Tuesday, August 19, 2014

'First' Day of School

Learning never stops at the SILL Academy so in a sense calling any day First Day of School seems a bit awkward. However, there are certain activities we participate in as part of school and yesterday one of those began, so it seems like a first day of school in our house. Lukas started his first day of Challenge A, and Noah joined us since his Foundations and Essentials program does not start for a few weeks. Noah spent the day programming and writing a letter, while Lukas joined his four other class mates in a six hour long conversation. I think he used up all his words for the week in one day :-)

Sixth and seventh grade!

Despite fighting a cold, Lukas was fairly positive about his first day of Challenge A. 

Robots, robots, robots

Lukas and Noah spent the last week of summer vacation at a robot camp. Although it was an all day camp, they arrived home energized, excited and not at all tired. Five days straight of Lego building, robotics programming and Arduino designing culminated in a grand display of a Rube Goldberg machine. So much fun!

Noah - Martha Stewart in the making

Noah is becoming our jam maker. As raspberries were once again on sale, he helped make 16 jars of raspberry jam. His most favorite task is to pull out the hot glass jar from the pot, and soon he will not even need the stool to stand on to reach.

Can you hear me now?

Lukas spent his free time this weekend working on his antennae. It is good this takes place in our back yard, otherwise people may really wonder what we are doing, stringing rope all over in seemingly random patterns.

Green beans

Noah planted six small seedlings of beans and those have now almost taking over his little garden spot. On Sunday, he harvested yet another big bowl so that he and his brother could enjoy Green Bean Casserole for dinner.

Off to camp

Bob and the boys spent a weekend with the Boys Scouts on a canoe camp out. The boys were both aiming to complete cooking requirements for rank advancement. The week prior to camp, Lukas and Noah poured over recipes and websites looking for creative ways to cook camp food, as neither was satisfied with the standard camp meals. Friday morning, they shopped from their list, comparing prices, weighing the alternatives and making sure they did not break the budget. Prior to departure, they checked their lists, packed the items and loaded the car, in preparation of Bob arriving home and doing a quick turn around.
This experience helped the boys realize cost of food, how complicated it can be to compare prices and how long it takes to do a good shopping - great life lessons!

Blue light special

While helping Mamma shop, the boys spotted a clearance aisle they had to explore. Ever looking for a bargain and something new and tasty, they added a Chocolate Taco Dessert to our shopping cart. Noah truly enjoyed the chocolate, chocolate, chocolate concoction - but it did not make his 'repeat cook book' list. He is getting more selective.

More robots

Noah is joining the world of robotics. He is working with Lukas on a form and eye pleasing design for a small scale robot. Plans were made out of cardboard to test concept before heading to the local Big Box hardware store to find the right pieces. The poor store associate struggled to assist, clearly desiring for someone else to relieve him from this two inquisitive children whose requests were not resolved by standard box solutions but rather required ingenuity and creativity.

Geometry book comes in handy :-)

Artist in the house

We are fortunate to have a fire place in our current rental, and a nice big living room where we enjoy lazy Sunday afternoons and early morning readings together. The only trouble is the mantel is so long, so plain and so white that none of our beautiful pieces of art fit well, every one  is far too small for the plain expanse. To get some color, and a nice focal point for this big off white space, we commissioned Noah! He is currently working on small scale samples for our approval and input. He spends hours bent over his painting table in his room, mixing and matching oil paint to achieve just the right effect.  The blank canvases are placed on the mantel, now we are only waiting for Noah to finalize his plan and get to work on his largest piece of art so far.

Never charging extra for a smile :-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Lukas and Noah along with their friends spent most of the time in the basement, playing video games, building Lego, playing more video games, watching movies, playing yet more video games, eating pop corn, drinking cocoa and or soda to stay awake and playing video games. There were undoubtedly a few new records set in that basement.... And this is the result at the end... no more energy, cannot even crack a smile... yet they remained kind and courteous, they were just plain done. As soon as the car pulled out of the drive way, Noah headed to bed, not even bothering pulling his curtains shut to keep out the daylight. He surfaced for a brief moment around dinner time, and quickly headed back to bed. It was after 10 am when he finally woke up, and ready to get going again, woke his still sleeping brother. That is what brothers are for, right?

Henry Ford Museum and Good Friends

You know they are good friends when they drive 10 hours plus to come and visit. Last week, we were able to host such special friends for a few days. Although all four boys preferred to spend the time visiting and hanging out in the basement, it was necessary to at least show off some of what Detroit has to offer. 
We spent a morning at the Henry Ford Museum and then drove around for some car sightseeing,  and ended up waving to Canada over the narrow water passage that separates the two countries at the Detroit River Walk. 

Fun Sunday

On Sunday, our church hosted its annual summer picnic at a local park. Noah and Lukas grabbed their fishing poles and swim trunks for some fun and food. Noah caught the only fish, and maybe Lukas would have had a chance had they not cut their fishing short for a quick dip before the storm rolled in.


Lukas attended a local Lark in the Park Ham radio event. The club was so excited to see a young man interested in ham radio that they showered him in advise, food and spare parts. Noah and Mamma enjoyed some quite time reading and drawing while Lukas chatted with people near and far. "Seventy-three"

Edit: 9/12/14 Fixed the Callsign

Merit badges

During summer camp Lukas and Noah had a chance to work on merit badges. Noah opted for pottery and Lukas for basket weaving. When we a week later attended an Arts and Crafts Fair, they could better appreciate talent and hard work, now that they know how hard it is to sling clay on a wheel or weave in circles.