Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Trying to get back into the Great Outdoors.

I have been very lax about doing any formal nature studies. We play outdoors quite often but it is usually at the park or someplace where the kids can run around while I sit and take care of the baby. But Barb has started some fall outdoor hour challenges and I felt like we really needed to get back into doing these. So we started with cattails.

This is an easy one. My kids already love these. They play with them at Grandma's house. (I remember having a lot of fun with them as a kid too.) And we knew where we could find some not too far from our house.

We took a friend with us on our hunt to find cattails. This little guy hadn't had the chance to play with cattails before so my kids were happy to show him how much fun they could be.
(notice my kids in their long pants and long sleeves. It is starting to really feel like Fall here.)

The kids did take a few moments to look at the murky water that was in the ravine.
This ravine has water in it here, but further up the trail it was dry as a bone. This part always seems to have water but depending on the season the rest of the little creek will sometimes and sometimes not have water.

I wasn't long before the kids started to rip their cattails apart.

Sophie was the most vigorous. She ripped into several of them and kept trying to get the boys to do theirs also but they wanted to try to save them. (I think one made it home with us, which is amazing. Such restraint!)

Not Sophie. She loved the fluff and continued to pull the fluff and drop it all along the trail as we walked back. She said she was spreading the seeds.

On such a windy day I am sure we helped spread them around, a lot!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tooth Fairy is in Trouble!

Sophie has been loosing a number of teeth recently. I am actually getting really good at pulling them out. She doesn't even flinch any more and even asks me to try them to see if they are ready. Her most recent one came out 3 days ago. Sophie had trouble doing her math that day because her tooth was so loose and bothering her, so I decided to give it a look and before she knew what was going on the tooth was in my hand. It really was barely hanging on. We quickly taped it to a piece of paper and wrote the date on it. She ran it to her room and put it under her pillow right then. She was able to go back to doing her math and we all went about our day.

The next morning she came out of her room holding that little piece of paper and said that the tooth fairy forgot to visit that night. I felt bad and told her that sometimes the tooth fairy is busy and just can't make it. She decided that was a good enough excuse and ran the tooth back to her room.

The next morning I hear her crying her room. She was tearing apart her bed looking for something. My husband went in and helped her look not even knowing what he was looking for. I found out that she was looking for the package from the tooth fairy. She thought she had knocked it off her bed and she was sure she heard it fall behind her bed. I sheepishly told my husband the tooth fairy again forgot. We found the tooth and calmed her down.

Then this morning again there was the tooth and again there was no package. What is the tooth fairy doing? How can she forget to come three nights in a row? I don't know what she has been doing but evidently she must be having some long nights and she is getting forgetful in her old age or distracted by baby tooth fairy. For what ever reason or excuse SHE HAD BETTER NOT FORGET AGAIN TONIGHT!!! and it better be good!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Rare Treat

Almost every time we go to the grocery store and walk through the produce section, Sophie goes up to those little boxes of Blackberries, blueberries and Raspberries and asks if we can get some. I look at the little tiny box and then at the 4 or 5 dollar price tag and say "not today". We often have these berries but usually they are frozen and we throw them into smoothies or something.

Well, yesterday when we went to the store, I saw a lady pushing a cart toward the checkout stand with what must have been 20 of those little boxes of Raspberries. I remember thinking "She must be making jam" and then went on with my shopping. When we got to the produce, which was the last section we needed to visit, one of the workers there, restocking things, told me to make sure to pick up some raspberries. I looked at that little boxes of Raspberries and then at the price, 99 cents. Sophie was standing in front of them too and got very excited when I told her to pick out 4 boxes of them. She was thrilled that today we would finally get to take some home. I picked up a few other fruits and vegetables and then while walking past the raspberries once more, I collected four more boxes and added them to my cart. How could I pass up such a good price on these lovely little berries?! Now I could understand what that lady was doing with the cart full of berries.

When we got home, Sophie immediately grabbed one box, washed the berries and started to dig in. She and Ian finished off one box themselves before I even got the groceries put away. We added another box to a fruit salad for dinner that night.

This morning I made some Pop up Pancakes. I knew they would be great with another box of the berries.
I still have five more boxes of berries. What should I do with them? Sophie wanted me to make jam but I don't have enough for that. My husband said to add them to a smoothie, but I told him we have frozen berries for that. Sophie also suggested a cobbler but for some reason I just don't want to make one with these berries.

