Saturday, December 8, 2012

So, how do you like the iPad we got you, Dad?

Thanks for sending this, Grandma!  Love it!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Grandma's 100th!

Five generations having fun in Iowa together

 Best friends for 17 years 

My cute parents

Phoebe and her Great Great Grandma, who has amazingly strong nails

Thanks to my Dad who took tons of great pictures so the rest of us could enjoy the moment.  See his collection of the party here.  I could not have had a better time with Chrisie and my family!  She came with me to the 100th birthday party.  I got to see family I hadn't seen for a really long time.  I made up secret handshakes with two of my younger cousins, talked homeschooling with fellow homeschooling relatives and of course talked about everything under the sun with my best bud.  Love love loved this past weekend.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Learning adventures

 Ezra at Classical Conversations dissecting a crayfish. The little ones participated too!  
Learning opportunities like this keep me motivated when I'm feeling crazy the night before prepping our bags and making snacks and lunches till I'm about to fall over.  Don't forget their tin whistles!

Classical Conversations is a private home school group that meets for a half day each week to introduce new material that families take home and practice throughout the week as well as do science, art/music and public speaking in a group setting. And Ezra's favorite, RECESS!!  The majority of the information is presented and learned throughout the week in song format.

We do our own reading, writing and arithmetic curricula at home and utilize Classical Conversations as our foundation curriculum for all other subjects at this time: History, Geography, Science, Math (fact memorization, like conversion tables and multiplication tables), Latin, and English Grammar.  I'm taking this one year at a time and have not decided yet if we will participate in Classical Conversations (CC) again next year (it's a bit pricey).  I'm very impressed, however, at the junior high and high school levels of academics that CC offers. I find it reminiscent of my British high school experience.  I'm still a big fan of Charlotte Mason methods and find it complementary in its gentle/nature based approach.

Ezra, my future refrigerator sales man (his choice), is doing well with it and loves the weekly presentations he gets to give.  Juni (who wants to save babies and be a mermaid) likes the music and can skip count her sixes and sing Latin noun endings with the best of them, even though her participation is not compulsory.  I wrestle with the need to memorize so much so young, at times, and make sure they are having lots of opportunities to just be kids outside of the once a week meeting.

If anyone was interested in doing the foundations level Classical Conversations curriculum cheaply, they could simply buy the CDs and play them when they were in the car.  But, for us, right now, that would take all the fun out of it.  Someday, we too may be this cool:

One can dream, right?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I might be a little excited

I'm leaving in the morning for Omaha.  I'm being picked up by my best friend who I haven't seen for over six years.  We haven't met each other's kids and we have six between us!  She will meet Phoebe and I will get to meet all three of hers.  I am SO excited!  She's taking me to a family get together in Iowa to celebrate my Great Grandma's 100th birthday!  I'm going to see so many family members this weekend, I can't believe it!  I took the picture above this morning and printed off 25 of them to pass out at the birthday party.  My sweet husband is keeping the older two for my long weekend away.  I left them envelopes with messages from Mommy to open every day so I don't feel bad.  I've never been away from any of them for four days.  I'm still really excited.  :-)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Truly flourless muffins!

I'm of the mindset that if one doesn't go on a gluten free diet one will never notice the "gluten haze" or how they feel bad when they do eat gluten.  So, I've avoided the trend up till a couple of months ago when I decided it was worth a try if it helped my eczema which seems to worsen with the birth of each child.

This recipe, from my mother, has been my favorite treat since the new diet (which I'm giving three months to see if it helps.  So far it's not).   GFers enjoy!!!

Flourless Nut Butter Muffins

preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 c. natural organic peanut butter or almond butter or sun butter
2 ripe bananas
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 c. honey (or stevia to taste)
1 t. cinnamon

Optional: Add 1/2 c. mini choc. chips (a must in our house), or 1 c. fresh raspberries, or 1 sliced bananas, or 1/2 c. dried cherries or craisins or raisins.  In med. bowl combine all ingredients until smooth. Spoon 1/4 c. into muffin liners.  Bake 15 min.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A really great day

You must listen to the above song while reading this post, it'll complete the overall feel of our day that I'm trying to convey.  I apologize for not blogging for so long, but we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of a five week visit from my mother, she left Tuesday. Aunt Debbi arrived Wednesday (newly graduated from college), even Aunt Bekah visited Friday night.  Most days are just lovely, but some days are exceptional.  I never want to forget Saturday, May 26th 2012, so this is my record.

