Monday, March 31, 2008

Home Education Week - Monday

This week is Home Education Week over at Principled Discovery. I don't promise to remember to do it every day, but thought I'd answer at least some of the questions. Today's is:

Describe yourself, your family or one of your children. What is it like to be home educated in your family? What is “normal” for you?

I'm not sure there's such a thing as "normal" for us. My daughters just turned 5 and we've been taking a laid back approach to preschool for the past year or so. I strongly believe that as long as my children have a thirst for learning, it is my job to answer their questions and encourage them to learn about the things that interest them. When they watched Fetch! on PBS and ask me what the redcoats are, I went on a hunt for age appropriate story books about the American Revolution (hard to find, btw) to help them better understand who the Redcoats were. When A developed an obsession with armadillos, I helped her learn about armadillos. I also make sure to have a list of ideas for when my kids say "lets do school" I can pull out a painting project or a cooking project or something they'll enjoy and learn from.

I believe that young children learn best through play & so, while I have crafts and books and such available if they ask for them, I'm also happy to let them spend an entire day in unstructured play of their own choosing.

Most days I try to have circle time when we talk about our day, read a Bible story or two, review that week's memory verse for Sabbath School. Read another story or two, practice that week's lesson for Kindermusik . . . Most afternoons we also have "tea time" where I make tea & we all drink our tea and I read to them from the book of Proverbs. It gives us some time to reconnect and talk about whatever is on their minds. On days when they're interested, we do art at least a couple times a week, sometimes following the suggestions in the curriculum we're loosely following, sometimes doing a project based on current happenings in our life (a couple weeks ago we used art time for the girls to make invitations for their birthday and then another day (or 2) decorate goody bags. This week one of our "art" projects will be making thank you cards for their birthday gifts). On days when the weather is nice we go outside and the girls ride bikes, or take their babies for walks in their stroller. Most days we play a board game or two, mostly cooperative games that encourage us to all work together toward a common goal, instead of competing against each other. We cook together, do laundry together, and clean bathrooms together.

Menu Plan Monday

Last week we had a stomach bug work it's way through our whole family, so some of this week is meals we didn't bother making last week. We did try the Turkey barley stir-fry last week, I'll be tweaking it (as noted in the recipe), but probably at least try it again with the tweaks.

So, for this week:

Monday Breakfast: Cereal & leftover muffins
Lunch: Sandwiches
Dinner: Broccoli Stir-fry
Tuesday Breakfast: Oatmeal & fruit
Lunch: Fried Rice
Dinner: Pintos and Collard Greens
Wednesday Breakfast: Orange Juice Muffins (new recipe)
Lunch: Meeting my parents
Dinner: leftovers
Thursday Breakfast: Grits & fruit
Lunch: Shepherds pie
Dinner: Garden Supper Casserole (new recipe)
Friday Breakfast: Cereal & fruit
Lunch: Sandwiches
Dinner: Potato Soup (still haven't tried this one LOL)
Sabbath Breakfast: Biscuits & fruit
Lunch: Pasta
Dinner: leftovers
Sunday: depends on our schedule

To check out other menus, go here.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wishing her life away . . .

A little bit ago, we came in from outside & we were cold, so I said I'd make hot chocolate, the girls asked for marshmallows (of course) & one of them said "I want 6!" I said "Six? You're not 6 yet, you're 5" (to see what they'd say) to which one of them (Ashlyn, I think) said "I'm almost 6!!" That's right, she turned 5 exactly TWO DAYS ago & she's already "almost 6" sigh . . .

Homeschool Wrap Up

We had fun with the grain-a-day this week. Near the end of the week we skipped some because everyone was sick (off & on), but overall, it was fun to experiment with new grains & just be more aware of the grains we eat regularly. There's wheat on my parent's fields this year, so we'll touch base off and on over the summer & revisit the grain discussion as the wheat matures. As a nice rounding out of the grain week, on the way home last night L asked me to tell the story of the Little Red Hen, which goes through the sequence of wheat seed to bread.

We read Fairy Houses and the girls were intrigued by the idea of making a fairy house, but it would be challenging to do in our suburban yard, they liked the idea of trying it when we go to the beach this spring/summer, so we'll try to remember to do that.

Going on a bear hunt was great fun (and brought back fond memories of Papa doing it (w/o a book) with us as kids). The book was a nice "crutch" for me since I'm not creative :)

Birthday party & being sick took up the second half of our week (& I was sick at the beginning of the week, and Daddy in the middle of the week), so extra messes from painting didn't seem like a good thing to add to a house I already wasn't keeping up with.

The girls practiced kindermusik throughout the week, and seem to have the memory work down (& have accepted it as a daily part of our routine, L was concerned about us skipping it on Thurs because of their party). L was sick Fri morning, so she stayed home with Daddy while I took A to Kindermusik. A was rather apprehensive about going w/o L, but did fine once she was there. Our music practice time tomorrow, I hope to have her tell/show L what she learned in class.

"writing" is creeping into the girls' play more. They are enjoying sounding out words & writing them phonetically.

Sabbath Birthday

Last year we unintentionally started a tradition of a "Sabbath Birthday" (word to those w/ younger kids, apparently age 4 is the year they REALLY remember, so plan how you do holidays & such at age 3 because they'll assume that's how they should be done every year, at least that's what happened here LOL). Last year we had a party with their friends during the week and then invited the grandparents over on Sabbath afternoon/evening to celebrate their birthday. And so, the "Sabbath birthday" was born. This year as soon as we started talking about planning their birthday, the girls talked about their "Sabbath birthday" as well as their "party".

