Friday, November 30, 2007


I have to say this week hasn't been as smooth sailing as other weeks have been. I don't know if it is the getting back to school after a few days off. If it was the Christmas Season starting or what but my kids couldn't seem to focus this week. I would almost say we didn't do any school but in reality we did, it was all just kinda informal.

The only formal school we did was on Monday when we listened to our Story of the World chapter about ancient Africa. Sophie already knows the Anansi stories, we have checked them out before. They are often read at the library story time. But we checked out a number of them again and the kids have enjoyed reading so many different Anansi stories this week. We also played a few rounds of Mancala. Sophie is starting to understand the rules but hasn't got a clue about strategy. I beat her every time. Ian just likes to move the rocks around but has to always be reminded which way to go around the board. But that was good.

We actually played a lot of games this week. I don't play enough board games with my kids. And since Sophie was not interested in doing any formal school games seemed like a good alternative. They picked the games so we played Candy Land, Pretty Pretty Princess and Bob the builder Memory game. Not a lot of academics there but still had a good time playing. It is so funny that they boys love to play the princess game. They think it is so fun to put the jewelry on. Henry looks so cute with the dangly earrings and the tiara on his head! I should have grabbed the camera but I didn't. Maybe next time.

My children just wanted to play blocks and trains a lot of the time, so I thought some books on CD while they play would be nice. We listened to Stewart Little and The Cricket in Times Square this week. The kids were always anxious to hear the next disk so I guess they were listening.

Books are something my kids can't get enough of so we took 30 more books home from the library this week. We are up to 78 items out. That shocked me. How do I keep track of that many library books? But somehow we do.

We have been reading a lot of books about the 5 senses. Sophie loves the Magic School bus book that explores the senses. I think I have read that one every day this week. So we did our science I guess.

I got another of the Sir Cumference books at the library this week. Sir Cumference and the Isle of Immeter. Sophie has always loved these math books and has taken to this one too. I don't know if she is getting the math concepts but she loves the stories.

I had picked up some little craft projects at Michaels a few weeks ago. They are supposed to be gifts for Grandma and Grandpas from the kids. They are some little bead projects and I was surprised at how well they turned out. Sophie did some and quickly got bored and flitted off to do something else but Ian sat there and worked on threading beads for a long time. He did a great job. Henry snored through this activity, Thank goodness!

We went on lots of outings, scooter rides, and park visits and even went swimming at the YMCA. Sophie really loves swimming and there were a bunch of other kids there to play with. We need to do that more often.

So we were busy this week but no formal schooling around here this week. It works though. The kids still got in a little of everything and had fun too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Snow from afar or Snow close up. - My relationship with snow.

I found this picture a while back and it has been sitting on my desktop. I didn't have any use for this picture. But I just liked it. So saved it. I have a fondness for snowflakes. No I don't love to be in them. I just like to look at them. I grew up in the foothills of California below the snow line. We almost never got snow. Although we would sometimes have high school cancelled for snow because some of the students were from higher up the hill and were snowed in. That was one of the beauties of living where we did. We didn't live in the snow but we could visit it when we wanted to. We would often "go to the snow" to tube or sled. I never got into skiing but some of my siblings love that.
It was a shock to me, when attending BYU in Utah, to not have classes cancelled due to blizzard conditions. They actually expected me to walk through the snow to get to Spanish class! I remember my Freshman year, living in the dorms and getting our first really good snow storm. It was at about Thanksgiving. And talking to my roommates from Utah about how school was cancelled when it snowed where I was from and they just laughed. I didn't realize then that in Utah the snow doesn't go away like it does in California. If it snowed where I grew up it would melt away or the snow trucks would dig out those unfortunate souls who lived up in the forests, within a few hours and then life resumed. But when I was going to BYU life just went on, snow or no snow.
This was novel at first but I soon really didn't like it. I was new to walking on the frozen snow and would slip and slide my way to classes. I had a sore backside from so many falls. I soon grew to really dislike the snow. Then it got worse. My 3rd year at BYU I was able to have a car. I thought this was great. I don't have to ride my bike around anymore. But then the snow came and in order to drive that car I had to dig it out. This was not my favorite task. No amount of gloves and winter coats could keep you warm. I loved my winter coats. I had a number of them when living in Utah. Nice wool ones and gloves a plenty. Every coat had a few pairs of gloves in the pockets.
I was very thankful for my snow training while living in Utah because it prepared me for my 2 winters in New York where I have never been so cold in my whole like. Those wool coats were nice but I think I could have worn about 3 of them and still have frozen. What I learned to wear in NY was hats. For some reason when in school I cared more about my hair and how it would look when I got to class. I didn't worry about being cold. I didn't wear hats until I was in NY. Hats became my good friends along with gloves. I often wore 2 or three pairs of gloves and would have to change them often because once they got wet or damp they were of no use.
So now I live again in Sunny California where I don't have to worry about snow. Now I can enjoy snowflakes in pictures and story books and not have to shovel it or slip and slide my way over it.
We took the kids to the snow last year. It was their first snow trip. They were so excited.

