Friday, February 29, 2008

Read, play, and read some more.

Looking back on the week it seems like we did a lot but I don't know what was really that exciting to report about.

We read scripture every day which is actually quite an accomplishment for us. If we don't do it first before anything else. It tends not to get done. A few weeks ago we started reading the actual Book of Mormon rather then just the children's reader. We are enjoying the Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families. It has the full text as well as pictures and definitions and little extras in the footnotes.

Sophie is doing great with Math. She is getting the concept and doesn't get frustrated as much. Especially when I am sitting there with her. If I get up to do something else then she starts to get distracted and then gets frustrated with it.

We started learning about Rome this week. I am also surprised by how much Ian gets out of listening to the CDs. He is usually playing with other things but he is always able to answer questions about the reading. He has been telling us all about Remus and Romulus. We read a number of books about ancient Roman life. And even watched a video about Ancient Rome. But the kids loved the project we did this week.
We made mosaics. I did it the easy way and just taped contact paper sticky side up onto the table and gave them little squares to stick on.
They boys enjoyed it for a little while and put a few squares on their pages but they lost interest before finishing.
Sophie loved this project and enjoyed making little pictures with the squares and filling in the background.
Sophie's mosaic looks great.

She then helped me finished up the boys mosaics.

They loved the finished products and they are now hanging on their bedrooms walls.

As for science.... we read a bunch of books about trees, took a lot of walks to see nature. And one thing the kids have really enjoyed is the Thornton Burgess books we have been reading. I picked up Old Mother West Wind at the library this week and we read a few of the stories that day. And read a few more the next. Sophie didn't want me to stop. She wanted to hear the next one and then the next. I have caught her reading it on her own and she was really excited when she found that I also picked up another one. Not exactly science but it is all about loving nature and animals.

We did a few more Language Lessons about Verbs. I think Sophie is ready to move on to something else. So we may skip ahead a bit. We haven't been memorizing the poems so maybe we should focus more on that too.

Sophie has been studying the Vermeer paintings and even attempting to draw a few of them. I am so glad that she enjoys each of the artists. She keeps asking who we are going to study in March. I have decided to study Seurat. We will see if she likes his work.

We didn't do much with Vivaldi this week. But that is alright. We listened to the Classical Kids Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery a number of times this month and also read all sorts of books about venice so I think we covered it. Oh yeah....we did listen to the classics for kids episode about Vivaldi this week.

This week Sophie read to me The Magic Tree house book Dragon of the Red Dawn. And we have Blizard of the blue moon to start next. Sophie gets on Magic Tree House kicks and we read them for a bit and then she gets bored with them. At the moment we are on them.

Sophie also has had the habit of turning on her light after we have tucked her in and left her room. She stays up reading. We often find her like this. Books scattered about her bed and even the floor around her bed. We figure as long as she isn't cranky the next day it isn't so bad.

For Ian this week we have also been reading a bunch of cowboy books. He loves reading about cowpokes. These are a few of our favorites.

So we have been reading and reading and reading this week. I am surprised I don't need glasses yet.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mind the Gap

Now look at the nice big gap in my girls mouth.

After loosing the first one last week she has been working and working on the other one. It finally was ready and it took a few tugs and then it was out.

I showed her this old picture of me, when I was her age, last week when she lost her tooth.
She loved it that I had both front teeth missing. So when she saw herself in the mirror after this 2nd front tooth was out she said "I look just like you did."

BTW... I am laughing in that picture. The doctor was taking off my cast and it tickled.

Green Hour

We are a week behind and we don't have the Handbook of Nature Study yet (It has been ordered) but we are going to join the Green Hour Challenge that Barb at The Heart of Harmony is doing. I keep meaning to send in sketches for sketch Tuesday too but never seem to remember to do the assignment for that either. I read the initial challenge, for Green Hour, last week and remember thinking that it sounded good and something that we would be able to do. But as usual life got in the way and I forgot. It isn't that we don't go outside. I just forgot to do the assignment. The challenge should be even better once I get the Handbook.
I have been reading Pocket Full of Pinecones and it sounds like it is going to be a great book. I really like the idea of doing a nature notebook with Sophie. We have attempted it once or twice but I need to encourage it more and really make an effort to do it. An assignment each week should be good for us.

