Our Family

Our Family

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chelsea's Homemade Christmas Presents

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! We have been very busy and I have not found time to be able to get to the computer, but it seems as though things are slowing down a little bit. Chelsea made some wonderful gifts for Christmas this year that I wanted to share with you.

We went to a pillowcase workshop for 4-H several months ago and Chelsea learned how to sew a really cute pillowcase. She made two more of these at home and gave them to Nick and Alex for Christmas. She also read the book Sewing for Dummies and sewed a table runner and lapkins and gave them to my mom and dad (not pictured.)

For the last several months Chelsea has been working on improving her knitting. The best book we could find for beginning knitters was an Usborne Book called How to Knit. There were several different projects that were very doable for a young girl with no other instruction ( I have never learned how to knit myself.) From this book she made a scarf for daddy, a cell phone case for me, and two little monster toys for Anthony and Christian. Christian loves his and kisses it every time he picks it up. Chelsea worked very hard on all of these gifts and I am very proud of what a great job she did.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Being Stuck in a Lunch Rut

Are you ever stuck in a lunch rut? Every day I hear these words," What's for lunch?" Often my answer is sandwiches and all the children reply, "Again?"

It is hard to make a variety of lunches that are quick, easy, and nutritious without busting the lunch budget. But, I have been working on this because as much as they hate to eat the same thing day after day, so do I. Here are some of the different things we have been putting on our lunch menu to add a little bit of variety. All of these lunches can be served with fresh fruit and/ or veggies to complete the meal.

1. Leftovers make great lunches. Usually we make Art's lunch first and if there are still extra we eat them the next day. When I am making certain meals like pasta dishes I make extra when preparing dinner so we will have enough for everyone to eat for lunch the next day.

2. Homemade pizza is a wonderful lunch and inexpensive. We eat pizza every Friday for supper and once a week for lunch. You can easily change toppings to create variety (if your kids like different toppings) or change the type of pizza you make. We make personal pan pizzas, muffin pizzas, and tortilla pizzas to add variety.

3.Baked Potatoes are filling and inexpensive. Changing toppings can add some variety to this simple lunch.

4. Bagels and cream cheese. Something a little different if you don't already eat them for breakfast.

5. Sandwiches are a quick and easy fix for lunch. To add some variety you can change the type of sandwiches or what kind of bread you are using. We like to use flour tortillas for something different, or you could use pita breads, wraps, bagels, etc.. Another option my children like is when I put different kinds of lunch meat on the table with cheese and crackers. They love making cracker sandwiches, or spearing their meat and cheese with toothpicks. Another great sandwich option is to make home-made Hot-Pockets.

6. Mac and cheese is an old stand-by at our house and we usually eat it once a week.

7.Pancakes and waffles. Who says breakfast is just for breakfast? We usually eat breakfast for supper once a week and I also make pancakes or waffles for lunch too. The children love breakfast foods and they are quick and easy to make.

8. Salads. Chelsea and I love to eat salad for lunch. We don't very often because the boys do not agree and are not big lettuce fans.

9. Homemade soups are delicious, nutritious, and inexpensive. There is nothing better on a cold day than to have warm soup for lunch.

10. Eggs. Since we have chickens, we have plenty of eggs. French toast, scrambled eggs, omelette's, and egg salad all make wonderful choices for lunch.

These are some of my suggestions for adding variety to the lunch menu. i would love to hear some of your favorite lunch choices too!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Favorite Recipes: Italian Beef Sandwiches

 This recipe uses the crock pot and is great for those busy days.  It is yummy with a regular roast, but also fantastic with deer meat.

1/2 cup water
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 pkg Italian dressing mix
1 TBSP vinegar
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic salt

The night before: place roast in crock pot with water and beef cubes. Cook on low all night. In the morning: take roast out and add all other ingredients. Put roast back in crock pot and cook on low all day. One hour before serving remove roast and shred with two forks. Put back in pot and cook until ready to serve. Serve on any kind of bread or rolls with your favorite cheese.

Monday Morning Project

Mom and dad if you are reading this stop here!! (it is supposed to be a surprise.)

For our project this week we made hand print and footprint angel ornaments. These were really cute and fun to make. I liked it too because you use the child's hands and feet to make the ornament (hands are the wings and a foot makes the body) so looking back in a few years you will have something to remember how small they used to be. You could even use a picture of your child for the face. I got the idea from www.dltk-kids.com (can you tell I love this site for crafts?) It was under Holiday crafts, Christmas, Christmas Crafts, paper angels. It also had a really cute poem to write on the back:

This little angel is special you see,
Because she is a part of me.
Her wings are my hands,
Her body my feet,
And on the tree she'll look very sweet.

I also wrote the children's names, date, and age and we will be giving them to my mom and dad as a Christmas present. Sorry no pictures but my camera is acting up again.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jingle Bell Door Knocker

Our Homeschool Co-op has adopted elderly pen pals that live in assisted living apartments in a nearby town. Many of these ladies do not have a lot of family around, several do not even leave their apartments, and some are unable to write. We thought it would make a great ministry project for our children while practicing a practical skill. Instead of our normal monthly co-op, the plan for this month was to go and meet our pen pals. We planned to bring them brunch, home-made Christmas ornaments, and sing some Christmas Carols. One of the songs the children were going to sing was Jingle Bells so we made Jingle Bell door knockers for the children to ring while they sang and then leave behind for the ladies to hang on their doors. They were very quick and easy to make and even Anthony could do it without any help.

Supplies-pipe cleaner, beads of different colors (we used red, green, and white) and bells (1 large or several small per knocker. You can find the bells in the craft department at Walmart.)

Slide the beads onto the pipe cleaner folding up one end to prevent the beads from sliding off. About halfway add your bell and finish off with beads. Twist into a circle and wind the ends around each other to close.

