Friday, October 31, 2008

Cleaning Day

I have already decided that tomorrow is going to be a cleaning day. Not fun, but needed.

I am missing:

1.the lens cap to my camera

2.the remote control (the button is broken off the TV, so this means that the TV has been on for over a week. Luckily, we have doors to shut it behind.)

3.the second cordless phone (and it is now dead) I have had to go up/down the steps to answer the phone instead of having one on each floor. Very frustrating.

I am hoping that if we clean we will actually find these things.... Maybe I should offer a prize to whoever finds them? Of course, they'd probably make more of a mess looking for them :)

Halloween Fun

The kids and I went to a Fall Festival at our friend Michelle's church. They had a blast! They've already told me that we HAVE to go back there next year. Maybe it has something to do with the buckets of candy they came home with??

Kate, as an Egyptian

Ellie, as Cleopatra

Her wig started frizzing...

You sure can tell that Ellie is an Army Brat.
What other kid would write "Latrine" on a sign to the bathroom?

Nick didn't dress up, but he had fun playing in the ball pit!
Notice the static in his hair!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Productive Day

We didn't get much schoolwork done today. The kids got their "basics" done: math, grammar, spelling, handwriting. That was about it.

Since we got paid today, I decided that we needed to get the grocery shopping done. I never go on the weekends, it's just too crowded. We can catch up on history and science on Saturday instead.

So, we went to Sam's Club, the Commissary, and Walmart.

Then I got home and cooked:
a beef pot roast w/veggies,
beef stroganoff,
vegetable-beef stew,
taco meat,
spaghetti sauce,
and a pork roast for BBQ pulled pork sandwiches.

I'm not kidding! That was a lot of cooking. I'm still waiting for the roast and stew to cool down so that I can throw them in the freezer. I also made a salad to last the next couple of days. It was a lot of work, but now I have ready-made dinners in the freezer :) Hooray!!

Oh, and I actually remembered to label and date the ziplocs this time. I don't know how many times I have pulled some unidentifiable ziploc out thinking it was spaghetti sauce only to find it was soup of some sort. I am getting more organized. I even cleaned out the freezer and made it look pretty :)

And now I am absolutely exhausted and I am debating whether I should stay up and do all of the dishes or just leave them for morning. I almost NEVER leave dishes in the sink overnight - that's not what I want to start my day out with. I'm pretty tired though.....

Homeschool Memoirs - Field Trips

This week I’d like to invite you to share your favourite field-trip that you’ve been able to go on since you’ve started homeschool. I’d encourage you to include photos, but you don’t have to.

Before we moved to Alaska, one of our favorite places to go was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We had a membership there, and we could drop in for a minute or a couple of hours. What a great place for kids to explore! They have the neatest exhibits, and it is located right on Cannery Row in Monterey. Of course, this didn't feel like field trip to us since we were there weekly.

I think that our favorite "field trip" was probably to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, CA. I was absolutely stunned at the amount of artifacts and displays they had! The kids loved going down into the model tomb complete with wall paintings and sarcophagus. Even the grounds outside had statues and an obelisk.

Since we're knee-deep in Ancient Egypt studies at the moment, I sure wish we could make another trip there now!
They also have a great gift shop (Kate purchased a beautiful Egyptian-style mirror which she still treasures) and a planetarium.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shape Poems

Today, the girls wrote Shape Poetry.

Ellie chose fairly easy subjects - a cookie and home.

Kate on the other hand decided to be complicated and chose an astronaut. The words were supposed to go along the entire shape, but that would have been too many words for her to write :)

Magazine # 2: Dig

Ellie read another 30 books. Actually she's read much more than that, but we have actually recorded 30 books to turn in to the school for the magazine subscription she has earned. This time, she chose Dig.

Why didn't I get this magazine when I was a kid?? She has long wanted to be an archaeologist (or a fashion designer), so this one is right up her alley. Maybe she'll be a fashionable archaeologist someday?

