5.31.2013

Oh What do you Do in the Summertime?

How do you spend your summers?

I just read this post  and really liked her way of thinking.  I usually keep school going through the summer, but this year I'm really not excited about that prospect.  I just want to do lots of fun stuff with the kids.  Part of it is their ages....no babies or pregnancy, mostly self-sufficient, mostly all potty trained, etc.  We can just do more stuff this year than I've been able to in the past.

Another reason is because we now have "real school" coming at the end of the summer months.  So, I want them to "leave wanting more," so to speak.  :-)

And, for myself, I really am tired of thinking about math, reading and writing!  I want to think about the FUN STUFF more.  :-)

From the link I particularly liked the Daily Adventures.  I was already thinking of designating a different type of activity per day, but her list helped me think outside the box.  For example, "Thinking Thursdays" and the idea of researching a topic together is intriguing.  We've done this for years with our family learning time topics, but this time it will be totally child-led rather than "Mom's lesson plan."

Which also can be applied with the Bucket List of activities to do throughout the summer.

I'm a really, really structured person!  I want to be more spontaneous this summer.  I want to be flexible and not so in control of everything. As a mom I'd like to be better at truly listening to the opinions of my children, letting them know that I value their ideas! Sometimes as parents we tend to think we know better!  Which, yes, we do have more experience under our belts.  But if it's not a significant matter or if our kids have dreams and goals, I'd rather support than shoot them down! What better time for practicing that than summer when life is much less structured (if we allow it to be) and the pressure is off?

So, that is my summer goal:  to be a more spontaneous and listening mother.

5.30.2013

The Great Wheel

We just read a fabulous book.

The Great Wheel by Robert Lawson is an historical fiction novel centered around the invention of the ferris wheel.  It's a book that dares you to dream!  

image from en.wikipedia.org

So, afterwards we bought the K'Nex ferris wheel kit and assembled our own.  It was fun learning to work as a team just as those in Lawson's book.  It was interesting how after the initial foundation was finished only one child continued to work through the hard part of the project.  JL is a determined kid!  He persevered when no one else would.



5.29.2013

Afterschooling


My kids at their best!  :-)  


I needed to read this post today.

Why?

Because we will not be homeschooling next year.

It's true.  Our kids will be entering public school next year.  After the initial mourning period,  I'm finally excited and ready to embrace this huge change in our lives.

When we told the kids about our thoughts, J. asked if there were any questions.  Addie raised her hands and asked, "Can we still have a read aloud book."

Of course!  It was a great opportunity to remind them why we started homeschooling in the first place.  Yes, I wanted more time with them, but the ultimate answer was that this decision (to homeschool) would bring our family closer together.  That has happened.  That will not change.

Sure, we'll need to work harder on certain sibling relationships, but for the most part our family culture has already been established.  Our activities may look different next year, but the feeling in our home will remain the same.

Thus, this post was timely because I've been planning and thinking and pondering on how to keep the homeschool feel in our home while public schooling.  Setting the tone, the environment will be huge.  I like the reminder (and the permission) to not give them more structured classes after school.  Having less time with my children will be hard at first, but I know when they come home they will be mine and we can make the best of that time!

I believe it is by divine design that the role of motherhood emphasizes the nurturing and teaching of the next generation. - - Elder L. Tom Perry

5.28.2013

TWO

David.  Is. TWO. Today.


My visiting teacher asked me the other day if he's different or the same as my other kids.

The only thing I could think to say was that I do not remember having a terrible twos child before.  Now I do.


As delightful as this child is (oh, his smile wins everyone over), his lack of understanding with regards to  boundaries is scary and exhausting.  He will go with whoever wherever and do whatever whenever.

He has rightfully earned the nickname, "Ferral Dave" in the ward.  One sister recently referred to him as, "The ward's baby."  Yes, he has stolen the hearts of many....his mother's and father's included.



As the youngest of six you can just imagine his desire to be in the spotlight wherever he goes...he's been trained well.  He never shies away from a photo opportunity (thus his joining of the women's retreat photo).  Be careful laughing at him because he won't stop, even to the point of destruction.

This kid is just sheer delight in our home.
If he doesn't kill himself off, we'll keep him. :-)

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

5.27.2013

THIS is our MISSION

I couldn't have asked for a better team than I had in leading this retreat.  I honestly can't see anything I would have changed .... other than more sisters to enjoy the weekend with!  Here are some highlights:

Can't wait to get on the road!!  The whole group (minus my toddler who insisted on being in the photo!

Two hours and lots of chattering later....We're HERE!!!
Such beautiful ladies!  :-)
Our location for  the weekend.  Indoors...



...and outdoors.  We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather!

The weekend kicked off with orientation and an introduction to the theme.
Our Mission:  To be a righteous influence in the world!