Unfortunately, sick children and a case of pinkeye (The pink-eye was mine. Can you believe it? Never had it as a kid but get it at 30 years old.) prevented us from going on this outing. Chelsea was one of the healthy ones and got to go. The ladies were so happy that our group did this for them and that they got to meet their pen pals. Chelsea's pen pal is a 92 year old lady and had made up a gift basket to give to her. The children sang their songs, Chelsea played her Clarinet, they ate, and gave their ornaments. They had a wonderful time and we will be going again in February for a Valentine's party.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Santa's Christmas Prayer

I read this today and thought it was pretty good. The author was not listed so I do not know where it originated.

Lord, you know that your the reason I take pleasure in this season. I don't want to take your place, but just reflect your wondrous grace. And so when they begin to open gifts for which they have been hoping, may they give You all the glory, for You're the One True Christmas story.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday Morning Project: Count Down to Christmas

Everyone is back where they are supposed to be, so things are back to normal. But, 4 of the children have nasty colds and are a little on the cranky side, so we had a pretty laid back school day. For our Monday morning project we made Christmas Tree Advent Calenders. i printed the template off of http://www.dltk-kids.com/, we traced the tree onto green paper and cut out the ornaments to put on the tree. I thought it would be helpful for the kids to see how many days we have left until Christmas. All of the children wanted to make their own so now we have a houseful of advent Christmas trees.

Week-end Getaway

On Friday, Art and I headed to Hot Springs for the week-end. We got a great deal on a hotel room where his office Christmas party would be on Saturday evening. Even though he has worked for the same company for five years we have never gone to the Christmas party (usually because I am nursing or we have a newborn.) We thought we would take advantage of the time without the children to finish up some shopping. Well, after buying some things for the children we decided to drive through a few car dealerships to see what kind of deals and incentives they have right now. Art had been doing a lot of research on 10-15 passenger vans because even though we have a 9 passenger Suburban, it is hard to get the children in and out of it. Nick, Alex, and Chelsea have to climb over the back seat to get in and with the new baby coming we could use some more space. Needless to say the dealership offered us a deal we couldn't refuse and we bought a 2007 Ford 15 passenger van. There is very little cargo room with all of the seats in it so we will be taking out the back seat and still have capacity to fit 11 people comfortably and no one will have to climb over any of the seats. We spent 3 hours at the dealership, but still made it back in time to get ready for the Christmas party. It was fun to get dressed up and go out, but I was really glad to get back home to the children on Sunday morning.

Friday, December 5, 2008

12 Years Ago Today......

Started out like any other day. I woke up and went to get myself a bowl of cereal for breakfast. But I didn't feel right. I was very nauseous which was a big surprise because even though I was pregnant, I was 28 weeks and had not even had a hint of morning sickness the entire time. I tried to ignore the feeling and go about my day, but as the day went on I felt worse. My whole body ached especially my back and the nausea turned into vomiting. After a call to my doctor's office they assumed I had a stomach bug and said if I wasn't feeling better by the next day to call back. By late that evening the pain had become much more intense and had settled on my right side. Every time the baby kicked it was complete agony. After another call to the doctor he wanted me to go to the ER because he thought I might have a kidney infection. After checking my white blood cell count which was though the roof, my doctor decided to have a surgeon check me out to rule out Appendicitis even though he was still thinking it was a kidney infection. No such luck. The surgeon stated that I had a classic case of appendicitis and had two choices. Either I had the surgery and the baby was probably going to die, or I didn't have the surgery and we both would die. Not exactly the words I wanted to hear. I wanted to be told the baby would be just fine. They went on to say that the trauma from the surgery would probably cause me to go into labor but they were prepared to transport the baby to Children's Hospital. My OB who had been delivering babies for over 25 years had never had a patient with appendicitis and the surgeon had never removed an appendix from a pregnant woman before. What choice did I have? We went to surgery.

They gave me spinal anesthesia because it posed the least amount of risk to the baby. I was numb from the neck all the way down to my toes. I was wide awake but could not even feel myself breathing. I could hear the doctors and nurses and the clicking of the minutes on the clock. When they started the surgery I had a long moment when I felt completely panicked and out of control,alone, and terrified beyond anything I could explain. I laid there, watched the clock and began to pray. In a few moments a feeling of complete peace came over me and a reassurance that everything was going to be OK. I knew with complete certainty that God was answering my prayers and that the baby would be alright.

We came out of surgery just fine. I never even had one contraction and her heart rate stayed strong. I was given a shot of Nubane for the pain as the spinal wore off, but all it did was make the baby go to sleep and stop moving but I could still feel the pain, so I refused any more pain shots and they switched me to Extra Strength Tylenol which barely touched the pain but it didn't affect the baby. I went home after 1 1/2 days in the hospital and spent two weeks on bed rest. The hardest part of my recovery was the baby constantly kicking my incision, but even though it was painful those kicks were also a comfort to me. I carried the baby full term and delivered Chelsea naturally at the end of February. She was my little miracle.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Traditions

One of the things we talked about at Faithful Moms yesterday was different Christmas Traditions that we could remember from our childhood and new traditions that we have started with our families. The picture above is a Nativity Scene that my mom made out of ceramics in 1981. Every year I can remember putting up our tree the day after Thanksgiving and setting it up under the tree. It was always one of my favorite Christmas decorations and now I am so happy to be putting it under my own tree every year. I hope it survives through many more generations and we will tell the children that it has been under the Christmas tree every year for ____ years. Another tradition I can remember is every Christmas morning when we woke up my dad always had to go downstairs to make sure Santa had already gone before we could go down and open our presents. Our traditional Christmas dinner always was ham, rolls, mashed potatoes, corn, and always Christmas Cutout Cookies that we decorated and left out for Santa every year. Every year for Christmas we got a new ornament and our name and the year was written on the bottom of it. When we got married, we got to take those ornaments with us and hang them on our own tree. I still enjoy taking out these ornaments from my childhood and hanging them on the tree. Since Steven died, mom and dad gave us some of his ornaments to hang on the tree, a good way to keep his memory alive and with us at Christmas. I still get a new ornament every year, and so do all of the children.
Our gift tradition is that each child gets three gifts from Santa Claus (they do get things in their stockings too) The three gifts are symbolic of the gifts that Christ received and it helps keep the holidays simple. A new tradition we have enjoyed the last 2 years is picking out and cutting down our own Christmas tree which is something I hope we can continue to do. We always go to the Candle light service on Christmas Eve at our church. We still make the same Christmas Cookie cut-outs and eat the same Christmas dinner.
One of the suggestions yesterday was reading together on Christmas Eve. I thought this was a great idea. Some of the suggestions were The Gift of the Magi, The Little Match Girl, and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, followed by the reading of the Christmas Story. Another suggestion I thought was great was having your children (and other family if possible ) put on a Christmas play. Both of these ideas would make great Christmas traditions.

