Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just Talking In The Car

I know, it's so annoying. (at times)

And sometimes I don't even hear them talking because my brain has tuned it all out or I'm just thinking or 5 people are talking at once while I'm driving and I just can't concentrate.

BUT,  I do believe that the conversations we have with our kids is way more valuable than a textbook.

Today it was laying sod. We have had a ton of construction in the area which is not very fun but seeing the progress from day to day is interesting.

The rolls or "bales" (what they looked like) of grass on the flatbed trailer, the watering from a huge truck, a roller going over the grass, and driving by dirt on the way to the grocery store.....driving by grass on the way back, all points of interest.

Pouring cement.....

Licence plate states/counties.....

Who likes KU, who likes K-State......

What different trucks are for.....

Who is working? What are they doing?

Why are there so many cars driving at 5:00?

But then, there are times silence is a necessary thing!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The "Cleaner"

"Mom! Invented something! It's really cool!"

"What is it?"

"It's a cleaner! It has red and blue and green and purple sparkles that come out of here and it cleans!"

"Does it clean anything?"


"Good. Go clean your room."

"I can't. The batteries are not in it."

The Cleaner

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Park n' Picnic

'Twas a nice day. Dad reeeeeally needed to rest. We needed to get out.

OK, well, since it was a school day, I had one assignment. Everyone had to take a picture of something they liked. I like it when kids take pictures since their perspective is different than mine.

Rose, taken by Brooke.

Mushroom, taken by Ellie....

...and the side view
"fuzzy" tree, taken by Summer
Snails, taken by Savannah

I think we need to let Dad sleep in peace and quiet a little more often.....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why I Love Homeschooling: School Pictures

I have a new addiction. I finally figured out Picnik.

We take our school pictures in our favorite places. Last year they were on the four wheeler. Our favorite place is usually at Grandma and Grandpa's.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

One Of Our Favorite Things: Munschworks

Grandma has a membership to Exploration Place in Wichita. They recently had a Grossology exhibit. Grandma visited, along with at least one enthusiastic child, 5 or 6 times. It talks about all the gross stuff that your body does. I can't hardly stand to read it, but the kids love it.

There was also an exhibit about other stories by an author, Robert N. Much. Grandma also had a collection of his stories in the book Munschworks.

We love Grossology, but we especially love Munschworks. We quote the characters and act out the stories over and over again. Currently, it is the only book necessary when we are at Grandma's.  Savannah reads it. Ellie Reads it. Summer reads it. Brooke pretends to read it (and gets pretty darn close). All by their choice.

"Clang, clang, rattle bing bang. Gonna make my noise all day."

"Do you need a baby?"
"Does it pee it's pants?"

"That's doesn't sound like my mother. That doesn't sound like my father. That sounds like PIGS!"

"It's all your fault! You told me to stand there and not move, and now people are trying to buy me!"

"I have to pee!"

"Murmul yourself. I'm only 5 years old. I cannot take care of a baby."

Some potty talk. Lots of laughs.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How I See It

This is just my opinion. Please keep an open mind and know I am aware I don't know everything. This is just how I see it.

Teachers are great. They have a very hard job and probably are not compensated accordingly. Some are not so great, but my kids' teacher is not so great some days, too. I do not think I am better than a classroom teacher.

The educational system is flawed. Most systems are. OUR home system most definitely is.

So, this is how I see it.

Any one school is filled with dozens, sometimes hundreds, of little lives. Some of these precious people come from excellent homes that teach values, responsibility, and character. Many of them don't.

Some don't feel loved. Ever. Some are angry. Some have no respect. Some sit in front of the TV 5 hours a day. Some don't get breakfast. Some lack good role models. Some lack direction. Therefore, learning is much harder. So, are schools responsible for picking up the slack? Well, they have to if anyone is ever going to learn something. I think it is a little unreasonable to expect them to "prime" the kids to learn and then teach them as well with no parental support.

My opinion is that everyone has the right to choose what type of education (public, private, or home) is best for their family, but all families should be active in their education. Even busy parents can do this. (Aren't all parents busy?)

The best way I know to do this is just simply
1) Talk to your kids- it doesn't matter what the subject, just talk TO them.
2) Involve them in whatever it is you do. My personal favorite is cooking. You have to cook anyway.

Start them early, when they are still interested, start them doing very simple things like pouring or stirring or taking the wrapper off the stick of butter, and start them off slow (like once a week). Over time everything will become easier. If you cook with your kids, you can:

Build rapport
Teach them an important skill
Introduce nutrition, which may just add to their quality of life AND their length of life.
Possibly save a little work later on life when they really can "help".
Teach them all sorts of vocabulary, math, science, problem solving, following directions, and consequences to not following directions.

Of course, you will need a little patience and a little extra time at first, but the benefits could be worth it many times over. It does not matter if you are a master chef or not. Starting them off with Tuna Helper and instant oatmeal is just fine. Cooking is not the only way, but I think is one efficient and effective way to be a part of your child's learning.

There you have it. I just solved the world's problems. ;)

Bless you that are teachers, in the classroom, in the after school program, at home, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, whom ever you are. A little life is not something to take lightly.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


My title is pure sarcasm. I hate melons. 

But Max and Brookie could eat them as a whole meal, so they are in my house.

And my husband is THE melon monster.

My mom threw out a cantaloupe at the end of her garden a few years back and has had a plethora of melons. She says they aren't extremely sweet but the kids still love them.

Do you like melons? Do your kids?

They can make an easy melon salad just by balling them.

My melon baller isn't this nice, but I like the brand. Mine is from an auction I believe, and it works just fine.

Step 1: Wash your hands, singing the ABC song while you scrub. WASH the outside thoroughly before cutting into the melon. Melons are a potentially hazardous food!

