Friday, April 30, 2010

A Week in the Life ~ FFF

FFF ~ That's FABULOUS FUN FRIDAY for those of you not living at our house! I tell ya, I set myself up for things...if it's Friday around here and something isn't fabulous, I hear about it! Well, two kids still in bed at 8 a.m. was fabulous enough for me, so I took it and figured the rest of the day would fall into place one way or the other.

It was a dark and rainy morning so a bowl of oatmeal for everyone at breakfast was ideal. Oh, yes, and to start off the fabulousness we watched the rest of Idol Gives Back...just to see who went home, and of course they went over on time so the DVR cut off before they announced the loser. Sigh. (I started the next episode so we could at least satisfy our curiosity!)

Then somehow Elena was in trouble before we even got started with school so I started my own project while she spent some time cleaning her room (my new favorite consequence for bad behavior!).

Our brick hearth is a major danger to toddlers. When Lena-bug was that age I shopped around for protective edging and found it all to be ugly and expensive, not to mention that it required using heavy-duty adhesive on our bricks. So, instead, I went and bought some hi-density foam, batting and some clearance fabric...wah-lah! Zane's been making us nervous around the fireplace lately so it was time to bring it back out of the attic for re-installation:

First the long foam pieces, one on top and one against the front. Kai liked that I used the electric knife to cut a place for the fire screen (we didn't used to have this one). Actually, I need to make sure I put that knife away....yup, still sitting in the living room at 9:40 p.m....bad Momma. At least it was unplugged. (Thank you Jesus for protecting my babies in my absence of mind).

Batting over the foam, tucked in as much as possible.

Finally, the fabric...Kai helped smooth and tuck. I also used some black duct tape!

Not the prettiest looking thing, but the room is really dark (the walls are the same olive green) so it blends in nicely.

Okay, so back to school...Bible, Journal, Spanish (nope, we skip that one since the curric I picked out, complete with video lessons on DishNetwork flopped since they don't number their episodes...making for way too much DVRing and fast-forwarding to find the correct show), Spelling (word search day...her fav). I use the word search maker on A to Z Teacher Stuff (click for link).

Meanwhile, Zane baby is fussy this morning. I think he's cutting more teeth. One way or the other he wants held if he's not sleeping...enter my Moby wrap. We've been practicing with him on my back. It works and is as comfortable as carrying about any 25 pound weight strapped to your back.

Do you like my do? It's called the Ann. My sister's good friend Rashelle taught us how to do it on our girls' weekend. Works great and even better with damp hair, extra bonus!

Next Elena did her Nature Study. We usually like to go on a walk to find something to draw, but since it had been raining today and she had said yesterday that she had something picked out in the yard, she just went out on her own. (That was a long sentence.) This is a pic of her Nature Notebook. It's just an artist's sketchbook and she decorated the cover at the beginning of the year. I love it...especially the "Bar".

And here she is showing her sketch of the robin's nest. She labels each sketch and sometimes colors them in. Each week she gets better. All the lines on this one are the slats of the lattice screen that the nest is tucked in between.

It had stopped raining and we were waiting for our milk lady to stop by before lunch, so we went out to look at flowers and such.

My beautiful clematis that Eric and Elena gave me my first or second Mother's Day.

Zane-monkey, still riding along and watching the kids ride their bikes. His eyes are so sweet...they are a pretty hazel-brown.

Buds of the white peony. I think I like the buds as much as the round and full. Not sure if you can see the raindrops on them. Just lush and beautimus!

So then the milk lady came and went (we usually go down to her farm but when she's coming up this way it saves me a trip...yay!). About a month ago we starting buying fresh goat's milk from her...and for the first time in years I feel so good about the milk my kiddos are drinking! Go ahead, do some research about cow's milk, pasteurization, homogenizing, etc.

It was past lunch time and I had promised to take the kiddos out...we ended up at Ruby Tuesdays. They had never been there and I wanted to be waited on (imagine that). The food was really good. I don't think I've ever seen Kai gobble down a kid's meal faster. He got grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. Elena liked her cheeseburgers and Zane ate most of my mashed potatoes, plus some chicken and broccoli. We opted then to just get a dab of groceries at Target rather than a long trip over to HyVee. I think I'll go alone in the morning.

Elena finished up her school at home, some geography by doing a US states puzzle (new from garage saling yesterday), math, copywork and reading/history.

Zane and I went down for rainy afternoon snoozes while the big kids watched Santa Clause 3 off the DVR. It was 6 when I woke up!! I popped in the pizzas and they all wrestled and picked up the living room.

