Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sweet Potato Kale Soup

I have recently been trying to add new vegetables to our usual assortment of dinners. We certainly aren't Vegan but we have many meatless meals in our house. I have been making sure we eat a wide assortment of colorful veg. Well I have been buying kale for awhile but have only added it to our green smoothies. Sweet potatoes are a recent addition to our regular diet.  So when I saw this recipe for Sweet Potato Kale soup I decided I had to give it a try. I don't know how I ended up on this blog. It isn't one I usually read so it must have been a link from a different blog. But this is where I got the recipe. I am trying to be better about remembering where I get my recipes so when I share them I can give credit where it is due.

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, chopped fine
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon crushed red peppers
3/4 pound kale, tough stems removed  and roughly chopped
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and diced into 3/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups cooked brown rice

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook down until tender and translucent, about five minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric and crushed red pepper flakes.  
Cook, stirring, for about 1 minutes.
Add the sweet potato chunks and stir.
Add the chicken or vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.
Add the kale once the broth is simmering and submerge all of the leaves, helping them to cook down.
Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes have become tender.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Lastly, stir in coconut milk, heat through and serve over a bed of brown rice.

 I don't usually have coconut milk in my pantry so I had to remember to get some the next grocery trip. And I admit I didn't have the crushed red pepper flakes so I just chopped up a red pepper and sauteed it with the onion. I also used dried garlic and ginger. I don't use ginger all that often and my garlic was all gone. So I made due with what I had and it still tasted wonderful. Tumeric is such a flavorful spice!

Now my kids did not eat this willingly. They always take a few bites and drink the broth but it will take me serving it a few times before they embrace it. Even then it may not be something they look forward to.  They did love the corn bread I made.  I know... corn bread isn't the greatest side dish to serve this with. But it sounded good on this rainy Sunday and I knew if my kids didn't eat their soup they would eat that. It was also a good ensentive to get them to try the bit of soup they did eat.

My husband and I loved it!

I love finding new ways to add healthy foods into our diets. And soup is becoming one of my best experiments!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Seniora Castafiore

That very first day, while still in the hospital, I knew that Molly was a singer, a soprano. She was reaching the high notes quite easily. I remember telling my kids that we were bringing home Seniora Castafiore. If anyone has read the Tin Tin comic books Graphic Novels, they know of whom I am talking. My kids knew exactly who that was and laughed. But the singing came home and it has stayed.  Seniora Castafiore lives on in my little girl.

I have never had mild children that just sit in their strollers and look at the world around them. Mine have all let me know, right off, that that was not going to happen. They all have climbed out of grocery carts, run wild through the library, climbed to the top of every slide and shoot down before they could even walk. They are all experts at pitching a fit if they don't get to do whatever it is that strikes their fancy. I don't know if it just because I am getting older and more tired. Or if it is because I have three other kids that I am also having to deal with but Molly seems to top them all. Her fits are even harder for me to deal with. A lot of it has to do with the high pitched screech she uses whenever I try to steer her away from whatever she has decided she must do.

Today a lady at the library stared at me like I was crazy  or worse because I was strapping my screaming 18 month old in her stroller. Molly was doing her best impersonation of Sra. Castafiore yet. The staring lady came up to me and asked if she (Molly) needed anything. I told her, while trying to catch my breath, "No nothing, she just needs to be locked in her stroller so she wont play in the water fountain or head down the stairs anymore."  The lady didn't know how to respond to this I guess because she just quickly went back to browsing for picture books for the child that must have still been off at school. She was there childless during school hours, so I guess couldn't relate to my situation. Molly, thank goodness, quieted down a bit and we packed up our books and checked out as quickly as we could. We tend to be ruled by how long Molly will allow us to stay at any one place. Which in reality is more... How long Mom can stay sane while playing, chasing and keeping Molly out of trouble.

I admit I loose my cool now and again. My patience for this type of thing varies from day to day. And some days it is all I can do to just make it to the car and go home.  I am embarrassed to say on Monday I left the doctors office in tears because both Molly and I had been waiting for so long we were both shaking. Once the tears started I left and she never did get the shots she was supposed to get that day. I am usually a patient person who is understanding when it comes to waiting my turn. But waiting for an hour and a half for shots with a 18 month old who is tired and ready for a nap is a little too much for any Mom to take.

