Thursday, May 31, 2012

Evening Fishing Trip... looks perfect, but you know better

Saturday evening we ventured out after dinner to go fishing;)

Since getting their fishing rods two Christmas' ago, the kids had really only been fishing with Grammie (Brian and I tagging along to provide extra hands!!) But we have a sweet church friend that has offered MANY times to have us over to fish in his pond. So finally, we did it:)

It was just a gorgeous evening. And this property and home are so very simple, natural and beautiful to visit.



Chris getting all hooked up.... worm and a bobber;) You can't completely see his face... but his little cheeks raised show his smile... all excited to get started!

The kids and their rods.... fishing;) 


What made this trip fun and unique was that we actually caught something.... our first catches!!

Just as the sky was beginning to darken, the fish began really biting! And we better explained to the kids how to detect a fish on their lines;) Of course the bobbers helped, too;)


Brian was the first:)


Brian helping Lydia reel in her catch... night blur:)

What was funny was the kids reaction... they wanted to keep the fish sooo bad. But we literally caught TWO and came totally unprepared to keep any. Plus they don't EAT fish... LOL!! They were determined to bring them home for the cats:/

It was soo beautiful and the scenes captured of the kids fishing or standing with Daddy gives the impression of a romantic and perfect evening...



Have you ever taken 3 young, inexperienced kids fishing (and a little one running) after 7 at night???

IMG_9147Determined to cast their own lines... think hooks flying everywhere!

The fish really liking our worms... think Daddy busy with hooks and worms (because Momma is a wimp)!!

And a little one who likes to run close to the water... think Momma chasing down the little one while ducking the flying hooks!!

Oh, and the kids bummed they can't keep the TWO fish to feed to the cats... LOL!!

Getting the picture;)

Great memory! Fun pictures (even the night blurry ones)! But LOTS of WORK!!

And we'll definitely do it again... with a little more structure and earlier in the afternoon;) And maybe a harness for the little guy!

round button chicken

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Names in Cement.... Making it Official

The thirty final days are passing by. Some days they fly by as we hear of progress and the completion of the house seems just a bit closer.

Other days, the rainy ones when we know nothing major can be completed at the house, are longer. It seems like this final mile to the finish line of this LONG run is extra LONG!

But they are only days, there is no rush... just a chance to rejoice in each completed task and be thankful for the situation we find ourselves! I least that is what I keep telling myself:)

It felt a little more official last weekend. We planned to go to get some yard work completed... remove some brush and limbs laying around while we have a HUGE dumpster sitting on the property:)

When we arrived they were smoothing over the cement under our carport:) And were very willing for us to leave our "marks":) So each child had a chance to draw their names in the drying cement!

Nate made the line... I wrote his name:) just in case you wondered;)

More Wordless Wednesday at  NapTime MomTog, 5 Minutes for Mom,  Mama to 4 Blessings, Go Graham Go

 then, she {snapped}

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Brian noticed the mound of laundry grow exponentially this weekend when he asked the kids to cleant heir rooms:) He mentioned to me that if they would wear their clothes until they were really dirty and not just change every couple of hours, the laundry task would be reduced. So he got to work trying to teach the kids to really use their clothes.... his good idea was quickly challenged though by a child (who will remain nameless)!

Brian: Are those shorts really dirty? How many times did you wear them?
Child: I wore them twice.
Brian: But if they are not dirty, you can wear them again.
Child: Well I pee-d in them one time I wore them.

LOL!!! And so Brian HAD to ask...

Brian: When did you pee in them?
Child: It was the second time. Then I put them into the dirty clothes basket!

Phew... glad it wasn't the first time;)


Lydia was soo sweet one night. The older kids were watching a movie with Daddy and she just wasn't interested. She asked if I could listen to her read a book. So Lydia, Nate and I climbed into Nate's bed for some reading:)

She read the book Are YOu My Mother? but I'm not sure how many times I heard "The dog was not his mudder, the kitten was not his mudder, the cow was not his mudder" :)


We ddin't plan to have anything big for Anna's birthday this year. FOr one thing, she is the child who has the most "parties" but also because our plan are so "up in the air" right now... we don't know what stage of packing we are going to be in weeks in advance! And last weekend we even had an idea of going out of town for a break from everything (but then we realized Brian didn't have Monday off)!!

So earlier in the week, we asked Anna what she wanted to do for her birthday. We gave her the options of going on a date with Daddy (or Daddy and Mommy, etc!