Step 2: (Adult) cut the melon in half.

Step 3: Look at the beautiful pattern of seeds inside.

Step 4: Scoop out the middle seed portion. Put it in a bowl and let the child squish it between their fingers. eeeeewwwww!!!!

Step 5: Scoop out with the melon baller. Try to make your balls as round as possible. 4-5 year olds may need a little instruction, but after a while they will get it and can do it themselves. No knives needed!!!

Step 6:  Add different colors if you want.

Step 7: EAT (if you want). The balled melons are a nice size and not so much juice will run down those chins.

Cantaloupes and honeydew can be frozen. Brookie thinks this is great.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bedtime Snack

I'm not a routine kind of person, but I've found that with the kids routines make everything so much easier!

So, every night, they get dressed for bed while I make a snack. During warmer weather it's smoothies, and during the cooler weather it's hot chocolate.

This is my recipe. I have tried to make it as healthy as possible without being outrageously expensive. Measurements can be varied to any one's taste.

Frozen Fruit Smoothies:

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup frozen OJ concentrate
1 t. vanilla
1 T Stevia (you don't need much, too much gives it an after taste)

****blend in a blender******

2 bananas
1-1/2 cups of your favorite frozen fruit blend

******blend some more, until it's all mixed in*********
(this makes 4 child sized smoothies and 1 Mama sized smoothie)

Get generic plain yogurt.

Stevia is a natural sugar substitute. You don't have to add this but I find the kids like it a little more with a little in it.

For variety, we get a few different fruit blends. I also like to use mixed berries to get our fill of antioxidants. The kids sometime ask for just blueberries because they want a purple smoothie. I was spending a fortune on berries, so I started buying in bulk (Sam's).

We like the frozen fruit because it is cheaper than fresh, we don't have to get what is in season, and we like that it adds a frozen texture. Summer says she likes it "wrinkly" and not smooth.

You can also buy bananas on sale or at Sam's and freeze them to save some cost. Freezing the bananas also adds wrinkles.

For Max, I just put about 1/4 cup in his cup with a lid/straw, add milk to thin and shake.

Any extra can be frozen. If you put a frozen smoothie in the refrigerator at night, It'll be ready and waiting for you in the morning!

We all sit at the table while I read a chapter out of a storybook right before bedtime. Now they can't say "I'm huuuuuuuuuungry!!!!!" right after I put them to bed. They get dairy and fruit without a ton of calories. And since it is routine, I've gotten a few of the girls to eat a healthy food they would have refused otherwise.

AND it's easy to make. They can help! Night all!

I Feel So Rich (Even If My Portfolio Doesn't Show It)

So, since sometime in June I've been more deliberate about turning everything over to God. Money, time, talents (or lack of).

I like the idea of extreme living. Even though my life may not look too extreme right now, I feel thrilled because I have put all my trust in God. I am free! Who knows where this will take me?

I believe what the Bible says. All of it. 2 Truths I stick to:
1) Jesus is God, and He loves me.
2) God's book is in the Bible. It's my instruction manual for life. (A pretty good read, too.)

So, if I believe what the Bible says I can turn everything over to God and then I don't have to worry about ME, I can focus on serving those that really need help....not because I'm all that great, but because "I can do all things through Christ who strenghtens me."

I'm getting to my point.....

I have made an attempt to watch the sun rise. It doesn't always happen, but my rule is during a certain time of each day I praise God. During this time I don't think about what needs to be done or what I'll do next or even how I can help people. I just think about how wonderful God is. I mean, he made the sky so incredibly beautiful, especially when the sun rises and sets.

I have found myself finding more and more reasons to be thankful and to praise God, which, in turn, gives me less and less reasons to complain and worry.

I have had so much joy in the little things.

Don't get me wrong, days can be so hard and things still break, we get tired, and we mess up plenty. But joy is not based on circumstances. I find my joy in every way God has blessed me! The sky will always be there to look at. Flowers, friends, my children, the awesomeness of science, provision, nature, FOOD, and people.

The moral of this story: STOP thinking about yourself and praise GOD!

I can see what I have and not what I don't. Just this weekend we:

painted pink and green polka-dot fingers and toes
spotted countless butterflies
picked apples
played in the creek
admired wildflowers
listened to echos under the bridge
fed the fish at sunset
rode the 4 wheeler
picked more apples- on the top of the tree inside the cage lifted by the high loader. wheeee!
studied anthills
took a ride in the semi truck
watched men pour cement
rode carnival rides
compared poultry (really, this was a blast. Do you know how many different kinds of chickens there are?)
ran through water fountains
saw a large butter sculpture
saw a HUGE pumpkin
ate on the deck
flipped on the trampoline
painted jeans
pictures, pictures, pictures
more nature walks (and had a snack on the way- apples)
made apple pies, apple crisps, and cookies!!
watched spiders weave their webs and catch their prey
watched the sky as the clouds blocked the sun on my way to Grandma's. (my eyes were thankful)

Well, that's what I can remember.

When we got home tonight, I took Max out of the car and he grabbed on to the door so I wouldn't move and studied the sky, then pointed to the bright stars. Even my baby can see how incredible they are.

As we got inside, Savannah was a little scared to go potty, so I sat near the door as she said, "Momma, we have a little house so I know you will always be near me." I wanted to cry. (with joy)

Praise God.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finger Paints

Heat 2 cups water to boiling

Mix 1 cup cornstarch and 1 cup cold water. Stir in boiling water until thickened.

Add food coloring to make different colors.


Don't worry- it's non-toxic.

I like to give them primary colors so they can experiment with mixing colors.

Put an old t-shirt on them, a tablecloth on the table, and let 'em go at it.

And try it yourself, too! (paint therapy is good for the soul).

this came from here: