Monday, June 30, 2008

Weekly Homeschool Wrap-up

I'm running late, but here's the wrap-up from last week.

The girls are very into doing circle time and such right now. One of the free downloads I got somewhere was Bible copywork that has them copy a simple Bible verse each day. We've been doing one of those each day at the end of circle time. They're definitely quicker/better about writing then they used to be.

We FINALLY did the initial painting exercises that we were supposed to do at the beginning of spring. They used up pretty much an entire bottle of orange paint but they enjoyed it LOL. And I love that we have a "school room" now w/ walls, so we can hang up the stuff they do. I warned them that stuff won't stay up real long, but at least we can hang stuff up for now. I'd LOVE to paint the school room with magnetic paint so we can just use magnets to stick stuff up but I'm not sure it's worth it for a rental house. So for now we're using thumbtacks (I'm not worrying about putting tiny holes in the wall since it's painted w/ this weird faux finish thing that would have to be sanded down anyway whenever they repaint it.

We also started some seeds and made markers for them. Now fingers crossed that they grow (at least some of them) LOL.

And of course the apple cake that took all day Wed :)

It was a short week school-wise since we were at Sesame Place all day Thurs & Fri. But that's ok :)

L is consistently "reading" her own bedtime stories (quoting stories from memory) and doing pretty well at phonetic spelling and sounding words out.

Last night in the bathtub we had our umpteenth discussion about how this house wouldn't have had a bathroom when it was first built. This is absolutely mind boggling to them LOL. Now they're asking about learning more about "the olden days" in school. So that's another topic we'll add to the fall schedule LOL.

Menu Plan Monday

I'm not sure yet what our plans are for this weekend, so that's all subject to change, but the rest of the week should be pretty accurate. When Mom & Dad came to go to Sesame Place with us last week Mom brought new potatoes from my grandparents' garden so we'll have those for supper tonight, YUM!

See other menus for this week here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Two Practically Perfect Days at Sesame Place

My parents came up Wed night so we could take the kids to Sesame Place on Thurs and (maybe) Fri (we didn't promise Friday till we saw how Thurs went, both from a behavior standpoint and mom's still not feeling 100% (had shingles & broke her toe all at the same time) so we wanted to make sure she was up to 2 days). Anyway . . . Thursday was AWESOME from a weather/crowd standpoint. It rained a few drops, just enough to feel good on a summer day early in the day & was overcast most of the morning, which, combined w/ being a "week day" and therefore lower crowds in general, meant the park was wonderfully not crowded. Short lines on everything! It was great! Warm enough for the water stuff to feel good in the afternoon but not so hot that just being outside was exhausting. Seriously, made to order weather for a day at Sesame Place. AND the girls did phenomenal! When we went out to Taco Bell for a late lunch mom commented that they had not whined/fussed ONCE! When we got in line for the "Flying Fish" (which is like Dumbo at Disney World (and land))they were both saying they wanted to ride w/ Mama. I told them that one of them was going to have to ride w/ me (that ride is one of the few that requires an adult past 42" (the minimum to ride alone is 48") so them riding w/ each other or something wasn't an option & Dad had gone to the car to rest at that point) and they needed to talk it over together & decide who was riding w/ who w/o fighting or fussing and they DID! And later we had another "conflict" that I told them to figure out between themselves & again, they did. Anyway, mom commented on it at lunch & the girls decided they weren't going to fuss ALL DAY!! I think ONE time L started to whine & Mom said "I thought this was a no fuss day" and L stopped, just like that! If I could be assured of behavior like that from the girls consistently we could do SO MUCH more stuff. I'm now seriously contemplating taking them by myself some week day when we're bored & weather seems like it would keep crowds away but still be a good day to go. We'd have to talk in advance about the rides that we could NOT go on because of the 1 adult/2 kids factor (their favorite water slides I don't think they're ready to go down alone so we couldn't go on them (there are double tubes so a kid rides in front & an adult rides in back but I'd have nowhere safe to leave the 2nd kid to take turns on it) the roller coaster requires an adult until age 7 (& 44" which they're an inch shy of, but the age is the bigger issue on that one) and again, nowhere to leave a kid so we could take turns. But most of the other stuff they could either go on alone (w/ each other) or we could all do together. A had a minor meltdown on the way home last night that was so obviously a result of being exhausted that it doesn't count LOL (and she pulled herself together (& then fell asleep) pretty quickly. Today there were a few minor meltdown but they always pulled themselves back together quickly enough that I'd call it another practically perfect day behavior-wise. Especially considering A's getting sick (getting a cold) and they're both exhausted.

Today was much more crowded & hotter, but we hit the rides etc they most wanted to do and then left early so my parents could drive home yet tonight.

Dad had his camera so I didn't take mine, so I'll have to get pictures later but here are some highlights (good & bad) in random order:

  • A & Papa went on the "Snuffy's Chutes" waterslide probably 10 times in a row while L played in the wave pool (and mom & I sat in beach chairs beside the wave pool & talked while keeping an eye on L)
  • We sat in the front row for both Big Bird's Beach Party & the AbbyCadabby show and the girls got tons of hugs & high 5's from the various characters.
  • A decided to ride in her own tube on the Rambling River but I didn't think to warn her about not leaning too far forward (or sideways) in an innertube and we'd barely gotten started & she flipped out, went under (water was 3 ft deep, she's 42" tall so she COULD have stood but didn't get her feed under her) I grabbed her (had been holding her tube to keep us together) and just pulled her up on my tube. The lifeguard was there immediately w/ her tube but there was no way she was getting back on her own tube so she rode on my lap, crying, or close to crying most of the time. BUT when I asked her to move her head so she wasn't screaming in my ear she did and when I pulled her up out of the water she didn't cough or sputter at ALL so she'd apparently held her breath under water. She's currently saying she's not going back on the rambling river (though at one point yesterday evening she did say she might go again if she could ride on Papa's lap but w/ the long lines today we didn't really want to take the time to do Rambling River anyway) but once we got off we went straight from that to a BIG waterslide & she didn't even hesitate about going on that so it only "ruined" her for the one ride, not all water, or even all innertube, stuff.
  • We'd decided to skip the parade yesterday and the girls had agreed that we could wait & go to the parade today instead but then as we were walking past the parade route about 3 minutes before it was going to start we saw a front row spot available, not crowded at all, so we stayed for the parade after all.
  • The girls (especially L) have figured out the trick to getting lots of hugs at the parade. They stand there and when the character comes by as s/he pauses to shake hands L gets right up under their feet where they pretty much have to hug her (& then A slips in and they get a hug together) to keep walking w/o squishing her LOL. Technically she was across the "line" but the people never told her to stay back so I didn't worry about it. And she was good about just stepping out to get her hug & then coming back to right ON the line.
  • The girls' swimsuits this year are identical (the long sleeve/long pants kind that makes sunscreen unnecessary (Yay for my friend, Angie for finding them on clearance at Disney Online last fall!!) I think the girls looking like twins got them a few extra hugs & attention from the characters in the shows, at least it seemed like they got more then their fair share of attention LOL.
  • Interestingly in two days, dressed the same, ONE person asked/commented on them being twins & that was in a "you must be twins" way, not the "oh, are they twins?" question that somehow gets SO old.
  • I had SEVERAL moms ask me where I'd found their swimsuits.
  • The long sleeves & pants in a sea of "skin" made them very easy to spot/keep track of in the wave pool.
  • Today the girls went to get on the teacups ride alone (the 2 of them, but no adult) and were so proud of themselves to be able to do it (they'd done it fine yesterday and the sign (& restrictions written on the back of the map) clearly stated that riders under 42" must be accompanied by an adult and said NOTHING about age. They got to the front of the line (line was short enough I'd sent them up w/o an adult w/ them in line either, since I could keep a clear view of them) and the guy running the ride told them they had to have an adult because they weren't 7. I went back w/ them and said "the sign & map don't say anything about age 7" but he pulled the whole "well, I just enforce the rules thing" I went on the ride w/ them, but they sat there just looking sad the whole ride. Mom talked to him more while we were on it and when she kept pushing he said "well, I just want them to be safe" which made mom figure it was HIS rule, not the park's, and "they got to ride anyway" which see how they're not ENJOYING the ride because the special thing about this ride was they were big enough to go ALONE. The girls were still upset when we got off and we talked a little bit about it. I took the angle that I thought he was confused, that maybe he'd been working at the roller coaster (which DOES require age 7 to ride alone) last and got the rules mixed up and I told the girls I'd go talk to the Sesame Place people when we were ready to leave (call me lazy but walking the whole length of the park (almost) on a hot, crowded day, to complain, and then come back to finish our rides seemed like too much effort. So we finished our rides in that section then while my parents took the girls on the roller coaster (again) I went to Guest Services (or whatever it's called). The woman there was GREAT! I told her what had happened, she double checked the rules on the map and agreed that they should have been able to ride. She checked w/ someone else who also agreed but went to double check AGAIN w/ a 3rd person (person in charge of that section of the park, I think he said). Came back & was willing to go w/ us back to the ride to make sure the girls got to ride it alone but we needed to leave and the girls were still on the roller coaster so I told him we didn't have time to do that today that I just had wanted to know the rules for future reference and if there WAS an age requirement to suggest that they post it so other kids didn't have the same disappointment. So, it was handled well. And I was able to tell the girls that it shouldn't happen again (if it DOES I WILL go straight back to Guest Relations and have them come "pull rank" for me) and that the "Sesame Place people" had said to tell them sorry.
  • Girls were very hesitant to go on the roller coaster which was absurd to me considering that they rode the Shamu roller coaster (pretty much identical to this one, both are Busch parks) at Sea World until I refused to ride it again. And they'd loved the Mine Train at Disney (bigger/faster/longer then this one). But once we finally got them on it they rode it 3 or 4 times yesterday and I think 5 times today LOL.
I'm sure I'm forgetting things, but those are the highlights. A good time was had by all. And now we're all exhausted and ready to go to bed LOL.

