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Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Perspective

I have been dealing with this for a long time, but have hesitated to do a blog about it because I do not want to offend anyone. Although certain people don't mind offending me. So before you read this please note that it is directed to all the "better than you" , judgemental people who can't just live and let live. This is my response to them.

I am a stay at home mother by choice, not because I am uneducated, lazy, or lack motivation in any way. I made this choice internationally, just like you chose to have a career. I dedicate my days to raising happy, healthy, well educated, independent members of our society. What you dedicate your days to is your business. I would not trade places with you, trade homes with you, trade cars with you, or trade bank accounts with you. I am perfectly content with what I have and am proud of my life.

I am a parent to my children. They are not raised by teachers, day care providers, or other family members. They are raised by my husband and me. I know what they had for lunch today, what they learned today, how they feel about religion, politics, the environment, and almost any other topic you can think of. I know their hobbies, their dreams, and their hopes. I am teaching them how I feel and what I think about all of the above topics. Who does and knows these things about your children. Who do your children go to with problems and just the regular day to day conversations. Who made their lunch today and what did they have. Where are they right now, (school or daycare is a broad term for I am not sure, are they in science, math?) and who is influencing them?
Who do they spend most of their time with? What about their siblings, do they interact well with them, or interact with them at all. Is their peace in your home or is it full of turmoil? I bet you had a good conversation with a co-worker today, did you have one with your child?

I don't believe that my life is for everyone and I don't believe there is any other life for me. I am well aware that if you are a single mother you have no choice but to work. But, if you are a married women and working then you chose money over mothering. That is your choice. I am not trying to judge you, I am asking you to try not to judge me. I know some of this sounds harsh and I am sorry for that. It is from years of being brushed aside and made to feel less of a contributor to society. I and every other mother are the biggest contributors to society, we are the bearers of the next generation. What more can one do than to shape the lives and minds of our future generation. In the end you are responsible for every good and bad thing that happens in your child's life. I wasn't there is the worst excuse because there is no reason why you shouldn't have been there. It all boils down to priorities and perspective. Live and let live


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In expensive halloween gore :)

Homemade Blood

You will need:

1/2 bottle of light corn syrup
very hot water
squirt of liquid soap
red food coloring
blue or green food coloring (optional)

Pour light corn syrup into a bowl and add hot water sparingly, adding and stirring until you have the right consistency. Add a squirt of liquid soap to make it the blood easy to clean off later. Tint with red food coloring. You may add a drop of blue or green if you like to make the blood a darker color. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Smear on as needed!

Thick and goopy Blood

Plain Flour
Water
Red Food Coloring
1 tsp. of instant Coffee

Boil the water on the stove, then sieve in the flour (as much as you want depending on how thick you like your blood), making sure you get all of the lumps out. Once you have the flour mixed into the water it should look thick and runny. Next, add the red food coloring. At this point, it will be very red, but adding the coffee brings it back to a great bloody color. Make sure it’s hot when you add the coffee. Now, let it cool and apply liberally.


White grease paint

mix 2 tsp. shortening, 5 tsp. cornstarch and 1 tsp. flour. Add 2 or 3 drops of glycerin for smoothness. Add food coloring for color.




Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sour dough starter

O.K. I have been wanting to do this for a long time and today I am finally going to give it a go. I want to make a sour dough starter. I don't know why I am so hesitant about this, but I have been. I have been reading up on starters and trying to learn all I can about them. Here are a few sites that I found helpful Sourdough home , Whats cooking America (this one had a good picture of what your starter "should" look like, and Baking 911 . So Today I will start making my starter and I will post updates as to how it is coming along. Everyone cross your fingers.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Week 7

We had another busy week. Tuesday the younger 3 girls had the first of three bicycle safety classes. They had a lot of fun and got new bicycle helmets. Then our homeschool group had there annual clothing exchange, its wonderful, not only do you get to get rid of all the clothes that are piling up in your closet, but you get to replace some of those clothes with things that will actually be worn. Its like a huge free yard sale and the best part is that anything left over gets donated to a local charity. We found a great holloween costume for Hailie. She will be going as tiger. I refuse to buy costumes from the store. $17.00 + for an outfit they will wear one time is just craziness in my book. So finding such a nice costume wonderful. Davina sewed Isabel's costume. It is A Victorian mid 1860 era dress. The reason I know this is because she is sitting here telling me the era and style the dress is, she takes her sewing and dress making very seriously. She is really good at it too. She also made a beautiful victorian stlye apron for herself,the only thing is that she is wearing it for halloween also and her costume involves blood splatter. I am afraid her apron will be stained. :( Anyone know of fake blood that doesn't stain? The other girls got there costumes from goowill. We are now ready for halloween.
Homeschool group is having a halloween carnival and I am still trying to come up with a good game or project to take for the kids in the group to do, something fun and inexpensive. We made our October bulletin board and it came out very nice.