So now for our walk. We decided to just take a scooter ride around the block. We stop a lot along the way so everyone can pick wildflowers as well as a number of sticks and rocks.

During one of our pauses on our ride we were standing by a tree picking up all sorts of sticker balls, as I call them.
It is my assignment for the week to actually find out what kind of tree this is and what these balls are actually called. We see them all over the place and the kids love to pick them up and throw them. They aren't the most fun to try to scoot or bike over either.
While standing here I asked the kids to be really quiet and listen. I asked them what they could hear. Ian said a motorcycle. Henry said he could hear a dog. Sophie was quiet a little longer and then she replied that she could hear a bird. I asked her to point to where she thought the bird was. The tree across the street had a bird up near the top and we could hear it singing away. It took her a little while to actually see it but she got really excited once she could. Then she pointed it out to the boys. Lucky for us it chose that moment to flutter it's wings so both boys were able to see it too.

At another stop, Ian found a little red lady bug on a brick wall. The kids got a really good look at it and before I could snap a picture of them it was on its way.

We are seeing a lot of these flowers in everyone's yards now. They are really lovely.

When I asked Sophie for one word to describe something they heard she said "Sing"

Two words for something she saw - Tree and Twig

Three words for something she felt - soft, Yeow (I assume this is about the sticker balls) and rough

Thanks for the assignment. I will have to remind my kids to stop and listen more often. We often stop to look at things and even to feel them but not often stop to just listen.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Park thoughts

We often spend a few hours at the park on Wednesdays. I sat there watching Henry play in the mud and sand. And while Sophie and Ian ran about flitting between each of the different playgrounds and equipment, I had a lot of time to just think.

I sat there watching Sophie swing. I love that she can actually swing herself and I don't have to push her. It wasn't that long ago I was still having to push her. We had a lot of "discussions" about how to swing herself and lots of tantrums when I told her that I didn't want to push her anymore, and that she needed to do it on her own. (Or at least try to swing herself before insisting that I push her) She is now so proud of herself that she can swing on her own. She even spent a whole hour on the swing one park visit. She kept asking me the time because she wanted to go a whole hour.

Last week, at the park, I was pushing Ian and Henry on the swings. Pushing two boys was very tiring. I was running back and forth between boys giving each a few pushes. While I pushed one the other would complain that they were slowing down and needed more pushes. I was doing all the work and my arms were getting tired. I thought it was time Ian started to push himself. I was tried to talk Ian through the process of pumping his legs back and forth and leaning his body to swing himself. The conversation felt like deja vu and the same tantrum was thrown when I asked him to try to do it himself. I got tired of pushing either of the boys and especially tired of the complaining and whining so I insisted on moving on to something else.

Today at the park while watching Sophie swing I thought about how hard it is to learn new things and for Moms to teach these new things sometimes. It is worth it when you can see them finally figure out whatever it is that they have struggled with. Sophie now swings with such joy going a lot higher then I ever was able to push her.

Struggles will continue with Ian and then I will get to do it all over again with Henry. Hopefully each time it will get easier. Who knows Henry may just figure it out on his own. He tends to do that.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gotta love two year olds.

Look at this angelic, happy child.

Okay so maybe not so angelic but certainly happy and very cute. I always say it is a good thing he is cute or he would be in big trouble.

This is where I found him today.
No this isn't the first time this has happened. In fact it is becoming a daily occurrence. He climbs the shelves in the toy closet and empties all the contents of them onto the floor. I don't know exactly what he is trying to accomplish or what he is trying to do. Usually he gets to this point, where he is just sitting on the shelf and for some reason he calls for Mama. I fully know the boy is capable of climbing down so that isn't it. I think he calls me to show me his handy work. He must think I am thrilled that he does this.

