Monday, December 15, 2008

Days 6 & 7: Our Crazy Life!!!!


I thought since I was a day behind, and our weekend was pretty simple I would just throw them together. Ever had one of those weekends that all you can really say you did was eat and sleep! I hate to admit it but I slept in Saturday morning, waaaaaayyy in! Michael took the boys outside to do what ever it is that men and boys do, while the girls and I tried to straighten the house out and get everything ready to go to town. The kids were all excited, their church choir parties are this afternoon and they were ready for fun! I was ready for some fun too, since the 5 older kids are occupied with their parties for about 2 hrs I had talked Michael into taking me to Arby's for a small snack and party for two. Well, that would actually be four if you count Baby J and Miss Priss, but when you only have two out of seven it really doesn't feel like you have any at all!! LOL! We dropped the kids off at the church and as my usual luck goes, we were delayed a little thanks to the wind! The wind storm was blowing some of the roof tin on the front of the church up, so Michael called a friend and they soon had it secured back down. I asked Michael if our medical ins. covered an ambulance ride, he said a part of it, was I planning on having a wreck.?. I told him of course not but I wanted to know what to do if he blew off the roof! It might be cheaper just to duct tape him to a board, wrap a towel around his neck and haul him to the hospital myself! He's always touched by my concern for his safety, so he gave me a good kiss before he went up on the roof! ;-) Soon we were at Arby's chowing down on curly fries, potato cakes and sandwiches. Our snack turned into a meal, basically we pigged out!!

The adult choir had a practice after the children's party and that took up a little over an hour of time, we have more people in the choir this year and it sounds really neat with every one's voices ringing through the sanctuary! Our choir special will be tomorrow night and we are ready as we can be.

We made a few stops on the way home and called Michael's sister too see if her and her family wanted to meet us at home for some games and nachos. They weren't able to come tonight, so the kids thought this would give us a good time to watch the family movie I had picked up from the library. I baked up some hamburger and scalloped potato casserole and threw a salad together for dinner instead of nachos and we sat down to watch the second Ice Age movie. At first I thought it was making fun of the flood of the Bible, but it wasn't and it turned out to be a pretty good show. Not one I would let the kids watch anytime they wanted over and over, but it made a nice family night movie. Some friend recently told us about something they called a TV Guardian. Ever heard of it? I guess it hooks up to your vcr/dvd player(s) and takes out or replaces the not so nice words that movie makers seem intent on throwing into the movies. We are thinking about finding one, we love to sit down to a good movie and a TV Guardian might broaden our choices! :-)
We had the kids set out their clothes for church in the morning and sent everyone to bed. Even Michael and I headed to bed early!!

Sunday morning was bright and WARM!! This crazy Missouri weather is driving my allergies nuts! Our K-5 Sunday School class went well, we are going through the Christmas story. It is soo fun to see the kids get all excited about the story and look over the nativity. Of course we don't know when Christ was actually born but it doesn't hurt to stop and remember to say a thank you to Him for all He's done it our lives. Today was a "potato Sunday" as we have started calling them. A mission in town sometimes gets a semi load of potatoes and they distribute them through their center and often they will bring a pallet over to the church. We then send every family home with a ten # bag of potatoes as they leave. Can't leave without one, of course!!! Everyone had such fun teasing about the potatoes, it was mentioned that they couldn't be unloaded till after church so we couldn't use them to throw during the service! :-) Although the man that lead the evening service did give everyone a hard time for not taking them ALL home that morning instead of leaving some "ammo" in the entry way!!

Sunday afternoon was more of the eat and sleep routine I mentioned earlier! We made it up and back to church in time for the choir practice and the evening service. We enjoyed singing in the program and it all went very well, the music was very pretty. It must have worked up another appetite with me and Michael because we invited the "Friend" family out to Wendy's to help us spend some more of those free Frosty coupons! They had some coupons too, and we all pigged out again on ice cream with, of course, ;-) a burger thrown in to round out the meal! I do owe a new craving to Mrs. Friend, see I had eaten my burger and fries before I started in on my ice cream (I'll pick up on that diet tomorrow!), but was interested when "she" requested her husband get her some more fries for her Frosty! I thought no way that can be good!! BUT, Mr. Friend is a sweet guy who ordered a large for her to share with me and I hate to admit that I ate my fair share of her fries...you guessed it! By dipping them into my chocolate Frosty!! The combination of warm salty french fry dipped into the cold sweet ice cream was absolutely delicious!! So, I will always pay attention when she makes food combination suggestions in the future!! I do not know what I'm going to do though when this gets to be a habit and I gain 40 #'s!!!!! Well, as we sat and pampered our sweet tooth's, the weather outside was stirring up some more action. We watched as the rain came in again bringing ice and sleet with it. We tried to ignore the slippery white accumulating outside but soon we had to face the fact that we must brave the cold. What happened to today's 50* weather !!!!! I guess Monday's ice storm couldn't wait till we were tucked into bed :-). The trip home was slow but we made it just in time to stoke up the fire and hit the hay!! Completing the eat and sleep cycle once again!!!

That brings me to the end of the week in our crazy life!! Hope you weren't too bored out of your minds, we are just regular people doing regular things. I really hope I find my camera soon!, I haven't taken our family Christmas picture yet!!! Hope ya'll have Merry Christmas, a good Monday and an even better week!!!! Thanks for reading !!! :-)
Photos of the kiddo taken on Thanksgiving and a few pictures of last December's ice storm. The picture doesn't really catch all the beautiful glistening of the sun shining on the ice!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 5: Our Crazy Life!!!


Well, I knew this would happen I'm a day late!! The last two days have just flown by so fast! Friday morning found me very happily listening to Michael telling me about how he was going into work but would be home in few hours to be with us around the house. Wow, were we excited! Daddy staying home doesn't happen often, he's a work-a-holic of sorts. Even on snow days he's waving his good bye through the back window of his Four Wheel Drive.

Since we didn't have much time before Dad would be back we launched into getting as much school work done as we could. If Dad is home it's always a holiday, so we worked quickly and got math done in less time than normal, practiced piano in between reading and writing. A quick spelling bee for the older kids and some practice naming colors for the little kids. Wild Man had a great time learning to write the number 3 and proceeded to make sure every one's paper had a bright orange 3 at the top. Much to Sis's distress I might add, but Kaykay was able to hide away her journal just in the nick of time. I guess he thought since everyone seemed so impressed they needed one of there own! :-)

Soon, Dad was walking in the door where he was dog piled and the wrestling began. I was surprised he brought me a soda (Coke with just a little ice :-) ) and quickly rescued it!! I began to let Michael know about all the wonderful sales that were going on this weekend and how we could probably finish all our Christmas shopping in just one trip. I would even help him pick something out for me!! BUT, as I figured he would he had a plan of action for all of us. The wood trailer was getting mighty empty, in fact the rest of the wood fit into the stove. He built it to hold practically a whole rick! Well, not quite, but it's big and it would be hungry soon. His plan was for all of us to get our chore clothes on and fill the trailer high with firewood to last us through the cold spell that is coming on Monday. So the Weather Man said anyway. We all bundled up and headed out, the kids made a little fun of me. I don't like to get cold so I had several layers on underneath my coat, hat and gloves while they were more comfortable in a heavy jacket. It didn't take long out in the timber where the wind wasn't blowing to work up a little sweat and soon I was peeling. It happens every time I think, I over dress and end up throwing most of it on the tractor. I really wish I had pictures of us all out there, but my camera is missing. I seem to have lost it somewhere between now and yesterday :-). It didn't seem to take long, with Michael cutting down the trees and slicing them up into stove size bites, me piling brush and helping the kids stack the wood onto the trailer we made a good pile in a couple hours. Of course the kids are always up to something. They are building a log cabin and had to take a little time to drag usable pieces for the walls and "build" a little here and there. Bubba likes to find a tall cedar tree and climb to the top. You know he must be up a tree when he is there one minute and had totally disappeared the next. Usually you'll find him pretty quick if you scan the tree tops for large red objects. The girls are starting to get brave and soon they'll all be up a tree! ;-) Once we were all loaded with firewood we climbed on the tractor and trailer headed back for the house. Rowdy decided since we had worked so hard he was going for a swim as we headed around the pond, that silly dog! The harder I try to keep him clean and smelling sweet (or as sweet as a dog can smell) the harder he tries to stay disgustingly dirty!