Daddy scored a 89 on his first test in the academy and is ranked 4th in his class. We are very proud of him.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week 6

This week we really fell into our regular schedule, now that dad is in the academy.
We spent Saturday re organizing our living/class room. What a nice feeling to have the classroom put back together. It seems as though this year is really flowing well so far.
The girls will now be having there Japanese lessons at there teachers house, so the little ones and I will probably be spending that hour at the library or hopefully I can find a park near by. It is in a part of town I am not familiar with. I am also going to add Spanish to the younger kids lessons, after all there dad and I both speak it so might as well teach it to the kids. :) We mistakenly assumed that the older girls would learn it because we speak it and there grandparents on there dad's side speak it. We were wrong. They understand a lot of it but don't speak it as fluently as we would like and are now not interested in learning it at all. That is fine with me but if we had taught it to them younger they would speak 3 languages now instead of 2.



This is one wall of our classroom/living room. the other wall has our book shelves and t.v. We have no cable and don't plan on getting it. We have a DVD player and a VHS player. We also get netflix, they have a wonderful selection of documentaries. Our house is not fancy and anyone who has ever been here can testify to that, but it is welcoming and comfortable. We learn and play a lot here. It is proof that you don't have to be rich with a big house and lots of room to home school. You just need dedication and creativity.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Week 5

O.K. what I have learned the hard way this week is that there is no way my 2 yr. old and 1 yr old can stay in the library for 1 hr. while there older sisters are in Japanese class, no matter how many games and puzzles the library has or how many books I read to them. So last Tuesday we spent the last 30 Min's. or so in the van with the air conditioner on listening to the 2 yr. old cry. We really need to figure something else out. Any Ideas anyone???? I am thinking about taking some kids songs on CD or something, maybe let them play with some toys or color in the car why we wait????????? Don't want to do what we did last week that's for sure, I about lost my mind.
Daddy is at the academy today, officially day 1 as last Friday was what they call a free day and today they call black Monday, because the recruits get yelled at all day and have to do a million push ups and run and just about anything the Sargent's can think of to make them suffer :) and what did I do.........forget to send him a lunch.........So no food for the poor guy all day. I feel so bad, I had so much stuff to pack for him and I totally forgot his lunch. My bad :(

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Week 4


Well, this week has been a little tough, first of all we lost our favorite rooster Macho, It is never easy when your animals die but Macho was my beautiful rooster and everything a rooster should be, He was a gorgeous rooster.
The older girls are taking Japanese lessons. A lady in our home school group gives lessons to any kids who are interested, once a week. There are about 6 to 9 taking lessons and the girls really enjoyed themselves. So, every Friday they will be taking Japanese lessons.
This next week will be our last week having Daddy home full time, this Friday he start the corrections academy and so I will have total control of the home during the day again. That is bitter sweet. He makes a great back-up when the kids aren't listening or fallowing directions, on the other hand we can have more of a set schedule again, which helps us all function better. I will miss him being here though.
The picture on top is our September bulletin board, the little green head is the head of our bookworm, he has grown since this picture was taken and I will post another picture of him when we take it down to make our October bulletin board. We got the paper from the local newspaper, if you call they usually leave there end rolls out for anyone to pick up. We got a lot of them to hand out at home school group and still have a lot left for our own art projects.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Week 3

This week has been so exhausting, getting hubby ready for the academy, and all the usual things a mother and wife must do. We had to buy his 3 different uniforms and his pt gear. Thank God we have an awesome sister and brother who were willing to help us out. I believe we have everything ready to go!
The kids have been excitedly adding books to the bookworm and I am happy to say all with out prompting from me.
I know I am tired and stressed because I have been so testy and grumpy with the kids. I know they forgive me but I do feel very guilty about it. I have been trying to stick to my jogs and weights to help relieve some of the stress.
I have decided to cut out reading comp. from the older girls curriculum, it is obvious at this point that they understand what they read and so now it is just busy work for them, I am sure they rather spend the time doing something else.
We found a wonderful second hand store on the way to home school group. The older two girls found a book written in japanese and we bought it for $1.00. At the park where we meet up with the other home schoolers they sat under the awning and began to look through the book, The other kids and I sifted through the donated treasures that we all bring to meetings every week, I walked over to the older girls to drop off some of the great stuff I had found when Davina said "mom look this word means tree"and Alyssa added "and this one means mountain" (they have been learning japanese on there own for awhile now) I was shocked, "you can read that" I asked. ( it all looked like marks and lines to me. "yes" they said, and that was it. WOW! There is proof that given the opportunity kids will learn remarkable things, on there own, given the resources and time. I might add that all the japanese they have learned has been from library books and almost free second hand store books and tapes.