So . . . they also decided this year they wanted to have their Sabbath birthday at Mama & Papa's house, which I hadn't thought of until the girls came up with it, but worked out well for us since we're in the midst of decluttering and such here.

So yesterday was their "Sabbath birthday". L, seemed over being sick by bedtime Fri night, but A threw up around 8pm and promptly went to bed, so I wasn't sure what was going to happen with her. Was thinking she might end up staying home at least for part of the day & then coming up later. But when I woke her up a few minutes before we were leaving to see if she wanted to come or not, she said she did, but was too tired to get up & get dressed. So I took her clothes w/ us & we threw her in the car in her pj's. She wasn't overly peppy on the ride up, but didn't sleep either (I don't think, at one point she was being very confused about the stories we were listening to & was confusing/combining Joseph & David, and it took me explaining several times for her to realize that she was mixing up the 2 stories, so I'm wondering if she fell asleep during Joseph & woke up near the end of David and that's what caused the confusion (My Bible Friends CDs, I think David comes right after Joseph (or maybe w/ a story or two in between, but we have time to listen to LOTS of MBF stories in an hour LOL). Anyway . . . she got dressed quickly when we got to my parents' church & went off to SS. She fell asleep on Mama's lap during church (which isn't "normal"), and both girls were quicker than normal to melt down over little things, and didn't eat as much as usual, but overall they were fine.

They got to spend the afternoon playing outside with Mama (I was out there for a little while but they told me to go back in the house, and similarly sent Papa away when he went out, I think they've figured out that if there's a 2nd adult out there the adults talk while the kids play, if Mama's the only one out there she actually plays with them LOL) and then Grandmom & Aunt Lynette came over for supper & presents.

Mama & Papa gave them real cameras for their birthday so we used them to take pictures of the rest of the present opening and then the kids had fun taking pictures of . . . everything :) A couple pictures from the present opening:

All the pictures from all three days of birthday can be seen here.

And here are some of the pictures A has taken with her camera:

Daddy and Uncle Dan

Daddy & Aunt Lynette

Not too shabby for a 5 yr old huh?

The rest of A's pictures are here. And here are some that L took.




And the rest of L's pictures are here.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Birthday Fun

Yesterday was the girls' "kid party". Since I didn't know where we'd be in the whole move/house for sale process at this point, a couple months ago I asked My friend Angie if we could do the girls' party at her house. It also worked out nicely since she makes the girls' cakes and L's flamingo wasn't exactly transportable so she could make it and just leave it where it was. So, we went over yesterday morning so the girls could help decorate and then the party was in the afternoon. Their friend Megan was sick, so we missed one family of friends but the girls still had a blast with the people who came. Angie's husband is in the process of dry-walling their basement so there weren't as many toys out as usual, but with Hannah & Kayla to come up with creative play ideas they all seemed to have fun. I'd brought a craft to do but by the time they played and ate cake & did ice cream it was time for people to be leaving so we skipped the craft.

Some of the fun things they came up with to do . . .

Playing on the merry go round (I'm quite certain the makers of this merry-go-round never thought it could hold THIS MANY kids!!) Right before I took the picture Adam (age 5) got off & right after he got off K & H figured out (a) to both push in the same direction, not against each other and (b) to push from the base of the bars, not higher up (which, with that much weight, just caused the bars to bend) SO from Adam's perspective, as soon as HE got off, they were able to get it moving. He explained to me that he had to get off because "I weigh a ton" ROFL!

They also put on a "fashion show".
A was the announcer who announced each person's name (I never figured out why she was holding the toy type writer the whole time, but it was obviously a part of her persona), Hannah announced who each person was dressed as and then everyone else was "models". L was tinkerbell, don't ask me how that outfit relates to Tinkerbell, but there you go. The cones represented the runway. At the end they all "took a bow":

After they played awhile they were ready for cake. A has been saying pretty much since her last birthday that she wanted an armadillo cake this year, and Miss Angie (who insists that she LIKES making cakes, and so I happily hand the task over to her (the one year I didn't (their first birthday), mom & I worked together on a peapod cake which my children now insist looks like a frog. As we were looking at old baby/birthday pictures today A again insisted that it looked like a frog & then told me that Miss Angie makes MUCH better cakes than I do, so we'll leave it to Miss Angie LOL) figured that wouldn't be too hard to accomplish.

Isn't it cute? A request a 5 banded armadillo (which I don't THINK exists) since it was her 5th birthday.

The birthday girl with her cake

For most of the past year L has said that she wanted another Belle (Beauty & the Beast) cake, the same as she had last year but then a couple months ago she apparently decided she needed to keep her theme more like her sister's and declared that she wanted a FLAMINGO cake! I found a picture of a fancy one standing up & sent the link to Angie as a joke (fully expecting her to just make a flat cut-out of one or perhaps a sheet cake w/ "water" & such on it & then use plastic flamingos to stick into it) but Angie decided she wanted to do the standing up one so, here is L's Flamingo cake:

And the other birthday girl.

Blowing out the candles.

And finally, opening presents.

This morning the girls woke up to their presents from Mommy & Daddy. L started throwing up Thurs. night and was sick most of her birthday :( She sat on Daddy's lap & opened the presents A brought to her, but wasn't very energetic about it all. Woke up from a nap around 7:30pm and was feeling fine.

A blowing up the balloon for her new balloon boat.

The closest to a smile I could get from L.

I'd set up a treasure hunt for them to find their present from Aunt Darla & Uncle Jim. Poor L wasn't even feeling good enough to want to have me carry her w/ us, but A had great fun with it.

And at the end of the treasure hunt, was a "wash day" set (washtub, laundry basket, drying rack & clothes pins). A immediately had to hang some laundry up to dry.

