Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday



More info about our new van next week after our church bazaar.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cross Country Meet

Lamb 1 had his final cross country meet yesterday. This was at a different location than he had practice. For the first meet he ran a 4K that was not as challenging of a course but he was familiar with the course from practice. For this meet he chose to run a 3K but afterwards said it was not as difficult of a course as he thought it would be.
Lamb 1 during the 3K. I was concerned because he usually runs with someone but he was running all by himself.

After Lamb 1's race we had a long time to wait before awards. So the Lambs explored the area. In this picture Lamb 1 is first, then Lamb 2, and finally Lamb 3.

They made it to the top! I was so thankful for my new camera lens which ended up being a binoculars to watch them and also take pictures.

Exploring some more.

Here's where they explored! And all this exploring was after Lamb 1 ran the 3K!

Lamb 2 and 3 found some leaves.

It was worth staying for awards because Lamb 1 got 2nd place for his age group of 9-10 year old boys. I was really surprised.
His time for the 3K was 15:03:41.

I took a picture in the minivan of the temperature on the way home. It was up to 55 F on the way home. It was 46 F before Lamb 1's race began. I was glad to get home and have a cup of hot tea!

All 3 Lambs are looking forward to track season in the spring. We'll see who ends up participating but I would love it if all 3 participated so I could read a book during practice. Plus the third child is cheaper to participate than the first two!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Visiting Mr. Peanut

One day in July I went grocery shopping and Mr. Peanut was there. After I was done shopping I mentioned that to the Lambs and they wanted to go see Mr. Peanut. So we went back. The Lambs loved the free peanuts and I liked the coupons!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Finally Frozen Custard!

When I was in college years ago before the area around my college was built up like today, there were no pizza places that made deliveries to our campus. It was a little drive into town to go out to eat or get a treat. One of our favorite places to go was Freddys frozen custard. My classmates and I all have memories of college tied to Freddys. Oh, my memories of flavor of the day and of their shakes! Freddys is no longer there and it was a sad day to go back and visit a few years ago and not be able to take the Lambs there. I do not think Freddys from my college town was a part of the franchise Freddy's all over the country today.

My hometown opened several frozen custard stores in the area when I was teaching. Now frozen custard is one of my parents favorite places to go for a treat or go out to eat.

Our area has a lot of frozen yogurt shops where you pay by the ounce with whatever toppings you choose.

Recently a Freddys opened here. This is the first frozen custard place in our area. We took the Lambs on the grand opening day. They didn't give anything away like Chick-Fil-A does at grand openings. But the place was packed. I did my duty and introduced the Lambs to frozen custard even though we haven't been able to take a vacation back East for a few years. They want to go back again soon! We would welcome any other frozen custard places that want to come to Idaho!

Monday, October 20, 2014

September and October Composer Study

The Martin Looper that gave the idea about studying other subjects with a Five in a Row approach suggested music study with this approach. We have read a lot about composers and listened to a lot of classical music in our homeschool. I decided this year to try the Five in a Row approach by focusing on one composer each month and listening to one piece of music from that composer for about a week.

In September we studied Bach. We have listened to and read about Bach before, but I wanted to review Bach with the Lambs and Bach is one of their favorites so they didn't complain. The review was good for them and they all learned new things about Bach that they didn't remember from reading about him a few years ago.

We read these books about Bach:
Sebastian Bach the Boy from Thuringia by Wheeler
(We also listened to all the music excerpts from this book on CD and Lamb 1 played some of the excerpts on the piano for us.)
Johann Sebastian Bach by Venzia
Sebastian a Book about Bach by Winter
Bach's Goldberg Variations by Celenza
First Discovery Music Bach-also listened to the CD with the book
Bach's Big Adventure by Ketcham
I would like to listen to some more of Bach's music either CDs that we own or from the Internet, but I am satisfied that the boys learned a lot about Bach in all the readings we did about him in September.

In October we studied Handel. We have not finished our study of Handel and we will not finish with all our fall activities planned. So we will continue to study Handel in November.

