3.29.2010

Spring Break

When I was in college and teaching, I looked forward to the breaks, especially spring break. Even though we didn't take trips over the breaks, I was doing something different. I wasn't teaching in the classroom, but enjoying days at home with Morgan. It was a time to refresh and reenergize before the final stretch of the school year.

Now, I have a love/not so fond of you relationship with our school breaks.

I love not having a schedule but I am also not so fond of not having a schedule. I find that the only difference in our normal routine is that we are not having school. I am thankful for a break from lesson planning and teaching but I don't come back from our breaks feeling refreshed, recharged, and ready to take on the rest of the school year.

This year we have been following a modified year round calendar. We started school in early August and have taken scheduled breaks throughout the year. {we will definitely be following this type of schedule next year - loved it} I have found that taking the longer breaks has helped in giving us {mainly me} more time to recharge. We are beginning our second week and I am hoping it is more restful and productive than our first week.

Our first week was busy:
* we started the week with Landon's birthday party
* had one day where we ran errands
* morgan had piano lessons and gymnastics {4 days}
* visited the new indoor jump house

* helped stuff 10,000 eggs, 400 bags of jelly beans, and divide tickets for games for our churches eggstravaganza {are you loving mauryn's outfit... }
* celebrated Landon and our neighbors Val and Amiah's birthdays
* attended our churches eggstravaganza

My list for our second week:
* take Landon to have 6 year photos taken
* clean out closets and make a list of spring clothing needs
* visit the jump houses
* take Morgan to the Owl City concert
* Morgan has gymnastics {4 days}
* try to make a pillowcase dress for Mauryn
* work on skirts for the girls
* dye eggs for Easter
* lesson plans

What are your plans for spring break? Do you find it a time to refresh?

3.25.2010

Intimidated

If you have read this blog for any time you know that I love to bake. love it.

It relaxes me.

But there is one thing that has intimidated me for a very long time.

Pie crust.

If I was to make a pie, I would just buy a frozen pie crust.

Last summer, Sarah posted a tutorial on how to make the perfect pie crust. Since I am a visual learner, a tutorial with pictures was just what I needed to attempt my first pie crust.

A few weeks ago, I took on a homemade pie crust for a french silk pie. It was easy. So much easier than I had imagined.


French Silk Pie
recipe came from one of my former students
1 pie crust

1 c sugar
3/4 c butter
3 (1 oz) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
3 eggs

* Cream sugar and butter together for 4 minutes
* Blend in cooled chocolate and vanilla
* Add eggs one at a time, beating on medium speed for two minutes between each egg. Scrape sides of bowl constantly. Turn into pie shell.
* Top with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

This pie is very rich. I am not a huge chocolate fan but I love mixing the chocolate filling with the whipped cream.... yum! I really love white chocolate so I think the next time I make this pie I am going to try it as a white chocolate pie.

Is there anything in the kitchen that has intimated you?

3.23.2010

Leaping Lemurs

Animals,
plus the pbs show zoboomafoo
equal a zoboomafoo themed 6th birthday at the zoo for Landon.

His party day started with a number six pancake with candles. We usually do that on their day but since he spent his birthday out of town at his sisters gymnastics meet he didn't get his special pancake.

the invitations
Our zoo doesn't actually schedule birthday parties but they let me schedule his party as a field trip. It was so fun. Our guide talked about four different animal groups: insects, reptiles, birds, and mammals. She told them about the unique qualities of each animal group. Our guide had something for the kids to hold or touch while she described each group. Then the kids were able to touch an animal from each group. Definitely a highlight!! When our time in the classroom was over, we had a guided tour to see a few animals before being able to take on the zoo on our own. It was an easy party and my boy loved every minute of it.



3.22.2010

Perseverance

A few weeks ago, during one of Morgan's gymnastics meets, Lance and I noticed Morgan was limping. She left the floor after completing her routine and had the coaches wrap her foot. When the meet was over Lance and I asked her about it. She said her heel was hurting. Lance thought she may have bruised her foot so we iced it and gave her some ibuprofen.

As the week went on, Morgan's heel was still giving her some issues but not enough where she wanted to take time off of gym or competing. Morgan and I flew to Coeur d'Alene for her meet. Her first rotation was the balance beam. She completed a beautiful routine and was moving onto warm ups on the floor when I noticed she was crying. Morgan is not a crier. I knew she was definitely in pain. I walked down to the floor to talk with her. I told her she could scratch on floor and vault and just compete on bars. She looked at me like I was crazy. There was no way she wasn't going to compete even if she was in pain. Honestly, I was surprised. I thought she would jump at the chance to sit out those rotations. She is tougher than I thought!