Anyway, this magazine is filled with the latest scoop on archaeology and ancient civilizations around the world - especially for kids 9 and up. The articles are exciting and interesting - not boring and not dumbed-down. No twaddle here! No ads either! :)

Ellie often re-reads them and I find them laying around the house. I take that as a good sign that she really likes it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Juggling Act

Man Juggling His Life by Dynamic Graphics
Man Juggling His Life

I often feel like I'm a circus performer, juggling on the stage. I am trying my best to keep all of the pins up in the air, but they all seem to hit the ground - sometimes one by one and other times they all crash down at once :)

I have so many things that I am trying to juggle:

1.Mom -keeping all 5 children clothed, fed, clean and happy :)

2. Housekeeper -keeping the house clean, errands done, and groceries in the cupboards

3. Teacher - Teaching them and all that entails - preparation, grading, and the actual time with them

4. FRG leader (I have a LOT of help from my friend, but it is still a time consuming job) Keeping rosters up-to-date, doing newsletters, emails, taking phone calls, going to meetings, planning social events and care packages etc.

5. Wife - Being a good wife and trying to write to Andy and send him packages

6. Andy - Doing all of the household chores that Andy usually does - trash, water filters, snow shoveling, yardwork, fixing things, changing lightbulbs, cooking, and putting Nick to bed.

7. Exercise. Trying to get on my treadmill every day. I always seem to be interrupted by something.

8. Genealogy - my favorite hobby. I haven't been able to do this AT ALL in the past year :( It is last on the list of priorities, so there is no time...

9. Chauffer - I spend a huge amount of time shuttling the kids around to dance, gymnastics, Girl Scouts, AWANA, art class, etc.

10. Bible Study - I am skimming the whole week's worth of reading the night before PWOC.

11. Sleep - little by little, I am falling way behind in the sleep department. Exhaustion is starting to set in :)

It seems that if I am doing well in one aspect of my life, then I'm falling behind with the rest. I feel constantly a few steps behind where I want to be. I'm always catching up.

I want to be on the ball, on top of things, ahead of the game. It just isn't happening.

Maybe I'm expecting too much right now. It's hard - physically and emotionally - being a single parent. I don't have a lot of time to myself. Actually, I don't have ANY time to myself. :) I don't mind having the kids around, but it's hard getting things done when I'm not free to focus on any one thing. Someone always needs something. :)

After Christmas, we will be scaling back on some of our activities, and I am hoping that taking a couple of weeks off from school will give me a chance to rest, plan, and prepare myself for the next semester.

We were thrown into this school year haphazardly. We spent August and September spending time with Andy before he left (very important!!) Had he not been deploying, we probably would have started school in August. Maybe that is why I am feeling behind. I lost my prep time and we started before I was fully prepared for the year.

All is well :) I don't want anyone to thing that I'm falling apart or anything. I'm not depressed or completely overwhelmed. We're doing fine, I'm just frustrated that I don't have a few more hands and a few more hours in the day :) I will just have to set my expectations a little lower to get through this year.

Menu Planning

I have not been very good about planning what we're going to eat.

We have so many things scheduled though, that I need to be on top of this. There is a lot of preparation I need to do beforehand, so that we're not searching for something to eat at the last minute.

With the first of the month coming up (and my monthly trip to Sam's Club and the commissary), I have decided to write up a menu (by week) for the month of November so that I can shop accordingly - rather than shop for things that we don't need and letting things go bad that we end up not using. I am so sick of wasting money!

I think that this menu will help the kids also. They are always wondering what they can have for a snack. I will have snacks on the menu, so that they know what they are allowed to eat.

I will post it on the refrigerator for all to see!

I am going to try to take the first Saturday of every month and try to cook up everything that I can beforehand - soup, taco meat, chili, spaghetti sauce etc. and freeze it so that I can just pull it out of the freezer and we can eat. I am also going to try to use my bread machine more. The kids absolutely LOVE fresh bread - and so do I.

Here is a link to the excel document that I made. You can use it if you would like :)

UPDATE 11/3: Here is a link to an updated document with some more color to it, making it easier to read.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I officially have the sniffles.