Friday Feast


What is the weather like today where you live?

Cloudy, calling for thunderstorms


On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how career-minded are you?

If you consider motherhood a career, then my career is my life LOL. Speaking of actual careers in the typical sense. I thoroughly enjoyed the work I did pre-kids (accounting) and could enjoy it again (once kids are grown) however, I've not once felt like I "lost my identity" when I quit and became a SAHM, like so many moms I know struggle with.


What type of window coverings do you have in your home? Blinds, curtains, shutters, etc.?

So far just whatever the previous tenants left. There are valances in 3 of the rooms (living room, kitchen & bathroom) and nothing elsewhere. I do need to get blinds at least in our room. Doubt I'll do anything in the girls room (unless I find this winter that we're losing too much heat out the windows & do something insulated, but from a decorative standpoint it would just look cluttered because of their loft bed and from a privacy standpoint their window looks out on woods & empty fields beyond and the loft bed provides additional privacy so not needed). Might do blinds in the school/play room if I decide I want the option of putting an air mattress in there for guests (my parents get to sleep in the girls' beds w/ the girls on the floor of the loft between them, but other guests might not appreciate that arrangement LOL) . . . if I ever get the house totally clean & uncluttered & am feeling bored/creative, some nice valances of somesort would be nice in the dining room, but it's pretty low priority for me.

Main Course

Name something that instantly cheers you up.

A spontaneous hug or cuddle from my girls :)


How many times do you hit the snooze button on a typical morning?

My kids are my "alarm clock" and no matter how many times I hit them, they don't let me sleep longer LOL (just kidding on the hitting part, though I do sometimes "whine" at them to let me sleep). Back when I didn't have kids and had an alarm clock, I purposely set it early enough to be able to hit snooze several times, I like to wake up slowly LOL.

See other Friday Feasts here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Things kids say . . . (& do)

Little things the kids have said or done recently that I don't want to forget:

  • This morning for some reason A was missing our old house. She said "I'll always miss our old house, it's the house I grew up in." When I asked if she was all done growing up L said "Mom, it's a 'pression" (expression, for those who don't speak kid-ese).
  • The girls are "teaching" campmeeting to their dolls, singing songs, telling stories, playing simon says . . .
  • L asked me if I can find another apple cake recipe "that doesn't take so long"
  • The first words out of L's mouth this morning were "Mama & Papa are coming TONIGHT!!" then she went & looked outside and came back & told me she could see the moon "so night must be SOON!!" (never mind that she & I were the only ones even awake yet today LOL)
  • Last night A lost out on getting a popsicle because she didn't put her outside toys away when asked. L asked me if she could share a bite of hers w/ A. I love it when they spontaneously offer things like that :) (& yes, I feel the lesson of selfless giving is more important than whatever lesson I'm teaching by withholding something)
  • Our dining room has become the holding ground for a bunch of stuff dh is wanting to sell on ebay including some "collector" cereal boxes (w/ some sports person on them). The girls saw the cereal & asked what it was for. I quickly (before they could (horror of horrors) tear the "valuable" box open) said "don't touch those, they're daddy's!" the girls then wanted to know when Daddy eats that cereal. I told them "he doesn't eat it, he just looks at it" to which they got a very confused look on their faces & said "WHY?" (that, my dear, I can't explain LOL)
  • A couldn't get dressed or eat breakfast this morning until she had "packed" for Sesame Place (no, we're not going to Sesame Place until tomorrow, she likes to plan ahead LOL).

Works for Me Wednesday - Hooks

Since moving into our new house I've discovered an absolute LOVE of hooks!! This house is 100 years old (give or take, I haven't heard a date) and has been a rental house for the last who knows how long & one thing that I've discovered all through this house is hooks! On the inside of most of the bedroom & closet doors, hooks . . . in the stairwell to the basement, hooks . . . in the basement (though not as many as I'd expect based on the rest of the house), hooks . . . AND I've discovered that hooks are wonderful things! Something that has ALWAYS been an issue for me is how to deal with clothes that I've worn once but will wear again before they're "dirty clothes" (throwing something in the laundry after only wearing it for a few hours means more work AND wears your clothes out faster). No matter how tidy the rest of my room has been, there's ALWAYS been a pile of "clurty" clothes somewhere in the room (and if I expect to have to show someone my room those clothes either go into the hamper anyway or get stashed out of sight somewhere). Hooks have solved that issue! Now both dh & I have hooks in our room (his on the back of the bedroom door, mine on the inside of the closet door) to hang our clurty clothes on. The back of the bedroom door (pictured) also has a lower set of hooks to hold dh's baseball caps (& my baseball cap, lest you think my husband might have a cap w/ a pink mickey on it). Hooks on the door of our school room hold the girls' binoculars and backpacks and other such things. Hooks in the basement stairwell (right off the kitchen) hold my mop & such (and I'm still trying to figure out how to hang the broom there, didn't brooms used to have hooks at the end of the handle? Mine doesn't . . . I need to decide if there's a way to add a hook to it or if I need to shop for a new broom LOL). Hooks in the coat closet hold my purse & keys. Hooks on a hidden wall of the kitchen hold the fly swatter . . . their uses are endless! And now that I've discovered the absolute usefulness of hooks I'm ready to start adding my own. The basement has some in the ceiling (that are holding my clothespin apron, and a hanging basket to store potatoes in) but I want more on the end of the shelving units and more from the ceiling to hang all kinds of things from. Since the upstairs hall closet houses art supplies & toys I want to add some hooks to hold painting smocks and such. . . . the possibilities are endless. Hooks cost almost nothing, get things up off the floor, can be put almost anywhere . . . they definitely work for me!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Baking Cakes

Last fall The Apple Cake was one of our books for school. For some reason we never made apple cake at that time (I don't remember why). Recently L re-discovered the book & it's become one of her favorite bedtime stories. She "reads" it to us almost nightly & comes quite close to quoting it word for word (& it's not a short book). Since re-discovering it, she's been asking me if we can make an apple cake & today the stars finally aligned for us to have apples AND time (sort of. Mom & Dad, when you get here tomorrow & the kitchen's a mess, you'll know why, I spent the day making apple cake w/ my kids instead of cleaning the kitchen LOL) so we made apple cake.

