pretty quickly, which is nice.  Zoe was able to finish out a chapter while we were on our trip, so we returned to begin a fun new section on fractions!  She is so excited about this and has grasped the concepts so quickly.  For example, she nearly intuitively understood to reduce 5/10th or 3/6th to 1/2.  It was shocking me….she even reduced to quarters and is able to add simple fractions with common denominators; all which seemed to be simply obvious to her.  Bryan stumped her with 3/2nds though.

One morning she asked for extra fractions worksheets
Yummy lemon fraction cakes

One thing we weren’t able to do in earnest while on our trip was science class!  Getting home we finished up our Earth Science book.  This final week was all about weather….which we experienced in a crazy way during our trip (snow in PA, storms in Germany, and that sleet in Maine).  Anyway, our final lesson was about storms – hurricanes and tornadoes.  Next week we move on to Astronomy!

Our own tornado!

 The best part about being back home for school, though, is art!   We did a super messy melted crayon craft that I don’t recommend ever trying.  I accidentally spilled melted crayon on the floor and had to scrape it up and iron paper towels to get it all up.  yuck.  But the results were pretty.

Our next project was more tame:  we enjoyed another episode of Art Through the Year.  A free art video series we have done previously.  This episode was focused on impressionism, with the projects using pastels to create a cat and a dog.  It’s was fun!

Avi’s dog – it’s in a house!

Kat’s cat and dog.

Zoe’s cat and dog
The messy melted crayon fiasco!

Turned out cute.

Another amazing thing about being home is the weather!  It’s been beautifully sunny and in the 70’s all week.  The cherry blossoms finished up as we arrived and now the gorgeous azaleas are everywhere.  They just cover this country!!  The are in the park, along the roads, growing wild on trails, and even in vacant lots.  Everywhere!!

This week at the base school was STEM focus – Science Technology Engineering and Math – so Zoe went in extra time to see the starlab. It’s a portable observatory.  There was also an evening event for the whole family with tons of kids and neato table top experiments.

Of course, the tough part is that Bryan headed to the Phillippines on TDY last Sunday.  We lucked out with an extra day since his flight was delayed.  Still.  I think I’m getting a little too much kid time lately.  We miss him.  I’ve been busy going through stuff to prepare for our big move to Spain, and have been in contact with the International school Zoe will attend.  Zoe is excited for some more independence.  At first she was quite resistant to the idea of attending a school, and wanted to homeschool in Spain.  But, after visiting Aunt Bethany and seeing a super nice international school, comparing that to American-style school, and seeing all the fun stuff on their website, she is on board and ready to try it.  She has started walking down the road to Harmony mart for me; it’s up over the park hill, not far.  So, we are hoping to keep up that walking/biking lifestyle in Spain.  It’s been fun looking at houses; we’ve decided to live in town, trading off a giant house and yard for the fun and convenience of continuing to walk to school and shopping.  I’m so excited for this move!  Can’t wait for Bryan to return next week.

Avi was helping Bryan pack, and I couldn’t help taking some pictures.

Russia week

No we aren’t actually IN Russia this week, just studying it in history. The Rus, the Golden Horde, Byzantines, Ivan the Great, you know!

Here is Zoe doing some writing this morning…

The kids have been especially enjoying Russian fairy tales like firebird and Baba Yaga, plus a cool book trilogy called The Adventures of Katie and Alex. 
For crafting we made Russian style black and gold blown eggs complete with tiny firebirds!

Zoe has been really into making meals lately, too.  She often creates her own fancy lunches, and has mentioned being a chef when she grows up; either “at that fruit stands in Cambodia” or “at the fancy burj” – she means the burj al-Dubai. She’s kind of obsessed with that place.

This evening she made dinner for everyone! Even turned on the stove on her own (with permission) to make soup. 

After learning that Tyler’s Kate (can we just say Aunt Kate, now?) likes homemade popcorn I wondered how it’s done and found that it’s  easy.  Why didn’t I do this before?!!  So simple to just make popcorn on the stove!!  Why buy that microwave junk!?

Avi loves crafting.  For homeschool lessons he isn’t really into learning letter sounds, likes writing, and loves math.  But cutting, pasting and crafting is the favorite.  I have revived all my lapbooking skills which is fun for him.  This week we focused on Frog and Toad.  He also is a social little man, so we are sure to catch up with friends at the BX or during library time.

Library crafts with friends…. Pirate ships from egg cartons this week!

