Good-Bye Summer, Hello Fall

October 13, 2016 at 9:21 pm (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)


Ok, time for a massive photo dump from all things end-of-summer!  We’re waiting for the birth of our new little one, and things have been even more hectic than usual around here.  So here’s all that’s been going on.  We hit up two fairs again this year.  First, the one up by my parents’.


A man was doing free balloon creations that brought smiles to my two oldest kids’ faces!



Digging for shark’s teeth…





Fair rides!





My birthday…


This little boy loves my computer and phones!



And, oh yeah, we got four chicks!  Two turned out to be roosters, but we do have two hens that should start laying eggs in the next month or so.




Silly, sweet little girl…


Homeschool this year involves some cultural cooking.  Here’s a bread recipe from Greenland we made.  It was really yummy, especially with apple butter!


Fair number two…




I can’t wait to get a goat!  They are really cute.  Baby K enjoyed them a lot, too!




The deer that have been frequenting our forest…




Playing with Libby…



She’s so crazy…and that’s what the dog’s thinking, too!



Flowers from my baby “sprinkle.”



Toilet paper dresses from the baby sprinkle…


I love the women at my church.  They are such a blessing!  And getting the playroom ready for the new baby…


I just wrote a verse on the dry erase board and my oldest two decorated with some fun jungle animal decals.



Crib and mobile


Fall is here!  We had a great day outside as a family.  The oldest two kids helped hubby clean up some stray branches he cut down during the windy days of the hurricane.  And baby K and I just wandered around the yard, enjoying the fall weather.











Oh how that little boy loves Libby!



Playing on the tractor…



Last rose holdouts…



And more of the chickens…




So, that’s about what’s been going on here.  Now it’s just a waiting game for the new baby.  Have a blessed weekend!

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Last Weekend of Summer Vacation

September 11, 2016 at 10:55 pm (Family, Personal, Uncategorized)

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Catching up on photos from the last weekend of summer vacation!  The kids wanted to bake some cookies, so we made sugar cookies with the Orca, Spiderman, and monkey cookie cutters we got for their birthday party.  Little C loves to bake!

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He got his own toy mixer out and followed every step of the process…

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Baby girl has become a master egg cracker!

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Icing the cookies in red, white, and blue…

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The weekend was also time to catch up on mending the many things that needed mending: an elf whose legs were falling off; a puppy without a nose; two pillows; a t-shirt; a nightgown hem; and a onesie with a hole in the pocket.

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All better now…finally (some of these have been on the to-do list for quite a while).

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Tomato love!  I made some basic puree out of the ones pictured.  Then I got more the next day, which I pureed and heated on low in the oven until it caramelized into a sweet paste.  I combined the two in a saucepan with garlic, onion, basil, salt, pepper, etc. and made a yummy fresh spaghetti sauce.  That’s going on the lasagna roll-ups tonight!

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Movie night!

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Baby K enjoyed a good part of this movie with his big siblings!

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Then he got a little crazy and started attacking his big brother – LOL!

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The grape vines are producing!  These babies do have seeds, but they are the sweetest, yummiest grapes I’ve ever tasted.


Monday brought the start of homeschool.  Overall, it was a good first week.  We got through most of the material, but did have to do a little bit this weekend.  Today, we learned about Egypt and did some fun crafts for that.  We also learned about the artist Giotto and the kids did egg tempura paintings.  We just ground up some chalk…


Mixed egg yolk with water and added it to the chalk…


And voila!  The kids really enjoyed painting with this, and the colors were nice and vibrant.



So that’s what’s been happening here…other than a weekend of sickness in our household.  Thankfully, the kids seem to be doing much better than they were yesterday.  Have a very blessed week!

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First Day of Homeschool!

September 5, 2016 at 9:49 pm (Family, Personal, Uncategorized)

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We kicked off our third year of homeschooling today!  Little C did well with his first day of 3rd Grade.  He does have some focus issues I’m hoping to work out so we can get through the east stuff a lot faster.  Things like copying spelling words and handwriting exercises tend to bring out the sloth in him – LOL. But overall, I think this is going to be a good curriculum for him.

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Baby girl was a little disappointed by how easy the 1st Grade curriculum is at the beginning.  Math was pattern animals and language arts was more letter work…  But I promised her it will pick up quickly.  And it’s so important to master those basic, even if it seems like she’s been doing the same stuff for going on three years now.  I know from little C that the My Father’s World gets much more challenging by about week 4.

