Thursday, August 30, 2012

school: clay pots

I hope you're not too tired of school posts since this is the second one and yesterday was only our first day of school! Oh well.

I had a little break-down last night after looking at a homeschool blog for preschool ideas. It made me feel like a sorry excuse for a teacher who can't get her stuff together and is not creative enough to be doing this in the first place. But the project me and the kids did today made me feel a little better (that and Terry repeating to me all the reassuring things i needed to hear, i.e. "you're not an idiot Eva. you're doing good.", etc.).

So we're talking about the Bible and how it was originally written in scrolls which they stored in clay pots. We are working on our own scroll and today we made clay pots to store them in.

Cornstarch, salt, flour and colored water. Noah was disappointed the color turned out pink but trying to add more only made the dough slippery. I added more flour and that seemed to work. Noah and Evie are attempting to press down into the round balls of dough they rolled up and make a pot. It didn't work so good - more of a bowl.

The little squishy preferred just to squish her dough.

I came up with the idea of putting the dough around a glass. At least the dough holds it shape this way, even though we may never get the glass back again after it dries.

I put their names on their pots and set them in the sun to dry. I might have to do another post about getting the glasses out because that might be more interesting. Or they can just drink out of old school clay pots!

good bye high chair

I just moved Samuel over to the real table with the rest of us. He's so pleased about it too.
He was getting pretty unhappy in his high chair. Though his little wooden kids chair that matches the rest of the dining room set (we bought them unfinished and i finished them) doesn't have restraints, he's less likely to abandon ship since he's happier to be closer to the rest of us. He wants to do everything like big brother and sister after all. He prefers to feed himself too, which I am more than okay with. Plus, there's more room in our small dining room this way!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

first day of school - 2012/2013

Today was our official first day of home school! Noah is a 7 year old 1st grader and Evie is a 4 year old preschooler. I decided on My Father's World curriculum as opposed to Sonlight which I did the last 2 years with Noah. I think it'll be good - more laid back than before though I might have to tweak some things. Any preschool ideas out there??

The books arrived Monday evening and I spent yesterday reading all the instructions and getting our school room ready. The kids played with blocks which, coincidentally, is in the math lesson plan.

So here they are in the school room side of downstairs. Thanks to my sister Stephanie for letting me borrow her beautiful paintings. I still have to figure out where to put them...along with all the rest of my photos. Wanna come and help me Steph?!

Today was interesting. Every time I'd go to explain something, Samuel would loudly demand to get into my lap or cry or tear books from shelves or eat a pencil or any number of other distracting things. Ug. So I set up his playpen in the laundry room for him to go into when he's naughty. So he might spent all of our school hours in there. That's a joke people! Mostly... Hopefully it'll be a good year (once i figure things out...if i ever do!).
( I know I said on facebook that Monday was our first day of school, but it didn't really turn out that way. The curriculum didn't arrive until that evening and I had to take the kids to get free JCPenney haircuts. We did do some reading and writing though! )

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

go fish

Last year's VBS curriculum in Nebraska was Go Fish's We Kick it Old School. The kids loved it. Even I liked it and thus it seemed like it was indeed music you could listen to and enjoy with your kids, like they say (actually they say, "Great music for kids that won't drive parents bonkers!"). So I downloaded it. However, after about the hundredth time listening to the same 10 songs, you get a *little* tired of it and the kids never ever do. I pretty much will not let them listen to Go Fish if I'm with them (not b/c the music is no good and i detest it, but b/c i'm just so tired of it.). Our compromise is that they get to have the ipod and computer in their rooms for quiet time and enjoy the fish guys there.

So funny enough, our church here chose a Go Fish curriculum this year - this time it was Praise, not that I would have minded the same one again (it was good). The kids had a fantastic week at VBS and were super excited that Go Fish was going to be in the Hills just about a week later! So we bought our tickets and arranged my dad to babysit Samuel b/c everything is more fun without a cranky toddler (mom was at the fair). Unfortunately, dad hurt his back and Samuel ruptured his ear drum from a cold backing up to his ears. So Daddy took Noah and Evie to Go Fish and I stayed home with Samuel and watched Harry Potter and went for a run - a win/win situation!

Here is the old fashioned firetruck that took them to the back of the KOA for the concert.

Evie is in the center with Eli who looks to be showing her how to pick up confetti. Apparently, Evie spent the entire concert picking up confetti and giving it to complete strangers - kids and adults alike. Though Terry said Eli's little sister Ali showed her how to do it. Yes, Evie is much more social than Noah, who just kinda stood around and listened, bouncing in his unique dancing way. As soon as Evie arrived in the crowd, she paid no attention whatsoever to the band she liked so much but craned her neck for friends. Once she found them she never looked back. She did the same thing at The Waterslides the day before - befriended a 6 year old girl and played with her forever.

Silly boy.

Noah's up there bouncing away

The concert wasn't all that long (a hour?) but they didn't come home til well after bedtime b/c there was so much to do. A friend, Marcus said this KOA was no campground. It's a resort. Talk about kid heaven. There were inflatables galore and play grounds and pools and more. Here Evie is getting started bouncing.

I love this. The girl didn't want to use her hands for some reason.

Wizard's Chess! Well, almost...

Terry and Noah played a full game and Evie organized the pieces on the side of the board. They had such a good time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

disConnect 2012

The first full week of August and only a week after we moved into our new house, we took some (eight) high school students on a trip to Wyoming. We a fantastic time. At least I did. And I'm forever grateful to all the people who watched our kids so I didn't have to drag them along like the last two times Terry's done this trip. Thank you Whites, Mom, Alice and Shari!!!

Here's a shot of the group in the van driving, driving, driving. Starting from the back left: Lexi, Bill, Zach S, Jonathan, Zach J, Molly, Meghan and (not pictured) Paige.

Monday night, after being fed and watered, we enjoyed some olympic volleyball. Or at least I made it look that way. ;P

The following day, Tuesday, the group tackled the hardest task for the week: summiting Medicine Bow Peak.

I accidentally got my photos out of order though. This is after the hike canoeing in a mountain lake. I liked being chauffeured around by Terry and Jonathan. We even canoed to the base of the mountain, got out and played in the snow that was still there, as you can view in the video at the end of this post.

There's the mountain!

The group at the top. I stayed with Molly at the base since she wasn't able to hike but we had a grand time anyway. Notice Terry's Coke...

Terry's got this thing about Coke. I don't know why he likes it so much but it's become something of a joke. We have all these health conscious friends and I think he's in rebellion against them. So he wore his Coke shirt and carried one up the mountain as a treat when he made it.

However, the elevation change did something funny to the carbonation and when he was about a third of the way through the Coke, it fizzed out of control in the bottle and in his mouth.

See? I'm not sure if it was jumping into his mouth here or he was spouting it out. Either way, it's pretty cook looking.

Terry was happy to be covered in his favorite corn syrup laden death beverage.

For some reason I don't have any photos of Wednesday when we went to Vedawoo to rock climb somewhere called the Beehive. It was a lot of fun. Everyone went at least once and most went three or four times. I went twice and was so proud of myself to have conquered the harder climb. Terry did all three climbs, even the really hard one. We dominated!

Thursday began with the 40 foot high ropes course at Table in the Wilderness. This course was new to us since we hadn't been to their new lodge yet. Again, we all had a great time. You could climb the rock wall and zip line down from the top, go across this wire (me below) or climb with a partner up a contraption called Jacob's ladder. After lunch the larger group went on a two hour mountain bike trail while me, Molly and Waldo hung out. When they returned, I was able to go on a shorter bike route and have some fun. In the video, that's where Waldo crashed and Terry and his bike swam. That night was Bill's birthday, hence the frigid birthday swim...(watch the video people - Terry did an awesome job!). Friday was the sad day we had to leave. I did not want to. But one good thing about coming back was that we were committed to having daily time with the Lord. Loving that still.

A little help from the mac thesaurus sums up the trip for me:
a fantastic trip: marvelous, wonderful, sensational, outstanding, superb, super, excellent, first-rate, first-class, dazzling, out of this world, breathtaking, great, terrific, fabulous, ace, magic, cool, wicked, awesome, brilliant.

The video

chicken in avocado sauce

I made a new recipe last night. It had been hiding in my recipe box for I don't know how long but was recovered when I made my monthly menu plan last week. I wasn't sure how it would turn out but I was richly rewarded for my nerve. YUM. It was so incredibly good. I wanted to eat more and more. I wanted it worse than the Armadillos ice cream we had after dinner. And when we came back in the house from our outing, the smell lingered and made me crave it again, even though my stomach was plum full of chocolate ice cream and hot fudge.

Here is my cooking station. I just bought that recipe holder at Menards for super cheap and I love it.

Chicken Breasts in Avocado Sauce
--> adapted slightly from their slightly adapted recipe

4-5 skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves (i used 5 b/c i wanted leftovers)
salt and pepper to taste
flour for dredging
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery (i omitted this since i didn't have any and it was delish without it)
1/2 pound mushrooms, quartered (i left mine unquartered)
2 Tab flour
1.5 - 2c chicken broth (i used one of those flavor booster tubs b/c it's cheaper than broth -Knorr homestyle stock- and added water until i had the consistency i wanted. the original recipe called for only 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup dry white vermouth, white wine or whit grape juice (i used vermouth)
1.5 cups grated monterey jack cheese (i forgot to add this and it was just fine without it. less fattening too)
2 ripe avocados (called for only 1)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Flatten chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap. Put salt, pepper and flour in a paper bag and shake chicken pieces in it one at a time, shaking off excess.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan (used my new 12 inch skillet), and saute chicken until evenly browned on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Melt the butter in the pan and sear the mushrooms until brown and crispy, turning over to ensure both sides brown. During mushrooms second side, add onions over the top of them to begin softening. When mushrooms are finished browning on second side, mix mushrooms and onions and continue cooking until onions are soft. Add garlic, cooking until fragrant.

