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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter time

Tonight we did an activity that my sister in law Amber told us about several years ago. Its a treat that helps discuss the true meaning of Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Its simple, fun, and tastes good too!

What you need:

Large marshmallows
Crescent rolls
melted butter

The marshmallows represent the body of Christ. We talked about how white is a sign of purity and that Christ was pure and perfect.

The Crescent rolls represent the linens that Christ's body was wrapped in to prepare for burial.

The melted butter represents the burial oils and the cinnamon and sugar represent the burial spices.

First you anoint the body with oil and spices. Then you wrap it in the linens. Next you place it in the tomb (oven). We made a big deal of placing it in the tomb. We rolled a gigantic (imaginary) rock in front of the oven door. Bake as directed on crescent roll packaging. We also made a big deal of opening the tomb and discovering that the body of Christ was no longer in its linen wrappings. He had risen and lives again!

As I put Kenny to bed tonight he said, "Mom I don't feel so good. I think I ate too much Jesus..."

Friday, December 03, 2010


It finally snowed this week. Six inches the first day, 22 the next. There is a steady snow now. I've accepted the fact that the snow probably wont melt and go away for several months. The same way I learned to love the rain in Alabama. This world is so amazing. In Alabama I used to sit on my front porch and watch the constant down pour in awe and wonder. I felt much the same way tonight as I had the opportunity to watch the snow fall. The utter magical beauty of each flake dancing its way to earth took my breath away. I know I've seen snow fall before and I've felt the excitement and joy it brings, but I've never looked at a snow storm and paid attention to individual flakes before. I felt like I was watching it for the first time.

We hardly played in the snow in New Mexico. Mostly because by the time we got our winter gear on large pools of mud appeared. Here we have concrete! I love that I can let the kids play and there is virtually no mess. We've done a lot of playing. The first day, my boys were outside for 6 hours straight! I so did not think they would even last an hour. Taylor has taken it upon himself to help all the neighbors shovel their driveways. Its obvious it makes him feel good and he honestly expects nothing in return. I love my boys! Its funny that all the neighbors have been more "neighborly" since the snow. People stand out in it and chat way more than they ever did in the summer. I had a man come help me shovel yesterday. He said he was wandering around helping anyone who was shoveling because it helped him not think about the cigarettes he was craving. Sounds good to me.

I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying the snow too. I've never loved the cold. Here I bundle up and head outside to be with my kids. As long as I dress right I hardly notice the cold. To see the joy on my kids faces makes it all worth it anyway. I don't mind the shoveling. It gives me a sense of accomplishment for some reason. The fact that I know I'll have to go out and do it all over in just a few hours again doesn't bother me at all. Weird.
The boys made a snow cave today. Its big enough that they can lay flat in it and sit up comfortably. They wanted to sleep in it tonight. They probably would have been fine if I let them, but that was a little much for me. Yesterday we made snow angels and had a snowball fight. Tomorrow we'll build a snowman and see if he lasts until we get back from NM after Christmas.
The road conditions are rough right now. Last summer the ABS and traction control went out on my car, so I'm learning a whole new style of driving. I tried to turn a corner yesterday and the car would have nothing of it. So we continued on straight until we found a corner my car approved of. We made it home eventually. The worst is when I stop at a red light it takes forever to convince my tires there is enough traction to get going again. I've ticked off quite a few drivers behind me. I'll get the hang of it.
For now I'll enjoy my winter wonderland.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Becoming self starters

I'm trying not to micro manage my kids during homeschool. The last couple days have been an experiment for us. While the kids were in public school they would come home with hours of homework and expect me to sit right next to them while they worked on it. That is the way our homeschool work started. Every morning I would call, bribe, or yell to get everyone sitting on the couch so we could start our day. Not very effective for bringing the Spirit to family prayer. Then I'd drag, pull and bribe everyone to the table to start our work where I'd sit and "encourage" them to stay focused. I never got anything accomplished for me. the house was a mess. I loved spending time with the kids, but I also had things I needed to do. Things had to change.

I've been very good bout making lesson plans a week in advance. It helps me stay sane not to wake up every morning and scramble to assemble my thoughts. So now I post those plans where my kids can see them. I explained to them that they don't need to wait for me to tell them to start their work. Now they know what is expected of them and they can do it when they want, but no privledges until the work is done.

Yesterday it worked really well. They kids were excited to be more in control of their day and I didn't have to coherce anyone to get things accomplished. It took a whole lot longer to get the school work out of the way though. Today, this have gone down hill a bit. I need to find a balance between too much control and none at all. I don't mind directing them, but they need to become self starters to be successful in life. I want to instill that now.

I'd love to hear suggestions if anyone has any. I know only a few people read my blog and only a few of those homeschool, but I would love to hear things that have worked for others in teaching their children to get started on their own. My kids don't get dressed unless I tell them too. They don't to school work unless I tell them too. They don't bathe unless I tell them too. I want them to learn they don't have to be told to do everything.

I have great kids. They are good at so many things. I am so blessed.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Just a little off the bottom

In our family we like to play the "Chubby, Chubby" game. You know the one that goes, "Hi, I'm Chubby Chubby. My Momma's chubby, blah, blah, blah". My kids get a huge kick out of me trying to smile with my cheeks squeezed together. It's been a while since we've played, but it obviously has made an impression on Kenny's mind.

Today as I stood watching the older boys ride their bikes, Kenny came up behind me and squeezed my other cheeks together and started to say, "Hi, I'm Chubby Chubby." It was hilarious! I, of course, made him stop as soon as he touched me. How embarrassing! Still, that boy cracks me up. Everyday his personality shows more. He is so unique and he makes me laugh everyday.