We read these books about Handel:
Handel at the Court of Kings by Wheeler
(Again we listened to all the music excerpts from this book on CD.)
Handel Who Knew What he Liked by Anderson
These were both books that we owned and I wasn't interested in other Handel biographies that our library owned. I think we will do more listening to Handel than reading about him. Both of these biographies that we did read were very informative.

Next I plan to study Haydn with the Lambs. With our schedule that may need to wait until after Christmas. We just plug along and fit composer study in when we can. The Opal Wheeler books about composers are interesting and we have all learned a lot about composers from them. I will try to make listening to this music a priority after Christmas and truly do the Five in a Row approach with it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Our Weekend

Friday we went to an apple orchard and picked a bunch of apples. The first orchard was free all you can eat in the orchard and I'm not sure if the Lambs ate more in the orchard or picked more to bring home. Then we went to an orchard next door to that orchard and picked even more apples for applesauce and baking.
Then we met a fellow Martin Looper and learned about essential oils and made our first purchase. It was nice to have some time to chat together.
Then we picked up new glasses for Ram and Ewe. Ewe only wears hers for night time driving. Ram looks really different, I'll post pictures soon.
On Friday we also received a phone call that Lamb 2 won a $100 savings bond from a local garden center. Many people attended their harvest festival the weekend before and I was shocked that one of our Lambs won.
We splurged from our diet and made homemade macaroni and cheese for supper. Yum!
After supper we went to Target and purchased the first new Halloween costumes for our 3 Lambs ever. They all have outgrown the Winnie the Pooh costumes and Lamb 1 and 2 have outgrown most of our other dress up clothes like fireman costumes. I had intended to make their costumes this year but ran out of time. I'll blog pictures at Halloween time.

Saturday Ewe ran a few errands and then Ram ran a few errands. We had our sprinklers blown out. The Lambs played outside with the neighbors ALL DAY. We got a lot of items crossed off our to do list both inside and outside our house. We had carmel apple nachos for dessert.

Sunday After church and Sunday School we went to turn in fundraiser $ for Cub Scouts. Then we went to two different Michaels in order to get some Halloween items the Lambs requested since last Halloween. I'll post pictures of that soon. The first Michaels was sold out of most Halloween stuff. Then we went to the grocery store and let the Lambs pick out pumpkins. I feel like a bad mom to not take them to a pumpkin patch but we are just too busy this time of year. We'll have to plan for it next year. The Lambs and Ram did some clean up outside before winter. It was beautiful weather today! For supper we made homemade gluten free pizza.

This week I need to work on some more crafts for our church bazaar; also can and bake with the apples we got on Friday; Ram plans to finish our car shopping; and this is the last week of cross country with a meet on Saturday. The following week I plan to do a lot of baking for our bazaar in addition to all of our Halloween activities.

Hopefully I'll blog about some of this in more detail with pictures soon. It will probably be after the bazaar so I figured I would post this fast update now.

Friday, October 17, 2014

September and October Artists Study

One of the Loopers gave the idea to study other subjects besides literature using the Five in a Row approach. I thought this was an excellent idea. My idea for artist study was to begin with a set of cards of 30 famous paintings from Usborne. I planned to read about the artist of the week, look at paintings and other art from that artist, and read the information on the card each day for about a week. I expected that we would soon be adding another card while we were still reading about a previous artist, but with the goal to learn an artist each week.

The Lambs had other ideas. They wanted to learn all the cards as quickly as possible while still reading about the artists. It wasn't exactly the 5 in a Row approach that I expected but it worked even better than I planned!

So far the Lambs know the names and artists for these paintings. They learned them in approximate chronological order-many times artists were alive at the same time. Lamb 1 and 2 know all of these, Lamb 3 knows most of these.

