Wednesday, June 30, 2010

S'mores on a Stick

I found these cool treats on Skip to My Lou.  They are perfect.  Kid #2 is hemiplegic and only has really good use of one hand.  And ANYONE that has eaten S'mores knows that it is a two handed endeavor.  I am always looking for creative ways to help her enjoy all the same stuff as everyone else.  We will be creating these this holiday weekend.  Thanks to Skip to My Lou!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Reconnecting with Roald Dahl

Fantastic Mr. Fox I found a box set of Roald Dahl books in the bargain bin recently and was immediately taken back to childhood.  I read his books and loved them, would kid #1 feel the same way?  I brought the set home and put it on our bookshelf with no fuss.  Soon enough I got the "I am bored, mom," I knew would come along.  I told him to head to the bookshelves and see what he could find.  He came up from the basement, eyes wide.  "What are these," he asked "can I read them?"  He took off and in 2 days completed  Fantastic Mr. Fox.

I must say, I was a bit sad that we didn't get to read it together.  When he announced that his next selection was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I couldn't help myself.  "Can we read it together?" I asked.   "Sure, " he replied.  So off we went to read this book together.  It is so much fun discussing Charlie, his poverty, his dreams, how much his family loves each other even though they are so poor...AND we are only 4 chapters in.  I would have never guessed it. 

Our next project together is to finish "Charlie" then watch the "old" movie with Gene Wilder and the "new" movie with Johnny Depp (once I preview it).  That will give us a good jumping off point for compare and contrasting.  (And a good reason to eat popcorn!)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Meal Planning This Week

Photo from:

Well, this week I have a plan...

Monday: Baked Penne with salad (Already made and in the freezer)
Tuesday: Pork Ribs on the grill
Wednesday: Sandwiches (Baseball night)
Thursday: Steak and Potatoes on the grill (Hubby's in charge)
Friday: Pizza (Let the weekend begin)
Saturday: Holiday Fare*
Sunday: Holiday Fare*

*I have some ideas here, but since we have plans and our schedule is off we typically sleep late, eat large breakfasts and then eat again about 3:00.  Before bed the kids have a bowl of cereal, yogurt with fruit, or PB&J.  I used to plan for 3 meals during the holidays, but soon realized that we are so busy we often only get 2 in!

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Little Encouragement

I have never read a blog post before that I have thought was written just to me.  Here is one from the Totus Tuus Family that I had to share.  I am printing this Letter to a Mom with Homeschooling Doubts out and putting it in my research notebook!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Look what we found!

Blackberries!!  Growing in our own backyard.  

This year, the scrubby bushes that were on the property when we bought it have produced a bumper crop of blackberries.  It has been so much fun to pick them (although I could have done without the huge pokey vines that were intermingled with the berries).  

We have had them with whipped cream, on cereal and by the handful!  We are going to check the bushes again today!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Homeschooling Option

As some of you know, I have been tossing the idea of homeschooling around for months now.  I have read more books, blogs and articles than I can count.  I have considered the pros, the cons, the what ifs and the shoulds.  I have thought about whether this is a decision I am making for me or for my kids.  Do I just want a “teaching job” or do I really think my kids are better served at home?  Can I do it?  Kid #4 is on her way in 5 short weeks and I wondering about the idea of working homeschooling in around feedings and baby care. 

I also have the fear of just being bad at it.  What if it doesn’t work for us?  What if kid #1 and I can’t work together?  What if he winds up behind?  I also contend with the fact that kid #3 is PAINFULLY shy in situations outside our home.  She refuses to interact with children without her father, brother or me. She does eventually warm up, but it takes a while.  Does she “need” preschool for improved socialization?  Will I delay her without that interaction?

Kid #2 is going to school regardless of what I decide for #1 and #3.  As I have mentioned in other posts, kid #2 was born with a serious birth defect and is globally delayed. (In a post soon I will profile each of my kiddos!)   Our district offers half-day kindergarten and she receives special education services (PT, OT, speech therapy and resource room support) while there.  In the afternoon. I have homeschooling activities planned for kid #2 and #3 from the book Teach Me To Do It Myself as well as a story time at the library, a religious education class, and a session with a music therapist.  These are things I will do whether they are homeschooled officially or not.  I will supplement what happens elsewhere. 

The good news is I have choices and that none of the choices are permanent.  We can try any one of the options and see how it goes.  If something isn’t working for a kid we can make changes. 

I want to make it clear that I believe in the idea of a public education, I am a public school (K-12 and college) educated person that grew up to be a public school teacher.  I serve on a public school board.  I know that there are good things happening in public schools.  But one thing I am beginning to realize through my research is that each kids needs might be better met in different settings and a great way to change curriculum for each kid is when homeschooling.  I have a few months to try some stuff and to decide.  I am also waiting for kid #1’s classroom placement for next year.  It could be the difference?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Last Week - What Happened???

I would love to tell you that last week, the first week of summer vacation, was so much fun that I didn't have enough time to write.  Instead, we got a ton of "stuff" done.

