Saturday, January 28, 2012


These are from New Year's Day.
I'm only about a month behind.
Some of these are just too funny not to share.

My mom's boss gave her a large gingerbread house over the holidays with directions to
take pictures when the kids dug into it.
So, here it goes.
Well, I mainly got Travis because he just went to town.
He had to be cut off.
It was amusing the way he was communicating just the piece he wanted..even though he doesn't really talk yet.

It was a pretty piece of confection, for sure. 
Lots of detail and all homemade, I believe.

Pointing to just the piece he wanted.

Could your mouth get a bit more full???

Victoria joined in too..but not with such gusto.

ha ha!

Happy New Year
once again.


I'm sure its the novelty, but the kids are loving the masking tape road.

It was starting to be cranky time when everyone starts nit this was the solution for today.
So far so good.
Fairly quick to make and very inexpensive, no mess--what's not to love??
Plus, you can be as creative or uncreative(?) as you wish.
We did have a bit of trouble with little mister wanting to pull up the I couldn't make the mountain..but nonetheless.

And yes, I am horrible at keeping straight lines.
Always have been.
It will keep the drivers alert.

Friday, January 27, 2012


While learning about plants, what better place to visit than a greenhouse.
And what better greenhouse to visit than one that mommy (I) worked at for 7 years of my life in high school, college, and beyond.
So, off we went!

Right now, it is preparation time.
Lots of plug trays in prep...getting spaces cleaned up for planting..


This back section (and you only see a small portion of it) will be
 FULL of blooming plants in a few short months.

The kids each were allowed to pick out one plug to plant in
a pot to bring home.
So, we have a Gazania, 2 Dianthus, and a SnapDragon in the works!

Carina looks happy, no?
They all enjoyed the visit.
Here are the plants, all potted and ready to take home.

Checking out the bales of peat moss and soil in the back.
Rian noted that they looked like big suitcases.

It was a fun day!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

ON HOMESCHOOLING: Where to begin?

I don't write much about homeschooling.
I should, I guess.
It is a huge part of our lives right now.
I'll try to share more about it.
There is just so much....its hard to pick out bits and pieces.

Here we are 4 months into it.
Carina and Michael are both reading.
If nothing else, I see this as success.
They don't just pick up any old book at this point, they tend to stick to the curriculum books, even though I try to encourage them to try other ones.  I mean, its not like there aren't any books around here!  Actually, it is Carina who is more adventurous in that department.  She will sound out words and come to me excited after she read the title on a library book.  :)

We're working on being more fluent with reading and re-reading our little readers.
Here is Bean reading.  This is about the level she is on.  We also have a set of Usborne Phonics Readers that she loves.  They are nice because the left page has text for the parent or older reader to read and the right page has text for the beginner--BUT the story can stand alone with just the text for the beginning reader.  The BOB books are also nice for them.

No, we are not that family that stay in their pajamas all day long.  The kids generally have breakfast in their pajamas but then are dressed when we "officially" start our day.  I say "officially" because often since they take such a long time to eat, I will begin reading to them while I wait for them to finish--it has its benefits because that way they are literally a captive audience!  :)  I try not to get impatient about how long they spend over each meal...seriously, sometimes it feels like all we do is sit around the table..I clean up breakfast just in time to get lunch started!!  I exaggerate a little.
Anyway, I just tell myself that this too will pass..cherish these times because before I know it, they will have other commitments and jobs that may make it hard for all of us to sit down to a meal together. (Oh, by the way, occasionally we do stay in our pjs..but it is usually on a Saturday).

Michael is making progress in math..we start subtraction soon.  He is doing well.  Not necessarily super fast at it or even have all the basic facts memorized, but he understands HOW to do it and at this point that satisfies me.

I don't do a formal handwriting program.  They are 4 and 5 years old..and I think they write an awful lot and I don't expect more.  Carina, the one I was worried would never get it as far as writing is concerned, is the one who constantly is asking me how to spell things so she can give this picture to so and so. 