She came up with the sweetest plan of going to Sonic in the evening together.... since she "wanted everyone to be happy together and everyone likes Sonic. Especially the Slushies! And at night it will be really cool with all the lights, we've never gotten to play there when the lights are on!"

It was just soo sweet because she could have had time alone getting all the attention from us. But she really wanted the family to be together;) She's such a special little girl... definitely cut out to be the big sister of this crazy crew!

It's your turn:

Allergy Friendly, At Home Cinnamon Buns

IMG_8779Gone are the days when we can enjoy most types of store bought or mall purchased cinnamon buns/rolls. But they are a treat we really enjoy.

Recently I saw a recipe for a Cinnamon Loaf in a magazine that looked delicious! As I read the recipe I thought "I think I can make this work for us!" So I tried it once, and then for company and then as buns:) Awesome every time, so I thought I'd share;)

Allergy Friendly Cinnamon Loaf/Buns
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

3/4 milk (we used soy)
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 cup butter, melted (we used dairy-free margarine instead, Blue Bonnet Light)
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/4 cup applesauce (replaced the egg)
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

For Simple Glaze:
Soymilk, Confectioner's Sugar, Vanilla

1. Heat the milk to about 110 and pour into a large mixing bowl and add yeast. Mix until the yeast dissolves and set aside for 5 minutes.

2. Beat together the 1/4 cup butter,2 Tbs sugar, applesauce, baking powder, and salt into the yeast mixture until it's all mixed up;) Add half the flour and beat on low until just mixed then mix on medium for a few minutes more. Stir in remaining flour. Shape into ball and transfer into an oiled bowl. Cover and set aside in a  warm place to rise 45-60 minutes or almost double the size).

3. On lightly floured surface roll dough to a large rectangle (they suggest 20x12-inches). Brush with the 1/4 melted butter, then cover it with sugar and cinnamon.

Then cut it into five strips, stack them and then cut into 6 squares.

4. In a lightly buttered (sprayed with oil) loaf pan, loosely stack the squares into the pan. Let rise for 45 minutes or until almost double in size.

5. Bake loaf for 30 minutes or until golden brown at 350. Cool in pan... or eat it hot:)

6. We like to put a little of a simple glaze over the top;) Just mix up 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 or 2 Tbs milk (soymilk for us) until you get the right consistency.

Anyway, we made it twice like our tweaked directions from Better Homes and Gardens, but then the thought of having round buns like the mall-type drove us to venture out a little more and roll it up instead of cutting it up into squares.


We did cut them into rolls and then placed in the pan to rise.

IMG_8779They baked and we ate them hot with the simple glaze....

oh, my!! What a treat:)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up : Last Offical Week & Summer Plans

YAY for our official start of summer.... aka packing:) LOL!!! Actually with our "moving date" still unknown we've used our time sorting, cleaning out and preparing for a yard sale more than boxing things up!!!

Our official school year ended pretty uneventfully:/ But we were all glad to be finished with the pile of books for a while and enjoy outside and sleeping in a bit more;) Here's what we DID work on though;)

Reading through our Bible Storybook, mostly about the missionary journeys about Paul! The kids really got into the situation surrounding Paul's final journey to Jerusalem and arrest.

We've also been praying for Truman! And are thankful for his continued good progress.

For the summer... we are going to learn about and memorize the Lord's Prayer. We have talked and I thought memorized it before... but they don't know it. So I feel like it's pretty foundational and we all can learn about praying!

This was the last subject lingering!!

Chris finished last week, so this week he practice his math facts on a computer game! He worked about 10 or so minutes each morning on his addition facts.

Lydia finished her final assignments for Saxon 1... she has loved learning her math facts and getting all her work finished like Chris and Anna:) I worried about starting Saxon 1 (skipping over Saxon K) but Lydia has handled it well (just like Chris and Anna). I think it really has to do with the fact that the kids enter Saxon 1 with math basics from Kindergarten workbooks (they do for fun during pre-K) and Lydia has also heard her older siblings;)

The other thing about doing Saxon 1 with Lydia has been taking it slow. If she really put forth an effort but is still not focused or "too tired" to finish a lesson, we just finish it the next day. For assessment days, we spread it to two days. One day for the assessment and the other day for the lesson and practice sheets. My goal for her isn't finishing everything at some record-breaking speed, but during this first year of schooling that she enjoys school/math and really learns the basic concepts!