Quilted Christmas Purse

I finished it! Altogether I spent about 2 hours working on this purse including cutting out the pattern pieces. I used Simplicity Pattern 2779 bought from Walmart. I think it turned out pretty well even though I did make a few mistakes and it was fun. I think I may try to make a larger one after Christmas to use for a diaper bag. If someone with my limited sewing skills can accomplish this project, anyone can.

Monday Morning Project

The children and I did not have a Monday Morning Project this week. On Sunday, Chelsea, Nick, and Alex went to stay at my mom and dad's until Friday (boy is my house quiet.) I did have a project for myself which was working on another one of those quilted Christmas purses (I am hoping practice makes perfect.) I worked on it for about 45 minutes on Monday with the intention of finishing it and posting a picture of the completed project yesterday. Well, after taking the boys to our Faithful Moms group, and feeding them lunch, it was already nap time. Nap time is the perfect time to work on mom projects. But, Anthony had a hard time settling down so I laid down with him for just a minute. With the house so quiet that minute turned into an 1 1/2 hour nap for me. As you can imagine I lost my project window. It was wonderful to take a nap though and I hope to have it all finished this afternoon.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Our Christmas Tree

The rain held off yesterday so we were able to go to the Christmas Tree farm and pick out our tree. It was a little chilly (about 50 but breezy and cloudy) but we still rode the hay ride to the patch of trees (Alex's favorite part.) After looking over every single tree they had we finally chose our tree. It is a beautiful 9 ft pine tree ( only $32.) Chelsea, Alex, and Anthony all helped Art with cutting down the tree. Once we got home the children waited very patiently while Daddy put the lights on the tree only to plug them in and find out that one strand was out even though they lit up fine before they were on the tree. Once that problem was solved they had a lot of fun decorating. We put all of the breakables up at the top and the plastic balls at the bottom. Christian thinks they really are balls and has already removed several and thrown them across the room. So far we only broke one ornament. I hope that will be all for this year. Can you believe this is the last day of November already?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday

We (mom, dad, Chelsea and I) got to Walmart by 4:30. We decided to divide and conquer so Chelsea went with my mom and dad shopped with me. We went after the electronic items first, then toys, then clothes. It went very well and we managed to get almost everything we were looking for ( the only thing I couldn't get were the $5 oversize Cars toys for Christian because our store never got them in.) There was a bigger crowd than usual for our small town but the store seemed to be handling things well. The hardest part was checking out. It took as long in line as it did to shop because of a price problem with $1.50 towels that took about 20 minute to solve. But we were still back home by 7:15 am. I calculated my savings and I saved over $90 so it was definitely worth getting up and 3:50 am.

Then, we had planned to go and get our Christmas tree but it poured down rain all day long. I am hoping we will be able to do that today if the rain holds off. Instead, my mom and I made a quilted Christmas purse that took most of the day to complete. It was our first attempt at such a task and I think it turned out pretty well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tasty Tuesday: Pumpkin Chocolate Walnut Muffins

On Monday, in anticipation for our very busy Tuesday, I baked muffins. The boys had some friends over to play and when they were hungry for a snack started munching on them. Well, needless to say after 9 people try a batch of muffins I did not have enough left over for breakfast the next morning and had to make another batch. This was the first time we tried these and they were wonderful.

1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 cups chocolate chips (optional )

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix pumpkin, sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture into greased muffin pans filling 3/4 full. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Walmart on Black Friday

Yes I am one of those people who go shopping on Black Friday. I actually look forward to it every year and have now passed this trait on to my daughter. Walmart is our favorite place to shop for a couple of different reasons. 24 hour Walmarts let you inside the store and you don't have to wait in line out in the cold. They also give you a map that shows where everything that is on sale is located in the store. They also have all of their registers open to make checking out no hassle. Well this year I have another reason to add to the list. We were watching TV last night when I saw the Walmart commercial that says that they will match any competitors add even for the early bird Friday morning specials. So if you are already going to Walmart, save yourself some hassle and just bring the other adds with you. This is great news for me since we have nowhere else to shop within 50 miles. Let the bargain shopping begin!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Alex!

As of 4:15 this afternoon, Alex is 5 years old. It is so hard to believe but you know how fast time goes by. To celebrate we went to eat and play video games at the local pizza place and since we hadn't been there in almost a year it was like brand new to the children. We also made a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting (Alex's favorite.) For his presents he got exactly what he asked for: new slippers (wrapped in 2 separate packages very funny Art) a new toothbrush, and a new Transformer toy. Alex said this was his best birthday ever.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tasty Tuesday: Potato Soup

Usually in the winter we have soup every Monday but this is the first time I have tried this recipe. It was wonderful! I made some homemade biscuits and it was a perfect supper for a chilly evening (well chilly for Arkansas.)