Here is the list:
  • trip to Costco - took 3.5 hours from start to finish
  • dentist for kids #1 and #3
  • OB appointment for me
  • baseball (and T-ball) for #1 and #3
  • Therapy "preview" appointments for #2
  • Basement organizing phase #1
We did make it to the kick off of the library reading program, make several yummy dinners and get ready for our "daddy party" on Sunday.  I am hoping that I will get a chance to post about some of the things we are putting into place for summer over the next few days.  (Basement phase #1)

I need to set aside time for myself...that is a work in progress.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Girl's Croc Sale and Free Jibbitz

When I got this info from The New Frugal Mom, I had to pass it on.  This Croc, Gabby, is $14.99 at  Use the code GABBY999 to get these for $9.99.  If you then use the code STACK15, you can get them for $8.49.  Also, if you order shoes you can get a free Jibbitz and free shipping.  I got 2 pair, one pink and one purple, for kids #2 and #3 for $16.98 and free shipping!

Summer Budget left:  $105.05

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Our Summer Plans

My kids will all be home from school next week.  I am one of those moms that can't wait.  I have been counting down since Easter.  As a family I have plans for us to do lots of things together.  Here is a list:

Berry Picking
Farmer's Market
Trip (or trips) to the Zoo or Petting Farm
Reading program and weekly visits to the library
Hands On Museum Trips on rainy or HOT days
Playing in the kiddie pool, water table and yard
Planting and caring for plants (and pulling weeds!)
Riding bikes at Nana's (She has a really long driveway!)
Fishing trips on our boat
Picnics in the backyard
Trips to the lake

Here are the things planned for kid#1:
Two weeks of Vacation Bible School (Two churches in our town have great ones)
Swimming lessons
Drama camp
Cub scout camp (One day camp, one overnight with Dad)
Ongoing Piano Lessons

Plans for Kid #2:
Safety Town
One week of Vacation Bible School

Kid #3 will be doing the following:
Swimming Lessons with kid #1
Vacation Bible School
Music Class with kid #2

In the midst of all of this, kid #4 should be making her arrival around August 1!  

I am still going to try to get my kids to work on a few "school-ish" things as well to keep in good practice and establish a routine should we decide to stay home next year.  (I will post more about these things later.) 
One day left...I can't wait.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

$1 Summer Movies

For 9 weeks this summer the Goodrich Quality Theaters is offering $1 movies at 10 am each day Monday-Friday.  They also have snack specials too! These are second run movies, but my kids will enjoy seeing them on the big screen. (Some of them we will not see, we have just started watching a few PG movies.)  Put these on your calendar in case you are looking for something fun and inexpensive to do with the kids this summer.  At this price, they could even take a friend!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Meal Planning This Week

Photo by
Monday: Leftovers and such!
Tuesday Pancakes and Sausage
Wednesday: Baked Chicken
Thursday: Homemade Mac and Cheese
Friday: Picnic on the lake
Saturday: Cub scout campout or pizza for those staying home
Sunday: Steaks (or pork chops) on the grill

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cooking with Daddy

As I have been researching the "World of Homeschooling", I have found a fair amount of articles stressing the importance of dads being involved.  While we have not officially crossed over, I am using quite a few of the techniques and ideas I have found in my studies.  When I saw this happening at the dining room table I had to take pictures.

My kids and husband have made guacamole a ton of times.  They all love it.  On occasion while grocery shopping they will ask if they can pick out the ingredients.  This week avocados were on sale and kid #1 knows the way to his mom's heart is a sale!  So we picked some out.  (Limes, tomatoes, and onion, too.)

Here are a few pictures of what happened when we got home!

Scooping it in!
Ladies first!
Rolling the limes before squeezing them!

Now kid #1 gets a turn!

I would love to show you the finished product, but it was eaten promptly.  I loved listening to all the conversation that happened around this project: how to pick the best avocados, how to get the pit out, the health qualities of guacamole, who was doing what job, how they could include kid #2 to help her do the things she would be best was great!  It is times like this I almost think we could do it!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Meal Planning This Week

This is a short week because of the holiday.  We actually took an extra day to do the traveling on Tuesday instead of fighting traffic on Monday, so we had a quick and easy "hodgepodge", as we call it, Tuesday night.  Today was dark and rainy, so I did some batch cooking to get me to the weekend!

Here are the plans:
Wednesday: Pasta and meat sauce  (Sauce and meat cooked this morning)
Thursday: Turkey Taco Salad (Meat made this morning)
Friday: Sausage, beans and rice (all ready to go - just cook the rice)
Saturday: On the grill (Steaks or pork chops)
Sunday: Crock pot Creations (We will see what inspires me from the freezer)

Add to that the "batch" of gluten free pancakes I made.  Some blueberry, some regular, some chocolate chip.  I put them between wax paper and freeze them in labeled plastic bags.  My kids love these for breakfast (or dinner).  Tomorrow I am going to try and make some muffins and bread (Regular and gluten free) with the blueberries, zucchini, and pumpkin I have in the freezer.  I think I might have sweet potato, too!  I could use that to make waffles (GF) soon.  It beats standing over a hot waffle iron when the humidity kick in.   Also with a new baby arriving in 9 weeks, I'll need all the help I can get!

Perhaps a post sometime soon about batch cooking.  I know other bloggers that swear by it.  The larger my family gets the more I am relying on it too!