Sunday, April 28, 2013

Birthday, Part 1

My photography skills are severely lacking.  These are pictures from Nature Girl's actual birthday.  And yes, I realize, I do not have a picture of her.  I have no idea how that happened.  I am not even sure I was the one taking pictures.  

On Nature Girl's actual birthday (as oppose to her fake birthday as EG calls it) we decided to take the day off from school in her honor.  Then, because we don't get home until late on Thursdays, we decided to do a birthday lunch which was chicken wings, one of NG's favorites, at a local restaurant.  Before lunch we took her shopping for her birthday present.

We went to a cute little boutique, which I had never been in before, and she picked out a very cute Vera Bradley ballet bag.  The store was adorable and had I not used some self restraint, I could have come home with a cute little VB bag myself!

So after shopping and lunch, it was off to ballet for the afternoon.  And, after dinner we had birthday cupcakes.  I guess because NG is too grown up to have icing all over her face, we didn't get a picture of her.

I think she had a nice "actual" birthday.  More posts to come from the friends birthday and the family birthday.  I am certain there will be pictures of Nature Girl . . .   

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mom of the Year Award

As I get older and busier, it seems to me that many of the details of life seem to escape me.

Today is one of those days that the major details of life went unnoticed.  Much to the determent of my oldest daughter.

I sent her on a 20 mile bike ride unprepared.  No water and no sunscreen.  We were on time and she did have a bright shirt, though!

But, most unfortunately was, her bike was not in proper working order.  It was checked out two weeks ago and passed inspection (they are getting ready to go on a 3-4 day bike trip in our part of the state.)  There were some issues that needed to be addressed and, as her parents, we failed to get them taken care of.

I would love to have a list of excuses of why it happened but I just don't.  We were unprepared.  I don't think hubby and I really had a concept of what the kids would be doing today.  I don't think NG had a concept of what she would be doing today!

Her bike, if it had been in great shape, would have been OK.  But, it isn't a bike, really, for what the kids are doing.  Riding on the road great distances.

Plus, there were hills.  Big hills.  She has been riding around our neighborhood almost everyday like the Pastor R said.  But, we have no hills.

NG said at one point, she wanted to just sit down and cry and ask to get in the truck (while they were working on her bike).  But, she decided she was not a quitter.  The other kids and adult riders were constantly encouraging her.  And she made it back.  She did not quit.  On the way home I asked her if she wanted to continue training and to go on the trip and she gave me a definite yes.  (I think I might have given up!)

I felt bad.  I couldn't do much about what she was to expect because we had no idea.  But, we could have prepared her bike better.  Made sure it was in top performing shape.  Given her proper equipment.

The whole bike riding thing has a huge learning curve for us.  Today the curve was massive.  We have all learned a lot and are thankful that every one was safe and had a good time.  And, next week, we will be way more prepared for her adventure.  I am one proud mama for a daughter who wasn't willing to quit.  Even when she had more than good reason to . . .

Thursday, April 25, 2013

First Crop of the Season

Our garden is growing.  I say ours, I should really say hubby's.  Anyway, we have tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, onions and a few other things that I just can't remember at the moment.  But, our first official crop was a lot of lettuce.

We ate salads for a week.  We had our Sunday School group over on a Sunday night and made a huge bowl of salad.  We gave lettuce away.  And then it was gone.  All in a week's time.

I had envisioned us eating it all summer.  There is nothing more delicious then a summer salad.  Funny thing about lettuce, though, it doesn't like the heat.  And, in order to eat lettuce for more than a week, you have to plant it in stages.  Maybe not all at once.  And you can't really freeze lettuce.

Put it in the ground a little earlier and stagger the planting.  Lesson learned for next year . . . 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Poor Thing

EG fell sometimes falls asleep in the middle of my nightly reading.  It is no wonder she can be so grumpy during the day.  I should make her go to bed earlier but she wants to stay up and listen with everyone else. Yes, she is spoiled . . .

Saturday, April 20, 2013

PW Catch UP

I am thinking that I have missed some pictures of recipes some where along the line.  Maybe they are still on my camera.  Anyway, this is one of the most recent attempts at PW cooking and it is definitely on the favorites list in our house.  BBQ Chicken Pineapple Quesidillas or some such name.

First of all, quesidillas are one of my most favorite things to eat.  Whenever I am at a restaurant and I don't know what else to order, I order a quesidilla.  So, this recipe was exciting for me to make.  I loved the grilled chicken along with the grilled pineapple (cheese of course) and the BBQ sauce gave it the exact finishing touch it needed. Lightly grilled and this dinner was a hit with everyone!

