Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking:  That now more than ever I am an advocate for bike helmets. Over the weekend on a morning bike ride with My Sweetie, I took a spill when I hit some black ice on a bridge. My head did hit the ground but I was wearing a helmet which was a good thing. The only injury I have is a slightly sprained wrist and a sore neck.

What I'm reading: I don't have a book I am reading right now. Not quite sure what I should start next...

What I'm listening to: The bird is chirping like crazy right now. If he is out of his cage he'll get your attention by flying around your head. It's his way of telling you he wants you to come talk to him...

What we're learning: We are taking a break from schooling this week. Around this time, every year, we take our "Winter Break", which usually coincides with our wedding anniversary. My beloved and I just celebrated our 17th year as man and wife.

What's cooking: Tonight I am making my friends pasta dish; Spaghetti Alla Carrattiera. This comes straight from her friend in Italy, and I'm excited to make it. Other things we'll be eating? Smoky Bean and Corn Soup, Pesto Chicken (or what my kids call it, Green Chicken), and homemade corn dogs for our fun Saturday night dinner.

What I'm thankful for: I am so thankful for my husband. He is my best friend, companion and encourager. And I am so thankful that he has been mine for 17 years.

What I'm planning: I need to plan some things for our 4H poultry project which meets next week. The older two have the opportunity to compete at Avian Bowl so they are madly studying questions for the qualifying rounds which are in a couple of weeks.

What we did this last weekend: We did little things around the house this last Saturday, and My Sweetie took all the kids to a nearby park for a while. Sunday we went to church and Sunday School, then over to a friends house for lunch. Last night we celebrated our anniversary with a fun dinner with the kids, where we got out our photo albums and reminisced about our wedding.

What I'm looking forward to: Celebrating later this week with my love, visiting extended family, and taking a break from school.

A picture to share:

~This was us, 17 years ago yesterday...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Links, Recipes, and Encouragement

Since I am so uninspiring right now in my blogging, I thought I would share some posts I have read recently that inspired me.

My friend Erin, who I have known since I was a child, blogs at Everyday Carnival. She recently wrote a post about marriage and Meeting in the Middle. This really spoke to my heart and encouraged me to be more humble and understanding in my relationship with my husband.

My friend Nancy, who I was blessed to be in a co-op with for a few years, blogs for Classical Conversations, and recently wrote a post New Beginnings about getting back into school in the new year. This was a great reminder to me about what matters most in educating our charges.

If you are wondering what to make for dinner some night and need an easy recipe, Kate, who is one of my good friends in real life, has posted her Chalupa recipe.  She shared it with me years ago, and it is one of my fall-back recipes for the slow-cooker on a busy day.

And while we are on the subject of recipes, I recently made my Tostadas with Jalapeno-Lime Sauce. They are super yummy.

My friend Lisa, who is probably the one who inspired me to start this blog in the first place, blogged about Daily Prayer recently. She has a great idea that will help organize when and what you pray for.

And finally, because it is always good to laugh, check out these funny videos on YouTube.  Kid History are cute, hilarious videos about kids telling stories about their parents childhood.

I hope these all encourage you as they did for me. Have a blessed week, everyone!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I am kind of in a blogging slump right now. Besides my Monday Musings, I haven't really blogged about anything else for a while. Ideas, anyone?

What I'm reading: I'm still reading Jacques Pepin's autobiography, and I picked up one of Ina Garten's cookbooks at the library last week too. I guess I'm in some sort of a cooking/chef mood....

What we're learning: This week in school we are starting to learn about the skeletal system in anatomy, and the older three are working on outlines and paragraphs in their new writing course. Dasher is trying out a new online math program that I am reviewing, and Nutsy is still working through the IEW's Primary Arts of Language.

What's cooking: This week I am making Garlic Chicken with Green Beans one night, Clam Chowder another night, and on co-op day, my slow cooker Indian feast.

What I'm buying: We ran out of eggs yesterday which is not a good thing. That is mainly what we eat for breakfast here, so I am out to the store later to get more.

What I'm thankful for: I am thankful for wool socks. Costco had some really good ones that I bought a few months ago, and they have really been helping to keep me warm this winter.

What I'm creating: Well, I am helping my kids with their 4-H presentations this week. They have written them already, and now this week will start to work on the visual boards they will use. Mr. Lego's is about getting a market goat ready for the fair, Bookworm's is on rabbit showmanship, and Dasher is going to do her presentation on caring for rabbits.

