Our Family

Our Family

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Visit to the Doctor

Yesterday was my 16 week check-up at the doctor. 16 weeks is a fairly easy visit, just weight, blood pressure, and listen to baby's heartbeat since I decline the AFP test so I decided to take the children along with me. I scheduled the appointment for after lunch so the little ones would take a nap on the hour drive to the doctor's office. that worked out really well and Lily, Christian, and Anthony all took a nap in the van. I did pray that the office wouldn't be running behind or that my doctor would not be delayed because of a delivery (which has happened both other times I have been there.) I also had a talk with the children before we left reminding them of what kind of behavior I expected of them: no running, talk softly, no climbing on anything, don't touch anything that doesn't belong to you, don't touch anyone, wait patiently without complaining, speak respectfully to each other, and answer questions politely that you are asked. If everyone behaved then I promised to stop at Sonic when we were done and get some Jr. Candy Bar Sundaes to eat on the way home. Even with the promise of ice-cream, you know how unpredictable children can be and I still was a little nervous at how a 13,8,6,5,3,and 18 month old would behave especially if we had to wait a long time (I did have some snacks, small toys, and books packed in the diaper bag just in case.) Luckily we only waited a few minutes in the waiting room and the doctor came in right after the nurse left. The children were very well behaved and did just what I asked! I got several comments from the secretary, nurse, and doctor about how well behaved my children are! (and not one negative comment about how many children I have.) they definitely earned their ice-cream. The doctor's visit went well. It took a little while to find the baby's heartbeat but once she did it was good and strong. My blood pressure was good and I gained three pounds bringing my total weight gain for this pregnancy to 3.5 lbs. Next month we will have the ultrasound and daddy will hopefully get to come with us too.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TOS Review:New Monic Books Vocabulary Cartoons, Elementary Edition

Description: From the back cover, "Vocabulary Cartoons are mnemonics designed for learning new words. Memory experts say that memory aides are the best way to remember just about anything."

What exactly is a mnemonic? A mnemonic is a device that helps you remember something by associating what you are trying to remember with something you already know. Vocabulary Cartoons link together a rhyming word association with a visual picture in the form of a cartoon.

Geared for grades 3-6, The Elementary Edition of Vocabulary Cartoons teaches 210 words students should know. To view the word list click here. The cartoon-like format makes learning Vocabulary easy and fun. It is a great teaching resource for any learner and would be especially helpful for visual learners, ESl, ESE, and ADD. Each page shows the word, part of speech, definition, pronounciation, what the word sounds like, a comic-like picture, a sentence, and 3 examples using the word. To see some of their sample pages, click here. Also included are 21 review quizzes that have matching and fill in the blank questions with the answer key in the back of the book. The book is 253 pages long and costs $12.95. A discount is given when purchasing more than 10 books at a time.

Other featured products from New Monic Books include:

Vocabulary Cartoons SAT Word Power I

Vocabulary Cartoons SAT Word Power II

Picture Speller For Young Writers

What we liked: I used this book mostly with my 8 year old, with my 6 year old listening in. I actually have never deliberately "taught" vocabulary before. We usually just learn words that come up in our curriculum or in our read alouds. The boys absolutely loved the cartoon pictures. We only spent about 10 minutes a day, learning 3 new words and reviewing from the day before. The next day, Nick remembered the words and meanings that he had already learned. Several times I saw him pick up the book and read it on his own. I also liked the review quizzes that were included.

Some things to consider: Although the book is geared for grades 3-6, some of the cartoons may be a little scary for the younger ones depending on your child. There are some cartoon images that have ghosts, skeletons, and monsters. You may want to look through it first before giving it to your child if any of those images could be a problem for you or your child.

My Recommendation: Overall a great Vocabulary Book that helps kids remember words by putting both a picture and rhym in their mind in an easy and fun way. An easy way to teach kids new words that they will remember without having to invest a lot of time into it.

I received a complimentary copy of Vocabulary Cartoons Elementary Edition in exchange for writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Now that I am feeling a little bit better, I said I was goign to do a lot better in our menu planning and meal variety. Our meal planning week runs Friday through Thursday. So here's what's cooking for supper at my house this week.