Henry has never been what some would call an easy child. For the day he arrived he has been quite a handful. I can't believe it has only been 2 and a half years. It sure feels like I have been dealing with this little guy's shenanigans FOREVER.

On a lighter note. Spring is here. The trees in our neighborhood have "popcorn" on them (as my children point out).
We have taken a few walks around the block to enjoy the sunshine and beautiful flowers that are popping up everywhere.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Rare, Indeed!

Your Personality is Very Rare (INTP)

Your personality type is goofy, imaginative, relaxed, and brilliant.

Only about 4% of all people have your personality, including 2% of all women and 6% of all men

You are Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Perceiving.

Sunday Again.

I can't believe how quickly the weeks pass. Sundays seem to come around quickly. This afternoon I put this movie on for us to watch.It is new to us. We never got a chance to see it in Utah when it played there. Yesterday we were wandering through the Beehive Bookstore in the area and I saw The Testaments DVD there. I thought it would be good for us to finally see it. I have heard about it and seen parts of it but never the whole production. It ended up being the perfect cap to our week.
All week we have been studying Ancient America. We have been reading books about the Aztecs and Mayans. Sophie loves the "You wouldn't want to be a ......." books. I think so far we have read through the Egyptian Mummy and Greek Slave books. This week we read the You wouldn't want to be an Aztec sacrifice. The kids sat through all the gruesome details of the human sacrifices.

We also watched these other two movies this week.

We have had a lot of inside time the last few days because we have had a bit more rain. So we have been watching videos which is a nice change after sitting and reading books so much. We also made some headbands and glued on feathers so we could be Aztecs. (I never did get pictures of these) The kids always love projects. I need to do more of them.

With all our studies this week of the ancient Americas I tried to make sure to point out that these people were the descendants of the Book of Mormon people. But the kids didn't need any help here. They were so excited when I put the Testaments video on today and they saw those step pyramids and cities. They sat there glued to the set watching Jesus Christ come to the Americas.

We had a pretty successful school week even though we had Monday off and it took a bit to get back to normal after being away. But we covered all our subjects and had a great time.

It has returned to being wet and cold so the kids have been wearing their the robes I made them. I am no seamstress but these robes turned out to be a great Christmas gift.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


For the month of February I choose the artist Johannes Vermeer to study. I don't know how much Sophie or any of the kids are getting out of the study but I am enjoying it. I have always liked Vermeer's paintings and remember seeing a few of them when in the Louvre. The Lace Maker is one I distinctly remember seeing. (I went to Paris before I had really studied art so didn't know what I was looking at a lot of the time.)It is actually a lot smaller then I would have ever imagined. They had it displayed with a large, wide frame to make it seem bigger. When I looked up it's measurements today in the Vermeer book we have, it gives the dimenions in cm and not inches like many of the other paintings in the book.
This afternoon I sat with the Vermeer Book on my lap listening to Chasing Vermeer and looking up the paintings that are mentioned in the story. Sophie came and sat down with me and looked at the book with me for a bit. I don't know how much she is listening to the story but that is alright, I am enjoying it. As I was flipping through the book I noticed a few of Vermeer's earliest works. I had never seen some of them. He actually did a few biblical scenes which were the normal subjects for paintings in his day. I noticed this one in particular.
Christ in the home of Mary and Martha.
I just thought it was lovely. It doesn't totally feel like a Vermeer. The colors seem a little too vibrant but then some of his paintings do have some very strong reds in it. It does has an intimate feeling about it, like most of Vermeer's works. Anyway.. I just liked it and especially enjoy the fact that I found a new painting of his that I hadn't seen before.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Finally yanked it!