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And baby K on the first day.  No school for him, but lots of smiles!

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A special breakfast of pancake muffins.  We gave the muffin tins a workout today – muffin tin pizzas for lunch, too!  So that’s the first day.  Let the insanity of homeschool and activities begin!

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Night at the Ballpark

September 2, 2016 at 1:56 pm (Family, Personal, Uncategorized)

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Final post from last weekend.  Saturday was a busy…and hot…one.  We started out at a 1st birthday party for one of our friend’s kids.  Thankfully, it was a pool party!  The kids had a blast!  Of course, I was in the pool playing with baby K and keeping an eye on my other two, so I didn’t get any pics.  But my friend got this one…


We went straight from there to a baseball game supporting our church’s Child Evangelism Fellowship group.  Love summer nights at the ballpark!!

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Silly boy with a little hat…

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Our local team won and we got to see the fireworks!  Baby K is our first baby to cry at fireworks, which I found hilarious since he’s a 4th of July baby!!  Hubby got him calmed down pretty quick and he seemed to enjoy them after that…but I was just laughing.

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And some shots from the every day.  Baby K and Libby dog are so close.  He was sitting next to her so cutely just before I took this picture.  Ah, they always move before the camera clicks…

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Baby K has two favorite toys right now, turtle and Bluey Karuey, a blue dinosaur with a catchy name my niece gave hers.  Trying to document the little things!

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And now into another weekend!  So thankful for long weekends with the kiddos!!  And the start of homeschool on Monday, yay!!!  Have a blessed weekend!


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Produce Days

August 30, 2016 at 2:31 pm (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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Last Friday, the kids and I took a bit of the afternoon to use up some produce, grown and bought.  Sometimes life just gets so busy that the produce you planned to use during the week starts going bad.  So I’m trying to find new and creative ways to use those overripe yummies without wasting.  We did get one good Healy melon out of the garden.  Another Healy rotted out on the bottom before we harvested, and then there was that one sweet watermelon…  My melons and cucurbits may have overgrown the garden a little, so hubby had a hard time cutting the grass around the thriving vines.  Little did we know that a beautiful watermelon was growing perfectly among the unruly grass.  Poor hubby weed whacked the side right off the melon.  It was tragic, but lesson learned.  Anyway, the Healy was a big hit with the kids.  Hopefully we’ll do better with the melons next year.

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The grape tomatoes are growing like crazy!  I’ve made a ton of fresh salsa, which has been wonderful for salsa and chips, nachos, and salsa chicken.  But I needed to do something new with them.  So I roasted some with garlic and basil for pasta sauce and then roasted some a couple of nights ago with garlic, basil and mozzarella just to eat straight.  Delicious!

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Fresh salsa, and pineapple jam I made from a store bought pineapple that was getting too ripe to eat straight.  The kids and I also made some grape and mixed berry jams for the same reason🙂.

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So this plate is a total fail when it comes to color variety, but it used up some produce and turned out yummy.  I used some overripe mangos to make mango chutney curry chicken over rice and some apples that were on their way out to make some cinnamon applesauce.  It looks boring, but it tasted good.

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And I used up the last of the fresh sugar pie pumpkin I had canned to make pumpkin French toast bake, pumpkin pancakes, and pumpkin banana bread.  Ah, I love everything pumpkin.  And I got a sweet surprise when one of the sugar pie vines gave us another pumpkin.  I just have to roast and puree it!

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The mini pumpkins and spoon gourds have fallen prey to the evil squash bugs.  But at least we got some cute ones, and about a zillion spoon gourds.  I gave all of it a mild bleach bath so they’ll keep longer.  And I’m drying out the spoon gourds so the kids and I can make fun little gourd ladles as a school project!

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Last weekend also brought the most crabs I’ve eaten in a really long time!  One of our church members brought crabs to the church picnic Saturday.  He came somewhat late, so a lot of people had already left.  Which meant there was a ton of crabs for the few of us who were still there to eat them!  I ate my fill and got to take a bag full home.  Baby K got his first taste of Old Bay seasoned crabs and absolutely loved it, too!  So I took the crabs home and picked them all.  I think I’m now a master crab picker, though it does tear the fingers up a bit.  And I have no idea what the spatula is doing next to the crabs in the picture – LOL.