I guess I just want to eat them as they are and enjoy the fact that we have fresh raspberries to eat. That just doesn't happen for us very often. Maybe I should run back to the store and see if there are any berries left. You can never have too many raspberries.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First day of Fall

It doesn't quite feel like Fall yet. We are still having 90 degree weather but I can see the signs that the season is changing.
I love the Fall. It always feels so good to get out the long sleeved shirts and sweaters again. I much prefer them over shorts and t-shirts. I sleep so much when it is cooler at night and since the house isn't hot I actually cook and bake. Yummmm... hot soup and bread for dinner again sounds so good!
My kids have been noticing the change of season too. They suddenly feel like they have to decide what to be for Halloween and want me to fill my grocery cart with bags of candy. I guess I should start thinking about such things since holidays do seem to creep up on me very quickly. I have a feeling I will be making a Luke Skywalker costume and Henry would make such a cute Yoda. I wonder if I can somehow make Sophie into Princess Leah.

Oh the joy of Fall. It really is my favorite season of the year. After a long hot Summer it is always nice to see the cool weather return.

I hope it decides to come soon!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Catching Fire!

At about 5:00 last night I sat down at the computer to check my email and such. I also went to our library website to request something. When checking my account it said I had one of my holds in. I checked to see which book had come in and I suddenly got excited. I had been number 68 when I first put this book on hold and knew I would have to wait for a long time before getting to read this book. It just came out a few weeks ago so I was surprised it came in so quickly. I guess the good people in line before me either went out and bought the book or read it quickly and then returned it so those of us further down the list could get it quickly.
Even though I had dinner in the oven I knew I needed to run over to the library and get this book. The library closes at 6:00 on Saturday night and wouldn't be open again until Tuesday. So I told my husband I was going (He would need to watch what I had in the oven and also answer Molly's cry when it came) and jumped into the car. Within 15 min I had return home again with my book.

I haven't gotten a chance yet to start it. But I am sure I will be finished before I head back to the Library for our usual visit on Thursday so the next people on the list can have it all the quicker.

***Update*** I finished it Monday morning. It took less the 12 hours even with all the distractions I get. I couldn't put it down. So when does book 3 come out. I really want to know what happens next!

Friday, September 18, 2009

September is Busy!

Is it just me or has life just started going in fast forward. Once September hit we have been non stop busy. We just seem to have something going on each day of the week and new things are always cropping up. We have had doctor, ENT, and Orthodontist visits. Two birthdays to celebrate. A baptism/blessing day to plan and carry out. Sophie just started going to weekly activities for church as well as her cooking class. Ian has his Karate class. Henry's Soccer hasn't even started yet but we still feel like we are always on the go. Somehow we still fit in school work and Molly does get fed and does sleep every once in awhile in her bed rather than her car seat. It isn't very often, I admit. She isn't on a set schedule yet because each day is different. I just take her along and hope she does well where ever we are.

I can't say we are doing a heavy school load either. I hit all the major subjects but in a much more relaxed way.

History : We have been doing one chapter a week in our Story of the World book and reading a few go alongs, But other than the map work and the coloring page we haven't done any fun projects. We have taken a little more time to study Holland or the Netherlands. We have been looking at painting by Rembrandt and reading The Wheel on the School as a read aloud. Sophie wrote a little report about storks to go along with this book. Hans Brinker and the silver skates has been our audio book in the car for the last week as well. So we are getting a good look at Holland. Even if our chapter for the week was about King James I and the Jamestown settlement.

Science : Chemistry has been a lot of fun. We do 2 experiments a week along with our reading. The Noeo science curriculum we are following has been a lot of fun but goes a bit slow for us. So we have ended up doing about two weeks worth of work each week so far. My kids want to read the entire book usually rather than just a few pages of it like the schedule tells us. So we are moving quickly through it.

Poetry/Penmanship ; Sophie has been practicing her cursive writing while copying out a few of her favorite Lewis Carroll poems. I gave her a poetry book of his poems for her birthday and she has really enjoyed it.

Reading : Ian has almost completed the first Explode the Code book. He also reads one passage from the McGuffey Reader to me. He knows all the sounds of the letters he just can't seem to master combining the sounds to make a word yet. He can do it but very slowly. I think I need to start Henry on the Explode the code primers.