5 cups potatoes cubed
1 onion
1 cup celery
3 cups water
3 cups milk
4 tsp chicken bullion
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1/2 lb bacon cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup flour
4 cups cheese ( I thought this was way too much and cut it in half)

In the crock pot add water, 2 cups milk, chicken bullion, potatoes, celery, onion, salt and pepper, and bacon. Cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours until vegetables are tender. About 30 minutes before serving mix 1/4 cup flour with the last cup of milk and stir in to your soup. Stir in cheese and serve.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday Morning Project: Operation Christmas Child

November 17-24 is national collection week for Operation Christmas Child. If you are not familiar with this ministry you can go to their website http://www.samaritanspurse.org/ to read more about who they are and what they do. We put together 4 Christmas boxes that will be sent all over the world to children who need them and have never heard the Gospel. I bought the $1 plastic shoe boxes from Walmart and Chelsea sewed some Christmas material to put inside and look like wrapping paper. Then we filled the boxes with several small items: tooth brushes, toothpaste, soap, hard candy, crayons, puzzles, notebooks, a Christmas card, and toys. For the two boy boxes we put in match box cars and balls and for the girls we put in dolls and bracelets. All of the children helped with this and it is an easy way for them to learn to minister to others.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Veterans Day Homeschool Co-op

Our theme for this month's co-op was Veterans Day. We had a speaker to come and talk to the children who had served in the Army for many years. He had a lot of interesting information to share with them and all of the children enjoyed hearing him speak. Also, each child who was interested gave a presentation on something patriotic. Some of the children sang songs, one young lady wrote a poem, and several gave talks on someone who had been in a war. Chelsea gave her presentation on my dad who served in the Vietnam war. She showed some pictures and gave a 5 min talk on information she had learned about the war. While the older children were busy with the speaker, myself and two other ladies had the younger children (under 1st grade.) We made a red white and blue windsock, watched a video on Ben Franklin, and read a book about the United States. We filled in the rest of the time with outdoor play. As usual we all had a great time at our monthly Cooperative Learning Day.

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

Our Five in a Row book this week was How to Make an Apple Pie and See the world by Marjorie Priceman. We enjoyed doing activities such as a geography memory game, vocabulary matching, a science evaporation experiment and of course making an apple pie. I must confess that I had never made one from scratch before. I usually buy the roll out pie crusts and the apple filling in the can to make apple pie. I didn't think the buys would get a good Math measuring lesson from that though. There was a very simple recipe in the back of the book. The boys had a lot of fun and the pie tasted great.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The First Deer of the Season

Alex got his first deer yesterday, and it was the first deer of the season for our family. He was very excited. Luckily he didn't have to work very hard, or spend hours wandering through the woods. We have several deer out here and this one was grazing right outside the playroom window for quite some time. Art was planning on taking Alex hunting with him when he got home, but the deer was still there. So, all they had to do was walk out the back door. Then, all of the children participated in processing the deer. I will spare you the photo and the discussion about the processing. The children share a lot more information with me then I really want to know. It was a really big day at our house.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Fiesta Pasta

I made this for supper last night and it was really good.

2 cups rotini pasta uncooked
1 Tbsp oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken cut into bite size pieces
1/4 Cup Italian dressing
1/2 Cup Salsa ( I only used 1/4 cup, my kids do not like anything spicy)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet on medium high heat. Add chicken. Cook and stir 6 min add dressing and cook three minutes or until chicken is cooked through stirring frequently. Stir in salsa and sour cream. Toss pasta with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Morning Project: Handprint Turkeys

This morning for our Monday Morning Project we made Handprint Turkeys. I found this on http://www.dltk-kids.com/ under holiday, Thanksgiving crafts. We printed out the templates, colored in the pieces, cut them out, traced our hands and glued it all together according to the directions. The only ones that needed help with this craft were Anthony and Christian. The turkeys turned out really well, and there even was a poem suggestion that you could write on the back. Unfortunately, after I took the picture of Christian coloring his turkey, he grabbed my camera and dropped it on the floor. Now the lens refuses to open so I couldn't take a picture of the finished product. I really hope it is not broken beyond repair, maybe it just jammed.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Kids and Money

My mom and dad took Chelsea, Nick and Alex to Walmart with them last week. While they were in the store, Alex asked my mom where she got money to pay for things. She explained that she went to work every day and that she was paid money for doing her job. Chelsea reminded Alex that Daddy does the same thing. He goes to work every day so we can buy the things we need. He said, " My daddy doesn't get paid money to do his job." Mom asked him how we bought the things we need and Alex said," We go to the bank and my mom puts her card in the machine and money just comes out." I guess we are going to have to work on that concept a bit.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Faithful Moms

We did not have a Monday Morning project yesterday. We were at a program that meets once a month for moms and their children called Faithful Moms. Usually we meet on the first Tuesday of the month, but several of the ladies who work in the nursery were also volunteering to work at the polls for today's election so we switched the days. (By the way if you haven't done so already don't forget to get out to vote today.) Faithful Moms meets for 2 1/2 hours once a month to get together and support each other as moms. We have a speaker, a craft, and lunch while our children play, sing songs, have a craft, and a snack. It is a lot of fun and the children really enjoy going. For the moms this week we worked on our scrapbooks. Chelsea was with me and got 4 pages of hers done (I only got one page of mine finished it took Christian some time to acclimate to the nursery this month.) After it was over we came home, fed the boys lunch, and got started on our school work. There was just not enough time in the day to add a craft in.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hunting Season

This week-end was the Youth Hunt and Alex was very eager to go Deer Hunting. He got into his blue jeans and boots (just like daddy) and put on his hunter orange hat and vest. We have 11 acres and there is always Deer out here so Alex and Art built a Deer Blind. Knowing the attention span of a 4 year old, they went out after supper last night and sat in the Deer Blind for about an hour (no Deer.) Today they have headed off into the woods. Alex has been waiting all day for it to be time to go. Isn't he cute?

Five in a Row: Who Owns the Sun?

Our book for this week was Who Owns the Sun by Stacey Chbosky. We decided to do another Lap Book and I am using Alex's because I am very proud of him for working the whole week on this (it was the first time he participated every day.)