When we got there they played a little. Ian had brought a digger to play in the snow like does in the sand at the park. He had a grand time. Henry was still small and didn't like walking on it so was carried around. Sophie loved it for the first few minutes until her gloves got wet so she took them off and she went without. Then she got cold and complained and said she wanted to go home. As we drove away. Sophie said she didn't like the snow and that it was just nice to look at. I feel the same way. I don't love to be in it but it is really beautiful.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It is starting to look a lot like Christmas!

Once Thanksgiving passed, Sophie asked to put up the tree. Everyday she would ask and everyday we would tell her "in a little while". So last night we did. I rearranged our furniture a little bit and found a place to squeeze in the tree. We bought a fake tree about 4 years ago and have loved it. It came with the lights already on and it goes together so easily.
The kids had a great time digging through the Christmas boxes and finding all the fun Christmas things tucked inside. They all loved the Elf hats and promptly put them on and wouldn't take the off during the whole evening

We also dug out our nativity sets and the kids enjoyed the one that I let them play with. It stays under the tree or at least it should. Today it has been making its way all around the room. Sometimes by train and sometimes Bob the builder helps carry the animals.

The kids sure had a great time decorating the tree. They got excited about each ornament.

We have a rather boring tree in some ways. Gold, white and red are the main colors on the tree. Gold ribbon, white snowflakes and red balls. There are also a few special ornaments that have been given to us to represent important events in our lives. Almost all the ornaments are kid friendly so I don't have to worry about broken glass ornaments. Especially since Henry seems to think that those red balls need to be smacked with train tracks. We have two mischievous elves that play in the tree and sometime come out of the tree for play as well.
Well It is up and we have a whole month of it. I hope the novelty of it wears off and it will be left alone soon. We get to redecorate the tree every few minutes because someone knocks off a bunch of balls. I guess that is all part of the fun!

Happy Christmas Season, Everyone!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The new look

I decided to pick a new template for my blog. I was getting tired of the old look. I even opened up a wordpress account to try that out, thinking I may switch. From the hour or so I spent trying to set up my blog there I can tell it will take me a while to figure it out so I am staying here and trying out a new look. I just get frustrated with the limited choices blogger allows. I can play with colors and a very few fonts but nothing really thrilled me. I will continue to play with things and experiment a little. I don't totally love what I have done here yet. Is there anything that you can suggest or things that really bugs you?

Do you like the picture I put in the header? It is a Van Gogh painting. I love Van Gogh. Not his crazy, strange paintings but ones like this one are very pleasant. This is a farmer in Holland tending his fields of tulips. I had to crop the picture for the header but here is the complete picture.
Isn't it lovely!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Big Birds, Full stomachs, Movies, Parades and more - Our stuffed week in Review

It has been a busy, fun filled week. I should divide this up into several posts but I think I will just cram it all in here.