Well, tonight is the night of our adult Christmas party at our church, and it was time to get ready. I had my heart set on making some baked crab rangoon. I had gotten a recipe for it earlier this week. It looked soo easy, but I have never used crab for anything before so I wasn't sure how expensive it would be to make up several batches to serve at the party. Knowing though, that this is one of Michael's favorite things at the restaurants I sweet talked him into running me to the small town nearby and getting what I needed to make them. Of course being a man, a hungry man at that, he thought we ought to make at least 80 of these things!! I talked him down to 60, which wasn't too hard since the package won ton wrappers came in that amount. :-) We found what we needed and headed home with some cookies for the kids. Soon the house was smelling wonderfully good with the crab rangoon, which I wrapped up for travel. Michael loaded the 3 youngest kids, the food and gifts for the party while I ran through all the rules again for the older kids. I still can't believe they aren't babies anymore!! I gave them a long list of fun things to do and then we were ready. The church dining hall was all decorated and smelled wonderful as the food was set out. Food is my favorite hobby you know, at least eating is! :-) A group of teenagers relieved me of the little kids and they were off to play. The crag rangoon was soon almost gone, so I'm taking this as a sign that it was a good recipe to pass on. Fresh from the oven would probably have been the best option, but Michael was satisfied so I'll take that as a good sign.


Baked Crab Rangoon


1 can (6oz) white crab meat, drained and flaked

4 oz cr. cheese, softened

1/4 C thinly sliced gr. onions

1/4 C mayo

12 won ton wrappers


Mix the four ingredients in bowl with spoon. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray and gently place won ton wrappers into the wells. Place a spoonful of mix in each wrapper. Bake @ 350* or 18-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown and filling is heated through. Garnish with extra chopped green onions (opt) and serve warm.

You will also find this recipe on Kraftfoods.com with a short video included. Of course they will tell you exactly which brands to buy too! :-)

After everyone was stuffed till they couldn't see their toes, the Dirty Santa game began. Now, let me tell you that we are all a nice bunch of people and I have never seen anyone upset, maybe they are good at hiding it but either way everyone seems to have a really good time and tonight was no exception. I usually don't do this but this year I brought a gift that I really wanted to keep! It was a metal tricycle decoration that had been welded together with a planter basket for a seat. It's not quite 2 foot long and a little over a foot tall. I put together some flowers for the basket and it was painted up to look rustic, all together I thought it was just incredibly cute. Well, if you don't know, this Dirty Santa game can be a little tricky. See, everyone has a number on a ticket. The other half of your ticket has been thrown into a large bowl. All the ladies gifts were placed on one table and the men's gifts on another. When the first number is drawn that person chooses a gift from the table and unwraps it showing it to everyone. The next number is drawn and that person has a choice to choose a gift from the table OR stealing the gift already opened. Then the game continues in that manner with loads of laughs as gifts are opened and stolen, great antics are used with bribes and jokes, everyone trying to give or steal away gifts. Well, my tricycle was opened before my number was called and I had a hard time staying loyal to that trike as I watched all kinds of cute and neat things being opened. Including a quesadia maker I would have loved to taken home for the kids to try! But when my turn finally came around I was mean and stole the tricycle hoping I would get to keep it. As my luck would have it though it was soon stolen from me. Now, everyone needs a friend as sweet as this, my wonderful good friend ??? (can't tell ya who!!) had also brought a gift she wanted to keep. A gift certificate to Bath and Body Works, she had been the one to open it and was so far able to keep it. She quickly motioned for me to steal it from her and then she would steal back my trike. Hmmmm, is that cheating? :-) Well, it was worth the risk so we put the plan to action. It all fell through shortly though when the gift card was stolen from me. I felt soooo panicky, WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO!! I looked to see if "She" had another idea, she just laughed and shook her head, so I wandered to the gift table to try again. I couldn't believe it when the gift I opened was a soap set from Bath and Body Works!! The game ended soon and "She" was happy to trade with me knowing she could keep the set or exchange it. I never could quite explain it to the kids why I came home with the same gift, they couldn't understand why I had taken something I didn't want to give away!! I would have been happy with anything all the gifts were nice but I proudly displayed my new tricycle on the piano and made threats to all who thought about touching it!! LOL! It would take more time than you or I have to explain all the stealing and trading that went on on the man's side!! Michael did come home with a nice set of pliers and wrenches in exchange for the Galileo thermometer that he took. That was stolen several times times till it was pronounced "dead" on the third steal and that thief got to take it home! ;-) Hope ya'll had a fun Friday night too!
Photo of me and WildMan taken when we knew where the camera was!! haha!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 4: Our Crazy Life!!


Well, Bubba made oatmeal for breakfast! How's that for getting up on time! ;-) He is usually my earliest riser, I don't know how in the world he does it since he is usually the last to go to sleep. I can hear him singing from his room or he will scare me as I walk to the bathroom, calling out "luv ya Mom!" waaayy after he should have been asleep. Funny, I remember doing this same thing to my Mom when I was kid. Guess he might be related to me, but me and mornings don't get along, so he must have gotten that from Dad!! Baby J liked the oatmeal, he proceeded to smear it all over his face in the process of eating, sometimes I wonder just how much the guy gets in his stomach! He stays fat so he must be getting something! ;-)

Today is Piano Day, forget Thursday, getting to piano on time with enough practice to play the music well, is usually the main focus of the day. So today we start our schedule with our chores and breakfast a little late but still make it to "school" on time. Today I added some worksheets for Kaykay and Nanae during math, they enjoyed that since they had some coloring included in the work. Some quick speed drills with our flashcards for Bubba and Sis to go along with their work and we were ready for our first hour of reading. Today is the day we also "get" to go to the library. So usually the kids are on that last book and want to finish it before we go so they can check out all new ones, being the softy that I am, we had some free reading time first today. I was a little (ok, a lot) upset though, when it came time to collect the library books for the book bag and several kids have misplaced a book or two this time. OOOOooo! I turn a few different shades of mad and decide to call Dad! We decide a two book limit is in order until they can be a little more careful. So we move through the morning reading, writing, practicing the piano, and finally make it to lunch.

Most of the time lunch for us is left overs or some kind of soup, sometimes sandwiches. I found some small bread loaves on sale at the store the other day and I though I would toast the kids a treat and make open turkey sandwiches. I thought it would be nice to mix together a "special" sauce I like, (thanks Michelle!) and mix together some mayo, dijon mustard and honey. Very good, or so I thought. I spread the sauce on the bun halves and top with turkey and cheese and serve them warm from the oven. During clean up afterwards I hear Bubba say that he was eating his 3rd partial sandwich. WHAT!! Who didn't like it!?! I guess some of the little kids didn't appreciate me messing with their mayo!! I have to admit spending time on the computer writing yesterday's post was why I wasn't present to watch and prevent the total disregard of "eat your own lunch" rule. I let starvation be the natural punishment (as if that could happen on fruit and chips) and make a mental note for future references! ;-)

Wildman spent some time with his linking chains practicing his sequencing, hand eye coordination and counting, while I initialed practice time sheets and put the piano books in order. He was a little distracted today but very happily chanted " 12, 14, 16.....11, 22!! Cute son, cute.

Suddenly the clock strikes and the mad dash for today begins, we now have 30 min to get out the door. Town clothes on, check. Piano bag, library bag, diaper bag all packed, check. Hair brushed, check. Shoes on, check. COATS!!! We are on our way!! We take a little detour on the way to piano lessons each week, just a little stop at Sonic for a gulp of soda! As a reward for being my kids I get them a Rt. 44 Cherry Vanilla Root Beer, with EZ ice of course! Who needs more ice when you can have more soda! A Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper for the piano teacher, a Ocean Water for her babysitter and a Coke for me! This is the best reason to come to town today! Michael is cutting off my soda intake thinking it might help me loose the extra baby fat I keep complaining about, he is a fixer you see. I try to tell him that my Coke is helping my mental health but I lack the research to prove it. Although I do have quite a file built up in hands on experiment documentation ;-).

The poor piano teacher, we bomb her house each week for lessons, she is such a sweet lady!! The four older kids all decide who's turn it is to go first and off he or she goes to the piano room. Wild Man, Miss Priss and Baby J all head over to the end of the living room with all the toys to play with the piano teacher's son J-kid, while the older ones and I grab our readers and start our lessons on the other side of the room on the comfy couch. We are there a little over a hour and a half so this gives me a great chance to go over spelling and reading lessons in our McGuffey Readers. So in between chatting with the young lady who comes to help babysit J-kid and his twin baby brothers, I am rotating kids through piano and reading lessons. Usually listening to 3 kids spell different words at the same time is enough to make me wish I had a Rt. 44 too instead of a medium!