Anna also finished her last lessons (about graphing coordinate points) and assessment!! While she worked on her last assessment I went through her math notebook and collected ALL the assessments (the only things I keep)! I quickly realized that I had dropped the ball in thoroughly checking her assessments.... there were some undone problems :(

So the rest of the week, Anna and I spent time going through her older assessments and completing those problems. It was actually a good review since we also had conversations about the other problems on the assessments as well. We have to correct answers to her final assessments on Monday and then we can pack up MATH:)

For the summer... we will be working solely on math facts!! I have a couple of different methods/games/resources for the kids to use to practice their math facts. I hoping to let the kids pick which method we will use each day.  As well as having a chart for them to record when they learn the families... that is the goal, at least:)

Language Arts
We already finished all of our Grammar and spelling for the year!! The only thing that continues for us is READING!! 

Lydia and Chris each read a lesson (or more!!) from Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading this week. We also tried to spend some time reading library books. In choosing library books, I was very careful to get books I thought we could try to read together. And we did:)

The books we read were both from series by Cynthia Rylant. One was Poppleton. And the other was Mr Putter and Tabby (we read Toots the Horn).

These series were also favorites of Anna when she was an early reader. I like that they are a simple story and very entertaining! They though contain some pretty unique and challenging words so I definitely need to read with Chris and Lydia right now. Although once they read it with me sometimes they like to practice on their own.

My two little emergent readers are soo different though. Chris is still a little too busy to read for long... he'll read a set amount of time usually like 10 or 15 minutes. Lydia though.... if she likes the book.... she'll have me with her all day!!! At least it feels like it!! She really enjoys reading and really likes that she is able to read "big, chapter books"... like Poppleton:) LOL!!

For the summer.... I will continue to work through OPG with Lydia and Chris as well as practice reading in library books. Anna will read library/home books as well. She is also supposed to be keeping a list of words she doesn't know from her reading. We also love reading aloud while Nate falls asleep;)

Our whole family will participate in the Summer Reading Program at our local library:)

This week we stayed in France to talk about Napolean. Again, it was soo cool to read more about this very interesting world leader. When I hear the name Napolean I think the middle ages... it's amazing to think that he ruled during the same time period Jane Austen was writing Emma, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park!

As I read the kids painted a picture of Napolean from our SOTW Activity Book. We reviewed the chapter a bit and then shared some of the most memorable parts with Daddy over dinner.

We also discussed William Blake who was a poet during the time period as well:)

We have more to do with Napolean this week:) A review game, some internet resources and to finish the story of how much he conquered and finally how he was defeated.

We didn't have many outside reading resources about Napolean :( But we were able to find a book called Why Not Lafaytte? by Jean Fritz . This is a very interesting book just because Lafayette fought with the Americans in the American Revolution and then his life during the reign of Terror and rule of Napolean! Fun to get a time line perspective of these events and how they connect!

We are still working through this book this week which is perfect as we finish learning about Napolean!

For the summer... we will continue to work through Story of the World vol 3!  It's nice to spend the summer studying through history, reading great books about the history topics and possibly have a little more time to do activities and dig deeper when we can:)

In an effort to give the kids a little more Chemistry, we read through the section of molecules ion our Usborne encyclopedia and then made our own molecules;)

I saw this activity using gum drop candies, but I had forgotten to pick some up at the grocery store... so we just used Play-Doh!
Getting ready with molecule list, key in the corner and making H2O as an example.

Anna hard at work!!
Even Lydia did one.... Chris opted out :(
For the summer...  we will continue to work through the Matter section of our science encyclopedia and set aside time to make it fun and use the Internet links when available:)

Since it is summer... at least around here... we spent a LOT of time outside (when it wasn't storming)! Gotta love picnics and mud puddles!!!


BTW... that was also the day when both boys had 3 baths!!! Teaching this momma to let go of the "momma to do" list and let them get dirty and make great memories;)

Linking up to Weekly Wrap-Up! And Science Sunday @ Adventures in Mommydom!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Moments to Remember- New Self-Dresser, Slug Family & Laundry During School

Since we finished ALL of our core (grade level) work this last week, we've been sliding into a "summer schedule"... playing outside in the cool of the morning, reading and schooling in the warm late morning and afternoon hours and starting to tackle more and more cleaning/sorting/moving projects:)

These were the moments that stood out to me this week:)

Nate choosing his own outfit and putting most of it on with just a little help:)

Everyone gathering to watch Chris' slug family! Eww! Their conversation was priceless too... lots of "slug talk" and slug parts being pointed out;)

As Anna finishes up some "undone" work (more on my Weekly Wrap Up), I was amazed that I could fold laundry while I helped her!!