I don't know how much school we really did, but we had a good time. The only subjects we did well covering this week was history and math. Sophie doesn't fight math anymore and does her practice exercise without too many complaints.
We read through the next chapter of our Story of the World book and studied ancient China. We read a bunch of books about China or that take place in China. And at the library I happened to see Big Bird in China there on DVD so took that home. My kids haven't ever really watched Seasame Street but they really enjoyed this movie. I watched it when I was younger and remembered it. They asked to watch it the next day as well as we drove over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house so I guess they liked it. We finished off our week of China with dinner tonight at an actual Chinese Restaurant. The kids seemed to enjoy the egg rolls the best, but tried the chow mein and rice too.

We also read a few more Thanksgiving books this week and did our Turkeys. We actually spent a lot of time out of doors which is great for us. We went to the park on Tuesday and the kids climbed trees.

On Wednesday we went to the park again and this time Sophie decided she could finally pump her legs and swing without me having to push. This is a big step forward! Hurray! I hope it continues and wasn't just a fluke.

Then on Thursday, off to Grandma and Grandpa's house we went to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with family. There were as many kids as there were adults so it was loud and busy but a lot of fun. And a lot of GREAT food! Thanks again Grandma for cooking the yummy dinner.

On Friday, Grandpa got up early and finished chopping up a large branch that had fallen off one of the trees in the pasture. Of course Ian and Henry had to join Grandpa out there and were helpful picking up wood. Mostly we just watched Grandpa swing the ax.
Here is a picture of the barn and cows. It was a beautiful, chilly day and we enjoyed the fresh crisp air.
After helping Grandpa load wood he helped Grandpa pull out all the tomato and cucumber plants from the garden. The boys loved throwing these over the fence for the cows.

While the boys did this Sophie and I went to the movies with Grandma and the girl cousins. This is the first film I have actually taken Sophie to in the theater. We went and saw Enchanted.
This was a really fun girls outing and a movie worth seeing if not in the theater then rent it on DVD. The girls had a good time telling us which fairy tale was being alluded to throughout the film. We all enjoyed it!

Friday night there is a Christmas Parade down the main street of the small town where my parents live. I have marched in this parade in the past and have to admit it might be better to be in it then watching it. It is really cold sitting on the side of the road watching cars and horses go by.
The kids were excited to go to the parade once me mentioned it but once we were there they complained that no one throws out candy anymore. And then they complained about the cold and the horse dropping smell. But they all got excited when floats went by with dancers or singers on them. And of course at the end Santa rides through the town with Mrs. Clause.
I always enjoy seeing all the fire trucks with the Christmas lights but the kids really don't like the honks and sirens. Henry and Ian spent most of the time with their hands covering their ears.
But we went back to Grandmas to enjoy yet another helping of turkey and mashed potatoes, topped off with pumpkin pie. I didn't hear any more complaints except about too full stomachs.
It was a great week but I am looking forward to a more quiet week. We are all a bit wired and need the balm of routine I think.

Friday, November 23, 2007

High School?

cash advance
I told you I wasn't a great writer. I guess I only write on a high school reading level. That isn't what one would expect from someone who actually did well in and graduated from college. Time to stretch those writing muscles and use a bit more of my vocabulary.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Fun!

Very light school day around here today. Sophie has been asking and asking when we were going to make our turkeys. We gathered pine cones last week on one of our trips to the park. Finally today we broke out the pipe cleaners and hot glue gun (this was my part) and created some turkeys.
All the kids loved sticking feathers into their pinecones. Henry didn't actually make his into a turkey he did have a great time with the elmers glue and feathers.
Here are the finished turkeys. They ended up very cute.

I hope everyone has a Great Thanksgiving!

Top 10 - I love the Cold

I should stop calling this Top 10 list Top Ten Tuesday because I can't seem to remember to write it until Wednesday. But this morning after climbing out of bed into the bitter cold morning air and wrapping myself in my fluffy robe to sit here at the computer and read my email and favorite blogs. I kept thinking about how much I love this time of year and cold. So here are ten reasons I love the cold.
1. Pile on the blankets - Sleeping with a few nice thick blankets, that nice weight on you while you sleep is just so wonderful.