With L sick, we had a pretty quiet birthday. She stayed home with Daddy while I took A to Kindermusik and the Library. We got home & played the new games they got, and such. By evening A was the one who was sick and L was feeling better.

5 Years Ago Today . . .

I was 35 weeks pregnant with twins and on bedrest. I got up, came downstairs, and suddenly just KNEW my water was breaking I RAN (& yes, a woman 35 weeks pregnant with twins running is quite the sight LOL) to the bathroom and managed to have my water break on the toilet, whew! No mess to clean up! And then just sat there until dh finished his shower, when the shower turned off I called upstairs to him & told him my water had broken. And so began our journey into parenthood . . . (if you want to read all the details, here are the birth story, pregnancy pictures (why yes, I WAS huge thankyouverymuch!), and newborn pictures.

And now they're FIVE!! How did that happen? They amaze me daily with what they know and can figure out and just how big they are! They challenge me daily with their spiritedness. They know without question what they want! They will fight to the death for what they believe in. But they are quick to point out that "it might hurt so & so's feelings if we tell her she's too little to play with us". Everyone is their friend and they make friends everywhere they go. I don't think we've EVER gone to McDonalds or Burger King's play area that they haven't left talking about their "new friends" and lamenting that they'll probably never see them again.

Some days they whine if I ask them to put on their own shoes, other days they clear all the dishes without being asked, tell me they LOVE doing laundry, and joyfully "race" to see how fast they can get the toys picked up.

Happy Birthday to my two big girls! I love you both!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

One of the things that dh comments on frequently now that he is home most of the time is how "BUSY" our children are. They really are! They develop such complex imaginary scenarios & busily act them out for HOURS (interspersed w/ disagreements on how things should go which generally results in "I'm not playing with you for a HUNDRED YEARS!!! I wish I didn't have a sister! Throw she in the trash!!!" and then 10 seconds later they go back to playing LOL). So, here are a few things they have done today:

They have been busy gardening. In my decluttering I came across 2 cheap sets of plastic gardening hand tools that I'd gotten sometime & never given them. So I threw those in their easter baskets, they were the hit of the easter basket. Anyway . . . they took L's puppet tree and a bunch of the fake fruit/veggies from their kitchen stuff & have been regularly "gardening" ever since. A also found a goofy looking hat in the dress up box that is her "gardening hat".

A made cherry muffins. I found a Christmas ornament that came as part of a set that looks like a tiny muffin pan and gave it to the girls for their play kitchen stuff, so she mixed together a bunch of toy cherries, and told me a whole list of other things she added to the bowl, stirred them up, poured them in the muffin pan and put it in "the oven".

The took their babies for a walk in the rain (why yes, it IS bright & sunny here today, but apparently it was raining in the basement).

L was writing something or other, I'd love to find it (but she wouldn't give it to me when I asked, and she didn't leave it on the table), she was sounding words out & writing them w/ very little help (just if she couldn't figure out what made a sound she'd ask, of course since she says bag w/ a southern accent she asked what says "ay" LOL) and I'd love to see how she did, will have to keep my eyes open for it.

And those are just the things I happened to notice/make note of LOL.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

This week for homeschool we're looking at the "grain a day" recommended in Waldorf philosophy, so I'm going to include all meals/snacks (even though I'm generally really bad about not following the breakfast & snack "plan", I'll need to be better this week to fit all the grains in LOL) to highlight the grains:

Sunday was wheat. I was sick but the girls went to my parents' house & had waffles for breakfast (or would have if Daddy hadn't fed them cookies on the way there) so that was the wheat (I guess the cookies had wheat in them too LOL).

Monday (rice):
Breakfast - fruit
Lunch: Fried Rice
Snack: Popcorn
Supper: Spinach Spaghetti
Tuesday (Barley)
Breakfast: Muffins (I found a mix in the back of the cupboard, going to try it, I don't remember what flavor it is LOL)
Lunch: Taco bell with Mama & Papa
Snack: Dried fruit
Supper: Turkey Barley Stir-fry (new recipe, we'll see what we think)
Wednesday: (millet)
Breakfast: Biscuits & fruit
Lunch: Sandwiches
Snack: Millet Squares
Dinner: Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce over Pasta
Thursday: ( Rye)
Breakfast: Rye cereal (like oatmeal but using rye flakes instead of rolled oats)
Lunch: Angie's house
Snacks: Birthday party
Dinner: Pintos, cornbread, and cooked greens
Friday: (Corn)
Breakfast: leftover biscuits & fruit
Lunch: Sandwiches
Snacks: Popcorn (for the corn)
Dinner: Potato Soup (that we didn't end up making last week)
Saturday: (Oats)
Breakfast: Oatmeal
we'll be at my parents' house the rest of the day.

