Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How Today Went

Here's a peek into what a day in our house looks like. This isn't a typical day. We don't really have a typical day but it's the kind of thing that is typical at our house. We have variations in times, attitudes, activities, etc.

I set the alarm for 6:30am and really tried to open my eyes. I did. I just have to say that some of this Olympic stuff is throwing my bed time off. I didn't hit the hay until 12:20 last night and I don't do well with only 6-7 hours of sleep. I know, I know, but I have to have more. Last night was the final night of Ice Dancing! I really like to watch figure skating and was fairly satisfied with how it all turned out. Anyway...I ended up reheating the tea hub had made for me this morning at about 9am.

Tigger always gets up about the same time I do and so we sat on the sofa together for a while checking email, drinking hot tea and getting some co-op info updated. He was on the whiny side this morning which is abnormal for him. He's usually perky and happy. I think he's hit a little phase because I've noticed some different emotions and complaints coming from him.

About 10am I finally got Pooh up. He doesn't always have good mornings but once he was up he didn't give me a hard time. They both got their morning routines done. Tigger ate breakfast twice. Pooh even asked me if I thought his tummy was full after two waffles. I told him I didn't know since I couldn't feel his tummy. LOL He decided he was still full enough. ;D After Tigger fed the animals, we got down to some school work.

It was 11am by this time. We started with their 'Tote Work'. This is their "independent work". It's really not all that independent but it's mostly independent. Tigger got really distracted while I was doing spelling with Pooh. He was supposed to be doing math but acted like he couldn't even figure out how to use the blocks for adding. I did not allow him to interrupt. I told him that if he couldn't do it, he would miss out on some of his break time. After that, he at least attempted to do the work, although we ended up corrected some things later. I explained to him that he was allowing other things to distract him and that he may needed to really focus only on what HE was supposed to do. This may be becoming a problem. I'll be monitoring what happens and make changes in seating as needed. Tigger is just the kind of little person that can't stand to miss out on anything. He's probably very much an auditory learner as he allows anyone talking or any music to pull his attention away from what he's doing.

Once we finished all that, the boys got their sandwich/hot dog lunches while I took care of some other things. I had to water my greenhouse plants and got an unexpected call that I had to return. Then we started on our together work at about 1pm. This is mainly spiritual readings. We did the first chapter of Ruth, the Daily Text, 20 minutes of our WT study, a poem, our recitation, the last pages of an Asperger's book for kids, a chapter of Farmer Boy and some triangle addition fact cards.

There were a few interruptions due to some playing around and attitude adjustments that needed to be made but finally at around 2:30pm we got to doing our narrations. Tigger got to start the story from James Herriot of Only One Woof. Pooh did half a chapter of Understood Betsy and one chapter of Burgess Animal Stories (we watched two little youtube videos of groundhogs to go with the story). They then made sure all their chores for the day were done and practiced their 3 little piano tunes I'm teaching them.

By 4pm we were done. I had dinner to start. They were asking for video games but I sent them outside until 5pm. After that, they can come in and play their Nintendo 64 system (yes, we have an old one--but hey, it works fine!).

It's 4:30. I'm almost done with this blog post. Dinner is done except for the fish (dinner is rice, fish, brussell sprouts and salad). Once hubby gets home I'll be heading to the gym for a workout (missed yesterday due to a scheduling change for this week) and will come back home for a family bible study and bed.

Today was far from perfect. There are probably about 50 other things that I could have done from a list off the top of my head (not even a written one!!! Gardening season is upon us and I'm already behind. waaaa!). I probably wasted too much time this morning but was just slow due to my tiredness. I'm hoping to start a new day tomorrow getting up at my goal time. All we can do is try again each new day. Tonight I have to be in bed earlier, that's all there is to it. Fatigue for me has always been a killer. And developing good habits in adulthood is hard work. ;D I need all the rest I can get just for that!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Naked Trees Are Beautiful Too

Just some shots of the trees we saw on our walk...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Exploring Nature in Winter

The boys and I had to look for a park that was open. After all the snow we had some of gated parks stayed closed for a few days but we managed to find a nice spot to hang out in. For the first 30 minutes they hung out with a couple of friends on the playground equipment. Then we started walking by the little creek that runs through the park. It was really flowing well because there was melting going on. We stayed casual for a bit and I took the opportunity to notice some winter color and form.

