Our Family

Our Family

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tasty Tuesday: Chocolate Syrup

When Anthony had strep throat a few weeks ago and the penicillin wasn't working, they switched his medicine to a different antibiotic that he would have to take for two weeks. After several days of having to hold him down and force the penicillin down his throat, I was not looking forward to having to give him another medicine for two weeks. The pharmacist said that this one didn't taste as bad that it was OK going down it just had a bad aftertaste. She suggested giving him something sweet to drink with it and since juice would burn his sore throat she suggested flavored milk. Here is the recipe I used to make chocolate sauce and make him chocolate milk. (Note: he loved getting the chocolate milk as a treat after his medicine and drank the medicine with no problems, the other kids enjoyed it too!)

1C unsweetened cocoa powder
2 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1C cold water
1 T vanilla
Combine cocoa and sugar then add water and salt and mix well. cook over medium heat bringing it to a boil then remove from heat. When cool add vanilla. Enjoy!

Tastes just like Hershey's Syrup.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Morning Project: Cooking Contest

The children love to cook, and today 4-H was having their Dairy Foods and Egg Contest. Chelsea and Nick both decided they wanted to make Egg Casserole using two different recipes. It has to be cooked in the morning and refrigerated for several hours so we were cooking for our Monday Morning Project. Chelsea did hers all on her own (I didn't even get a chance to take her picture) and Nick and Alex worked on theirs together. Chelsea ended up with 1st place in her category and Nick got 2ND place for his. After the ribbons were handed out we got to sample all of the foods. All of the participants will get a recipe book full of all the recipes prepared tonight.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bible Time

Every morning we start our school day with Bible Time. The Bible that we are reading from is the Egermeier's Bible Story Book. I like this Bible because it is easy to read to children, has beautiful illustrations, and covers the whole Bible not just popular Bible stories. I try to read for at least 15-20 minutes per day. We read at least one section every day and sometimes more depending on the length of the section. Often we go on reading because the children want to know what happens next.
Then we read from My ABC Bible Verses, Hiding God's Word in Little Hearts by Susan Hunt. We learn a weekly Bible verse and read the story that applies to real life. Then we go back through all of the Bible verses we have learned starting with A. The verses are easy enough for even Alex to memorize (although while learning John 3:16, Alex thought begotten son was forgotten son) and while the stories are a bit too good to be true, they get their point across.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Five In a Row

I have just started to using Five In a Row this week. For those of you who don't know what it is, it is a literature based unit study for children grades PK-3. You read the same picture book 5 days in a row (hence the name) and do different activities every day in the following categories:Art, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, and Math. There are 4 Volumes to FIAR and each volume has several books to choose from. There is more than one activity for each subject, so you have a variety of things to choose from . The FIAR Volumes vary from $15-40 and can be found on http://www.amazon.com/, http://www.half.com/, or http://www.ebay.com/ and you can find them brand new on the FIAR website. Most of the books can be found at the library and the activities use stuff from around the house. I am using this study for Nick (6), Alex (4) and even Anthony (2) is joining in. This is what we have done this week.

Little Nino's Pizzeria by Karen Barbour

Mon read book and did a science lesson on the different food groups for pizza (worksheet printed off of http://www.homeschoolshare.com/)
Tues-Language Arts played a game about homonyms (http://www.homeschoolshare.com/)
Wed- Math pizza worksheet counting pizza toppings (http://www.homeschoolshare.com/)
Thurs (tomorrow)- Art Watercolor Paintings
Fri- Making Pizza!

I had the boys each make up their own notebooks with a divider for each section.
We are having a lot of fun so far, and Nick even wanted more to do today!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Chickens Have Arrived!