To check out other menus, go on over to OrgJunkie

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Declutter/Move Update

I've moved on from the constant getting rid of stuff, and am working on going through the house room by room & getting each room totally DONE (or as close as possible, there are some things we won't do until we're ready to put the house on the market like putting beds back on bedframes (don't ask) and getting rid of the mountain o' boxes in the basement (and once the mountain o' boxes is gone I THINK we'll be able to move all the kids' toys from the family room to the basement so I'm leaving the family room in general till the end (though once the rest of the main level is back to looking like a house instead of a pig pen I'll at least go back to daily picking up in the family room). So . . . what have I done this week? Last weekend the load of stuff I sent to Mom & Dad's house (storage) included the last of the stuff from the storage area of the basement, so now that is EMPTY except for DH's pile to go through (rather large, but easy enough to just keep working around for now), a couple big pieces of furniture that need to be freecycled or ebay'd, some half-packed boxes (because I want things packed logically so for now there are half-packed boxes that I keep adding to as I work through other rooms) and the boxes & shelving that I might need to access while we're living here. I finished just straightening that area up this week and then started on the rest of the basement. It wasn't much left, the front corner was stacked full of boxes of stuff for my candle business, I'd gone through most of it earlier in the decluttering process but that was when I thought we were going to be renting this house so the whole "staging" aspect of selling a house wasn't a part of my plan. So I went back through it & pulled out stuff that can be stored at mom & dad's house, moved boxes that I DO need here, but don't need to access often, to the storage area & took over the empty metal shelving unit (in the storage area) to store the smaller stuff on. I haven't measured but I'm 99% sure that the table in my kitchen that I use for making candles will fit in that area now so that I can still fill orders while the house is on the market. So that was my Monday (& Tuesday? I don't remember) project, and I've spent the rest of the week moving stuff from the dining room (which has been my candle-storage, homeschool storage room for the last few years) to the basement & incorporating it in w/ the stuff already down there. I'm hoping to finish the dining room tomorrow, it's ALMOST done, I might even manage to finish it today (I was SUPPOSED to be at my parents' house today for Easter but came down w/a stomach bug during the night. I'm feeling ok, but not real peppy, but didn't want to risk spreading germs since my Grandma just got over (is getting over) being sick. So DH took the girls to Mama & Papa's and I stayed home), and then I can move on to other rooms. Once I get through all the rooms we'll be able to move on to doing repairs & deep cleaning & such and actually moving toward getting this house on the market, woo-hoo!!

Homeschool wrap-up

This week we focused on school on Monday for St Patrick's Day and then we moved into working on the goody bags for the girls' party.

In my decluttering I found some foam tote bags that I'd gotten thinking I could hang them from hooks to organize toys w/ lots of little pieces, but they weren't sturdy enough for that so the first one was destroyed & the rest got stuffed in a corner LOL. Conveniently, since they were from Oriental Trading, that meant I had 11 left, and totally coincidentally we have 11 guests coming to the party (not counting the 11 yr old boy who I'm thinking doesn't want a foam tote bag full of little kid toys, or the month old baby) so we used foam letters to put everyone's names on their bags and then other foam shapes to finish decorating the bags. We slipped in a bunch of letter sorting to find the letters for everyone's names. It was fun to see the designs & thought processes they used in the other decorations on the bags too.

I was hoping to slip in a small Easter lapbook but since I'm on zero budget it took me till near the end of the week to find a free template (well, I found one last week but it was a unit study based on a book that was already checked out from the library) so we only did the first 2 pages of the one I finally found. I also fully intended to do Resurrection cookies with them last night but time got away from us and bedtime came too quickly.

Kindermusik has been going well. The girls are learning to read music and are starting to be able to play REAL songs (granted ones that only use 3 notes). They're enjoying it and seem to be doing well.

We haven't been specifically working on reading & such but L randomly asks me to let her "help" read bedtime stories (I read the story but point out words I know she knows), it's helping her get the concept of sight recognition of words she's already sounded out, so I suspect that will help when she decides she wants to move forward with "reading" again.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Overheard . . .

While coloring pictures of Jesus standing in front of the empty tomb.

L: What about Jesus' dress?
A: Boys don't wear dresses, this is his gown, and it's white!

You really had to hear A's tone of voice to get the full effect, 100% disgust that L even had to ASK such a thing LOL.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Yesterday in the car the girls & I had a rather humorous conversation about monsters. L insists that they ARE real, whereas I reminded them that "monsters live in your imagination".

So, here's what the girls informed me about monsters & such (this was all done in good humor, the girls DO understand they're pretend, but they also thoroughly enjoy pretending LOL) :

Monsters live in the walls they're gigantonormous (guess that's how you'd spell that) but very thin (this in response to my comment that if monsters live in walls they must be small since walls aren't very thick). Ghosts live in the basement. Giants live "in a part of the upstairs we don't know about" (A asked if this was the attic but L said not). While L was trying to come up with her answer as to where giants live, A suggested that they must live "in Jesus books" since that's where the story of Goliath is, and he was a real giant. Monsters, giants & ghosts are all friends and when they get together it sounds like this "grrrrowl-boo-fee-fo-fum"

So there you have it, the whole scoop on things that go bump in the night.

Another recent car conversation involved Jesus coming back to earth and such. I think this is the first conversation we've had about this that hasn't resulted with A in tears saying she doesn't want to go to Heaven, she'd miss her house/car/toys . . . etc. too much. So either she's working through THOSE issues while she works through her fears about our upcoming move or she's growing up or something . . . she's become alot more calm about our upcoming move as well, she still doesn't like it, and during a recent conversation asked L & my mom "can we not talk about that, it reminds me of moving and that makes me sad" but it was said calmly, not with the total meltdowns that we were having for awhile. Anyway . . . things discussed in this conversation:

How far away is Heaven? As high as the clouds? They were very impressed to hear that it's even higher than the stars and sun and planets (we've talked about all this before, but they're getting a more accurate grasp of such things so it means more than it did when they were younger). Then we moved onto their safety concerns about the cloud Jesus will take us to Heaven on. A said she hopes it has seat belts. I pointed out that maybe the whole cloud would have gravity like the earth does so that we wouldn't fall off the cloud just like we don't fall off the earth even though it's spinning around. L liked that idea much better since then she can walk around. Then they wanted to know what would happen if an asteroid was flying toward the cloud (apparently I was a very unimaginative child or something these kinds of things never crossed my mind LOL) I told them Jesus might say "asteroid, stop!" and it would stop. Which of course took us down the path of 101 other possible things that might come toward the cloud or the cloud might come toward and then Jesus would have to say whatever was appropriate to avert that disaster. It was a fun conversation LOL.

