Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Laughter, Lunch, Learning, and Leather working

Yesterday we went to Ben's house for a day of fun! Now you might ask, Why do you need to add another child in for fun? The dynamics change dramatically when one of my children are gone or you add a child or two in. Plus, it is a whole lot easier and more fun for me with another adult. Ruby sometimes forgets that she is not one of the big kids and she gets mad about it. I really thought she was going to get mad at me for this photo but she didn't.
Syndi and I decided that it was too much fun to get together once in a while so we are going to make 'game day' a regular occurrence. We played math games, geography games, and several other games as well. Then we sent them outside for some fresh air.

Erik, Ian and Ruby love Mrs. Huff's play dough. I need to get that recipe from her as well. She is so fun to talk to and it is nice to have someone who enjoys my children! Not to mention she is an excellent cook!! She treated us to a delicious lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches (on really really good homemade bread) and Yummy Chicken Noodle Soup. My contribution was Breakfast cookies (which are really good, adapted from Fix, Freeze, and Feast Cookbook) but I did not even bring the cookies already baked I just brought a bowl full of dough and Syndi cooked the rest! I tell you she is my angel.

We then did some arts and crafts with Leather working. 6 wooden hammers on leather on a wooden table is very loud!! The children all had fun practicing and the perfecting their projects. They made key chains, ornaments, and tomahawk heads. I 'helped' Ruby and it was really fun.

Here they are with their completed projects just in time to head home for a late nap for Ruby.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Vacuum Cleaner Blues

My vacuum started smoking today and when Sean took it apart the motor was completely fried. Naturally the vacuum had to be completely disassembled piece by piece by the boys, all of them! It required a flashlight, hammer, several screwdrivers among whatever other tools they could use. This was our second Kenmore and with heavy use it held up reasonably well but we are going to look at the other options out there. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good vacuum that will hold up to daily usage and has parts that are not going to break often? We tend to be pretty hard on things.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


We went to have a play date with some other homeschooling friends and the children got along great and had a wonderful time. They really did not want to leave when it was time to go. It was really time to go. I needed my nap and Ruby really needed hers and we try not to wear out our welcome. Well when I went to turn around in her driveway I drove up the newly excavated part of the drive. The ground was extremely soft from all the rain lately and when I shifted in low it did not seem to matter.
I backed up and tried for a running start but the further back I got the worse I got stuck. Kristy finally called a neighbor and she came over with her 4 wheel drive and in a skirt hooked up my van and pulled me out! What a saint.

My kids got what they wanted- more play time. Ian and Ruby and Ashley had to play in the back of Kristy's truck so they were out of the way and would not get too muddy or run over. Ian was not too happy about not being able to go explore the property but he managed.

Thank you for a great day and good food and friendship and especially for the tow!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Neti Pot

He looks a little too happy to be sick, or maybe he's happy to get the sickness out.

What in the world? Jessica recommended this to us for clearing out congestion. Since we try to avoid doctors and medication like the plague we decided to give it a try. Sean was home all last week and the children are sniffling and coughing so before we made the children try this, he gave it a shot. Ok this is disgusting but watching him made me simultaneously laugh till I was crying and run and throw up. I don't think I will be doing it anytime soon, and I know it will not be me who does it to the children. Thank goodness I married a man with an iron stomach.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Swimmer Tree Frog

Yes, that is his real name, Swimmer Tree Frog. Erik found this frog about 2 weeks ago and he has been living with us ever since. Erik catches living flies for it twice a day and Swimmer kills and eats them. Erik had the local librarian help him look up refrence books on tree frogs and he consults the books daily. One of the books shows how to train your tree frog and I think he has really trained this frog, hard to believe. The above photo is of swimmer perched on a Jesus figurine. Erik will take the frog down to the pond for a swim and the frog comes back and jumps back in Erik's hand. I did not want a dog because I did not want to have to take it for a walk and here I am taking a frog to the pond.