Several weeks ago we decided to purchase some chickens for one of our 4-H projects. They cost .40 a piece. We are living out here in the country on 11 acres and wanted to do something with some of the land. (Eventually we would like to get some cows too but we are starting out small.) The kids have been waiting anxiously for 2 weeks because the chickens didn't hatch when they were supposed to. Alex put on his boots the other day and told me we had to go to the farm and get our chickens Right Now! Well, they arrived today. We were supposed to get 9 hens and 1 rooster, but there were 5 extra roosters and Art was the last to arrive to pick them up so we now have 9 hens and 6 roosters. The children have named the chickens (but as you can see they all look the same and we can't tell them apart) Some of the names are Herbie, Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Lightning, McNugget (that was Art, very funny ) I can't remember the rest. I will have to ask the kids in the morning. Right now the chickens are living in a box in the shop, but the children are going to help Daddy build a chicken coop. We are hoping to show some of the chickens at the Fair, and hopefully they will start supplying us with eggs in the fall.

4-H Meeting

Last night for our Cloverbud (ages 5-8 and their siblings) 4-H meeting we went over to the Fairgrounds and the children got to see, pet, and feed some ducks, a rabbit, a guinea pig, a goat, and a pony. They also got to learn a little about the care and feeding of these animals. All of the children had a wonderful time. I didn't get a picture of Nick. He is alittle apprehensive about animals and when he did pet the goat, he didn't stand there long enough for me to get a picture.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Movie Review: Nim's Island

Before going to see Horton Hears A Who, it had been over a year since we had been to the movies, and today we got to go and see Nim's Island. Chelsea had read the book by Wendy Orr, we had watched the special on Animal Planet about the movie, and completed the activities from the Educator Guide off of http://www.walden.com/. It was a little different than what I expected but a great family movie. There was nothing that I found objectionable in the movie and all of the children enjoyed it. Alex (4) was afraid of the storm scenes and a scene where they showed a shark, and Chelsea (11) was disappointed in some parts that were a little different from the book. We al know that is the way it is, the book is always better than the movie. All in all we had a good time and it is a movie that I would recommend.

Race for the Cure, Walk for the Cure, Eat Ice-Cream for the Cure

A Well Deserved Treat
Yesterday my mom, dad, Chelsea, Nick, Alex, Anthony, Christian and me joined over 15,000 other people in the Susan G Komen race for the cure for to raise money for Breast Cancer which took place at the new Arvest Ball Stadium in Springdale. The weather was sunny, but a little chilly at 8:00 in the morning. The race was either a 5K run or walk, or a 1 mile Family Fun Walk. We did the 1 Mile Fun Walk (Anthony and Christian got to ride.) Alex skipped half the way, but towards the end was getting "very tired." Nick and Chelsea were old pros, they participated in the walk last year too. After the walk we wandered through some of the sponsors tents and celebrated with some free ice-cream.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chelsea's 1 st 4-H Competition

Tonight was Chelsea's first 4-H Competition. She had to do an Illustrated Talk using 3-5 posters and lasting 2-5 minutes long. She chose to do her talk on the Wii. Nana and Papa just got one and the kids really enjoy playing it. Chelsea did a great job, she earned a blue ribbon and can go on to the District Competition in June.

Great Website

The Homeschoolmom listed this as her site of the week http://www.homeschoolshare.com/
This website has free literature based resources such as unit studies, lapbooks, and FIAR Resources. The age range is Pre-K -4th grade. Check it out and bookmark this site!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Nick's Drawings

Usborne Books has some of the best drawing books for children. Today the kids had some time while I was making lunch and Nick wanted to do a project. So he got out The Big Book of Things to Do which includes the Usborne Books What Shall I Cook, What Shall I Be, What Shall I Grow, What Shall I Draw, What Shall Paint, and What Shall I Make, and decided he wanted to draw. The reason I love their drawing books is that it shows in a step by step method using different shapes how to create a picture. The kids can work on the drawings without any help. Nick drew the space rocket and the wizard. The pictures show the instructions in the book, and then Nick's drawing. Didn't he do a great job?
If you are interested in checking out more Usborne Books go to http://www.usbornebooksbylisa.com/

Tasty Tuesday: French Toast

This is my new favorite way to make French Toast:

2 eggs
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 TBSP syrup
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
8 slices bread
About 3 TBSP butter or margarine divided

In a bowl beat the eggs, sugar, milk, syrup, and cinnamon with a fork until well blended. Dip the bread into the mixture coating completely. In a large skillet melt 1 TBSP butter over medium heat. Cook the bread about 2-3 minutes turning once. Serve alone or with extra syrup. Serves 4.