On this day it was stairs and water fountains that she wanted to play in too. But we had to stay in the waiting room to hear our name when it was called and Molly would have nothing to do with the waiting room after about 15 min or waiting. I didn't blame her.  Gross, germ infested toys that are already overrun with kids playing with them isn't my cup of tea either.

And now we are sick. I have a sore throat and my ear is popping which tells me I am getting a cold. Molly's nose is running and Ian has been wiping a bit of stuff on his sleeve today. Gotta love the Well Check appointments at the doctor that make my healthy kids, and me sick.

Maybe that is my problem today. It is the cold talking and not just my lack of patience. All I know is that each time Castafiore starts singing I just want to head to my room and shut the door. It doesn't help really. I can still hear her but at least there is a door between us.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Favorite book/books/Author

Wordfull Wednesday is back and today's topic is our favorite book from childhood. That is such and easy topic... sort of.  I can't remember that far back. I remember reading a few Roald Dahl books when I was a kid. I also remember reading all the Shoe books by Noel Streatfeild: Ballet Shoes, Theatre Shoes and Dancing Shoes.  I also know I received The Little Princess and The Secret Garden for Christmas one year. And I read Louisa May Alcott books like Little Woman, Little Men and Eight Cousins. But the books I think I loved the most were my Anne of Green Gables books. I read the entire series several times over. I think this was the first series of books that I got so wrapped up in I cried when one of the characters died.
I had a friend who would come over and we each had Anne books and would just sit and read them. She with hers and me with mine. We loved them. I have introduced Anne of Green Gables to Sophie but haven't moved past the first book. I loved them at about 10 or 11 years old so soon it will be time to reintroduce these lovely books to her.

I read these so much my Mom would give me other books by Lucy Maud Montgomery to read. I have  the Emily of New Moon series of books as well as The Story Girl, Jane of Lantern Hill and a number of others but none of them compared to Anne. She is still one I revisit now and again. My Mom saved my books from when I was young and they are now on my shelf waiting to be discovered again. 

I think even my boys will enjoy them.  Or maybe not.... we will see.

Visit Chocolate on my Cranium for more Wordfull Wednesday posts

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ChickPea Brownies

The other day a friend posted, on Facebook, a recipe for brownies that didn't use any flour and used Chickpeas instead. It is a very simple recipe and I have all the items on the ingredients list. I also needed an incentive to get my kids to eat their soup for dinner. So I whipped up a batch of these to see how they would turn out.

Sophie said "they don't taste any different". I guess that is praise indeed coming from my most picky eater. My husband said he liked them but could taste the honey I used instead of sugar.

Here is the recipe (as it was posted) for those that would like to try these yummy treats.

1 16 oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
4 eggs
...3/4 cup palm sugar (I used honey)
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake in a non-stick springform pan. Alternatively, butter and dust with cocoa the sides and bottom of an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan.

Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place in the bowl of food processor, fitted with steel blade. Add eggs and process until smooth. Add the sugar and baking powder. Pulse to blend.

Melt butter and chocolate in a dry bowl--either in the microwave, in a double boiler or very carefully over low heat. Make sure that no water gets in the bowl or the chocolate could seize, or that you don't overheat the chocolate, lest it scorches.

Add the chocolate to the chickpea mixture and process until it's fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for approx. 40 minutes. The cake should be set--firm around the edges, slightly soft in the middle. If you stick a clean knife or skewer in the middle it will not come out clean, but moist and crumb-y.

The brownies didn't come out the pan very cleanly. Perhaps because I just used my usual glass 9x9 pan. But nobody minded the crumbly pile of chocolate goodness that was given to them. I severed them in a small bowl so we could add a little milk. I bet they would great with ice cream but you do almost need something to cut the sweetness a little.

I have a feeling these will be a good way to put more beans in our diet. Not that chickpeas aren't already a part of our usual meals. My kids love them on their salads and we eat a lot of hummus also. I wonder if I can just use any kind of bean and they would turn out?

I guess I will have to experiment. But what better thing to be experimenting on, than chocolate brownies!?

Thanks Marci for the great recipe!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pilgrim's Progress

I love the list of books on Ambleside. One of the books on the Year 2  booklist is Pilgrims progress. They actually recommend using the original John Bunyan version. I picked up a copy of the original on Paperback swap a year or so ago and tried to read it. I even downloaded an audio version to listen to and I admit I just couldn't get very far into the story.