Blogoversary Party

One of the blogs I enjoy reading is Seeking Rest in the Ancient Paths. She and her 3 oldest daughters are hosting a Blogoversary party this weekend. Pop over & check their blogs out, and join in the fun (you might even win some great door prizes!).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Today for St. Patrick's Day we finished up the St. Patrick's Day Lapbook. The girl's enjoyed seeing the pieces we've been working on all last week finally come together into a finished product. The picture on the left is of the front of the lapbook, L colored the picture on the left & A colored the picture on the right (I did all the cutting on this one to make sure everything fit right)

This lapbook was designed for older kids, and alot of the stuff was beyond them (write an acrostic poem . . . and such), and others we just skipped from lack of time. It's designed to be a lapbook made by gluing 2 file folders together (so you have 2 full openings, but since we skipped so much of it, we fit it all in one folder, similar to the Adam & Eve lapbook we did awhile back. Here's the inside of the lapbook:

Most of these open up to ask questions, that the girls answered (& I wrote down) after I read them various online things about St. Patrick's day. The bottom right corner (purple circle) opens up to be a chart where we took a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal and charted how many of each kind of marshmallow was in the bowl. I forsee this being something we can better utilize when they're older & they can use it to calculate percentages and all kinds of good stuff. For now, it mostly gave us an excuse to buy & eat a kind of totally unhealthy cereal that I generally won't buy LOL.

The other thing we did today was to make Green Smoothies they were a HIT! And you totally can't taste the spinach, so this would also be a great way to get a kid who doesn't like spinach to eat some greens :)
It really was more of a "spring green" in person, not sure why the picture turned out the color of pea soup LOL.

Menu Plan Monday

First, reviews of last week's new recipes. The shepherd's pie, dh wasn't impressed with (he'd like all the pieces separately, but didn't like them all mixed together), but the girls both ate it & L declared it DELICIOUS and said she wants to eat it every day! So, I've shifted it to our list of lunch options to eat when Daddy's not around. The Pintos, everyone enjoyed, and L declared them "even better than the shepherd's pie" so they're definitely going on the regular rotation :)

Now, for this week (I'm going to include lunch as well this time):

Monday Lunch: leftovers
Monday Dinner: Broccoli stir-fry
Tuesday Lunch: fried rice
Tuesday Dinner: Pintos & cornbread
Wednesday Lunch: Grilled Cheese sandwiches
Wednesday Dinner: Crockpot chicken & quinoa
Thursday Lunch: lunch with Mama & Papa
Thursday Dinner: Southwest roll-ups
Friday Lunch: Sandwiches
Friday Dinner: Potato Soup

Go over to OrgJunkie to see other people's menus.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Homeschool Wrap Up

This week we worked on a St Patrick's Day lapbook. I went through & only printed the things that were age appropriate (alot of it involved research stuff that they're not ready for) and we haven't even done all of that, but I think they've enjoyed what we've done & we've all learned abit more about a holiday that I'll admit I knew nothing about beyond that it's Irish & people wear green LOL. We'll do alittle more today & then tomorrow we'll glue it all into the lapbook (since I wasn't sure how much we'd end up doing I'm waiting to glue it in at the end to see how we'll lay it out).

The girls really did well w/ their memory verse this week. At SS they're never really even given the opportunity to say it from MEMORY, the teachers just have them repeat it after them, but this week, we worked on actually memorizing it. They did really well, they have trouble w/ the text, but I've always had trouble with that too, and until they're reading & can look up texts for themselves, it doesn't really make sense to them anyway.

We also had fun with shells this week, I'm kicking myself that I can NOT find the shell collection I put together as a kid in Pathfinders. I think the girls would enjoy seeing it (it's all together in a box and each shell is labeled & such), but we're making do with odds & ends of shells I DO have, which still lets us explore the textures & such.

And we got the seeds I wanted to start, planted. Still need to get teh seed markers made (before I forget what I planted where LOL).

We still haven't started the painting that is supposed to be art right now, although I read through what we'd be doing this week if we were "on schedule" and we're skipping it anyway, it's asking them to paint recognizable THINGS (animals & such) and I've worked too hard to get Miss Perfectionist (A) to NOT freak out because "I was trying to paint a dog & this doesn't look like a dog" I'm not about to TELL them to paint something specific at this point. The book for this unit (Children & Painting) does seem to go through the steps of learning to paint in an easy to follow way, I might pull it out in a couple years and see if the girls enjoy working through it. But for now, we'll pick & choose, and at the moment, I'm vetoing more than I'm choosing LOL.


By the end of last week the girls were having much more frequent than usual meltd0wns, which told me that I needed to step back abit from the decluttering/getting house ready to put on the market, and focus on them abit more. And we still seem to be fighting off some bugs, I had a stomach thing on Monday & L had it Thurs night during the night (but woke up fine).

So . . . decluttering this week, we sent another load home with Mom & Dad on Friday, so all that is currently ready to go now is furniture type stuff, guess I better get busy this week & get some more boxes packed LOL.

Some of what I sent home w/ Mom & Dad is their's, a dresser that we've had in our guest room, and a guinea pig cage that we used (10 yrs ago) to transport my grandfather's cat to our townhouse when Gramps died & we "inherited" the cat LOL. She's now been gone for 3 yrs or so, but we still had the silly guinea pig cage, Dad said he wanted it back :) I also found 4 or 5 pairs of size 7 or 7 1/2 shoes in the back of my closet (my feet grew when I was pg so I wear 8s now) so gave those to Mom.