Of course, I had a zillion read-alouds planned today - history, geography, science, literature. Reading aloud with a stuffy/runny nose is not any fun. I only finished about half of what I wanted to accomplish today. So is life...

I would feel much better if I could take some NyQuil. I love that stuff - I don't know if it actually helps my nose or cough, but it knocks me out and then I don't care if I can breathe or not. :) It's been ages since I've been able to take it though. I have been constantly pregnant or nursing for the past 10 years!! Besides, if I were knocked out in the middle of the night and Andy wasn't here, who would get up and put the kids back to bed?? I suppose I will suffer through a sleepless night....

The Time Has Come

Our last fuel delivery was in April and it cost over $1200.

Needless to say, I have been dreading the fuel man. When he shows up, I have 30 days to pay.

So, when I saw him pull up in the driveway this morning, my heart stopped for a second. I just kept wondering..."How much will it be?"

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised!! We only used 260 gallons of fuel since late April (last year it was almost always 320-330 gallons each time they filled it). I haven't been keeping the house cold, but I haven't exactly been blasting the heat either. I'm sure my husband would beg to differ if he were here :) He tends to like it warmer than me.

Anyway, not only did we use less fuel, but the price has come down SO much in the past few weeks. During the summer, people here were stocking up because there were fears it would get to over $5 a gallon.

I paid $2.69/gallon today! My total was only $700. Considering the fact that I have been expecting over $1200, that gives me Christmas money to spend this month! Hooray!!!!!

Just had to share my joy with everyone :)

I'm sure I won't be quite so joyful when he shows up 3 more times this winter....

The Simple Woman's Daybook #3

Outside my is 9:15 and the sun hasn't risen yet. We're losing 7 minutes of light a day.... I don't enjoy the darkness of winter. It's making it hard for me to get out of bed in the morning.

I am thinking... that I should have gotten up an hour earlier.

From the learning rooms... We are still studying Ancient Egypt in history. Science today is all about Jupiter. We will be writing some more poetry and hopefully starting a couple of hands-on projects today.

I am thankful for... dropping gas and heating oil prices. The heating oil guy hasn't come yet, but with the prices dropping by the day, he can wait!!

From the kitchen... Blueberry muffins and fruit for breakfast :)

I am wearing... workout clothes. I was good and went on the treadmill for 30 minutes this morning. Hooray!!

I am reading... Creating Your Family Heritage Scrapbook by Maria Given Nerius and Bill Gardner. I am not much into scrapbooking these days (maybe these years would be more appropriate) but I am interested in putting together some sort of family tree book using my genealogy program and perhaps some scrapbook pages. This of course will be WAY in the future, when I don't have children underfoot :)

I am hoping... that I can figure out what is wrong with my printer today. It will print word and excel documents and it will scan, but it won't print anything from the internet or publisher documents. It makes no sense to me!!

I am creating... a menu for next month so that I can shop accordingly instead of buying whatever I think looks good :)

I am hearing... the sounds of the washing machine and dryer running.

Around the house... I need to dust, clean the bathrooms, fill the humidifier, and shovel the snow from the front steps.

One of my favorite things... working on genealogy. I haven't had ANY time to do this since we moved here and I really miss it. I am hoping to carve out a little time each week for me to be able to spend on this.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... taking it easy when I can! A couple of our regular classes are not going on this week and I am thankful for a much needed break. I will be taking the kids to a fall festival at the church.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you..

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Family Virtues Guide: Forgiveness

This is a virtue which the kids understand in theory, but have a very hard time practicing it. They don't hold any long time grudges, or seek out planned revenge on anyone. They are however, quick to think that whatever happened was premeditated instead of an accident or a thoughtless happening.

Kate has the hardest time with this.

It seems like it is always Kate. A good word to describe Kate would be MORE. Simply MORE. She is more loving, more mean, more kind and thoughtful, more careless, more helpful, more lazy. She is a girl of extremes and she seems to feel everything more deeply than everyone else in the family. She is truly hurt to the core when someone says something mean to her. She is very empathetic to other people's situations. She is also very quick to anger and slow to forgive when one of her siblings does something to her - even if it is an accident. I tried very hard to make her understand forgiveness today and I hope that she in particular, practices it this week.