Last Fall, while listening to the first part of Little Woman and hearing how the March girls all read and acted out the Pilgrims Progress, I decided it was time to give it another try. This time a children's version.
After looking at all the different ones that Amazon sells I decided to request the Helen Taylor Little Pilgrims Progress. Santa left a copy in Sophie's stocking.

This has been our read aloud the last 2 weeks. The kids actually could have gone much faster. They loved the story and wanted me to read and read and read each day. I read as much as I could between our other lessons and activities. I was happy they were enjoying the story.

I too really enjoyed the story and find myself thinking about it a lot especially as I read the scriptures and prepare lessons for Primary.  It really is a great story for children. My little guys caught on quickly to the symbolism of each of the characters names and the different places the pilgrim goes and is led or taken.  I always enjoyed hearing them tell their Father about what Christian or Christiana had done in that day's reading.

Today is the Sabbath and we only watch "church videos" on the Sabbath (if we watch anything at all). Henry got a DVD version of Pilgrim's Progress in his Christmas stocking (He has been asking for new Sunday movies since he is tired of watching The 10 Commandments or Animated Scripture stories) and has been waiting until we finished the book to watch it.

He was excited to watch it, and all the kids scrambled into place as I got it queued up.  Once it got going they weren't that impressed. They kept saying they left this or that out, or "that isn't how I pictured it. " I don't know if this DVD will get watched a whole lot. The animation is pretty primitive and the acting or voices are rather dead pan. I guess we will see if this remains in our collection or not. I would happy to pass it on to someone else.

When the movie was finished and we had time to discuss the film. The kids decided the book is much better. I told them that is how it usually turns out. I told them they are welcome to read the book over and over again if they wanted to. I would even read it aloud to them again some time. They all cheered and went to get ready for church. (Yes, we have afternoon church this year and we are still adjusting to the change in schedule.

I put the audio version of the orignal book on my ipod a little while ago, so I could to give it another try. While this children's version is still in my head I thought perhaps it will help me get through the more difficult language. So far so good. And I can tell that Helen Taylor wrote a very good children's translation. It sticks very close to the original and even uses many of the same phrases.

Well worth the read/listen. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Waiting for the __________ Fairy.

It was during our Thanksgiving visit to Grandma and Grandpa's house that Henry smashed his finger. He was playing out in the garden with one of Grandpa's hammers. I don't know exactly what he was doing out there with a hammer. He says he was just pounding bricks and rocks with it. Well evidently he missed the rock and smashed his finger. It looked like the skin had split open and it was bleeding profusely. He didn't like us touching it too much but I could tell he was going to loose the nail. It was purple under that nail. My Dad wanted to remove it right then and there but Henry wouldn't even think of that and I wasn't excited about doing that either. So we decided to just wait and see what happened.

I forgot about it while all the bustle and business of the Christmas season came and went. Then one day the kids came home for the YMCA with blue stained hands from playing with playdough. After washing, soaking and digging those hands and nails, I noticed that Henry had one nail that wouldn't come clean. Evidently the nail had totally separated from the skin and was hanging on only along the sides but there was just enough space for blue playdough to creep in. Henry has had about 2 weeks of walking around with a blue nail. We tried all sorts of things to try to clean it out. Sophie wanted to paint all his nails blue so nobody would notice. I thought that might bring a little too much attention to his hands so we again decided to just wait and see.

Today the nail finally decided it had had enough and was ready to come off. It took one little clip to finish the job and then Henry was fingernail free. There is a little one growing in under the old one. And it isn't blue.
Henry decided he needed to keep the nail and put it under his pillow. He hasn't lost any teeth yet so has felt very left out of the money being dispensed by the tooth fairy. So he decided that a Fingernail Fairy would come and take the fingernail away and leave him a little something. I guess if a fairy wants teeth, another one must want old fingernails. This one is even slightly bluish in color. Maybe that makes it worth even more.

I guess we will see in the morning if there really is a fingernail fairy and what the going rate for fingernails is right now.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Big Wave Writing and Art

This was the picture from our Art a Day Calendar for January 6th. After looking at it for awhile and discussing the medium, style, and the Artist I decided my kids should use this for a writing assignment. I had them dig out their composition books and do a quick sketch of the picture. Then they were to come up with 10 or so words or phrases that would describe how one of the men on the boats would be feeling as the waves rose and crashed around him.