My observant children noted that this recipe takes ALL DAY (well, 3 1/2 hrs plus the time spent actually mixing it up (& cutting up apples) & cooling it . . . ) so the woman in the story (who spends all day getting apples, then comes home & makes the cake for her supper) couldn't have used this recipe. Smart children, dumb author/editor/publisher for not thinking of that. . . (and using a different recipe on the back of the book).

The highlight of the cake making process was when I let them help chop the apples w/ a sharp knife. I cut the apples into thin slices & then they cut some of the slices into pieces. Lots of reminders to put the knife DOWN before moving the chopped pieces to the bowl (as opposed to waving the knife dangerously close to my hands) but we survived w/o any bloodshed & they were SO proud of themselves :)

And they each had 2 pieces of cake, and L declared it the "best cake ever" (she's quite dramatic that way, I've lost count of how many "best day ever" days she's had in the last few months LOL) so I guess it was worth all the trouble LOL.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Online Homeschool Conference

Just a heads-up, the first annual Heart of the Matter online Homeschool Conference is coming up. This looks like a great opportunity to "talk" with other homeschoolers and check out homeschool resources even if you live in an area where there aren't other homeschoolers (or just want to squeeze in a homeschool conference w/o the expense of traveling).

And, as if that weren't enough. Training Hearts is GIVING AWAY 5 tickets to the conference.

Menu Plan Monday

Last week was rather NOT according to plan, since we did end up going to campmeeting several days which meant me getting home about the time dh needed to be EATING so he could turn around and go back up to campmeeting for work. This week things are still abit up in the air because my parents might be coming up & going to Sesame Place with us, but nothing's for sure. So . . . I went ahead & planned the whole week assuming we'd be home, and if things change, we'll just figure it out as it goes LOL.

If you click on a specific meal and drill down into the description you'll find a link to the recipe if I have one (& remembered to put it in LOL).

To view other menus for this week, pop over to orgjunkie

Sunday, June 22, 2008

These Directions are Only for Planning Purposes . . .

Ever notice that disclaimer on the online maps & directions? Well, today I'm not even sure how it would have been useful for planning purposes! I entered the address of the Farmer's Market I wanted to go to, 500 ABCD Street (street name (obviously) changed for the sake of security). Got my directions. It told me the location was 7.something miles away, ok, I can live with that. It did NOT tell me that it couldn't find my location & was sending me to a location "nearby" like it sometimes does. I start driving w/ two children "discussing" EVERYTHING loudly in the backseat (such an asset to finding your way on unfamiliar roads). But I DID follow the directions as stated! And those directions took me, not to 500 ABCD Street but to 3900 ABCD Street! HUH?!?!?!?! So at that point I warned the girls that we very well might NOT find the Farmer's Market that day, but we were still trying. And I headed down that street for a VERY LONG time. Through parts of town I actually recognized and beyond . . . and finally DID get to 500 ABCD Street and DID find a very nice (though not huge) Farmer's market and we got some yummy fresh early summer veggies and a source for local raw honey (though I don't need any yet and will keep fingers crossed to find a CHEAPER source, but at least it's something) and yes, I think we'll be going back to this little Farmer's Market throughout the season. But then, I had a vague idea where I was and most definitely was NOT going to go back the way I'd come (which by the time I traveled however far down ABCD Street probably ended up being closer to 15 miles) so I decided to try continuing down ABCD Street (to 400 block and beyond) and see where I ended up. And you know what? We were less than FOUR MILES from home! And a quick, easy to remember & follow 4 miles at that. Seriously it's like 4 turns! WHAT was Google Maps thinking sending me way out through 2 other towns (granted these "towns" are all suburbs of our main city & so are quite small (think DC's Chevy Chase, Bethesda, etc) but still!) and more than 10 miles out of my way?

Oh well, at least I didn't get irretrievably lost in the midst of it all LOL.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

This week's Homeschool (etc) Wrap-Up

Not much homeschooling, since we went to Campmeeting several days. We DID do circle time most days.

Campmeeting ended up being about every other day. Did both meetings on Wed. but I about went nuts entertaining the girls (& who are we kidding, *I* was bored out of my mind) for the time between the 2 meetings so we only did afternoon meeting from then on. It was chaotic, the girls seemed to not be participating, but they kept wanting to go back, and were sad to realize it was over today. The songs they refused to sing during campmeeting, they have been singing non-stop at home. So, I guess we'll at least tenatively plan to stay up there for the week next year (assuming less upheaval in our lives next spring LOL).

On Thurs I had a headache that I was concerned would get bad enough to not be able to safely drive home if we went up to campmeeting, so we stayed home. The girls were not happy, but finally agreed IF we could do a craft here at home. I dug through a box or two and found some wood boxes to glue little plastic "jewels" on top of (courtesy of old VBS stuff that was being thrown out & I salvaged LOL) they loved it & have been playing non-stop w/ the leftover plastic jewels AND their boxes ever since.

We knew that the girls' friend Hannah was up at campmeeting staying with friends, but hadn't been successful in finding her so yesterday we checked where the friends were staying and went to their campsite. Hannah was off fishing when we first stopped by but we saw her when we stopped back by after supper and we went over again & ate lunch w/ them today. So the girls were thrilled to get time w/ Hannah, and got to know Kate and Ally too (and it occurred to me as we were leaving today to tell them that Kate had been "Chip" (Chadder's young side-kick) at VBS last summer.

L's head seems to be healing up nicely (whew!) she worried me abit by complaining that it hurt (w/o touching it) last night, but she's been fine today so I think she'll live LOL.

The girls chose pancakes for supper tonight & Daddy obliged. Daddy's better than me about letting them do more when they help (perhaps because DADDY doesn't get to clean up the mess afterwards LOL) anyway, they were very excited to serve me the supper that THEY had made. I asked if I could just send them to the kitchen to cook meals now & they told me they still need a grown-up to turn the stove on & flip the pancakes but they could do the rest. They both made the batter & then L poured it onto the pan while A cooked Little Links. They even chose to finish cooking all the batter rather than eating once some were ready.

L just asked what I was doing & I said I was writing about our week & asked them what their favorite things this week are their answers:

L: campmeeting & seeing Hannah, and getting ice cream
A: the "Birthday Party for Jesus" at Campmeeting (and when A said that, L said that was her favorite too "I got a bunch of 'em" (favorites that is))

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Feast


If you could live on another continent for 1 year, which one would you choose?

Europe, I'm fascinated by the history there!


Which browser do you use to surf the Internet?



On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how much do you know about the history of your country?

I'll say 7, I love history, so I'm probably higher then that on the early American history, but once it gets to "modern" times I'm bored w/ it, so I definitely don't know as much about more recent history (as evidenced by the fact that I easily CLEP'd first semester American History in College but just missed the needed score to CLEP 2nd semester.