When we returned from Coeur d'Alene, I scheduled an appointment with a podiatrist. After talking with the doctor and having x rays taken we learned that Morgan has Sever's Disease. It is not uncommon with children as they grow but it is exasperated by the fact that she is a gymnast. The doctor wrapped her feet, told her that she needed to wear tennis shoes {no bare feet, no flip flops, etc...}, get heel cups for tumbling at gym, and use ibuprofen as needed. Morgan was worried he would tell her that she had to quit gymnastics or take time off but he said as long as she was able to manage the discomfort she could continue.

Although she is no longer limping and the pain is gone in her heels when she walks, Morgan still has some pain when she tumbling and vaulting at gymnastics.

This last weekend Morgan had her state gymnastics meet. She was determined to compete in all events even though her heels were still giving her some trouble. She was going to persevere.

Morgan finished 8th in her age group and in the top third of all the girls in her level. She toughed it out, did her best and had a great time. Her team took 2nd place which was very exciting. As a group they have struggled with injuries and being consistent in their routines. It was fun to see them all have some strong routines.

Last competition season was difficult for Morgan. She had struggled with some of the new skills but the uneven bars were her greatest challenge. It was hard to see her struggle. She was focused on conquering the bars. It is her favorite event even though it was hard for her.

This year, it all came together. She persevered and mastered her bar routine. In the last few weeks she has consistently placed in the top for bars. At the state meet, Morgan had the bar routine of her year. It was amazing. I may have yelled and shed a tear or two. I was so proud of her. She set her mind to do improve and she did it.

Morgan placed 2nd in her age group on the uneven bars and 2nd place out of the 64 girls in her level.

video

Morgan has taught me about focusing on the goal, pushing through the pain, and persevering in order to meet a goal. Thanks Morgan for being an inspiration to me.

Giveaway winner: sorry i didn't get this up on sunday. i was under mounds of laundry and prepping for a 6 year olds birthday party.

Kym {i will deliver it to you on wednesday}

3.19.2010

He's 6!

Dear Landon ~

You forgot that you were not supposed to get any bigger. Remember, you were going to stay 5 and be my little boy.

You are spending your 6th birthday at Morgan's state gymnastics meet and you have been a trooper! As long as you get to swim {you are a little fish}, have McDonalds for lunch {your favorite fast food}, and had a few presents to open you were happy.

Your big brown eyes and your smile can make me melt.

You are constantly on the go and into something. You can be very intense and aggressive but you also have the sweetest most tender heart. You look out for others. You are always honest, even when you might get into trouble. You love to cook and bake as well as play any sport that involves a ball. You like to play your drums, strum your guitar, dance, and listen to music. You are interested in animals and love to visit the zoo {maybe you will be a veterinarian like your daddy one day}. I love that you are interested in so many things.

I love you sweet boy! Happy Birthday.

3.18.2010

Road Trips and a Giveaway

Road trip....a word that could cause stress or anxiety in some people. But I LOVE road trips. always have, even as a child.

I love driving.

I love seeing different parts of the country.

It is relaxing to me.

Even with my kids.

I am blessed to have great little travelers but I have also learned a few things along the way to help make our road trips a little easier.

1. Preparation. I talk to the kids and let them know how long we will be in the car. We set goals for how far we will make it without a stop. If someone needs to stop we will but we try to make our goal. It is like a little game for them.

2. Snacks. I rarely buy individually packed snacks. But for our road trips, I buy a variety of individually packaged snacks to keep in the car. The kids are excited about having their own snacks and it prevents us from purchasing snacks at convenience stores along the way. I also keep a little secret stash of suckers, M & M's, and other favorite candies that I throw out every once in a while after a long stretch of driving, as a prize for a game we have played, or because mama needs some sugar!

3. Games. We play the typical road trip games such as keeping track of the different license plates, trying to find all the letters of the alphabet on signs and billboards, and I Spy. The kids will also come up with games along the way, like trying to decide what a certain cloud looks like or creating a silly story that we all build upon. I will sometimes copy maps so they can track our travels on a map. The kids will take along card games, and puzzle books such as word searches, mazes, and dot to dots. You can also check out this website for some other great ideas.

4. Ipods, Leapster/DS, DVD player. There are only so many Wiggles songs or Alvin and the Chipmunks this mama can listen to in a day. I am very thankful for ipods so the kids can listen to their own music without disturbing anyone. The kids do take along their leapsters/DS and I throw in our DVD player. Honestly, they don't use them that often. I love having the DVD player in the car if we need it but I am usually amazed that we don't pull it out. If they ask, I will generally let them watch something but if they don't ask and they are enjoying the trip I don't volunteer it as a choice.

5. Adventures in Odyssey and Jonathon Park. This is by far our favorite activity on a road trip. We love to listen to the stories on Adventures in Odyssey or Jonathon Park CD's. Before any long trip, I will invest in one or two new CD's just to change things up. But it wouldn't matter if we had new ones, my kids will listen to the old stories over and over again. They are mesmerized by them. It isn't just the kids, I love them too!