2. Hot Chocolate - Holding a warm mug in cold hands and sipping a hot cup of chocolate is one of life greatest treats.

3. Flannel sheets - Ok. We are really odd and love our flannel sheets year round. My husband and I just love the softness but in the cold weather that flannel is so comfy and warm.

4. Winter clothes - Long pants, sweaters and jackets are my favorite. They look better, feel better, last longer.

5. Crisp clean air - The air just tastes better when it is cold outside

6. Reading a good book - I know you can do this in the hot as well as the cold but there is just something magical about reading a book curled up in a big chair with a blanket wrapped around you.
7. Socks - I have mentioned before I love fun socks but thick fun socks are even better. And I get to wear socks all the time. My kids love to watch my striped, or polka dotted feet walk around the house all winter. The always comment on my sock of choice for the day. They of course too have their own fun socks.
8. Playing the cold hand game - When getting my kids dressed they often complain with a giggle about my cold hands. Last night Ian even told me to go and wash them so they would be warm while I got him dressed. Sophie's cold hands always seem to find a strip of skin and make me jump. This isn't always a fun game. Sometimes those cold hands are quite a shock and little guys are already grumpy it just makes them more grumpy but usually it just makes us smile.
9. Showers - For some reason showers are so much nicer in cold weather. After being in the cold for awhile it is so wonderful to warm up in the hot shower. The kids get in the tub and I can't seem to get them out. They love sitting in the warm water too.
10. 3 extra bodies in our bed - It doesn't happen every morning but often the kids wake up and jump into bed with us in the cold mornings. It is so fun, until little guys get energized and start moving around too much. But these early morning snuggles with the kids are so fun.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Movie Monday - Amazing Grace

Monday morning always seems to bring a movie review to mind. Weekends tend to be when my husband and I finally get around to watching movies. So maybe I should just make Monday my day to review a good movie. Last night we watched Amazing Grace. I had heard a lot about it when it came out in the theaters and have had it saved on my Netflix queue for ages. Well if finally was released on DVD and we got to see it. We love British Costume dramas and this one, even though it wasn't a BBC production, had all the elements that we love. A bunch of great British Actors. Ioan Gruffudd, aka Horatio Hornblower to us not Mr. Fantastic, plays the lead and does a great job. The makeup people aged him well. We always enjoy seeing all those British actors that we love in other roles. But acting aside. The story is really inspiring. William Wilberforce was a great man yet is forgotten in history books. It was great to see and learn more of his story. It is history I didn't know anything about and yet I know a lot about the time period so it was interesting for me to tie all that I already knew about British and world history in with this story.
My husband particularly enjoyed hearing Amazing Grace played at the end of the film on bagpipes. He loves bagpipes. I enjoyed learning the history behind that song. I had no idea that that was how and why it was written.

If you haven't already seen this film. It should be on your queue!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Need a Better Sunday Ritual

Sunday is supposed to be our day of rest but they never seem to end up that way. My husband and I spend the morning fighting over computer time. We are each doing last minute things before we have to dress and leave for our 1:00 p.m. meetings. The kids are going crazy because they aren't getting enough attention, food and attention. They had toys scattered all over their rooms and were doing a lot of fighting today. We usually end up frazzled and annoyed. Not a lovely, quiet, peaceful way to enjoy the Sabbath.
We just don't have a good Sunday schedule. You would think by this time in the year we would have established some sort of routine to go with the afternoon church. We always do better when meeting are at 9:00 a.m. Our last minute things are done the night before so Sunday morning isn't quite so frantic. So with one month and a week left in this year and having afternoon schedule, I am going to give myself a deadline to have all assignments and such done by Saturday night. Then I can enjoy Sunday mornings with the kids and get them in a better frame of mind so that we can have a better church experience.
This is going to be very difficult since this week is the week I have to put together the RS newsletter and most of the people that I get stories, messages and updates from don't usually send those things until Sunday Morning. And it being a holiday week it may be difficult to get things done in time but I am going to try. I don't want to head to church again feeling like I did today. I don't think any of us arrived at church with a peaceful spirit. But thank goodness for opening hymns. I love to sing the hymns and the Thanksgiving hymns are some of my favorites. We sang "Prayer of Thanksgiving" as our opening hymn today and It just made that frantic, unrestful feeling flee. I was able to enjoy the speakers and my children actually behaved alright during the meeting. The rest of our Sabbath has been fine it is just those morning hours before church. We are going to have to make a few changes so that we can have a better Sunday.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