What we did this last weekend: We did little things around the house on Saturday, then made a yummy Japanese dinner. Sunday we went to church and then afterwards over to our friends house, where she has a little farm. The kids had fun playing with the goats, chickens and pigs; and the adults had fun watching them, talking and eating munchies. Then home last night for a relaxing evening.

What I'm looking forward to: We have a quiet week ahead...which I am looking forward to, since I have some things to do around the house that have been bugging me.

A picture to share:

~My babies....6 years ago. Bookworm - 7yrs., Nutsy - 18 mo., Dasher - 6 yrs., Mr. Lego - 10 yrs. Time is going way too fast...I so miss them like this.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I am ready to move to Florida. I really think I would do well there; this last week our temperature high has only been in the low to mid 40's, and the nighttime temps have been in the teens and twenties. I know I am a big wimp, but I get so cold!

What I'm reading: I began reading a new book to the kids last week that a dear friend is letting me borrow; the title is Grandpa's Box and it is written by Starr Meade. The ongoing story retells the Biblical story of redemption and give sound doctrine for young ones. So far we are really liking it.

What I'm listening to: The dishwasher doing its thing in the kitchen. Of course a child, who shall remain unnamed, was supposed to start it up last night before bed. But they forgot, so it's running this morning.

What we're learning: I have finished all my prep work, so this week the older two (maybe older three) will be starting IEW Student Writing Intensive. We are actually going to be watching the lessons in our co-op and doing the daily work through the week. The older ones have history papers due, I'm starting a new lesson in spelling with Nutsy, and Dasher is starting a new Explode the Code book.

What's cooking: I start a new monthly menu this week; things we'll be eating this week are Moroccan Chicken with Lentils in the crock-pot, Roasted Tomato Sauce with Italian Sausage, and Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup.

What I'm buying: It's time again for my monthly shopping trips, so I'm off later this week to get out the Trader Joe's, Wal Mart, Winco, and Costco.

What I'm praying: I am praying for those we know that might need more employment or more work. I'm praying that God would give them wisdom and mercy as they make decisions and trust in Him.

What I'm planning: I have a review that is due in a couple of days for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine; it's a fun Spanish resource for homeschoolers. It's pretty much written, but I'm planning to put the finishing touches on it today.

What we did this last weekend: We got up bright and early Saturday morning and drove an hour and a half to go to a rabbit show, where our cute little Polish rabbit got 2nd and 3rd. They also had showmanship (which made going to this show worth it), and Mr. Lego and Bookworm tied for 5th place. For the first time ever Dasher did individual showmanship (where you are standing all alone before the judge while everyone watches you), and even though she did not place, she did a great job. Sunday we went to church and Sunday school, then home for a relaxing afternoon and yummy Tostadas. Last night we played a couple of games with the kids: a couple of rounds of Wits and Wagers, and then we played a new game the grandparents gave us, Qwirkle.

What I'm looking forward to: Tomorrow we are going with our co-op to a local art museum, where the Art of Norman Rockwell is on exhibition. He is one of my favorite artists so I am looking forward to that. We have a rabbit 4-H meeting, our regular co-op meeting, and Bookworm has an eye appointment later this week.

Pictures to share:

 ~The big room where the rabbit show was...without heat, of course.

 ~Waiting for their turn in showmanship....

~Passing the time with a friendly card game.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That our first school day has been a bit slower than I wanted, but the kids still did all the things on their lists. It is always hard to come back to school and we slowly eased back into our schedule today.

What I'm reading: At the library last week I found a book I am reading Jacques Pepin The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen. He is one of my favorite chefs and I am looking forward to reading his autobiography.

What we're learning: This week it is back to school. I have changed a couple of things; our writing program came to an end so I am starting IEW with the older two. We also finished studying the planets in our co-op, so I am going to begin Apologia's Astronomy.

What's cooking: This week I am making Cheddar Chicken Chowder, Tostadas, and Lettuce Wraps. I have been having Bookworm cook a complete meal every couple of weeks, so this week she will be making us a chicken and broccoli casserole with rice and a salad.

What I'm buying: One of the fun things we do in our co-op is make a communal lunch. This week we are all bringing things for a taco bar so I need to head out and buy some lettuce and olives for my contribution.

What I'm thankful for: I am so thankful that so far this year we have not succumbed to colds and flu. I know it is bound to happen, but I am thankful that we have been reasonably healthy so far.

What I'm creating: I'm lesson planning for our 4-H poultry meeting tonight....we'll be talking about caring for birds and going over poultry showmanship.

What I'm planning: I've got some research and learning to do about the writing curriculum I am starting, plus some 4-H planning and deciding.