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So what do you do with a bowl of handpicked crab?

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Crab cakes!!!  I love crab cakes!  For these, I just used mayo, egg, Italian breadcrumbs, my own version of Old Bay seasoning mix, and fried it up in an olive oil, butter mixture.  I added my own version of hollandaise sauce, and the kids really enjoyed it, too.  We also got to go to a crab feast our friends had that Sunday, so it was a lot of back-to-back crab eating – loved it!

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Oh yeah, and some pumpkin cupcakes…  Feeling the need for fall to come with all it’s pumpkin goodness – and maybe I’m just a little more excited for fall this year because the August heat is killing this pregnant lady.

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It was good to use up some of the produce instead of wasting it.  I’ve been freezing cucumbers, squash and zucchini like crazy, hoarding it for fall and winter soups and bread.  And our bean bushes are producing at least 20 new beans to harvest per day, so I’ve been blanching and freezing those for soups and stews since my family isn’t really big on eating green beans straight.  But we’ve still had a lot of our garden goodies go bad.  Gardening seriously requires daily harvest when the picking is good and you have to do something with that fresh produce fast.  I’m getting better, but we have a compost heap by the forest that shows how often I haven’t been able to get to the produce in time.  But I was thrilled to see that someone could make good use of our blunders!  The turtles apparently love rotten cucurbits!  This one had his whole head in that squash (or maybe it’s a cucumber gone very bad?).  It was cute though!

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And now for the one thing that makes me happiest – my family!  Baby K is hubby’s boy.  He loves hanging with his dad!

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He also loves to eat!  Inhaling spaghetti…

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He’s getting steadier on his feet.  He’s up to taking about 10 steps at a time, and he can stop, turn and go again.  He also has gotten better about steadying himself instead of falling to his knees.  What’s really cute, though, is when he tried to knee walk!

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Sweet angel face!

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We got baby girl a felt sewing kit for her birthday, and she’s been working on that lately.  I love how crafty she is!  And she’s doing a good job.  I have had to pull out some of the stitches here and there when she gets in a hurry and makes them too long and too far apart.  But she’s enjoying it so far.  She has asked for a sewing machine, though – especially after she pricked her finger with the needles for the first time.

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So this project is on hold temporarily while she recovers from the needle prick – she is a bit dramatic🙂.

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The most patient dog in the world…

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Always into something he shouldn’t be….but oh those sweet baby eyes!

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Carving pumpkins cut off the vine…

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They are curing for a few days and then we’ll have to store them and hope they last till Halloween.  New corn stalks growing…

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I’ve been harvesting some of our lavender for sachets, too.  They smell so good!

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Hubby found a fun little BINGO set that has become the go-to game for family game nights.

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Someone wanted to spin the BINGO balls…

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Little C really loves being the caller!  Here, he’s got the chocolate milk goatee look going on…

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He also won all the games that night!

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Getting close to caught up on posts.  I hope everyone is having a great week!

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Touch A Truck

August 26, 2016 at 11:28 pm (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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This was the second half of our field trip weekend, a touch-a-truck event at my parents’ church.  It was a really hot and humid day, but this was still a great event, especially for little C.  We started off at the electric truck basket, where the electrician taught the kids a little bit about his work and the tools he uses.

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Sitting in a hay ride wagon…

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The school bus was a big hit…too hot for me to stay on too long, though…

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Pulling the horn on this rig gave baby girl a little startle…

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But little C loved it!

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Pretend tractor driving…

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And what do you do when all the other kids are having fun on the vehicles?  Yup, suck on your toes – LOL!

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Cousins in a basket with Popple…

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Learning how to use power tools…

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And at least this little guy got a fun yellow balloon out of the deal!

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One more post to come, and then probably more from tomorrow’s birthday party and baseball game. Catching up!

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Science Center

August 26, 2016 at 2:24 am (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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I’m way behind on posts, so this one is from a couple of weeks ago.  The kids and I went up to my parents’ and took the kids to the science center and a “touch-a-truck” event at my parents’ church.  It was a really fun time, and my oldest son especially enjoyed the weekend!  The science center was not crowded at all, so he could enjoy everything without feeling completely overwhelmed.  Here he is making dinosaur music on one of the computers…

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Dusting for fossils…

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Aren’t they adorable little paleontologists?!

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Baby K enjoyed the trip, too!