Once the lessons are over, the toys picked and the couches fluffed, we then jump in our big red van and head for the library. There is a little cloud over the visit today since they can't all check out the normal pile of books, but I try to encourage them to do better next time and being the softy I am grabbed a family movie along with the usual educational ones I usually get. As everyone goes to their sections and picks out books, Baby J (who is content to sit in his stroller most days) and I direct traffic from our favorite table in the main isle. Today, Michael calls and lets me know he is heading over to a friend's house to pick up the bouncy horse for Wild Man's Christmas. I suddenly feel the need to be with "Adult Friends" and quickly come up with a plan for him to invite these friends to our house for dinner. He says he'll ask when he gets there and let me know. Of course I can't help but get excited anyway and I whisked the kids out (thankfully they had all their books) and drove over to the grocery store. Fast delicious menus and quick cleaning strategies are running through my head as I grab frozen tortellini (which I have been craving for days and this is my best excuse to make the purchase!!), french bread and salad toppings to round out the rest of the ingredients I have at home. I'm almost to the van when Michael called back and then hands his phone over to Mrs. Friend. It turns out she needed an excuse to order Papa Murphy's Pizza (BIG YUM!!) and offered to share it with us if we all head to her house instead. I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings of course, so we headed that way and helped them with their pizza! :-) We all won! My kids love playing with the Friend's kids and everyone was happy! Thanks so much for the fellowship, Mr. and Mrs. Friend!!

And as it usually happens, I started talking about picking up toys and clearing out about 8:00 but when we finally tore ourselves out the door with a promise to have them over soon, it was much later than that. Tired but very happy, a quickie stop at the gas station and we were on our way home to bed. :-) God is good!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 3: Our Crazy Life!

Wed-nez-day, so how was yours? Today we had several little runny noses and clogged heads as we headed into our day. Poor kids, some of them have my winter allergies, some have Michael's summer allergies and a couple have both!!

We try to move a little faster on Wednesday's because we like to go to the home school PE class at the YMCA before church. So off we went on our day's schedule. We breezed through Math, a hour of reading then our writing assignments. We worked in extra time on piano practice, since tomorrow is piano lessons and the Christmas recital at a local nursing home will soon be here! After grabbing a quick lunch we spent the early afternoon with our required reading and piano practice. The kids love to come and tell me everything about the books they are reading and sometimes it's an absolute circus trying to keep up with all the stories when they make it a competition to see who can tell me their story the quickest (and usually the loudest!). I really try to follow along but end up putting Nancy Drew on the island with the Swiss Family Robinson who are laughing at Dick and Jane while they pull Spot in a Wagon all the way to up the mountain to visit Heidi! Oh well, as long as they know what's going on and can pass the tests with flying colors, then all is good! :-)



We are going to be starting in the next few days our lessons on sign language. I used the "baby" signs with all the kids when they were toddlers and they have all retained quite a few signs which is very handy. Especially if I have my hands full with someone or something I can get Sis's attention from across the room and sign for her to take Miss Priss to the potty and have that done without even slowing down with what I'm doing. So, we all have decided that learning more signs to help us signal and communicate with each other will be a great project. They are already having a great time trying to get Dad and his awkward manly hands to bend and move into shapes and signs. This will be a fun project and I've enjoyed pulling some books together. My nieces and nephew have learned quite a bit of sign language from a class they are taking and how neat it will be to be able to "talk" with them. It is a great encouragement tool!



We have a world map on the wall that has been labeled with the continents, oceans, major rivers, mountain ranges, deserts and the Panama Canal. We have began memorizing these, starting with the continents. The oldest four have mastered these and are moving on to the oceans now. They enjoy making, tracing and coloring in their maps, this was one of my favorite things in school as well.




I did take the time today to drag out some of the things I've picked up to decorate our Christmas tree with. The years we have put up a tree I have had the same silver ribbons, balls and such since we were married, so this year I got a big kick out of pilfering through the Dollar Tree store with Michael and finding something different. Different for us anyway. Red and gold seemed to be our new theme as we loaded up on chrysanthemums, ribbon and garland. Keeping Baby J in mind we opted for plastic balls, snow flakes and icicles. Today the kids and I tossed this all together and danced and giggled around the tree filling it with all it's new sparklies. I promised to find their baby ornaments to add to it soon. I think one of my next project stations will be filled with craft items and ideas for the kids to make some new sparklies of their own creation to hang on the tree, and I thank Evenspor over at desertspor.blogspot.com for some great ideas!



As you can imagine it takes a chunk of time to get ready to go anywhere, so all too soon we are on the last stretch in our mad dash out the door. Everyone is dressed for PE, finally, and if I can get everyone in matching (clean!) clothes, hair brushed and SOCKS with their shoes I'm doing real good! Coats are a major bonus! Why in the world do we have to remind them it's cold in the winter and they need a coat!!! We pack our bags with church clothes, hair bows and clean underwear, grab the diaper bag and head out the door. Since we live about 25-ish miles outside of town, it doesn't help to remember the thing you forgot half way there!!




PE class is for Kindergarten and up, the kids love going to this class. They start out by running laps around the gym, then spend time with stretching, sit ups, push ups and other torture. ;-) The rest of the class is usually spent in fun active games such as dodge ball. The group really gets along really well with boys and girls of a wide range of ages. They work together and have learned valuable skills in team work. I can really tell a major improvement their coordination as well, which I have read is linked to reading skills. I'm a believer as I have seen reading speed and comprehension improve greatly over the last several months. Either way they are having a blast! Usually Wild Man, Miss Priss and Baby J like romp around in the kiddie drop off area for awhile while I get a small work out myself. Dad is able to meet us there most days and we play a couple games of racquetball, a very funny sight to see for sure! Soon we move on to the showers and get dressed for church, and if I'm lucky everyone will have the right clothes, shoes, and a brush!!



If we time it just right we make it to church just in time for the kids to run in the door and get to the children's choirs early enough to get an early bird prize!! As one of the teacher's put it, the kids don't come just for the candy but it sure helps!! They are all working on memorizing their parts for the choir presentations that are coming up for Christmas. The Choir Christmas Party is coming up this Saturday and no one wants to miss that for sure! Each kid brings me reminder notes of the party and gives me a serious explanation of what time to be there and what goodies to bring. If they want to be on time they should be sweet talking their "laid back, no sense of time" Daddy!! :-) "Luv ya, Babe!"



Seems time flies by after church as everyone likes to visit a minute and catch up every one's happenings, but on the drive home it is usually quiet as everyone is running out of steam. This is a good time to put in an interesting history "book on tape" and take advantage of the peace!! We are still listening to the one about Pearl Harbor.



Once we are home I usually announce the race to bed has begun and set the timer. Flannel flinging, toothpaste slinging and kisses are flying as kiddos beat the clock to bed. The bell dings and the lights are out! Finally, Me and Daddy time. This is when I started a wonderful story about a funny email sent to me only to look around and find Michael laying on the floor fast asleep right under the vent blowing hot air into the room. So I did what all good wives do, sent him to bed and ran to boot up the computer!!! ;-) We'll see if I get up on time tomorrow!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 2: Our Crazy Life!


HIYA!

Our Tuesday usually start on time, our daily schedule is getting up about 6:30. We get our rooms cleaned up, beds made and everyone dressed. While I make breakfast and Dad is getting ready for work, the kids are getting their chores done. Each one has a chart of a few things they are to do or get started before breakfast. Once breakfast is over we are ready to clean up the kitchen, kiss Dad goodbye and start school.

Wild Man has been running around the house singing "1 2 3 Buckle my shoe...", he doesn't quite have it right yet but he sure is working on it. He learned it from a worksheet working on memorizing his numbers, he likes to hang EVERYTHING he does on the fridge! I'm going to have to get tough and teach him the replacement theory before the fridge falls through the new floor from the weight of all the papers!!

We have a few separate grades going on here, Bubba just turned 12 he is in the 6th grade, his main interests right now are books on soldiers and weaponry used in past wars. He has been practicing his aim lately in hopes of getting his deer on the last youth hunt weekend coming up. Sis is 10 1/2 and she is also in the 6th grade, she spends the majority of her time reading. You might just find her anywhere, on the dryer, on the stairs, sitting in the kitchen floor and other places reading wherever she got side tracked. She loves to spend time sewing and learning to cook also. Her favorite thing to make so far is cookies and brownies. Kaykay has a had a recent birthday too and she is 8 and in the 3rd grade, she likes to read too which fuels her imagination. Your more likely to find her dressed up somewhere in the barn or play house creating some drama or another. Nanae is in fwirst grade as she would say and is 6 1/2, her favorite place is Daddy's lap, but when he's not available she is found reading or playing in her "kitchen" and dressing her baby dolls. Wildman, well, he's just that my little wild man. I keep him interested in lots of hands on activities like counting bears, tan gram sets, and building materials. He loves to look at books and be read too as long as he has time! :-) I am planning on starting him in the Abeka K4 books in January, he is 4 1/2. Miss Priss is only 2 and will be 3 end of January, she keeps herself busy with coloring pages and sorting games. She loves to "read" also and is always asking to watch the Letter Factory "One mo time?". ;-)

The older kids usually start with Math, this takes about an hour. Since I have one Saxon 65 book (I really need to order another one!!) Bubba starts his lesson first, while Sis starts her writing assignment. KayKay is working on the addition flashcards up to table 12. She about has them all memorized and will be starting the multiplication ones soon. Today we just practiced saying them as fast as she could, we took some time and played a game, the person who says the answer first when I flash them gets the card and the person with the most cards wins. They love doing this, the older kids like "letting" the younger kids win some cards but the younger kids really try hard. They know one day they will say them just as fast and they already are giving them some competition! Nanae is working on her addition cards too, she is doing very well. I have added some subtraction in now and she is picking them up faster each day.