Friday 9/24- Pizza (was going to be homemade but I ended up with 3 extra kids so we had frozen)
Saturday 9/25-Ham Steaks, Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Corn
Sunday 9/26-Goulash
Monday 9/27-Cheesy Potato Soup, Homemade bread
Tuesday 9/28-Chicken Enchilda Casserole (will post recipe if we like it)
Wednesday 9/29-Breakfast Quiche, (using leftover ham from Saturday)
Thursday 9/30-Chicken and gravy(using leftover chicken from Tuesday), mashed potatoes, cauliflower

Head over to http://www.orgjunkie.com/ to see what others are cooking up for dinner.

Friday, September 24, 2010

TOS Review: Schleich


When I found out I was chosen to be on the Homeschool Crew, I was very excited! I couldn't wait to see what kind of fun products we would get to try out. The children never thought we would get to review toys!

Description:Schleich Action Figures was founded in 1935, and their now popular figurines have been around since the 1950's and are now distributed in over 50 countries. They started out making popular comic figures such as the Smurfs, Snoopy, and the Muppets. Since he 1980's they expanded into the animal kingdom, dinosaurs, knights, pioneers, Indians, and the magical world of Bayala. In addition to the animals and people, they also have many buildings and accessories to go along with them. They design their products to make them as natural and realistic as possible. Since each one is hand painted they are all unique. They go above and beyond Global Safety Standards to ensure that their products will be safe for the children playing with them. There are 500 different figures available and the prices can range from around $2.29- $180.00 depending on what you buy.

We received:

Gnu (14386)

Gnu Calf (14387)

gnu calf
Okapi (14361)

Asian Elephant Calf (14343)

Swabian-Hall piglet, eating (13635)

Donkey (13644)

Przewalski's Horse (13620)

Dartmoor Pony (13651)


How We Used the Products: After all of the children tore open the box, checked out each figure, and poured over the catalog, we decided to do some research. Some of the animals we were unfamiliar with, and I wanted to see how the figures compared to the real animals. So we googled each animal and the pictures of each animal. I was amazed at how much each of the figures looked like the real thing! When the research was completed, the children were set free to play with them. Some of the figures were taken to various beds their first night here (a sign of a much loved toy.) In addition to playing with them at home, we also have taken them to the dentist, in restaurants, in the van, and to a church meeting where the children had to sit quietly.

What We Liked: I love the detail in these figures! They look just like the real thing. They are sturdy enough to have endured 4 rambunctious boys for the last 4 weeks and look just like they did when we took them out of the box. They are simple, beautiful toys with nothing to put together or batteries required. The children's imaginations can take over and they can just enjoy playing with them. Even the catalog was thoroughly enjoyed by my family and has been looked through over and over again.

Some things to consider: Once your children get a hold of these toys they are going to want more!

My Recommendation: Good, quality, realistic toys that will last for a long time. After the children poured over the catalog for days, I finally got a hold of it and am keeping several things in mind for Christmas this year.

I received these products complimentary from Schleich in order to write a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kids and Sports

I have been reading a lot lately about kids, competitive sports , and if you allow your children to play. There are good and bad things that come along with being involved in any kind of competitive sport. Three years ago we started coaching a 6 and under soccer team. when you are the coach, you have a lot more control over what is going on with your kids. Unfortunately, we can't coach all of our kids all of the time and you still don't have any control over who you might be playing against. Our children love sports and love to play sports. We only let them play soccer mainly because of the time involved to play a sport (for the whole family) and also because of the cost of playing sports. We like that playing sports teaches kids: rules of playing the game, skills needed to play the game, how to work together as a team, good sportsmanship, patience, and how to lose gracefully. We try to teach these things to all of the kids on our team, putting more emphasis on having fun and the progress they make then on whether or not we win the game. We always encourage our kids to be good sports and to be kind to others.

Problems can start to arise when you play teams that have more "competitive" coaches. Coaches we have no respect for the rules of the game or teaching their kids to be good sports. Coaches (and parents too) in which winning is everything. Last night while we were waiting for our turn to play we got to watch the end of another 6 and under game which the coach deliberately ignored the rules and played a goalie (not allowed in 6 and under soccer.) How can you teach your kids to take pride in how they played and their win when you cheat to win? There also was an instance last year where a coach was teaching 4,5,and 6 year olds to push kids and slide into them on purpose. When being called on this by another coach some very foul language ensued right in front of both teams of children and all of the spectators.