I double this recipe to have enough for 7 people.

You can also slice each piece of bread before you coat with the mixture into 3 strips and make French Toast Sticks.

Anthony's Tonsils

Anthony went to the specialist yesterday after a hard week-end of continued fever and being unable to eat or sleep. The doctor had to give him a penicillin shot and a new antibiotic that has to be taken for 2 weeks. We have to go back to see him in 6 weeks to have him checked out again and to make a decision. If we get his tonsils out now he would have to go to Children's Hospital because of his age the surgery is more complicated. If we wait a few months it can be done in the Surgery Center. The penicillin shot has helped a great deal already, he actually slept last night. Hopefully the medicine will do its job and take care of the infection.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Learning With Our Children

One of my most favorite things about homeschooling is not only being able to teach and watch the children learn, but learning right beside them. When Chelsea was in the 3 rd grade we did a Unit Study called The Prairie Primer which is based on The Little House series of books. It was a great study and I loved being able to read the books again as an adult. Chelsea was very interested in learning about the pioneers and Laura Ingalls Wilder. She read every book by her and about her and we even took a field trip to Mansfield, MO and toured Laura and Almanzo's Houses and Museum there. One of the things that Chelsea wanted to learn to do like the pioneers was sew. This scared me because I had never learned how. But, we read some books about sewing and tackled one of Laura's projects, a bear track pillow. Chelsea picked out the materials, we followed the directions in the book and she sewed it by hand. We really enjoyed doing this project together and have been working on some sewing projects ever since. We also bought a sewing machine and learned how to use it. I prefer the speed and convenience of the machine, but Chelsea still has kept the pioneer spirit and prefers to sew by hand.

Yesterday she found some material and asked if she could use it to make some nightgowns for her dolls. She measured the doll and with no pattern hand sewed a nightgown and apron for her American Girl Doll complete with elastic in the arms and lace on the apron. I am so glad we took the time to learn how to sew and that she is so creative and enjoys it so much.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

State Homeschool Laws

Homeschool laws vary from state to state. The best thing to do when you are interested in homeschooling is to do some research on your state's requirements. A good place to start is http://www.hslda.org/. This is the website for the Home School Legal Defense Association and they list the requirements for each state.

Where we live (Arkansas) we have only a few requirements. We are required to fill out a Notice of Intent to Home school and file it with our school board every year. On this form we do have to list what kind of curriculum we will be using and how many hours per day/days per week/weeks per year we will be homeschooling. We also have to sign a form stating that the state is not responsible for our child's education. Our only other requirement is that children in grades 3-9 are required to take a Standardized Test (Iowa Tests) once a year. This is not done in a public school, but instead at a testing site set up and monitored by homeschoolers. This year we were only required to take Math and Reading so the testing is only one day for 3 hours. In the past we have had to test for several days when the full battery of tests were required. Our nearest testing facility is 40 miles away so I am glad we only had to test one day and very grateful that my friend was able to take Chelsea today.