Some of her recipes we will just never do again.  Not because they were terrible tasting, they were just not something we would put in our weekly rotation of dinners.  But these will definitely will be eaten again.  Hopefully sometime soon  . . .

Friday, April 19, 2013

Easter Part Two

One of the cool things about Easter this year was the fact that we did not have to buy Easter outfits!  I know that sounds crazy but I was soooo excited not to have to worry about what the kids were going to wear.  Because the big girls were in the program, they wore their costumes and Boop wore a pair of khakis and a shirt and EG wore her flower girl dress from the wedding she was in in September.  And everyone looked lovely!

No pictures though.

We had the Lord Supper and a breakfast at church and then the second performance of our Easter Drama.  After church my mom, brother, sister, her boyfriend and all of us had our annual Easter basket and egg hunt. Always so much fun.

Me, my mom, my brother and sister.

Every year for Easter we have the same thing.  Ham, hashbrown casserole, asparagus and rolls.  This year I changed it up by doing the PW Green Bean Casserole.  It is a new family favorite for the holidays I think.  It was really, really good and easy enough to make.

I think we all had a really nice, relaxing day . . . 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

7 Media Fast

We started our media fast Monday.  We have been somewhat successful.  Honestly, I just don't feel as motivated by this one because we don't do much in the way of media as it is.  At least that is how I feel.

About a month ago, I took away the privilege of TV on the weekends (as a rule the kids don't watch TV during the week), all of the gaming devices (a Leap Frog and 2 DSs) and the computer.  I got tired of the fussing about doing chores before "play time" etc.  And the only way anyone would work really hard was if it was a day they got to go on the computer.  I felt sure this wasn't the way it was suppose to be.  The kids are suppose to do what they do because they live here and it is the way they contribute to the family and the computer and screen time were just added bonuses because they live in a home that can afford all of that stuff.

I will be honest, we have watched an episode or two or three of HGTV when I felt like it. ;)  And, when the babysitter has been here (that includes hubby) they usually watch some type of TV.  Also, if they do their daily chores on time they get a ticket and it can earn them 30 minutes screen or computer time.  But, that is pretty hard to earn.  So, for the most part that has been it.

They still ask on a fairly regular basis to watch something.  Especially on days when we are home all day.  But, I usually say no and that is it.  They don't tease or whine or complain.  One of them said the other day that they didn't even notice they don't watch TV in the mornings on the weekends.  That made me happy.

And, I guess because we don't have smart phones and hubby doesn't text, we don't have that to contend with.  I am on the computer but because I have been pretty busy lately, that doesn't even seem to be a problem.  I can't tell you the last time I was on Pintrest.

So, I think that is why this doesn't seem like such a big deal.  We are just not all that plugged in enough to make unplugging a huge deal.  But, we have talked about it and the following is our plan for the next 28 days.  There is always room for improvement in the way we choose to do life!  And even though we aren't totally plugged in, we can still have an appreciation for the privileges that we do have.

So, this is it:
-The kids are not to ask for TV at all.  But, I am sure at some point they will get to watch something.  I just want them to get out of the habit of even asking.
-I am going to try to stay off of Facebook.  Although Monday I failed.  I usually don't stay on for long.  I just look up a page or two of statuses a couple of times a day.  But, I feel that needs to go.
-I am going to only check my email twice a day.  I find if I get on just to check my email, I get caught up in something else.
-I get 15 minutes to blog every day but I haven't even had time to do that.  Although it is getting a little better.
-I am going to try to call rather than text.  And I am going to avoid "fun" texting.  Although, I will respond to text messages.
-Paul is limiting his computer time at home to 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.
-We only turn the TV on at night for about an hour when Paul doesn't work the next day so maybe 3 times a week, depending, so that will stay the same.

That about wraps it up.  I think the biggest thing for me this month is to really focus on being personal and intentional with people.  It is so easy to let the technology get in the way of real relationships.

We shall see how it goes. . . .

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

PW Update

We have gotten a little behind with PW cooking.  I think we have still managed to make a recipe every week.  I just haven't had time to post about them.

Today's post is the His/Hers Hamburgers.  It was a little bit labor intensive for just our little family.  A lot of different toppings for the burgers.  My hubby makes an awesome one so his was going to be hard to beat!

She used toppings that I would never have thought to put on a hamburger.  Like a pesto and mayo sauce.  Or blue cheese.  I will be honest, I am not much of an adventurer when it comes to food.