School review

We had a really good week. Of course it was a little shortened due to Monday being a holiday and we were out of town. We also have been a little sick with colds but it hasn't slowed us down at all. In fact this week we didn't have nearly as much complaining (at least about school).

Sophie is doing much better at math. We have started doing subtraction and just for fun, since it wasn't in the Singapore math book yet, we learned how to add multi-digit numbers. Sophie totally caught on to this which surprised me. I started by showing and pointing out the columns, ones, tens, hundreds. And as we tried to do a few problems together she got the whole carry the one and add it in when you add up the next column. She got so excited about it that when Dad came home she had to show him how she could do it. She was very proud of herself and feels good about math again. So this is great since she was saying she wasn't good at it for so long. I really don't want her to hate math so we are going at her speed and so things are looking up.

Sophie also decided that we would study the brain this week. I had gotten books to study the lungs and respiratory system but she wouldn't hear of that and only wanted to study the brain so we did. We read a few books about the brain and got a few more when we went to the library.

We listened to the Aaron Copland episodes at Classics for Kids this week. Sophie even requested to listen to the Copland music while doing a project and again later in the week when the kids were just playing. So she is enjoying his music!

We did a little of the First Language Lessons informally. Neither one of us really loves these. I really need to look into finding something different. We are still working through our introduction to poetry book and read a bunch of Limericks this week.

Our history this week took us to ancient India and I really enjoyed this. I learned a lot that I know I never studied in school. We read a number of good library books that take place in india or that tell about india. I wanted to find the Sauri that I was given while on my mission but never did find it. I know India will come up again in our studies so I will have to keep looking for it. Sophie wrapped a blanket around herself and said it was a sauri.

I think we have officially seen all the Signing Time movies now. We got another one this week that we hadn't seen before. The kids are still enjoying these and they sign a lot too.

We didn't row a book this week. I have collected a number of Thanksgiving books and we have been reading through those with all the kids. Sophie even read aloud the Magic Tree House book Thanksgiving on Thursday to us this week.( She is on a Magic tree house kick again. She also read Tigers at Twilight to herself since that one takes place in India. ) I also found a book of Thanksgiving Riddles that Sophie has been reading. She loves riddles but often needs me to explain them. She can't quite understand the play on words a lot of times. We haven't done enough crafts to go along with our Thanksgiving books. I found some build a turkey with stickers that the kids had fun doing. I just don't seem to have the energy to break out craft stuff at the moment. But we did go to the park and find pine cones so we can make some pine cone turkeys next week.

I finally got around to cooking up my pumpkins. They were supposed to go along with the Pumpkin runner from last week but just didn't do it. So this week I cooked the pumpkins and decided to make pumpkin soup. None of us liked it. The recipe called for Bell peppers and they overpowered the flavor. We had some great homemade bread to go with the soup and that was tasty but the soup was a bust so I know now not to make that pumpkin soup recipe again.

The YMCA has started a Jr. Fitness Frenzy class on Tuesday and Thursday that Sophie and Ian can both attend. They have enjoyed it the last few weeks so we I count that as PE. Ian had his last Soccer game today so that is now over (Yippee! I don't like having games every Saturday).