Christian and Anthony

The good news is that Christian did not still have an ear infection. It was just a virus and he is doing much better now.The bad news is that Anthony has a really bad case of strep throat. Combined with his enlarged tonsils, snoring, and sleep apnea our doctor set up an appointment for him at a ENT. I think he is too young to have to get his tonsils out, he is only two, but the doctor thinks it is a good possibility. The last couple of days have been awful. He can't eat or sleep, but hopefully the antibiotics will kick in fully today and we will see what the ENT has to say on Monday.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

2:00 AM

Even though Christian is 1 year old, he still wakes up every night at about 2:00 AM to be nursed. Many people would say this is unnecessary, that he should be sleeping through the night, but it doesn't bother me in the least. I just grab my extra pillow, lay on my back, settle him in to nurse and we both go back to sleep. A little while later I wake up and put him back in his crib.
This morning at 2:00 AM, it was a little different. Even though I was half asleep, I knew something wasn't quite right. Christian's cry sounded pitiful and at first I thought that the two new teeth that were coming in was bothering him. I went to pick him up and he was warm, too warm. I fumbled my way into the bathroom and located the thermometer and the Tylenol. I settled him to my breast and took his temperature under his arm and sure enough it was 102 degrees. I gave him some Tylenol and took him downstairs to rock him and by 3:00 his fever had broken and he was back to sleep. He slept on and off until about 7:00 AM.
What is it? Babies can't tell you what hurts. Teething can cause low grade temperatures, but not 102 degrees. He has been pulling on his ears and is very cranky and does not want to lay down. He did have a double ear infection two weeks ago, so I think that the antibiotics were not strong enough to cure it and I made a doctor's appointment for this afternoon.
Then to add to the confusion Anthony (2) started running a temp of 101 degrees. he has not been sick in a long time. Now I am wondering, have they caught a virus, is it ready to run rampant through my household? Or do I just have 2 sick kids at the same time with two different problems? Hopefully the doctor can tell me.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday Morning Project: Cookies and Cards

We are back to a regular schedule this week. Our Monday Morning Project this week was to make a Thank You Card and cookies for the workers at the Greenhouse for the time they took to give the kids a great field trip a couple of weeks ago. We meant to do this sooner, but we went out of town to take care of my dad and were gone a little longer than planned. I dug out the scrap booking supplies and the kids made a cute Thank You Card, and also a Get Well Soon Card for Mr Robert (co-owner to the Greenhouse) because he just had surgery. We haven't all cooked together for awhile, so the children enjoyed measuring and mixing the cookie dough. We made a double batch so they could enjoy the fruits of their labor in addition to being able to take a batch to the Greenhouse this afternoon after Anthony and Christian wake up from their naps.

My Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (single batch)

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 bag chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugar, brown sugar. Add in salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir in flour, eggs and chocolate chips last. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

What About Socialization?

When people find out that we homeschool, this is a question that they often ask. Think about that question for a minute. What is the purpose of "school" supposed to be? Is it to provide an education or to provide a social setting for children? What kind of socialization exists in the school system, positive or negative? I would say that the majority of time it is negative. Children are thrown into groups of about 30 or so of the same age children with 1 adult present. There is teasing, bullying, bad language, drugs, and constant pressure to conform 40 hours a week. Is this the kind of "socialization" our children need?
The best kind of socialization for your children is their own family, learning and growing together. My children are each other's best friends. I enjoy greatly having them with me all day and being able to teach them. Having said that, this doesn't mean that we keep them locked in the house day and night without allowing them to be around other children. We do participate in a variety of activities that I have the honor of being with them during these times. We go to Sunday School every Sunday, Pioneer Club every Wednesday, and we have a playgroup ( with kids ages 1 month-14 years) that meets every Friday. We have a Homeschool Group that takes a field trip at least once a month and also has a Hands on Science class once a month. My children are involved with 4-H which meets 2-4 times per month. We also play soccer in the fall. As you can see, we are involved in quite a variety of activities that the children enjoy and provide more opportunities for them to learn and grow.