Rian is not as gung-ho as she was when we first started school.  She will still occasionally sit with us and color or play with play dough, but not like she did before.  And that is okay.  She is two.  It still amazes me what she picks up and pays attention to though.  We're reading "Dr. Dolittle" by Hugh Lofting right now and I was asking the kids some questions as a recap before going onto the next chapter..well, little Miss was the one who jumped in with all the (CORRECT) answers! 
We were working on our Sunday School lesson last week and I had asked them something, and again, it was she who piped up with the answers. 
 So, even though it is not formal schooling, she is certainly absorbing.

How many quarts in a gallon anyway?

What else can I tell you?  Do I have everything figured out?  No way!
Do I start everyday at the crack of dawn?  No way!
I've found that since we have the flexibility now, the kids stay up later in the evening so that they can have some Daddy-time and they also sleep later in the morning.  It works for us.  It was tough when Michael was in the pre-k program because he had to be up so early in the morning!  I was pretty rigid on bedtime being 7/7:30pm.  He needed it, but the kids hardly got to see Mike at all.  So we generally start our schooling around 10/10:30am and shoot to end around 12/12:30pm.  Sometimes we are done sooner, and sometimes we go a bit later.  Sometimes I will let the kids have a mid-morning break.  It all depends on the day.  I love having the flexibility. 

Having a little one, really is no hinderance.  Homeschooling is a way of life.  It is not compartmentalized (did I spell that right?) we have interruptions?  Absolutely.  Stinky diapers, boo boos to be kissed, hungry bellys to fill, potty breaks, discipline to be meted out etc. etc. is not one smooth road. Why would I expect our little slice of life to be any different?  We learn to roll with and even enjoy those bumps and turns.

We also don't sit at home all week either...we're busy!!
Almost too busy!  But that is another post.
It really is amusing that the biggest concern anyone has when learning about homeschooling is socialization--and that is also another post--but to put "your" mind at ease, we have weekly dance class, Sunday school, and storytime, a musical tot class 1-2x a month, monthly playdates, and even a 1x a month co-op.  :)
I'm hoping to add T-ball to the mix come Spring too!

Okay, I think I'll wrap it up.
I could keep going and going.
Any specific questions or observations or tips...I'd love to hear them.

I do hope to make some changes for next school year. 
Stay tuned for that another time.


 Our first snow of the winter!
October doesn't count.
I'm glad it was on a Saturday and that Mike was home.
I'm not so fond of playing in the, someone has to stay in for the million potty breaks and glove-fixing and disrobing and re-adjusting that occurs with little ones.

Here are some pictures.

This was the first time that Travis played in the snow.
He was sooo bundled up he could hardly move..
you know how puffy those one piece snowsuits are!!
Poor kid, three face plants later, he was inside.

The snow was so light that snowmen were out of the question.
They still had fun though.

Even Daddy...I was too slow with the camera.
He was swinging.

Missy had a blast!

Everyone took turns pulling Travis for the brief amount of time he was out.

My current favorite picture.

What did you do on the snow day?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Watching his big brother and sisters use their marshmallow guns paid off.
Notice his concentration and dexterity.
I was impressed.
Pretty stinking good for a 13 month old.

Love this one!


He wants to do everything the big kids do
 he usually manages to find a way.


No, no...not a part of my body.

Hm, though on second thought, maybe an extension of my body.
This piece of furniture, equipment, source of music and enjoyment, sometime stress reliever, praise instrument, has been around for lotsa years.
Since prior to my teen years, if I remember correctly..and that is saying a lot!
As with all good things, they must come to an end sometime.
The time came.
Unfortunately, it died.

 It was old, a cast-off from a church,
 and apparently they are not made like this anymore, so we were not able to get it repaired.

So, I had to say goodbye.
It really is very sad.
I miss it.

We do have another source of music that moved in right away..
and I am very thankful for it.
I can't imagine a house (MY house) without music..

But it is bittersweet.
One day, I do hope to own another organ--
in fact, if YOU know anyone who is selling or getting rid of one (preferrably a full-sized one), please let me know.  The piano is great (and again, THANK YOU for it!!) and we will certainly be keeping it and using it, I'm hoping that the kiddies will learn to play as well.. but it is not my "first love" and really, in my opinion--there are HUGE differences between piano and organ.  Sound, playing style, etc. etc. 
I can assure you that I could MAKE room in my house to fit both!

Okay, okay...enough.
Farewell, organ!

Hello, piano!