Followed by some fabulous team building exercises  we learned and discussed how putting our hands together builds a beautiful and unique quilt, experience, snowflake or world!  It's a beautiful thing when 27 women can use their unique gifts and personalities to solve problems, create laughter, and overcome insecurities together!  
Afterwards we had some free time.
Abby guided us in a wonderful DIY craft.  I love it! 

More beautiful women!  This was the early morning hiking group.  Yes, I'm in my pajamas....that's what happens when you get 4 hours of sleep!!  :-)   And because this wasn't Girls Camp, I didn't get a "talking to" for doing so!    

Not only did we see beautiful vistas, but we also shared a tender, prayerful moment in our own little "sacred grove."  
Following the hike and a delicious breakfast we had a beautiful devotional, "We are His Hands" given by Denise.  This woman has a heart of gold and can truly see the child of God in all she meets.  We had a lovely discussion and came away feeling uplifted and ready to truly be the hands of the Lord in all we do.

Flower arranging taught by Melissa came next.  This is what I came up with...I wish I'd gotten more photos of others' though because some women are truly talented in this area!  
Then, time to clean up and head home.  It was so great to see everyone kind of lingering...not quite ready to say their good-byes.  I also have to say something about the amazing food.  I wish I had pictures of my two favorite chefs, they did an amazing job and really pampered us!

Overall the weekend was fabulous and more than I could have even asked for.  I have to thank ALL who helped out because they made my job easy.  :-)  Also, gratitude goes to a loving Father in Heaven who guided and directed the whole event.  There were so many small miracles and lives touched to discredit Him with being involved.


"There is no sister so isolated and her sphere so narrow but what she can do a great deal toward establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth."  
--Eliza R. Snow--


5.24.2013

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love ya!

Brooklynn will be TWELVE tomorrow.  


Yes.  My fun-loving, quirky-dressing, happiness-making daughter will be a young woman! 

I don't know if it's easier the second time around or not?  Or maybe it's that this is my first daughter to know reach that magical age.   It's just another one of those milestones where parents begin to ask themselves, "Did I teach her all she needed to know?  What more do I need to give her with only seven more years to go?"  


 This girl of mine has been sheer delight.  Well, the first few years were quite the battle... Shall I share a few stories?

She's been the only one of my children to ride in an ambulance...twice...by the age of 2.  That doesn't count the helicopter that life flighted her at 14 months old.

When she was two she dumped Grandma's essential oils all over her bed...twice (again), stuck her finger in a beehive, cut her hair (multiple times), rubbed Desitin all over her face (right before we needed to leave for church, of course), and drank kerosene oil.

That was just the beginning of the many adventures I knew we would have with our little girl.  She has a quirky and creative personality.  She wants to do things without knowing how to do them...and succeeds because she thinks she can.  She could take down her older brother from the time she could walk.



This girl of mine has been sheer delight.  Well, the first few years were quite the battle... Shall I share a few stories?

She's been the only one of my children to ride in an ambulance...twice...by the age of 2.  That doesn't count the helicopter that life flighted her at 14 months old.

When she was two she dumped Grandma's essential oils all over her bed...twice (again), stuck her finger in a beehive, cut her hair (multiple times), rubbed Desitin all over her face (right before we needed to leave for church, of course), and drank kerosene oil.

That was just the beginning of the many adventures I knew we would have with our little girl.  She has a quirky and creative personality.  She wants to do things without knowing how to do them...and succeeds because she thinks she can.  She could take down her older brother from the time she could walk.

Brooklynn loves to write (plays), sing, act, cook and sew.

Happy Birthday, My Girl...
and many more adventures ahead I hope!  

5.23.2013

What I learned from Sister Monson


When I searched online for a picture of Sister Monson, 95% of the photos I found she was with her husband.  

This is what I learned from Sister Monson.  

She said, "I am married the best man in the whole world."  

I personally, beg to differ.  :-) 

But the questions in my mind after watching Sister Monson's funeral services were, "Do I love, support and compliment my husband the way this woman did?  What can I do to better fulfill my role as a wife?"

What loneliness President Monson must feel at this time.  My heart goes to him and his family.  

Because of this lovely woman, today I am determined to be the wife my husband longs to be with and come home to.  The wife who compliments my husband in all he does.  The wife who supports and strengthens him in his tasks as the provider and head of our home.  This is something I need to work on, someone I will strive more to become.  

Thank you, Sister Monson, for the sweet reminder in the life you led.  

5.22.2013

I Want to be Bored

When was the last time you were bored?

You know, that "I don't know what to do right now" feeling?

I was just browsing an antique store to pass the time.  I'm not usually into that kind of a thing.  But right now I'm in the middle of decorating our new back deck and just thought I'd pop in to get a few ideas.

I fell in love with that place!  Ideas just started to flow and I got all excited and giddy inside.

I thought, "I could stay here forever."  Sadly, I was only able to stay a few brief minutes.

