In this weekly issue, we learned how to do our own laundry from start to finish.  The boys learned about St. Innocent of Alaska.  Fr. James explained to us more about Holy Communion and we prepped more specimens from our backyard for our natural dyeing project and for our Nature Pal Exchange project.

Life Skills: Laundry & Microbes

I got a bit behind on laundry last week even though we literally did at least a dozen loads of it.  Most of it was not for our daily laundry though.  Another Life Skill presents itself!!!


I hung up washing and drying instructions on our laundry room door.  I took the three older boys step by step through my directions and also taught them how much laundry to put into the washer for a load.


I labeled the washer and dryer with post-it notes to try and avoid any confusion – but also because I now realize that their poor memory is not something they can help so I made adaptations.  It’s all about learning to deal with the hand we’ve been dealt.  Realistically, isn’t that what we’re all trying to do?


They’ve been emptying the dryer and folding their own clothes for years now but this week I taught them how to do their own laundry from start to finish.  They helped me fold laundry that had piled up on the folding table too.  If I ask them to help me with something, they will almost always cheerfully do whatever I ask them to do.  They are sweeties that way.



We rounded out the entire day’s lessons with learning more about how viruses and (bad) bacteria can make us sick.  More importantly, how do we prevent spreading germs since we had gotten behind on laundry due to the flu that had gone through our family.

North American Saints: Saints Herman and Innocent

We finished up St. Herman, for now, with an oral review of his life.  Then we moved on to St. Innocent of Alaska.  He was part of the group of men that came over from Russia in order to serve in Alaska.  St. Innocent learned 6 of the native Alaska languages and then developed an alphabet for the Unagan dialect of Aleut.  Shortly thereafter, he translated the Gospel of Matthew into Unagan along with some other church materials.  He also helped to construct the Church of the Holy Ascension on Unalaska, which is still standing today.  (It went through some major renovations in the 1990’s.)  *Fun fact, the church that has been shown many times over the years in the opening intro of “Deadliest Catch” is the church that St. Innocent built in the 1800’s.


Weather: Re-Evaluating

I’m not a stranger to needing to tweak schoolwork or parenting with my kids. Weather day is not working out for us like I had planned and forcing anything to work when it is not, is never wise.  I’m switching our theme for this day starting next week.

Liturgy & Co-op:

So, Fr. Joseph calls me every week to see if I’m going to be there for this particular weekday liturgy.  He then calls Fr. James and he prepares an interactive youth sermon each week, knowing full well that it will probably be just my kids there to hear it.  The two of them are incredibly sweet to do this for my kids.

This week Fr. James talked about the preparation process for Holy Communion and what it means for us, individually, when we partake of Holy Communion.



Living in God’s Creations: Natural Dye Projects & Natural Pal Exchange

I’ve got a second batch of pokeberry dye steeping.  I haven’t seen a consistent “recipe” online or in my book and since natural dye colors can greatly vary, I thought I’d play around a bit.

We gathered more black walnuts from our yard to use for a dye bath too.  You use the hull (the green outer part) to make the dye.  You let the shells dry out for a couple of weeks and then you can crack them open for the walnut.  Did you know that black walnuts are the only nut that is brought to market predominantly by foragers?  And that you can get paid to bring the nuts to hulling stations in October?  (I looked it up – we’d get $15 per 100 pounds.  As much as I’d like to teach the boys a lesson in hard work to earn some spending money – I don’t know if my back…or there’s…would be up to this one.  Maybe in a few years we’ll try it just once.)  Les and I were talking about it after I had been researching black walnut trees.  Black walnut is THE sought after wood by woodworkers.  The lumber from a single black walnut trees can go for thousands of dollars, even tens of thousands.  Selling the lumber of the trees would be far more valuable than collecting the walnuts from the trees.  This is why we think that black walnuts are primarily brought in by foragers, simply because it doesn’t pay for farmers to grow these trees simply for the walnuts.


Goldenrod is popping up in our backyard – another dye bath opportunity!!!!  (Yellow or green depending on the mordant you use)

I also have an ENORMOUS amount of what I believe is late blooming thoroughwort growing in our backyard.  If it is, Native Americans used it to treat fevers.


All three of these flowers are currently in the flower press Les made me a few weeks ago.  Purple = Butterfly Bush (and it definitely lives up to its name), Yellow = Goldenrod, and White = Late blooming Thoroughwort


We are pressing some flowers and leaves for us and also a set for our Nature Pal Exchange project.  I decided to get a box at Hobby Lobby to help organize and collect our specimens to send to California to our exchange family.  Just a couple more weeks until we wrap up this project and send the package off to them!



We have these webs all over our yard – in the grass, on the deck, on the porch.  We looked up the webs to see what spider makes them.  It’s a Grass Spider…and we apparently have a plentiful amount in our yard.  They make a signature round hole in their web.