It was a good week. I felt like we accomplished a lot and didn't have as much trouble getting it all in each day. We even started to do 20 min of silent reading. This isn't something that has worked before for us but now Henry goes down for a nap and we have 20 min of quiet while we all can read books. Ian sometimes plays but is quiet. But Sophie loves to "read like Mom". She says this to mean that she reads silently to herself. For the longest time she didn't understand that I was reading without saying the words. But she now does it too.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's

Today we went grocery shopping and our supermarket just happens to be in the same shopping center as a Blockbuster. I don't think I have been in a Blockbuster for years. We Netflix and love it! I have been carrying around a gift card to Blockbuster for about 2 years in my wallet. I don't know what possessed me but today we went in and looked for a movie not to rent but to buy. We don't buy movies very often usually we just borrow everything from the library or Netflix. So we went in and looked at the new DVD's to buy. I took the kids over to the kids section and they weren't really that excited about anything. Henry saw a Thomas the Tank Engine movie. Ian saw some Land Before Time DVD's. Sophie didn't see anything that really interested her but was going to settle on the Curious George movie. I was almost ready to walk out of the store and put that gift card back in my wallet and save it for another year or two, when I would remember it was there and go into a Blockbuster again. But when we were about to walk out we spotted the new Veggie Tales video, The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's. My kids quickly decided that that was the movie they just had to have. So we payed the man and took it home.

My kids have had an on again, off again love for Veggie Tales movies. Sophie loved them when she was really small but wouldn't watch them for years because they were "baby movies". Recently we have been watching them again. The kids have been picking them out to borrow from the library. We will go week after week borrowing them and then go weeks without. But when you see a new one that you haven't seen you just have to see it. I think we have now seen just about all of them. They really are creative stories and songs.

This Wizzard of Ha's is the newest one and we hadn't even heard of it yet. Sophie got all excited about it since it is of course the Wizard of OZ story and she was on an Oz kick a year ago. We read through about 9 of the Oz books last year and she talks about them still. We may be ready to revisit the land of Oz soon. The kids are at this moment glued to the TV, watching their new movie. It must be good since the kids aren't even bouncing around on the bed like they usually do when viewing a movie.

So whomever gave us a Blockbuster gift card 2 years or so ago, Thanks!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


We have been a little under the weather here for a few days. Nothing major, just sore throats, runny noses and coughs, coughs, coughs. I have said "cover your mouth", "oh, gross... let me help you" and "blow out your nose not your mouth" so many times throughout the last few days. With the new ban on children's cough syrups I don't have anything to give these kids to knock them out at night. We have had a number of nights of kids waking up coughing, we get a drink and drop them back in bed. But for the last few days I have been trying this new technique that I was told works for coughs and so far it has worked.
This great smelling stuff is the answer. When putting their pajamas on I slather on a little of this Vicks Vapor rub on their feet and then put socks on to keep the stuff from getting all over the sheets. So far this trick is working for night time. No more wake ups because of coughing. I don't know why it works but it does!
I still don't know what to do during the day time. I just keep wiping noses and dishing out the occasional Tylenol for head aches. I don't know if it is anything more then a placebo but it keeps them happy. We are still doing school and going to the park. I think we will even go to the library today as usual. Their walrus tusks are more or less clear so we shouldn't spread too many germs.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Top 10 Tuesday - Long Weekend

The weekend went a little longer for us. We are just starting our week today. My husband had Monday off because of Veteran's day. We also had Stake Conference this weekend and a 2 hour meeting with my little guys is very hard. Oh.. and it just happened to also be Grandma's Birthday. So we decided it was a great time to get out of town. We headed to the hills and Grandma's house. Here are 10 things that make these little trips wonderful. If gas weren't so expensive we would do them more often!