I really could go on with more examples, but I am sure you know what I mean, or have experienced some of it for yourself. The only thing we can do when dealing with the "bad" things that go on, is to teach our kids to continue to do what is right. We will follow the rules and be good sports no matter who we are playing. We need to be accountable for everything we are teaching our children. Not only to ourselves and the kids we are responsible for teaching, but also to God.

Tos Review: Salem Ridge Press

Something that I think that is very challenging not just as a homeschooler, but as a parent, that gets even more challenging as they get older, is finding good quality books for your children to read. Media is a very powerful influence. It helps to shape our thoughts, ideals, and values. I can't always pre-read every book the children bring home, and especially in today's world, many books are full of things I don't want the children reading. That's why it is important that there are companies like Salem Ridge Press out there.

Description: Salem Ridge Press was established in 2005 by Daniel Mills, a homeschool graduate, to bring back quality books from the 1800's and 1900's to this generation of readers. Twenty seven books have been republished so far and sample chapters of each can be found on their website. They work very hard to assure that all of their books uphold their standard: "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8)." Their complete list of titles are arranged: alphabetically, by author, by age range, or by time period. Or you can search by New Releases, Historical Fiction, Adventure, Allegory, or Younger Readers. Many of the titles on their website can be bought in either softcover or hardcover, and their prices range from $10.95-$26.95.

I received:

Soldier Fritz and the Enemies He Fought A Story of the Reformation by Emma Leslie (softcover $10.95 Hardcover $20.95)
Read a sample chapter here.

Fritz chooses a Bible for his birthday gift from the peddler's pack so he can become one of Martin Luther's soldiers for Christ. When his father the Count goes off to war, Fritz and his family are forced to pretend to be commoners and hide in the forest to avoid being thrown into prison for their faith. They must learn to trust in the Lord and wait for their father to find them.

Young Robinhood by George Manville Fenn (softcover $10.95 hardcover $20.95)
Read a sample chapter here.

Young Robin gets left in the forest after Robin Hood's band steals his families goods. How will he be able to escape from the forest? Will he be able to learn how to survive?

Down the Snow Stairs, or From Goodnight to Goodmorning by Alice Corkran (clothbound $24.95)
Read a sample chapter here.

Kitty cannot sleep on Christmas Eve. Her disobedience has caused her little brother to fall ill. She travels to Naughty Children Land in a dream where she meets many strange creatures. She wants to return to the Path of Obedience but can she resist the many temptations and return to her family before Christmas?

What We Liked: I love the whole idea of a company who is committed to republishing good quality literature that upholds moral standards. I like the amount of care and time Salem Ridge Press puts into every book they publish, editing out derogatory comments they find unnecessary and even editing their illustrations to make sure there is nothing unwholesome included in their books. Although textbooks have their place at times, my favorite way to teach is to use "living books." Their website is arranged to make the type of book you are looking for easier to find. The titles and topics of their books are interesting and educational, and they have titles that will appeal to both boys and girls. The children really enjoyed the books we received and there were calls of ,"read more please!"

Somethings to Consider: Since the books are republished from the 1800-1900's, the vocabulary at times can be a bit challenging as there will be words you might not ever have heard before. I don't think this is a negative thing, just something to be aware of. Some of the words they define at the bottom of the page which is very helpful. I read-aloud the books to Nick (8) and Alex (6), and Chelsea (13) read them on her own.

My Recommendation: If you are looking for wholesome books of good quality with good moral standards that can be enjoyed by your family, go here and visit their website. There is something for everyone!