Front Cover: Title and The Sun minit book printable found on http://www.homeschoolshare.com/

First Page: Art- Painting of the sun

Second Page: Science- Four Seasons worksheet (homeschool share.) We cut pictures out and had to match them to the correct season then we answered the following question: The best part about winter, spring, summer, fall is:
Third Page: Geography- Where are The Southern States worksheet (homeschool share) We located the Southern States that were slave states on the map and colored them in (Alex also colored Texas and California because he liked the shape)
Last Page: Language Arts- List of things no human can own. Alex wrote these on his own and drew his own pictures.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pumpkins and Costumes

Our little town in Arkansas decided to have Halloween on Thursday instead of Friday so it wouldn't interfere with the Friday night High School Football game. So, we carved pumpkins on Wednesday. The children love carving pumpkins (except Christian he didn't like the way the "guts" felt) and were very creative this year. Then on Thursday we went Trick-or Treating to all of the businesses on Main Street and to our church. This year we decided not to buy Halloween costumes. The ones the boys wanted were quite expensive and we have several costumes at home. I told them they had to be creative and come up with a costume using what we already had. Christian was Superman, Anthony was Batman, Alex was a Boxer, Nick was a Jedi, and Chelsea was a Nurse (she borrowed her outfit from my mom.) Everyone had a great time dressing up and seeing all of the other costumes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Baby News

Yesterday I had a DR.'s appointment. We all went because I was having an ultrasound and the children were hoping to find out if we were having a brother or a sister. The appointment went well. The baby weighs 8 oz and my doctor says the growth is just fine. We think it will be an average size baby (average is good.) At first the baby was being very stubborn and was holding it's legs closed, but as the technician took some measurements we began to get a better view. The outcome? It is a girl!!! We are fairly confident the baby is a girl as we looked at many different views and saw no boy parts hanging around anywhere. The tech will not guarantee that she is right, but she did say she was more than 90 % sure. The pictures did not scan into the computer very well (sorry I don't know why they did that.) The children are very excited and Alex wanted to bring home the baby yesterday.

Chelsea's Last Soccer Game

Last night was Chelsea's last Soccer Game. I must admit that I am a wimp about the cold. Even though I was born and raised in Western New York, I have lived in the South long enough that the warm temperatures have thinned my blood and it was only in the 40's last night. I did bring a blanket to keep warm, but it didn't help. Chelsea bought Hot Cocoa from the concession stand at half time to warm herself up. The game was supposed to start at 6:30, but we got pushed back to 7:00 pm because the early game started late. Once the game got started it was a great game, the best they have played all season. The final score was 3-2 (we lost.) Our team did not win a game all season, but I am glad that they had a coach that was focused on teaching them skills and improving their game and not on winning at all costs.

Monday Morning Project:Homemade Play Dough

Chelsea's project for Ancient Egypt this week is to sculpt and paint a Canopic Jar. Since she had to make some dough anyway and we haven't made play dough in a long time (I think it was a Monday Morning Project last year) we made play dough. It is very easy and provides hours and sometimes days of fun. Christian did not get to play with it. he kept trying to eat the dough.


2 cups flour

2 cups salt

1 Tablespoon powered alum

1/2 C-1 C hot water

Mix all ingredients together adding water last.

To add color add a teaspoon of cooking oil and some food coloring.

You can let the dough dry for several days or put in a 250 oven for about three hours.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Soccer Tournament

The boys had their Soccer Tournament on Saturday. We had to play our first game at 1:00 and we won 5-0. All the children were excited to win, but we had to play our second game after only a fifteen minute rest. The team we were playing had a bye in the first round and 12 players (we only had eight.) Our team was very tired and glad when the game was over. T he final score was 12-4 (we lost.) To celebrate the end of Soccer, I had made cupcakes and brought juice, so we sat down and had a snack. Then Art handed out the kids trophies. The boys are sad that the season is over and already talking about next year. Alex is so proud of his trophy he sleeps with every night. Chelsea's Championship game is tonight and then we are all finishes with soccer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Homeschool Co-Op

Yesterday was a LONG day. We left the house at 9:00 am and didn't get home until 7:00 last night after our Homeschool Co-op, errands, dinner in the park (easier than driving all the way home) and soccer. This is the last time we will have a day like this because soccer season is coming to an end.

The day started with our Homeschool Cooperative Learning Day. The children got to have a lesson on and identify several fish. The older children also got to play a BINGO game with reptiles and fish while the smaller children read a story about the life cycle of a tadpole and drew pictures of frogs. After lunch the children got to build their aquariums. We used empty 2 liter plastic bottles that they filled with gravel, greens, and creek water. Then we added the living creatures. The fish didn't make it, but all the children got tadpoles. There was also water bugs, beetles, a leech, and a worm (we picked numbers for the things that there weren't enough for everyone.) We were very excited about the tadpoles. They were really big and will become bull frogs. We ended up with 4 tadpoles so everyone but Christian has their own. After assembling our aquariums, those that wanted to got to see a fish dissected (I opted out of this activity but all my children but Christian watched.) It was a fun filled day of learning for everyone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Children, A Blessing?

As many of you know, Art and I will be welcoming our sixth child into the world this March. The announcement of our new baby has received many reactions ranging from heartfelt congratulations to any of the following comments: On Purpose? Haven't you figured out how to prevent that? Don't you know how much kids cost? How on earth are you going to buy cars and pay for college for all of those kids? The most recent was when we were walking into church and the greeter in the foyer looked at another lady and said,"Here they come. Would you want to have 6 kids?"

I think these comments (and many others) have a lot to say about our society today. Children are no longer considered a blessing, but a burden and a financial strain. We measure our worth by a number in a bank account and think we need to provide the most expensive of everything to be good parents. It wasn't that long ago that large families were not uncommon, they were the norm. The " typical " family these days is two children and any one with more than that is considered unusual.