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Touching a tornado…

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They had some really cool looking crabs there!

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This little man wanted to listen to everything.  We did the half price after 5 deal, and the girls weren’t going to wait around, but I may have to get him back up there so he can really take his time at this museum…

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Fun activities…

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I couldn’t believe Little C was the one who braved the bed of nails!  This boy never ceases to surprise me.

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The lack of crowd made for a fun time for baby K, too.  He got to crawl around!

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Flying paper airplanes…

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Making energy…

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Watching a cool crab…

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More crawling!

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Baby K loved crawling on this huge floor map!

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Fake running from the fake crab🙂 …

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The view…

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Turtles for baby K!

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This was cool – my dad’s work was one of the pictures at the museum. So he and baby K took a photo op!

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The harbor on a hazy, humid evening…

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Pretty much as soon as we left the museum, this little guy was out!

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So glad we got to make this field trip this summer!  More posts to come from other adventures!

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Healing Herbs and End of Summer Preparations

August 6, 2016 at 3:19 pm (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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Just a quick photo dump!  I took the kids out to a local plantation again for the kids’ program on healing herbs.  It was a really fun time!

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The kids started out by making little satchels of herb mixtures.  Baby girl used lavender and chamomile.  Little C mixed lavender, chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, and spearmint.  It smells surprisingly good for all of the different scents being mixed together.

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Grinding up the herbs…

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Then we went over to the huge herb garden and the kids got to learn about different herbs and touch and smell the fragrant plants.

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Then we just wandered the beautiful grounds!

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Baby girl’s favorite flower because it was pretty and “soft”…

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Little C taking in the view…

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Freshly watered…

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The butterflies and bees were out in force!  It was wonderful!

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Bye, plantation…probably until Christmastime…

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And now some miscellaneous stuff.  I got three gorgeous sugar pumpkins out of our garden!

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Chopped, baked…

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…and pureed!  These pumpkins are amazing!  They are so tasty, even straight without a lick of seasoning or butter or sugar or anything.  They have this wonderful sweet taste that’s even better than sweet potatoes.  I’m looking forward to making some pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin oatmeal bars this weekend!

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I also got all of the new homeschool materials on the shelf and last year’s stuff packed away.  I’m almost giddy about this year of homeschooling.  I feel like after two years of homeschooling, I am finally hitting a groove of understanding how my kids learn best and how I teach best.  I put this curriculum together entirely from scratch rather than going with just one complete curriculum.  And I think it’s going to be an amazing year.  I’m most excited about cultural studies that include hands-on activities, a science experiment every week, and teaching the kids about famous artists with special projects each week!  I think the hands-on approach will be a nice break from the overwhelming book learning we did with Sonlight last year.

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I’m using ABeka readers for Little C’s 3rd Grade reading, but I also chose some fun books to supplement!  Love these books!  And I think he will, too.

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Baby girl getting into the school spirit playing with Unifix cubes while I organized!

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And now off to tend to the garden pests and Jimson weeds…  Tomatoes are ripening, so I’m super excited about that!  Oh how I would love to just be a stay-at-home homeschooling mom working my homestead!  Dreams, people, we all have to have dreams!  Have a blessed week!

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Sunday Memories

August 4, 2016 at 2:37 pm (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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Sunday started out with the usual flurry of activity, trying to get all of us up, fed, dressed and out the door in time for me to teach Sunday School.  I made a family favorite for breakfast, blueberry muffins.  And the blueberries I put in must have been extra juicy because I got myself ready for church and came out to this sight – baby K covered in blueberry – hair, ears, face, body, even his back and the back of his neck!  It was too cute, so I had to pause in the rush that is a Sunday morning and take a picture🙂.

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After church, I took the kids over to a local garden that was hosting an insect festival.  It was a really good time!  My kids, and especially my daughter, enjoy bugs.  So this was something that was fun and educational.  There were displays of all kinds of different insects from various places.  One lady had a live butterfly chrysalis  and taught the kids about the stages of butterflies and moths.  My brave daughter held a live Madagascar cock roach.  Yuck!  That was one giant cock roach.  My daughter is also a lover of all things “I Spy,” so she had a blast with the little I Spy game they had where the kids found various pictures in the art displays.

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They also had little LEGO stations set up where kids could make certain bugs out of LEGOs.  Both of my older kiddos had fun with that.