Main Course

Finish this sentence: Love is…

Love is of God.


Have you ever been in or near a tornado?


To see other Friday Feasts, go here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Good & Bad

First, the good. We found a farm not too far away that sells raw milk, cheese and pastured eggs at prices that are in line with what we were paying before we moved (the other places I'd contacted, in addition to being VERY slow to respond (which made me leary of making appointments & such) were much higher prices than we'd paid when we were in MD). So the girls finally have their "healthy milk" back.

Now the not so good. L managed to slip and fall on the driveway (where she shouldn't have been) this evening & somehow only minorly scraped her knee but gouged a hole in her forehead. I sent A to help her back to the house and A got there & said "her HEAD is bleeding!!" So I went to check it out . Lots of blood of course, but once we cleaned it up, not as bad as I thought. L kept asking to see the "boo-boo" so finally I sent A (official nurse/go-fer) to get the hand mirror out of the bathroom, L took one look at her forehead & said "I don't want to see any more boo-boos!" She's quite proud that her knee boo-boo took THREE bandaids (minor scrape covering lots of territory, honestly would've been fine w/o a bandaid but you know kids & bandaids. . . I think the biggest challenge w/ the head boo-boo will be getting her to leave it alone so it can heal.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Works for me Wednesday - Menu Planning

Regular readers of my blog know that I menu plan. While we rarely stick to the plan all week, it gives me a guideline for grocery shopping and reduces the number of times we order out for pizza & such. Lots of people have blogged, for Works-for-me-Wednesday and otherwise about menu planning. So, while, if you don't currently menu plan, I highly recommend it, that's not my tip for today.

My tip for today is this. AUTOMATE your menu planning. I've seen suggestions before of people having a calendar on their fridge with a month of meals that they just recycle each month. I've even seen pretty forms for doing just that. But our life isn't that predictable. Some weeks we need a crockpot meal on Tues, other weeks I'm leaving at 8am on Tues and there's no way I have time to get a meal into the crockpot but I'll be home by noon so prep work an hour before dinner is no problem . . .

Then we were getting ready to move, I was wanting to pack as much of the kitchen and pantry as I could, it was still a couple weeks till the actual move date. So I sat down on the computer & figured out a few weeks of meals. And in doing that, I stumbled upon the perfect long-term menu planning solution for me!

I set up a google calendar called Menus. My favorite monthly meal planning form that I'd seen suggested a week of breakfast ideas that repeat each week, a week of lunches that repeat each week, and then a month of dinners to repeat monthly. So, using that as my model, I entered in a week of breakfasts & set them to repeat weekly. Then I entered a week of lunches and set them to repeat weekly. Then I started working on dinners. At the time of the move I just entered dinners up to the move date but I did set them to repeat either weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly depending on the meal (crockpot pintos is a meal my kids & dh like that works well on days when I'm home in the morning but gone all afternoon & is one of the least expensive meals I make, so it's set to repeat weekly, more expensive, time consuming, less healthy meals like spinach spagehetti, I have set to repeat once a month. You get the idea . . .). I'm still working on figuring out what I want for the monthly menu, and it is going to vary somewhat by season (right now we're mostly leaving the a/c off and the windows open so I'm keeping cooking to a minimum to not heat the house up. In the winter I love soup . . . you get the idea). But the beauty of this is, when I sit down to menu plan on Sunday I have a "suggested menu" mostly, or completely in front of me. I can then look at that menu, change the days that need to be changed. Specifying if it's a "going forward" change or a "just this week" change. Some things, like shepherd's pie for Fri lunch need to change going forward because now dh doesn't work on Fri and he's not a fan of shepherd's pie. Other things it's just a matter of "this week we're eating out for this meal" or the pintos would be better on a different day because of our schedule.

And then, since I participate in OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday Meme, I can imbed that week's calendar right into my post.

Automating the menu planning process while still keeping it flexible is something that definitely works for me!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Campmeeting is Apparently a Hit

I so wish I had my camera, L is crouched down on the grass by the big pine tree in our front yard blowing a dandelion, it was definitely a "Kodak moment" but alas, I don't have my camera (actually I can't find it at all, much less have it beside me on the porch).

Ok, back to campmeeting. Despite the girls feeling that Sabbath's meeting was too long, they decided they wanted to go again yesterday (after I assured them it would be shorter). We had a minor meltdown when teacher said all the kids had to hold onto the rope to go outside to play games (thankfully teacher was a reasonable person w/o any need to "teach children to be independent" or whatever other reason some authority figures find to impose rules for the sake of imposing rules when there's no logical reason for it, and she was fine with them just holding my hands instead) and the girls opted to sit to the side & watch Duck Duck Goose instead of playing, but despite that, they had a good time. The meeting consisted of some singing, then going outside to play duck duck goose, then back inside for a craft and then a little more singing. Fortuitously both of the girls' favorite songs were among those sung (much to their delight, thankfully their favorite songs are quite typical/common SS songs, so it's not TOO surprising that they were both included in those sung).

The vote was to go back to campmeeting this week so I should be getting things done so we can go instead of playing on the computer LOL.

In other news, A is in a "helping mood" she helped load the washing machine ("Mommy, I want to help you do this EVERY day, remind me when you're going to do it, ok?") AND hang the clothes to dry. And both girls helped me weed in the flower (herb) beds for awhile this morning. Not to convince them that dishes are fun too LOL.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Homeschool Update

Meant to write this post over the weekend but it was a crazy weekend.

Last Thurs the girls asked if we could start doing circle time again. Conveniently I *had* unpacked the box that had the Read & Learn Bible that we use for the worship portion of Circle Time, as well as a few books that we were using when we stopped all pretense of "school" to focus on packing/moving. So we did circle time that day (& Fri, and today, each day at the girls' request). One reason I didn't try to keep up with Circle Time during the packing/moving process was because it had become something the girls didn't want to do and forcing something that was/is supposed to be fun/beneficial seemed counterproductive w/ everything else I had going on. So I'm quite excited that after our "break" they're ready to be back to doing it again. I took time on Thurs & Friday to sort through the half-done curriculum we'd left off on when we stopped pre-move. It was probably the most confusing time in the entire year & a half curriculum to drop everything & try to pick it back up because the last 2 (spring) units for this curriculum just logically for the dates (the FIRST 6 week unit recommends not starting until you can see sheep sheared which happens in May. The SECOND 6 week unit includes starting seeds, and other "April" activities. However, some of the handwork in the 2nd unit builds on things learned in the first unit so just switching the 2 units doesn't work either . . . So, initially I'd scrambled the 2 units together to make it all work, which made it fun & exciting to figure out what we had & hadn't done, and what order the remaining things needed to be done in. We DID go see the sheep sheared so we can move forward w/ the wool portion of the curriculum now, for one thing. But I've got it all laid out in a way that should work assuming I can find the needed "stuff" as we need it (since playroom/school stuff is an area that is very much NOT unpacked yet), of course now that I've done that, I fully expect the kids to be "too busy" to want to do much of it, but there's no set time frame really, since we're beyond the season it's supposed to happen in anyway (and conveniently, other than starting seeds (which I need to do this week regardless) it's probably the least season-specific of the whole curriculum, so we can drag this out all summer & into the fall if we want.

A also made a request last week that we study the solar system this fall, and I have a pre-school/K solar system unit study we can use so we'll probably do that (or at least I'll see if they're still interested) once we wrap up this "spring" stuff from the waldorf curriculum.

I'm so glad that we're in a state where we're not yet required to report (if we'd stayed in MD I'd have filed the paperwork to say I was holding them out a year, but this means I don't even have to do that LOL) they are so enjoying just being kids & I'm glad I don't have to worry about creative record keeping to allow them to continue being kids.