In science we learned about erosion and caves.  Here we made or own stalactite and stalagmite that eventually merged into a column and took over the counter!
The feral cats outside were NUTS last week with lots of cat fights and tons of kitties on our porch all the time… Some we don’t even know!  I think All the lady cats were in heat together!!
New cat Avi named Airplane
Good ole Cow won over Aster … They were mating on our porch one morning. 😉

Lastly,  the weather has warmed… Now the back lot is a mud pit. The kids go out daily to play and come directly in to the shower!!

Taking the trash out to the corner…


Another lunar new year is upon us!  This year we are way less excited than usual.  Bryan and I really want to know our next assignment.  I feel it’s creates this sense of malaise about everything.  I attempt to avoid the kids feeling the same.

Anywho,  our studies of the Mogolian empire, Marco Polo and then the Ming have coincided, which is great.  We’ve finished reading a book called Kat and Emperors Gift, plus You wouldn’t want to travel with Marco Polo.  The kids love these “you wouldn’t want to” books.
We have also watched The Adventures of Young Marco Polo on Netflix,  which is a great little Canadian series.  Fictional in that Marco is a kid but realistic in the geographical sense of where he goes.
Finally we studied the famous Korea painter Byeon Sang-byeok from the joseon dynasty – a bit later, but we will be leaving asian studies for a while so fun!   Here the kids are trying their hand At Byeons gorgeous cat paintings.  My favorite Korean artist!!  

Candy and coasters

This week has gone quickly!!  Avi has a runny nose and had been moodier than usual… If that is possible.  Bryan was flying nights so he has been around in the morning helping with Avi.

Zoe spent her free time making Valentine’s for the class she joins at the base school.  Friday we all went to a fun homeschool valentine party and then Zoe went to the school for lunch and another party!  Best of both worlds.

Avi requested an Everland visit, so we went on Wednesday having not been for a long while.  Turned out to be a great sunny warmish day with few crowds.  He rode the train coaster 3 times in a row and we all had fun sledding.

it was so empty we had the tulips to our selves.  Zoe rode her own.

Poor kid!  I cant ride with her and leave avi alone, so Zoe braved the X train on her own.  She was a champ!  It has 4 loops!

up the hill to sled



Zoe and I spent an afternoon with her candy making book again. This week we tried salt water taffy!  It turned out great.  So good we wrapped it up for her valentines!



In our travels it was tough for our new vegetarian to find things to eat.  There is a lot of meat in SE Asia, but also a lot of eggs as an option.  But since Zoe has claimed to not like eggs for a long time it was tough for her.

So, when we got back we were talking about that and she thought we should try all the different ways.  That is what we did today!  We listed 13 different ways to make eggs and tried most.  I LoVe my Joy of Cooking book for all the detailed info on basics like eggs.  It’s so informative!! Like, that stringy thing in an egg has a name… Don’t remember it, but still! She discovered she DOES actually like eggs: especially hard boiled and over-hard.
We are also experimenting with a hyacinth. Trying to see if the roots feed certain parts of the flower or blend. Half our roots are in red water and half in blue.
It was also time for our weekly volcano. Avi loves volcanos and will fill and refill this thing for an hour.  Give him baking soda and vinegar and he is a happy kid. 

So that was our fun sciencey day after vacation.


Well I messed up Zoe’s specials schedule but it worked out in the end.  You see,  it’s the new quarter at the base elementary school which means they switch around the days of the specials… I suppose that keeps it fair with Mondays and Fridays being the go-to days off.

Anyway,  I got the new schedule and accidentally looked at the wrong Siira.  Zoe’s assigned teacher,  Dr Siira , is married to another teacher called Mrs. Siira.  The specials schedule just lists them by last name an initial.  I mixed them up.

So we biked into the school on Wednesday to find another class at music and I finally put it all together.  Wrong day!  With that figured out we decided to grab some to-go lunch from the BX and go bike on the new trails. 

The river just north of the base just got a new bike trail that is quick and easy (ish) to pedal to from our house.  There is one short section of dodgy road so I put Avi’s bike on mine until we got there.
We headed west on the bike trail and made it all the way to the plce we dropped the bunnies last year.  The kids were excited about this so we tromped through the tall but dying grasses to the same spot, sat and had our picnic.  No bunny sitings.  Zoe figured they were in their burrows or migrated down stream.

The kids fished a bit and we wandered but didn’t see any other signs of bunnies.  What a pleasant day!  It’s been cold at night but warming for the afternoon. 

On the way out we were covered in burrs but that was OK as we’ve been learning about grassland biomes this week.  Burrs are part of the cycle. Of course now I’ve got clothes on the back deck that need the burrs picked out … Away from my garden…., but it was fun!

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