Monthly Archives: April 2012

Umbrella Man

image via Geeky Gadgets

A few days ago while sitting in traffic at a stoplight we noticed a kerfuffle going on. Some white car had pulled over and a big, beefy guy was yelling at a short man on the sidewalk who was carrying an umbrella. I rolled down my window to hear what was happening (because, yes, I’m nosy!) but they were too far away. Umbrella Guy kept poking his umbrella in the air, in the general direction of Big Guy…he never actually touched him though.

Then Big Guy got in his car and began to inch forward as the light had finally turned green. Umbrella Guy began to run after the white car and proceeded to give it a big WHACK with his umbrella right as the car was making its right turn.

Even though we don’t know what exactly happened we decided to root for Umbrella Guy and gave him a big round of applause in our car when he whacked the white car with the umbrella.

Who would you root for?

P.S. Waiting at stoplights in Paraguay is super fun. Sometimes there’s a guy who puts on a flame throwing show while we wait for the light to turn green, sometimes you can have someone clean your windshield, and sometimes you can buy things, anything from DVD’s to bouncy balls or a fresh orange.

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Books and Links

Today is a very rainy, drizzly, dark day. Which is perfect because I have two books I’m reading right now and a rainy day is just the excuse to fly through them. One book is Perelandra by C.S. Lewis. This is on loan from a friend so I really need to read it, fast. Lewis is one of my favorite authors, so it shouldn’t be a problem.  The only reason I haven’t finished it yet is  that when I received the book I had just started Reflections, by Barbara Bush, and I can not put it down. She is a witty, confident, real, honest, smart and downright funny lady. I absolutely love her! I have giggled and chuckled through her book and stayed up way too late reading. But every word is worth it. I highly recommend it, even if you don’t like the Bush family, I assure you, you will like Barbara. I think she and I could be great friends.

Here are some good reads I found around the World Wide Web this week:

A Test You Need To Fail – A teachers open letter to her 8th grade students

A Prayer for Gospel Parenting

The Littleness of Motherhood

Happy Reading and Happy Weekend to you!

Embrace the Camera

For todays Embrace the Camera I want to tell you what was happening in my kitchen yesterday with Lexi.

I was making hot dogs, oh so complicated, and it was taking forever.

I had the two big girls at the counter peeling the plastic sleeves off of our hot dogs with children safety scissors. (Our hot dogs here come individually wrapped and they can sometimes be hard to get open)

Dining room chairs, about four, were littering the kichen.

Lexi had spilled popcorn kernels all over the kitchen island and all over the floor.

There was a pile of blocks in front of the refrigerator.

I stepped on one of the dollhouse dolls and it hurt, a lot! (It’s the girls version of Legos, I tell ya!)

Then I stepped into the family room to tidy up a mess in there and when I came back I found Miss Lexi hanging on to the counter with one hand, legs dangling precariously, and with the other hand reaching into the pot for hot dogs and taking a BIG bite into each one. CHOMP, CHOMP, CHOMP.

We ate the hot dogs anyway, even though it looked like they had been mauled. Which in a sense they had.

All that happening while I made hot dogs.

Imagine what it would look like if I tried to cook something that actually required thinking?

Reading without tears

Lately, I’ve been finding a little window of time to blog in the mornings. However, my mind isn’t very clear in the mornings and I have a hard time organzing my thoughts and putting words into sentences which actually flow. So here is a list of my unconventional homeschool opinions and thoughts. Lists I can do anytime of the day.

1. Why slave for years and years drilling something into a kids when you could just wait and have them learn it in a week or two? Elena is a quick learner, and  I know that if I had started reading with her at an early age she could have learned how to sight read very quickly. However, we would have needed to practice often and daily. We waited till she was almost seven and she learned to read in a week. Maybe it’s laziness on my part, but I just think that makes more sense. 

 

2. Small children should not be spending large amounts of times sitting down. Not in front of the TV and not in front of workbooks. When you have a house full of small children and your oldest student is 6, “school time” shouldn’t go over 45 minutes. Says me…and what do I know? (Answer: nothing, really.)

3. Here’s a tip: Elena is extremely active and busy, so when we’re doing something slightly monotonous, such as reviewing sight words I have her run between flash cards. Read a word, run down the hallway, run back, read a different word. This works very well for our busy learner.

4. A friend of mine (fellow missionary and also homeschooling mom) told me they work on one subject for three of four weeks. The focus completely on Health…and then focus on Science…and then History and so on and so on. This, to me, is brilliant. I can put so much more energy in to planning and preparing if I’m just focusing on one subject at a time. I don’t have to divide every book, or make weekly lesson plans. Right now we’re focusing on Math and practicing reading every day. Thats it. Again, this will not work for everyone, but for me it’s really working.