Lest anyone fears they're not learning, they wrote their own Father's Day cards this year, sounding out the words. Needless to say, not spelled correctly, but it's still an important "next step" toward reading/writing, and one I'm thrilled to see, A especially take (A is SUCH a perfectionist (she gets it honestly LOL) that up until now she's been too afraid of spelling it "wrong" to be willing to sound things out, preferring to just have me tell her how to spell them, L's more confident in her phonetic writing, but A has started doing it as well).

This weekend we ended up doing quite abit of short driving around stuff. I put in the Hermie Scripture Song CD that they got for their birthday and over the course of the weekend they've pretty much memorized it :)

Homeschool Archive Summer 2008

Resources used Spring/Summer 2008:
Week of July 28-Aug 1

Week of July 21 - 25
  • Memory Verse:You will seek Me and find me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jer 29:13
  • Circle: Read and Learn Bible & Bible copywork
  • Thurs: Sesame Place
  • Fri: Help Papa and/or play with Mama

Week of July 14-18

Week of July 7-11
  • Memory Verse:For his whole life he will be given to the Lord. 1 Sam 1:28
  • Circle: Read and Learn Bible & Bible copywork

Week of June 29-July 4

Week of June 23-27
  • Memory Verse: Do not forget . . . to share with others. Heb 13:16
  • Circle: Read and Learn Bible & Bible copywork
  • DONE Cooking: Apple Cake
  • DONE Handwork: Make plant markers
  • DONE Nature: Start Seeds
  • DONE Art: Children & Painting pg 10, 12, 18
  • DONE: OTHER: 2 days at Sesame Place

Week of June 16-20
  • Memory Verse: A friend loves at all times. Prov 17:17
  • Circle: Read and Learn Bible
  • Campmeeting
  • Art: Treasure Boxes
Archive of the 2007-2008 School Year is HERE.

Menu Plan Monday

This is an even more tentative than usual menu plan, since this week is campmeeting. Campmeeting is 1/2 hr away and we'll be playing it by ear (depending on what else comes up and how the kids do) how often we go up andwhat times of day. That will impact what/if I prepare meals here at home. But, assuming we will be mostly home here's the plan for this week:

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at OrgJunkie

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Today was the start of Campmeeting (well, last night was, but no kids' meetings last night so we didn't go). The girls weren't so sure about going, they didn't have much memory overall of what campmeeting is about, and I couldn't prepare them too much, having no idea how things were run at this one) but going up yesterday morning (nothing was "happening" yet, but dh needed to take stuff up & it let the girls (& me) get abit of a feel for the campus before the chaos of today) helped.

Today was long (9:30-12:15 is a LONG program for little kids), but I think the girls enjoyed it overall. They were sad that there wasn't a craft (their favorite part of Sabbath School) but got over it w/o a meltdown. I asked if they wanted to go to the afternoon meeting & they decided that it was "too long" and they were done for today but they do want to go up another day. So we'll check out a weekday meeting and see what they think of that. The songs were more age appropriate (IMO) than the ones at the campmeeting we went to last year (content was fine, but they were songs my kids didn't know (they were songs I learned in Primary or beyond, not Beginners/Kindergarten) and had enough variety of words/verses that non-readers couldn't sing along, so my kids were frustrated at not being able to participate. This year's songs were either songs they knew or songs w/ few words, much repetition that they could easily figure out to follow along after hearing it once, and they sang most songs several times as is typical of the younger kid songs) and were scattered through the program. There were some "glitches" in the sign-in/sign-out process that I could make suggestions to smooth over, but overall I'd call it a success, whew!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Testing my Creativity . . .

Sigh, these children and their ongoing imaginary games are going to be the death of me! I am NOT a creative person. I have no idea where my children got their creativity/imagination because it certainly wasn't from me (or dh, for that matter). . .

So this afternoon A asked me if we could do circle time, I was in the middle of something, then I forgot . . . and awhile later she asked again, so we did a couple chores I was in the middle of and we went upstairs for circle time. I have to admit I was preoccupied as we got upstairs and I was looking for stuff & such, not listening to the kids talking to each other. So I got situated, L was there, A said something (I thought) about being thirsty and went downstairs & I heard her getting a drink, and assumed then she would come back up. Then L told me "A isn't coming back up, it's part of our game" Huh? So I called A up and determined that they were in the midst of an imaginary game where A was L's big sister (or auntie, I've heard her called both during this game) and she had dropped L off at "baby class" while she went to work. So we talked about how we could change things up so that they could continue the game but A could still be a part of circle time . . . I finally pointed out that I've heard them play games before where A plays more than one parts (I'll hear L ask "Auntie" if she can go play w/ "A" and then A morphs into . . . herself and they play together), so we decided that A could be "Matilda" the new student in our class. . . it worked well, and apparently Matilda will be a permanent part of circle time for the foreseeable future.

Friday Feast


Do you consider yourself to be an optimist or a pessimist?

Somewhere in between. I try really hard to be an optimist, but sometimes pessimism sneaks in . . . I like to say I'm a realist LOL.


What is your favorite color of ink to write with?

Depends on my mood, and more often, whatever pen I can find. I like "fun colors" (pink, green, purple . . . ) for some things, but beyond that, no real preference.


How often do you get a manicure or pedicure? Do you do them yourself or go to a salon and pay for them?

I've never had a professional manicure or pedicure in my life. Fingernails get chopped when they get long enough to annoy me. Toenails, I paint every couple weeks in the summer, let them "breath" in the winter (which means they get chopped when they get long enough to annoy me)

Main Course

Have you ever won anything online? If so, what was it?

Yup, I've had a pretty good string of luck this last year (or maybe I've just joined WAY too many blog giveaways & the law of averages worked in my favor LOL). Some of the "big" things (in terms of value &/or how much we've used/enjoyed them.

  • $100 Lands End gift card (haven't used it yet, but I'm having fun "window shopping" while I wait for a free shipping offer to come through LOL)
  • Starbucks gift card that came right before our move, when dh was gone all week, every week. Boy did I enjoy & treasure my Friday (when dh was back home) trips to Starbucks and a few minutes of "alone time" after a week as a single mom. LOVELY timing for a lovely treat :)
  • A Fancy schmancy doll stroller that A claimed as her own (w/ L's agreement, I told them to share it, they worked out between themselves that it was A's) and she has absolutely LOVED! They haven't thought to get the doll strollers out yet since the move (probably because the strollers are in the basement & will need to be for outside use only, this house is TOO SMALL to be going on "trips" w/ the strollers through the house) but it's been awesome


In which room in your house do you keep your home computer?

Oh, is there supposed to be ONE home computer? LOL. DH & I each have laptops, they generally are plugged in in the living room, though I probably use mine the most sitting out on the front porch. The girls have a desktop that we also have the printer networked through. It's in the schoolroom/playroom upstairs.

For more Friday Feast fun, go here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I think we've upset the neighbors . . .

Didn't take us long huh? Thankfully (since most of our neighbors are also dh's co-workers) we've only upset a couple of the bird neighbors :)

Interestingly, not until this week. There's a pair (I think, I normally only see one at a time, but I'm pretty sure there are 2) of barn swallows (per dh, I haven't looked it up in a bird book, but I assume he knows what he's talking about) who seem rather perturbed that there's semi-constant activity on the front porch so they can't build a nest in peace here. There's an old nest up in the corner (been there since we moved in, no bird activity in it) so I'm guessing that either they came back to their "home" after a winter down south, and are annoyed that their nesting site is now occupied by humans &/or they were hunting for a nesting site this past weekend, found, and liked, our porch, and were all set to build here and then we came home & now they can't. Either way, they seem rather annoyed at us "interlopers" many many times a day they fly up under the roof of the porch and kind of seem to be looking around, sometimes they land up on the wall right by the roof . . . it's cool to see them up close, even if they do appear annoyed at our presence LOL.