I don't remember ever seeing this bush before. It was covered with these lovely reddish pink flowers.
The petals look like paper ribbon.
Sweet gum seed pod.
Bright green moss.
Wild strawberries peeking through the fallen leaves.
After a little while I asked the boys to explore and find two interesting things for me to take a picture of. This isn't something that I normally do, but they weren't really connecting at all with what they were seeing. I'm not sure why that was but the task definitely helped to get them going.

Here is one of Tigger's finds. He found a sweet gum seed locked into a snowy ice pack.

Pooh picked up a sweet gum seed pod too (they were all over the place) and asked me to come to this tree stump he found.
It wasn't the stump but this fungus that caught his attention.

Exploring we found the source of the little creek.

I then suggested that we hunt for tracks in the snow that was still all under the trees. I was surprised that we actually found some! I'm not good at tracks yet so this is just guessing right now:
Raccoon? (Edited: After looking thru a tracking book it's not a raccoon. I think it may be in the rodent family but with this picture it's just too hard to tell.)

Squirrel? Or Mouse?



After that it was time for some serious fooling around.

After all, boys must be boys.

I think we were out there for about two hours in case you're wondering. The longer we were out there the more natural our explorations were. I like ending on a positive note. It helps them have a happy memory of what we do. There weren't any notebook entries this time around. Hopefully, we'll be able to get those pulled out again soon.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Pot Is On

When the cold winter weather sets in we all break out our comfort foods. In this family, soup is a favorite. We can be happy with simple fare or with dishes that are a little more complicated.

Our simplest soup is Ramen Noodles. Not the healthiest. However, ever since we've been married, my Latin King has taken a simple pack of ramen noodles and doctored them up. It becomes a vegetable noodle soup. We add stewed tomatoes, onion, garlic, celery and cilantro as basics. At times we add other things such as: corn, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach or green beans. He's even been known to simmer an egg in there. Evidently that was done commonly in his country and he enjoys that. It's a very inexpensive meal and I always feel better about it when we add all those healthy additions. (I don't have a picture of that right now--when I get one I'll edit this post.)

My pictures for today are of two other soup we love around here. The first soup is Leek & Potato Soup. So yummy that we hardly ever have leftovers!

I start by sauteing leeks and garlic in a little olive oil and butter. I used the stalks of 4 leeks.

Then I cut up and added about 16 red potatoes. The big lump you see in this one is a quart of turkey broth I had in the freezer. You should add enough liquid to cover the potatoes. I think mine came out to be between 3-4 quarts.

After the potatoes soften, I use an immersion blender to get a nice creamy texture. After that I added seasonings of salt, pepper, red pepper (just a bit for a little kick) and some dried rosemary. It's a hit with both boys too!

The green leaves of the leeks were left over to be used in the next soup.

The beginnings of my Olive Garden imitation of Zuppa Toscana. I love that soup! I've sauteed mild and hot italian sausage together in my cast iron pot (found at Goodwill!).

In the soup pot I add in chopped onion, the leek greens and more garlic. I used about half a head of garlic in each soup. Hey, it's good for ya!

I forgot to get photos of a couple of steps but here's the finished product. Basically, you proceed as follows: After the veggies have sauteed, add in your liquids in the form of broth and/or water and about 6 chopped potatoes. After about 10-15 minutes, add in your sausage and a few handfuls of chopped kale. For seasonings I added salt, pepper, and italian seasonings. The sausage will spice it up a bit so don't over do it. Little by little is the best way to add them.

Tigger prefers the Leek and Potato soup because this one has 'green stuff'. He ate around the kale. LOL

Pooh, on the other hand, loves the kale because it's so similar to spinach which he also loves. You go boy!

What's your winter comfort food?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's Almost Time!!!