I have an Adventures in Odyssey CD to giveaway to one of you! Just leave me a comment about how you survive {or avoid} road trips with your kids.

I will draw a winner on Sunday.

* this is a cd as a gift from me to a reader. i am not being paid by focus on the family to talk about or giveaway the cd.


3.17.2010

St.Patrick's Day

Even though I grew up in a community that had a parade and celebration for St. Patrick's Day, I have never done much for the holiday.

We don't eat corned beef, cabbage, and soda bread {even though my husband has some Irish in his family line}.
In February, my friend Denise made these adorable shirts for her girls. I wanted to make them for my daughters but time ran out before Valentines Day. A few weeks ago when I was at the fabric store Morgan spotted some fun green socks. I picked them up to make her a shirt. The socks, shirt, and fabric sat by my sewing machine for weeks.

With St. Patrick's Day looming in the future, I finally sat down to make Morgan's shirt. Since her gym colors are green and black, I decided to make a shirt representing her team rather than just a St. Patrick's Day shirt {since her state meet is this weekend she can wear it again}.



Morgan's gym was having a green food day. Each girl was supposed to bring something green to share. Morgan decided to dip pretzels in white chocolate colored with green food coloring and then covered with green sprinkles. They were yummy!

Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? If so, what do you do to celebrate?

3.15.2010

The Everything Bee

It is a challenge to find activities to "spice up" normal school activities when my students {aka my kiddos} are at different levels.

A few weeks ago, I saw this idea. I loved it and decided to try it out with my kids.

Guess what?? They LOVE it!

I quiz them on everything: spelling words, math facts, bible verses, geography, science, and any other facts we may have covered in school.

We spend many hours each week in the car taking Morgan to and from gymnastics. Our everything bee has become a staple car ride activity. It is a great way to pass the time in the car and get a little extra school work in each day.

Here are my little students getting ready for the everything bee:

student number one:
student number two:
student number three {yes, even the baby gets in on the action - spelling her name, knowing her birthday, address, phone number, etc...}
their most attentive audience members - the dogs who are hoping the kids might drop some of their treats!

What are some ways you "spice up" learning with your kids?

3.14.2010

Sickie

Mauryn came down with a little fever on Thursday night which turned into a high fever on Friday morning. She had a little cough but otherwise she seemed fine. Since it was Friday, I thought I should take her to the doctor so we would not end up in quick care over the weekend if her fever turned into something more.

When we reached the doctors office on Friday there was a sign stating that anyone with a fever or a cough needed to wear a mask. Needless to say I had a very upset child on my hands. Thankfully we only had to wait about five minutes to get into the see the doctor.

To my surprise, Mauryn was diagnosed with pneumonia. We have spent the weekend doing

nebulizer treatments,
watching movies,
and playing games {the big kids are hooked on skip bo right now}.

3.10.2010

Lent: Weeks Two and Three

The first week was easy.

The second and third weeks have been a tad bit more difficult.

After two weeks of not hosting our teen group or small group due to conflicts and sickness, we were back on schedule during the second week of lent.

Which meant I was back to baking and creating snacks.

I love to bake. It relaxes me but I realized I have a tendency to lick spoons, spatulas, and clean out bowls. It has been a test of my will to not give in to the temptation to have sweets. It is actually been more difficult than easier.

Although going without the fountain soda has been easier than I thought. There are times, like when we have pizza that I really wish I could have a soda. I am not finding my car driving myself itself to the convenience store like in the past.

I do miss some of the daily interactions on facebook but in general I find it freeing to not be on it. I know I will definitely limit my time on facebook once lent is over. I realize how much time I waste in a day on facebook even if it is in little snippets each day.

If you gave something up for lent, how is it going for you?

3.09.2010

This is what

my kitchen looked like yesterday morning:

Our microwave decided to quit working last week. After a phone call to a Sears repair service representative we learned it would be a mere $300 to fix the microwave which was 4 1/2 years old. Sorry, but we will say good bye to our old microwave and hello to a new one.
There was just one problem, our appliances are bisque. You can't walk into a store and find a bisque microwave so we had to wait one week. I learned quickly in that week that we use our microwave more often than I thought and I am grateful for the convenience of the ol' microwave.

While we are talking kitchens, I tried this recipe last night. YUMMY! I do not, I repeat do NOT like any type of fish or seafood {okay, i take it back i like deep fat fried walleye but when it is battered and fried it doesn't taste like fish}. This was so good. I am definitely a fan.

Off topic before I sign off, my thoughts on the look alikes post.... i think the girls resemble each other but their personalities are SO different i can't think of mauryn being a mini morgan.

3.08.2010

Typical Day and Giveaway Winners

Last Friday, Kelly over at Kelly's Korner hosted a show us your life blog carnival with the theme of your typical day.