If I had three wishes, by Davina

A star gave me three wishes and I gave them right back. The star gazed upon me with great confusion in his twinkle and said "my dear child, out of all the years I have hovered above the world, not one has refused my wishes, I don't think that your rude, I don't think I am being used, Oh, why do you refuse?"
"You gave me three wishes and I gave them right back, The reason is little star, there's nothing I lack, for I have a treasure you could not understand, a treasure so great a gift that is shuns all the treasures of this earth, it is a gift I have been given from before my birth.
The star looked at me in confusion again and said in a bleak tone' "there must be a desire your heart is holding, ask and it is yours."
Your right little star there is something I seek
"yes" said the star shinning with glee from afar, "say it and it will be"
"I'm sorry dear star but this wish you can not grant. What I seek is too great for your power, and I find myself wanting it more by the hour. The wish I want most of all is to be with the one who granted my wish before I had ever wished it. The star dulled and faded away. I know my wish will be granted one day.

Hot crusty french bread


Hot, Crusty French Bread (and More!)

Classic, crusty french bread, so easy, so quick, so good, and so versatile. This bread is one of my secret recipes because it can be varied in endless ways–it is truly a recipe of a thousand breads. Makes perfect authentic Old-World style crusty french bread loaves plus dinner rolls, classic pizza and french bread pizza, dipping bread, dessert pizza, hoagies and subs, soft, chewy Italian bread and rolls, and more. All of these breads from one quick-to-memorize recipe. If you have company, double or triple the recipe, or it will disappear before you can get it to the table!
How to make classic, crusty french bread loaves:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package yeast
(rapid-rise recommended)
1 cup warm water
salt to taste (I use 3/4 teaspoon)
In a large bowl, combine water with yeast and salt. Let sit for five minutes. Stir in flour until the dough is stiff enough to knead. (Add flour a little at a time. Three cups flour is approximate; exact amount may vary.) Knead dough until smooth and elastic–a few minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl; cover. Let rise until doubled. Form dough into a french-style loaf and place on greased baking sheet. (Dust baking sheet with cornmeal first if desired.) Place immediately in oven (unpreheated!)–bread will rise as oven heats up. Set oven at 375-degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
Makes one loaf. Recipe can be doubled, tripled, and so on.
(Pictured: classic, crusty french bread loaves and homemade croissants.)
French dinner rolls: After first rise, divide dough into balls. Dust greased baking sheet with cornmeal if desired. Let rolls rise till doubled. Bake in 375-degree oven about 15 minutes. (Can also be used to make hoagie or sub rolls–shape as desired!)
Classic pizza: Add two tablespoons of olive to the water, yeast, salt mixture before adding flour then continue with the basic directions. After first rise, roll dough out on a greased pizza baking pan. Place immediately in oven. Bake at 400-degrees for about 8 minutes. Take out pizza bread. Add sauce and toppings as desired. Put completed pizza back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes. (For dessert pizza, use melted butter and a mix of sugar and cinnamon, or add fruit!) See How to Make the Best Pizza Dough.
French bread pizza: Bake french bread loaf as directed above. Let cool. Slice loaf in half horizontally. Add sauce and toppings as desired. Put completed french bread pizzas back in 375-degree oven for about 15 minutes. See Shrimp French Bread Pizza.
Dipping bread: After first rise, roll dough flat in a square or rectangular pizza pan (or cookie sheet). Brush with olive oil and sprinkle garlic, salt, or other herbs as desired. Bake in 375-degree oven for 15 minutes. Cut into thin rectangular pieces. Dip in prepared spaghetti sauce, Ranch dressing, olive oil with garlic and balsamic vineger, etc.
Soft, chewy Italian loaves and rolls: Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the recipe above (add to water, yeast, salt mixture before adding flour) to turn classic, crusty french bread loaves into soft, chewy Italian loaves or rolls. Follow recipe otherwise. Bake at 375-degrees for 30-40 minutes for loaves, 15 minutes for rolls.
Other variations: Add anything to turn the classic recipe into something totally unique and suited just to your tastes. After combining warm water, yeast, and salt (and oil, if making Italian bread) and before stirring in flour, add garlic, herbs, chopped onions, tomatoes, peppers, anything and everything that appeals to you! This is a bread to enjoy in a thousand creative ways and a thousand scrumptious flavors. Memorize it in minutes; bake it at the drop of a hat. And it’s so easy! (Shh, don’t tell, it’s a secret!)
:smile:
And thanks to commenter Adam’s excellent idea, check out my French Sandwich Loaf post to use this recipe to create sandwich bread!

September Plans

For our September bulletin board we will be making an apple tree, an apple basket, Good apples ( apple cut outs with the kids names on them) and a book worm. Every time one of us finishes a book we will add another segment to the worm. We are hoping to get it all the way down the hall and back again by the end of the school year.
We plan to make apple pies, apple sauce and apple butter. I like using recipes because they have to use math in a real life way. We never make a recipe the way it is,we always double it, cut it in half, triple it etc.
We will be reading books about autumn, Johnny appleseed ( we will also be watching a DVD on Johnny Appleseed), The making of maple syrup, and Mesopotamia. Our out loud family book this month will be the box car children and Alice in wonderland.
I plan on making a fall colaige with the kids. The older kids have finished up the rest of there Egypt study, they also did a short lesson on Abraham Lincoln. So this month they will be studying Mesopotamia and the digestive system. The younger kids will be participating in the study but at there own level of course.
We are still working on letters with the 6 yr. old and she is reading a few simple words. She is doing very well on her phonics worksheets.

Week 2

It's the end of week 2 and things are still going smoothly. We made it to homeschool group and really enjoyed it. The kids were a little shy at first but before the afternoon was over they were all playing and making friends . Even better news is my husband was accepted into the corrections academy. What a long hard struggle this year has been, after my husband was laid off from work things looked really bleak, but now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. I am really hoping to be able to keep the car while he is at the academy, I would hate to have to miss homeschool group now that we have started going again. I guess we shall have to wait and see how this develops. I give the girls journal promps evey morning to get them started with there journal entry, I have to say I have been very impressed with there entry's. I hope to be able to post some but I want to make sure it is o.k. with them first.

week 1

Well week one is over and I have to say it went pretty well considering the rage of grades I now teach, Alyssa is in 9th grade, Davina is in 8th grade, Joann is in 5th grade, Isabel started kindergarten, Hailie is two yrs. old and Seth is one yr. old. Our home is a busy one. We have my niece and 3 nephews who catch the school bus from here in the morning and then come here after school. I am not complaining in the least, I love it. I love being a part of there lives and knowing that I am a large part of there childhoods, I only hope that when they are grown they bring there children to my house and remember me fondly. The schedule is working out just fine and starting next week we will be going to home school group and the library every Tuesday. We haven't gone to home school group for a few years due to circumstances that made it impossible, I am very happy to be able to take the kids back and am excited that they will be able to participate in the trips and activities again. One of the things we are looking forward to is the opportunity to go to a few opera's ( Alyssa loves the Opera). I am hoping that this year continues to be a good year, We have had a rough year this past year, but I believe that things are turning around and that we will be even more blessed this year. I am definitely one who believes in counting your blessings, the Lord surely has blessed us and I know he will continue to do so.

2 chickens, 3 meals (improved)

I read an article the other day on how to get three meals from 2 chickens, I was intrigued. I am always looking for better, cheaper, easier ways to feed my family wholesome, homemade meals.
The basic concept is that you buy 2 chickens, boil them with onion, garlic, celery, carrots, some salt and spices, when the chickens are cooked cool them until you can de-bone the meat, separate the meat and cut into chunks, divide evenly and store in ziplock bags (or if you are really frugle you can use containers or jars from other bought foods). Strain the stock (chicken broth) into containers and freeze them. Now, I did this on a Saturday I used 3 chickens and separated them into 6 containers, I saved the broth in the freezer.
Day one we had chicken tetrazini
Day two we had split pea soup and chicken salad sandwiches on home made dinner rolls (you could buy them)
Day three we had chicken tacos and home made beans
Day four we had chicken and noodles with Dinner rolls
Day five we had sweet and sour chicken
Day six we had chicken burritos and re fried beans

So there it is 3 chickens, six meals, I used the broth in soups to flavor the beans, or rice meals we have.

If you think chicken gets old ( and it does, this was a experiment, we do eat a lot of chicken though) You could always spread it out or alternate chicken one day with another protein source the next day. The best part was that the major cooking chores were done on Saturday when I cooked the chicken, the rest of the week was just heating and adding simple ingredients. My family loved it and it is a very inexpensive way to feed a large family on a budget.
I think I will add chicken pot pie to my list of possible meals to use with my chicken.

Anything and Everything muffins

I love to give my kids a healthy breakfast that is not from a box, but I don't always have a lot of time in the morning (or desire) to make a big breakfast. I found this recipe that is interchangeable, You can mix and match, add what ever you have on hand and freeze them, then pop them in the microwave in the morning and walla warm healthy breakfast.

In a medium bowl add 1 cup of milk,
1 egg,
up to 1/4 cup sweetener,
1/4 cup fat (oil of your choice) ,
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 to 2 1/2 cups grain
( white flour, wheat flour, flax seed, soy flour, wheat germ etc. )
up to 1 1/2 cups additions ( blueberries, strawberries, bananas, apple, etc.)


Mix and pour into grease or sprayed muffin tin, bake at 350 until golden brown.
You can get really creative with this, I have added yogurt, apple sauce, pumpkin, all kinds of things. I even want to try peanut butter and jelly by filling the cup half way with plain muffin mix then adding a little peanut butter and a little jelly, then fill the cup up the rest of the way, might work. I make a big batch ( enough to feed my kids breakfast for the week) and freeze them.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sticking to the schedule

I have heard it a million times "don't be a slave to the schedule." "keep it flexible." And for the most part I guess that's true. For me though I am learning that our schedule is our road map and if we don't stick to it we become wandering travelers never reaching our destination. Over the years we have had many different schedules and routines. Most of the time they were scrapped after a few months and we returned to our wandering ways. This is stressful to me because I need to feel organized and directed. So I am going to scrap the idea that we need to be "flexible" and this year try to stick to the schedule.

I need an organized home to function. If we fall off schedule the first thing that suffers is our home. This puts me in a bad mood. The next thing that suffers is our schooling, which is not acceptable. Fallowed by our moral and our kindness to each other. I have found that simply by having and sticking to the schedule we are more productive, happier, organized, and able to accomplish our goals.

Many times people hear that I have 6 kids , that my kids have never been in public school, and that we have been homeschooling for 10 years and they assume I have all the answers and must by now have this homeschooling thing down to a science. Let me be the first to say that I don't. Every year is different. As my children grow and there needs change so must our homeschooling. When the oldest were younger my home looked like a Kindergarten class, now that I have older and younger children mixed together our home has morphed into a combination of things and to the outside eye its probably confusing as to what goes on here. LOL

They are learning and growing into wonderful, beautiful young women and I am extremely happy that we chose to home school. With all the ups and downs, And let me just say the ups are high and the downs are low for sure. But we tend to find the middle ground for the most part and sail on.

I have learned more in my 10 years homeschooling than I ever did in my public school years. Homeschooling has been a wonderful experience for us all and I believe has made us a very close family. Not only are we mother and daughters, sisters, but we are all great friends. I couldn't have asked for more.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Can you say sarcophagus





We are studying Ancient Egypt and this is one of the projects we did, they are made of salt dough. Didn't the girls do a good job.

Here is a recipe for salt dough. ( we make so many things out of salt dough, our favorite is Christmas ornaments).


2 c. flour
1 c. salt
1 c. water
1 tbl. lemon juice ( helps it to harden)
mix dry ingredients, add water a little at a time until it is the consistency of play dough, knead for 5 to 10 min.
After you have made your project put it on a cookie sheet and into an oven heated to 200 . When it's hard ( timing is dependant on thickness of craft ) take it out, let it cool, paint, and coat with a clear varnish if you like.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Goodbye to a dear friend.
We have had vee for 6 years and this morning we found her in her on the bottom of her cage. It has been a very sad day. We sent her off with a proper burial and sweet words from her loving owner. Vee will be greatly missed by her humans and her birdie companion, R.I.P. Vee

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cough syrup the way grandma used to make it.

It's monday, the first day of our unit on Egypt and what happens, everyone including daddy is sick with sore throats, cough, and runny noses. One thing is for sure I'd rather the kids and me be sick all at once than to have Daddy sick. I can be sick as a dog and still do the laundry, make the meals, educate the children and on and on......basically unless I have the out right flu It's business as usual. I've done lessons and cooked while in labor. Daddy on the other hand needs special care when he is sick. Luckily for him, with 5 daughter's his every need is catered to. So as we speak, Daddy is on the couch with a hot cup of pomegranate green tea, warm Mexican soupita and little girls all gathered around watching Sleeping Beauty. It really is quite precious.
I made him a nice cough syrup, makes you feel good right away.
1/4 c. lemon juice, 1/2 c. honey, 1/4 c. whiskey, mix together and store in a jar, in a warm glass of tea add 1 or 2 tsp. Repeat as needed.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Homemade babywipes


Homemade baby wipes work better and are cheaper than store bought wipes. They are easily made with things you probably already have in your house. First gather your supplies, you will need a measuring cup, a plastic shoe box with a lid, paper towels ( I use viva but you can use any quality brand, you want a good paper towel so that it doesn't all turn to mush ) Baby shampoo, baby lotion a whisk 3 c. warm water measuring spoons.
Seperate the paper towel sheets and fold into thirds. Place them into the plastic box. I use as many paper towel as it takes to fill my box.



Add 2 TB. of baby shampoo and 2 TB. of baby lotion to your 3 c. of warm water and gently whisk to mix.
Pour over the paper towel and "walla" you have baby wipes. Don't worry if some of the wipes are completely wet at first just put the lid on the box, the paper towels will absorb the water completely after they have set for awhile.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I have a button.......I Just love these button things. They are so cute and I just had to have one so I went searching around to see how I could get me one. I found mom blogger club and then Stefanie who owns blog buttonz. She's very nice and welcoming. I emailed her and she responded right away, I asked her to create a button for me and for $5.00 she had my button ready by the end of the day. I was given two buttons to choose from and both were wonderfully done ( it was a hard choice ) . She goes to your blog and then makes your button to match your blog. I was very happy that I found her and it was a wonderfully easy transaction. I HAVE A BUTTON YAY!!!!! If you want a button you can find Stefanie here.




And of course you should grab my button.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

T-Mobile Mom to Mom Quiz

T-Mobile Mom to Mom Quiz: " I took this quiz LOL it was dead on........I mean really pegged me good.

Take the fun, Mom to Mom quiz and discover your parenting style.

"

SON , THAT'S NOT PLAY DOUGH !!!!!!


I woke up this morning feeling so content. I was so happy with all I had accomplished yesterday. There is nothing like waking up to a clean house, a nice cup of coffee and some good blogs to read.
Here I sat at my computer reading and sipping, enjoying the silence, my son in his play pen quietly playing. Then I realized what all moms know, it had been too quiet for tooo long. I looked over at my 10 month old son and what do I find....................his diaper off and him making a nice little ball in his hands with his poop. I swooped him up and took him straight to the tub of course. He got a good scrub, and the play pen got a good scrub, and the blankets in the play pen are now on the line. AHHH, a mother's work is never done.

Great for beginning sewers




I think I'll have the girls make these and use them for there library bags.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Can you guess what this is?

This is the latest edition to my garden. It's the corn and New Mexico green chilies. Here's hoping it goes we'll. Last years garden was HUGE. I have been falling behind in things so this years garden has been put in in stages. I hope that it has time to get a good start before the 110 degree days hit. SO this was today's project, Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Signs that it must be SUMMER !!!


Smiles for shorter school days ( we school in summer because we take November and December off for the holidays )





Sidewalk chalk





Babies in kiddie pools We like to add bubbles........just for fun!!!






Cloths hung out on the line for that fresh smell you just can't get from a bottle.

Summer is here at last, There's just something about summer that brings out the fun side of everyone. Bar-b-Q's and swimming pools, lemonade and sun tea. I don't know if it's a feeling left over from childhood or if the longer warmer days are nature's Prozac. Everyone is happier in summer. Don't get me wrong I have a fond spot for every season, Fall and winter are home baked pie's and bread, warm soup and a good book, Spring in new life and gardens, but summer is just F....U.....N... fun!!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mini serloin burger




This is my 10 month old sons favorite video. Every time I play it for him ( which I do daily lol ) he dances and claps. The cutest thing you ever saw.




He also loves this version !!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Our family table

When we first bought our table 10 years ago I thought for sure it was bigger than we would ever need. I loved it from the beginning but for different reasons. It was solid wood with matching wood chairs. I loved the shiny finish and the long oval shape. It was beautiful and we fit around it so nicely. We have had our family meals around it everyday since. I would set it with nice serving dishes and when the meal was over it was cleaned off and the beautiful centerpiece was put back in place. It added a touch of country home to our kitchen that I love so much.
Fast forward to the present. We have grown from a family of 5 to a family of 7 and still growing. We have added another chair that doesn't match and a high chair. It is scratched and stained, the shiny finish is long gone. We are squished around it for meals and there is no longer any room for fancy serving dishes or centerpieces.
As I am contemplating all of this and the realization that is is time to retire our table I am saddened. This table has been a huge part of our families daily life. My children have learned to read at this table. We have had many the art project, cookie making, thanksgiving dinner, birthday party, family conversation, announcements of new babies, sewing sessions and the list goes on, around this table.Our table is the center af activity in our home. So I start to think about the new table ( I am sure it will have to look like a picnic table or cafeteria table) and how this table has had so much of an impact on our lives. I will miss the nicks and scratches. The permanent marker and paint stains. All the things that have taken place around our table and all the memories that have been made. It will be like saying goodbye to an old friend. But as our family grows and evolves so must our family dinner table.
I am not sure when my old friend will leave and when my new friend will come, but it will be a sad and happy day all at once. Here's to new family memories around old stained tables that are too small and yet perfect at the same time. Here's to new tables that will be scratched and stained as we build new family memories around it. And here's to memories that remain even when there is no family table.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cut your grocery bill, start a garden!


Gardening can be very inexpensive, if not free. All you need is some soil ( in a pot or on the ground), Some basic tools ( shovel at the very least, a square hoe is nice too ), access to water ( if you don't have a hose you could fill a bucket, not an easy way but possible ), and seeds.
Seeds can be bought or you can collect your own. If you have friends that garden you already know that gardeners in general are willing to share there seeds, started plants, and harvested vegetables and fruits. If you don't know any gardeners then why not collect seeds from the vegetables you by from the store. Good seed volunteers are Peppers including bell peppers, Squash including pumpkin, watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew, and tomatoes just off the top of my head.
Before we get into harvesting the seeds let's talk about how to store them first. Once you have your seeds, make sure they are dry, put them in a paper envelope (plastic bags tend to collect moisture and can mold your seeds). Next, find a empty baby wipes container or something similar and put you envelopes in it, If you can find a silica gel pack from an old shoe box you can put that in the plastic container too, it will help keep the moisture down. Keep the plastic box in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight until you are ready to plant.
To collect seeds you just need to remove the seeds from the vegetable or fruit before you eat it and dry them on a paper towel for a few days to a week, when they are good and dry put them in an envelope ( be sure to label the envelope so you will remember the kind of seed in it) and store it in your plastic seed box.
Tomatoes are a little different, When you want to save tomato seeds you need to get a jar and then cut the tomato in half, squeeze the pulp out of each tomato half into the jar, then add as much water as bulb and put the jar in a warm place for a few days, after a few days you will notice the good seeds have sunk and the pulp and bad seeds are floating on top. Collect the good seeds and dry them. Throw the pulp and bad seeds into you compost bin ( more on composting later).
It is not a good idea to use tree fruit seeds from store bought fruit because they may be hybrids and more than likely will not produce fruit like the parent tree.
Start small and add to your garden every season, before you know it you will be reaping the bounty. Gardening it's good for the soul and the pocket book!

What we are planting this month

We'll here in the desert southwest we are blessed with being able to garden year round. Every month it seems there is something to add to the garden. This month we added more squash, pumpkin, watermelon, string beans, corn, and green chilies. They are joining our tomatoes from last month. I am hoping to have a good harvest of squash so I can start selling them at our local farmers market. This will be new to me, but our neighbors are true farmers and they grow almost anything you can think of , they sell every Thursday and have offered to show me the ropes. If all goes well I hear some people sell there eggs there for $3.00 a dz. That would be wonderful, an excuse to get more hens. Anyone who knows me knows I have always wanted to have a pumpkin patch. My Mother-in-law has helped put in a mini one and I am so grateful. I hope it grows well. I will up-date everyone as to how it's going.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I Love Chickens


This is my first coop.

My chickens when they were just pullets.




I really do love my chickens. I have wanted chickens for sooo many years and finally 2 years ago I built my first chicken coop. Then a few months later I built the second coop. The excitement when we got our first egg, the sheer joy of watching chicks hatch in our incubator, The fact that there poo goes into the compost bin and makes our garden beautiful, the way they wattle around the yard, the sound of the roosters crowing in the morning beckoning us out of bed, I just love my chickens. Once you own chickens you'll wonder why you didn't get them sooner. I studied for a while before I dove in and order my chickens. My favorite forums are http://www.backyardchickens.com/ and http://www.chickencrossing.org/ . I ordered my chickens from http://www.ideal-poultry.com/
I have 14 hens and 2 roosters. My roosters are partridge rocks, the picture above is them at 6 mths. old but they are much bigger now and there names are Macho and J.R. I hear a lot of people ask why I have roosters? There are a few answer's for that question: One, I like to hatch chicks in the spring with the kids, We have 3 pullets waiting to be introduced to our flock left over from the last hatch: Two, I like to hear the crowing in the morning It's nostalgic, Three, They do there job, guard the hens.
My hens are white rocks, buff rocks, barred rocks, and partridge rocks. They are funny girls and they have the cutest little fluffy butts.One thing I have to say though is that everyone told me that barred rocks were sweet chickens......Maybe there's are, but mine are grumpy little hens who think they rule the roost. My white rocks are broody and I'm always having to fight with them for eggs. They are all truly a joy and add an element to my life, garden and yard that no other animal could add.








Penny pinching Grocery shopping

Feeding a family of 8 can be challenging, But thankfully I find joy in preparing wholesome meals and get the most from my grocery shopping for the least amount of money. I Shop at Walmart because I can add match and use coupons. I have purchased many items for a penny or free this way. I always start by going through the local adds finding all the specials, then I go to http://print.coupons.com/ , http://www.couponmom.com , and http://www.couponloop.com to print coupons. With my list of add matches and coupons in hand I start out early , because my local walmart discounts there meat in the mornings (just because it is close to it's sale by date doesn't mean that its no good, it can still keep in the freezer for some time). After walmart I go to my local grocery stores ( Fry's, Food city and Albertsons). Sometimes they have unadvertised specials.

I do one major shopping trip a month, I only return for milk and maybe fresh salad stuff and as little as possible. I buy in bulk. I have large plastic bins that I keep 25 lbs. of flour, beans and rice. I buy frozen and fresh fruit and vegetables so that when the fresh are gone I still have the frozen and am able to feed my family healthy meals all month.

I bake our bread, Our 14 chickens lay our eggs, and we eat fresh vegetables seasonally from our garden.

Some good tips for feeding a family for cheap can be found at http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com , http://www.stretcher.com/stories/04/04jan05a.cfm, and my favorite sight of all for finding last minute recipes is http://allrecipes.com/ .

Friday, May 22, 2009

Homeschooling on the cheap.

This year has been hard for a lot of families, our's included. With the school year drawing to a close, we automatically turn our attention to next years studies, but when funds are lacking it really starts to narrow our options. With a little creativity and dedication you can home school for a minimal amount of money.Here are some helpful idea's and links I have found and some of my plans for next year.

For Math and reading we will be using http://mindsprinting.com What I love about this sight is that the kids are given assessment test for each subject and then there curriculum is designed around there needs. It is completely free.

For History we will be using http://www.pass.leon.k12.fl.us/Book%20Subject%20Areas/Social%20Studies.aspx I am using it as a guide and printing the units as needed. As we work thru the units we will add books from the library to study some areas of history in more depth. This sight also offers science, English, Spanish, math, and, Physical education and health.

This brings me to note booking. We will be note booking history, Science, Literature, and keeping a personal journal notebook and time line. Here are some good note booking sight and Yahoo groups. This a page that describes note booking for those who are new to the term http://highland.hitcho.com.au/notebooking.htm
Here are some links for clip art
http://www.teacherfiles.com/clip_art.htm
http://www.homeschoolhelperonline.com/notebooking.htm
http://www.graphicgarden.com/
http://www.worldatlas.com/clipart.htm
http://scrapbooktolearn.ning.com/
http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/sitemap/sitemap.htm
http://www.homehearts.com/notebooking.html

I am very excited about building our time line and I am sure there will be future blogs about it. Here are some timeline building links.
http://www.guesthollow.com/homeschool/history/timeline.html
http://www.notebookingdiscovery.org/timeline/build/
http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/timeline.html

For general information and sights I use as guidelines
http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/index.html
http://simplycharlottemason.com/home/
http://www.charlottemasoneducation.com/aboutcm.html
http://www.oldfashionededucation.com/
http://www.currclick.com/