The second hour of school is filled up with hand writing. Sis starts her math lesson and switches with Bubba. These two have a calendar on the wall with a story suggestion or topic sentence to finish for each day of the week. Today they finished a story that started out "Oliver Eagle looked down from his nest..." . They can get very creative! Kaykay has a book of handwriting she does a few pages in each day, she is getting the hang of cursive but isn't too excited about it yet. She does love however the pages she has been writing for her journal. She has just started it, writing about her name and what she looks like. Today she is decorating her journal with markers, she loves to draw. Looks like she just might be a princess in her picture this time! Nanae has just started a new writing table from Rod and Staff, she is really really liking it. It reviews some of the basics of making straight lines before taking her into the copying letters and she is having a blast. Today she traced the lines on a house in the first box, then each box after is missing more and more lines until the final box she draws the house without any help. She was very proud of her house and she did a great job. Wild Man and I went over his numbers poster today, he can count very well and does a great job when he is paying attention!! :-) We read a book together and then spent some time tracing the numbers one and two. We then explored the frog station together where he fashioned what he said was a frog from the play dough. He spent a little time trying to find some frogs outside before I finally convinced him they were all down at the pond sleeping!

We also had some eye appointments today so after lunch and clean up we headed to town. Our reading was done on the run today. They each had their readers with them and spent the time in the waiting room with their reading lessons. We are going through the McGuffey Readers, Bubba is in the Second Reader, Sis who is a much faster reader and excellent speller has just finished the 3rd Reader and is now reading Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. Kaykay is almost finished with the First Reader and Nanae is a few lessons into the Primer and just is almost through with her Dick and Jane collection. These are their required reading materials I have assigned, they spend about 3 hours a day reading these books then about an hour reading a book of their choice. They have quite a collection of Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Box Car Children, Mandie, Laura Ingalls, many of the classics and not to mention the couple hundred other books I have scattered around. Lately they have been seen reading through Swiss Family Robinson, Heidi, Hardy Boys, Pony Pals and some easy readers I have from Rod and Staff.

Once the eye appointments were over we sweet talked Dad into taking us to Wendy's to use some of our free Frosty coupons. I batted my eyes and got a chicken sandwich out of the deal and a few burgers to make it a little healthier of a supper. I try anyway!

A quick stop on the way home to drop off a baby gift and some food to a new young mother and then we were on our way home. Boy has the temperature dropped here!! The rain has turned to ice and we were happy to arrive home to our comfy house and throw some wood in the stove. Dad and the older kids ran (drove actually!) down to Grandma and Grandpa's to dip some milk out of the milk tank in the barn. No one could wait till morning to have a bowl of cereal so they all dove into Honey Nut Cheerios, something don't get very often! :-)

Soon the kids were off to bed while Dad and shared a little time on the computer. I could stay up all night especially to catch up on the news on Momformation at BabyCenter (one of these days I'm going to have to learn how to create a link!!) , but Hubby isn't the night owl I am!


Hope your not too bored!! "TTFN" as Tigger would say!! :-)
Photo: All the kiddos in the van on the way to town, guess it was nap time too! Hopefully I'll have more photos tomorrow when I put in the new camera battery!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 1: Our Crazy Life!

Hi ya'll, I bet you have been as busy as we have through the beginning of the holidays!! We had a great Thanksgiving in Oklahoma visiting my family. I can't believe it's over and Christmas is sooo close!!! It seems like yesterday it was July something and then someone pushed a button and fall was over and winter on it's way!! My kids are pretty excited though, they are hoping (sorry !) to have a real good snowman making snow this year! Haven't had one in the last few years, they thought the ice storms from the last couple winters was neat to look at and explore but it was hard on the people with out power for sure. So they are praying for more snow and less ice! Oh boy!



Well, I'm starting our day one by telling about our Monday (11-8-08). I figure the only way to get the time is to post about it the next day!! Our Mondays are kinda slow, slow to rise and slow to get moving. We just have so much going on weekends that we usually crash come Monday morning. But this morning we got rolling in time for breakfast! :-) then started the laundry which is usually an all day thing. We do two loads most everyday but Monday is catch up from the weekend and a day to get everything in order for the week. Big Sis, is in charge of the laundry room and she does a great job keeping everything sorted and moving along. She is a big help in putting away the clean clothes. Our community closet works out great, town and church clothes are hung up and play clothes and underclothes are stored in basket drawers on shelves under the hanging clothes. Now if only I can get a little time to weed out some of the clothes they aren't wearing and make a little extra room!! The rest of the kids are doing the main cleaning with me, we go through the house room by room with our dusters, brooms and mops and try to get everything "deep" cleaned, we take turns going in to help Big Sis and actually have lots of fun and giggles as we move through the house. My poor broom handles are all dented and bent from all the sword fights and such!









We usually take time for our schooling in the afternoons on Mondays. Today I set up two "learning stations". We have gotten some great ideas for learning stations from the Lapaz family over at lapazfarm.homeschooljournal.net . One station I set up with a poster, some books, plastic models and a small tub of play dough for the kids to explore about frogs. They are getting a real kick out of the frog guts in the models!! If I had more guts, I would order some dissecting frogs for them to really get a hands on experience!! Maybe one day!, when Dad's home!! Our other station was about the human body, the frog models brought on questions about our "guts" so I grabbed up a few things to learn about and think over. Nothing like a good hands on project to bring on the most interesting of questions!! :-)
We are also listening to a book on tape about Pearl Harbor called Dec. 7 1941, it is very interesting. We are hoping one day to be able to take all the kiddos to Hawaii to see the Memorials.




Since it is the Christmas Season we are all preparing our gifts and running around giggling with secrets. We decided that Baby J needs some wooden farm animals to play with and began making our stencils and drawing them onto a board. The look rather preschoolish but I think they will get the job done. We took the boards over to our friends the Bogg's family where they watched as the saw began cutting out the sheep, pigs, chickens and tractors. Soon we will add cows, horses, goats, and colts. Maybe a turtle and a raccoon for fun! Hopefully Dad will help us with our small loafing shed and then the painting will begin!!!

Tonight we also have plans to go with the Bogg's to a live Nativity play in the nearby "big city"! It was really good, the kids had a blast pointing out all the happening of the play and eating candy. We were lucky tonight we were having a south wind that warmed up the weather a little and let the kids sit outside the van and enjoy. They laughed at the donkey who didn't seem to want to go anywhere very fast but preferred to sit instead. The soldiers looked very strong sitting on their tall horses, a few soldiers were walking around with some of the largest dogs I've ever seen. Great Dane maybe!? One little Angel running around with red boots had to be carried back up the hill after they sang to the shepherds, it was very cute. Afterwards we loaded up and drove over to the Bass Pro Shop, they are remodeling some of the building bringing in new decorations and wildlife. We all enjoyed watching the turtles in the turtle pond and taking pictures by the indoor waterfall. Their Christmas decorations are very pretty and I was able to get a few snapshots of my girls and one of the Bogg's youngest boys before the camera batteries died.
On the way home a quick stop at the Krispie Kreme for a sugar high got the van of kids and adults rolling for the trip home. Once we made it back to the house we were a bubbly crew but ready for lights out, only slightly late for bedtime! :-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

:-) Happy Anniversary




We have been soooo busy lately trying to get the kitchen back to a usable state and trying to keep the house a decent trashy. The laundry has sort of been forgotten and piled up high enough to fall out the back door!! That might be a little exaggeration, but you know how it is when your behind on things it might as well be the worst situation because it seems you'll never get it done!! :-) But we have the cabinets in place and clean out, I had a great time putting things away. Just looking in the room it feels like the same amount of space but I am getting more junk in those things than I ever did in the old ones!! We have only a little more work on finishing the walls, flooring and some trim. My cook stove is hooked up again, YEA! I am going through the house one room at a time cleaning and throwing away while waiting on my kitchen. Soon the sawing and hammering will be done hopefully and I will be able to tackle the final layer of dust. I'm about ready for "shop" class to end! :-)


A friend asked me about posting some pictures and telling about what our family does during the week, It's funny you usually don't see your own life as all that interesting to others but I guess with my seven kids people wonder what in the world I do with them all! So for anyone interested I'm going to be posting soon, a day to day picture show and comments of a week in the life of 9ndhouse. Hope no one dies of boredom! :-)


As for the anniversary title, yesterday was our 13th wedding anniversary! We took time out and went out for a date. We even left the kids at home! :-) We went out to dinner with a couple whom we are good friends with, it was also their 42nd anniversary. I stuffed myself silly with BBQ ribs, chicken strips, onion rings and the softest honey glazed croissant rolls I've ever had. I have ever mentioned how much I love food! :-) It likes me too, and tries to stick around awhile. After dinner we went to see the movie Fireproof. It was sooooo goooood!! I have been listening to friends and reading blogs of all the people who have seen it and it was a wonderful movie, every bit as good as they said. I did bring my hanky thinking I wouldn't need it but I laughed till I cried so many times, then bawled a few times just because I'm a girl! All in all we had a great night out, it's always fun to have some Mommy and Daddy time!


