Saturday, February 23, 2013

Scavenger Hunt Sunday: It's all about me.

Playtime. Scrub-a-dub. Getting ready. Time to eat. Sweet dreams. I have four babies' scrapbooks full of photos that would illustrate these prompts very nicely. However, at this time in my life, I am the proud owner of 1 sometimes grouchy teenager, 2 usually not too unbearably smelly boys, and 1 Princess who just recently discovered Modesty. Photos of them sleeping and eating wouldn't really be all that cute anymore. Or welcomed (by them).

So this week I decided to focus on me. NOT that photos of me sleeping and eating are in the least bit cute. But you see, my husband and I share a birthday, and we celebrated it this week. They say life comes full circle from babyhood to old people(hood). Since I'm 40 now I guess I have crossed that line into old people(hood), right?

And since it was my birthday this week, this is going to be all about me.

1. Scrub-a-Dub-Dub
I've recently become quite concerned about all of the chemicals I put on my skin. After all, the skin is the body's largest organ, and it pretty much soaks in whatever you put on it. In light of this, I have started using goat milk soap bars. I love them! They are so silky smooth and don't leave your skin feeling all dried out like a normal soap bar does. I get my goat milk soap from a local farm. The soaps are brought in from another local named Goatboy Soaps.

That duck? He (or she?) comes from a "small" collection we have. Every time we go to the orthodontist both the patient and the tag-a-long little sister get to choose a new one.

Um...we've been to the orthodontist just a few times.

2. Getting Ready
Again as part of my Purifying My Cosmetics campaign, I decided to give homemade lotion a try. I used a recipe from Whole New Mom. My husband hates the smell of it, but I rather like it and the scent disappears pretty quickly so it's really a non-issue. I did add a drop or two of DoTerra Lavender Essential Oil but will perhaps add a bit more next time to cover the shea and cocoa butter smell so it is not so offensive to my better half.

3. Time to Eat
The night before our birthday, my husband and I escaped for dinner.

At dinner, my sweet husband presented me a gift card for a massage and mani/pedi. So...I see more ME time in the near future!

4. Playtime
So we got home from Outback, and as I walked in the door, I was surprised to find a darkened, quiet house. I was worried for a split second...until I saw all of the streamers suspended across the room and littering the floor. My husband had secretly contacted some good friends of ours to come over while we were at dinner and work with the kids to make the house look like Party City. I've never had a surprise party before, so how much fun is that?

Turning 40 is a little bit rough, but I had a WONDERFUL birthday!

5. Sweet Dreams
As I mentioned in the beginning, I'm quite sure you don't want to see any photos of me drooling on my pillow. No matter how sweet I look asleep. But I have to tell you...for the last few weeks, my life has looked pretty much like this:

So my SWEET dreams have been of Hawaii where Mark and I visited October 2011:

Obviously, I had to pull these photos out of the archives, but don't they look inviting? And so much better than life under two feet of snow?

Friday, February 22, 2013

President's Day Week

Last week I mentioned how bored I am with our home school. I decided to fun it up a bit this week by implementing the first of, hopefully, many theme weeks. Appropriately, this week's theme was President's Day. Possibly inappropriately as you'll see below, most of my themed activities centered around food. But...apparently, that is just how we roll around here.

We started Monday morning (yes, we schooled on President's Day!) with a President's Day Scavenger Hunt which covered George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and the requirements for becoming POTUS.

The kids used our friend Google to come up with the answers.

Monday night we enjoyed Chicken Fricassee for dinner accompanied by Farmhouse Buttermilk Biscuits. According to The Questing Feast, this is a dinner of which Abraham Lincoln was particularly fond.

And ready for more food?

There were Hoe Cakes for breakfast one morning.

Yes, it may look like just a pancake, but it is made with a mixture of cornmeal and whole wheat flour. The cornmeal adds a really great texture. Additionally, there is some sugar in the recipe as well, which obviously adds a delightful sweetness...accentuated by the honey. Supposedly, honey and melted butter is how George Washington enjoyed these cakes. Interestingly, they were dubbed Hoe Cakes because they were often made using the end of a hoe warmed over a fire as a pan.

And more food:

Cherry-filled cookies to remind us of the legendary cherry tree Washington cut down.

There was one other non-food activity, though I suppose one could easily relate it back to food. I like to educate the kids about health whenever possible. I put together a little PowerPoint presentation about Lycopene. I'm sure later you'll totally see how lycopene fits neatly into the theme.

Thanks to my much-more-tech-savvy-than-me husband, I was able to present my slideshow on the big screen TV. I love that he showed me how to hook my computer up to the TV because I always gain the children's attention with a large screen. This week we were also able to watch YouTube videos about Washington and Lincoln through this media.

And just to emphasize that this week was not ALL about food, we learned about the proper format of a business letter after which we wrote letters to the president. Some of my students' (*cough* the 7th grade girl's *cough*) were a bit more well thought out than others' (*cough* the boys' *cough*). In the letters, they told the president what they like about living in America and what they would do if they were president.