I really did not think that Swimmer would last this long but Erik is doing a great job and is even thinking about selling more frogs for those that want them. He checks on his frog a thousand times and day and really loves him. He changes Swimmer's habitat regularly as well. Swimmer has lived in a large tin can, a tool box, an egg carton, a 8 X8 wooden box with a plastic lid, and most recently has taken up residence in our butterfly habitat.

Necessity is the mother of invention

Aaron has been coughing a lot lately and had a runny nose. I guess he got tired of us continually telling him to go blow his nose and then to take the time to throw the used tissues away. I was quite impressed when he came out from getting yet another box of tissues and had this one tied around his waist with a sarong from the dress up box. It was complete with the garbage sack and leatherman (because you never know when you need a leatherman).
I had to laugh because just recently I told my friend Syndi how much I admired her son Ben and all his creative inventions. I told her I thought that was an important part of the learning and growing, especially with homeschooling. She encouraged me and reminded me of all the parts of inventions that my children come up with, they just don't usually make them functional or always complete them.

He wore his 'runny nose helper' most of the day and it really worked because he actually blew his nose often and most important, threw his tissues away.

Fire Mountain

I guess it has been a few weeks now, but the boys still are talking about what a great day they had with Papa at Fire Mountain. I think a man in uniform is pretty handsome, especially my little men. Aaron is a Bear Cub Scout now, and Erik is a Tiger Cub. I love our Scout Pack and really enjoy all the other home school families.
Aaron couldn't get enough of the climbing wall and easily made it all the way across.

Erik is extremely determined and does not want his older brother to out perform him on anything. You can see the determination written all over his face.

Perseverance is key and obviously the hand hold is well out of reach but he preserved until he made it.

Aaron can't seem to get enough weather it be throwing knives, shooting BB guns, doing Archery, fishing, and spending time with papa so this day at fire mountain was heaven on earth for him. I love this serene picture of two of my boys enjoying the moment. My prayer for them is that they can always be best friends and depend on each other in all circumstances.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

historical Harvest Party

Syndi planned a historical harvest party for their homeschool friends. It was a potluck dinner with delicious desserts. I attempted (with the children) to make carmel apples. I even used my favorite Honey Crisp apples and Taylor used lots of sprinkles. The carmel did not stay on very well but they were still delicious. We even had some guests at our party. Officer Landis and a gentleman that was riding along with him came for dinner and dessert. We had pot roast and potatoes, beef barley stew, salad, biscuits, and lots of other delicious comfort food.
While the rest of us played Tiger in the middle or deer in the head lights, Geaba played playdough with Ruby and Ian. Ruby had a hard time realizing that playdough does not taste like cookies.

Evan's dad, Greg, found other uses for the carmel that had slid off of the apples. He used it as a topping for the rice crispy treats, made the apple pie into carmel apple pie, and just ate it straight.

Syndi made the pie in honor of Ben's character who was alive in the Depression Era. It was a delicious 'apple' pie but it had no apples in it. It was made with ritz crackers and you really could not tell the difference. Hmmmmm? How does that work?

Ian came in costume as Johnny Appleseed but decided against giving his presentation.

Taylor did a very well done skit on Elizabeth Fry who changed the prison systems in Europe. She is very specific about what she wants to wear and this was her prison garb.

Evan was a union soldier and was quite entertaining. He even shared the lap book that he made after a family trip back east. They went to a lot of the famous battle sites. His favorite was Gettysburg.

Aaron and Erik were the Wright Brothers. The bike was a prop that the boys love to take apart like Wilber and Orville to study how things work. Aaron told Erik what to say and it went very well. Unlike last time when Erik flat-out refused to go on stage. Aaron had forgotten his script at home and Papa took him home to get them. What a guy! It saved the whole evening.