On the other hand, this is some of what the Bible has to say about children. Genesis 1:28 tells us, "God blessed them and said to them Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it. " Psalm 127:3-5 says, " Sons are a heritage from the Lord. Children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate." Jesus did not see children as a burden. He blessed the children and called them to him. He also says in Matthew 18:3 " I tell you the truth unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Is it hard having a house full of children? Sometimes. I get tired, frustrated, and impatient just like any other mom. Is does take us longer to get ready to go somewhere and we do have to account for loading and unloading the children from the car (3 are in car seats.) We do not have designer clothing or all of the latest electronic devices. Going grocery shopping is definitely an adventure and we do have a lot of laundry and dishes to wash every day. Our boys do have to share a bedroom (why is that a bad thing?)

The blessings we receive from having a larger than average family are too numerous to name. My children are never lonely, they always have a playmate. There are plenty of hugs and kisses to go around. Every day we get to learn things like compromise, sacrifice,compassion, and working as a team. Every day I have the opportunity to watch these amazing human beings learn and grow. I can't imagine my life being any different.

The most important thing is not whether you have 2 children or 20. The most important thing is how you look at these wonderful little human beings. They are a blessing. A wonderful extraordinary gift from God that he has blessed us with, not an inconvenience.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tasty Tuesday: Snickerdoodles

You probably know by now that I love to bake. It actually gets worse when I am pregnant. I don't know if it is a nesting instinct or a deep seeded craving, but at least once a week I get an incredible urge to bake something. Cookies are one of my favorite things to make because they are quick and easy. I planned on making Snickerdoodles today because I knew we had all of the ingredients, but when I opened my cookbook, that particular page was missing. I hopped on the Internet and googled Snickerdoodles and found this recipe on www.popularcookierecipes.com

1/2 cup butter softened
1 C sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
4 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. Beat the butter on medium speed for one minute. Add the 1 C sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in flour. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for one hour. Combine 4 Tbsp sugar and cinnamon. Shape the dough into I in balls and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Place two inches apart on cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes.

Monday Morning Project: Paper Spiders

We have been making these paper spiders since Chelsea was little. They are really easy and fun to make.
1. Fold a piece of construction paper in half.
2.Place your child's hand with their wrist on the fold and their fingers spread open.
3.Trace around their hands.
4. Cut out the hand and cut off the thumb.
5. Open up the piece of paper and you should have a spider with eight legs.
6. Either draw or glue on some eyes and a mouth.
7. Hang up your spider. You can tape it to the wall, hang it from a string, or make a mobile out of several different size spiders.
We now have paper spiders hung up all over the house. Alex especially enjoyed this craft because he could do the whole thing without help (I did have to remind him to put his hand on the side of the paper with the fold.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I am Not Tired!

"I am not tired, I do not need a nap!" Lately I have been hearing these words more and more often from Anthony (3). But, every day after lunch while watching his before nap show he has been laying on the floor or the couch yawning. Today he grabbed his Spider man blanket, climbed up on the couch, covered up, and said,"I am not sleepy." (yeah right) I find it ironic that the little ones fight to go to sleep, and the grown-ups can't wait until it is nap and or bed time. I would LOVE to take a nap every day and would definitely not argue if someone told me too. I know Anthony's nap days are coming to an end. Nick and Alex both gave up naps before they were 4, but for now we are sticking with the naps, even when I get a little argument.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Shoe Monster

The sock monster has been a frequent visitor in our house. As a matter of fact I can't ever remember folding a basket of socks where some-one's sock did not come up missing. I am not sure if the monster strikes before the socks go into the washer, while they are in the washer, or after they come out of the dryer, but I know it is not picky and loves all of our socks.
Quite recently, our house is being visited by the shoe monster. We have a bench in our hallway to keep the children shoes in, and underneath the bench we line up the bigger people's shoes. For the last week or so, every time we need our shoes, either one of Christian's or mine is missing. Now, unlike the sock monster, the shoe monster does not make the shoes disappear completely never to return again. Instead, the shoe monster moves the shoes out from underneath the bench and puts them in a different part of the house. I have found one of Christian's shoes under the island in the kitchen, in the bath-tub, under the couch cushion, and in the high chair. My missing shoe is not usually that hard to find (probably because it is so much bigger) but it is never where I left it. I don't know if I will ever solve the Mystery of the Shoe Monster (maybe we will write a book about it ) but I guess I should be glad that that is the biggest mystery we have to solve.
Is there anybody else out there whose house is frequented by the shoe monster, the sock monster, or some other mysterious creature?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our First Lapbook

We did not do a project this week because Chelsea and Nick wanted to work on their lapbooks. In case you have never heard of it before, a lapbook is an educational tool made out of a folder that usually uses several minit books and can fold up to fit into your child's lap. I have seen several examples of these on other homeschooling blogs and we decided to give it a try. It was a lot of fun and will be something we definitely do again. Chelsea's will not be done for several weeks because hers is a lot more involved than the boys'. The boys read Madeline for Five in a Row this week so their books were finished in just a few days. Alex did not do as much as Nick since he is only 4 he joins in when he wants to.

Front Cover- Nick colored a picture of Madeline I found the link on http://www.homeschoolshare.com/

First Flap- Vocabulary Words- Nick wrote the words then dictated the definitions to me.

Second Flap- Paris France- minit book Where in the World is France? and coloring page of Madeline and the Eiffel Tower(from homeschoolshare)

Third Flap-Math- We did a lesson on symmetry and dividing twelve girls into different groups. (both minit books from homeschoolshare)

Fourth flap- Art- Nick wanted to draw a picture from the book so he drew the house.

Last Flap- Science- Health- Benefits of Exercise minit book, Clean Hands minit book (you guessed it from homeschoolshare), drawings by Nick of sleeping and eating healthy to keep our bodies healthy.

All in all I think it was a pretty good attempt for a first try.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mummy Dolls!!

