Saturday, September 27, 2008

Family Night: Welcome fall!

We decided to welcome back fall for our Family Night this week. We eally didn't do much, because the Mommma...she was not having a good day. I think I was just a little overwhelmed by all the things that I need to get done in the next few days because Jeff and I are going to be out of town for the week.

As a matter of fact, I was so out of it, I didn't take any pictures. *gasp* Not that there was much to photograph.

I started a beef stew in the crockpot that morning, then Jacob and I made some yummy Pumpkin Drop Cookies. (Thanks, Wendy!) The girls were outside playing while we made the cookies, so it was nice to have that time alone with him in the kitchen. All too often, the girls are so eager to help with the cooking and baking, that Jacob doesn't get to do much.

So, when Jeff got home, we had our yummy beef stew. Then, we got our fall decorations out of storage and decorated the house. Then, we ate our pumpkin cookies. That was the extent of our 'fallness!' Pathetic. Hee!

Jacob even mentioned once or twice, "This sure doesn't feel like Family Night!" Ahh! Talk about feeling bad! I apologized to him but also talked to him about being thankful for the time that we did get to spend together as a family.

Jeff took all three kids to the video store to get a movie and I took a long, hot bath! When they got back, we all piled on the couches and watched Peter Pan together. Throughout the movie we laughed and chatted together as a family. And that's what Family Nights are really all about.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Family Night: Bye-Bye Summer!

With fall officially arriving in a few days, we decided to have a little farewell party for summer. It wasn't much but we had a good time.

The kids decorated a sign.

We had dinner out on the deck and I made some of our favorite summer items: grilled mesquite chicken, corn on the cob, brown rice, and watermelon.

For dessert I made a banana wafer pudding; I put it in a sand pail with a shovel to give it a more 'summery' feel. I probably could have done something like popsicles to fit more with the summer theme, but I didn't have any. So, I went with what I had. The kids loved getting to eat 'sand.'

In order to give summer a proper farewell, we just had to put on our swimsuits and play in the water! Or, at least the kids did. They were excited about getting to play on the slip 'n slide one more time before we packed it away for the winter.

It wasn't cold out, but it wasn't exactly hot, either. We got a few strange looks from the neighbors.

Oh well!

Bye, summer! We'll miss you!

As always, thanks to Heather at Whittaker Woman for inspiring our Family Nights!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Summer's End

Then followed that beautiful season called...Summer...
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new-created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry David Thoreau

I'll miss summer.

Our summer has been a joyous and full season; it leaves us with moments that will live on forever in our memories.

Yet, I'm also content in seeing it come to an end. I'm looking forward to the sights, sounds, and smells of autumn. I'm ready for crisp air and cozy sweaters.

I love autumn.

But, I'll miss summer.

I've linked this to the Theme Thursday post at The Land of K.A. This week's theme: Playtime.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hey Abby!

Have you seen the marker?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Family Night: Chef Night

It's been a long week!

Jeff spent the beginning of this week doing things for school, then the last part of the week he was in Chicago for business. So, he was exhausted when he got home this evening. I, too, was rather worn out because, well...Jeff's been gone all week!

So, we made Family Night short and sweet.

Earlier in the week, when I asked the kids what they wanted to eat for dinner on Friday night, they said they wanted to make homemade pizzas. So, I decided that since we were going to be making our own pizzas, that we would all be 'chefs' for the night.

We made chef hats using poster board and tissue. Then, we each made our own personal pizza.

For dessert, we made sugar cookies and the kids got to decorate their own cookie. Then, we all watched Ratatouille together.

Short and sweet. Simple and easy. Well, we'll just say it was as easy as it could have been...baking with three kids!

Thanks to Heather at Whittaker Woman for inspiring Family Nights!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Field Trip

On Wednesday, we had our bookwork finished by noon, so we met my sister and her kids at the zoo.

Spur of the moment activities are just one more thing that I love about homeschooling! With the last few days of nice weather here, we don't have to spend them cooped up inside; we can go out and enjoy the day, whenever we want. Also, there was hardly anyone at the zoo! With most kids in school, we didn't have to wait in any lines or fight the crowds. Bonus!

Grace and Jacob riding the train.

Abby and Jacob watching an ostrich.

Abby trying to get a better look at the animals.

This giraffe would not leave this gazelle alone! The gazelle didn't seem to mind though.

Watching the elephants.

Over the past couple of years, I've learned some things about taking photos at the zoo: One, it's almost impossible to get a front view of the kids. Most of the pictures are from behind, as they look on at the animals. Two, the animals are just like the kids, you can't get them to stand still long enough to get a decent shot!

Unlike children and zoo animals, flowers stand still! So I started taking pictures of flowers for a bit.

I love how this flower looks with the sun shining from behind it! It almost looks like it was painted there with watercolors. What an awesome Creator we have!

More pictures of the kids'...backs! They love the jellyfish!

More jellyfish watching, but from a SIDE view! Yay!

I always feel like a bad mom when we visit this exhibit. "Hey, kids! Let's put our hands in the shark tank and see if we can pet them!" It just doesn't seem right.

The kids in the dolphin dome. Can you see the dolphin?

A dolphin swimming over our heads!