The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck
Primavera by Sandro Botticelli
Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo Buonarroti
Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Brueghel
Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio
The Maids of Honor by Diego Velazquez
Self Portrait by Rembrandt
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Jan Vermeer
The Great Wave by Katsushika Hokusai
The Fighting Temeraire by Joseph Turner
Ophelia by John Millais
Dance at the Moulin de la Galette by Renoir

We owned a few biographies about da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt and we have been reading those. My new plan is to try to have them learn the names and artists for all 30 paintings before Christmas. Then we will go back and study some of the artists in more detail after Christmas. After Christmas we can go back to the Five in a Row approach and look at art from one artist each week. We can also get more books from the library about these artists after we read what we already own in our home library.

I am very pleased with how this art study has gone. Lamb 3 gets so excited when he knows both the name of the painting and the artist! We have only spent a few minutes most school days and they already know 13 out of 30. I bought these cards a few years ago and I had no idea then that we would only need to spend a few minutes a day and it would work so well.

One reason this has been successful is Lamb 1 is a visual learner and Lamb 2 is an auditory learner. Lamb 1 learns it by looking closely at the paintings. Lamb 2 learns it by listening as we talk about the painting. I don't know how Lamb 3 learns yet, but this is much more difficult for him than it is for the other two Lambs. So we try to help him by not shouting out who the artist is right away, giving him time to think and answer when he is able to. I think that doing it daily is going to be how he learns it. That part of this artist study has been interesting to me. Also Lamb 1 and 2 are very competitive and this is something that they can compete against each other to learn unlike other subjects with a lot of reading that Lamb 2 couldn't keep up.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

One lesson I think you should teach your daughter...

When the girls came to my house for a tea party, I had made some of the food before they came. I made small plain scones. I bought lemon curd and other toppings such as Nutella and cream cheese. I opened a jar of homemade jam. I figured they could all choose what they liked and have several scones with different toppings since they were small.

I had planned to make mock clotted cream but at the last minute I decided to just have the girls make regular whipped cream and keep it simpler. It turned out that none of them had ever made whipped cream before. Even knowing that we only have whipped cream as a very special dessert, I was shocked that they hadn't even watched whipped cream being made before. I was so glad I chose to have them make whipped cream.

It ended up that they were so fascinated with the whipped cream that I didn't care that the 5 year old licked the beaters right there and they all tried some whipped cream from the bowl with their fingers. Hey, their fingers were clean for them to cook!

If you have a daughter, please show her how to make whipped cream for a special holiday or special occasion! We don't have dairy often, but my Lambs have watched me make whipped cream before. Lamb 1 won't eat it, but he knows how to make it.

I taught this important lesson to these four girls. Now they know so it is one less thing for their moms to teach them. And we really enjoyed our scones with toppings and real whipped cream.

(Note in case you don't know how-Whip heavy cream on high speed in mixer until peaks form, add sugar or honey, and vanilla. It is recommended to chill the bowl and beaters but when making regular whipped cream I don't and it still works. I do need to chill the bowl when I make whipped cream out of coconut milk though.

Second note-Even though I was surprised that they didn't know how to make whipped cream, I do get that most Americans just use Cool Whip or Reddi-wip. When I was little my Aunt Pauline would make homemade pie and whipped cream and I preferred Cool Whip then. But then I grew up and tried whipped cream and will never go back to Cool Whip unless it is the only topping offered. Add in that we had to eat non-dairy and non-soy for a few years for Lamb 1 which meant no Cool Whip or real whipped cream, and I'm going to choose real whipped cream or coconut milk whipped cream now.

Third note-I realize there are more important lessons to teach your daughters, and I'm not criticizing their moms. Also I realize they are still young and just beginning to learn to cook.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ewe's Random Thoughts Today