And, awhile back I started to throw some sprouted potatoes into the compost & realized that they were starting to grow into potato plants, so I threw them into pots to see how they'd do, they're doing pretty well, and mom noticed them Fri & suggested that I give them to Grandpa & let him plant them where they'll have room to actually grow potatoes, so I gave 5 or 6 potato plants to Grandpa this week too :)

This week I'm hoping to start systematically getting rooms DONE we'll see if it happens :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Proof that they DO Listen . . .

Tonight at supper time the girls were very involved in their current game of make believe. So, they came to the "restaurant", asked what our "special" was, and then each ordered one, plus ordering however many for their many children (I believe each of them has 4 children plus however many dolls they're currently carrying around as babies), but those were all imaginary plates LOL. Then as they ate A was admonishing her children as follows:

"It's ok to not like the food, but we're in a place with other people, it's not polite to say "yuck", you can just quietly tell me you'd rather have something else"

Now to get them to remember this & put it into practice when WE are in public LOL.

And woo-hoo! While A's children opted for applesauce instead of shepherds pie, the girls each ate their shepherds pie & asked for more & ate it! DH wasn't so impressed, so this will be going on our lunch meal rotation!! What I find amusing about this is that L has been ADAMANT for the last 2 weeks or so that she doesn't like green beans, but ate them in this w/o a complaint. Silly kids.

Horribly, horribly late

I'm like a MONTH late posting these, but these are the pictures one of the other moms took & sent me from the Valentines Tea Party we went to.

Miss Laura started the party by doing some circle games, similar to ones we've played in Kindermusik. A's in the brown shirt & L's in the pink hat.

Not sure why L's making such a funny face, but it amuses me :)
Waiting patiently (ha ha) for the tea and sandwiches to be served.
Tea party in progress. See the cute little tea pots & tea cups? The kids got such a kick out of pouring their own tea, of course after every cup we had to refill the teapot since it was so small but still . . . they loved it!

I'm not alone!!

If you're on any home school lists or otherwise paying any attention to "home school news" you've probably heard way more than you wanted to about the recent ruling in CA. But the one thing I hadn't seen was anyone else reacting to the line that has jumped out at me every time I've read quotes from the ruling. FINALLY an article saying what I've been thinking!

(the last part of the article, to be precise). IMO this should make everyone at least step back & take a long look at what/why/how their children are being taught, whatever schooling choices you make.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Recipe: Shepherd's Pie

This is my firend, Jenni's recipe, adapted for us being vegetarian.

DH wasn't impressed, but the girls each had 2 platefuls!

2 c lentils, cooked
3/4 c diced onion
2 tsp garlic
2 Tbs whole wheat flour
1/2 c beef flavored broth
1/2 c milk
frozen green beans
2 c mashed potatoes

Cook onions and garlic. Add flour and incorporate thoroughly then add liquid and bring to a boil. Stir in lentil and transfer to casserole. Add a layer of green beans, top with mashed potatoes and bake 20-30 min. at 400.

Menu Plan Monday

Running late, but here you go!

Monday: Spaghetti

Tuesday: Shepherd Pie

Wednesday: Pizza

Thursday: Pintos & Cornbread

Friday: Potato Noodle Soup

Check out other menus here.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Homeschool Wrap Up

Hmm, if you look at my "to do list" for this past week & then what I did, we didn't do much. But overall I felt like we did more than we'd been doing. This is why a curriculum that HAD to be followed would drive me nuts LOL.

Anyway, things we did . . . LOVED the warm weather the first part of the week, played outside, had all our windows open, reveled in the little hint that spring really IS coming . . .

Read lots of books. Switching out the basket of homeschool books really caught the kids' attention this time, they weren't much interested in "doing school" but happily sat on the sofa & listened to stories, which they haven't been as interested into recently.

Last weekend I put a My Bible Friends CD in, in the car, and I think it (& when I got totally sick of it, the 2nd one) stayed in all week, the girls are really enjoying listening to these stories in the car. Yesterday I'd meant to bring it along in Dad's car, but forgot, but HAD thrown in one folder of the Bible in Living Sound CDs and this time they seemed to enjoy those as well (although they fell asleep, but that's more of an indication of how tired they were, since normally they won't no matter what they're listening to). We tried listening to Bible in Living Sound on our way to FL in Oct but they didn't like them then. So, Bible stories while in the car are a fun new part of our "curriculum" :)

Kindermusik, I already wrote about, here.

A has really gotten into "writing music" where she fills a piece of paper with her approximation of music notes (they're pretty accurate) and then playing one of her instruments as if reading that music.

Decluttering Challenge Check-In

So this week, I accomplished quite abit but didn't really get rid of much of anything. The last part of our week didn't go as planned. I mentioned in the earlier post that Mom & Dad were supposed to be coming down Thurs night & taking a load home with them, but Grandma got sick, so Mom went home to check on her instead of them coming down here. So that load didn't go out. Dad did come down yesterday and took one load home with him. Mostly boxes for them to store for us, but also some random stuff I sent to mom, plastic containers, gift boxes/bags/bows, and I don't even remember what else LOL. So, in the spirit of the original "7 things a week" challenge, I sent more than 7 things to mom, so I met my goal even on a week that was focused on other things :)

I also have another trash bag full of shredded paper & a huge pile of cardboard that will go out in the recycling tonight.