Coming off so many weeks and days of being loved by family, we are energized and generally pleased with life.  This sets the stage for yesterday.  Up early with Phoebe, I dived into bill paying and updating one of my favorite virtual tours yet:

Play VisualTour
Ben left early for work so he could bicycle there (14 miles round trip, he does this 3-4x a week in good weather) and I left the older kids with Debbi while I weeded and watered at the community garden and got some groceries with Phoebe.  While I was gone, Deb made the kids pancakes then made lemonade from lemons with the kids, which warms my heart.  I prepared Pad Thai noodles for the Memorial weekend party we were going to yesterday afternoon in Mansfield as Ezra and Juni went outside over and over ("In or out! Keep the door shut, it's hot out there!") to check on the new outdoor kitty we got the night before for mouse catching.  Butterscotch Lovin' is his name, and I'd say he's the newest member of the family, but the day isn't over yet.
While I was cooking and the kids were checking on Butterscotch, Phoebe slept and Aunt Debbi ran errands for me, including picking up these vintage glasses from our local antique store that was having a 40% off Memorial weekend sale.  I grew up with similar style glasses at my grandparent's house and I strongly believe that juice and milk taste better in vintage character glasses than in anything else.

Then we went to our friend's house an hour away and soaked up their love and warmth for several hours.  "She's getting so big!" they all said.  {sigh} I suppose she is too.  
Midway through our visit, Ben whispered to me that he didn't think it would be long before someone lost his first tooth. I kid you not, within a minute Ez wailed to us through panicked tears that his tooth fell out.  It took just a few moments of gentle reminders that it didn't hurt and a cool wash cloth to transform his initial concern to excitement.  He had worried all week that it might hurt coming out and faithfully avoided apples and hard foods to prevent premature fallout.

We shared the long drive home, everyone eager to check on Butterscotch Lovin' after so many hours away.    While the kids and I let him out of his cage to roam a bit, Ben went up the hill to get eggs and check on the chicken's food and water.  Suddenly, he yelled to us, "I FOUND A CHICK!!"  We all ran up the hill, Butterscotch at our heels, to see the great surprise.  For several weeks Mrs. Turkey and Shorty, our smallest hen, have been sharing the duty of laying on a clutch of twelve turkey eggs.  They didn't take turns, no, they sat on them at the same time, with one tiny dark chicken wing attempting to wrap itself around the white turkey's giant body to fit both broody ladies on the circle of eggs.  More were hatching as we watched the first one try to jump out of the wash basin we had it in.  (The  pic below will be their first album cover when it's released in 2013).
 The initial excitement over the chicks was just starting to subside when Ezra yelled with just as much enthusiasm as his Daddy did ten minutes prior, "THE STRAWBERRIES ARE RED!!!"  He and June raced to get their share of the booty and Ben and I, full of the moment laughed and said, "Look!  It's a rainbow!" only in jest, because there might as well have been at that moment.
At ten o'clock we finally got the older kids down to bed.  Exhausted, we stayed up another hour just to chat and smile about the day.  They both fell asleep before they could put their teeth under their pillows for the tooth fairy (Juni never did that with the front tooth she broke when she was one and wants to join in the fun).  So, the tooth fairy will have to work on a Sunday. 
I took this wee video of Phoebes while Ben was up the hill checking on the baby turkey chicks one last time last night.  Proof that rainbows come in many forms.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Name that baby!


The other day Juni had some songs in her.  She sang about Scout, about Atticus, Phoebe, cups, and then this quiet moment on our porch as she wound down.   FYI "Lip lops" is widely known at our house to be "lip gloss".  

Scout 2/3/03-3/12/12
Atticus (right) is still with us and doing well.  He misses his half sister most when we all leave the house, but is subsequently getting to go more places with us.  We're thankful Scout isn't suffering anymore.  Juni sang songs about how much she missed Scout all week.  Ezra pestered us for a new, big, hairy dog as a replacement until he was convinced that we were set against getting any more dogs.  Besides, I'm allergic to furry animals. :-)

Answers to Name that Baby:
1. Daddy and Ezra - 4 mos
2. Daddy and Phoebe - 4 mos
3. Juni - 4 mos
4. Phoebe - 4 mos
5. Phoebe legs - 4 mos
6. Juni legs - 4 mos

Saturday, March 10, 2012


"Mommy, Scout barf-ted again," Juni told me today.  Scout is the older sister of our two American Hairless Terriers and she is very very sick.  She went deaf a few months ago, then her bark changed to a thin shadow of its former self and now this.  She can't keep a thing down, not water, not food.  It's simply awful.  For her, for us.  We've been to the vet three times.  We don't expect her to make it through this next week.  

These were taken when she was a puppy, she's nine year old now.  She's been a good dog.  