    1. DVD player in the Car - usually when we do the 2 1/2 hour drive to Grandma's we listen to music or stories for as long as the little guys will take it. Once they start to go crazy from being strapped into car seats we break out the DVDs and put one on. This is a life saver or at least a sanity saver. Henry hates sitting in his car seat anyway but over 2 hours is torture which quickly becomes torture for our ears. So we watched Book of Mormon movies on the way to Grandma's on Sunday morning (We would have left on Saturday except that we had Ian's Soccer game and a Stake Leadership meeting that afternoon that one of us had to attend)

    2. Fresh air and open space - Heading out of the city and into the country is always a good thing. It was a bit rainy and wet this weekend so we weren't outside nearly as much as we could have been but we checked out the flowers in the garden, the cows out in the pasture and the wood peckers that are pecking holes in Grandpa's house and hiding acorns in the walls. A lot more nature up at Grandma's house. The kids get dirty digging in the dirt and played croquet on the lawn.

    3. Tickle Torture with Grandpa - My boys get so excited to see Grandpa. They love to climb up him holding his hands and then flip over. They love it when Grandpa tickles them. They keep going back for more and more until finally one of them (Ian usually) ends up crying because he has finally reached the maximum tickles before it becomes torture.

    4. Zoo Tycoon Marathons - Sophie gets to play Zoo Tycoon a lot longer at Grandma's house. Grandma has two computers and one of them is for the kids to play their games on. Grandma has the best computer games. Harry Potter, Book Worm, and especially Zoo Tycoon 2. (we only have the original Zoo tycoon collection at our house)

    5. Cooking and Canning with Grandma - I get to be in the kitchen with my Mom a lot while we visit. With so many guests at Grandmas there is a lot more cooking. I was glad to be of help as my parents cooked and canned the last of the apples from their tree. We made jars and jars of apple sauce and I even got to take some home with me.

    6. Heaven for kids - This is the best park ever and my kids beg to go there whenever we head up to Grandma's house. It was even better this time because cousins went with us!

    7. Dish TV - We don't have cable or dish where we live but Grandma's house has Dish and therefore a ton of channels to choose from. The history channel is often on but the boys love to watch the discovery channel's show How things are Made and Myth Busters. Ian just calls them builder shows.

    8. Games - We often break out the board games at Grandma's house. Settlers of Catan is one of our families favorites. We have even been known to play Risk and Monopoly at times. Sunday night, once the kids were put to bed, we had a great game of Pit. It is one of my Dad's favorite games. I don't really know why because I think he ended up with bull or the bear almost every time. I don't mind playing this game especially since I seem to get the corner a lot. I actually am a great game player. I don't know why but I do seem to win quite often. It used to bother my husband that I beat him so often at games but he is used to it now.

    9. Cousins - My brother and his family live up near Grandma and Grandpa so it is always a treat to see them when we visit. My kids always have a great time with their cousins.

    10. Celebrating Birthdays! - With so many family members in the area we tend to have a lot of birthdays and this weekend it was Grandma's. That was the Main reason for our visit the other things listed here are just the icing on the cake.

Happy Birthday Mom!
We had a great weekend! I hope you enjoyed your Day of all Days!
We Love You!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Weekly review

I kinda feel like I have already shared our week through my other posts but we actually did do a lot of school this week.

I finally introduced our Composer for the month, Aaron Copland. I am surprised there is so little I could find about him at the library. I could only find one book about him in our Library system. But Sophie has read through that book a few time. The library didn't even have a CD with just Aaron Copland music. He is often included on sampler disks and such so I finally found a good CD on CDSwap and It came this week. We listened to it a few times. The first time Sophie didn't really love it. But she asked me to play it again for her another day while we played with trains and she really liked it. I think we will listen to the Classics for Kids show about Aaron Copland next week.

I tried to introduce Mary Cassatt this week but she didn't go over quite as well. Sophie just doesn't seem that interested in her artwork. But we looked at some of her pictures and read a little bit about her life. Some of her artwork is done in pastels so we went to the craft store and bought some to try them out. The kids had a great time. I had forgotten how messy this medium is and I don't use hairspray so didn't have any in the house. I used to use hairspray as a fixative for my artwork in college. So their works of art are very smeared. I will do better next time we give pastels a try.
We didn't have as many fights about math this week. We are still working our way through our workbook. Sophie is slowly starting to get the hang of it or at least is more willing to work out the problems. So that is good!