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And when I asked my kids what their favorite part of the day was, they both said petting the baby alligator!  They also got to pet a snake, but I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture of that.

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The event also had story time and plenty of craftiness!  The kids did a cute little beehive out of plastic applesauce cups with a yarn-wrapped Styrofoam peanut bee dangling from the center.  Then they made cute little insect headdresses.

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And we ended the trip with games outside.  It was a bit on the hot and humid side, but the games were fun and cute.

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Baby K looking forward to the day when he can join in the activities…

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Little C was really good at this ring toss game.  He rang the bells pretty much every time!

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Bowling fun!

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Back at home, the kids pulled out my oldest son’s light up cars and track.  Baby K was fascinated!  He tried to catch the cars, but no luck🙂.

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And now I’ll add some Wednesday pics.  The weather cooled considerably and the humidity is down, thankfully.  The dog wanted nothing more than to sit outside with her nose in the gentle breeze.  Baby girl sat out with her for a while.

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And our latest science project…

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So apparently, if you leave the kiddie pool out filled with water, you will attract frogs that spawn a ridiculous amount of tadpoles.  I seriously think the frog plague could have started with our little backyard pool if we hadn’t emptied it.  But we did save seven of these little cuties to watch them grow.

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While out veggie picking, we also spotted this gorgeous cardinal…

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He stuck around for a while, hopping and flying from one place to the next at the edge of our forest.

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Black-eyed susans from the porch…

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The tomatoes seem to be taking forever to ripen!  I’m really looking forward to getting these in the kitchen!

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And mini-pumpkins…

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I picked some sugar pumpkins yesterday and baked, pureed and canned them last night, so that will be the next post.  I hope everyone is having a very blessed week!

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Monday Break

August 1, 2016 at 7:03 pm (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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It’s August already!  Wow, summers seem to fly by faster every year.  But this week, it just really hit me how much I have to be thankful for this summer.  Baby K was only a few weeks old this time last year, and now he’s a healthy, happy 1-year-old bringing smiles, laughter and blessings into our home.  This time last year, my uncle was in the hospital fighting for his life.  Yesterday, he returned from a 2-week cruise to Iceland. When times get tough, or the weather gets oppressively hot and humid, it’s important to remember all of those blessings in our lives.  I got to work from home most of last week because of the heat wave and poor air quality, so I took the opportunity to capture some memories of my sweet little kiddos.

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Baby K is all about being in the playroom with his older siblings these days!  And my older kids love having him around, especially my son.  He’s constantly telling me to let baby K play with him, and he’s teaching baby K about cooking with the little kitchen play set.  It’s adorable!

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Baby K is also all about putting objects in things.  You never know what toy you’re going to find in a box, bowl, basket, or even your shoes!

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But his favorite thing right now is still the birthday balloons that are hanging in there, slowly deflating.

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Hanging with big sis…

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We celebrated my baby girl’s 6th birthday last week.  I can’t believe she’s already 6!  She got plenty of fun crafting things and, of course, some LEGO sets.  She kept herself busy working on her LEGOs for a good part of her birthday.

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She also got a Jake and the Neverland Pirates talking spyglass that all of the kids have been enjoying.

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And some more garden love…

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The pumpkins are starting to turn orange!  I am so excited to pick some sugar pumpkins this week and can some yummy pumpkin puree!  We have some big pumpkins growing, too, getting ready for some Halloween carving.

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There are quite a few mini pumpkins starting to pop up, too.  I can’t wait for fall decorating!  But the plant that’s taking over the garden is the little spoon gourds.  I may have to actually cut those back because that one plant is producing like crazy!  These are just the ones we’ve picked so far, not including the ones we’ve given away…

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There’s probably about a hundred more growing.  They’re cute though.  The tomatoes are starting to really pop up, too.

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We’re growing several different varieties of tomato this year – some for salsa, some for pizza and marinara sauce, some for chili and some for slicing.  So we’ll see how all that turns out.  But they’re looking happy so far!

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The squash and zucchini are still producing, though not quite as prolifically as they were.

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The Black-Eyed Susans seem to be the only flower enjoying this awful heat wave…

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And finally, a yummy snack of Ricotta and bacon stuffed mini peppers.  My dad gave me these little peppers last week, and we all enjoyed them!

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More to post, but it will have to wait.  Have a blessed week!

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