Gotta show you one of my favorite kitchen's my cake lifter turned pizza scooper!

Seems like all the frozen pizzas need to be baked right on the oven rack these days, leaving the getting them out to be a bit tricky. Weh-eh-ell...this gadget is perfect for just such a task! Thumbs up!

Ahhh, baths, then bedtime...I've actually still got one awake, surely trying to wait for Daddy. He just called about 15 minutes ago while waiting for his bags at the airport. Yay. See, there was more than one reason for my late nap...I needed to be semi-coherent for Eric's arrival!

Oh, gosh, I almost forgot the little episode of drama right before baths! I was changing some laundry and then scooped up Zane to go throw him in the tub with Kai, who was SUPPOSED to be getting undressed. When I walked into the bathroom, he was caught red-handed trying to quickly flush down the chunk of hair he had just whacked from his pretty red head! That boy has a thing with scissors. If they are in sight he simply cannot resist cutting something! Aaarrrggghhh! And this after weeks of protesting getting a hair cut because he likes it long! He's going to the barber tomorrow. Dang, cuz I like his wavy locks. And no scissors for ANYTHING for a while....and he loves craft time. Too bad.

Well, that's it for this week...I might write a couple things about our weekend if it amounts to anything more than groceries, soccer, haircuts and church. Hope you've enjoyed seeing a peek into our I think I want to know what other people live like LOL! Blessings...Resa

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Week in the Life ~ Is it Friday yet?

So I think writing out a diary of our week is making me think I'm crazy! Not for keeping the's just seeing all our going ons in black and white gives me a better idea of why I'm so tired LOL! Are you ready to hear about our Thursday? Here it goes:

7:52 a.m. - Pulling out of the driveway to go garage saling! Yes, before 8 a.m. I can't believe it! Guess it shows my soft spot...I love to get some deals!
8:05 a.m. - Been to the bank and now over to QT for breakfast (you see, there was a REASON I made it out of the house so breakfast).
8:15 a.m. - At our first garage sale. (I'll tell ya about our goodies in a minute)
Fast Forward....
10:00 a.m. - Back home, clean out the van and get ready for some school!

Kai needs something productive to occupy him during school, otherwise he's out the door to play (not that that is a bad thing, but I like him to get the feel of working a bit). Today I decided he could make some crazy crayons for his project. No way Elena was going to let him have all the fun, so she joined in for most of it.

All the bits and pieces are peeled and placed in a foil lined pie plate.

I'm melting! I'm melting!

Now that's one honker of a crayon. I guess I should have taken pictures of them breaking it up...they hammered on it with a bottle of glue and a ruler. Anyway...that was cool fun for the day!

After our Bible lesson we had snacktime! We used to make "homemade" microwave popcorn by putting it in a paper bag with a bit of oil and salt and stapling it shut. When our over-the-range microwave bit the dust (see it in the background? It's now a large kitchen timer & clock), so did that...the little stand-in microwave we use now just doesn't like my do-it-yourself popcorn bags. All that to say, we haven't had popcorn in a long time! Dunt-dun-a-duhhh....wah-lah, $1 will get you a fine air popper at just about any garage sale. Yum!

Kai basically hauled in today....not only did he find this lovely pogo stick:

But also a brand-new-to-him bike!

Yay!!! He ALSO got a two-wheeled scooter! ($2, $10 & $2...not too shabby).

You can imagine that he spent most of the day outside playing on all those new toys. Elena did a good job with her other she had music study (we do a different composer or genre each month) and she listened to some jazz fusion on Pandora. I'd never thought of turning Pandora on for music before...duh! Perfect, and now I'll no longer be purchasing lovely compulation CD's! Her copywork was a paragraph about the rise of Jazz in the 30's & 40's that I printed off a jazz history website.

By then it was time for lunch and our standing play date with some other homeschool friends! We are so blessed to have other families in our area that share our relaxed lifestyle. This particular family has three kiddos all about the same age as ours. Plus, they get along fab and Sara (the momma) and I are becoming great friends. (Hi Sara!) They brought their bikes, and we got to see their garage saling finds, but the main attraction was the awesome fort Elena and Chaya made out of her bed. I'm so grateful for the time she gets to spend building friendships!

After they left, we finished up our school day with some math & reading. Then we had just enough time to pretty up for our portrait session at Target. We like to have portraits taken for each kiddos birthday. Well, Elena's was almost a month ago...and the boys' before that, so today it was a 3-for-1 shot for all their individuals plus a few together. I made sure all the crud was off their faces and out from under their fingernails, put on the outfits and off we went. Yay! They turned out great!