1. When I took Lamb 2 to therapy yesterday I noticed that the local newspaper was printed on pink paper in honor of breast cancer awareness. The front page story was about same sex marriage.
2. My hometown is known as the city of churches but there are a lot of businesses and restaurants there that are not respectful of women. One of these local restaurants closed here in Boise. There are still a few of these restaurants and businesses here, but no where near the number in my hometown. Guess what they are building in the spot of that closed restaurant here? Chick-Fil-A. Hooray for another Chick-Fil-A!
3. Ram went to the doctor today because his throat is still scratchy. Neither one of us are very good about knowing when we are sick enough to need to go to the doctor. We figured this has gone on long enough that it was time to go. A pastor needs to sound healthy and be able to talk! Of course it was no antibiotics needed, just keep doing the home remedies that he has been doing. I'm still glad he went so we know he doesn't have something contagious.
4. We have been reading aloud a lot of different kinds of books recently. With Ram's sore throat Ewe has been doing all the reading. I plan to blog about some of the books we have recently read.
5. I was feeling guilty that Lamb 1 is in 5th grade and we haven't done any formal grammar study. That is the subject that has been put off during Lamb 2's therapy. I decided to read some books about each part of speech to begin. I picked up A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink-What is a Noun? by Brian Cleary. The Lambs told me they already knew what a noun was and we didn't need to read the book. How did they know what a noun was? From watching Martha Speaks on PBS. We read the book but as they said they all already knew what a noun was. I'm not nearly as worried about Lamb 1 taking his first standardized test in the spring as I was before. Between the Lambs watching Wild Kratts (Science), Cyberchase (Math and Logic), Martha Speaks (Grammar and vocabulary), and Curious George (STEM? sort of a hodgepodge of topics) I think he'll do fine. Yes, the mom the gave up TV for a few years is saying this!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Family Night

This afternoon we planted our free tree from the power company. It was sort of a family activity. The Lambs got tired of the whole process and went in to watch football while Ram and Ewe finished.

Tonight after supper we went to Barnes and Noble. Our local store is having Educator Week and I assume it is all B&N, but you should check on that. We had a couple of gift cards with a few dollars on each. Ram picked out two books he wanted but had to put one back due to not enough money on the gift cards. It was 25% off books and music etc. for educators.

We then went over to the cafe and I had received an e-mail that it was 10% off cafe purchases. Neither the gal running the cafe or the manager had any idea what I was talking about. Thankfully I had printed out the message and showed them. We all got a drink at the cafe for 10% off and I used the rest of our gift card. Total for all our drinks after that was about $10 which was not bad for 5 drinks. The manager was glad to see my print out so they can give 10% off the rest of this week.

Then our whole family went and picked up a few items at two different grocery stores. I thought I was done grocery shopping this weekend but I was asked to bring a specific item for the kitchen for our bazaar and we used some stuff from our pantry due to the sore throats in our house last week. We don't often take the whole family to the grocery store but we just needed a few items. The Lambs helped and we stuck to our list.

Now we are back to regular schedule with a busy week planned. Hopefully we all remain healthy now. I'm hoping on Friday to get apples and pumpkins. There are just 3 weeks until our bazaar at church and I still have lots of craft and baking projects to complete before then. The local schools had a long weekend but I told the Lambs they will get their fall break the few days before the bazaar.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tea Party

Something that I have thought of a lot since I went to the He Remembers the Barren retreat last year is how I can help others since my boys are getting older and more independent. When we came up for the idea of Girls Club/Boys Club/One mom break, I was excited to have a chance to do girly activities with girls since I am the only female in our house.

I had the girls first in September. I spent my Labor Day weekend making the girls aprons. I have not spent much time sewing since Lamb 1 was born so they took longer than I expected. I'm a perfectionist and I know there are mistakes, but they were completed and acceptable by me to give as gifts.

I dropped my boys off and picked up the girls. I was surprised that the drive home was conversation about all the times in their life they have puked. It wasn't what I expected for GIRLS club!

When they got back to my house there were presents waiting for them.
I had asked them their favorite colors and the presents were lime green, turquoise, purple, and pink just as they requested. I had a difficult time choosing the purple and pink-do you choose light or dark purple and pink? I had purple and green wrapping paper and I found some tissue paper that was turquoise and pink. I was going to buy bows but I figured out I had ribbon in the right colors.

When the girls opened the presents, they couldn't believe I had made them. Joelle's daughter seemed shocked that I knew how to sew and made them myself. It made the time making the aprons worth it when they appreciated them so much. They were excited to put them on right away. I made them large, the 12 year old's is an adult pattern, and hopefully they can wear these for a few years.

