Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy Easter 2016!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend. We love celebrating Easter in our family. The children are always very excited about egg hunts and candy but they also know why we really celebrate Easter. The Easter season is always a special time.

Easter Sunday

On the Saturday before Easter, my husband was able to leave work early to travel down to his parents house with us for a family dinner and an egg hunt with the cousins. The cousins live almost 3 hours away so we don't see them often, so it's always a treat for the kids. Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of them all together this year. I did manage to get a few of the kids hunting for eggs, though no one was paying much attention to the camera.

Liam with his first egg!




We got home late on Saturday and I am so happy that the Easter Bunny still managed to stay awake and deliver baskets for the children. Baskets this year contained animal crackers, fruit roll-ups, bubbles, a bunny lollipop, a bag of cotton candy, and a couple of workbooks for Bridget and George (the Easter Bunny also values education).




After breakfast and a leisurely morning, it was time to get ready for church. I did not get pictures or the children until after church. Bridget loved her new springtime dress we purchased a few days earlier. She already had the cardigan in her closet. She felt so fancy.


George was in a very loving mood and didn't want a solo picture, but wanted to hug his big sister for his pictures.


After the picture of all three of the children together, Liam was done. No holiday is complete in our family without a complete meltdown (by either a child or an adult). We all have our moments.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Week in Review 2016: #11

Life

We are officially on the home stretch! Tax season will end in just one more month, and then I get my husband back! It's tough at times but once he is home more we are able to take advantage of it and go on vacations enjoy our time together as a family.

It has been crazy hot this week; it is hard to believe it is still winter. The children and I have been able to play outside a few times. I love that they get to be outdoors and not have to bundle up, but I really dread having to bathe them every night. George has been giving himself dirt baths, and now Liam is doing the same, rubbing dirt up and down his arms. Boys.

It is supposed to cool off this weekend. Only two more days 'til springtime.

We had a fun St. Patrick's Day yesterday. I made Irish Vegetable-Barley Soup, Colcannon, Irish Soda Bread, and Apple-Barley Pudding. I was unable to get a picture of all three children wearing their green, because they are ages 6, 4, and 1, and make pictures together near impossible. But I did get one of my dad feeding Liam his dessert. He had three bowls of apple-barley pudding, which I didn't mind because it is actually pretty healthy.



Homeschool

We're focusing on reading again, which means that other subjects such as history and science fall to the wayside. The reason this time is that Bridget is nearing the jumping-off point of becoming an independent reader. She has been picking up a few different books and actually reading them. I wanted to take the extra time to help her while she wants to read. I don't know how long this window will stay open and I needed to take advantage of it.

With wanting to read also comes the desire to spell. With Bridget, they usually go hand-in-hand. The only thing she does not want to do is to write. She used to be really good at it, but now her writing has become sloppy. 

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Week in Review 2016: #10

Life

How do the weeks go by so fast? This week was an unusually warm and very busy one. Temperatures have been in the upper 70's by the afternoon, and today is expected to be in the 80's. It is only the beginning of March! We've been enjoying it. On the first day of warm weather, I tried to get the children to go outside in the backyard to play, but George spotted a few carpenter bees around our garden and decided he was done with the outdoors. I did manage to get him to play in the front yard while I picked up some sticks and other debris from a recent wind storm.

Earlier in the week, I finally created a cornbread recipe I enjoy. I've never been a fan of cornbread, especially when it needs to be slathered in butter just to make it edible.

On Wednesday, Bridget, George, and I all had an appointment with the dentist for a routine cleaning. The kids look forward to going to the dentist. Bridget is finally brave enough to let the hygienist use the mechanical tools to polish her teeth. George has used them in the past, but this time chickened out, so the hygienist used a toothbrush instead. George did not like the fluoride being painted onto his teeth and started to gag, so that was the end for him. Luckily, the hygienist was mostly done anyway.


George also did not care to put the special sunglasses on so he laid like this in the chair with his arm over his eyes throughout the entire cleaning.

I am happy to report that the children's teeth (and mine as well) are perfectly healthy. They ended their visit with their goodie-bags and a rose (our dentists office has a vase of flowers at the check-out desk, mainly for the grown-ups to take, but the children love them as well. Usually they have carnations, but this time they had long-stem roses, so I now have 3 beautiful long-stem roses in a vase in my kitchen.




Liam is too young for a trip to the dentist. However, it did not seem fair to exclude him from the blog post this week. Here he is enjoying his dinner on Monday (mac and cheese, baked beans, and broccoli). All of my children are crazy about broccoli. I steam it long enough to be tender for even little Liam, and they all gobble it up. Liam could not get enough!




Something more adult-related is that I voted this week! Our primary isn't until next Tuesday, but I wanted to avoid any possible long lines and crowds and just get it over with. I spent the time to research each candidate, down to our local district judge. I was most excited on my selection for Superintendent for Public Instruction, as her goal is remove the common core and to bring back Classical education to the classroom. Even though I intend to continue homeschooling (because I enjoy it and it seems to be a good fit for my children), I am so excited that the Classical education model is making a comeback (at least I hope it does!). 

Homeschool 

Nothing too exciting to note for homeschool this week. Some weeks are like that. We just do the work, the reading, and keep going. Bridget still enjoys it, so it's not necessarily a boring week, but just a week that we didn't do any major projects and nothing really stands out.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Recipe: Easy Savory Cornbread

I have a confession to make. I don't like cornbread. I don't like most anything made from cornmeal. Grits, hush-puppies, and cornbread.