I try to make sure we always have our favorite photographer, Kelly...she knows my kids and does a great job. I think she's taken almost all their portraits since Kai turned two. I grabbed some hot dogs and a bag of salad while we were at the store then headed home for a late supper. Ugh! What was I thinking? I'm not feeling so hot after that meal and poor Zane would have nothing to do with his hotdog. I think that made me feel even worse for feeding him one...though they were Hebrew Nat'l hotdogs which I guess are better than most.

The kids brought in all the outside toys in case it rains and then we watched a bit of American Idol...the Idol gives back episode. A good fit as after listening to a song today on KLOVE that ended "for the poor and needy, God", we had a conversation about 1. God isn't who is poor and needy and 2. What it means to be poor and needy.

Kai remembered donating to fund a surgery for a dog at the pet store, must have been at least a year and a half ago...he asked if that dog was poor. Then they thought of my friend Kori who is waiting for a new heart...certainly needy, if maybe in a different way. We talked about how blessed we were and that even when we "need groceries" we always have food to eat. I think that teaching about gratefulness is more difficult when we live such privileged lives. Anyway, the Idol episode highlighted some people both here and in Africa who are certainly poor and made it more real to my little ones.

8:00 p.m. Bedtime! I did it Eric-style tonight...p.j., brush teeth, prayers, bed. Much needed for my sanity.

I'm slightly overwhelmed at the state of my domicile:

Various toys scattered, two-day old Sonic cup on the table, etc. etc. My own fault, I know, so it's all self-pity. We'll see what tomorrow brings. I may do a crisis clean day and whip this place into shape. But we "need" groceries too...that's at least a two hour trek to the store with kids in tow. Hmmm.....I guess I can tell you about it tomorrow night.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Week in the Life of our Homeschool Family

A Wonderfully "Westful" Wednesday. Ahhh. Much better.

Our morning was busy as Eric left for California and we recovered from last night...I finally got all those dishes done! Not that there haven't been more mind you...but ya know.

School didn't get started until around 10ish. Both kiddos play quietly while I read their Bible lesson and scripture for the day. Then we look to our daily list for what's next. (The order changes everyday to keep things fresh!)

Instead of journaling today, Elena wrote her cousin Naomi a letter and drew her a picture. This is the cousin she was mourning not living next door to yesterday. She's much better now. She also wrote a thank-you to her Grandpa and Grandma for a late birthday gift.

For History, we are studying pioneers. Right now that looks a lot like reading On the Banks of Plum Creek. She narrates (tells back in her own words) the story after I read. Narration is the backbone of a Charlotte Mason-ish approach to learning and we have been slowly implementing more of it this year. We also started another pioneer book today...Across the Wide & Lonesome Prairie about a young girl on the Oregon trail. It was pretty interesting right off the bat.

Elena started another spelling list and did the intro worksheets...we use A Beka for spelling and she loves it. But it's about all the A Beka we can handle. The worksheets are horribly boring otherwise...let's just say we have lots of un-used first grade workbooks! Hands-on is much more our style.

We took a break for lunch and some outside playing. Elena was dying to ride her bike and cute baby Zane was loving walking around by himself on the sidewalk. He's now walking more than crawling so it's like shoe-ing a bucking bull he's so excited to go out!

He's wearing the cutest little monkey crocks and I really love the bear hood on the well-loved jacket! I think all baby clothes with hoods should have ears. So darned cute!

Once we got settled back in we started Math. She's really good at it, but thinks because it takes a long time (20-30 minutes) that it's "not fun". Today the excuse for not wanting to do it was that "it's not fair she has to do school while the boys get to play". I'm guessing most every firstborn homeschooler has uttered that phrase. And Momma doesn't put up with that! I gave her the "do your best for a bit and then you'll be done" pep talk along with the "they'll have plenty of school in a few years" bit. The tears stopped, but not sure if the heart attitude really softened. Oh well, some days I just have to let it go. Oh, it's Horizons Math and really, it's great!

Before piano lessons at 3, we ran up to the Elementary school to pick up Elena's soccer ball that she left a the t-ball fields last night. I'm telling ya, sharpies rule! Every time we've lost a ball, someone calls since we have our name and number on it. That doesn't count for discs lose one of those and it's the next lucky golfer that finds it who takes it home, number or not.

Piano was fine, Kai played in the yard and I tried to start my new book club book...The Third Sister, which is about Margaret from Sense and Sensibility. Looks like this gal (the author) is a Jane wanna-be as the language was written a bit old-fashioned for a modern sequel. It might be good though.