The Her burger had mayo and pesto sauce, sauteed red onions and mushrooms topped with blue cheese.  The His burger had cheddar cheese, bacon and jalapenos with an adobo pepper and mayo sauce.  

We tried each others and let the kids pick which one they wanted.  The Her burger won hands down.  Hubby felt the peppers in the His burger overwhelmed the taste of the meat etc.  Whereas the flavors of the Her burger complimented the hamburger.

Everyone is becoming a food critic around here.  I can totally see us using the mayo and pesto sauce again.  Even on sub sandwiches.

The burgers were good for a treat but hubby's basic burgers are still our fav . . . . 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

7 Experiment and Stuff

We just wound up our latest 7 Experiment.  It was to get rid of 210 things in a month's time.  A fast of possessions of sorts.  At first, I was very daunted by the task.  Until I actually got going.  I am sad to say it was one of the easiest challenges I have had.

All of us were involved and we went room to room, closet to closet, cupboard to cupboard and shelf to shelf looking for things to get rid of.  And I was done in about 2 weeks!  Although it was suppose to take a month.  And, I have plenty more to get rid of.

We gave away clothes, toys, books.  We got rid of papers and just plain junk.  And we are not through.  We gave most of our stuff away to a local thrift shop that helps homeless and abused women and children.  We donated a lot of stuff to our church for our annual fund raising for the 4th of July Fireworks out reach program.  Much of my homeschool stuff I gave away to families who needed it.

Even though we were officially done last Saturday, I found myself yesterday going through more toy boxes and getting rid of more stuff.  The girls decided to clean and organize their closet and had a bunch of clothes to donate.

We have instilled a new rule.  If something new comes into the house, for whatever reason, something that is already here, has to go.  The last thing I want to do is accumulate more stuff after we just spent four weeks getting rid of stuff.

I would like to say it was so hard to get rid of material possessions that it hurt.  But the reality is we have so much stuff it goes unnoticed.  We have so much stuff, we don't take care of what we do have.  There is so much stuff we lose and misplace stuff and it just doesn't matter a whole lot.  I am working on changing that.

Even though we start a media fast on Monday, I am going to continue with giving away stuff.  I feel I just have to . . .

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Easter, Part One

Little Mama is my drama queen.  And what I mean by that is, she loves to act.  I wish she were willing to do more of it.  Anyway, about 2 months ago, maybe more my memory is horrible, they asked church members to participate in our Easter Drama.  In the past, the dramas have been fabulous and I was sure this one would be as well.

Little Mama asked if she could be a part of it.  Very rarely does she ask to do something so I said yes.  Nature Girl decided to join in because we were there anyway.  In the beginning, they only met on Wednesday after church for about a half hour.  Then, as Easter got closer we had to spend a considerable amount of time in practice.

Then the week before it was every night.  Late.  I would watch what was going on and never in a million years did I think they would pull it off.  (Ye of little faith.)  One night we were there until 10:30.  Thankfully, a friend of mine offered to bring them home the next night if it went late, because I had the littles with me.  Thankfully, that night we were done early.  Plus, Boop and EG loved watching them practice.

The musical drama was presented on Good Friday and again on Easter.  It was a huge commitment by those involved, but, even now it gives me goosebumps to think about the performance.  It was a musical presentation, with drama, about the life, death and resurrection of Christ from the perspective of Doubting Thomas the disciple. The music and the acting was fantastic.  

My mom, brother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and niece all came to see it and were very touched by it.  It was tough thing to do, especially at such a busy time of year.  But, it was so well worth being part of sharing the gospel and the love of Christ during the Easter weekend.

Of course, the kids can't wait to do it again!  I will most likely say yes . . . 

The little girls coloring before Good Friday's performance.

Little Mama and Nature Girl with a couple of their fellow actors.

Friday, April 12, 2013


About two months ago, maybe not that long, hubby and I and another couple went to an overnight adult volunteer training session for a local youth camp.  It is a camp I had heard about for years.  It is a Christian camp and a bunch of our church kids go and a bunch of homeschool kids we know go.

Every year during the summer the question would come up "Are your kids going to camp?"  And the answer was always "no."  The thought of my babies being away from me for a week was not my idea of a good time.  There were a lot of other reasons as well.  But I won't go into all that right now.  It just wasn't the direction we were taking as a family.

But, then this training came up and a few people that I know very well, who are very involved in the camp, encouraged all of us to go.  So we did.  Our thought was, we would find out first hand info about the camp and if our children go to camp, then we would go as volunteers.

We learned so much that weekend about the vision of the director and the camp.  He has such a heart for "high risk" kids and those who are underprivileged and don't come from good homes.  His goal for every camping session is to have 25% "high risk" kids.  What an awesome mission statement.

