Monday, June 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I haven't participated in Menu Plan Monday in FOREVER!!! But did I mention I'm trying to blog more regularly? And generally be more organized . . . so, here goes . . . (click on the items to find links to recipes, if applicable)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

15 Things I Love About My Husband

One of the blogs I read recommended this post on another blog. It's a beautiful, thought-provoking post on safeguarding your marriage! In the post, Ann Voskamp challenges her readers to have a Thankfulness Journal, to record things that we're thankful for about our husbands. I thought that was a great idea!! It's so easy for all of us to make sure everyone knows when things go wrong, but forget to mention the simple, every-day things that we're thankful for (or even remember to BE thankful for those simple, every-day things.

So, without further ado, in no particular order, (some of the) things I'm thankful for about my husband:

  1. His love for our daughters
  2. That he provides well for our family
  3. That he supports my desire to stay home with our children
  4. That he's always willing to cook when I haven't had time
  5. That he never complains when the house is a mess
  6. No matter how busy things are, he finds time for his girls
  7. Watching him melt when his girls ask him for anything
  8. He shares my enjoyment in "window shopping" for houses
  9. He supports my desire to homeschool our children
  10. His sense of humor
  11. His smile
  12. His hugs
  13. He's always done everything he can to help w/ nighttimes with babies (both when the twins were little and now with Little Bit) so that I can get enough sleep to function (I need more sleep than him to function)
  14. He always puts others first
  15. His generosity

Our Week!

I'm trying to get back to doing a weekly update each weekend. So . . .

This past week was pretty quiet. I LIKE quiet weeks!

Monday we came home from my parents' house. Tuesday the big girls went with Daddy to visit Grandmom and Little Bit and I ran some errands, caught up on some stuff around here, and did lots of snuggling, she was pretty fussy, I thought it was teething but she's been fine since then and no sign of new teeth (though her gums were swollen that day so I think the teeth WILL be coming sometime soon, we shall see).

Wedneday-Friday we worked on getting back into our "normal" routine after campmeeting and all.

Of some importance, we finished up Prairie Primer!! This was our main unit study this whole past school year, so it feels good to be done (I like checking things off the list LOL). We had finished listening to the books (on mp3) while driving to/from campmeeting, so last week we just did the last little bit of fun stuff & discussions and such. It was a good unit, I look forward to "revisiting" it when the girls are older and can do more independently (and/or I can do more of it w/ them w/o a baby/toddler) so we can do more with the crafts/handwork and cooking and such. But I'm glad we did it this way, we had a good, laid back year doing it this year and can re-use all the books and such when we re-visit it when they are 5th grade (give or take) and Little Bit is old enough to enjoy the stories and some of the cooking and such.

Our other project was getting the girls' room clean/toddler-proof. We've had their small piece toys (play food/kitchen, etc) in baskets for years, BUT that doesn't work so well with a toddler around since emptying baskets is her favorite pastime. So, we got some plastic containers w/ lids that latch on. And got everything put into those boxes and generally cleaned up the room. So now Little Bit can go in there w/o the whole room being a choking hazard AND w/o destroying hte room. Our tentative thought is that in a few months she might be ready to move to a mattress on the floor in there, she loves doing all things "like big sisters" so I think with a little bit better comprehension, she'll like the idea of sleeping in the same room as them. We do need to secure the bookshelves to the walls (or loft frame) before it's safe for her to SLEEP in there, but we got alot closer to that point today. My other hope is, that now that their room is ok for her to be in, we'll be able to take a little time each day that she can play with them in there while I work on other projects, like the disaster that is OUR bedroom. We shall see . . .

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Setting Sail!!!!

It's official! (actually it's been official for a couple weeks now, but they've been a busy couple of weeks). I was chosen to be a part of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's (TOS) "Homeschool Crew". Basically it's a group of homeschoolers that agree to review products for homeschool(ish) vendors. We get to try out, and keep, really cool homeschool stuff! And all we have to do is actually USE it, and then blog about it! So, now I have a new incentive to keep up-to-date on this blog LOL.