A quick stop at the post office and we were home for more snacking (I tell ya, it always seems like it's snack least according to the munchkins). Elena spent some time reading to herself...two easy-readers and a chapter in My Father's Dragon. After supper we went out to play, and once again I got the mower going. The yard in the back is just too long...the kids might get lost in the field by Friday just trying to get to the swingset!

I mowed half of it. I figure that's better than none of it. Eric's going to love my round about mowing paths too...hope it doesn't mess up his "lines" too bad. It was bath and bed time when we came in! And that's it! Now I'm wrapping up the day with some puter time...lots of garage sales in Raymore starting tomorrow. Hmmm... I'm sure I can count that as something for school....math, economics, shopping skills.

A Week in the Life ~ Tuesday

Tuesdays are two things around here...first, they are our running day, since we have to take Elena to Discovery. Second, they are Momma and the boys' day!

Up and out the door by 8:30 is a bit crazy, and I always think THIS week is going to be the week we leave at my target of 8:20. It's 8:33 when I back the van out of the drive...almost without fail. Oh well, she gets there just in time.

Discovery Homeschool Academy is one of my favorite things (Elena's too)! It's an enrichment program that equates to one full day at a private school doing all the subjects & specials that we don't do on a regular basis at home. She has Spanish, art, music, science, social studies and P.E. Not to mention all the fun stuff, like field day coming up next week and her spring concert and book fair the next. The staff and teachers are AWESOME! They all love Jesus and it shows in their attitudes and the work that comes out through the teachings.

So, we dropped her off and headed straight home today, since any detours always end up elongated and us running home just in time for lunch. It was so nice to just to come home...I switched over the laundry (Tuesday is for towels) and worked in the kitchen a bit. Zane was ready for a nap by 9:30 so down he went. Kai and I decided it would be a good time to go outside and explore.

First we checked out our robins' nest. They added another egg! Then we blew some bubbles and checked on the gardens. My north-side bed is my least favorite year by year. I really need to get some more hard line landscaping going back here...meaning some bushes or something that doesn't die down every winter. But this time of year it's coming along.

Our vegetable gardens are not. Little bits of spinach and peas are all that have started. I don't know what happened to my lettuce this year. Perhaps too hot the week they were trying to sprout. Or perhaps I need new seeds...I store mine and they are 3-4? years old. They were fine in the fall...who knows!

Kai is now a crazy man on his bike, so we went on a "walk"...otherwise known as a ride with Momma trying to keep up. His little legs go so fast it's a wonder he doesn't loose control!

I went inside and blogged more about our San Francisco vacation...though I was planning on reading...oh well, it sucked me in!

Zane slept until lunch (he's getting over an ear infection) so we decided to go shop for cabinet hardware right after we ate and before picking up Sissy. Eric is building three huge cabinets/bookcases for our office/school room and living room. They are all done and ready to be finished...we just need to pick out the stain, find someone to spray them with poly and purchase hardware. I'm really drooling and can't wait to organize all our school stuff and shut the doors!

We make it to the car line by 2:45 and head home just after 3. On our way through the back roads of Raytown I have to stop the car. LOOK!
Oh, now is that not too cute! We were all so excited...I even let the kids get unstrapped from their seats to lean out the window and watch them waddle away.
We stopped at another hardware store to shop some more. Elena didn't want to get out. She was sobbing. Somewhere between the ducks and Home Depot she realized that her cousin wouldn't be able to come to her concert and decided it wasn't fair that we couldn't pack up our house and move to Wichita tomorrow. The crying continued on and off until bedtime. (I told you there was drama).

Anyway, we made it to Sonic just in time for the end of Happy Hour, got our yummy drinks and went home. Eric had called to tell me he "had" to go witness a coworker's tryout for Corporate Challenge disc golf. So that meant he would play too and I needed to take Kai boy to t-ball. (I'm getting tired just writing out everything we did...sheesh!) Eric is also leaving in the morning for CA, so when I pulled in and noticed the extra long grass growing in the yard I knew that he wouldn't be able to mow it before he leaves.

And so begins the tale of things Resa does NOT do. I don't mow. I don't sit at boring t-ball practices. I don't deal with dead voles. But today I mowed the front yard before taking Kai to t-ball, and thankfully, I didn't find any dead voles in the traps. And I survived. Elena said, "Wow Mom, you can mow? Dad's going to think you ordered someone to come do it!" At least the kids got a big kick out of it. When Eric pulled in he had that same astonishment in his voice..."YOU mowed my lawn?!!"