Right now I am working on study of Ancient Egypt. Today as a project for my lap book I Mummified a Barbie Doll. It sounds crazy to all the girls who like Barbie Dolls, I know, but It was actually quite fun. Here's the instructions I used to do so. I call them Mummy Making Steps:

Step 1. Get an old Barbie Doll- I used one I didn't play with for years- and wash it in cold water.

2. Using an old paint brush coat the Barbie in white distilled vinegar (they really used wine). 3. Using a paper towel gently wipe most of the vinegar off the Barbie, then coat in oil. 4. Sprinkle 1-2 spices all over the Barbie, thinly. 5. Sprinkle 4 small handfuls of salt over the "body" and let sit (40 days in Egypt 40 min in our time) while you are doing the next step. 6. Tear or cut long strips white fabric. 7. Gently wash the doll. 8. Take some foam-or paper- and cut out several shapes. 9. Mix 3 cups water and 1 cup flour. 10. coat one end of a strip in the mixture and wrap it around the doll. 11. Wrap the legs and arms separate from the rest of the body. 12. Wrap head. 13. Paint a little of the mixture on your shapes and press them on the doll. 14. Take 1 really long piece of fabric and wrap it around the whole doll. 15. make a paper mask for your Mummy.

And there you have it, a hand-wrapped Mummy Doll!!

We got the idea from the following link http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/jaminacema/319302

Written by Chelsea

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tasty Tuesday: Quick and Easy Chili

Soup can be an inexpensive meal to add to your dinner menu. Once a week in the fall and winter, we have different kinds of soup for supper, using the left-overs for lunch the next day. I usually serve soup with some kind of homemade bread (bread, rolls, biscuits) and fruit to make a complete meal.

Quick and Easy Chili

1 lb ground beef (or turkey) browned and drained
1 onion
16 oz can stewed tomatoes
11 1/2 oz can V-8 juice
2 15 oz cans pinto beans
2 15 oz cans kidney beans
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I leave this out)
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP chili powder
grated cheese

Combine all ingredients except cheese in a crock pot. Cook on low 4-5 hours. Serve with grated cheese on top.

Monday Morning Project: Popcorn Corn Husks

As I mentioned before, we were going to do this project last week, but we had run out of popcorn. I printed the coloring sheet off of http://www.dltk-kids.org/, colored in the corn husks and cut the pieces out. Then we glued the corn cob to a piece of construction paper and glued the husk over top of it. After that, we glued the popcorn to the corn cob. The children really enjoyed this part and quite honestly ate more than they glued. After the glue dried, I hung the pictures in the kitchen. We wanted to hand them on the front door, but the children were afraid that birds would try to eat the popcorn. This was a fun and easy project that everyone could do. I did have to help Anthony with cutting out the pieces.

Friday, October 3, 2008

My Favorite Moments of the Week

Too often I think we caught up in how many things are going wrong in our lives, and we forget about all of the wonderful things that happen all of the time. I like to focus on the positive, so here is a list of 10 of my favorite things that happened this week.

1) I got to listen to the baby's heartbeat. This is exciting every time and something I never get tired of doing.
2) I found Nick cleaning his room without me even reminding him to do it. (he earned some extra video game time because I didn't have to remind him)
3) My wonderful husband has done bath duty not once, but twice this week for all of the boys!
4) I hobbled downstairs the morning after I twisted my ankle to find that Chelsea had left me an ice pack and a pillow on the couch. Now wasn't that sweet?
5) Anthony has not had one single potty accident this week!
6) Alex climbed up into my lap with his blanket, snuggled in, and said, " Mommy I really like you."
7) Christian went down for his nap two days in a row without a fight.
8) I got to eat ice-cream for the first time in weeks and it didn't make me sick!
9) I made a simple supper last night. Salad for the adults and Chelsea, and yogurt, cheese, crackers, and lunchmeat for the children, and Alex told me that I made the bestest suppers in the world.
10) I get to stay home tomorrow! There is nowhere we have to go.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Arts and Crafts With Daddy

Art is much more artistically inclined then I am. A few years ago (when Chelsea was really little) he sat down with her and a pile of construction paper to make some holiday decorations. They made things like the Grinch, Hermie the Elf ( from Rudolph ) Santa, and Snowmen. The tradition has stuck and every year now for different holidays they grab a stack of construction paper and make decorations. Last night they a gruesome Frankenstein. The children have a great time spending this time with their dad, and dad enjoys it too. The other thing Art does that makes it really neat is that he uses parts of the children in the decorations. Last night he traced Alex's hands and Christian's feet, and last time he used Nick's hands and Anthony's feet. Chelsea was not interested in working on this last night, she was engrossed in a different project (more on that another time.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Grocery Shopping

Yesterday was pay day! You know what that means? All of our cupboards were bare and it was time to go grocery shopping. Since we had to drive all the wasy to Texarkana for my doctor's appointment anyway, we decided to do our shopping there. The Walmart there has a much bigger selection, and Texas does not have a grocery tax, so we could save a little money. I am not exaggerating when I say the cupboards were bare. We were out of just about everything and shopping for a whole month of food and household items (with the exception of lunch meat, produce, milk, and bread) so by the time we reached the checkout we had filled two shopping carts all the way to the top. It took us a little over an hour which wasn't too bad considering we were not very familiar with the layout of the store. It was not a very busy time of day, and there were several checkouts open with very few people in line. Even so, the cashier started complaining about how much stuff we had (loud enough for us to hear) as soon as we got in line. I just smiled very cheerfully and continued unloading the basket. I don't see how it makes a difference if they check us out with two shopping carts or two people with one. Out of all the different ways I have tried shopping, going once a month with a few small trips in between has saved me the most time and money. I do not know how many bags we ended up with, but we bought 180 items, and it only took 10 minutes for us to check out.