Stir the 2 Tabs of flour and heat, stirring, then add the broth (or tub of stock and water like I did), stirring and scraping until the mixture is thick and uniform. Gradually stir in the vermouth and cook, stirring until mixtures is uniform, adding more broth/water as desired. Stir in cheese here if desired. Halve, pit and scoop out avocado and mash thoroughly (i used my potato masher). Stir into sauce and heat through. I added about 3/4 teaspoons salt and a dash of pepper here. Put chicken in oven-safe baking dish (my 9x13 pyrex) and pour sauce over. Bake 15 minutes. Serve hot with potatoes, rice or pasta. I made seared potatoes in the pan while the chicken baked and that went together great.

I can't wait for leftover lunch today.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

miscellaneous summer

Summer is almost over. I finally bought some home school curriculum yesterday so our free mornings will soon be coming to an end. I've neglected some of our photos so here they are, in chronological order of course (because i'm completely OCD like that).

July 20 Terry took the kids bowling because they were having a kids bowl free summer deal. Twas a good thing to do when it was 100 degrees outside.

Chuck that ball Noah!

Granny shot :D

Noah almost caught Daddy!

The first week we were in our new house a turkey family wandered into our yard through a small gap in our fence (which i'm very surprised snap hasn't found yet). I felt bad for the little buggers when their mama left them and they were frantically searching the fence for an outlet. I whined so much that Terry went out to help it out and it up and flew away. Lazy turkeys!

Samuel has watched us play baseball with the older two enough that he's got the general idea...with the bat upside down and a soggy overnight diaper still on.

Playing on the long-lost-in-storage play set.

Who needs a swimsuit when it's almost bedtime anyway?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hills Alive 2012

It's been an entire month since Hills Alive took place, but there's no way I want to forgot the good times we had when some Gburg students and friends came to visit us.

Last year, we brought a crew from Gburg up to Hills Alive and it was a lot of fun. So this summer it definitely felt a little strange not to have to travel to go to the music festival and that there were no Gburg peeps to take along. We were therefore very pleased that several friends decided to come up and visit us. Here is Carlie, Kelsey and Rebecca! YAY!!!

Laurie and Shelli also made the drive up. The good thing about my grampa's house (where we rented for three months before buying our new place) was that it was huge and great for housing a lot of people - and the covered porch was a great place to hang out.

I just had to throw this one in there. Check out Noah sucking away on that tea cup. HA!

So the girls got to our place Saturday at lunch and left on Sunday evening since they still had lives in Gburg and all. We were so happy to have them here however long they could stay.

When I got up Sunday morning and saw this (below) I ran for the camera before they could wake up and move. I was surprised they could all fit! I love having people over so our huge couches ability to sleep three full grown students is just another reason why I am glad we chose it. That and it's wonderful for having movie nights with students like we did last night - there were 9 of us sitting comfortably while we watched The Hunger Games.

So even though it was really hot (like always) and it's hard taking 3 young kids to a loud music festival, we had a lot of fun. We were so happy to have able to see our girls again. Love them!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

we've moved!

I haven't posted in about four weeks! We've been busy. We moved, set up house, garage and yard, painted and had a youth group trip to Wyoming. And it's VBS this week.

So yeah. On Friday July 27, 2012, we closed on our new house.

Here we all are the night before on our walk-through the house.

Closing on July 27 went smoothly. The only hard part was getting the keys from our realtor and Terry's cousin, Jamie.

Okay, it wasn't so hard. As soon as we had those keys, Terry headed over to our new (gasp!) house and began tearing out 1976 original carpet from the bedrooms so the new stuff could be installed the next day. Good thing he did because there were lots of pet stains. Ew. Terry then proceeded to begin painting those same bedrooms. Thank goodness he had his uncle and our realtor's, Jim's help, as well as his dad's and our friend Marcus. The rest of the house carpet was cleaned that day also.

The next day was Saturday and since we were more than ready to move into our new/own place, we began moving stuff over. It took But thank goodness for the help we did have - our dads Steve and Jerry, our brother-in-law Jesse, Marcus, a youth group student, Rob and a college student, Matt. They made like 3 or 4 trips with the Uhaul and both trailers filled up. I am getting rid of stuff I swear.

Jesse and Terry exhausting themselves.

So yeah. We're in! It feels very much like home already. It's a great house and it works fantastic for us with the multi-level floor plan. Plus we have just about everything painted and set up. My friend Jackie, Marcus' wife, remarked how fortunate we are that this process went so fast - moved in in just over 3 months arriving. It didn't seem like it at the time, but God has provided for us in a perfect way. We are so thankful.