Ian got right to work drawing his picture. Sorry the photos is a little fuzzy. Then I had him just tell me the words and I wrote them. His words were:
Big Wave
mountain nearby
rowing fast 
salt in mouth
people yelling
waves crashing

I admit I had to prompt him a bit in order to get him to come up with that many.

This is Sophia's finished product.

It was hard going at first. She went through several versions of the picture before she was even remotely happy with her drawing. She was in tears because she didn't think it looked good enough. And in this state she just refused to write anything. She is such a perfectionist.

She spent a little time in her room to calm down and then came back out and finished the assignment. What she came up with lovely. And she did it all by herself. No prompting or anything on my part. Well that might not be totally true since she most likely caught, despite the tantrum, some of what Ian and I were talking about when we were discussing the painting.

Stormy, wet, rocking boat.
Spray, noisy, hard to stand.
Waves, high, roaring and salty
Fisherman row hurriedly to shore
cloudy, starting to rain, cold.
pulling to higher ground's over.....

I like the idea of using these paintings and other artwork to spark images or stories or ideas for creative writing projects. I think we will revisit this assignment and others like it as we go through the year. Hopefully by the end of the year we won't have such a hard time getting started. Sophie likes to get attention this way for some reason. But obviously she can produce wonderful work so we just need to do it again and again until she is more comfortable with it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

School For Us

Two weeks of school this year have passed already. Where does the time go? It seems to disappear so quickly!

This is what we have been doing so far. I can't say it is a full load.  But that is the joy of homeschooling I get to determine what a full load looks like for my kids.

Scripture: Old testament stories. We have gotten through to Joshua leading the 12 tribes into the promised land.  We are using some old illustrated bible stories that I remember reading when I was a child. We did enjoy reading the actual stories out of the scriptures for our Jesse Tree devotionals during December but some of the stories weren't all that familiar.  I decided to stick to the illustrated books for a little while with Ian and Henry. Sophie, Ian and I take turns reading stories aloud.

Hymn/Songs: I enjoyed learning a new hymn of song with my kids each month last fall so we are continuing this. We are learning a few new songs  at the request of my kids. We are learning the song of the books of the New Testament. Since Sophie is studying New Testament in Sunday School this year. And since the tune for this one is Praise to the Man and that is one of the songs we are supposed to learn for Primary this year. We are doing it as well. It is always funny to start Praise to the Man and end up singing the names of the books of the New Testament or vise verse.
Of course we always have to do Once there was a Snowman and Popcorn Popping for Molly too.

Logic: Mind Benders.
I have had these sitting on my shelf for a year or more and just never dug them out. I figured it was time. So we started doing one or two or sometimes 10 after our scripture and singing each morning. The kids LOVE them. I wish they had more of the younger kid ones. The A1 book is rather difficult for Ian and Henry. Even Sophie needs a lot of help with them. But I can see that each time they are getting better at figuring out the answers.

Art Appreciation: Sophie got an Art Page a Day calendar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for Christmas. We have been taking a few minutes every day to look at the new item in the picture. I say item because so far we have had an African mask, a suit of armor, a guitar harp, a french designer's evening gown as well as a few paintings. Usually we just sit and discuss the artwork. We talk about what we notice first or what we like or don't like or even why this would be considered art. It has been a nice addition to our daily activities. I feel like we are at least looking at art since I haven't been that good about doing art study lately. One day I even assigned a writing assignment based on the picture we were looking at. I think I will save it for another post since I always seem to cram everything into one post lately. I need to space things out a little more.