Of course we ended the school week with some homemade pizza.

Because pizza is covered in pizza sauce.
And pizza sauce is made of tomatoes.
And tomatoes contain lycopene.
And lycopene starts with an L just like Lincoln.


Linking up with Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for her Weekly Wrap-Up.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

In which Valentine's Day is a nice break from the monotony.

As I made my way up to the register to purchase these friendly barnyard Valentine friends, I came this close to making the trip back to the seasonal aisle in the back of Target to place them back on the shelf. The incessant mooing and oinking from the pair of cows and pair of pigs were drawing stares from my fellow shoppers, and I could only imagine my house with the noise of four children AND four farm animals. But I decided to keep them because I know how my children love annoyingly loud trinkets. And of course the pig and cow poop candy. Another plus.

The smiles the farm animals brought this morning were worth the annoyance, and I will endure the mooing and oinking until I can endure it no further at which point two cows and two pigs will surely mysteriously disappear to find their place in the also mysterious Annoying Toy Heaven.

As I mentioned in my last post, our homeschool year has been quite uneventful. Things are moving along just as they should be. Kids are doing their assigned work. I keep right on assigning. They keep getting it done. I really can't complain. But I'm a little bit bored. I'm sure they are too.

I haven't done much "cutesy" stuff this year. Partly because the older they get, the fewer cutesy options there are. Also, I'm lazy. I need to stop being lazy and start planning and executing more exciting activities. So...I am planning. I have some fun things in store for next week. As for this week, though, I am thankful for the fun little break in monotony Valentine's Day provides.

The kids woke up this morning to some Valentine surprises. Yes, candy. Lots of candy.

I also had good intentions of making heart-shaped pancakes, but the only large heart cookie cutter I have is covered in red paint. As my own Valentine pointed out, it was probably made in China, and the paint is probably full of lead. It didn't seem such a brilliant idea, then, to have it sit on a hot griddle.

So I made chocolate chip pancakes smothered in powdered sugar with a sprinkling of color. So long as it's sweet and unhealthy, the kids really don't care what shape it comes in.
During school we learned about the various legends that compose the history of Valentine's Day. We also had a little word fun by seeing who could make the most words in five minutes out of the phrase "Happy Valentine's Day".

After my heart failure at breakfast, I redeemed myself at lunch by creating heart-shaped potatoes to eat with our leftover chicken wings.

And then it was cookie time! Valentine's Day, like Christmas, must include a cookie decorating session.

I did not have the time today to be all fancy with multiple colors and decorating pastry bags, but like I said, if there is sugar and it is unhealthy, they don't care if it's fancy.

And this one? She did enjoy decorating cookies and eating them. It's just that she's a teenager and hates to have her photo taken. You see...this is why I have a completely unbalanced number of photos of the Princess.

I love her anyway. Happy Valentine's Day!

In this post, you will find candy, kisses, pink/red, love, and smiles.

Also linking up with Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for her Weekly Wrap-Up.

Friday, February 8, 2013


I'm a mean mom. While all the other schoolchildren within a 100 mile radius (at least!) are enjoying a day off school because of the approaching blizzard, I am forcing my children to continue on with their schoolwork as usual. But we'll make up for it when we're soaking up the sun at Disney in May while the rest of the schoolchildren are tackling final exams.

This has been an exceptionally smooth year of school in our home. This year I have not dealt with attitudes from any of the kids regarding getting schoolwork done. Nor has there been much frustration over learning any of the material. It's just been an easy, smooth year. I know it's not me. I'm pretty sure it's the kids. I've got good kids.

I suppose the goodness in them is what kept them from complaining too much when I announced school was still in session this morning. Not that there is much else to do when one is housebound. And I suppose the fact that we are trapped inside by snow is what inspired me to once again pick up my blogging pen and put it to virtual paper. Of course the picturesque view from the window which keeps distracting me from the computer screen is quite inspiring in itself.

Audrey captures the scene from the camera on her handheld device.
She laments that the grill ("What is that thing called? You know, the outdoor oven thing?") 
is part of two of her shots, but that one shot turned out "well".

I've said before that I feel a bit like Jonah who caused the great storm that rocked the ship. Not that we were running from anything when we moved to Connecticut, but since this blizzard is at least the third or fourth "historic/record-breaking" event since our move up here just two years ago, I feel like local residents may soon want us to leave the Constitution State!

Whether or not Mother Nature cares one way or another where our family resides, so long as the power stays on so that we remain warm, I'm not opposed to enduring a blizzard. And the kids sure will have fun when it's all over and they can roll around in it! As for me, I'm enjoying this cozy, lazy day and the beauty of watching the snow fall.

Linking with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Kris' Weekly Wrap-Up. "Weekly" is being a bit dishonest since I haven't been here in WEEKS, but I have to start somewhere, right?