In other bird news, yesterday when I was hanging up the laundry I noticed an occupied nest in the tree right above the clothesline. Thinking I'll need to check the clean clothes that get hung on that end of the line for the rest of the summer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - Xpenser

Last time I actually wrote a post for a non-themed Works-for-me Wednesday I told you about I'm still loving it's convenience!!

And one way it's convenient is helping me with budgeting. is another free program that I found through Jott. Xpenser lets you set up various reports. To record your expenses. I have mine set up so that the default report is the current month, and I linked my xpenser account to Jott. So when I get done grocery shopping, for example, I can call Jott, say I want to Jott to Xpenser and then leave a message like this: Groceries $10 Giant and it automatically adds an entry to my Xpenser report using that day's date, the category Groceries, amount $10 and whatever else I say goes in the notes section (in the above example, the name of the grocery store). I also will mention in the notes which cc, if any, I used or anything else relevant. Jott also leaves me an e-mail reminding me that I Jotted to Xpenser so I can make sure the voice recognition understood all the words or add additional details if I want. Then at the end of the month I set up a new report for the new month and set it as the default report and export the previous month's report into excel to sort by category & such, so I have record of what our spending is. Having an instant way to record each expenditure instead of trying to keep track of receipts to record later works for me!

Check out Rocks In Your Dryer for more Works for Me Wednesday posts.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I'm not a fan of bugs in the best of circumstances. It's a sign of my true devotion to my children that I will kill (or carry outside) bugs for them. If DH is w/in shouting distances, he's called, even for small spiders & such. I HATE BUGS!!! (on the other hand, we had great fun growing ladybugs last summer & plan to grow butterflies this summer, now that we're abit more settled here.

ANYWAY . . . last week I pulled three ticks (& a bug that didn't seem quite like a tick, but I'm not sure what else it would've been) off my kids. That, combined with the dog coming "home" (she'd been at MIL's since before the move, since we were running back & forth every weekend & such) and my friend Laura's rather frightening experience with Lyme's disease all combined to make it a priority for me to find a safe, preferably cheap, way to keep the ticks (& other bugs) away from the kids & the dog this summer.

But of course, I'm not about to spray carcinogenic chemicals on my kids (& dog) daily, or even spray them over my yard (one of the recommendations online was to spray the YARD to get rid of ticks & fleas, so then our skin absorbs it every time we walk through the grass? Not much better than spraying it on our skin (or clothes, because you know, clothes are waterproof so the chemicals won't seep through to our skin, and we can somehow totally hold our breath while spraying and for a period of time after spraying to keep from inhaling those chemicals . . .). And I'm too cheap to run to the health food store to buy a "safe" bug spray considering we're likely to use it multiple times per day, every day, all season (& even at the health food store, it's important to read ingredients, many things that claim to be natural aren't so much).

So, I started hunting online and found various things, and combined several of them and tweaked to take advantage of what I have on hand, and here's what I came up with. Now the test will be if I keep finding ticks on the kids (or dog) after all this LOL.

For us: I filled a bottle 50/50 with distilled water (if you're using a spray bottle, ALWAYS use distilled water, tap water, or spring water, or boiled water or pretty much anything but distilled water will clog the spray mechanism (same goes for the foaming pumps for soap) and I haven't found a way to salvage them once they're clogged) leaving some room at the top (I think the bottle I used is 2 oz and I left probably 1/2 an oz of space at the top), then I added 10-20 drops (didn't count, wasn't real scientific) of the following EOs:
Citronella (ticks, mosquitoes, blackflies)
Lemongrass (mosquitoes)
Cedar (blackflies, mosquitoes)
Lavender (ticks, mosquitos, blackflies, lice)
Sweet Orange (fleas)
Eucalyptus (ticks, blackflies, lice)
Tea Tree Oil (lice)

If you don't have EOs on hand, I'd probably limit it to citronella (which I'm abit confused, one site said citronella is also called rose geranium, but another site said citronella is the same as lemon balm, and listed rose geranium separately, regardless, chances are the EO you find will be called citronella, so who cares), and then IMO every house should have lavender & TTO for a variety of purposes, so I'd go ahead & get those as well. If fleas are a concern, sweet orange is one of the least expensive EOs, so it's a good one to have on hand too. I use it in cleaning solutions since it's a degreaser AND smells yummy and isn't very expensive.

I love the smell of EOs in general, so these all mixed together gives a nice herbal smell that I like (though the citronella gives it a "bug spray" smell)

We'll spray this around our ankles and probably some in our hair, back of our neck . . . and on our clothes when we go outside this summer. Once I know how I like it, I'll probably find a bigger spray bottle to use, so I don't have to remake too often.

For the dog. In general I choose not to use EOs on the dog. Because dogs have such a strong sense of smell, the strong scent of EOs (and other fragrances) can be overpowering for them, even if diluted like is used on people. BUT I found various sites recommending adding Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to pets' drinking water as well as spraying it (diluted) on them topically to repel fleas & ticks (and other stuff, but that's what I was looking for). My ACV bottle is almost empty so I added some to her drinking water & will make a spray (50/50 distilled water & ACV) once I get to the store for more. A quick spray before we send her outside should be all it takes.

Obviously we'll still need to check the dog & the kids over for ticks on a regular basis as well. From my reading, the tick must be attached to the body for several hours to transmit Lyme's so by checking regularly & removing any ticks you find, it should also greatly reduce the risk.

Monday, June 9, 2008

It's HOT!!!!

I wrote this yesterday (Monday) afternoon, but for some reason it didn't post. We'll try again now :)

I so hope this isn't a hint of what this summer is going to be like! All weekend and now today it's been HOT!! Super duper, drenched with sweat the second I walk out the door, hot! And HUMID!! I can somewhat deal with heat (ok, not really) but I CAN. NOT. deal with humidity! Absolutely not! I went to college in TN, and loved it! But by the time the school year ended the humidity was starting & I was beyond ready to head north! Of course now I AM north (of TN anyway) and it's STILL too hot & humid & ICK!

We hadn't turned the a/c on yet when we left Thurs night to go to my parents' (& the old house) for the weekend. So I was dreading how hot the house would be when we got home last night. The main level was actually surprisingly comfortable. DH turned the a/c on, so I didn't see what the thermostat said (I think he told me, but remembering "stats" is by far NOT my strong point, I have no problem memorizing Bible passages, but then struggle like crazy to remember the text, and all through school, it was the text I'd glance at as the teacher said "clear your desks" and the text was the first thing I'd write on my paper, and THAT was how I survived such things. Then I'd rattle off the howeverlong Bible passage itself w/ no problem LOL). Anyway . . . main level was cool-ish, upstairs was HOT. But cooled down nicely once we got the a/c on.

Today the girls & I had to get all the herbs & such that we brought back from the old house (& a couple I bought while I was down there, though Walmart's selection was pretty pathetic) in the ground before they baked sitting in the pots we threw them in yesterday. Even at 9:30 this morning it was HOT out there! The girls were a great help, digging the holes and such. And we got everything in the ground, were delighted to find that, even though the only outside spigot is by the basement door, one of our hoses IS long enough to reach from there around to the front patio area to water the newly planted plants w/o having to use the watering can (ok, so the girls were abit disappointed about that, but a few good sprays w/ the hose snapped them out of it LOL). And since I'd rather thoroughly sprayed them down while watering the plants (hey, they were dirty from digging in the dirt anyway, might as well hose them down) I went ahead & hooked up the sprinkler after that & they spent the rest of the morning playing in the sprinkler in their clothes, much to their delight. I totally should've taken pictures, but I'm not sure where the camera is.