What we did this last weekend: We spent Saturday doing things around the house, and then My Sweetie took the kids to play basketball at the park. That evening we got together with friends for an Asian dinner which was very yummy. Yesterday was our busy Sunday, with church, Sunday school, fellowship meal, our service at the assisted-living center, then fellowship at our friends home. A long, yet profitable day.

What I'm looking forward to: We have a couple of 4-H meetings this week, dental appointments (not really looking forward to those), and a rabbit show we are going to this Saturday. I am looking forward to getting back into school.

A picture to share:

~Our library book bags, ready to go back to the library......

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Visiting Family and San Francisco

 After Christmas, we headed to the Bay Area to visit both sides of our family. First stop was my old house where Grandma and Grandpa still live.

We were greeted with a delicious brunch.

 After visiting and opening gifts we took a nice walk, in between a couple of rain showers.

It was a short visit, but very fun to see them again.

Nutsy and Bookworm with Grandpa.

Next stop was to visit Obachan (Japanese for Grandma), Auntie L, Uncle R, and the cousins.

And every year after the gifts are open we all hoard the wrapping paper, make it into balls, and have a paper war.

Dinner was Obachan's Sukiyaki. Yummy.

Here is Nutsy, cuddling with Obachan while we were watching Elf.

A late night game of Scrabble. (I like playing it this way, but do prefer Speed Scrabble.)

The next day we were off to San Francisco and our favorite beach there, Baker Beach.

The view is incredible.

Obachan came with us this year, and we enjoyed a picnic lunch of maki, potato salad and ham.

Nutsy with her plate.

My Sweetie and his Momma.

The waves were impressive this year; the kids love making sandcastles and writing things in the sand.

Next stop was Japantown.

And wouldn't you just know it, they were sold out of Taiyaki again. This is the second year in a row that they have been sold out.....I think there is a conspiracy somewhere...

But I made up for my Taiyaki loss by getting a Green Tea Boba. The next best thing.

Walking through Japantown with Obachan....

Each year we go to the Daiso shop and the kids get to pick out a rice bowl. I love all the small dishes they have...

It was such a beautiful day!

Obachan found this really neat place, tucked away on the first floor that had really authentic Anmitsu.

Green Tea ice cream, mochi, azuki sweet beans, fruit, and jelly. So yummy.

 And the last stop our family makes, pretty much every time we are in SF, is to Fisherman's Wharf. We get a loaf of sourdough at Boudin and a pint of clam chowder from the wharf and dig in.

We are so blessed to live so close to our family, and blessed to be able to visit such a beautiful and unique city.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas Recap

 It's been nice these last couple of weeks to be able to sleep in, not have a school schedule to keep up with, spend time with the kids, and eat yummy food. But this next week we are getting back to normal and I thought I would share our happenings before things got too busy.

Christmas Eve we did what we normally do every year: have our appetizer dinner. The kids are also quite thrilled to get to drink their sparkling cider out of real wine glasses.

Then we are off, with a plate full of cookies and mugs of hot chocolate, to see the nearby Christmas lights.

Our plate of treats....conveniently next to the driver and front-seat passenger...

First stop was an entire court that completely goes nuts with the lights. And even though it was cold we got out and walked it; last year we had a hard time seeing around the walkers from our car. 

The other place we go is to an entire neighborhood where they all put out candles in paper bags. We shut off our headlights and drive by candlelight.

Bookworm and Nutsy got out and walked in another heavily decorated cul-de-sac; you can barely see them below.

This year we let them stick their heads out of the moon roof....crazy kids.

On Christmas morning we usually make a big breakfast (this year it was Mr. Lego's waffles and My Sweetie's potatoes and bacon). We then announce who each of us had for Secret Servant, and give out our gifts. We all give small things to each other; I don't like making a big deal about expensive gifts and I love it that my kids are super excited about getting a $3 pen that writes with special, invisible ink.

I give a gift to the family; one year it was an ice cream maker, but usually it is fun game I have heard about. This year I got the game Wits and Wagers, so we played that for a while.

Later in the afternoon our friends came over for a game night and of course we had to try the new game. I love it because up to 21 people can play.

Another game that lots of us can play is Catch Phrase. And as you can see, we have lots of fun playing it.

Another fun card game is Up the River, Down the River (Or some of us call it There And Back Again); if you use more than one deck you can play it with 14 people.

 And of course my favorite, Speed Scrabble.

We played this one last, when it was getting pretty late, so that is my excuse for not winning.

At the end of the night....

I am very thankful for my family and the precious time we had together, and for our friends, who shared part of the day with us.