My husband is the opposite. He loves cornbread. He was raised here in the South, so it is a requirement to like cornbread. Throughout our marriage, he has come home from the grocery store with boxes of cornbread mix. I tried those with him and thought they were awful. He thought they were fine, but perhaps a little on the dry side.

While flipping through a vegan recipe book of mine, I came across a recipe for cornbread. It actually looked really good in the picture. So I decided to give it a try. There was way too much salt and it included some ingredients I didn't care to use and I wasn't pleased. But the recipe did give me an idea. It called for cream-style corn! So the other day, my 4 year old and I set out to make a tasty cornbread. It was fantastic, and now I like cornbread (well, mine at least)!

Here is my simple kid-friendly recipe for a moist and savory homemade cornbread, minus any weird ingredients.


Easy Savory Cornbread

Ingredients
1 c. soy milk
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
6 green onions, finely chopped
1 15-ounce can of cream-style corn
1/3 c. canola oil
1 1/4 c. cornmeal
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8-inch square baking dish.
2. Combine soy milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside for 5 minutes while it curdles.
3. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4. In another bowl, combine the green onions, cream-style corn, and canola oil. Add the soy milk mixture and whisk until combined.
5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture until well combined.
6. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish.
7. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Let cool, then enjoy!

So easy that a 4-year-old and his teddy bear were able to help!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Week in Review 2016: #8 and #9

Life

We are getting much closer to signing a contract for our new house. Once we sign, we have to pay a non-refundable 5%, and while the building company wanted us to sign before going to the design studio, we refused to do so, as we have heard from a few people that the cost of the house can go up drastically. They weren't kidding! I picked mostly basics with very few upgrades and our price went up by about $13,000, and that is not including a few other things the estimator has not priced out yet. So we will be eliminating a few more things I think, to get closer to our goal price.

As for the children, Bridget has another loose tooth, this time one of her top teeth. It's barely loose at this point, so I do not anticipate another gap in her smile for another couple of weeks. 

George (now 4 years old) is quite the handful. Sometimes I don't know if it is because he is the middle child, if this is simply a "boy thing", or if I am just doing something completely wrong in my parenting (he is the polar opposite of his big sister). He is getting in trouble a lot lately, getting into verbal arguments (which escalate into physical ones) with his sister or in a hitting fight with his little brother, who is now learning to hit back. Every time I try to correct his behavior and talk to him about it, he shuts down. He closes his eyes and pretends to be asleep, and is unresponsive. Or he screams so loudly and continuously that there is no way that I can be heard. I hope that I can figure this out soon, as some peace in our household would be nice. His doctor said that this behavior is not too unusual for his age, so I am holding out hope that he will soon grow out of it.

Liam is as cute as ever. The other night after family prayers, I had to take a few extra minutes in our living room to discuss with George that grunting and growling throughout the prayer was unacceptable. Liam, sticking to his routine, took his own teddy bear and blanket to his room and climbed in the rocker. When I got in there, he was rocking himself back and forth while humming one of our lullabies to himself.

I did not intend to vent about my frustrations with George here, but I guess I just needed to get it out. I am one tired and worn out momma. It has certainly been a trying past couple of weeks.


Homeschool 

We finished reading Little House in the Big Woods and started and finished The Happy Hollisters at Pony Hill Farm. I had never read or even heard of the Happy Hollisters until reading a couple passages from our Writing With Ease book. We were able to find a couple of the books at the library (even the librarians did not know what they were and had a difficult time finding them on the shelf, as no one had borrowed them for years). They were written in the 1950's, and I have to say, my daughter absolutely loved the book. Our local library has 3 more of the books in the series, which has 33 books total. I don't know what we'll do after we read all that our library has.


We are going back and reviewing what we have learned in history and science, as a couple of months ago I stopped both to focus on writing and reading with Bridget, as she was having a difficult time with both. Now that it has been resolved, we're playing catch up. It is going quickly, as she has retained much of what she had already learned. She is still in no way wanting to talk about mummies. Every time they come up as we study Egyptian history, she refuses to listen to anything I read. That does not stop me from reading it and expecting a narration from her (which she does, mostly unwillingly), though I have promised not to show her any pictures of mummies.

George is learning his alphabet and I am having a hard time getting him to pronounce "L-M-N-O-P" as individual letters and not some jumbled noise. He is also unable to say the letter Q. He pronounces it like "tew". We have done some letter recognition, but not much. With him being only 4, I'm in no rush to get him to read on his own. He loves being read to, and at this age that is more important to me.

I already have been planning for next school year, starting with a schedule for history. We will be studying the Middle Ages, and the Story of the World book has 42 chapters, and there were a couple of other topics I wanted to cover more in depth (like Polynesia and Ireland) so I am just trying to make it all fit. Just like this year, we will also be studying history through the summer, as that is the only way I will have enough time to cover what I want to cover without cramming it all in to a short amount of time. We are also switching over to a 4-day school week, leaving Fridays open for field trips, catch-up days, reading days, and special time with Daddy, so while stories related to what we study in history will be read on Fridays and over the weekend, I only have 2 days a week for a structured history lesson (alternating days with science). That is the plan at least.


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