Ben was Wilson Rawls, one of my favorite authors. He wrote Where the Red Fern Grows and Summer of the Monkeys. He did a fantastic job and even gave the presentation with a southern drawl.
Syndi had fun games and great decorations and even had pumpkins for the children to paint. They had a great time and wonderful fellowship!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Freezer

OK so you might not get satisfaction from an organized freezer but I sure do. It has been on my list of things to accomplish for quite a while now and I finally got to it today. Notice the 2nd and 4th shelves and how the batch cook meals are all filed like books - I LOVE that! The bottom basket has all my berries, unfortunately we are now out of blueberries. our picking this year was not timed right. I am going to have to (gasp) buy some. We love to eat blueberries on our oatmeal. The children and I eat oatmeal almost everyday (just ask Erik) and it isn't the same with out the beloved berry.

Organizing the garage freezer inspired me to organize the inside freezer and I even threw away some breast milk that has been in there for 2 years!! Yes, I guess this is confession because that is embarrassing to me. Now all that is in there are the necessities (like ice cream that I don't want to go out to the garage to get) and the meals or frozen food that I plan on using for the week.
Which leads me to this week's menu:
Sunday: Beef Short Ribs, baked potatoes, corn and chocolate chip cookies for dessert
Monday: Spaghetti, french bread, and green beans
Tuesday: Bean Burritos, (Sean and I both have things going on so this is easy for the sitter)
Wednesday: Sweet Asian Chicken and Rice, Stir Fry Veggies
Thursday: Beef Barley Soup
Friday: My Favorite: Pork chops, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, and cooked carrots
Saturday:(Oh no, I don't know yet)
Sunday: Homemade Pizza
Monday: Boy Scout Pack Meeting- Taco Soup that we can eat when we get there with homemade corn bread muffins
Usually I know what I am having all week but I just couldn't figure it out yet. Guess I need some suggestions.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Alas, no photos my husband has the 2 older boys at a cub scout event and took the camera with him. I am hoping he actually took pictures.
Last night after a full day of a field trip to an apple farm, shopping at the local consignment store, picking apples at a different farm, tending to the bees and the children, making dinner and doing laundry I sat down and noticed the contractions that I had been feeling off and on all day were coming on much stronger so I timed them for a half and hour and I had 10 contractions in that amount of time. After a call to the Doctor we went in to labor and delivery and they monitored me for a few hours. Sean sat in the van with the kids because half of them were sleeping. He read to the ones that were still awake. The contractions were strong enough to show on the monitor but not enough that they wanted to do anything about it. So I was checked for infection and sent home for some much needed rest.
I am still experiencing some contractions today but not as intense. I am so thankful for this baby and the life that God has created in me. Please pray for continued health and a full-term baby. Our God is sovereign and this is a reminder to me to trust Him in all things.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Yesterday we went to get Ian's leg checked. It is not often that I can say I really like a doctor but I love the Staff at Dr. Woo's office! Ian's cast was quite dirty and broken down, they had to build up the area around the foot and Ian wanted glow in the dark so the nurse redid the foot. She then told me that I could leave all the kids and go make the follow up appointment. While I was still making the appointment she brought everyone out and Ian had a whole new cast!! Actually it was over the old cast but clean and new. She said that the children did not like how the cast looked with part green and part glow in the dark so she made it all the same. What a lady!! Ian couldn't wait to go to bed to see his leg glow. Thank goodness we only have 5 more weeks.
By the way, the shirt is a hand me down from my good friend Shella. It is supposed to go with a Woody costume but Ian really likes how it looks with his 'suit coat'. This is everyday attire for him.
I bought some really good maze puzzles but with the way my children tear through them I couldn't bear for them to be one time use books. So I went to office max and bought some transparencies (I am sure I paid too much) and they place the transparency over the maze and do the puzzles with dry erase marker. Sometimes I have good ideas.