Photo of the kids recently taken on a field trip to the Harry S. Truman Birthplace in Lamar, MO. :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's a mess around here!


The noise level was almost ear busting, dust so thick you choked and forget about seeing anything till it settled! A new gaping hole is now staring at me from the kitchen floor! Where moments before the stove had once stood with dinner simmering and THEN.......Just Kidding!!

Actually the hole is where the sink and cabinets once stood, or at least stood the best they could on a floor sooo rotten it was like walking on a swinging bridge! OK, not quite that bad. But bad enough this poor short gal was bending over more and more each day just to reach the sink! :-)


So, that's what we've been up to lately, or rather down to. Reconstructing the kitchen!! Yea!!

It started when I got this really great idea to put a want ad for used kitchen cabinets on Craig's List. Michael, my husband was working on the down stairs bathroom putting up walls, doors and all that good stuff, he wasn't really looking for another project and since he was skeptical that I would find anything anyway said he would check out any REASONABLE priced "finds" that I could come up with. I was about to give up hope, "new to me" cabinets and a solid kitchen floor was fading fast when I finally got an answer, someone in a town nearby had some used oak cabinets sitting in their garage waiting for me! For a REASONABLE price of course!! A few days later I'm moving the living room furniture around to make room for this wonderful find while Michael watched me with that "you owe me" look! ;-} Of course he wanted to wait and......I don't know why he wanted to wait. But anyway, I started tearing up, tearing out and causing all kinds of destruction to my kitchen. It was really stress relieving, very nice. It wasn't so nice when I bent his hammer though, word of advise...."DON'T TEAR UP YOUR HUSBAND'S HAMMER!!" It makes for a not so nice look on his face when he finds it, not to mention that you'll "owe" him again!


I was all prepared to tackle this project and be the push behind the man (well I couldn't do it all alone! ) and help make this kitchen a reality when.......Aren't friends wonderful!.......GREAT! really!......a truck pulled up and out came a great friend who started helping Michael finish the destruction I had started. While his wife and I kept the dining room chairs down and all the kids out of the way, the men went to work behind the sheet I had hung up to keep the dust contained. In they went with all manner of tools and contraptions, banging and loud noises came forth from the "operating room" while we waited. Soon another wonderful family happened by and soon he and his boys were got caught up in the excitement, his wife too took a chair and we talked and waited. In went more tools and lumber and out came loads of debri and dust. It began to get late and I was beginning to wonder about the guys, I slid glasses of tea and brownies under the curtain to keep up their strength, the soup and cornbread had gotten cold on the table.


Finally, the noise stopped and quietness buzzed in our ears. The proud dirty men emerged from behind the curtain, they were tired and hungry. We peeked into the kitchen to find a wonderful new floor where the gaping hole had been just a few hours earlier. They had torn out half the floor replaced the rotten joices and flooring and it was now ready to take on and hold up the "new to me" cabinets! I was sooo impressed with the amount of work done in one evening!!


A few days later the truck pulled up again, and as Michael and our friend began to work he mentioned that his wife was waiting for me and the kids at their house. I quickly pointed out the food, brownies and tea grabbed the kids and ran. I could only imagine how much work they could accomplish without the distractions!!


They installed half the cabinets that night and while the work isn't completed yet, I'm one HAPPY Momma! The old early 1940's homemade cabinets are being replaced with more modern custom built one's from the 70's with a few new plug ins thrown in for fun! What MORE can I ask for!!!


Michael is groaning, he knows I'll think of something!! :-D

Photo: My wonderful husband, laughing at me about something. I forget now what, but I'm sure it wasn't funny!! :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pizza pockets?

Poor Baby J! As you can tell he's having a rough time. He has the chicken pox!!! He wasn't in the best of moods last night when I kept him home from church and had this photo shoot instead. I think he was rolling his eyes trying to tell me how embarrassed he was, after all this is black mail pictures for later. About 20 yrs from now later, 'bout the time he brings home his hopefully soon to be wife. Of course one of his sister's is going to bring out some lovely photos of cutie pie here. :-) All with the added injustice of having to wear his sister's PINK pull-up 'cause we were out of BLUE diapers, somehow he knew it wasn't his. He kept pulling at it all evening until Dad came to the rescue with some new diapers!
Your probably wondering why the title was pizza pockets? Well, today is Homeschool PE day at the YMCA. SOO, I loaded all the kiddos and headed for town. Usually after PE we enjoy other activities at the Y then head to the locker room and get ready for church. BUT, today since Baby J couldn't go spreading his lovely catch I dropped the 4 older kids off and headed over to Dad's work. He was trading vehicles with me, keeping the van and staying in town with the older 6 and going to church while I drove back home with Baby J. Well, once we arrived to Dad's work, Wild Man decided he HAD to go to the bathroom. After he finished his business we were ready to leave when he launched into a detailed story about how Baby J was sick, red all over and had Pizza pockets. He had the man in the hall laughing but rather confused so I clarified, "Wild man, Baby J doesn't have pizza pockets, he has chicken pox!" The man in the hall had another good laugh, Wild Man laughed too although I'm not sure he got the joke. :-)
Photo: Baby J and his "pizza pockets" ! (I can't really tell it's pink can you? hehe)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tag I'm it!






I guess I've been tagged. This was a fun thing to do and I was really curious as to which picture it would be. Well, here you have it!! It was one of many try and try again family pictures we took for our Christmas cards last December. My friend May, poor May, she tried and tried to get all the kids to smile and look at the camera at the same time. My husband was getting the manly version of the giggles, while Baby J screamed his head off, Lil' Sis wouldn't keep her thumb out of her mouth, Wild man was intent on watching other children in the room play and who knows what Miss Priss is doing! I'm really surprised you can't see the steam coming out of my ears!! Doesn't my fake it smile look nice!!? Really, though it wasn't too bad, it only took 30 min and 12
pictures!!
Here is the final "take it or leave we're going home" photo, still didn't get Wild Man to look at the camera but Hey!! 6 out of 7's not bad!!! and by the way thanks again, May!!!
SO, now I have to tag four other people to post the fourth picture from their forth picture file!!
1.Spors in the Desert
2. Kathy's Tea Time
3. Just Another Soldier's Wife
4. Snooky Great
Have Fun!!!



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Where to now, Lord?


My husband learned recently that the company who owns the plant he supervises is closing. They can't run the plant at a loss any more, who could!! When your only making 7 cents per pound on product that takes $'s to process, it makes sense to get out while you can.

The company has been great to all the people, giving them a 2 month notice, paid time off, severance packages and will cash in any vacation time left. I pray that all the people get other jobs easily and that things go well for them, with Christmas coming up it is a scary time to loose a job.

My husband has been offered a possible job in another state, so far we don't know any of the details or if it will be available for sure. He has been asked to stay until the plant is completely closed then oversee the removal of all the equipment, so we have some time to look over the options. I was thinking how nice it would be if God would just write us a quick note, telling us where to go and what He wants us to do. :-) I do know though, that He does have a plan for us and whatever that plan is He will reveal it to us in His time. Faith, Trust and Obey. I don't have to worry or go nuts, just wait. The Sunday school song " Read your Bible pray everyday, pray everyday, pray everyday. Read your Bible pray everyday and you'll "Know, know, know" " keeps going through my head. :-) I changed grow to know, if ya didn't catch it.

So if anyone can spare a few minutes to say a prayer for us we would greatly appreciate it, who knows we might soon be you new neighbors!!! Thanks!! :-D
Photo- My wonderful husband and I, taken recently on a field trip with the kids.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Happily Ever After


The Silver Gray Mare
by: my fabulous 10 yr old daughter

Once upon a time there was a herd of wild horses and in that herd was a silver gray mare. She was a beauty! Well, one day the Stallion noticed that one of his mares was missing. It was the silver gray mare. So he stopped his herd and made them stay there. Then he galloped back to where they had rested for the night. Then he smelled for the mare, suddenly he saw the mare coming in the distance. There was something with her. The Stallion realized it was a colt. The colt was black like the Stallion but had silver gray coloring around it's ankles. They lived happily ever after.