We got our first product to review a couple days ago. It's our "practice" review, so it's a
downloaded product from the TOS store. We'll be reviewing the e-book Travel the World! This is a stand-alone unit study on world geography! The timing is perfect, we finished up Prairie Primer (our year-long unit study on the Little House books) last week, so now we're free to concentrate on this unit study instead. I printed it off and looked through it, I think we'll have fun with it. It looks like it provides activities for a variety of ages and interests. I think we'll plan to spend a day or 2 on each continent and then wrap things up with a lapbook! Should be fun and expose the girls to something we haven't spent alot of time on.

So be on the lookout for my review of this product and many more as the new school year progresses.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy 95th Birthday Grandpa!!

I'm a week late getting this posted because I kept forgetting to download the pictures off my phone when I had it plugged into my computer. But, better late than never right?

Last Friday my grandpa turned 95!!! We skipped out on the last couple days of campmeeting in order to go down to my parents' house (my grandparents live on the same property) and join in the celebration.

My mom's brother and sister were both there (here's the 3 of them doing dishes, it struck me that THAT probably happened a time or two (or hundreds?) 50 years ago or so, though without the convenience of the dishwasher. Darla's husband, Jim and daughter, Jani were there as well. The girls were excited to "meet" Jani. They'd met her a few years ago but didn't remember her.

We had a nice weekend. I think Grandpa enjoyed having his family around. He even went down to the basement to pick on the girls when they were playing down there LOL.

The above picture is when Darla was trying to get Grandpa to look at the camera, she had to steal his book (that's what she's holding behind her back), hee hee.

So anyway, a belated happy birthday to my grandpa!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Healthy, Portable Food on a Budget!

One of the challenges we had for campmeeting was food. We were leaving the house by 8:30 every morning and I was getting home around 8pm, the big girls didn't get home until close to 10pm most nights. We opted to eat out for suppers with Daddy, but I didn't want ALL our meals to be eating out that week, both from a health standpoint and a budget standpoint. So, the week before campmeeting, I planned accordingly. I knew we would need to eat breakfasts in the car. Mornings were hurried enough without adding in time to eat at home PLUS the girls tend to not eat much when they first wake up, so waiting a little longer meant they'd eat more as well. So, the week before I made sure that one morning we had breakfast cookies for breakfast and I made a double (or triple, I forget, LOL) batch and froze all that we didn't eat. Another day we had banana muffins and again I (actually my mom, who was here visiting that day) made extra to freeze. So, we had banana muffins and breakfast cookies to eat for breakfast in the car on the way to campmeeting all last week.

For lunch, my kids aren't huge sandwich fans and again, I wanted as little prep as possible. So, the week before one day for lunch we had corndog muffins a new favorite at our house. Again, I made a double recipe and froze what we didn't eat that day. Another day we made picnic pockets for supper. I made 2 rolls and sliced and froze what we didn't eat.

Sunday morning (we didn't have morning meetings at campmeeting on Sunday), I went to a local farm stand and got black raspberries and cherries. I also had carrots and bell pepper in the fridge. Each evening I asked the girls which breakfast, lunch, and fruit options they wanted & pulled the breakfast & lunch items out of the freezer to thaw overnight (though one night I forgot and we at the cookies straight from the freezer for breakfast and they were good that way too, and the lunch items thawed by lunchtime, I just pulled everything out at the same time to save time overall, and to save trips to the basement freezer since I had a broken toe and going down the steep basement stairs was less than comfortable). In the morning I put the lunch "entree" (cornbread muffins or picnic pockets) in each of our wrap-n-mats. I washed the fruit of choice and placed it in a small stainless steel container (similar to these). I placed each of these items, plus a frozen juice box in each of our insulated lunch bags (I have a Built NY Gourmet Getaway, not that fun of a print though, wish it had been available when I got mine LOL, the girls each have a Lands End insulated lunch bag, that's no longer on their site). Then in my bag I added a ziplock of cut up bell pepper and carrots and a small stainless steel container full of ranch dip, that we all shared. It literally took a few minutes to throw this together each morning. Then I tossed the breakfast items into my "car basket" to hand out once we were in the car. A1 sits in the seat beside Little Bit, so she shared her breakfast with Little Bit each day as we drove.