We then spent some time discussing our plans for the rest of the afternoon. I chose to have them make the food and we would have a tea party. I gave them some options for sandwiches and desserts and they got to work making the food.

I will forever remember E, the 5 year old, just climbed right up on my counter and got to work on the egg salad. Of course it was important to them that everyone got to do everything for an equal amount of time. My plans were to break them into two groups and assign different tasks to each group. That didn't work because everyone wanted a turn to smash the eggs for egg salad and each thing we were making. The girls were a little disappointed that they didn't do much baking, I had store bought cookie dough to bake etc. I told them next time we will do more baking, but this time the focus was to have a tea party. It ended up being good to have this time so I know better how to organize a baking day with them next time.
The girls made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ham and cheese tortilla roll ups, and egg salad "boats". I made very small plain scones before they came and they baked some frozen store bought chocolate chip scones. We made whipped cream. I required them to try one homemade scone with lemon curd and there were lots of other toppings for them. For dessert they made chocolate cookies and s'more cookies and we also had frozen chocolate strawberries and chocolate bananas. One girl chose apple juice but the rest chose iced tea. I couldn't convince them to try hot tea-they had my iced tea before and wanted that again!
Egg Salad Boats

Ham and Cheese Roll Ups

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

Homemade Scones on top, Store Bought Scones on bottom

Top: Frozen chocolate covered strawberries and bananas
Bottom: Chocolate cookies and S'more Cookies

I had asked the girls to bring dress up clothes for our tea party. They all wore skirts as play clothes when they came to my house and my first thought was that they would not have needed to bring dress up clothes. But they were very excited about dressing up. I was the waitress and served them during their tea party. There was a lot of food and they were full quickly. I suggested they change back into their play clothes but they wanted to stay dressed up. 
I had planned to have them help me clean up but I could see from what happened when they made the food that wasn't going to work very well. 4 girls and 1 adult in a kitchen that wasn't familiar to them wasn't going to make clean up very smooth. I had got some china and special dishes out and didn't want anything to get broken during clean up. Since they didn't want to change clothes I let them talk and play while I quickly cleaned up. They went upstairs and it sounded like it was getting pretty wild. Again, not what I expected with girls! I suggested they come downstairs and we play a board game or card game together. I suggested several games but they saw my boys had scores from the Game of Life listed in our schoolroom. They got the idea to play Life and couldn't be talked into a different game. So I ended up playing Life on the girls day which is something I often do with my boys!

One girl didn't want to play but we talked her into it. We ran out of time and did not get to finish the game. Looking back, we should have played a quicker, easier to learn the rules, game. But we had a lot of fun anyway.

By my entryway they had a mess of clothes and shoes, again not what I expected with girls. But they were all ready with everything right by my front door when it was time to go. The time went quickly and before we knew it my boys were home and it was time for them to go. My boys enjoyed the tea party leftovers for supper that night.

We had a fun day and we all look forward to the next girls club at my house, probably in January. I have promised that next time will be a baking day. Joelle, I have these files of pictures all ready to give you, you don't need to ask for them!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Bone broth

A few weeks ago lamb chops were on sale just a little more than the price I would pay for hamburger. I bought a few and stuck them in the freezer.

This weekend we had time to thaw and marinate the lamb and make our favorite recipe with it. As I was trimming the meat off the bones some meat close to the bone wouldn't come off. I couldn't just waste that meat.

So I stuck the bones and some water and some apple cider vinegar in the crockpot on low for a couple of days. Tonight I put the broth through a strainer to remove the bones. The whole process only took a few minutes to prepare it and then to strain it.

I am left with some really nice broth. Ram and Lamb 2 have been fighting colds and sore throats so they will appreciate this even more.

My MIL paid a lot of money to buy bones for making bone broth. My boys fought over the leftovers when we visited one time. This only made a very small batch. I don't think the bone broth recipe meant lamb chop bones. But this is my frugal way of making broth and I don't think Ram or the Lambs will complain.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

So nice...