It's Been a Busy Week

I am running a little behind this week, I can't believe it is Wednesday already. It has been kind of a crazy week. Monday was pretty ordinary, but we had to make a small change of plans in our Monday Morning Project. We were going to make corn husks with popcorn, but I discovered at the last minute that we were out of popcorn (we will do that project next Monday.) So instead I printed off an Autumn Coloring page from http://www.crayola.com/, that after coloring you could cut out, staple, and turn into a book. The rest of Monday was spent trying to catch up on housework and I didn't have time to get to the computer. Tuesday, we had to get all of our schoolwork done before 10:30 in the morning so I could feed the children an early lunch and head off to my doctor's appointment. Luckily, Art worked extra hours every day last week so he could take a half day and I didn't have to take all of the children with me. So Chelsea and I drove the 1 and 20 minutes it takes to get to Texarkana TX. My appointment was for 1:00 and I am happy to report we were walking out of the office by 1:10 pm. It was just a regular OB check-up; weight, blood pressure, and baby heart beat. The baby's heartbeat was 151 (about the same as all of the other boys) and all was well, but I was told that I need to start gaining some weight. Ironic isn't it? I spend half of my life trying to keep it off, but now when I am supposed to gain, I haven't been able to. Oh well, I am sure I will make up for it next month now that the nausea is easing up some. After the doctor we went grocery shopping (more about that in my next post), got home just in time to put the cold stuff away, eat a quick supper, and dash out the door for soccer. While carrying Christian across the soccer field, my left foot went down in a hole and I twisted my ankle pretty hard. I did not drop the baby, and did manage to hobble over to the bench to watch the soccer game. Today I have been taking it as easy as possible and trying to stay off of my foot which is a little bruised and still sore. All of this to explain why I have not managed to put anything on my blog for the last several days.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


After our Cooperative Learning Day, the children and I had to kill a couple of hours in town because we had soccer that night and I wasn't going all the way home to turn around and drive all the way back to town again. So, we went to the library, Dollar General, and to the park. After that it was time to meet daddy for an early supper at my favorite restaurant (who by the way is our team's sponsor and on Thursday children eat free with an adult meal purchase.) Then it was back to the park for soccer. Chelsea's practice started at 5:30 and Nick and Alex had a game at 6:00. It was their first game of the season. I had my hands full keeping Christian and Anthony busy and since Art is Nick and Alex's coach he had his hands full with 9 -4,5 and 6 year olds. Our team won 10-5 which was exciting because most of our kids had never played soccer before. The children had a lot of fun, but we were all very tired by the time we got home. They are looking forward to the next game on Tuesday, while I will be busy trying to come up with ways to keep the little ones occupied so I am not chasing them all over the park.

Cooperative Learning Day

Thursday was our first Cooperative Learning Day for our Homeschool Group. We have 11 families in the group right now with children's ages ranging from infant to 13 years old. We thought it would be fun to get together once a month to do a hands on Science Class, Music, Art, PE, and have lunch and recess together. This month's theme was the migration of the Monarch Butterfly. We read books on the Monarch, migrated like Monarchs (some didn't make it to Mexico City due to the hurricane), labeled the parts of a butterfly, made a butterfly snack, listened to music about butterflies, and colored butterflies to be shipped to Mexico City. They will stay there until it is time for the Monarchs to return and then our group will get a return package of Monarchs. We also can track their progress online. The children had a lot of fun and are looking forward to next month's class.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Movie Review: Speed Racer

My opinion of this movie is don't waste your time or money. I have not been this disappointed in a kid's movie since The Cat and the Hat came out several years ago. when we saw the previews for the movie, all of the children wanted to see it. It looked like a good action movie with the classic good verses evil theme. I chose it on Netflix as soon as it was released and didn't read any reviews or other information on the movie. After seeing it, I have gone back and looked and it is recommended for children 8 and up. I think 12 is still too young for this movie. The movie is very long (135 minutes) and seems to drag on forever. It is very violent (although not bloody) right from the beginning until the end of the movie. There are sexual innuendos, bad language, and a moment where the middle finger is used. It was not my idea of a good movie that a family could sit and enjoy together. I sincerely hope they are not making any sequels to the movie, although by the way it ended I am sure they will be.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tasty Tuesday: Cinnamon and Sugar Breakfast Puffs

Nausea has been my constant companion for the last several months. I was hoping that now that we are in the second trimester it would ease up a bit, but that has not been the case. One of the hardest things for me to do is cook (and clean up the kitchen.) But, with 5 children and a husband who is at work all day, you still have to cook. Mostly I survive by cooking things that especially appeal to me, but breakfast has proven the hardest meal of the day (nothing is really appetizing to me that early in the morning.) At the beginning of last month, I resorted to buying a large selection of cereal. The children were very excited (we never have this much cereal.) Today I actually made breakfast and they were all thrilled. Nick commented that he couldn't remember the last time I had made them something so yummy for breakfast. It wasn't the most nutritious breakfast ever, but they tasted great.

1/3 C shortening
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C milk

6 TBSP melted butter
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream sugar and shortening and add in the egg and milk. Stir in baking powder, salt, and flour.
Fill greased muffin cups about 1/2 full and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Melt butter for the topping and add cinnamon and sugar to the melted butter. As soon as you remove them from the oven, roll each puff into the topping mixture until coated. Makes 12.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Morning Project: Scarecrow Door Hangers

Today is the first day of Fall. Nick got up this morning and put on a long sleeve shirt and long pants because Fall means it will be getting cold outside (it is 86 degrees here today.) That is not always the case here in Arkansas. It has been cooler in the mornings and evenings but it is still quite warm in the afternoons. We wanted to do a fall project, so the children made scarecrow door knob hangers I found on http://www.dltk-kids.com/ (under holidays and fall) They had several cute ideas that we will be working on to decorate the house over the next few weeks. This craft only required printing out 3 different templates, coloring, cutting, and gluing the scarecrow together. I did have to help Alex and Anthony with the cutting out and some of the gluing. The children really enjoyed working on this project.