Basket Party

On Sunday I got to spend the day with a wonderful group of ladies. My friend Rebecca has been hosting the parties for the past 15 years! I won the basket case award because I have been at the last 14 of the 15 years. Me, Rebecca and Marla

Marla took a few photos of me in the studio where the party was held. It is sometimes hard for me to believe that I still have 3 months to go. Ian told me that I need a prettier dress than this one. I guess it is hard to please everyone.
Marla and I really enjoyed our time together. I would have to say this was one of my favorite parties and the group of women were a lot of fun!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Doesn't homeschool mean you are home?

Last week we enjoyed another glorious fall day and went on a hike with the cub scouts from Blodel-Donovan to Whatcom Falls Park it was beautiful. The cast does not slow Ian down much.
I know I have one with a broken leg but hey, they like to climb trees and these were just too close together to resist. That's Erik jumping and Everett getting ready to climb and jump!
How many children can you fit in a double stroller. I dug out my stroller for the hike and Hezekiah was too tired to walk back so he hitched a ride and Mordecai decided that was a good idea. Ruby didn't seem to mind being surrounded by so many cute boys. Taylor was a little frustrated trying to push such a heavy stroller especially with the cute little 'helpers' Kalina and Jubilee love to help with Ruby. Notice Tami in the back carrying Bell because she let Renee use the wonderful ergobaby carrier for Tucker.

Later in the week we had craft day at the Hutching's. Ruby was such a good helper with Honor. I hope she likes our baby this much! She feels the baby kicking and says I feel Honor kicking.

Aaron and Justin had fun and were very thorough with their fall crafts. Deanna is amazing with her organization and preparation.

Ian looked so sweet to me working so hard on putting the glue and glitter just where they were supposed to go. We then enjoyed lunch with The Overstreets, Hutchings, and Erik's friend Adara and her mom Teri Lyn.

This week we are even busier. Monday we had Cub Scouts, Tuesday was MOPS and I have to work, Wed is my glucose test (UGH) and Ian goes back for the 3 week X ray to see how he is healing. We are also bringing Dinner to a new mom, Thursday is the Chiropractor and Library, and Friday is the Apple Farm tour and picking apples. Oh yeah, Sean's sister is supposed to come visit for the weekend too!!
That's why we love homeschooling!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tomahawks and Knives

We figure that making our house more fun than everywhere else and teaching them how to do things safely is the way to go. Erik is so happy to be home throwing knives that there is no desire to go do things that aren't safe and that are not under our watchful eyes!! Great idea.
Yes, even with a cast and a wheel chair you can throw knives.

Papa figured out what makes the boys happy and what makes me happy, so for every throw they have to do a math problem. Yeah math and exercise at the same time.

Look at the excitement on that face, I love the action shot.

Yes that is right, the new thrill at our house is throwing Tomahawks and Knives. We ordered some from and the rest from and the children love it!! They are actually really good at it. It is not as easy as it might seem. I tried my hand at it and pretty much can't do it. I broke several handles and completely missed the target. I guess I will get better with time, but probably won't out throw the boys anytime soon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Feeding the Bees

I am so thankful that Sean has taken an interest in the 'girls' He is currently taking a beekeeping class on becoming an apprentice beekeeper. There really is a lot to learn and it is quite fascinating. One thing I have learned is that feeding the bees can be quite expensive. In the last 10 days Sean has made sugar syrup for the bees several times. You need to feed them before winter comes if they don't have enough honey stored (which they don't because of the swarm). The winter solution is more concentrated than the spring but still, he has used up 157 cups of sugar.
Granted I do not agree but still I guess I understand why the commercial guys use High Fructose Corn Syrup. Did you know that they can sell organic honey even if the bees were fed on that junk? It appals me, Really it does!

Look at this man, he loves taking care of the bees. He keeps a journal of their activity, takes classes, attends the beekeeping meetings, and spends quite a bit of money on them. He even loves the smell of the propolis on his hands. All this from a guy who thought I was crazy to start on the bee endeavor and when we went to pick up the bees he said I was nuts.
I do miss getting in the hive- not literally- but the bee suit does not fit at this point and they do not know the effects of bee stings on unborn babies.