I received a complimentary copy of Soldier Fritz, and complimentary e-books of Down the Snow Stairs and Young Robinhood to use with my children for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lack of Cooking Inspiration

You may have noticed that I have not been posting my usual weekly recipes. Over the last couple of months I have been battling 24/7 pregnancy nausea. Trying to even come up with a meal plan let alone cook it has been quite a challenge. We have been eating pretty much the same thing over and over again because my family is at the mercy of whatever I can cook/eat. They have been wonderful though and I haven't received any complaints so far. This week I have started feeling a little better. Although the nausea is still coming in waves, it is not there constantly. My goal in the next couple of weeks is to get some inspiration back into my meal planning. We are in the midst of soccer season, on the run quite a bit and I would like to do a bit better than cold sandwiches or French Toast. I am on the hunt for quick and easy recipes that will feed a crowd (8 really is a crowd) who is on the run. I will hopefully be posting some new recipes very soon. If anyone has a great recipe for us to try to get some life back into my cooking, leave me a comment and let me know.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

4-H Premium Sale

Saturday was the 4-H Premium Sale. I was very proud of the children. They each did a great job and there were no flying chickens. It is scary going into the show ring and standing in front of a crowd of people that you don't know, with a chicken ,in 95 + degree heat, and after you have been sitting waiting for your turn for almost three hours. We did not get as much money as last year (which can be a little disappointing,) but we are very thankful for all the people that donate money to support the kids showing livestock making it a little easier for the children and the parents. Fair week is over for this year. Now we need to sell some of our chickens and figure out what to do for next year.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The County Fair

This week we have not only been busy with the beginning of soccer season, it is also the week of our County Fair. This is probably my busiest week of the year. Not only do we have to run back and forth to town to go to soccer practice, we have also had to set up the fair booth, drop off exhibits, and feed and water chickens (thankfully my wonderful husband has taken some of his lunch hour to help with this.) Also this week we had to add in another trip to town to take Christian to the doctor and pick up medicine (he's doing much better now.) Even though it is very busy, the children have a great time and really enjoy our little County Fair. Hopefully I will get some pictures posted on Saturday after the Premium Sale. Alex, Anthony, Nick and Chelsea all entered Poultry Chain chickens and they all got second place. Chelsea also entered the items she made from the Home Furnishings Workshop she went to and got some first and second places for those items. Nick and Chelsea went to a Salsa Workshop and both got 1st place for their Salsa. Nick also entered 2 paper crafts, a ceramic painted piggy bank, a bead light saber, a place mat and a sun catcher and got some 1st and second place ribbons. Alex entered a wooden painted birdhouse, a homemade lava light, a place mat, and a sun catcher and also got some 1st and 2nd place ribbons. Anthony entered a place mat and a sun catcher and both got 1st place. Chelsea's club worked on a booth and got a second place ribbon, and Nick and I helped work on his club's booth and it got Best of Show (thanks to a very creative leader, not me.) It has been a very successful year at the fair for our family.

Saturday the children have to go into the show ring and hold their chickens for the Premium Sale which is when local businesses donate money back to those showing livestock to help pay for their expenses. Please say a quick prayer that Anthony (who is only 5 and can be a bit of a wildcard) will do ok, and nobody will get pecked by their chickens and no chickens will end up flying away. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

She's Decided to be Done Nursing

Well Lily (18 months) is officially done nursing. It has been 5 days since she has asked to nurse. Even though I really felt ready to stop it still makes me kind of sad. Never again will her and I share that bond. I am very glad that besides a little distraction during the day, I let her lead the way. It was not a traumatic experience for either of us. Over the last couple of weeks she had been nursing less during the day. Then she stopped nursing before she went to sleep. That just left the middle of the night nursing and a little extra during the day for a few days that she wasn't feeling well. Then one night she just didn't wake up to nurse and she hasn't tried to since. Since she has been nursing less and less over the last couple of weeks, my milk supply had gradually decreased, so it wasn't traumatic for me at all either. My sweet little princess is growing up so fast!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Review: Out Live Your Life

I have just finished reading Max Lucado’s latest book, Out Live Your Life You Were Meant to Make a Difference. One hundred percent of the author’s royalties will benefit children and families through World Vision and other ministries of faith based comparison. In this book, Max talks about what devastating times we live in. People are hungry, desperately poor, and living in horrible situations. There are 145 million orphans worldwide. Seems hopeless, doesn’t it? We are just normal, ordinary people. Can God use us? The disciples were just regular, ordinary people. “ None of us can help everyone. But all of us can help someone. And when we help them, we serve Jesus. Who would want to miss a chance to do that.”