My focus is going to continue to be more on getting spaces completely done, so the actual getting rid of will continue to be slower, although there's a huge pile of books, movies & cd's that I need to get listed on, another pile of stuff I want to list on craigslist, and other stuff that I need to give away one way or another. And of course I expect to continue adding to those piles as I continue going through stuff. But it does help my motivation to have to be "accountable" for getting stuff done, so I'll keep boring you all w/ the mundaneness of my life LOL.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

It's a Party!!!!

I'm not much of a party girl. I'm more of a "small gathering" kind of girl, but an ONLINE party where I don't actually have to make small talk with anyone? THAT I can do LOL!! Click on the banner above to join in the fun.

And to those stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere for the first time, WELCOME!! Broad Horizons School is the name I chose for our homeschool. One of the first things that led our family to choose homeschooling was the idea of being able to broaden our horizons (and yes, I plan to learn right along with my kids thankyouverymuch!). To learn in hands-on ways. To allow each child to explore the things that interest them.

Record keeping isn't my strong point (and at this point, isn't required by the state, yet). I set up this blog to have an informal, fun, way to keep track of what we do and share it with those who are interested.

As a side benefit (or something) I also use this blog to share my organizing/housekeeping successes (and failures). And share the things I'm doing to save money, and be healthier, and be "kind to the earth" (as my kids would say). And just generally babble about whatever crosses my mind.

So come in, grab a cup of coffee or tea, have a look around, and stop back often.

The Ultimate Blog Party also has tons of great prizes, some of my favorite include:

#7 Bead Dangle Photo Tile Necklace
#70 Chocolate!!!
#11 Good For The Kids Gift Certificate

And so many more (100, 101, 59, 60, 117, 39, 55, 62, 103, 104, 105 , 80, 81, 52, 87, 34, 76, 77, 48, 19, 49)

Friday, March 7, 2008


L is giving Daddy a "test to see if he can stay in Kindermusik" (don't ask me what any of this has to do w/ Kindermusik, and I tried to ascertain why Daddy needed to be tested to be in Kindermusik when I haven't noticed THEM having to take any tests for Kindermusik and got the exasperated "Mommy, we're PLAYING" response LOL). Anyway . . . here are some of the questions she came up w/ all on her own:

  1. Which animal is octernal (nocturnal)? Asked while holding up 2 finger puppets, a horse & an opossum
  2. Is a spider an insect?
  3. Which one grows? Asked while holding up a block & a fake flower
I thought those were rather impressive questions from a 4 yr old :)

Praise Him with the Harp

Today for Kindermusik Miss Laura brought in her harp to show the kids & let them each take a turn playing it. Here are some pictures:



I also snapped a picture during class as the kids were getting ready to play their Glockenspiels, here are my 2 girls & their friend, A.

Friday Feast

I thought this looked like fun.


If you could be any current celebrity for one whole week, who would you want to be?

Shudder, unless there's a celebrity that still has their privacy, none! I'm so not a fan of being in the spotlight in any way shape or form!


On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how much do you enjoy talking on the phone?

Maybe 2? I'm more of an e-mail kind of girl. I see phones as a way to get/give information when needed.


Name a charitable organization to which you have donated (or would like to).

After reading all the blogs about the recent trip to Africa with Compassion, I would so love to sponsor a child!

Main Course

What is a food you like so much you could eat it every single day for a month?



Have you or anyone in your family had the flu this year?

If so it was a mild version of it, not sure if we had a light version of the flu or just a bad cold, whatever it was went through our whole family a week or so ago.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What I've Been Up To

Have you noticed the "stuff I got rid of" list has been sparse this week? I'm finally done going through boxes upon boxes just for the sake of going through boxes (well, you know what I mean). I spent the first part of this week doing my final organizing in the storage part of the basement. It's now stacked full of "stuff for storage" (otherwise known as Mom & Dad's garage), "stuff for dh to go through", a few half-full boxes that will fill up as I continue going through the rest of the house, both for storage & for freecycle , and some beautifully almost empty shelving units (& a few boxes that will continue to be stored here until we actually move). Seriously, if I'd taken before & after pictures you'd be amazed (& it'll be even more impressive after tonight, when Mom & Dad take another load to their house). But that's not really what I was planning to post about.

Before DH took over our dining room as I went through boxes & piles & my closet and such, I'd been accumulating all "craft stuff" in the dining room (on the floor) and my plan was once I'd gotten through most areas, I'd sort all the craft stuff & organize it & purge it & such. And of course the dining room seemed the logical place for this because (a) I already had my main stash of craft stuff in there (b) it's kind of my "project room" so I'd have the whole table & floor to spread out my sorting on w/o being in anyone's way. And then dh took over the table as his "office" sigh . . . So, it occurred to me that while dh is gone this week, I should really sort the craft stuff & get it out of his way. So yesterday I started sorting, and sorting, but of course, I didn't have the table so I had piles all over the floor under/around the table, and the piles were getting bigger & my original thought that I could sort stuff into shoe boxes became rather laughable (too much of each type of thing).

Then last night while laying in bed, it hit me! See, one of the things I did in the basement this week was to consolidate ALL the empty boxes (& I have tons & tons because you know, I'm a pack rat, and I order stuff for the business & for the co-ops I run, and they come in boxes & of course one never knows when one might need a box for something so I KEEP all those boxes . . . ) ANYWAY . . . I already had a start of a box pile in the front corner of the basement, and I declared it my official "box pile" and moved all the other smaller box piles to that same location. Now, here's where it gets amusing, before I began piling boxes, I noticed a whole stack of plastic storage boxes (that actually have been used most recently for dying clothes & playsilks) at the BACK of the pile of boxes & I briefly thought "maybe I should pull those out where I can get to them before I stack more boxes in front of them" but then I thought "no, I can't imagine why I'd need those right now, they're fine right where they are . . ." So yeah, last night in bed, I remembered those boxes that are now at the BACK of the MUCH LARGER pile of boxes & thought hey, those might be abit too big for most of the categories (ha ha ha ha ha) but they'd still be great to sort everything into & then the ones that are too big I can transfer to something smaller. So today I dug through the mountain o' boxes and got my plastic containers out.

