Our Family

Our Family

Monday, March 31, 2008

Christian's Shoes

Christian is going to be one tomorrow! I can't believe it! Yesterday we took the kids to the store so Nana could buy him a present. She bought him two outfits, a bubble mower, and his first pair of shoes. That's right, Christian has never worn shoes before. Why? I do not put shoes on my babies until they can walk confidently. Babies need to be able to feel the floor under their feet when they are learning to walk, and if they are wearing shoes they are unable to do that. Now that he can walk confidently, and the weather is getting nicer he needs shoes so he can walk around when we are outside. He is no longer content to sit in my lap or the stroller, he wants to play with everyone else. Buying the shoes was an experience. Christian has very wide feet, and to find shoes that fit him we had to go to three stores. The picture above is Christian in his new outfit and shoes. He also enjoyed the box the shoes came in.

Monday Morning Project: Clean-up

We were supposed to be heading home today, but we are expected to be gettong 3 inches of rain and there will be flooding in some areas, so I will wait and drive home tomorrow after the rain moves out of the area. Our Monday Morning Project is to get the house cleaned for Papa. The kids have already started on the bedroom and living room and I will tackle the kitchen and bathrooms. Papa is doing much better, but still is not supposed to bend over, or lift anything heavier than a loaf of bread.

Fun at the Park

I am a little behind on my blogging. We met some friends at the park on Thursday. The weather was beautiful, very warm and just a little windy. The kids played at the park, ate lunch and fed the ducks while the moms visited. Really they fed most of their lunch to the ducks and had to eat when we got back home. They even found some duck eggs while we were there. They all had a great time. Can you believe I didn't take any pictures of Christian? I was holding him while I was taking the pictures.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Movie Review: Horton Hears A Who!

It was raining today, a lot! So as a special treat (and a way for my dad to have piece and quiet) Mom treated us to a movie. We went to see Horton Hears a Who. We are big fans of Dr. Seuss and have read the book several times. We loved the movie! The kids sat and watched and didn't make a sound (even Anthony 2 and Christian 1) It was a great movie that kids and adults both can enjoy. The kids all gave it 5 stars and told their Papa all about it when we got back.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Great Website for Educator's

The movie Nim's Island is getting ready to come out, so I got the book Nim's Island by Wendy Orr from the library today. Then I went to this website http://www.walden.com/. Next click on the teach link and then Nim's Island. You can then download and print out an educator guide and free poster to go along with the movie. The educator's guide says the activities are recommended for grades 2-5 and meet national standards in English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Visual Arts, and Character Education. In addition to Nim's Island, there are several other movies that you can print out educator guides and posters for. I was very impressed and wish I knew about this sooner.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Keeping Kids Busy

It is hard to keep 5 children busy and quiet (my dad is supposed to avoid excessive noise) especially when you are not at home. One of the things we did to keep them occupied was to buy some games they have never played before. Don't Break the Ice and Ants in the Pants are two games that all of the children (except Christian) can sit and play together and they are easy to set up and put away. Since they are new the children have been playing them quite a bit over the last two days. We also got the new Monopoly Electronic Banking which is a lot of fun! It is a little harder of course, but Chelsea and Nick can play easily and Alex can play with help.
My mom has a Nintendo Wii, so they have been bowling, playing baseball, golf, and tennis on it but I limit their video game playing to 30 minutes a day. We brought brand new coloring books and crayons with us also, and Nana and Papa have some puzzles, so we are keeping busy.
I also took the children to the library today. There is a wonderful library here with a huge Children's Department. We borrowed some computer games, DVDs, and of course some books. We also played on the playground for a little while before we had to head back and make lunch for my dad and the kids.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Getting to Know You

After our tagging game, I was reading http://delightinginhisrichness.blogspot.com and she has a post about getting to know you part two. I borrowed this format from her.