We invited some friends at t-ball over to join us for the kiddos all ran and played the whole night. By the time they left it was bedtime. And that's all she wrote. I didn't do my dishes (shame, shame), and I didn't even blog this because I was so tired I could hardly see straight. A nice hot shower and some time on the couch with my love and the day was done. It's Wednesday morning now...and I still have dishes to do, but they'll always be around, won't they?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

San Francisco ~ Day Two

Day two in San Francisco welcomed us with sunny skies and warm breezes...PERFECT for our plans of biking over the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito! This was one of those days that will always be a sweet memory...later in the week we added it to the list of those "better than our wedding day"...though that's not TOO hard to beat.

Now that's what I call a nice view!
Oh my! It's higher than you think!

Yes, I am wearing athletic gear. Rare, but true.

Yay for the couple from Germany who took our photo!

Looking back across the Bay to SF.

Our first view coming into Sausalito.


Loading onto the ferry to take us back to the city.

The Rock. This is as close as we got to Alcatraz as we passed by in the Bay. We opted to skip out on any tours, though we hear they are neat-o.

Our hotel, The Westin St. Francis as we walked across Union Square.

My love posing so nicely in the fancy lobby. They were so glad to have us as guests!

Our gigantic corner room...Eric indulging in a cupcake I picked up the day before at Kara's Cupcakes in Ghiradelli Square.

Our plans for dinner were to find a nice little gem in Chinatown. Well, after the ferry ride we were just enough queasy to find Chinatown, let's say LESS than appetizing. Okay, the poster-size photo of roasted duck (with his head still on, of course) pretty much sealed the eating in Chinatown! We ventured over to this tiny Greek restaurant and had a delish meal...good plan!
My first dish of calamari. Yum.
I simply love tiny restaurants!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Week in the Life~Monday

Just another manic Monday around here! It was a field trip that means distractions are #1 while still at home. Nevertheless, we managed to do part of our normal Monday morning routine starting with the "home blessing". That term comes from Fly Lady...we don't clean around here, we "bless" our home instead! So trash out, tables cleared and floors picked up from our crazy weekend. I even swept and mopped while the kiddos ran outside to ride bikes a bit and Zane took a little morning snooze. Done just in time to pack quick lunches and head out to Savanahland Educational Park out in Pleasant Hill.

Savanahland a private exotic animal zoo/farm that we've seen many times in passing as it is right next to Pleasant Hill park where we play disc golf. Okay, where Eric plays disc golf. I have played it a couple times, but mostly hang out at the playground with the kiddos. We would often wonder what kind of monkeys were hootin' around back in the park...and now we know!

One of the Discovery Homeschool Academy mommas organizes great field trips and this was one of them. I'm guessing we had close to 60 people come out today. We first ate lunch in a nice little pavilion with some animal babies to love on. Elena and Kai both got to hold the baby wallaby and pet some kind of tail-less puppy. We just kept an eye on the busy baby monkey (complete with diaper) who was running around. There were also caged bunnies, a baby armadillo, guinea pig, some birds by the picnic tables and more tiny monkeys in the bathroom!

The man who runs the park then took us on a tour...I kept towards the back of the crowd with Zane (we were in a smaller group of about 25) but missed out on a lot of the info he was sharing. I did catch snippets like "I brought these hyenas on Jay Leno when they were pups" and "oh, again, I just had to have this kind of monkey for my collection". He also talked a lot about "animal people". I don't know how he makes his money, but money it must take to feed all that menagerie! Elena and Kai were front and center and loved every bit! Elena almost even got kissed by the camel. The picture is my two with their buddies Aidan and Ian and some kangaroos in the background.

Once back home, Elena wrote in her journal and drew a picture about her favorite experience for the day. My Kai boy's "legs were tired" so he just laid on the couch for a while. I put Zane down for his nap and decided this nice cloudy day was a good one for me to do the same. I let the kids start a movie and I crashed up in my own cozy bed!

When I got up, the movie credits were about to roll and it was time to start dinner. Once it was in the oven, I read to the kids from On the Banks of Plum Creek (the third Little House book we've read together this school year) while Elena played with her brand-new Barbie head (thanks Grandpa!). Eric got home from playing disc golf, we had dinner, he found another dead vole that the traps caught (insert much excitement!), I bathed Zane, gave kisses and headed out the door sporting a nice side-pony for 80's night at Bunco.

Whew! Sure glad for that nap and now way ready for a good night's sleep!