The minivan is full of stuff we brought up from the old house, but I'm not willing to brave the heat to unload it. So I'll be whining at myself this evening when the day is over & I just want to veg and instead I'm having to unload things. And, after being gone all weekend, I need to go to the grocery store before I can fix supper and I so don't want to get in a hot car, shop, then get BACK in a hot car to come home so I'm putting that off too . . . sigh . . .

On the positive side, my laundry dried in record time on the line today LOL. I must remember that hot days like today can be two load days LOL. I also took advantage of the basement being cooler and shifted stuff around down there (partially because the landlord's solution to the leaking washing machine was to say that they have an extra one in storage and will just come switch them out, so I figured I needed to shift things enough that they can get the new one in & the old one out (especially since, when he brought the dryer, it was just one guy & I got to help bring it in, not looking forward to helping w/ the washing machines, but guessing I'll get to). There's still a pile of empty boxes down there that I need to collapse, and still some boxes of pantry stuff that needs to be unpacked at some point (& the freezer, for that matter, it's mostly still in boxes in the freezer too LOL), but I shifted things such that I THINK anything that could be damaged by water isn't sitting directly on the floor (there was some water in the basement w/ last week's rain, though I couldn't tell where it had come from to know if there's a solution, will have to remember & go down DURING heavy rain next time & figure it out) and just so that it looks better & there's more floor space down there.

And of course, having my herbs up here is a positive thing! I also got a basil plant & a pepper plant over the weekend, so those are in the ground too. The pepper plant looked quite sad when I bought it, but was the best of the (3) sweet pepper plants that Walmart had, and I REALLY wanted to get a pepper plant since the girls like sweet peppers and they're in the "dirty dozen" of foods to ALWAYS buy organic & organic peppers are SOO expensive . . . so I took a chance. We actually watered it at the store, and then more when we got back to the old house and by the time we got home with it last night it was looking just fine. So I'm hopeful that it will do fine now that it's in the ground and can continue to get daily watering.

Thankfully the weather report is saying one more day of this super hot weather & then it'll be back down in the 80s for the rest of the week, which is much more livable in my book LOL.

Menu Plan Monday

Finally, we'll actually be here for a full week (I think). DH is planning to come home for lunch most days, but will be working late, so one or two of the suppers are things he's not fond of that I figure he can eat leftovers from previous nights when he gets home, since he'll be reheating anyway. On Saturday we'll be going to "campmeeting" about half an hour away, so I'm thinking we'll take a picnic (though if it's as hot as it is today, we may opt to eat in the air conditioned car on the way home LOL). Anyway . . . here's this week's tentative menu

To see other menus for this week check out orgjunkie.

Recipes for this week include:

Garden Dinner Casserole
Crockpot Pintos
Shepherd's Pie
Pizza Crust (for pizza & calzones)
I'm going to try a new pasta salad recipe this week, but haven't decided which one. One of these though, probably "tweaked" for whatever veggies I might have on hand &/or I think my family will eat though.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

This Week's Wrap-Up

The girls continue to love playing outside. And I waste entirely too much time sitting on the front porch enjoying the peacefulness of watching the birds and the geese on the pond and listening to the kids play . . . but, this weekend it's gotten hot at my parents' house, so I'm guessing it's hot up at home too, which might force us indoors abit more, sigh . . .

We found heirloom tomato plants at Aldi's (discount grocery store) this week so we got 2 plants, one for cherry tomatoes & one for beefsteak tomatoes and planted them. The girls thought it horribly unfair that the day after we planted them it rained, and rained, and rained so there was no need for them to water them. I did let them water them before we left to come down to my parents' house on Thurs night, and I'm sure they'll be ready for another drink when we get home tomorrow LOL.

Most of the heavy rains came at night (2 nights in a row, w/ a drizzly, cloudy day in between) but we did get one period of heavy rain that afternoon as well and the girls had great fun playing in the rain, including the "waterfall" where there's a leak in the gutter on the front porch, and came in the house DRENCHED LOL.

Daddy took a day off work and we went to Ikea to get a dining room rug & other things. I'd asked him to come with me to help load the bulky stuff on the list and then we ended up either getting something different/less bulky (the rug I wanted wasn't in stock, so I ended up getting 3 smaller rugs that I'm hoping will look ok laid side by side as if they're one big rug, but first we have to get the empty boxes out of the dining room in order to have room to move the table to one end while we put the rugs down. We have someone who wants the boxes, just need to have them come get them) or not getting it at all so he wouldn't have had to come from that standpoint, but it made for a much more enjoyable shopping trip for me since he watched the kids, and let them go through the store at their speed (which means even w/ skipping a big section, I was halfway through the lower level (after taking a quick pass through the entire upper level) before they made it through the whole upper level, and called me to tell me they were ready to eat lunch) he said they had a blast, whereas there would, no doubt, have been much whining if they'd been stuck w/ me the whole time. Of course they COULD have gone to Smaalland for at least part of the time, but A didn't want to stay w/o Mommy, and L went in, but in about 30 seconds they paged me to come get her because she didn't like being there w/o A. But if Daddy hadn't been there they might have opted for that vs. following me around while I shopped. But it worked out well, I got the rug(s), and storage bins to put under our bed, a tray to set on the ottoman in the living room to use it as a coffee table, and then some other little odds and ends. The girls had fun, and Daddy got quality time w/ his girls LOL.

Yesterday was a horribly boring day for the girls, but they did great. It was supposed to be their Kindermusik party but their teacher was sick, so it was canceled. Instead I dragged them to a couple stores, and then they watched TV at the old house while I worked there some more. They also helped me pick up the rest of the foam letters off the basement floor (they'd packed most of them for me before we moved, but there was a whole section that was under a mountain of empty boxes so those got left. Dad cleared out most of the cardboard for me (& will take the rest tomorrow) so the girls were able to pick up the rest of the letters & we put them in boxes. And I put a huge pile of stuff on the front porch to be picked up by freecyclers, fingers crossed that they came & got it today & it's not all still sitting there when I get to the house tomorrow LOL.

We did eat lunch at CiCi's with Mama & Papa yesterday. And one of the stores I stopped at had card holders which I'd been wanting to find for the kids since forever. These were 50% off, so I went ahead & got them. Which meant last night we had to find a card game to play to try them out. I should've just hunted down GO FISH (which I thought I had in the bag of stuff I threw in to occupy them at the house, but was too lazy to go look) but we attempted "Birds" instead. It's the same basic concept as Go Fish but more complex, and was still abit much for them. I finally enlisted mom & dad to come be "teams" w/ each of the girls to speed things up. Which was abit unfair since mom HATES the game LOL. But we finished the game, and actually L & Mama ended up technically winning, partially because I'd been "feeding" books their way to even things out against the A & Papa team LOL. But since A was on Papa's lap in the chair & I was on the floor next to their pile of "books", I was able to slip my books into their pile which conveniently left the impression that L&A had tied. Made for a much happier ending, though A was still abit upset that L had "stolen" their K book that they had 3 of & then L got in her last turn LOL. This morning we tried out the card holders again, but just playing Go Fish and it went much better LOL.

We DID, however, play Egypt to Canaan again today & the girls did quite well. The fact that L had played the whole game last time whereas A had bounced in & out of it, and L tends to remember such things abit better anyway, made for a few problems (mainly when L got impatient and "helped" A w/ the answers) but overall they did well, especially considering the age range on the game starts at age 8 (granted, I weeded out the easier questions for them to use, but still . . .)