4 jobs I have had

1. childcare
3. cashier
4.assistant manager

4 movies I have watched more than once

1. Sweet Home Alabama
3.Star Wars (all six)

4 TV Shows I Watch

1. House Hunters
2. Extreme Maker Home Edition
3.Dancing With the Stars
4. Oprah's Big Give

4 Favorite Foods

1. Fajitas
2. Potato Salad
3.BBQ Chicken

4 Places I would Like to Visit

3. Germany
4. Yellowstone National Park

4 Things I am Looking Forward to in the Coming Year

1. Getting Anthony out of Diapers
2. Taking the kids camping
3. Getting the bathroom finally finished
4. Spending time together as a family

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Great Compliment

Nicholas gave me a great compliment at dinner the other day. We were having Baked Ziti, and homemade bread, and he told me I made the best bread he has ever tasted, even better than Walmart. In the compliment department, I will take then when I get them!

Movie Review: Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Our Friday Night Movie this week was Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium.

Description: When the 243 year old Mr Magorium discovers his health is failing, he turns over his toy store to the quiet, depressed Molly Mahoney. Since the store reflects the energy of those who run it, Molly must work to lift her spirits and help the shop recapture its magic.

1 hour and 40 min long

What did we think? I thought this was a great family movie. There was no bad language, inappropriate behavior or anything I found objectionable. It was a sweet movie about the magic of being a kid, something we forget as adults. There was one comment made about death that Mr. Magorium said he may be going to Heaven, Shangri La, or returning as a bumble bee, that none of my kids noticed. Chelsea (11) and Nicholas (6) both gave the movie 5 stars. For Alex (4) and Anthony (2) the movie did not hold their attention. Christian (11 months ) did not have an opinion. I think it was a great movie for kids 5 and up and Adults too.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Greenhouse Field Trip

Alex with his flowers
A friend of mine owns a greenhouse, and today our Homeschool Group had the opportunity to go on a field trip to the greenhouse. We had a lesson on the different types of seeds, the things plants need to grow, and the way they grow at the greenhouse. Next all of our children got to plant 6 marigolds by themselves to take home with them. Then the children got to pick out a flower that had already bloomed to take home and plant. After that we were able to tour all of the different greenhouses. It was a great day and a wonderful hands on way to teach the kids more about plants.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by http://momtofivekids.blogspot.com/

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger nad post the rules on your blog.
2. Share seven facts about yourself some random some weird.
3. Tag seven people by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

7 facts about myself

1.My favorite color is green.
2. I was never going to have more than 3 children.
3. My husband and I did not like each other when we met in High School.
4. My favorite novel is Gone With the Wind.
5. I like to watch MASH reruns on TV land.
6. I love to bake (and eat the results)
7. My favorite place to go is the beach.

I am tagging:
Erin http://delightinginhisrichness.blogspot.com/
Janet http://lifestyleoflearning.blogspot.com/
Lori http://perfectisboring.blogspot.com/
Stephanie http://theparkwife.blogspot.com/

Oh well, I guess I am only tagging 4.

Books, books, and more books!

After driving 1 hour and 20 min to take the kids to the dentist (they were all cavity free), a run through McDonald's drive-through with the gift cards from Nana and Papa, and another 1 hour and 20 min drive home, I found two boxes on my front porch. I love getting packages, especially when there are books inside. I have always loved books and am happy to have passed that love onto my children. After my selling on ebay last week I have been able to purchase some new things for school. Here is what we got today:

Ordered from http://www.mathusee.com/
Math-U-See: Epsilon Teacher Pack, DVD, Student Text, and Test Book
Alpha Student Text and Test Book

Ordered from http://www.usbornebooksbylisa.com/

Usborne Books: The World Wars Combined Volume (I love Usborne Books, and this one really impressed me)The Big Book of Things to Make and Do, Hide and Seek Dinosaurs, Mouse on the Moon, Panda in the Park, Puzzle Palace, Animal Dot to Dot, and That's Not My Reindeer.