His second goal is to challenge teenagers to be responsible and grow in their personal relationship with Christ.  All of his cabins (and some covered wagons) are staffed with teens who have gone through extensive training.  Many of which have been involved in the camp for 6, 7 and 8 years.  He encourages sharing the gospel, service training, responsibility for others, being great role models among a multiple of others things that grow really great teenagers.

Well, this past weekend the camp had its gearing up for summer session and my friend and I decided to register the older girls and sign up ourselves to volunteer.  As the day of departure approached, my friend and I were not real confident about what we had signed up for.  It has been along time since I had been at camp!

The camp was great and seemed to be run pretty well.  The girls enjoyed themselves a ton and definitely want to go back in the summer.  My friend and I got to see what goes into running a camp and how much hard work it is.  We now understand why the teenagers are the counselors because the energy needed to hang with a bunch of kids all weekend is out of this world!

I knew quite a few of the counsels.   So that was neat.  I recognized the name of a couple of campers so that was cool too.  There were a few things I am still not quite sure about.  But, all in all, it was a positive experience.

We still are not sure if the kids will go for a week.  If they do, I will be there.  The camp needs the volunteers and I like just being around.  I hardly saw the girls because I was busy doing other things.  But, I feel one of the things the camp could use a little more of is adult/parent involvement.  They have a lot going on there.

Anyway, I am glad I went.  I am glad we let the girls go.  And, who knows what we will do in the future.  One day at a time . . .

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Just Found

Picture taken a couple of weeks ago by our neighbor who needed a subject for a photography class she was taking.

My beautiful baby girl . . . 


It just can't be.  This time 12 years ago I was an hour old brand new mama!  Yesterday, as we were driving in from church (or ballet I can't remember) I told the kids the story of the night NG was born.  She was a month early and we were so not prepared!

And our lives have been forever changed!

When I think of it, I tell her that when we brought her home she weighed as much as a sack of sugar.

Oh my has she grown.

She is always smiling, dancing and singing.  She is determined (stubborn).  But, I am confident that will serve her well when she is an adult.  As everyone says, she is the spitting image of me.  And I have to agree.

I have no idea what her future holds.  But, I know she is strong and gifted and it will never be a dull moment.

Happy Birthday, Nature Girl!  We love you very much . . . 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Changes in School

This post won't have pictures so I don't need to take time trying to upload them before I post.

About 2 weeks ago, my big girls finished up a couple of their school books.  And we, as a family, finished up one or two.  That gave me the opportunity to change up our school day just a little bit.  And I took full advantage of it.  And the results have been great.

I have been able to add a daily Latin program,  Prima Latina which the kids love. (Boop told me he did part of his Latin prayer at bedtime.)  And we have added a daily Geography book which the kids love, A Child's Geography:  Explore the Holy Lands.  (It involves riding around on a magic carpet called at kilim while we explore the Holy Land of Turkey.)  And we have added daily writing and grammar which we absolutely have had the need for.

I have moved our Science to an experiment at least once a month.  And our weekly Geography book, which was really good, has been shelved for now.  Also our English from the Roots Up has been tabled.

At the beginning of the week Nature Girl is given a list of all the things she is responsible for for the week.  Reading assignments, worksheets, writing assignments and it is her job to get it all done by Friday.  She likes the independence.

I will continue to read to each child every day.  When I told someone about that she asked when I would stop and I said never.  As long as a child is in the house, I will always make an effort to sit on the couch and snuggle and read.  And even though I have an almost 12 year old, she has never once suggested that she doesn't want me to read to her.  In fact, one time I mentioned they day may come and she said no way.  ;)  That is one of my priorities when figuring out how we are going to do school every year.

I am sure there are a few more subtle changes but my time has run out.  Time to wake kids for another adventure in homeschooling . . .

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Miss Blogging

I can't tell you how many times I have started a post, saved it and then gone back days later and deleted it.  I just can't seem to find the time to finish what I start.  And I don't just mean my blog posts.  Spring is flying by and we have been busy, busy, busy.

And, honestly, since the time change it has been sooooo hard for me to get up in the morning.  Which puts me behind for the whole day.  And then I just don't have time for all the extras.  And one of my extras is my blog.

I do have some posts in mind.  They will have pictures and they are just going to have to be short.  PW cooking, Easter, changes in school stuff, 7 experiment and something else but I can't think of what it is right now.

So, until I have time to upload pictures and write a post, this is just going to have to be it.  Soon, soon . . .