Our PLANS for today were to go to the Live Butterfly exhibit at Brookside Gardens, but when Dad checked times online he found out that they had closed it for the day because it was sooo HOT (at one point this afternoon the outside temp thing on Dad's car said 102). The girls did quite well w/ the forced change of plans. Dad remembered that there's a Ferry that goes across the Potomac River, so he looked online & got info on that & called to make sure THEY were running today (because the river's really high after last week's storms) and they were, so we ended up going and riding across on the ferry (girls loved it, got out & looked at "how it all works" w/ Papa, and such) and then went to the Nature Center at Brookside where they happily played together w/ little, if any, input from us, for over an hour. And then were happy for abit longer looking at the animals in the other room w/ Mama & Mommy. So it was a restful afternoon for the grown-ups and a fun afternoon for the kiddos, great combo LOL.

On the way home the girls declared today the "best day ever" so I guess it was a success. L also marveled that "I didn't even think about missing the butterflies, I was having too much fun" :)

And tomorrow is (hopefully) my last day at the old house. There's more stuff that still needs to come to the new house than will fit in the minivan tomorrow (especially w/ me digging out all my herbs & such tomorrow so those will take more room than boxes would) but my plan is to get it to the point that dh can load the rest in future trips w/o me having to drag the girls down there anymore.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Quick Easy Meals

Rachel Anne over at Home Sanctuary challenged us to create a list of 5-10 quick, easy (healthy) meals for the days when we don't have time to properly plan a meal. So I thought I'd post here so others can benefit from my ideas too LOL (and feel free to share your own ideas, as well):

  • We're really enjoying salad this summer. In the time it takes to boil some eggs I can tear up some lettuce, slice some cucumbers, open a can of olives, shred some cheese . . . healthy, little (or no, if you skip the boiled eggs) cooking to heat up the kitchen, and quick.
  • Some other great salads can be found here.
  • Spaghetti's another quick easy one. If you use jarred sauce, read ingredients, many brands have sugar &/or corn syrup & I just don't find it makes them taste any better, so why have it in there. When I make spaghetti sauce from scratch I make a big batch & freeze it in pint jars, even if you don't plan ahead & defrost a jar, it can be defrosted in the microwave enough to dump it in a saucepan and should be hot roughly the same time the spaghetti's done cooking. If dh is going to be around for the meal I also brown some Griller crumbles I like them WITH the red sauce, dh likes just them w/ a little butter & cheese on his spaghetti.
  • Pesto Pasta. This isn't very frugal, but it's healthy & yummy. I get the Simply Organic Pesto mix wholesale and make sure to keep a few packets on hand at all times. Put the pasta on to cook, toast some pinenuts, and fix this sauce, mix it all together, YUMMY!
  • On days when I know we won't be home till supper time & I remember to pre-plan, it's a great day for pintos in the crockpot
  • Grilled cheese or egg in a basket sandwiches are quick, and w/ a side of fresh fruit &/or raw veggies, not horribly unhealthy
  • It's still abit early, but as we get into garden season, one of my favorite supper is fresh veggies (whatever's in season) sauteed w/ vegetarian "chicken" of some sort.
  • Now that we're moved, I'm going to get back to cooking HUGE pots of rice whenever I cook rice, that way we can have at least 2 rice meals that week but more importantly, I can freeze the rest in smaller batches & pull it out for a quick meal of fried rice whenever the mood strikes.
So how about you, what are some of your favorite quick, easy meals?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

That's My Girl!!

I made blueberry muffins for breakfast this morning. It was from a mix (found it in the back of a cupboard (but not yet expired) when I was packing up at the old house) & the mix came w/ a packet of frosting to squeeze on top. I was going to skip it, but L noticed the picture on the box so I figured I'd go ahead & spoil them (& me) abit. So we ate our muffins, they came back for seconds, and I'd decided if they wanted a 3rd I'd tell them they could have it, but w/o frosting. Before I could say that, A told me "Mommy, my next muffin, I don't want frosting, so it's more healthy" awwww . . . that's my girl!!! And yes, each of them age THREE full sized blueberry muffins for breakfast! I ate 3 as well and I'm stuffed. Where DO they put it all?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mom, I'm bored!!!

This week Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer is doing a themed Works-for-Me Wednesday. She's asking us to blog about how we combat boredom.

I'm realizing something around here . . . the quickest way to hear "Mom, I'm bored" is to turn the TV on. Sound backwards? It's true! Somehow once the tv has been on, when I turn it off, I immediately hear "I'm bored, there's nothing to do . . ." why? To get me to turn the tv back on. BUT if we don't turn it on in the first place, they don't think about it, and happily self-entertain all day. Things my kids did to entertain themselves today:

  • Picked wild strawberries - they've discovered that there are lots of wild strawberries growing right by the driveway. I see them over there quite often munching away.
  • Had a concert - instruments of choice were a step stool that they've repurposed as an imaginary piano (it's got little bumps on it for friction, those are the piano "keys", as far as I can tell) and a bird perch thingy that the previous tenants left here. I haven't watched closely enough to see HOW exactly A uses it as an instrument, but she's quite attached, sigh . . . I actually offered to find the box that has their REAL instruments in it, but they had no interest LOL.
  • Drove all over creation - their "car" consists of putting the sofa pillows on the floor, the ottoman on one side, wall on the other, rocking chairs (kid sized) in front of hte pillows and an empty packing box in front of the left rocking chair. If I have it figured out correctly the pillows are the back seats (where their dolls are seated), rockign chairs are front seats, box is steering wheel . . .
  • Had countless "talk shows" in which imaginary people called in w/ imaginary questions and A&L answered those questions.
  • Swept our porch/patio area at their own initiative
  • Weeded the flowerbed (currently empty, I'll have to work w/ A on what/where she can/can't weed once I actually have plants there). She sorted through the toys & found the toy gardening toys and put them in a plastic pencil box and it's her "garden box", which she then took outside & set to work using. She actually managed to dig up a pretty good sized root (left in the ground from when Mom & I cleared the weeds out of the flower bed) w/ her dandelion digger thing.
  • and I'm sure other things that I either didn't see/hear/notice or don't remember
BUT things that I suggest when they need some direction:
  • We play board games
  • We read stories
  • We have a tea party
  • Crafts/art stuff
  • We go "exploring"

Monday, June 2, 2008

In Everything Give Thanks

Yet another reason to love a small house! I vacuumed today (yes, we've been here for 2 weeks, yes, this is the first time I vacuumed, it just didn't seem logical to vacuum when all but a couple sq inches of floor were covered w/ boxes LOL). And I was able to vacuum the ENTIRE first floor w/o unplugging/re-plugging the vacuum! I plugged it in in the living room and the cord reached to vacuum the whole floor! even the kitchen (which I normally do w/ the small rechargable, but if I can do it w/ the big vacuum w/o having to unplug/re-plug, might as well). And then I carried it upstairs, plugged it in, and vacuumed the whole upstairs w/o having to unplug it. I'm sure the novelty of this will wear off eventually but it made vacuuming seem like so much less of a chore to not have to mess w/ that LOL.

Menu Plan Monday

Yay, I have my computer back, I can get back to doing all my normal routines LOL. We're planning to head back to work on the old house this weekend, so that's why the menu stops at Thursday, we'll leave Thurs night to go down to my parents'. And of course I went to get cereal out this morning and realized that we have no milk in the house (dh finished the last gallon before we left Thurs night) so we had grapes and "stripples" (fake bacon) for breakfast LOL. Needless to say, a trip to the grocery store is in order for today.

Anyhow, such as it is, here's this week's menu:

Visit orgjunkie to see other menus for this week.