Last week we got 4 packages of books in the mail from half.com. They were readers and read alouds for Chelsea for the rest of her American History curriculum that we were working on. I wonder when the rest of the books I ordered will get here?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday Morning Project: Plants

Today we planted our seeds! The children each picked out a seed packet from Walmart on Saturday. Nick chose Carrots, Anthony chose Squash, Chelsea chose Morning Glories, and Alex chose Blue Buttons. They each planted their seeds in an egg carton, watered the seeds, and put them in their windows. We are going to track their growth to see what will grow first and what will grow the fastest. After a few weeks, we will plant them outside.

Hunting Eggs

On Friday, our Playgroup had an Easter Egg Hunt at the park followed by our Easter Lunch. I really enjoy having an Egg Hunt on a much smaller scale than most of the public ones. We each bring enough eggs for every child to find 6, hide them, and set the kids free. The older ones get done first but there are still plenty of eggs for the little ones to find. After hunting eggs we have our healthy picnic lunch. This year Anthony had no interest in hunting eggs after he found the first one. He just wanted to get what was inside.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Taking food to someone in need can be a wonderful thing, both for you and the person you are bringing it to. I really enjoy being able to minister this way to someone in need, and teaching my children to do so also. I remember when I was 8 months pregnant with baby number 4, Art was out of town, and my friend who was also pregnant with baby number 4 had to be induced because of leaking fluid. I kept her children for the two days she was in the hospital. 8 months pregnant, 6 kids and no husband to help. The kids were great, but I was exhausted the afternoon they left. My friend Kathleen called me and told me she was bringing me dinner. It made my day! It was so wonderful to not have to worry about what to cook that night, and remembering that feeling makes me want to pass that on to others as much as possible.
When I used to cook for other people, I would cook elaborate meals, complete with salad, bread and dessert, and feed my family sandwiches because i didn't have time to cook for them too. I did a Bible Study on the book A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George and what she says about that convicted me that this needed to change. As much as I enjoy cooking for others, my family has to come first.
I have seven mouths to feed at home, so how do I prepare meals for others and keep it in the budget? First, I prepare inexpensive meals such as pastas, soups, casseroles, etc.. that can easily be doubled for two families. I try to double meals when possible and freeze one for just such an occasion. I also make a batch of rolls that would be enough for two families. As for dessert, I make something I can divide such as cookies or brownies. Instead of taking salad I will take a vegetable instead. This keeps the meal very inexpensive. It doesn't have to be fancy, it is the thought and caring that you put into it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Great Website

Every day from 12:30 -2:00 is quiet time in our house. Anthony and Christian are sleeping, Chelsea is usually reading, and I have to find things for Nick and Alex to do to keep them occupied. They are not allowed to watch TV or play video games. I stumbled onto this website http://www.printactivities.com/ today and printed out several dot-to-dots, mazes, and coloring sheets. they also have math worksheets and word finds.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Selling on Ebay

I have been very busy over the last couple of weeks selling on ebay. Chelsea has finished her 5th grade curriculum and Nick his Kindergarten so in order to buy some new books, I had to sell some of my old ones. This serves two purposes for me; getting rid of some clutter, and making money to buy new books. Here are some tips to profitable selling on ebay.

1. Pick a good time to end your auction. Normal auctions usually run for a week, and whatever your start time is will also be your end time. You don't want to end your auction on a week-end or in the middle of the day. You might miss out on some last minute bidders and end up selling for less. I try to end my auctions on a Monday or Tuesday evening.
2. Write a good description of the item and include as many details as possible. People want to know what they are buying so the more you can tell them, the better off you are. Include as much information as you can about the product you are selling.
3. Take good pictures. Ebay just lowered its listing fees and now includes the gallery picture for free. Taking a good picture might be the difference between someone buying your product or someone else's.
4. Start your auction at a reasonable price. You have to decide what price you want to start your auction. People shop on ebay looking for good deals and may shy away from products that have a high starting price. A lower price will also save you money with your listing fees.
5. Charge fair shipping rates. With the latest postage increase, shipping can be expensive. Don't inflate your shipping costs to try to make extra money. Charge only enough to cover your expense to ship the item.
6. Get a paypal account. Paypal is a quick and guaranteed way to get your money. They do charge a fee, but to me it is worth it. The money can be transferred quickly and you don't have to worry about a check clearing or a money order being counterfeit

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Quick and Easy Egg Casserole

I love this recipe because it is so easy and even my kids who don't usually eat eggs like this. I serve it with homemade bread and fresh fruit for a quick and easy supper.