5. My children don’t socialize daily with their peers. It’s AWESOME. Allow me to explain: I once had a three year old who was a very good girl, obedient and friendly to her siblings. A friend of mine mothered a similar child so we had a play date and our two darling girls played well, at the beginning. But as the weekend dragged on the squabbles got worse and worse. My friend and I started asking ourselves questions: Should young children really spend that much time together? Shouldn’t they be learning to socialize from their parents and not other immature children?  My girls do socialize on weekends and playdates on some afternoons, and they obviously socialize all the time with their family. There is squabbling and bad attitudes and I’m so glad I’m around to catch it.

 

For us, it works. And it won’t work for everyone. Please don’t take me as a legalistic, I just hope to encourage any other mothers out there who are homeschooling the gaggle of kids. We haven’t found a school here in our new city (and we have looked) that we feel fits our family and the girls needs. And so far our homeschooling journey has been pretty fun. 

An Ode to Oatmeal

Atol de Avena

Oatmeal is inexpensive and healthy, but few people like it. Personally, I love it, I grew up eating and it is my favorite thing to eat when I have  sick tummy. It’s creamy, warm and soothing. You just have to know how to make it, and again, few people do.

Allow me to share my plethora of oatmeal recipes?

2-4 Oatmeal

Bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil.

Add 2 cups of oats.

Put lid on pot and turn off the heat.

Allow to sit for 15 minutes.

Add milk, real butter, raisins, cinnamon and brown sugar or honey. It’s perfect, and super easy, even for a busy weekday morning.

This usually leaves us with about 1 cup of oatmeal. What to do with it?

Oatmeal Scones (hat tip to Kendra Fletcher for this one!)

2 Tbsp. of butter

2 Tbsp. of honey

1 cup of cooked, cooled, oatmeal

2/3 cup of milk

1 cup of whole wheat flour

3/4 cup flour

4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and honey. Mix into oatmeal. Mix milk in slowly. In a small bowl mix dry ingredients. Add to oatmeal mixture and mix well. Pat dough out into a circle shape onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes till browned. I like to top these with a simple orange glaze (whisk a few tablespoons of powdered sugar into a few tablespoons of orange juice.)

Leftover Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup of flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. honey

4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, well beaten

2 Tbsp. oil

1 cup of cooked, cooled, oatmeal

Mashed banana, optional

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. In separate smaller bowl mix wet ingredients. Combine both dry and wet, spoon batter into greased muffin pans and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. These are perfect drizzled with honey  or topped with jam.

Swiss Oatmeal

2 cups of dry oats in a medium sized bowl with airtight lid

Add enough water to come just below the top of the oats

Soak overnight in the fridge.

In the morning, it will have absorbed all the liquid and be like a soft, creamy granola. Add natural yogurt or milk to loosen it up, then add cinnamon, raisins, apples, walnuts, honey, or brown sugar. This is great for those hot summer months.

 

Enjoy your oatmeal.

The Thursday Before Easter

On the Thursday before Easter my friend invited me and my girls to her house to paint eggs with her and her girls. She’s a brave soul, I know this because she included glitter. Glitter, people. Glitter.

(FYI, I’m scared of glitter and little girls and craft sessions all rolled into one.)

Turns out that glitter isn’t so bad once the children are bit older, she said I could bring Lexi but we opted to leave her at Grandma’s because if Lexi got a hold of glitter bad, bad, bad things would happen.

There was no electricity in their house due to a large storm but the afternoon was lovely and perfect.

We made 24 eggs and hid them on Friday during our church’s Passover feast. Only 23 were found. Something is going to start smelling funny soon.

What we’re up to

If you ever wonder why I don’t blog as much as I used to, let me tell you why.

I’m feeding people.

All.Day.Long.

Their legs must be hollow because it takes me all day to fill them up so they can sleep through the night, and then they wake up on Empty and we start the cycle again.

It’s a good thing I like to cook.

Feeding kids is a good thing, so this daily grind of meal prep is not in vain.

(But it is monotonous sometimes. Oh well.)

 

Here are my go-to snacks (somewhat healthy and fit in our budget) for the girls.

Oranges

Bread with peanut butter

Popcorn

Raisins

Homemade cookies

Beans (my crockpot is always full of them)

Egg sandwiches

Homemade tortillas

Sliced cucumbers and carrot sticks

(and that’s just for the morning!)

Seriously, how do women with teenage sons do it??

What we’re eating this week

Monday: Taco Pizza (I keep frozen homemade refried beans, and homemade frozen pizza dough on hand almost always. This is snap!)

Tuesday: Black Bean Chowder with Yogurt relish

Wednesday: Pinto beans, cornbread, salad

Thursday: Baked black bean taquitos, salad, brown rice

Friday: Passover feast with our church

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Black bean and roasted tomato soup

Date night

Here’s a picture of the my girls setting the table for our date night. They knew that as soon as they went to bed their Daddy and I would be having a delicious dinner all by ourselves. Our girls understand and appreciate that Mommy and Daddy need to be alone sometimes. They did want to help though, and even pulled out a chair for me to sit in before they went running and giggling off to their beds. 

 

 

I’m convinced I have the coolest kids in the world. 

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