Reading/Writing: The boys are still working through Explode the Code books. Ian just started book 4. He has been finding it very easy lately but I think it is good for him to do it. He spells a lot better than Sophie who didn't go through all the phonics lessons. Henry is finishing up book 1 1/2. He is reading better and better most days but the few weeks off in December were hard to come back from and he has had to really work hard to remember some of the sight words that I thought he had down. Both boys continue to also read aloud to me from a McGuffey Reader each day and narrate back what they just read.
Sophie is a work in progress.  She reads aloud to me each day from the 4th McGuffey reader now. The passages are a lot longer and harder than what she was reading in the 3rd book. I don't know exactly what I can do to help her not hate writing. One day I just had to write down 10 of the words from the passage that she read that she didn't know the meaning of. Then she had to look those 10 words up in the dictionary and write down a definition. She didn't fight me too much at this assignment. But she has thrown tantrums a number of times in the last two weeks when I have asked her to write or do copy work. She did eventually do the assignments but I just get so tired being the bad guy and forcing her to do her work.
Math: math is the one subject that goes smoothly. Ian is learning to multiply and hardly needs my help at all. He just does the next exercise in his workbook and is fine. I haven't been having Henry do math because he isn't reading well yet and I would have to sit and read each problem to him so until he can read a little better we are holding back on math. Even Sophie does her Math without complaint. O.K... without complaint may be a little bit of a stretch. She does complain about story problems or reviews. And she hates it when I have her do the practices from the textbook. But  the tantrums are sparse and don't usually last too long.

History/Science: I am lumping these together because we haven't been doing a whole lot in either to really deem it necessary to give each their own heading. We have started doing our Time Travelers unit. But as usual the kids don't love doing the writing assignments. So we have been doing the reading and discussing of the first two lessons and a little of the cutting out and pasting of things but I can't say it has been a real in depth study of the Transcontinental Railroad and the Indian Wars. I have supplemented a with a few books from the library but this certainly isn't our main focus right now. As far as science goes we have read a few biographies about Thomas Edison.  I have books to start a unit on light but just haven't gotten to them yet. We will get there eventually I am sure.

Read Aloud: We just finished listening to Half Magic in the car. The kids loved it and want to listen to it again. I liked that the kids in the story mention so many other books that they like to read. Some of them that we have read and others that the kids are now asking to find at the library. Henry really wants to get 5 Little Peppers and How they Grew since it is mentioned in the story and he has just taken a liking to that name.

One book that Sophie got for Christmas (She got a lot of good stuff for Christmas!) was Little Pilgrims Progress.  I have been surprised by how much my kids are enjoying me read aloud this book. I knew the actual John Bunyan text was a little too hard for them yet so this was a nice alternative.  They caught on very early that the King was Heavenly Father and that the good prince was Jesus and that the Wicked Prince was Satan.  They ask me to read and read and read chapter after chapter. We are actually almost finished with the book already. We are almost through the 2nd half where Christiana and her brothers and sister take their pilgrimage.  I am sure we will finish it this coming week. As long as Molly continues to take good long afternoon naps.

P.E : I don't know if you can count Wii Fit or Sports Resort  games as Physical Education but we have certainly been learning some new sports lately and working on our skateboarding, archery, bowling and and cycling with our new Wii. You can really break a sweat doing some of these games.

We have also spent some time out riding our bikes. Ian got a new bike bell for his birthday that he loves to ring as he tootles around the court. We even rode our bikes to park day this week. Molly sat in the trailer while I too rode my bike and we had a nice ride in the cool but sunny weather.

Sophie has decided she is too old for Kids Corner at the YMCA. She has been going to the Cardio and even the weight room. She likes the treadmill the best and feel like the weight room isn't quite as scary as she thought. It took me awhile to feel alright going in there too.

I think we have done a lot but most of it is just everyday living. We read and play and, thank goodness, we learn a lot each day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Putting Christmas Officially Away

It always seem to take awhile to put all of our Christmas things away. Here it is mid January and there are still a few items that need to be taken down. Most of our Christmas cards were placed on the closet door (a few are on the fridge), they look great surrounding the trees the kids made at the YMCA on moring. It certainly is nice that they do so many crafty things there while I go exercise. They get to cut, paste and glue to their hearts content and I don't have to do it. But back to the cards. They were place on the door along with our Jesse Tree. (BTW....The Jesse Tree was fun to do throughout December. Reading all those Old Testament Stories reminded me that we should revisit the Bible stories again so in January we started the Old Testament.) You can't actually see the tree part now that all 25 of the picture "ornaments" are placed on, but under all those there is a brown paper stick tree that slowly filled as we placed each picture.

So this is the last remaining Christmas decorations in our house. The tree, nativities and such were all put away before the new year. We received a few cards after Christmas so it would have been a shame to never put them up for at least a little while.