1 lb sausage or ham cooked and drained (or you can go meatless)
6 slices bread, cubed
2 cups cheddar cheese
6 eggs slightly beaten ( we are feeding seven so I use 10 eggs)
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients. Pour into a greased 13x9 baking dish. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday Morning Project: Flower Book

Today we continued our study on plants. We reviewed the information we learned last week and made a flower book. I printed the coloring sheets from http://www.familycrafts.about.com/od/flowersandgarden
and we made a cover and stapled the book together. We are gearing up for next week when we actually will plant seeds and study plant growth.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Why I Started Homeschooling

Everyone has different reasons for homeschooling. Here is the beginning of my homeschooling adventure.
Chelsea started out in the public school system like most kids at age 5 1/2. I was miserable when she started school and couldn't wait every day for her to come home, but that was the way it was supposed to be right? We made it through the first year with a few minor incidents; the boy with behavioral problems whose "right" it was to be in a normal classroom that was physically and verbally abusive; the time when she wet her pants and was sent home that way because it was close to the end of the day;the time when she threw up and they left her sitting in it until I got there (good thing we only lived five minutes away.) We had a great summer and school began again. Again I was miserable. I really felt that every day I was missing out on a huge portion of Chelsea's life. The school year started out good. I had a few problems with some of their reading choices and speakers that came to their class, but there was nothing I could do about it. I never knew what was going on until it had already happened.
Halfway through the school year, tragedy struck our family. My brother was on vacation and was hit head on by a drunk driver and killed instantly. Chelsea came out of school for about two weeks, and I was eager for her to get back, to try to find some normalcy to life again. She seemed to be doing ok, and through the sea of my own grief, I was unable to see Chelsea's. My boys were too young to really understand what was going on. The summer came and we spent all of our time together. When the school year was again approaching, Chelsea started to become fearful of being away from me. She wanted to be with me all of the time. I spoke to school counselors who assured me that this was normal and that she would be fine. The first week of school was horrible. I really wanted something to change but I didn't know what the right thing was to do. I decided to start doing some research on Homeschooling. I had a dear friend (thanks Janet) who had homeschooled for years and gave me lots of literature and advice and I began reading everything I could.
This was the worst school year yet. Our school graded on three things: Math, Reading and Deportment (behavior) Chelsea was getting A's in Math and Reading, and C's in deportment. The teacher told me she was bored. She would talk in class, interrupt others when they were trying to work, answer questions without raising her hand, read books while the teacher was reading, etc.. She got in trouble for telling the teacher that the book she was reading aloud was something she was not aloud to read. She would come home from school and I would ask her how her day was. Every day she answered the same thing "Good." Then I would ask what she did "Lots of stuff" I wanted my daughter back. I became convicted that I needed to bring her home. How to convince my husband? Not to worry, God took care of that for me. He provided an situation for Art to read one of the books Janet gave me, and Art came home one day and told me we needed to start homeschooling.
This was the best decision of my life. I love homeschooling and having my kids home with me. I love the freedom of being able to teach my children through their strengths and interests. I love seeing what they accomplish every day and the ability to choose what they learn. We have had our challenges and our ups and downs, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I am just a regular mom, I am not brilliant or super patient, but with God on my side I can accomplish anything. My conviction comes from God and I know that I am doing what He wants me to do.