My daughter handed this to me awhile ago after she had written it. I was sitting here trying to think of something interesting that happened this week to write about. Lots of things are happening around here all the time, but I'm not always sure it would make a good post.
As I read this story I began to picture myself walking up the hill behind the Stallion....

I could smell the walnut trees heavy with nuts, fresh dirt, and the sweat of the horse. The surrounding hills were painted with all the colors of fall, bright and shiny with morning dew. The leaves rustled softly, the sound rising and falling with the wind that loosened them from their branches and sent them floating down to gather on the timber floor. I stepped quietly behind the trees and watched as the Stallion raced across the valley and through the winding creek his hooves splashing up a rainbow of color that sparkled and danced in the air. He stopped short on the other side and shivered with emotion, lifted up his head and snorted in the air. He stomped and tossed his long wild mane. He stilled and looked across the land and seemed to in a moment become a proud statue. I looked in the direction he faced and there was the prize he was searching for. The Silver Gray Mare gracefully traced the timber line and neighed a soft greeting, beside her was a shiny jet black colt frolicking in the sun shine. The reunion was sweet, the colt full of mischief kicked up and ran circles in the warm sun shine, playing and snickering to his proud parents. They turned and made their way quickly through the valley, their manes and tails glistening in the breeze and they all together disappeared in the shadow of the hills and... lived happily ever after.

So, if you'll excuse me I think I'll go take today's school lessons outside to the timber that's calling my name and see what we find. Have a great day!! :-)
Photo- One of our miniature colts, the kids all love horses.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is it a laundry mat?








NOPE!, Just me and my family getting ready for the big seasonal clothes switch!! Welcome to 9ndhouse!! With 7 kids in the house we have a ton of clothes. Each kid's section by itself doesn't seem to be very many but multiply it over and over and it's a mess!! Right now it looks like a clothing store has bombed us, but the kids are soooo excited!!!


They were with me at the end of last winter when I went to the second hand store and bought several bags of "cool" clothes in the $3 bag sale. We put them away in their out of season boxes and switched them for the summer clothes. Now that the air is turning cooler the switch is upon us again. To them it's like Christmas, getting a ton of new clothes. Now, I love clothes and I love to shop. I must have given this joy to all my children because even the boys like to get new clothes and to shop.


So, for the next several days, in between school, meals, cleaning, canning and everything else that goes on around here, we will be sorting, matching, hanging, folding and putting away a mega load of laundry. It's a good thing they all enjoy doing this, their "help" helps a lot!!


There is a system to my madness, the community closet isn't the prettiest thing in the world but we built it in the laundry room. The idea was to wash, dry and put away the clothes all in the same room to make it easier and faster. The girls and the boys take turns getting dressed and for the most part all the laundry stays in one place. I usually match outfits and number them (shirt #1 goes with shorts #1) with the girl's initials and some things are by color, each girl has different colors of pajamas. This makes things simple enough even the younger children can put away clothes with no problem. AND!, no one is ever fussing over who is wearing whose clothes!! The boys of course have and assortment of jeans, pants and shirts and would never call them "outfits"!! We hang the "church" and "town" clothes and put "play" clothes and everything else in labeled baskets that act as drawers on the lower shelves. Town clothes are not as dressy as church clothes but not as plain as play clothes, by giving everything a label I can say..."We are leaving in 15 min. get clean town clothes on and get in the van!". Most of the time they will ask now, "where are we going, do we need clean play clothes or town clothes?"


NOW, the tricky part is staying motivated to keep the washers and dryers going so that all this mess stays clean!!!! Hopefully soon I can report a clean living room and laundry room again!!


photo: the kids were sorting their clothes into piles, after baby J had pulled down several piles they threw him in a box of his own!! btw- the floor is concrete and my paint didn't stick very well, we are still remodeling and maybe we can afford the tile later this fall!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Farm Life: How hard will you work for a hamburger?

"NOOOooooo", they hollered as they watched with wide eyes, "Hamburger is getting away!!". So proudly just moments before, my husband and older children had patted themselves on the back for a job well done. It was in record time they had brought up the cow and placed her in the panel pen to wait until the butcher arrived. She must have sensed this day was "special" somehow and decided since she couldn't go over, under she must go and under she went. The "hamburger" got away!

Next she wandered down by the pond, so rather begrudgingly my husband and the kids followed and soon the chase was on. With lunch in the house waiting to be fixed and laundry waiting to be folded, I just had to stay and watch. Something told me this was going to be entertaining and I wasn't disappointed. Dad (my husband) was giving directions as he walked around the left side of the pond, the kids were to walk around the right side and bring her close to him. He had a rope in his hands and the idea was to rope her around the neck and lead her back to the pen. As the kids drove her closer she spotted Dad and turned around, all the shouts to "stand still" and "don't let her through" was wasted as the brave kids tucked tails and ran. She was a gentle cow who liked her head rubbed when the breakfast grain was fed and liked to leave snotty kisses on the back of the girls' head as they walked by. Not exactly tame but not exactly wild either. She jogged a little way through the trees, around the pond and turned to look triumphantly at Dad...but he was gone. Suddenly he jumped an old fence and raced toward her swinging the rope, he had snuck his way back around the pond and the chase was on once more. Rowdy decided now was the time join in on the action, he quickly fell in line behind the cow and gave chase. For several minutes I watched and laughed as the cow followed by Rowdy, followed by Dad, followed by 4 kids ran one after the other. They were all splishing around the edge of the pond, splashing through the mud and jumped over a maze of ancient fences, fallen trees and forgotten stumps. Laughter, whoops and hollers mingled with snaps of branches, crunching leaves and water splattering filled the air around the edge of the timber and echoed back. Over and over again Dad and the kids got close enough to throw the rope, just barely missing the darting cow.

I knew the plan was to wear her down a little but I was beginning to wonder who was being wore down! Soon Dad stopped with heaving sides and just looked at me. "You could help!" he said huffing and puffing while holding his sides. "I'm not as athletic as you!" I replied from my side of the fence. I got the look, you know the one. Feeling brave I suggested he walk the cow down the fence row to the larger holding pen and try to rope her in there and got another look. From where I was standing I supervised the kids and got them to move the cow along the fence while Dad was sprawled out on a tank to catch his breath. Soon she was in the larger pen and with the help of Dad we got all the panels shut. I figured now was a good time to head back to the house and get that lunch ready, hunger had surely been worked up today!

Soon the troops all came straggling in, "Get "er in the pen?" I asked, "Yep" was the answer. Over a lunch of spaghetti and homemade bread (two starches I know!) we all laughed and retold the funny events leading to the final capture of our "hamburger". "I roped her, Mom!" my oldest boy proudly told me as he loaded his plate. "First try!" he said, I chuckled and raised my eyebrow at Dad. He smiled and nodded his head, "Yep, first try. He roped her as she ran by." My young cowboy sat up a little straighter, forked a big piece of meat out of his spaghetti and said "Yep!, I sure like hamburger!!" I had to laugh as a I told him, "That's deer meat, bud!" :-)

Photo- That's my cowboy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our School!!


We started school this year, the day after Labor Day. So far everything is going great and we are having fun. At least that's what the kids say!! They have already in just a few weeks read several books on their reading lists, written some great stories, flew through the addition flashcards and been on several wonderful field trips!



This is nap time for the pre-schoolers :-)



Us 'N friends at local conservation & audubon center



The kids found a GPS cache during the hike while hunting mushrooms and making leaf rubs.



Playing by the trail in Shoal Creek, watching the fog roll in.



Museum, it took over an hour to read and do all the activities, including observing the snakes, fish aquarium, and spiders. We had a special interest in the snakes, we were trying to identify a certain visitor to our front door last week.




The Harry S. Truman birthplace is a great field trip, the kids loved exploring this home without modern conveniences still sitting quietly in the middle of a modern town.


The kids are excited to be starting their own field guide soon, putting together their snap shots of flowers, trees and things they have found with notes written about each one. It will probably be an on-going project that may last several years. Possibly several volumes!!

"Yesterday"

She thanked the security guard in the speaker and sat back to watch the gate slowly slide away. Her heart began to tremble as she pulled the van through, her eyes sought to see through the trees to catch a glimpse of what she has seen in her mind for twenty years. Twenty years! How can it be. That she now would be bringing her children here, her own daughter the same age as she once was, in the days when she skated here. The children were excitedly shouting from the back as they spotted their Mema and Papa by the club house, but she did not hear them. She couldn't see today, only yesterdays from long ago. Sunny days when the breeze blew her long blond hair behind her as she and her cousin skated around and around, her Granddad and Grandmother proudly watching from the porch of their RV, nestled in the corner of the trailer park just above the river bluff. That trailer could be seen from the gate "yesterday", but now the saplings have grown into beautiful trees blocking her view. In a fog she greeted her mom and the man who was the only dad she ever knew, then slowly started walking down the path to "yesterday". She marveled how everything could be the same yet different. Then... could it be? the same trailer? Now with a covered porch and a well worn path to the river? Don't stand here and stare her mind told her, but it was hard to pull her eyes away. Then the river called and drew her nearer to the bluff and down to the rock beach where she had played "yesterday". Funny, the bluff was taller "yesterday". The current swept around her legs as she waded out to the middle, small fish and crawdads greeted a welcome and flittered away. She began to skip stones and smiled "Look Granddad 4 skips!". "Mom!" she heard from the path and quickly she was brought back to today. She smiled and raced the children back to the club house to help create their "yesterday" -Thank you Lord for the time we have together, thank you for the memories. Thank you most of all for giving me New Life, that I may go to You and to my loved ones who can no longer come to me.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Kick'n up dirt!!