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise grows wise but a companion of fools suffers harm.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Chelsea's Story

A few weeks ago, Chelsea entered The Grannie Annie story writing contest. If you have never heard of it before, it is a contest for kids 9-14 and you write a story about something that happened in a past generation in your family. The winning stories are published in a Grannie Annie book and the purpose of the contest is to preserve stories from the past. Chelsea got on the phone to my mom to find out if their were any funny stories about my grandma and so the story Mouse Attack was born. Chelsea's story was chosen for a Honorable Mention (hooray!) and many other children across the country had their stories published in the book. To find out more got to http://www.thegrannieannie.org/. To see the names of those chosen, click on the stories and then author names and story titles.

Mouse Attack by Chelsea

One day when my Great Grandma Grace was making the beds, she had just started on the master bedroom by tucking in the sheets and couldn't reach one corner. So she went over to the other side of the bed to get it in and right in front of her was a mouse nest with a mouse inside. She didn't see it at first but the mouse saw her, all it could say was one little "Squeak!" Grandma saw it then and she let out such a scream it rattled the window panes. My Great Grandpa Elwin ran in to the room to see what was the matter and when he looked through the doorway a comical sight met his eyes, Great Grandma on the bed clutching at her skirt. Grandma whispered out of the corner of her mouth, "Don't move you might startle it." Unfortunately just as she was getting off the bed Grandpa chose to laugh and that got the mouse going. It ran out from under the bed just as Grandma jumped off of it. When she jumped off the bed her feet landed right on the mouse. Grandpa roared with laughter, mainly because she landed on the mouse, but also because she killed it. She never forgave him for laughing and didn't talk to him for a week, eventually she saw the funny side of it. When she got older and had grandchildren she told the story to them making them promise not to tell their friends.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Books, Books, and More Books (part 2)

Now that I am back home, I will finish the post I started about the new books I ordered that just arrived. From http://www.rainbowresource.com/ I ordered:

Handwriting Without Tears 1st Grade My Printing Book
Apologia Science Exploring Creation with Astronomy
Bible Explorer 1,2,&3
Bible Explorer 4,5&6
My First Sewing Book Kit (came with a book and 43 animal patterns)

I am still waiting for one more thing to arrive. I ordered 5 in a Row by Jane Claire Lambert from http://www.half.com/ and I hope to get it soon. I can't wait to get started on it with the boys.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Christian!

Christian turned one today! (well not officially until 9:10 pm) I can't believe it. It seems like only yesterday we found out we were expecting him. Time goes so fast.

It was a bit of a surprise when we found out we were expecting again, but it was a happy one. Joy turned to fear when two weeks later I started bleeding. After a check-up we were told all was well and not to worry. Again we had a scare when two weeks later I fell down some stairs and tore a muscle in my leg. I took awhile to heal, but the baby was fine. I was sick for 5 months, not just in the morning, but all of the time. This was different for me because I had never been sick before, and by baby #5 didn't expect to be. Then I had an ultrasound and was told the baby was very small and only in the 10th percentile. My smallest baby up until then was 8 lbs 6 oz. The doctor said not to worry he could still have a growth spurt. I still worried, but kept praying for my baby to grow and be healthy. I started having frequent contractions at 29 weeks and was put on modified bed rest. I had to avoid anything strenuous: cleaning, grocery shopping, lifting. This helped calm the contractions, but I still started dilating at 33 weeks. The test they give pregnant women for Strep B came out positive and I was told I would have to have IV antibiotics during my labor. Again I was concerned for the baby. I felt like my whole pregnancy had been a struggle. At 39 weeks I was 4 cm dilated and since I live I hr and 20 min from the hospital and have had 2 babies in 2 hrs, my doctor decided it would be a good idea to induce me. At 6:00 on April 1 st she broke my water and at 9:10 Christian Steven slid into the world weighing 7 lbs 14 oz and was 20 1/2 inches long. He was not nearly as small as they feared and he was here and healthy. God had protected him through the long 40 week pregnancy and I was so happy to hold him in my arms. What a wonderful, beautiful blessing he has been to our family.

Happy Birthday Christian!