In this book, Max gives us scripture, uses Biblical examples and relates them to modern day problems. It is so common and look at the world today and think that the problems are too big to be solved. Max shows us not just what the problems are but also how each one of us every day ordinary people can do something to make a difference. Included at the end of the book are discussion questions and an action guide outlining what you can do. This book is inspiring and encouraging and will make you want to go out and help change the world.

I thought this was a wonderful book and encouraging. It is true that not one of us can do it all, but all of us can do something to make our world a better place to live in and to hear Jesus’ words that, “Whenever you did these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me-you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40 (MSG)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shadow Puppet Theatre

For our Homeschool in the Woods Revolutionary War Time Traveler activity today, we made a shadow puppet theatre. The topic of the play was from the French and Indian War and was titled" Bullet Proof Indeed " about God's providence over protecting George Washington. The shadow puppets we printed out off of the Time Traveler CD, and we made the stage from a diaper box and a crib sheet, and shined a lamp through the back. The boys had a lot of fun making battle noises and changing characters on the "stage." I got to play the part of the narrator. So far we are having a lot of fun with our History this year!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pregnant and Breastfeeding

Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert. The thoughts expressed here are from my own experience and research.

When we found out we were expecting again, I was very disappointed to find out that the OB who I LOVE and have been seeing for more than 6 years, is no longer delivering. It can be hard to find a doctor who you see eye to eye with, really like and respect, still gives out her home number, and will deliver you even if she is not the doc on call. Anyway, I had to find a new doctor who so far I do like, except for one thing......her view on being pregnant and breastfeeding.

Quite honestly I mentioned that I was still nursing on my first appointment in an off-handed way, and only because it can be a factor in determining due date. I was in no way prepared for the response from the nurse, doctor, and even the ultrasound tech, that this was NOT a good thing and needed to stop nursing immediately. The doctor's reasoning is that nursing causes uterine contractions that can cause preterm labor and miscarraige. Thi surprised me so much because my previous doctor encouraged me to nurse as long as I felt comfortable even when I was pregnant. I explained politley to the new doc that I have done this 4 times before very successfully and didn't expect that this time would be any different. She firmly explained to me that she felt it was an unnecessary risk to myself and my unborn baby and encouraged me to stop immediately.

To be honest with you, I will admit that I am ready to stop nursing Lily, but not because I feel that I am hurting my unborn baby. The nausea, fatigue, and let's just call it tenderness, has me starting the weaning process. Lily, on the other hand, would probably nurse for ever. She is a comfort nurser and although is almost 18 months would probably go on nursing for much longer ( I do have a little mommy guilt over cutting her off.) I cut back on one feeding every week or so, and right now am only nursing in the middle of the night. Within the next couple of weeks she will be completely weaned.

So, are there risks to nursing while you are pregnant? The answer to that is not for the majority of women. If you are an average, healthy, women with no chronic or severely acute illnessess, who has not suffered from miscarraige or preterm labor, and are haing a normal, healthy, pregnancy, you can still coninue to nurse without risk to yourself or unborn baby. Your nursing baby is not taking any nutrients from your unborn child. You may consider trying to add some extra calories and calcium to your diet. I have nursed into my 5th month of pregnancy in the past, and I know women who choose to continue nursing throughout their pregnancy and then nurse both the infant and the toddler.

If you are nursing and pregnant, don't be immediately discouraged to stop right away because one doctor tells you to if you still want to continue. Ask the reasons why they feel that way. Do some research on your own. Get a second opinion if you don't agree, and do what you think is best for all of you.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Washington County Fair

This week-end, we headed up to my parent's house so my wonderful husband could help my dad lay laminate flooring in the kitchen/dining, living room, and hallway. While the men were busy at work, mom and I got the children out of their hair and headed over to the Washington County Fair. It was a very large, much bigger than what we are used to. The children had a lot of fun riding the rides and checking out the animals. We were worn out after about 4 1/2 hours and we didn't even see half of everything there. Our county fair will be coming up next week, and the children are really excited about it too and entering their stuff! It is always fun to go places, but as Dorothy once said, "There's no place like home!"