Burrville Cider Mill

Joey has a Four day weekend. YAY! This morning I got to sleep in AND woke up to breakfast already made. Sounds like a great start to the day to me.

Yesterday we took a trip south to the Burrville Cider Mill. I had heard mixed reviews on it. "It's so small I wouldn't waste your time on it" vs "It's great we go every year". We decided to chance it. There wasn't much to loose either way, except for time which is never really wasted when you are with your loved ones.

True it is very small. There is only one press and a small sorting room. Behind the building we found this beautiful waterfall. Originally the mill ran on hydropower, but that was a couple hundred years ago.
Inside the small store we found these gems. Pure maple syrup (yummy with a slightly woodsy flavor), pure and fresh apple cider, cider doughnuts, dutch apple jam, and pumpkin butter. These made for a great breakfast...with pancakes i didn't have to make!

Today's agenda includes chilling in front of the TV and/or computer, puttering around the house, and possibly a trip to the Community Center. With the weather changing quickly we try to spend as much time outside as possible. I'm actually surprised at how mild its been. So far the weather doesn't seem too different from New Mexico's.
PS I don't seem to be able to cut and paste. I don't feel like trying to figure it out right now so sorry this is so disjointed.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


I've found an easy way to tell if the rain we are getting is "regular" rain or "lake effect" rain.

Regular rain makes the earth smell fresh and new.

Lake effect rain makes the earth smell slightly of dead fish.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Taylor's Birthday

This is what Taylor wanted for his "cake". I explained to him that when I ask him what cake he wanted for his birthday what I really was asking is what dessert he wanted. That opened up all kinds of possibilities for him. He decided on ice cream sandwiches made from Dad's home made chocolate chip cookies. They were huge. I don't think anyone finished what was given to them.

Taylor had a terrible time deciding what he wanted for his birthday. For months he worked himself into tears because he wanted so many things and couldn't pick just one. Not because he thought we were mean for not buying everything for him, nor out of greed, but the choice was too much for him to bare. What he wanted most, he was sure we wouldn't or couldn't get for him. An electric guitar. But we found a shop in town that sells used instruments as well as new. We walked in and Joey helped him try each guitar out so that he could get the one he really wanted. This is what he chose. Everyday he thanks us. He tells me how happy he is with the choice he made. I love it. Next month he will start lessons. And I will let him play as much as he wants...with out the amp.

Autumn in New York

I couple of weeks ago we decided to take a drive up to the Adirondack Mountains to see the fall colors. The colors were spectacular. I'm a little dissappointed in my pictures. I'm sure now the mountains look like they are exploding. Many of the trees looked like they were on fire. Literally. There is no other way to describe it. We headed out with no destination in mind. We picked a road and drove, and drove until the kids refused to sit any longer. We found this beautiful river. The kids loved climbing all over the rocks in the middle of the water. I think they were just so relieved to be out of the car! Eventually we worked our way to Jreck's Subs. I had a buffalo clam me it was good.

We headed home much to the relief of the kids. I could have driven forever and watch all the beauty around me.

Punkin Carving!

I always forget I have to upload my pictures backwards! Here are the finished products. As if the kids weren't having enough fun with sharp knives already, Joey pulled out the extra large drill bit. Turned out pretty cool.

Always the entertainer! Joey looks like a mideval minstrel or court jester to me. That's my punkin head...

Kenny giving his pumpkin a little kiss. He did most of the work himself after we encouraged him to put down the knife and pick up the sharpie.

Yum...punkin guts!

Lillia was so proud of herself. Her whole arm was swallowed when she reached in to scoop out the goobers.

Most of the fam (and Kenny's head) hard at work. All in all it was good times. Too bad I woke up the next morning and realized I was out of eggs. I couldn't make the pumpkin pie I'd been dreaming of all night.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Would it be awful if we skipped homeschool today? Don't answer that... its just not going to get done today. At least not all of it.

Joey had a PT test this morning. Oh the stress PT tests cause this family! Joey hasn't passed one since moving here to NY. He believes he has anterior compartment syndrome. Which seems to be pretty common in the military. To make matters worse he's been doing 2 PT sessions everyday (required) because he didn't pass his PT test. Each session includes 5-6 mile runs, hundreds (literally) of burpees, a mile of iron mikes, push ups, sit ups, and whatever else the seargent sees fit to torture them with.

Anyway, any kind of PT that involves his legs causes him a huge amount of pain. Usually he needs pain meds and a soak in an extremely hot bath to take the edge off. Often he has difficulty walking. His legs are also sore to the touch. Not really a great way to spend life. But now that he's passed his test he only has to do one of those PT sessions! YAY! He can go to sick call to take care of his legs too! If he had gone to sick call before passing his PT test and gotten on profile (a doctor's note saying he doesn't have to run) he wouldn't have been allowed to take the test. He would have been stuck on "special pops" (the second PT session) until his profile was up. The profile would run out while he is in Afganistan. Then he'd have to take his PT test there at 5000ft altitude instead of here at 600ft altitude. His passing is a HUGE relief!

My visiting teacher came today. I love when I get visited. Its pretty much my only social time. LOL. She stayed for an hour and a half, which was lots of fun for me, but not very productive for homeschool. Now we've finished lunch. I've set the kids to doing the school work that I am least involved in. After this short blogging break I should feel refreshed enough to actually spend some time teaching them.

Maybe we will get work done today!