Who wants to ride a broom when they have a 5.5 horse power motor to jet them around the room!! I'm referring to my new vacuum cleaner!! I am soooo excited, and the kids are too. I worked hard (had a garage sale), saved my money (from Sat. to Sun.) and bought it all by myself (Michael had to carry it out for me after he paid the balance :-) )!! Life is good. Now is about the time where you begin to wonder what in the world is the matter with me.


Well, I'm sure if you think back to a time when you replaced that "thing"! You know the one, that thing that you had to use because it was all you had. The one you or your husband had to duct tape, glue and wire back together so many times materials alone holding it together added up to $100! Maybe it was your fridge, or the washing machine? Stove?, VACUUM!! Now your getting the picture. Old Red the upright was still making a lot of noise and pretense but wasn't inhaling anything if ya know what I mean, so I was down to the Rainbow (R2D2's cousin). The one my mother in law gave me, it is a great vacuum but has seen better days. The holding pan for the water (yes, water) had been replaced with the bottom of an old green bucket. The latches are held together with duct tape, cuts and bruises all down the cord wrapped in black bandages while tools fell off the worn out tool belt as you pulled it across the floor leaving scratches where the fourth wheel was supposed to be. It still inhales with great force but since the floor attachment ran away from home a couple years ago, trying to sweep up a house the size of mine with a cracked 1-1/2 inch tube just wasn't cutting it! Not to mention that the hose was 2' too short to reach the ceiling or fans so me AND Rainbow had to climb the step ladder. Not good.


So, now that you remember that "thing" you also remember the excitement and fireworks that went on the day you got to replace it! Ok, maybe not fireworks but close to it, right? Well, I had decided I needed to get a new vacuum. Something with power! Something BIG!! Something...like... Granddad!! Granddad is my new, blue 3' tall shop vac, industrial model! He glides through the house on his mega wheels, dragging an extra long and thick cord, proudly displaying a convenient tool caddy and swinging a grand 2-1/2" nose, I mean hose, long enough to evict any spider lurking over my head. The 12 inch floor attachment threatens to pull up tile if ya don't move along quickly, and he doesn't *require* any water but will drink up if need be. I think we're going to get along great!!


Now having shared my happy moment with you, I'm going to go take advantage of the excitement the kids are showing for Granddad. Tap into some of that energy and get some cleaning done. Can you say, Home Ec class? :-)
Photo: My four oldest kids with Granddad!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Do you feel a draft?




I've been spending way too much time on the computer lately! :-) Finding new blogs about other people and topics that interest me has been a new passion. Researching, reading, exploring, AND... writing. Here on this blog as well as my comments on other blogs. Suddenly I feel exposed!!
It is a totally new feeling I am experiencing. For the last almost 13 years that I have been married my life has had what I thought was a wide circle of people influence. But did you know that with the click of a few buttons I can discuss say....anything!, with someone in another state! Another country even!! Shocking isn't it! I knew you'd be surprised.

Blog rush, is what I call it. It always seems to come in a rush but for me the emotion attached to it isn't always the same. For instance, after commenting on a blog of someone telling a tragic story I feel the overwhelming urge to cry, to reach to that person and let them know I really do care, I really did pray. Sometimes that heavy burden for them can last way longer that just that moment. Of course when I read a funny tale of a mom who has scrambled through out the day to stay on top of things just to end up under the laundry, I can't help but giggle and smile my smiliest while firing off what I hope is a quirky statement that with luck will reflect my face. And who wouldn't see a little fire during the times of mommy bashing during hot debates, spiteful creatures we are when the world doesn't see it our way. Rrruuush!

Ups and downs, that seems to be life. Mountains and valleys. Hills and hollows. I would assume it to be human nature to second guess yourself to a certain degree, while a bold certainty is screaming from the back somewhere "You Go Girl!, Ya Know It!!" Then there it is again...with the push of a return key. My words... locked in stone thrown out into the great abyss of Internet to be read by anyone who chances by. Did I come across too strong? Did that sound stupid? Feel my laughter? See my smile? Will they understand? Can they see my heart?...I feel a draft :-)

I'm just rattling, what do you think? Ya feel it too?
Picture: Baby J in his big sister's doll bed, definitely feeling a draft!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Robinson Curriculum

***See updates below :-)
I was asked to tell a little about the Robinson Curriculum (RC) since I had linked to it on my sidebar. I found out about this program through friend who discovered the website online. I had been looking for a curriculum that would help me better teach our children, taking in the fact that there were several grade levels, reading levels, and learning styles. RC is basically a collection of Cd's put together by Dr. Robinson, on the Cd's are printable books. The printable books start at a kindergarten level and continue through a 12th grade+ level. By reading these books the children are learning everything they need, inluding their history and science. A quick summary schedule suggested by Dr. Robinson would be: Start the day with Math (he suggests the Saxon Math, which I highly recomend), then go to the writing, then required reading, finishing the *day* with some free reading time. The time for each is set by the parent and decided based on the age of the child. The Saxon Math the only thing not on the Cd's but ordering them through RC will get you a discount.


Dr. Robinson created this program with the help of his 6 children after his wife died. He needed a way to ensure a quality education for his children and be capable of working from home. My summary of what RC is about is incredibly lame compared with the wealth of information and detailed explanations that you will find on his website. He answers tons of questians and gives reasons, explanations, examples and stories all about the how and why. Far better than I can. I studied his site for days.


I can tell you what RC is going to do for me. All my children seem to have different learning styles according the their different personalities, likes and dislikes, and temperament. Some love workbooks and would rather read about and work the pages, while others would rather do something more hands on and write about it. All my children do love to read and be read to. So, instead of trying to wear myself out teaching different styles from several different books, and so forth we have come up with RC. I love the idea that the children are learning to locate info and work through things themselves no longer dependant upon me or a teacher to spoon feed them.

For my older children this year our schedule will be as follows:


Saxon math lesson- about 1 hr

Writing assignment- about 1 hr

Required Reading (from book list) - about 2 1/2 hrs (this includes time to memorize the

vocabulary words from the book)

Free Reading- about 1 hr


The time will increase as they get older and desire more time to write and read. For the younger children that are reading on their own, they will follow the same schedule but with lesser time for each area, again the time will increase with their age and ability.


For pre-reading children, Dr. Robinson suggests that you choose a good phonics program and begin teaching them their reading skills. (He is more detailed on his site.) I am using the Abeka K-4 and K-5 programs, I enjoy all the games and hands-on flashcards, charts and games that help to strengthen the learning making it fun. I make this take as little or as long as I need it too, fitting the curriculum to the needs and time table of my child. Some are slower than others and require more time, but all will be reading at the end of these programs. I also use the on-line program Click-N-Kids (100 lessons) to make reading fun and exciting.


For early math, Dr. Robinson suggests teaching them their numbers. Then using flashcards to teach the adding, subtracting, multiplication, and division tables. Once they can do this they are ready for the Saxon 54 book. Again He is more detailed on his website and flashcards are included on the Cd set.


The best advice I could give about homeschooling, is make learning a way of life. Not a list of things to memorize and copy. Education for us is giving the children the tools they need to learn and find out about anything they will ever desire. The three R's: Reading, (R)Writing, and R'ithmitic, once a child has mastered these tools the *world* is in their hands.


Please, like I stated above, go over the website for a complete understanding of the RC curriculum, how it works, the whys of his methods, etc.... Make it work for you. I don't use, do or agree with absolutely everything in his site but I have made it work for us.


BTW- I have also used and enjoyed the ACE- School of Tomorrow paces, Rod and Staff Publishers, ABEKA, and Bob Jones. Using these in a way that best fit the style of my child.


If there are any questions, you want me to answer specifically just ask, and I will do my best. Goood Luck!!!! Katie
Picture: Our children love to read, and our Daughter wanted a picture of her and her new books last Christmas.