And then I started sorting, and sorting and sorting . . . and the kids whined that they wanted lunch but I was ON A ROLL! And the kids started fighting and I grumbled at having to stop my sorting to break up the fights . . . and finally, I had it all sorted! And you know how I thought those bins would be too big? Yeah, maybe not . . . See how it looks all piled in the living room waiting to be labeled & put away?
And then I DID take a break and feed my children lunch and things like that. And then I went hunting for lids, but found that I only know where a few of the lids are (did I mention these plastic containers have mostly been used as dye buckets, those don't really require lids) and I labeled them all (which was so much easier to do now that it meant pulling a pad of sticky notes out of the Paper bin & a marker out of the Crayons & Markers bin instead of searching the whole house for something that would work as labels & a marker LOL) and carried them down to the pretty empty shelves in the basement and here you have them (the shelf itself will push back against a wall once the piles of stuff to go to storage have actually GONE TO STORAGE). Aren't they nice and organized? Now when my children want to paint, I can find paint (every imaginable kind of paint too!). And when they want to "do crafts" I have a whole bin of craft kits, or if they're feeling really creative (or I am) misc craft STUFF like pipe cleaners & popsicle sticks just waiting for me to pull them out & let the kids have at them. Need glue? I know where it is! I'm so proud of me LOL.

My other project this week was 2-fold. First, I found some of our empty CD cases so I went through them, and the binder of CDs and created a nice big stack of CDs to sell (trying to decide if I want to drag them to a used books/CD store or if I want to take the time to list them all on leaving only a few cds in the front of the binder. Then I dug out all the girls' DVDS (& a few of mine, but most are theirs) and went through them, and pulled out a few of them to sell (but I'd purged them not too long ago, so not many) but the rest, I pulled out of their cases & added to the binder. So now instead of FOUR BOXES of DVDS, plus a pile on top of the DVD player that wouldn't fit in the boxes I have ONE BINDER of DVDS and CDs Plus a small more portable cd case of cds I'm going to have in the car right now. And there's still more room in the binder! And all the empty cases are stacked in a box ready to go to storage (for whenever I decide I'm ready to sell THESE and need them in cases again).

So that's what I've been busy doing all week, in between feeding kids and playing countless games of Go Fish & Monopoly and reading stories and all the normal fun stuff that is part of my day to day life.

Redskins . . . Redcoats . . . it's all so confusing

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that an episode of Fetch with Ruff Ruffman got the girls all interested in the 'Red Coats' and I'm finding there is very little available at their age level about the Revolutionary War. Anyway . . . starting last week the History Channel started airing re-runs of "Liberty Kids" (an old PBS show on . . . the Revolutionary War), so I started recording them. The girls insist on pretty much hiding behind me when they/we watch it since parts are "scary". Today the girls were calling the red coats the "redskins" combine that with the fact that Daddy has brainwashed them into thinking the Redskins football team is "bad", no wonder they're confused LOL.

And then a few minutes later, after I'd corrected them that it was red COATS not red SKINS, L had her "lightbulb moment", "Did they call them red coats because they wear RED COATS?" I think it's all becoming abit more clear LOL.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday - Backwards Edition

Today Shannon at Rocksinmydryer is hosting a backwards edition of Works for me Wednesday. This means instead of me telling you something that works for me, I get to ask you about something I'm trying to figure out :)

So, here's the thing. We've been battling sickness here for the last week or so, and we've about kicked it, BUT L's still coughing, and it seems to be that she's coughing up mucous. And last night A woke me up complaining that her ear hurts. I've dosed her with the various natural remedies (oil in her ear to help with the pain, hemeopathics to kill the infection if there is one), but here's my question. In reading up on what to do, one thing that was mentioned as a preventative is to make sure to keep their noses cleared out when they have colds. And obviously one of the reasons L's coughing up so much mucous is because she's not blowing her nose to clear it out either. BUT no matter how "on top of them" I am, I don't know they need to blow their nose until they sniffle it back up into their nose, and then they can't blow it back out. So, anyone have any tried & true tips to get little kids to blow their noses?

To clarify, my kids know HOW to blow their nose, they just don't want to do it, so instead of blowing their nose they snuffle it back up inside, kwim?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

This week's menus are abit different from normal. DH will be gone for supper most of this week so the girls & I will take advantage of that to have some meals that he doesn't like :) But also simple meals that won't take much work since I'll be parenting on my own. Here's the plan:

Monday: Homemade Pizza (we were supposed to go to a friend's birthday party, where we'd have had pizza, on Friday but I had a migraine and couldn't drive, so I promised the girls pizza tonight instead)

Tuesday: Tomato Soup (the girls like regular canned tomato soup, but this week we'll try making our own using this recipe) and eggs in a basket.

Wednesday: Fried Rice (this is normally a lunch meal for us since dh doesn't like it, but since he won't be here we'll mix things up abit LOL)

Thursday: Out to eat with Mama & Papa

Friday: Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce over Pasta (Daddy's supposed to be home for this meal, and it's one of his favorites)

Incidentally, we tried the Taco Style Lentils & Rice last week. They weren't bad, but even I thought they weren't spicy enough, so we aren't writing them off as a potential regular menu item, but they need some tweaking.

Check out other menus here.