Early in December we got our first Christmas card and Sophie asked me why we never send out Christmas cards. I always mean to but somehow I never get around to it. That isn't a great excuse, I know. We also don't have many pictures of our whole family. I know we could have them taken but that would require planning and forethought. I just am not that motivated or organized I guess. But when Sophie asked why we don't I felt that prick of guilt for not doing better. So we went to iphoto and looked through the thousands of pictures in our library in hopes of finding one that would work. And I think we did alright. It was taken in Salt Lake this Summer but that isn't too old, right? So this is what we sent out. Thank you Costco for next day printing!
 If you didn't get one from us, it is most likely because we just didn't have your mailing address. So if I can get my act together for next year and you want one from us, make sure I have your snail mail address.
So what do you do with Christmas cards you have received once the holidays pass. I usually stick them in my scrapbook for that year. But I am now about 3 years behind and don't know when I will ever get caught up.

My kids kept asking when we were going to do a gingerbread house.  We finally bought a kit after Christmas when they were 75% off and the kids had a great time decorating it. It doesn't have to always be done before Christmas. It is more of a winter time activity and not really a Christmas one.
We also finally got some of the Christmas books that I had put on hold weeks ago. This one was worth the wait.
For those already acquainted with the Duchess Bakes a Cake then Plum Pudding for Christmas is a fun companion book. The characters this time need to bake a plum pudding and don't have any plums in the castle. I love reading aloud books written in rhyme. The Duchess is one of my favorites to read to the kids, so this was one I was glad our library had. It is out of print of course and somewhat hard to find. I am going to have to add it to our list of fun books to read next holiday season.

So now I think we are finally finished with Christmas themed decorations, books and activities. Back to the old grind I guess. The kids have had a somewhat light load as far as school work goes. But we are slowly adding all the usual subjects back into our day as well as a few new things. I will get to those later.

For now we are just all enjoying the cool winter weather all the good indoor reading time it affords us. The Wii, thankfully hasn't taken over our lives. It was a worry at first but my kids are keeping to the rules and we are enjoying it without it taking over all our spare time.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The gifts just keep coming

It has been another busy week.  Life seems to be crammed full for the months of November and December and even into January.   End of the year things, Christmas excitement and activities and and finally Ian's birthday have just kept my kids bouncing with excitement, and me slightly stressed and feeling like I am running a bit ragged for months. But I think with everything behind us, now we can settle down a little. I hope the energy and excitement levels will calm a bit and we can coast for a little while.
One thing left that I do need to do is go through the toys yet again and decide what stays and what goes. My kids seem to have gotten a lot of new things the last few weeks and the house is a bit too cluttered for my taste. They of course think everything needs to stay and that all of it is equally important.

I did talk them into returning a Wii game that we received for Christmas. It was a little young for them so they relented and let me exchanged it. Thanks goodness Grandma is good about keeping receipts. We found the perfect thing......

a Pogo Stick. Ian is the perfect weight for this new contraption. He has gotten very good at it in a short time. Sophie won't even try it. She thinks it is a little too scary.
Henry tries to do it but I think that since he is just barely over the weight requirement he isn't able to get it to bounce nearly as much as Ian can. Henry will grow into it a bit I guess. But it doesn't stop him from trying. We took the pogo stick to the park last week and it was a hit with all the kids. We had a line waiting for their turn to try it out. Luckily my boys were willing to share.

Ian's birthday added a few more items to our closets. He had a rather low key birthday this year. Last year he had his Indiana Jones Birthday party but my kids know we don't do friend birthday parties every year.  So Ian really wanted to have his birthday at Grandma's house with the cousins.  He usually doesn't get to have this set up since we usually had just been there for Christmas and New Years. But this Christmas as spent at home with the other Grandparents, and Ian could have his birthday party with the cousins.
He of course had to have a pinata. My kids can't get pinatas out of their heads. Birthday's mean pinatas. Luckily I stocked up on some of that after Christmas candy and little toys to fill the horse pinata that Ian picked out. He originally wanted a Harry Potter something but we couldn't find anything at the party store. We settled on the horse and Ian said "Indiana Jones rides a horse so it is Indie's horse".
Each of the kids Molly included got a chance to take a wack at Indie's horse and finally the 13 year old cousin finished it off and everyone got to enjoy their loot.

So, Ian got the birthday he wanted. He got to spend it with his cousins and even got a few new things also.
I am glad he enjoys the new Snap Circuits set we got him.

Now I just need to figure out where to put all these new things. I guess out with the old and in with the new.