For History we finished our reading of Gilgamesh and started the chapter on India. We read through a few books about india and talked about pakistan which is where the indus river is today. Our old neighbors are from pakistan so it was very interesting for Sophie.

We did another lesson on poetry from the intro to Poetry book. I also found a great book about poetry called R is for Rhyme.

We always enjoy our science study. This week Sophie decided we would study the digestive system after we finished up a little more study of the circulatory system. So we got some books about that from the library and have been reading that the last few days. She really wants to study the brain next week but I have the respiratory planned. We will see who wins.

We also did our FIAR book, The Pumpkin Runner. Ian and Henry loved this book. They would both be so excited to climb up in my lap and read it with me. Sophie decided the FIAR was for the boys and didn't actually come and sit on the big story telling chair with me but I know she was listening each time we read it. She also made sure we watched Finding Nemo which takes place in Sydney and listened to our Wiggles CD. We talked about all the Australian animals too. We spent a lot of time looking at our Children's Atlas picture of Australia. Ian can now find that country on the globe and world map. I fell short on a Language arts lesson to do with the boys but we did read about pumpkins and how they grow. I still have to cook up the pumpkins to make cookies. Maybe I will do that this afternoon some time.

We played a lot and read a lot and my kids are happy so it was a successful week.
Ian is still doing great at Soccer. He plays in all his games now and is getting a lot more aggressive which is both good and bad. Henry is talking a lot more and signing a lot too.

Friday, November 9, 2007

I don't feel odd

My husband came home from work today and mentioned that he had shared some of the muffins that he had taken in his lunch and that I had made yesterday with a coworker. The coworker thought they were great and was amazed that I had made them. This coworker friend of my husband has this strange notion that I am not "for real". My husband often shares some his lunch with this coworker and often takes homemade soup, bread, and cookies that I have made. My husband, in the past, talked about how I often grind my own wheat to make the bread. (It is a little hand grinder. The kids love to do this with me)
Here is Sophie grinding wheat for bread this week.

I do not consider myself a great cook. I am getting a lot better at making breads however. Mostly I just follow recipes and somehow thing turn out alright. But my husband's coworkers find this so amazing that I stay at home, cook a sit down dinner every night and even sometimes breakfast for the family, and especially that I have so many kids (Three kids here is considered a lot). They have this mistaken idea that I am wonder woman. Either that or I just really odd. My husband thinks they are secretly jealous because their wives refuse to do these things. I consider myself lucky to be able to stay home. It isn't easy and we sacrifice a lot to be able to do it. But I wouldn't want it any other way.

Here is the recipe for the muffins that received such praise. Nothing extravagant but rather tasty!
It is from the September 2007 Family Fun Magazine. I love the recipes they include in this magazine. They are easy and my kids, usually, will eat them.

Cinnamon Ripple Muffins

Marbled with a buttery cinnamon ripple, this muffin is much like an individual serving of coffee cake. Need we say more?

Cinnamon Ripple

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 Tablespoons butter cut into small pieces
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons Cinnamon

Muffin Batter

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking poweder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all the cinnamon ripple ingredients in a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to blend them. Set the mixture aside. Then heat oven to 400 degrees and grease the bottoms only of 12 standard muffin cups.

Next, make the batter: In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Stir in the dry ingredients just until the batter is blended. Then spinkle the cinnamon ripple over the batter and use a flexible spatula to fold it in a couple of times.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake the muffins for 13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes before removing them. Makes 1 dozen


I spent the day reading. OK... we did actually do a little school but for the most part I ignored my kids and just read my book today. I have been on the waiting list for Austenland for about 2 months at our library. I finally got to pick it up yesterday. I started reading it this morning and finished it as I was cooking dinner. I really enjoyed this Jane Austen Fan Fiction. Most of these modern day Jane Austen stories leave me not satisfied. But this one actually had me smiling at the end. I liked the characters and enjoyed the Austen references. I didn't even mind the twist on the Regency house party. It was obviously a quick read but some lovely mind candy! A fun read for any Jane Austen fan.