I thought it would be fun to document what a typical day looks like for us in 2010.

This is our typical schedule on the days that Morgan goes to gymnastics in the afternoon {which is 3 days a week}. There is one day she goes later in the day and she has one day off. On those days I usually get extra cleaning done, do special projects with the kids, run errands, or do some baking.

4:45 am - alarm goes off

5:00 am - depending on lance's schedule i am either at the gym or working out at home. after my workout i usually catch up on emails, work on blog posts, check mvelopes, edit pictures, etc..

7:30 am - kids' alarms go off. i shower and the kids make their beds, clean up their rooms, and unload the dishwasher

8:00 am - breakfast, devotional time, start laundry, and i start any prep for dinner

8:30 am - we start our school day
* while the kids are doing independent work i will switch laundry, vacuum, clean bathrooms, bake, prep lunch

12:45 pm - lunch

1:30 pm - take morgan to gymnastics

2:30 pm - return home, mauryn generally falls asleep in the car and will stay asleep for her nap. landon either rests, reads, plays quietly, or helps me depending on the day. i finish cleaning, check email, work on blog or other computer tasks, sew, work on projects or bible study, read, or play games and read with landon. sometimes i will run errands during this time if i know we are home in the evening so mauryn can get to bed earlier.

4:30 pm - snack and kids play while i finish prepping dinner or doing some cleaning.

5:00 pm - leave to pick morgan up from gymnastics

6:15 pm - return home from getting morgan from gymnastics and have dinner

7:00 pm - if we are home in the evening - clean up from dinner and give the kids baths

8:00 pm - the two little ones are ready for bed and story time

8:30 pm - morgan heads off to bed to read. by this time of the night i am done. i will either catch up on stuff on the computer, read, or watch tv.

9:30 pm - bed time!

What does your day look like?

Giveaway Winners {randomly drawn by a cute almost 6 year old boy}:
* Melodie {email me your address so i can send you your 90 day membership}
* Alice
Congratulations!

Look Alikes?

After posting these pictures of Morgan and her friend Emily, I have had some people comment that they think Mauryn looks just like Morgan as a little girl.

I thought it would be fun to do a little side by side of the girls at various ages.

3 months


6 months
9 months
1 year
2 years
and 3 years.

What do you think?? Is Mauryn a mini Morgan? I will let you know my thoughts... tomorrow.

3.07.2010

It Feels Like Spring

In the last week the grass has lost its brown color and is turning green. The sun has been shining almost daily and today the temperature is around 60 degrees. It is lovely.

My kids have been outside all day. I know they will all sleep well tonight.

They have been playing with sidewalk chalk,

the neighbors wheelbarrow {incorporated into some game},
taking blankets and stuffed animals to create a mini fort,
and enjoying the sunshine and warm weather.
This was our last weekend where we had gymnastics and basketball on the same day. Phew! Landon has one more game next Saturday and then Morgan has her state meet on the 19th. We are almost through this crazy season... but it definitely made those winter months fly by quickly.

Morgan had a good meet yesterday. It was so fun to see her doing so well on an event that she struggled with all last season. I mean struggled... she placed last or close to last on bars all last year. It was so defeating for her. But yesterday, she earned first place on bars. She was so excited and we were so proud of her. Her hard work is paying off.
Her team {minus a few girls due to injuries and other conflicts} took 1st place. The girls were thrilled! They all did well and were very consistent in their routines.
After the meet was over, we had a late dinner with a few of the other gymnastics families. We are so fortunate that Morgan has such a great group of girls on her team.

By the time we ended our day it was late. We all pretty much felt like this:
I love how he feel asleep with his arm up on the chair. He was beat!

How was your weekend? Any signs of springs arrival?


3.06.2010

Girly Girl

I was not a girly girl.

I didn't play with dress up, with barbies, or baby dolls. I didn't wear dresses and skirts often, mostly just to church or on special occasions.

Morgan is not a girly girl. She is more comfortable in jeans or sweats {actually she is most comfortable in a leotard} than a dress or skirt. She didn't play with dolls when she was younger. She took more interest in coloring, reading, and playing games. The extent of her being a girly girl is that she likes to have her fingernails painted and wear lip gloss.

When Mauryn came along I expected that she would be similar to her sister in her "girliness" {is that a real word??}

Boy was I wrong! This little spit fire is a girly girl.

She loves to play dress up,
wear my shoes {or her sisters},
does her own hair,
feeds her babies,
mothers her babies {and i have to be the grandma},
wears tap shoes while she dances and sings around the house,
{and loves them so much they even end up in bed with her},
wears dresses everyday, and carries a purse everywhere that contains sunglasses, lip gloss, and sometimes even her body glitter.

*** drawing for the mvelopes giveaway will be posted on Monday.