My favorite Homeschooling Scriptures:
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart;
you shall teach them diligently to your children, and talk about them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 6-7

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Great Website

This is a great website http://www.starfall.com/ for reading. It has different levels appealing to different reading levels Pre-K to about 2nd grade. There are also fiction and non-fiction choices. The site is also easy to load, I am on dial-up internet, and I can load it with no problem.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Financial Shape-Up 2008, February

All in all February was a good month. We had 4 main financial goals for February:
1. To sit down and write out a budget.
It is very impotant to have a budget so you know where your money is going and if you are overspending in certain areas, or need to reduce spending.
2. To pay cash for groceries.
I find this very helpful. I withdraw as much money as I need for 2 weeks worth of groceries. It is very easy when swiping a debit card to not pay attention to the amount of money you are spending.
3.To reduce our credit card debt.
We were able to pay a large amount off of one of our cards this month. Hooray!
4. To write down everything we spent and what we spent it on.
I find this helpful to check and see if your budget is reasonable and if you need to make adjustments anywhere. This can also alert you to spending that you forgot to add into your budget. (like netflix)

We did have some extra expenses for February. Nick needed glasses and the upstairs bathtub started leaking, so we didn't end the month as well as I had hoped, but I am very pleased with how far we have come in one short month.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Quick and Easy Pot Pie

1 1/2 C cooked cubed turkey (or ham, or chicken)
1/2 onion, diced
2 stalks celery diced
1 C frozen peas and carrots
1/4 C chicken gravy mix
1 C milk
In a saucepan combine the ingredients. Heat and stir until the sauce thickens. Pour into a pie plate. Spread crust over filling (make your own pie crust or use the refrigerated kind you have to unroll) bake at 375 for 20-25 min until crust is golden brown.

Note: This recipe serves four. I double the ingredients and uses a 13x9 pan. Also you can use any vegetables that you have on hand. I like to add carrots and potatoes too.

Crazy Weather

Yesterday it was 63 and there were tornados in the area. This is what we woke up to this morning. The kids were very excited to see the snow, but of course by 11:00 it had all melted.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Buying Books

We LOVE books! We LOVE to read! Homeschooling and buying books on a budget is a bit of a challenge and since the nearest bookstore is an hour away most of what I buy is online. Here are some money saving tips I have learned along the way.
1. Use your library as much as possible. Even small town libraries can have some great books to choose from.
2. Ebay. Anything you want you can find it on ebay. Search for books sold in "lots" it will save you money compared to paying seperate shipping on each book. Also, if you find something you are interested in buying, check out the sellers other auctions. Most of the time they will offer a shipping discount. I bought 14 books from the same seller in three different auctions. I paid a total of $8.00 for the books and only $3.68 to ship all of them.
3.Amazon.com If you shop the amazon store and spend $25 or more, shipping is free. If you are shopping for used books, you can find some for as little as .01 with a $3.99 shipping charge.
4. Half.com If you are shopping on half.com, check out the sellers store for other books you may be interested in buying. Unlike Amazon, half.com gives you a shipping discount if you buy more than one book from the same seller. The first book is a $3.50 shipping charge, and other books from the same seller are only $1.89 shipping charge. Also right now half.com has a refer a friend program and after you make a purchase you can refer people who have never bought on this site before. They will receive a coupon for $5 off a $10 purchase. For each person that uses that coupon, you will receive $5 off a $10 purchase coupon.

Monday Morning Project: Parts of a Flower

We had a bit of an eventful morning. There was some severe weather moving through our area this morning, so we had a bit of a science lesson on tornados and how to be safe during tornados, while we hung out downstairs waiting to see if they were headed our way. All we got was rain, lots and lots of rain, and it is still raining. Art did get to spend about 45 minutes in a tornado shelter this morning while he was at work.

After all of that our Monday morning project was on plants and we will be doing different plant projects all month. I got this project from http://www.dltk-kids.com/. We colored, cut, and glued different parts of a flower together and talked about each part of the flower and what their function is. I think you will be able to tell which flower belongs to which kid.