The Great Backyard Bird Count is almost here!!! Don't forget that it starts next Friday. I can't believe how time flies. We've gotten our feeders ready just because of all the snow happening lately. The woodpeckers have even started coming back. Having out a variety of seeds will attract more species of birds for your count.

Homemade suet for the woodpeckers. However, the Titmice like it too. I've also had a couple of starlings come for a taste.

Nijer seed is what the finches love. They will bankrupt me on it come spring time. Nijer isn't the cheapest seed but I love to watch the masses of birds it attracts. Last year we even had a small flock of Pine siskins come for this seed.

This little guy is taking a taste of the typical bird seed mix you can buy. I rarely get this kind. In the rest of the feeders I just use black oil sunflower seed.

I put out some peanuts too and because our dog was in the house we woke up to a couple of rare visitors. Once the peanuts were gone, they went to town on the seeds I scattered on top of the snow.

Got him with his mouth open!

It was such a nice morning sitting and watching out the window with Tigger. He was able to identify almost all the birds we saw that morning. I was so proud of him!!! It's great practice for next weekend when I hope to have a private session with each boy. Tigger drives Pooh nuts sometimes because he's so bouncy. He drives me nuts because he can't wait quietly while I give Pooh a chance to process information. Pooh has recently told me he's not Pooh, he's Rabbit. LOL He says it's because he likes to read so much. I think he's right about that. He definitely has some of Rabbit's characteristics. But he'll still always be my Pooh.

In conclusion, we're ready for our bird count. Are you ready for yours???

Greeting Card Fundraiser

Our local homeschool group is doing a fundraiser to raise money for our yearbooks. Yes, this is our second year having a group yearbook. Last year's was great and the kids were so excited. This year they are at it again getting pages ready for printing. We've had lots of activities to record and pictures are flying through everyone's emails in preparation.

The fundraiser consists of greeting cards made from artwork done by some of the kids in the group, Pooh included. We've taken photos of sketches or paintings they have done and had greeting cards printed with those creations. Here is the watercolor that Pooh did:

Here are some samples of other artwork included on the greeting cards:

I'm not quite sure how all this is going to come out looking. I was trying to achieve a look but the photos and words may be wonky once this is published.

If anyone would like to buy a set of greeting cards to support our group, I would be happy to email you an order form. Just click on my profile and click again on 'Email' and let me know you'd like an order form and I'll get it right to you!

You may buy a set of ten that includes different cards or you can purchase all one type. However you wish to do it. There are a total of 11 different cards. All cards are blank on the inside. We have two sizes to choose from as well-- 5x6.5 and 7x10. There will be a $2 shipping charge. They do include the envelopes.

Here is what a set of 5 looks like.
Thanks for checking them out!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

January Snow Storm

This was our best sledding experience yet! Lots of good snow and deep enough you didn't start to hit grass after a few tries.

Big brother giving a helping hand. He's holding the sled for Tigger so it doesn't go down without him.

This was just too cute! They both got down the hill and they are working together to get themselves and their sled and board back up. You see how they are both all wrapped up and covered in white stuff? It was sleeting while we were there and soooo cold!!!

Dad is giving the snowboard a go. Whoops!

Some friends met us at the school and showed us how it's really done! LOL He has a real snowboard complete with the necessary footwear.

We ended up at the school both Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, our friends brought their kayak! Isn't that hysterical?!? I even went down in it. It was fun! Hey! Whatever works is what you use. We even saw some people bring a camp air mattress and some others had inflatable pool equipment--they all worked really well.

Pooh's turn in the kayak.

Tigger on his snowboard.

He ended up with a load of ice in his face and was crying. Somehow that prevented him from being able to move so the King went down to rescue him with a little towel. Kids are so funny! This would be the same child who flips around and gets hurt all the time but a little ice in his face and the world has come undone! LOL

And the look of pure joy as he whizzes by me in the kayak.

Don't forget that just rolling down a snowy hill can be just as much fun. No need for fancy equipment! (Looking at the photo again I'm thinking "Please don't eat that!")

If the weather keeps up like the forecasters are expecting, you can expect to see more winter weather fun on this blog!!!