The girls each have a stainless steel water bottle and were responsible to fill it each morning (or the night before, their choice) and I filled mine. So we had water on our drive up and at lunch, plus they had the juice boxes (I used a small re-freezable ice pack in mine instead of a juice box).

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Rest of Campmeeting

Ok, I give up on the whole post from phone thing . . . it just doesn't seem to work right. The post that is JUST the waterslide picture told me it didn't post and the one I wrote about the waterslide was supposed to have the picture in it. So whatever . . .

I took Little Bit to her meeting a few days,
but it was right during naptime, so as the week progressed and her erratic (at best) sleep schedule was catching up with her, I decided getting that morning nap in was more beneficial than the meeting. So the last few days I took her to the nice dark, quiet mother's room to sleep during that time.

Our afternoons were spent going to the ABC - we must check out the samples each day AND
the big girls discovered some Rice Dream ice cream sandwiches they liked, so those made a good afternoon treat, visiting with (or bothering)
people at Locating, playing on the swings and in the sandbox, visiting Trust Services to tease
(and by teased by) Mr. Floyd (he and the girls have an on-going battle of teasing and picking on each other), and get popcorn when the popcorn machine was running.

In the evening, Daddy came up and we all went to Taco Bell or the cafeteria/snack bar for supper (usually Taco Bell, the lines at the snack bar were generally pretty long) and then Little Bit and I headed home while Daddy stayed so the big girls could go to their evening meetings.

The pictures in this post include: Little Bit at her meeting (a creation theme), and Little Bit with Pastor Barry. She is so different from her sisters at this age, perfectly happy to talk to and go to pretty much anyone who comes along. Since her big sisters tease Pastor Barry by "ignoring" him when he walks by, he decided we needed a picture as PROOF that at least one of the girls in our family is happy to spend time with him, hee hee (of course, one afternoon at Locating, the big girls talked his ear off for a half hour or longer about gardening and everything else under the sun).

And so, campmeeting 2010 is over! The girls had a blast, and that is what's important. I do think, now that they have evening meetings, we'll probably plan to stay up there all week next year. By then, hopefully, Little Bit's sleep will be better and not having the extra 45 min drive home in the evening will help us to not all get SOO over-tired by the end of the week.

In homeschool news, all that driving gave us a chance to finish listening to the Little House books to wrap up that unit. We'll spend time this week doing the odds and ends that went along w/ the last several chapters, and then we will be done with Prairie Primer (for a couple years anyway, we plan to re-visit it when the big girls are in teh 5th to 6th grade range and Little Bit is old enough to at least enjoy the stories and some of hte cooking and such that goes with it)

Monday at Campmeeting

All 3 girls love the swings.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Campmeeting Day 2

Today is our last day at Campmeeting this year. Tomorrow we head to my parents' to celebrate my grandpa's 95th birthday!

The girls have had a blast.

I'm going to do a bunch of short posts cuz the phone app only let's me post one picture per post.

Sunday was waterslide day. Great fun with friends on a hot day. The predicted thunderstorm were kind enough to wait till the waterslide was over.

On a less fun note, I managed to trip and probably broke my pinky toe (didn't bother to go to the Dr. since they don't do anything for toes) so that has made all the walking this week less fun.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Campmeeting Day 1

Trying to do better about actually blogging instead of just posting a few pictures on facebook. So . . . Campmeeting started Friday night, but only A2 and Daddy went that night (no meetings, and too late a night, for Little Bit. And A1 had some behavior issues that afternoon that earned her the privilege of an evening at home), so for most of us, campmeeting started yesterday.

When we got there, the big girls wanted me to walk them to their meeting, even though A2 had been there last night and knew where to go. On the way over, I suggested that they could come meet us in the main building after their meeting and didn't need me to come pick them up. A2 not only agreed, but informed me with great indignation that "Daddy got me a RED tag last night and that means someone has to pick me up and I don't WANT you to pick me up!!!" However, A1 insisted that I come pick her up. So . . . after assuring A2 that I could, and would, get her tag changed to blue (because this age range is going to include some parents wanting to pick up their kids and some parents not, they devised a system of giving children red tags if they are to stay after the meeting until a parent picks them up, and blue tags if they are free to leave on their own after meetings), I suggested that A2 could leave on her own after hte meeting and then I could come pick A1 up. Once that suggestion was made, and agreed to by A2, A1 grudgingly said that "I guess I can just come to Locating with A2". By evening meeting, they were perfectly happy to run off to meeting on their own LOL.