Last night after days and days of it hanging by a thread I talked Sophie into letting me yank her tooth out. She was thrilled to have it out and I was happy to do the job. Just a few more of those upper teeth to go then it will be time for braces!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Oh What a Beautiful Weekend

We headed up to Grandma's house for the three day weekend. It was lovely! The weather was perfect so we spent quite a bit of time out of doors. We took lots of walks.
The kids loved the trail along the ditch. Throwing sticks in and watching them flow down the ditch was just so much fun. They even found a little bridge that crossed it and had to play Pooh Sticks.The kids visited the neighbor's horses
And Grandpa's cows.
Since we were last at Grandma's house, Grandpa got a big tire for the kids to play on. Evidently these huge tractor tires are garbage. The owner was happy to give it to my day who put it out in the pasture for the grandkids to play on.

They had a great time climbing in and around and through it. Grandma even came out and went through the tire too.
Out in the pasture is a swampy place. There were still a few cat tails there that were perfect for playing with and throwing the fuzz around.
This was one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid too.

It was a great weekend. We are having a hard time getting back into our normal groove after such a weekend.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Good things this week.

I can't say this was the best week for us. Sickness is never fun and it is taking days and days to get over. Just when I think we are all better something turns up to make me believe otherwise. But let me try to be positive and point our a few good things that have happened.

1. I finished a book and am starting another - I haven't been reading for myself a whole lot the last few weeks but I started a book this week, The Harvester by Gene Stratton-Porter. A little romantic, easy read but very good. I loved the descriptions of the forests and all the animals. It fit in nicely with all the talk of love this week as well.

2. I read a lot of books to the boys - Since I had some boys that weren't feeling well and needed to be held. We read a lot. I realized I read a lot of books that are designed to go with our different school focuses but often the boys don't get some of just the fun books they want to read. So I read Curious George a lot and did a lot of I spy and Do you see what I see?. We also love Leo Lionni books. We picked up a few new ones this week at the library.

3. Sophie and my husband never got sick

4. I have a washing machine. - During this sickness I have come to really appreciate having my own washer and dryer. We moved into this house just about 1 year ago. Before then we had to save quarters and use the washer that in our Apartment complex. I hate having to save quarters. When you do at least 5 loads of laundry a day for days and days it is really nice to have one that is your very own and you don't have to feed with coins!

5. Juice boxes - We don't usually drink juice at all. We drink a lot of water but my kids weren't drinking enough so I splurged and got some juice boxes. They have been drinking those down and staying hydrated! And they can get them and stick the straw in all by themselves. I don't have to get up to reach the cups or pour the juice.

6. Colored pencils and paper - Sophie has spent the last week drawing endless pictures, illustrating her favorite stories, Writing little plays and even making stick puppets.

7. We did do a little school - Since Sophie never got sick I tried to keep up with doing school. She still did some math. She enjoyed learning about Verbs finally. We read about Alexander the Great and the Lighthouse in Alexandria. We even got through a few fairy tales from the Blue Fairy book. Soph even read a number of the books about seeds that I got at the library to herself.
We even got through a few chapters of the Actual Book of Mormon instead of the Book of Mormon Reader which we usually use. Sophie has decided she wants to read the real book. So school this week was alright. No projects or fun stuff but a lot of reading. That works for me!

That is about all I can't think of at the moment. And I need to get going. I have laundry to fold and diapers to change.

Hope you all have a great Presidents day Weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

We have had a lot of FUN!

Sophie didn't love this one because she didn't like that she wasn't wearing very many clothes. She has been taught well!

We dream of Dancing with the Stars.
The kids loved that we got to throw snowballs at each other in this holiday one.

Happy Valentines Day to Everyone!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Under the Weather

It has been beautiful around here for days. The sun has been shinning and warm. We don't even need jackets when we go outside. I can't say I have had the chance to enjoy it. My kids are taking turns getting sick. Not just cold, achy sick but... I have to mop the floor and do a lot of laundry, sick. Then today it was my turn. I spent the day laying in bed or on the couch, reading books to the kids when they are brought to me and letting them watch way too many movies. I have already warned my Husband he is due for his tomorrow. Sophie is the only one that has remained healthy so far. Lets hope it stays that way and is over soon! NOT FUN!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Wrestling?