****Update! 7-3-12

Hello!! I have noticed lately that this post is viewed several times a week and I thought I would just give a short update. We will have all 7 of the kids in school this fall and are looking forward to it!! I still don't "play" school, the thought of going back to those days are too ugly! We have a pretty flexible day which works great with Michael's business and the family schedule but for the most part we still follow the school schedule that I wrote in the post years ago. We have just kept adding the kids to our daily routine as they got older and intersted in what the older kids where doing. Our "School" is all day, every day all year long! We never stop teaching our children and they never stop learning, but I know what most people are interested in is the actual "school" part. We do school all year, meaning that the kids work on their math, reading and writing at their own pace continuing through the books and book lists until they have completed them. I have started using the book quizes that come with the Robinson CD's and the ones linked on the RC site. I then began to google the book's title to search for a quiz or test online and have several. This has really helped some of my speed readers to slow down a little. :-) We still follow the basic schedule that was posted above several years ago. We sometimes stop for a week or more to learn or study a subject or topic as a group. We often take days off school to work for Dad, which all the kids love to do and are growing into awesome helpers, they are hard workers and love the time working as a family.  We still use the sources I listed at the end of the post as well as anything other thing I find along the way that I think is intersting. We get a lot of preschool and K-5 books (and sometimes older grades) at the Dollar Tree store, they also have tons of posters, flashcards and other stuff to make school interesting.

So, probably this update wasn't needed since, well, everything is pretty much the same around here. School is fun, and learning is a way of life that doesn't end at 18 yrs or 12th grade.

Again! Good luck and God Bless!! :-) Katie

BTW- Recently a friend of mine recomended the free Homeschool Tracker Download, for the computer to help keep records for school. I Googled and downloaded it and while I'm not totally familiar with all of its functions yet I can tell that this is going to be a great tool for me and my family. :-)


***UPDATE August 8, 2016
Hello Homeschool families!!! Recently I was wondering around the internet and found my self on a Robinson Curriculum Pinterest post and what did I find! A link to my post here! So looking it over and seeing how many people are still looking for RC answers and information I see an update is needed once again! :-) The crazy thing is everything above is practically still same. LOL Just now with different kiddos doing what their older brother and sisters were doing!

Since our last update, my older 2 children have graduated. Our son and daughter both graduated in May of 2015. I had made a list of classes and activities that I and my husband required for graduation. I ordered their diplomas from homeschooldiploma.com and put together a typed transcript for each of them. While in high school they both had enrolled in Faith Bible Institute based in Monroe, LA. In December 2015 they completed the 3 yr course and graduated each with a College Bible Diploma from Faith Bible Institute. Our Son is currently working full time with his Dad, a crew leader in our small portable welding and fencing business. He also has spent time traveling as a hired apprentice for an Insurance adjuster/appraiser, when he returns after a month+ of travel, he is planning on going to school for this to get his certification and license.  He is also spending time as a volunteer firefighter at our local rural fire department, taking many classes for certification in safety, first response, and firefighter training. He is active in the bus ministry and other activities in our church. He will be 20 yrs old this fall and is trusting the Lord with his future. Our Daughter is currently enrolled in an Academy of Cosmetology and is really enjoying it. She plans to graduate with her license next spring. She is a part time Police dispatcher for a local city Police Department. She also has a small cleaning business on the side. She has made Sergeant rank in the local Police Department Explorer program, and is active in our church working in the bus ministry and nursery areas. She has just been asked to take charge of our church library and is excited to begin that new project. She is 18 yrs old this summer, she and her brother are a great blessing to us. They both still pitch in with the homeschool of the younger ones at times which is a great encouragement!

Now, for me and the "5 youngers"!, August 31 is the end of our school year for us. I begin RC schooling when my kids are about 7, before then they are learning as they play. Doing flashcards, workbooks, videos and whatever seems to interest them. They participate in all our history, science or whatever class/book we are doing together. This week we are wrapping up any projects we began for our 2015/16 school year. We have began placing their portfolios of school work (required by state) into a storage box, making room for this next school years folders. We have printed new student work record pages from the RC website and are binding them into new record books for this next year. And of course with all the sales going on who could pass up getting stocked up on new paper, pencils and notebooks. New folders and binders too for any books I print off this year. Our first day of school is the day after Labor Day and we have been kicking off our school year with a field trip vacation for that last few years. Been east to Cape Hetaeras, NC and Williamsburg, Virginia. Been west to Grande Canyon and south Colorado's national parks. So, recently I picked up a state park map while on a field trip and used it to map out a state history fieldtrip vacation around the state thinking this would be great credits for our freshman and junior girls and the younger 3 would love all the camping! Well, everyone was on board until we seen an advertisement for the new Ark Encounter exhibit in Kentucky, soooo we'll see in a few weeks where we go and where we'll stop no one knows! LOL

So, as for our RC day!? Very much the same, some of our times have changed but still totally going with the self-teaching, reading, writing and arithmetic type homeschooling idea that has been set up by Dr. Robinson.
Our day begins with:
*Math: 1 1/2 hr {11th grade girl (15 yrs old)is in Advanced Mathmatics, 9th grade girl (14 yrs old) is half thru Algebra 1, 7th grade boy (just turned 12) is mostly thru 65, 5th grade girl (10 yrs)  finishing Rod and Staff, is starting 54, and 4th grade boy (8 yrs soon to be 9) is mastering flashcards and finishing some Rod and Staff math workbooks} They all usually get more than 1 lesson done each day. (I use mainly the math flashcards before starting saxon 54, but have found that they all seem to want or need some busy work. Rod and Staff math books I feel compliment the flashcards and are doable with self teaching, builds confidence and is a great step into 54. I use the first and second grade consumable workbooks, 3 rd grade text book then into saxon 54 when ready)

*Writing: 1/2 hr of copying the Proverb of the day (15 verses for older, 10 for younger) + 1/2 hr of creative writing, whatever subject they choose, sometimes book reports or fieldtrip reports. A letter to someone. Write and bind their own short book....whatever. + 1/2 hr of Bible study, writing answers to questions given them in their Wednesday night Bible Study classes at church.

*Reading: 2 1/2 hrs ( RC booklist for older, 1/2 hr of McGuffey reader for younger + 2 hrs of RC booklist for younger)

*In our afternoons at least twice, sometimes 3, we get together and have an oral class of history, science, current events or whatever happens to interest us. I use the Abeka (sometimes Rod and Staff or Bob Jones), science and history readers, taking turns reading out loud with discussions. Sometimes a biography, we've done language classes, sign language videos/books, hunter's safety courses, boater safety/license courses, music theory....also canning in summer, lots of baking and cooking, sewing, wood working and welding. Lots of field trips! PE classes at local YMCA or Homeschool PE getogethers that I plan with other homeschool families. And of course many many hours of drivers ed!! lol

When we first started RC we began with no computers, everything was printed or books purchased. I made my own vocabulary flashcards and flipcharts (still do), printed our books (still do), printed and made our own school records books (still do). Later there were 2 years we moved temporarily and lived in a camper trailer, this is where our laptops became very important. The RC disks have a vocab program and all the books on disk made it very easy to do our school with less paper and books since space was so tight. Well, I do have to admit when we moved back home I tried counting the books that came out of our camper school cabinet and lost count around 300 :-)  Today we still use the laptops sometimes, and the kids do have tablets they use sometimes. The Kindle app on these devices are great tools and almost everyday more and more RC books are available. But, actual physical hold in your hand books are by far mine and the kids' favorite. The kids have when older began free typing classes online, typingweb.com has been one of my favorites.

We still limit sugar and junk food in general, tending to make our own snacks at home. The kids have seen for themselves the way they feel when they eat healthier compared to a day of junk or soda. We don't have a TV, but do on occasion have a family video night. We use a monitor/dvd player for educational videos and classes when needed.

One thing I have recently added to our homeschool is Schoolhouseteachers.com. I haven't been a fan of much online school programs but this seemed to just call out to me and I became a member and introduced it to the kids as a tool that was available if they wanted it. In the afternoons during free time I have been pleased to see several of my kids use this site and begin some geography and history classes all on their own. One daughter told me today she is planning on starting the chemisty course soon. My younger kids were interested in the videos and after watching a couple they then searched online and found the National Geographic site with videos on tigers and other big cats, which was the starting place for a week long group study we did a couple weeks ago on big cats. So far I think this website is going to be a great tool for our kiddos this year. Schoolhouseteachers was recommended by the Old School House magazine which I highly recommend.

I also recommend becoming a member of HSLDA, having this institution fighting on the side lines for homeschool families is a great comfort. Check out their website and get informed. I have not personally had to contact them with a problem of our own but know of several local families who have and all issues have been handled either with a simple call or letter. I know when my daughter enrolled in cosmetology school we did get a little hesitation concerning her diploma, but I assured them that the diploma and transcript was acceptable and that I could have HSLDA give them a call if needed. Apparently the state board of cosmetology agreed because she was enrolled and started school shortly after.

Well!! I've rattled on long enough!! Many blessing to homeschooling families! Make your kids' education fun and make homeschooling your own, doing what is best for you and your family!!
~ Katie