Here is a poem that I read to the girls:

To forgive
Is not to forget.

To forgive
Is really to remember

That nobody is perfect

That each of us stumbles
When we want so much to stay upright

That each of us says things
We wish we had never said

That we can all forget that love
Is more important than being right.

To forgive
Is really to remember

That we are so much more
Than our mistakes

That we are often more kind and caring
That accepting another's flaws
Can help us accept our own.

To forgive
Is to remember

That the odds are pretty good that
We might soon need to be forgiven ourselves.

That life sometimes gives us more
Than we can handle gracefully.

To forgive
Is to remember

That we have room in our hearts to
Begin again

And again,

And again.

~~ Author Unknown ~~

The affirmation for today:
I am forgiving of myself and others. I learn from my mistakes. I have the power to keep changing for the better.

The Ten Plagues of Egypt

Here is a link to the worksheet I made.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Places to See Before You Die: The North American Version

The view from the Aquarium in Seward, AK

A Navajo Hogan - New Mexico or Arizona??

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA

The Space Needle, Seattle, WA

Hearst Castle, CA

Sequoia National Park, CA

The Beach south of Carmel, CA

I was just reading through the book 1.000 Places to See Before You Die: USA & Canada, by Patricia Schultz and I decided to make lists of what I've seen and what I'd like to see.

You can tell from my lists that I'm a West coast girl and I have never even been to the Eastern half of the U.S. I'm missing a lot!! How I would love to get stationed in Virginia for a year or two so that I could do some traveling :)

I grew up in WA and since being married to the Army, we have lived in San Antonio and Copperas Cove, TX, Monterey and Seaside, CA, and now North Pole, Alaska. Andy's family is from Kansas, so I have traveled there many times also. Most of my travels have been driving to visit family from wherever we were stationed at the time - TX to KS, TX to WA, WA to CA, CA to KS etc.

I Have Seen:
1. Northwest Passage National Scenic Byway in Idaho
2. Lawrence, KS
3. Flathead Lake, Montana
4. Little Bighorn Battlefield, Montana
5. Mount Rushmore & Crazy Horse, South Dakota
6. Devil's Tower, Wyoming
7. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
8. Jackson, Wyoming
9. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
10. Flagstaff, AZ
11. Grand Canyon, AZ
12. Lake Tahoe, Nevada & CA
13. Reno, NV
14. Gallup, New Mexico
15. Route 66
16. Fredericksburg, Texas
17. The Alamo & Missions Trail, San Antonio, TX
18. River Walk, San Antonio, TX
19. Texas Hill Country
20. Beverly Hills, CA
21. Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
22. Disneyland, CA
23. Hollywood, CA
24. Monterey Peninsula, CA
25. Pebble Beach, CA
26. Napa Valley, CA
27. Mount Shasta, CA
28. The Pacific Coast Highway & Big Sur, CA
29. Redwood National & State Parks, CA
30. San Diego Zoo, CA
31. Alcatraz Island, CA
32. Golden Gate Park & the Golden Gate Bridge, CA
33. San Luis Obispo & Morro Bay, CA
34. Hearst Castle, CA
35. Santa Cruz, CA
36. Sequoia National Park, CA
37. The Oregon Coast
38. Leavenworth, WA
39. Mt Rainier National Park & Mt. St. Helens
40. Olympic National Park, WA
41. Port Townsend, WA
42. Pike Place Market, WA
43. Seattle Center, WA
44. Denali, Alaska
45. Driving the Alaska Highway (not the entire route though)
46. Sailing the Inside Passage to AK
47. The Kenai Peninsula, AK