Math : Singapore Math is working well. Sophie is almost done with the 3A book. Ian is still working on the 1A book but because he can't read yet we are taking it very slow. Our focus is really on reading with him at the moment. I did something new with Sophie recently. When she finished a review we took the next day off of the workbook and we read a biography of a mathematician from Mathematicians are people Too. We only have done one so far and Sophie seemed to enjoy it. She didn't even complain when I asked her to write out a narration on the man.

Latin : I am surprised my kids are taking to Latin so easily. Not that we are really doing any kind of intense study. We get a new word just about everyday and we look at some sentences made the different words we have studied thus far and try to translate them. 10 min a day at the most but so far so good.

I am still falling short on language arts with Sophie but she has been doing a lot of writing with science, history and even with latin and math so it is hard to get her to do much more than this. I guess incorporating it into the other subjects works for now.

Well... I need to head out to yet another activity.

I will try to post more often if I can squeeze in a moment to do so.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

These photos made me laugh so hard!

Today was quite a day. Molly was blessed and Sophie was baptized. We planned both events for the same day so family didn't have to travel to our place twice in a short amount of time.

Everything turned out great! And Sophie loved every moment.
Here we are at the end of the day, about to climb into our cars after the whole event and trying to get one last picture of our family with my brother, and my brother's family. Getting this many kids in one shot is interesting. And I think the attention was going to Sophie's head. She insisted on standing front and center a few steps out in front. She didn't seem to listen when we tried to explain that she was in front of some smaller kids.

I think 5 year olds don't know how to make a normal face for the camera.

You can tell after just a few shots my boys couldn't contain themselves anymore.

Gotta love family get togethers!

What a day!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Trying to capture the smile

Molly has been smiling a lot lately. She loves to look at faces and will often respond with a smile. Here is my feeble attempts to get a photo of her grin.

This is harder than you would think. I am holding her in my lap trying to take her picture while she is looking at my face. She only smiles for a moment so I have to be quick with the camera.

It is hard to get the right angle too. Since I can't have the camera in front of my face I can't really tell what I am snapping.
After about 20 shots I give up and just hope one of them looks good.
I then turned the camera around and snapped a few of the two of us.

Try to ignore those dark circles around my eyes, I haven't been getting enough sleep of late.

I spend a lot of time with this cute, sometimes smiling, little, round baby.

Going Green

Ever since Sophie got her braces we have been making a lot more smoothies. She was using the excuse that she can't have some fruits and veggies because they were too hard for her braces. So I started blending them up and we now drink them. I get out my blender so often I might as well leave it out on the counter, but I don't.

I have been hearing more and more about Green Smoothies and have looked at a number of websites and blogs that talk about them and give recipes and such. My kids don't seem to mind the green color and often it turns brownish when I have both a lot of greens and then frozen strawberries or such. The drinks go down pretty easily. So I make at least one green smoothie a day. The kids each have a cup and I feel good that they are getting their veggies for the day.

I have put carrots, squash, spinach and any other lettuce greens that I have around into my smoothies. As long as you have a strong tasting fruit like bananas or pineapple mixed in, you can't really taste the veg.

Here is the one I made yesterday. It is a lovely shade of green. All the fruit I had on hand were yellowish colored so the large amount of spinach gave it this vibrant color.

I usually start by filling the blender with huge handfuls of spinach. I pack it in because when It is blended it doesn't take up as much space. Usually I add a little liquid. What ever I have on hand. This day I had some orange juice. So I just add a little so the spinach as something to blend into. Once that was done, I put in a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt. I don't always add yogurt but I did this day. It lighted up the green color.

I then added my last speckled banana (another good thing is that the fruit that is getting a little over ripe, can just be thrown in and nobody complains about the brown spots.) a nectarine and an apple. That was all the fresh fruit I had on hand since it is shopping day tomorrow. I was going to add a few frozen berries (I have a bag of blueberries and another of strawberries in the freezer that I often put in) but the blender was too full so we just blended those three fruits into our spinach. I gave it a taste and asked Ian to take a spoonful, to get a kid opinion. He said it was good so we poured and drank.

I didn't get any complaints and since I had the camera out they started to try to give themselves green mustaches.

Sophie wouldn't do it but she still wanted to be in on the fun.

As you can tell the cups were empty and the kids were happy. I was a happy mom because I knew my kids had just had a bunch of spinach for lunch. I had my big glassful too so I am getting my greens too. This method of vegetable eating/drinking is working for us. I am now looking around the produce aisle of the grocery store to look for other things I don't normally buy or can't get my kids to eat so I can mix them into a smoothie.