Other than cleaning up barf, we've been enjoying life together.  I'm trying to keep our schedule relatively calm.  We're looking forward to going back to Tennessee for Easter weekend to see my family.  It'll be a long drive, but worth it to see everyone.  One set of grandparents has actually never seen more than one of our children at a time.  I would take each of them as a lap child to Iowa after they were born and maybe again before they turned two.  Which means it's been a very long time since they've seen Ezra.  Now that they live in TN it's easier to drive to them. 

I know I need to put some Phoebe pictures up, she's changing so fast!  She's wearing 6-9 mos clothes now and size 2 diapers!  We do use cloth at home, but use disposable at night and when we go out.  Anyways, she's as sweet as can be and her older siblings adore her.  

I will post a picture of my sister-in-law's wedding in Jamaica.  Isn't she beautiful?  Welcome to the fam, Dan!  We're so happy for you both!  

Monday, February 6, 2012

The bread song

{Click on slideshow to see pictures bigger}
Had to get some pictures up, my sister-in-law was asking about them...and it's her special week. She's getting married in Jamaica on Saturday. Happy Wedding, Biz and Dan! We so wish we could be with you on your special day. We and the rest of the family who can't make it, will be gathered in Mansfield hoping you find a hot spot there so we can watch like flies on the wall with Skype.

We had a wonderful time in Tennessee two weeks ago. Thanks to some extra frequent flier miles from my Dad, Phoebe and I flew down for a four day visit. Ben stayed home with the older two. They had lots of fun playing in the snow, while we soaked up lots of love from my family.  We've got some wonderful five generation pictures forth coming.

I wanted to share a really cool gift idea that my mom thought of. You may have seen those recordable books at Hallmark and other places. Well, my mom thought of having each grandparent from five generations read/record a page to my kids. It's really neat. Here's a picture of all of us that read a page from it (ok, not Phoebe), that I will put in the book. The best part was that several of us (I won't say who) got the giggles while recording our parts which made the whole process a lot of fun. My kids loved the gift and feel like I brought back a little piece of Tennessee with me so that they didn't miss quite so much.

As I looked through all the pictures on my camera, I loved the funny pictures of Phoebe with crazy eyes the best. I'm not sure if it's the camera she's making the eyes at, but I highly suspect that this is the face she makes when her brother and sister come over to kiss her when I'm not looking. Here she's wearing an outfit that was mine when I was a baby. The fabric is paper thin now.

Ooh, I got my hair cut short, I'll have to have Ben take a picture of it today.

We're still doing Kindergarten but it looks nothing like proper school or what I did before I had Phoebe. Ezra is full of fun ideas and everyday we try to do one of his ideas, or maybe one of Mommy's, whether it's make a pirate ship, make lemonade from lemons or a create a musical instrument, we're hands on doing stuff every day. We look for opportunities within the crafts or activities to incorporate the three "R's". Juni does whatever her brother does academically and is definitely ahead of the game. Charlotte Mason, my all time favorite educational theorist purports that we should not do formal school prior to age six, but focus on being outdoors, and instilling good habits for later. So, even though we may be doing a less formal school approach now because I'm still getting my feet under me after baby #3, it's ok, because Charlotte said so! :-)

For the record, when we went to Mansfield this past weekend, Juni voluntarily hugged her Uncle Andy to whom she usually only gives the "stink eye". Yay for progress and we're happy for Uncle Andy who has waited patiently for this little girl to warm up to him.

The plan for today is to bake bread (Ezra's request), and do some painting later today. I'm hoping I get to paint too since Daddy's off work today and can help with the baby. As I'm sitting here typing, Ez wrote a song about baking bread and wants me to share it with you. It goes a little something like this:

"Hot fire, hot bread, I like bread everywhere, it has water, flour and eggs, and everything I like. I want it medium, I like bread everywhere! Da Dum!"

On that note, have a wonderful day!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What we do

What are they watching?

Thanks mom, for sending us a good time, this got a lot of replays!

Not to be left out:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Photo Highlights of the last few weeks

After the holidays, we let loose...
That, in case you can't tell, was our first ever gingerbread house, which I realize now, I forgot to take a before picture of.  Oh well, this will have to do.

 Skyping with Grandma and Grandpa

 Juni in her business attire.

 "Hi there! It's my first Christmas, if you can't tell from my jumpsuit."

 The Disney game that is entertaining for those not playing as well!

"If you only knew what I was thinking right now!"

 Random picture of our backyard's produce.  Can you spot the turkey eggs?
We had a lull in egg production for a while, but now that the ladies are done molting and regrowing their feathers for Winter, they're back in business and the new chickens and turkeys are just now up and running.  Needless to say, we have a lot of eggs right now.

 The New Year's Eve crew, at least the younger generation and Uncle Matt.  We had six kids age three and under for our overnight party and a five year old!  It was wild.

Whole lotta princess going on.

 Three buddies who have celebrated New Years together for twenty years now!