After church, our church had pre-planned to meet for a potluck picnic, so we went to that. A friend had brought a small camp chair for their son, and Little Bit LOVED climbing in & out of it.

The afternoon program for Primary (the big girls' age group) was a "Raptor Show" presented by Hawk Mountain. She told the kids about a variety of birds of prey, then showed them a red tailed hawk and owl.

The big girls seemed to find it interesting

After the afternoon program, we enjoyed visiting with some friends from Maryland who came up for the first half of the week, and then the big girls headed to their evening meeting and I brought Little Bit home.

Today's schedule is abit different, there aren't morning meetings. There is SUPPOSED to be a waterslide for the kids this afternoon, which I thought was going to work out nicely. Hubby has a seminar he is involved with this afternoon so I figured the big girls could ride up with him and go to the waterslide while he was in the seminar & Little Bit and I would stay home. BUT . . . the current hourly forecast shows a 95% chance of thunderstorms at the time the waterslide is supposed to start, so I think I WILL go up there so the girls have someone to watch them if the waterslide doesn't happen. So, on that note, I need to hurry to get laundry, etc done this morning before we go up for the afternoon.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Did You Miss Me?

I don't even have any good excuse, I just somehow haven't managed to blog lately. So, the mother of all catch-up posts, in no particular order:

  • We've been to Sesame Place a couple times already this summer. Little Bit LOVES LOVES LOVES the water! She has NO fear! She happily wades out into water up to her chest, when it knocks her over and she gets a face full of water, she just laughs.
  • Little Bit is less impressed with "rides". She just kind of endures them, so we don't take her on many.
  • The big girls are beginning to realize that the reason Sesame Place puts upper age limits on some things is because they're boring for big kids. This is a good thing (last year they were still very upset knowing they would soon outgrow some things).
  • The first part of May I went to the CHAP homeschool convention. All three girls stayed with Daddy. Little Bit did FINE! She seemed more excited to see the kittens when she got home the first evening (Daddy took the girls to Grandmom's for the day) than to see me LOL. As always, I loved all that I learned and all the shopping I did at the convention :-)
  • Other running around we've done in the past month or so includes the Baltimore Zoo, the MD Sheep & Wool Festival . . .
  • Things I don't remember if I've already mentioned here or not include: Valley Forge (the CD driving tour they sell in the gift shop is AWESOME! And, as always, the Jr Ranger program is a hit), Historic Philadelphia, an Alpaca farm . . . and probably other things I'm forgetting.
  • In school we've been having fun gardening, including adding a butterfly garden, but it was really hot & dry right after we planted it, and I was having trouble w/ the hoses so I'm not sure if any of the flowers will make it, we'll see. . . . the girls also decided they wanted to learn cursive (or curlicubes, as they insist on calling it) so we've been working on that.
  • One thing I learned at the CHAP convention was about learning styles, and that both As are kinesthetic learners (learn through motion). A2 is also an auditory learner. I'm a visual learner, and extremely low auditory, which is why I'd always dismissed her complaints about various noises distracting her from doing her copywork. So . . . we've made some changes to how we do school. One thing we did was bring the yoga ball up from the basement and they often bounce on it while they're doing memorywork & such. We also got silly putty for them to play with when we're discussing things or listening to things. And we got inexpensive mp3 players for each of the girls so they can listen to classical music to drown out other noises when they're doing copywork and such. I've also been downloading the free tracks from Blue Behemoth which often includes a single animal track from the Jonathan Park cds. I hadn't been sure what to do w/ them since they're only a few minutes long, but now I put them on the girls' mp3 players and they LOVE them.
  • Their reading continues to improve. Though A1 still enjoys reading for fun more than A2 does. (A1 is now reading an Eric B Hare book)
  • A2 is very into cooking right now. She loves it when she can prepare a meal all by herself, we've been eating lots of salads & grilled cheese lately LOL.
  • And I'm sure there's a million & one things I'm forgetting, but campmeeting starts tomorrow so I must get busy!