Ram took Lamb 1 to a Cub Scout activity this afternoon. Our minivan is still in the shop so I didn't have a car. Lamb 2 has a runny nose that I think is allergies but I'm not sure. So I was forced to stay home and stay inside today with Lamb 2 and 3.

I got so much done! So many little projects that have been sitting here wanting my attention. Sorted stuff to give away and next week I will deliver that stuff. Packed up two boxes to mail on Monday. Got more ready to mail when I have more flat rate USPS boxes. Did a lot of laundry and dishes. Shredded and froze 3 huge zucchini. Mended some master bed sheets and a pair of my jeans. (Still have a lot more mending to do including a lot of twin bed sheets.-Why does everything wear out at the same time?) Made supper (Glenda's recipe with lamb/veggies/tzatziki).

I'm looking at the calendar and we have several Saturdays with Cub Scout activities scheduled. I'm thinking it would be good for us if I stayed home with Lamb 2 and 3 on these days. We are continually running during the week to therapy and activities. It is really nice to not be running on Saturday too. It's good for us to have a nice supper together when Lamb 1 gets home. It was good to use stuff from the freezer and pantry to make supper. Lamb 2 and 3 enjoyed staying home and playing together too.

Hopefully tomorrow our family can get outside and do some yardwork. Ram mowed the grass but I have some bulbs to plant and we need to do some other yardwork too.

Now I'm going to take a hot bath for a perfect ending to my day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Girls Club/Boys Club

Some of my friends came up with a plan to trade kids one afternoon a month. The boys go to one house, the girls go to one house, and one mom gets the afternoon off. Due to sickness and schedules it ended up that the September get together was last week and the October get together was today. We won't meet again for this until the middle of November. We will take off December and I hope to do this rotation again beginning in January. Each mom can plan the afternoon however they want-either do an activity with them or just let them play together. It is not meant that it has to be an educational activity. It is meant to give the kids time to play together, especially for the other two families that have just one boy in each family.

For September I had the girls at my house. I was thrilled to be able to do girly activities for a whole afternoon. I will blog about our tea party in another post. There are 4 girls.

I was the mom that had October off. After our recent crazy schedule it was wonderful to relax for an entire afternoon. Since Lamb 2 was born I occasionally get a babysitter to run errands or in MN to get stuff done at home without being interrupted by the Lambs. But I have never had an afternoon at home without the Lambs until today.

I will have the boys at my house for November. I'm not sure what I will do for the boys, but it seems much easier to host boys here than girls. If all else fails I can just let them play Legos all afternoon. There are 5 boys.

One of the reasons we came up with this rotation was we thought as moms it would be wonderful to have one afternoon off every three months. After hosting the girls last month I can see that this is going to be very beneficial for our children too. One of the girls complained that one of their friends they met at VBS wasn't able to attend with them. It wasn't until that comment that the girls realized that all 3 of our families homeschool. We wouldn't be able to do this if they weren't homeschooled! I think it is great for the kids to get together with other kids the same sex. It is a small reward for the homeschooled kids to take an afternoon to play together after working hard on school work all month.

It was a little crazy to do this two weeks in a row. That was not planned but our plans had to change and it only worked if we did it this way. We will all be happy to do this again in November after a long break.

The other two families live close together and can walk to the other house. I am the one that lives 4 miles away. I will gladly drive over there to participate in this.

When I first had this idea I had no idea this was going to be so difficult to arrange with three different family schedules. We eventually found dates that worked for all of us and some months were better dates than other months. I do think this is important for both moms and kids so I will make it work even if the time isn't the best for us some months. It is really difficult with all Lamb 2's therapy and the other activities we are involved in to find a good day for this.

Tonight the Lambs were a little disappointed that after two weeks they won't see the other boys for awhile. It makes me happy that all the children enjoy this as much as the moms. The moms may be tired (especially after having the boys at our house!) but it is worth it for every one.