I didn't make any purchases, I just allowed myself to dream and then planned for the next time I could go...maybe dragging my husband along with me!

On the way home I pondered on how it would be nice to be bored sometime.  What would I do if I were bored?  What ideas would flourish if I weren't rushing from one place to the next or planning the next thing ahead?  What inspiration would I receive...and then be able to follow?  What dreams would come to fruition?

When I walked into the house after my little escapade, I was surprised when my daughter welcomed me with, "Mom!  I was bored, so I made this!"  She revealed a piece of beautiful artwork she'd produced while I was gone.


A's Boredom Creation
You can't see but she has crumpled garbage glued in spots and a broken up peppermint candy as well.


If only I could be bored....

5.20.2013

National Backyard Games Week


image from boston.com

I could tell story after story of all the fun outdoor games we played as children. 

My favorite:  Capture the Flag...in the DARK!  Kids don't play that in the dark these days, have you noticed?  I just don't see how that can be!

I remember the endless hours of that game at my childhood home.  I remember sneaking through the creek, under the fence into my neighbor's yard, climbing up the hill of the canyon to the road, and then scouting out the enemy territory to find the flag.  Can't remember if I succeeded or not, but I remember the feeling of bravery as I performed the precarious mission!  

I remember Kick the Can...again, in the dark.  Maybe not such a good idea because of the one time my brother and I headed toward the can at the same time, facing one another at full speed, neither one wanting to give in to the other!  Yeah. Pretty sure I blacked out.  I had a huge egg in the middle of my forehead from that one! 

I remember Sunday games of croquet and lawn darts and horseshoes.

All of these memories to be repeated this week with my own children. 

Although, it's fun to see them creating their own backyard memories:  playing soccer for hours, basketball, Bocci ball and swimming in the pool.  I'll enjoy watching those games this week as well.  

5.17.2013

My Mother's Day


Yardwork.

That's what I asked for this Mother's Day.

And that's what I got.

Along with....

Breakfast in bed (french toast w/ strawberries)

Les Miserables

Grilled Chicken & asparagus for Dinner

Beautiful handmade cards!


I'm happy to be pampered once a year.

5.15.2013

Retreat Time

In case you were wondering what has been keeping me busy lately (other than this blasted cold I have)....

Last fall I spoke at a retreat for women.

This weekend I'm leading my own!

25+ women of all different backgrounds in the same space for 48 hours.  We're hoping to laugh, cry, miss out on a lot of sleep, have some spiritual rejuvenation and just be out of the world for a little while.   Should be loads of fun!

Our theme:  THIS IS OUR MISSION
"There is no sister so isolated and her sphere so narrow but what she can do a great deal toward establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth."  --Eliza R. Snow--


This has been in the works for a few months now and so it feels good to be at the end.  I have a great team of women working with me to pull it off.   I'm nervous, excited, getting a bit stressed, and ultimately ready to watch relationships in our ward flourish as we experience some more intimate time together.

5.09.2013

Recipes!!!

Though I'm still feeling fatigue these days, I have to say I'm having fun finding new recipes.  Here are a few favorites I've found:

Black Bean Brownies

I've never really liked granola....Until now!  I just found the yummiest granola recipe at my latest favorite blog, 100 Days of Real Food.

Delicious Quinoa Salad
1 TBSP olive oil
1 c. quinoa
2 c. vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. pine nuts (yum!)
1/2 c. green onions
2 TBSP chopped cilantro

Directions:
1. Heat quinoa in oil until it smells toasted (not burnt!).  :-)

2. Add broth and let simmer 15 minutes (or until liquid is gone...watch it closely!)

3. Toast pine nuts in dry pan (don't let them get brown or they'll taste bitter)

Mix all together and serve!

Last but not least...Ice Cream! 
I posted awhile back that I would really miss ice cream...and I do.

There were suggestions given to make banana ice cream.  I tried it, but it was pretty slimy (if you have suggestions on how to make it not slimy, let me know).  

So, after a bit more research I found what should have been an obvious solution.  CREAM!  So, here you go:

2 c. frozen strawberries
1 c. whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. sweetener of choice

Put this all in the blender (we use our VitaMix) and blend it until it's thick.
We have since experimented with chocolate and mint chocolate  (with mint leaves).  So far nothing too successful, but it still satisfies that ice cream craving for me.

Bon Appetite!

5.06.2013

National Wildflower Week

image from gardening.ktsa.com

For National Wildflower Week take the kids on a hike or two.

For some great hikes in our area check out the Hike Tri-Cities website.

Here are some great books to check out as well for your wildflower learning.  

This is wildflowers with some historical content.  First Lady Claudia Johnson was nicknamed "Lady Bird Johnson" for her efforts in creating a more beautiful world.  Beautiful book!  

Get more scientific than just wandering through the woods with these two great books on wildflowers and plants in general!  


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