Do Sunday Afternoons seem to go on and on and on? It is supposed to be a day of rest but at my house I feel like I never get a chance to sit down. I hate to schedule our Sundays but something needs to change or else my day of rest will continue to be a Day of wRESTling.

My kids actually did quite well at church today. I was able to sing the hymns and listen to the speakers. They were even well behaved in Primary. It is after church that is the problem. They are under the impression that Sundays are the day they can't play with any of their toys and have to have Mom entertain them all day.

Today they talked me into making valentine sugar cookies to frost. We made the dough and I went to roll it out so we could all punch out hearts. The kids wouldn't listen when I tried to slow them down a little. But they wanted to punch and grab the cookies so they ended up looking like big globs of dough rather than hearts. I had to roll out the dough over again and they punched out the hearts a little nicer but still lopsided and mangled. The perfectionist in me wanted them to look nice especially if we are going to be taking them to our friends (which is also on the list of things to do today according to my kids).

Then while the cookies are baking. My kids decide, or I should say Sophie decided and Ian agreed, that they needed to make some Valentine decorations. So I got out the construction paper and the collage stuff so they could decorate hearts with pop poms, feathers and glitter glue. They had a great time but made a big mess.

Once I got all the cookies baked and the collage stuff cleaned up I had to make frosting so the kids could frost and decorate the cookies. They of course covered themselves in purple icing and are now on a Sugar high from eating a bunch of iced cookies.

While still trying to clean up the cookie frosting mess, Sophie then informs me that she wants to play another round of Zooreka. We do often play a board game together on Sunday afternoons. But I was already loosing my patience.

Can I just say I am tired of cleaning up one mess only to start another. My husband did entertain the kids a few moments with books while I cleaned up the different messes. The kids did "help" a little too.

My kids are small and don't rest. Therefore I don't get to rest. I know it is normal but that still doesn't make it easy.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Soft Pretzel/ Bread Sticks

I don't mean for this to be a recipe blog. But my bread recipe was requested. Since I am sitting here with my cookbook I thought I would include one more. This one is for Soft Pretzels. Lately I have been using this recipe to make bread sticks to go with our spaghetti dinners. They taste so good dipped in sauce.

1 1/4 cups of water
1 T light brown sugar
1 packet of active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
3 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

Heat the water until it is warm not hot. Mix the brown sugar in the water then sprinkle the yeast over this mixture. Let it sit while you get the flour and salt ready. Pour wet mixture over the dry and mix well. Knead the dough until it is smooth. Then cover and let it raise in a warm place for about 45 min to 1 hour. If you are making pretzels divide dough into 6 parts and roll each part into long thin snakes about 3 feet long. (my kids love this part). Shape the ropes of dough by making a circle and twisting the ends. Fold ends back over the circle and pinch the dough. Place the finished shapes on lightly greased baking sheet. Paint on each pretzel a little water/sugar mixture.

1/2 cup Hot water
1 tsp sugar

Top them with a bit of course salt. Set aside for 10 min. Bake pretzels for 12-15 min.

Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter.
Place a sheet of aluminum foil under a wire rack and transfer baked pretzels to the rack. Using pasty brush, apply melted butter liberally over the pretzels; this makes them soft and flavorful. Enjoy them while they are warm.

If I make them into bread sticks I just don't shape them. I roll them out and cut the ropes into 4 in long sticks and proceed like normal. After painting on butter I sprinkle on some garlic Salt. The smell of the butter and garlic is wonderful! My kids ate 4 sticks each last night at dinner. They could have eaten more except they were gone.

You can also make these into a dessert by sprinkling on some cinnamon and sugar before baking and again after you butter them when they come out of the oven.

Not the most healthy treat but very tasty!