Folding laundry in the middle of the school day NEVER happens here... not with 3 kids schooling (usually at least two working at a time) and our little Nate always wanting to be right with us and BUSY (he usually has out some activity as well with or without permission or help... he ehee)!!

It was soo nice though... Anna received all the attention she needed, the other 3 played with Play- DOh and I folded laundry.... it was a beautiful and productive 30 minutes... not everyday has that:)

Linking up these moments!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Field Day and a Change of Groups :(

In those early home schooling days one of the best decisions we made was to join a home schooling group!

We joined as I started Anna in 1st grade because we knew no other children her age home schooling in our local area (we had friends planning to school but no one actively doing it at that time). I wanted my kids to have other kids to do field trips with and realize that there are other kids out there that home school.... we are not the only ones:)

All the possible groups we could have joined were all about the same distance (45 minutes one way), so we chose a group where I had already made a connect via Facebook and had heard from this mother about her love for the group, home schooling, her kids and wanting to grow in the Lord. Yes, sign me up!! That was exactly the type of families I was hoping to find and be-friend in a home schooling group!

Only doing a field trip once a month (sometimes twice) it takes time for kids and parents to really get to know one another. But being a part of the Mom's Bible Study once a month allowed me to make some very encouraging and great friends... who also have kids that my kids LOVE to see at field trips;) It's amazing to think that we've now been a part of this group for three years!!


Last Friday we had a chance to spend time with LOTS of  families from this group for their annual Field Day!! Our kids had a blast last year and were ecstatic to go back:) It was a great time... for all of us... the kids playing, the moms helping or chatting;)

It was a beautiful day!!! Warm, sunny with a wonderful breeze (almost cool)!! We really couldn't have asked for a better day to be outside all afternoon and into the evening;)

First the kids participated in individual events split into their gender and age groups! They did activities, like...

short sprints

I loved seeing my kids mixing in with their groups!! And their expressions through all the events that were captured in the pictures;)
long jump


And then they mixed up the ages and genders into groups. These are fun because everyone is together.... cheering on the kids and it's just really loud and fun!! They did some group events, like...



balloon tossing

and a tug-of-war!!
before and after

You can see that the kids really, really did have a great time;) Kudos to the team that put the entire event together... they did an amazing job coordinating all the groups, kids, leaders, games, supplies;) They are gifted!

We did have to keep Nate busy during the 2 hours of games!! Thankfully he was pretty content drinking plenty of water,

throwing grass at little girls and playing on a playground that was also on the property... thankfully!

I definitely enjoyed the time with these precious home schooling families, even catching up with some that I hadn't seen in a while or don't get to talk with often!!

But I was plagued with the reality that we have decided to change home schooling groups next year :(

Where we are moving, we are actually closer to another group. Close enough to have a more active presence and half the drive that we have now. And possibly close enough to have more opportunities to get together with other families outside of field trips/events... like meeting up for dinner or park time.

I emailed a friend the other day something like "I know this is the best decision for us right now, but it doesn't feel like it yet"!

That is my honest heart.... I am dreading this "change" and already miss my friends (they've already promised to come out and visit us for the day when we get settled!!! Yay!!). But know that being physically closer to the group will be a lot easier to get to functions and make those connections! Plus I have heard from the new group that there are other families from our county who are a part of the group as well... so maybe we'll have other home schoolers even closer than our 25 minute drive;)

Let me also say that I pray we can make friendships in the community  as well.... we don't socialize with just other home schoolers!!! Once we are established at a new church and are involved in more community activities, those will come! And I'm making a better attempt at getting to an already establish Women's Bible Study in our county that I have been apart of before... they are some really great women of all stages and interests... so I am looking forward to that as well.

I am very blessed that we are moving into a community where we already have a lot of connections! Between friends we've had for years (and prayed for us to stay in the area!!!) and the connections we've had through the community as well as Brian's job, we are definitely NOT moving into a totally unfamiliar area where we feel like we are starting all over in building friendships!

round button chicken