I Want to See:
1. The Lighthouse Trail in Maine
2. Cape Cod National Seashore
3. Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts
4. Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
5. Nantucket, Massachusetts
6. Vermont Maple Festival in St. Albans, Vermont
7. The Adirondacks, New York
8. The Catskills, New York
9. The Erie Canal, New York
10. Central Park, New York
11. The Empire State Building, New York
12.The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, New York
13. U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York
14. Pennsylvania Dutch Country
15. Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia, PA
16. Virginia Highlands Festival in Abingdon, Virginia
17. Arlington National Cemetery in VA
18. Monticello in Charlottesville, VA
19. Colonial Williamsburg, VA
20. Mount Vernon, VA
21. The National Archives, D.C.
22. The National Mall, D.C.
23. The Library of Congress, D.C.
24. The Smithsonian, D.C.
25. The White House, D.C.
26. The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, WV
27. Kennedy Space Center, FL
28. Everglades National Park, FL
29. Key West, FL
30. Walt Disney World, FL
31. The Appalachian Trail (from GA to Maine)
32. Savannah's Historic District, GA
33. Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, KY
34. Mammoth Cave National Park, KY
35. The French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
36. St. Louis Arch, MO
37. The Great Smoky Mountains, TN & NC
38. Graceland, TN
39. The Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, TN
40. Nauvoo, Illinois
41. Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL
42. Ohio's Amish Country
43. Glacier National Park, MT
44. Laura Ingalls Wilder Country in DeSmet, South Dakota
45. Mesa Verde, Colorado
46. Pikes Peak, Colorado
47. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
48. Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
49. Space Center Houston, Texas
50. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
51. Zion National Park, Utah
52. Yosemite National Park, CA
53. Crater Lake National Park, OR
54. Cannon Beach, OR
55. The San Juan Islands, WA
56. Tillicum Village, WA
57. The Northern Lights, AK (I'm hoping to see them this winter!)
58. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
59. Niagara Falls
60. Prince Edward Island National Park

Now I'm interested in reading the world version. I can't see myself backpacking Europe or traveling to Africa with 5 kids though. Maybe when I'm old and gray :)

After looking for pictures of places that I have been, I have come to realize that a lot of my pics aren't on the computer yet. I sure wish I had the digital camera I have now - 1o or 20 years ago!

Am I Insane?

I sometimes think that I might have a screw loose.

I actually took all of the kids with me to a holiday craft show.

You know - with all sorts of jewelry, breakable ornaments, and very crowded narrow aisles?

I made it through the entire bazaar without any of them breaking anything. I am always worried that one of them is going to dart towards some $300 glass figurine or something :) Thank God for small miracles!

Am I crazy to put myself into these kinds of situations? I know that some of my friends probably think so :) What do you think??


I think that the hardest part of homeschooling is the distractions:

  • babies needing to be fed, changed, and played with (I don't mind this distraction!)
  • toddlers needing to be kept out of trouble
  • housework to be done (the house gets much messier when you are actually sitting in it all day long!)
  • phone calls and emails that need to be answered
  • doctor's appointments
  • errands that need to be run during the day
  • and all of the unexpected little things that happen every day :)
I am trying to deal with this by setting the time aside for school and letting everything else take the back burner. It's hard though to sit in the house and ignore the phone or leave the dirty dishes on the counter.

My biggest distraction from school during the day is keeping Nick busy. I think that it is just going to be a challenge during the current school year. By next fall, he should be old enough to keep himself busy and out of trouble (I hope!) I hate to call him a distraction though. He is my darling little son and I love him dearly. He just doesn't seem to want to hang out with us much while we're doing schoolwork. I just wish he could keep himself occupied for at least a half hour at a time without getting into something that he isn't supposed to be in :) He is definitely a curious little boy!

I am used to the distractions and I try to work around them.

Kate on the other hand is struggling with this. She has a very hard time focusing when there is any other noise or activity going on.

Someone is always talking or moving in our house and it really frustrates her.

She needs to be near me so that I can help her with her work as needed, but the baby is usually with me (unless she's sleeping) and Nick has to be nearby so that I can watch him. Ellie and Lexie need help occasionally also, so while I am explaining something to them, she can't work on what she is doing. I don't know how to solve this problem. Any suggestions??

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Funny tidbits from today....

1. We made it to PWOC this morning, but it was another mad dash to the door - man do I need to set that alarm! Anyway, Ellie again helped get Nick and Lexie ready and in the car so I could get myself and Tori ready in time. When we got back home, I realized that Nick was wearing Lexie's socks and his pants were on backwards!! Lexie's shoes were on the wrong feet also :) I wonder if anyone noticed, because no one said anything to me. :)

2. Kate apparently thought that boats had wheels on them under the water. She was absolutely incredulous that we rode the ferry all the way up here - without wheels!! How did it not sink???

3. Nick cried when we parked in the Chapel parking lot this morning. He very clearly said "I don't want to go to PWOC, I want to go to Walmart!" This is the same thing he said the last time we went to church :) I'm not quite sure why he likes Walmart so much...

4. Nick had nothing but a shirt and diaper on this afternoon, because I had just changed him. He brought a silk scarf up to me and said "I want to be a girl. Give me a dress." I sure hope his dad doesn't read this post....

5. I started reading Tirzah as a read-aloud for the the kids before bed tonight. As I began to read, Kate stopped me and asked "Mom, could you start at the beginning?". I told her that it was the beginning and she said "But it didn't start with Once Upon a Time!" :)

Egyptian Style Drawings

Today, the girls practiced drawing "Egyptian style". Did you ever notice that the Egyptians always seemed to draw the torso facing forward, but the head, hips, and legs in a profile view?

BFS: Have it Your Way

Memory Verse: Isaiah 40: 1- Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

Intro: “Have It Your Way” (Burger King) - As cooler weather approaches and the winter eases into our doors I like to lounge by the fire after a hot shower. I love to make soups that are brimming with a rich and full flavor. In our home there’s nothing better than a hot bowl of soup or and a hot cup of coffee or cocoa on a cold winter night.

: Tell us all about how your have “your” relaxing time, more especially how during the cooler months you take time to curl up with your favorite movie, book, Bible study, and what your favorite warm drink would be.

Here in Alaska, it has already gotten quite cool (it's down below zero at night). We got a few inches of fresh snow today and I'm feeling like I want to hibernate :)

I like to sit in my comfy chair, with a blanket on my lap and sip either spearmint tea or raspberry hot cocoa. I would either put on Pride and Prejudice or another BBC flick for the thousandth time and sit in some peace and quiet. I have to say though that this doesn't happen as often as I would like. If I watch a movie, then I am usually multitasking by folding laundry or grading papers. Gone are the days of leisurely sitting in my chair.

My comfy chair and my favorite watermelon blanket. Thanks Andy!

Raspberry Hot Cocoa with whipped cream :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Space Rocks

Halley's Comet by Robert Marien
Halley's Comet

I just love that I am getting an education right along with the kids. There is a lot that I apparently never learned or just don't remember from grade school.

I had no idea what the differences were between a meteor, meteoroid, meteorite, asteroid, and a comet. Do you know the difference? If not, I will enlighten you:

A meteor is a meteoroid that has entered the earth's atmosphere.

A meteoroid is any of the small bodies, often remnants of comets, traveling through space.

A meteorite is a fallen meteoroid (that has landed on earth).

An asteroid is a large meteroid from 480 miles to less than one mile in diameter. Most of them are in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, orbiting the sun.

A comet is a celestial body moving around the sun, consisting of a central mass, surrounded by an envelope of dust and gas that may form a tail that streams away from the sun.

Drive-Thru Living

With the cold weather and snow arriving in full force this week, I can't help but wish that I never had to leave the warmth and safety of my car.

It is very difficult to make sure that all 5 kids are warmly dressed (remembering every mitten and hat). Then I have to try to get all of them out of the car as quickly as possible and into the building. It is no small task.

In the store (or house, class etc.), they of course have to take their coats, hats, scarves, mittens, etc. off or else they will burn up. When we have finished our business, then I have to make sure that everything is back on them properly and I have to make a mad dash to the car with all of them (and usually a cart full of stuff).

This is proving to be very challenging - especially for those errands where I only have one or two things to pick up. It ends up taking me longer to get in and out of the car than the actual shopping! That can be frustrating.

Why can't every place have a drive-thru? I could just sit back with the heat cranked in the car, happy kids in the backseat watching a DVD, and hand the person at the window my order. Then I could pull forward and they could load me up. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

I realize that we Americans are too lazy as it is, so this probably doesn't need to happen :) However, I can't help but imagine how much easier I could get things done!
I would especially like one at the Post Office, Sam's Club, and the Commissary.

I suppose I could become a recluse and just never leave the house. I could order my groceries online and I wouldn't have to go anywhere until late Spring :)

We all know that isn't going to happen though.

Geography Studies

We have been following along with Tapestry of Grace Year One for our Geography studies, but I have added some other things to make it more interesting:

One great book that I have found is A Child's Geography: Explore The Holy Land, by Ann Voskamp & Tonia Peckover. It is available at Knowledge Quest. It is a Charlotte Mason style geography text which covers Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey. We are currently reading the sections on Egypt and the kids are enjoying it and learning a lot. We have read about the Sinai Peninsula, Suez Canal, St. Catherine's Monastery and the Colored Canyon. We read it in our play room with our big map nearby on the wall and I have the kids find the places we are talking about on the map.

I promise that it's not freezing cold in the house!
They are wearing their hats for fun :)

We also bought a great blank globe from Rainbow Resource Center. You can actually write on it with dry erase markers. I love it! The kids actually have to look for places without them being labeled!!

Here are a few of the geography games that we love:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Do You Doodle??


The kids love to draw, doodle, and color. What kid doesn't?

The other day, while browsing at Barnes and Noble, I came across these books which I thought that they might enjoy. I bought Beautiful Doodles but I couldn't decide which kid I was going to give it to. Kate was the lucky recipient - much to everyone else's chagrin. Now I have requests from Ellie and Lexie that they want one of these books for Christmas.

I would have loved one of these books as a kid! Each page has a basic background or picture which needs to be finished.

Some examples:
1. A picture of a cookie sheet and oven mitts: What have you baked?
2. Various empty cages/dog houses: What animals are in the pet shop?
3. What do you see in the crystal ball?
4. Fill in the picture frames.
5. What is at the end of the rainbow?
6. Design a necklace for each of your friends.
7. What is on the computer screen?
8. Paint patterns on the plates.
9. Decorate the socks.
10. What can you see through the magic keyhole?
11. Make a strawberry sundae.
12. What can you see through the telescope?
13. Add lucky charms to the bracelet.
14. Design some handbags. (Only the handles are showing).
15. What can you pick from the tree. (2 kids next to an empty tree)
And the list goes on and on.....

Don't they look like fun?
I love watching them use their imagination!

The Family Virtues Guide: Flexibility

As an Army wife, I have learned to be very flexible. We never know where we'll be going next or when Andy will be sent somewhere. Even when he is here, he works long hours and isn't always home for dinner or special days.

I have learned that there are some things that I just have no control over.
Now, that doesn't mean that I am always patient about waiting as our fate is being determined by some unknown greensuiter somewhere. But, I try to roll with the punches and make the best of whatever situation we are given.

There are many things we have to do differently with Andy being gone this year. I can't be both parents at once, and I have to spread myself a bit thin to give everyone enough attention. We have adapted and the kids have stepped up to take more responsibility around the house and for themselves. I am proud of them for their ability to change and be flexible during this time.

Affirmation for this week: I am flexible. I am willing to change myself for the better. I am open to new ways to do things. When trouble comes, I ask my Creator to help me learn from it. I welcome surprises.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook #2

For Today... October 20, 2008

Outside my Window... the same snow from last week. It is a cool 8 degrees outside!!

I am thinking...that I didn't get up early enough this morning. I am having a hard time now that the sun isn't rising until later. I don't like it to be dark when I get up :(

From the learning rooms...We're continuing our Ancient Egypt Studies (TOG Week 2). We are studying Mars in science.

I am thankful that... everyone is finally starting to get over this cold. Tori still has a runny nose, but I think she's feeling better.