My husband really wants to get me this blender. We saw it at Costco a week or two ago and he was very tempted to get it for me for my birthday (Homer's bowling ball?) but the price is a little steep for us. My blender is working for now... maybe one day I can get the fancy one that will make soup and ice cream at the press of a button. For now I am experimenting and my family are my guinea pigs. No complaints so far.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Henny's Day of all Days

Before any of the kids got up this morning I broke out the streamers and balloons and started decorating the front room.Henry came running out of his bedroom a short time later and exclaimed "Todayz My Buthday". He has been waiting for this day for so long. I don' t know if it lived up to his fantasy but then when does a birthday ever totally meet the expectations of a little kid. I know he had a great time and I hope he felt special today.

He got to eat his waffles off of the "You are Special Today" red plate. And when finished he announced that it was present time. I tried to explain to him that presents usually come after the cake and ice cream. I hadn't even made the cake yet. He didn't want to wait and since I am such a push over these days I relented and let him open one of his gifts.
The kids then spent a long time playing the new Rush Hour game. Sophie really likes it. It says on the box ages 6-8 and it really is a little beyond Henry yet but he still had fun and the other kids sure enjoyed it.
While the kids were playing we heard the "Wow birds" outside especially loud. Sophie looked out the window and there they were in our birth tree that is right outside our front window. It was as if they wanted to wish Henry a Happy Birthday too.We all went outside to see them and counted 5 of them in our tree. They must really like our yard. We have sure seen a lot of them lately.

Since we didn't plan a big party for Henry's birthday (I just wasn't up for much this year) I took the kids to play at The Jungle this afternoon. They had such a good time climbing up, around and through that maze of ropes and pits and what not. They also enjoyed playing games in the arcade. Ian especially was looking forward to and playing some air hockey.
The kids won enough tickets to "buy" a few little toys when we left.

Then the real festivities began. We had a spaghetti dinner (requested by Henry) and then came the cake. Henry had requested a Star Wars cake. I was less than creative so ended up just getting him some new Lego Star Wars figures and putting them on the cake.
Wow were the kids excited to see the new figures; Darth Vadar, Chewbacka and Obi One.
They kids were so excited about the figures Henry almost forgot about any more presents.

I did say almost..... Before too long he remembered and after opening a few more gifts Henry was asking if there were any more. What kids doesn't dream of having more and more presents.

But I know he had a great birthday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Only 6 weeks but It Feels like Forever

Molly is now 6 weeks old. The time feels like it went quickly but at the same time it feels like Molly has been here forever. At this the 6 weeks mark, I feel pretty much back to my normal self, more or less. The real test started this week. .

My husband headed back to work this week. He used up some vacation days and furlough days and some paid family leave and was able to stay home for 6 weeks after Molly was born. It has been really nice having him around. I don't know how I would have handled things the first few weeks if he had had to return to work any earlier. But I have hit that 6 weeks mark and feel pretty much back to my normal self, more or less. The real test of this started this week.

I have been home the last two days with the kids all day, just me, for the first time since Molly was born. It think they have gone pretty well. We have been doing almost all the school subjects now. There are a few more things to fit in but more or less we are doing full days of school each day. I am still learning to juggle "one on one time" with each of the kids, but other than that the kids are doing their work and I am reading books to them, I can't complain. Their behavior too, isn't driving me too crazy. I can tell I loose my patience a little more at the end of the day or if Molly had a particularly difficult night. But on the whole we seem to be doing well. I feel like I am doing way better than I thought I would at this point. A little longer sleep would be nice.

I have even started going back to the gym in the mornings. Wow does it feel nice to have that hour of exercise each day. As long as I plan it around one of Molly's many naps she doesn't even have to leave the car seat. The people at the Kids Corner (day care) don't even have to do much more than just look at her every once in awhile. The other kids know exactly what to do at Kids Corner so are happy to go and play for an hour while I am gone. Those extra pounds will soon drop off, I hope!

So we are adjusting well to being a family of 6. Living where we do, we get a lot of comments on the size of our family and I get a lot of strange looks from people who think I am crazy taking 4 kids with me to the store. Now if I can just get them to act like little well behaved angels maybe those looks wouldn't be looks of irritation but amazement.