We had a great time at the zoo!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Treasure Chest of Memories

One hot day this summer, Jeff and the kids were scouring the storage barn for a needed summertime item. I don't know what item exactly, but it was probably something like a swim mask, water sprinkler, baseball, or something of that sort. Anyhow, as they searched the shelves of the barn, Grace peered upon a large black trunk that we have stored away in there. She begged her dad for a look at the 'treasure' inside. However, since our barn is - for the majority of the summer - a plywood oven, he told her that they would have to wait until it cooled down to 72 degrees.

Yes, once the balmy temperature outside made its way down to 72 degrees, he would go through the trunk-o-treasure with them. Why 72 degrees? I don't know. That's just how Jeff works. And, apparently, he works best at digging through treasure chests when it is 72 degrees outside.

So for the next few weeks, almost daily, the kids would run to the outdoor thermometer to see if the number showing was 72 degrees. Oh, the moaning and groaning that went on when the little thermometer would register a number above the coveted 72!

That was until last Saturday.

Last Saturday, with Dad home from work, the checking of the temperature ensued. Oh, the squeals of excitement, when it was realized that the number registered was BELOW 72!

So off they all went to the not-hot-as-an-oven-anymore barn, to open the trunk wondrous treasure chest.

And when they opened it up, here is what they found:

It still fits!

The cheeks. Umm. They look a little smooshed.


Even the bumps in the hair are the same!

"Look, kids! That's your old man!"

Grace appears frightened as she looks through one of our old yearbooks. We tried to explain to her that that was just the way people looked...back in the 1900's.

Ah! The glorious prom glassware. I'm almost cheap enough to use these as everyday glassware.

I'm not sure that the 'treasure' hidden in the trunk was everything that the kids thought it would be. But for their daddy and momma, it was a treasure chest full of memories.

Monday, September 8, 2008


A scene during playtime.

Grace, speaking to no one in particular:

"That's what I don't like about this cold!"

(Big sigh.)

"I can't yodel anymore!"

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Family Night: Alphabet Party

"A...B...C...D...E...F...G...the alphaaabet was our Family Night theme!"

I didn't put too much thought into our Family Night this week. With the start of school, Grace being sick, and a multitude of other things going on, I didn't have much time to do any planning for it. So in trying to keep to my commitment of making Friday nights special for the family, I threw this together, kind of last minute. There were a few glitches. However, we still had another great night filled with laughter and togetherness.

For decorations I used a poster that I've had for years, some of the kids' alphabet blocks and alphabet magnets. For dinner we had bowls of alphabet soup. Actually, only the kids had alphabet soup. They love the stuff. Ick! And I used alphabet cookie cutters to make letter sandwiches.

While eating dinner, we took turns reading the Bible verses on the poster; it has a verse for each letter of the alphabet. We had some very good conversations come about while we read and discussed each of the verses. There was a lot of singing, also. It's amazing how many Bible verses the kids know because they sing them in songs.

After we cleared the table we played the alphabet game. "I'm going to a party and I'm going to bring..." We had so much fun and laughed so hard while playing this game. I was surprised at how well Grace and Jacob did with remembering all of the different items. Abby did a good job as her own little way. I think she would list 2 or 3 things that were actually on our running list.

For dessert I attempted to make some Jell-O Jiggler letters. They did not turn out very well.

Bill Cosby would be sad if he saw these:

They still tasted yummy though!

To finish off the night, I broke out the Play-Doh and let the kids use the alphabet cookie cutters to make Play-Doh letters.

Yes, I let my kids mix Play-Doh colors. I used to make sure the colors stayed separate vibrant hues. But, it was too much work! Alas, I've succumbed to the brown Play-Doh. There's just no stopping it.

So this was a quickly thrown together Family Night, but it was still much fun for the whole family!

Thanks, again, to Heather at Whittaker Woman for inspiring our Family Nights!

Friday, September 5, 2008

First Week of School

We started school on Tuesday. The week went rather well, even though Grace woke up on our first day with a pretty nasty cold. However, she was a trooper and plowed through her schoolwork with diligence, all week long. I did condense her studies for the week; we focused on the basics of reading, writing, math, spelling, and grammar. We will add in the rest of her curriculum as she gets to feeling better.

With Grace being sick, I was even more thankful that we homeschool. Had she been going to a public/private school, she would have missed the entire week! Being at home, she was able to set her own speed for doing her schoolwork, taking little breaks when she needed to. So not only did she get the comfort of being home while she was sick, but she's not behind in all of her studies.

Jacob was very excited about starting kindergarten. He loves that he has his own books and papers to do for school. I'm starting out with just the basics for him also, so as not to overwhelm him these first couple of weeks. As we get more settled into a routine, I will introduce other subjects for him to explore.

I was a little nervous about what our days were going to look like, now that I have two full-time students. However, it seems as though we have found a pretty good rotation that allows me to be available to each of them, when needed.

Of course, there is Miss Abby to tend to, also. I've been trying my best to keep her involved in her own learning enrichment activities. However, there is only so much a 3 year-old - or atleast my 3 year-old - can do before she is ready to move on to the next thing. Often times the next thing is her sister's pencils or her brother's math manipulatives, while they are trying to use them. So I need to organize some more learning stations or activities to keep her occupied.

I'm looking forward to this year of learning and spiritual growth, not only for our kids, but also for myself. It never ceases to amaze me how much God teaches me, while I am teaching them.