From the kitchen... Nothing exciting today. Tuna fish sandwiches for lunch (with pickles and maybe apples in it - I like the crunch!). Dinner on Monday's is always tricky, because we're out and about. I will have to make something to take with us.

I am wearing...still in my PJs :)

I am reading... Nothing currently. I am hoping for a library trip tomorrow.

I am hoping...that the heating oil man doesn't come soon. I'm not ready to fork over $1200 for heat!!!

I am creating..."Thank You for Your Service" cards for the troops with the kids. (I am overseeing this, not actually making them!)

I am hearing...Nick playing with Thomas the Tank Engine in the play room and the girls watching the movie on deserts.

Around the house...I need to get some drapes (instead of the see-through airy curtains I have now). I am hoping that this will help keep the living room warmer.

One of my favorite things... Nutella!! Chocolate + Hazelnuts = Perfection :)

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...I'm hoping to go to a Holiday Bazaar this Friday. I love to buy handmade items for Christmas presents and am hoping I find some good stuff!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Ellie went to a birthday party, which was held at the dance studio. The theme was "High School Musical" and the girls learned a dance to perform for the parents. Ellie was the ONLY girl there who had never actually seen the movie :)
To see other entries, check: The Simple Woman

Sunday, October 19, 2008


If you have a loved one in the military, consider getting a "camosock" stocking for them this Christmas. I just got mine in the mail today and it's very well made and professional looking. They have different patterns depending on your service, and it's only $21, including shipping!!! I will be filling it and sending it to Andy this Christmas :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Kate's Giraffe

All Aboard the Potty Train!

Thomas and Friends, All Aboard
Thomas and Friends, All Aboard

I have still yet to potty train Nick. I believe that he is capable and probably ready, but I haven't taken the time to make it happen. I need to get him interested in using the potty.

Today, while I was able to shop without kids, I found the PERFECT book for Nick. It is called The Potty Train. He lives and breathes trains right now, so it couldn't get any better than this! I had to buy it of course.

"When you feel like you have to go, climb aboard the Potty Train. All Aboard!"
"Chugga Chugga Poooo-poooo!" Yes, I'm serious. Those are lines from the book. He absolutely loves it though. Of course, I could do without all of the kids chuckling and repeating that over and over again....

Let's hope he decides to buy a ticket and jump aboard the potty train. :)

Rescued by Respite Care

Shakespeare Bookstore by Ray Hartl
Shakespeare Bookstore

Today, I dropped the older 4 kids off at respite care.

My friend Michelle and I spent the morning at Barnes and Noble, perusing the shelves at our own pace. Tori didn't make a peep. It was nice being able to look at books without kids grabbing things, having to go to the bathroom at inopportune moments, and without having to chase Nick through the store.

Even better, today was 25% off with my new educator's discount card. Hooray!

We even got to eat lunch at a restaurant that doesn't have a drive-thru window.

I could get used to this :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Take a Tour of Our Play Room!!

Here is the room to which Nick is banished for a portion of each day :)
We have comfy bean bags in the corner for reading time (or for Nick to jump from the table onto). Andy built the shelf along the ceiling to house all of the stuffed animals and the other shelf for the wooden dollhouse.

Here is the castle loft that Andy built. Isn't it so cool? I wish I had one of these growing up!! There used to be a slide coming off of it, but it was utter chaos in the room. I was just waiting to make an ER trip. So, off came the slide. It's still a lot of fun. :)
Notice the window down below - we made it so that they could use it for puppets.

Here the kids are, hanging out.
I had planned on painting a family crest/shield on the green banner hanging off the castle, but I never got around to it. I was burnt out after all of the bricks...

And here is the closet, full of rubbermaid bins of toys: dress up clothes, baby dolls, big legos, little legos, train sets, puppets, play food, musical instruments, etc.

And here is our shelf where we put the CD player, the keyboard (kept up high until they use it), play silks (all time favorite toy!), and misc. toys.

Doesn't it look like fun?
I have tried to keep it empty of large pieces of furniture. This gives the kids more space to run around or dump out all of the toys. They especially need the space in winter, when they aren't able to run around outside much.

Hope you enjoyed our tour...