Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Card Picture 2010

On Sunday I decided it was time to take our Christmas card picture.  It always sounds so simple. But it is so difficult to get everyone to look at the camera and smile at the same time. Every year as I go through the pictures on the computer I just giggle.  I smile as I look at the faces and how they change with each frame. I think it is funny how out of 66 pictures there is only one where everyone is looking at the same time, lol. This is how it went...
To prepare we pulled out the matching outfits(this year was kids choice-football jersey's), washed faces, brushed hair, and the camera was ready. Sixty-three pictures later I realized I was missing the secret weapon...Dad

 Picture 1 through 23: Was me trying to get Silly Guy to give me a natural smile.

 While attempting to get Silly Guy to smile I started to loose Little Man. 
Picture 24-30: Ahhh Haaa! Got him to laugh but a little too much

Picture 30-35-Little Man is now laying on the floor. Ooops!
  Picture 38-The Kids wanted to bring the dogs into the picture. We had to keep moving the dogs around so we could see everyone in the picture.  Roxy(the boxer)didn't like the fact Wally was sitting on her girls lap.
Picture 47-We found a good spot for the dogs. Roxy girl was excited to be sitting on Sweet Girl's lap she couldn't resist giving her kisses, lol.
Meanwhile...Silly Guy is hanging in there holding his smile, lol.

Picture 63- I brought in the secret weapon DAD. We are almost there...

Picture 66 I got it!! Dad was able to get the children smiling at the same time and looking at the camera. The doggies were even looking too:)YAY!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I wanted to write Happy Thanksgiving wishes a few days ago but my internet was down.  It was frustrating trying to figure it out with the operator.  I decided to wait and we'd figure it out after the holiday and it somehow fixed itself(for now).
Anywho, we had a wonderful time celebrating turkey day:  watching and playing football,  phone calls from family, cooking, baking, putting up our Christmas tree, just relaxing and enjoying time together. I was  thankful to have Sweet Girl help me in the kitchen this year.  She was totally grossed out by the turkey prep but we had some laughs and created some memories together;) 
We were a little afraid for the turkey.  My oven has had a mind of it's own lately.  Sometimes it works fine, sometimes it burns, sometimes food is undercooked ,yup a mind of it's own. At first I thought it was because we are living at high altitude now but it just seems too inconsistant.   I have to add that to my to do list"call the repairman".  Good news for Thanksgiving though it all worked out.  The bird made it and was yummy:)
I am most thankful for...
  • a wonderful husband to share my life and love with
  • three beautiful blessings who fill my heart with love and joy
  • family and friends who are always in my heart and thoughts
  • our two puppy dogs whom we love so much
  • a house to call home
  • my husband being on shore duty
  • spending quality time together
  • homeschooling our children
  • growing and learning everyday
  • all things warm...slippers, socks, sweaters, blankets, gloves, scarves, hats, etc.
  • a pantry full of food
  • having someone to laugh with
  • memories and creating new ones
  • finding beauty in the little things
Wishes of Thanksgiving and many blessings from our family to yours!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pyramid Lake Hike

About a month or so ago we went to Pyramid Lake.   

It is one of the largest natural lakes in Nevada.  It is the biggest(125,000 acres) remnant of the Ancient Lake Lahontan.  
Very peaceful and serene.   It was huge and there is much more to explore. 

Weekly Wrap Up-13!

This week we celebrated  Sweet Girl's(my oldest)13th birthday.  I can't believe she is 13!!  How time does fly!! I remember when we brought her home from the hospital I couldn't put her down.  Holding her in my arms felt so right.  I literally held her for the first two weeks of her life.  In every picture we have I am just gazing at this little baby girl with amazement.   I am so thankful God has leant her to me and made me her Mommy.    She brings such joy to our lives!! 

  My week has been busy with lesson planning.  We are about 1/3 through our school year.  I made some new timelines for the kids and notebooking pages.  The other timelines we were using worked but I wanted a timeline that had boxes.  The timelines I made have boxes with lines for writing and some empty boxes for drawing.  I will be putting them on my page at .  I also finished Silly Guy's Science notebooking pages for Christian Kids Explore Biology.   I worked on record keeping a bit but have some more to do.  I also started thinking of next year already.  I am trying to decide what to do with Sweet Girl for high school. 
This week we made(and ate)Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies.  I used to have a good recipe but couldn't find it anywhere.  So I searched through some online recipes and  one at  I will post the recipe in a later post:) 

Some of our school week highlights:
Well, much of this week we seemed to be in auto drive:(  I think it was the fact Thanksgiving is coming.  The kids (and I)are looking forward to having a break to recharge the old battery. 
Little Man learned the letter B.  One thing he did was made this baby.  I just think it is so cute. 

For Science we went back yard bird watching.  Silly Guy has started the bird unit in Christian Kids Explore Biology.  Can you believe we didn't see one bird!!  It was kind of a bummer.  Then later in the day they heard a bird twittering around in the juniper in front of the house. 
 Silly Guy also made a birdhouse to put in the back yard.  We realized during the bird watch we had to make our back yard more bird friendly.  In writing he wrote a friendly letter to his friend in Hawaii. He is really hoping to get a letter back in return.   

Silly Guy's birdhouse
We started reading aloud Mocassin Trail by: Eloise Jarvis McGraw this week.  It's about a boy who ran away from home when he was 11.  After a grizzly bear attack he was adopted by an Indian tribe.  After living with the tribe for 7 years(now 19), has been contacted by his family who needs him.  It's an interesting story so far. 
Silly Guy also has been reading Freedom Train:  The Story of Harriet Tubman(History).
In Math he continues to work on fractions. 
Sweet Girl worked on study guide question's and reading in Apologia.  She finished Streams to River, River to Sea which she said is a great book.  She continues to read Tom Sawyer in Lit.  Her writing assignment this week was to take Aunt Polly's soliloquy(in chapter 1)and then translate it into modern day language. This was fun and a little challenge. 
I bought a new devotional for the family, The One Year Bible for Kids.  Until now the kids have been working on their Bible assignments in Alpha Omega's Bible Lifepacs.  These are great, but in addition I wanted something we could study together.
In History we are still reading History of US book 4.
Art-The kids finished painting the Turkey bowls. 

This week I signed the kids up for the 4H Sking and Snowboarding Club.  They meet twice a month through March and go Lake Tahoe.  They are thrilled to join!! 
Friday morning my husband called to give us the upcoming weather report-snow. We made a Walmart trip to buy snow boots, salt, and a shovel.  By Sunday, we are supposed to get around 6-8 inches of snow.  Little Man was born in HI so he's never seen snow before.  He's so excited to see snow, make a snowman, and thow a snowball. 
So that was some of our highlights.  Hop on over to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers !

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up- Time to Make New Friends

  Our main focus over the past month has been to get the family back into a normal routine and   settling into the house.  I felt like it was time to find a home school group in the area. So last week I was searching and emailing and was contacted by a couple of kind ladies.  They were welcoming and asked us to join the group for park day on Wednesday.  We woke up in the morning eager to go meet some new friends.  We arrived at the park and were welcomed with smiling faces.  Soon after we arrived it began to sleet.  The kids didn’t mind and were having fun so we hung around for a little while. It was so great to be around other homeschooling mommies again.  The group sounds just the right pace for us.  We are looking forward to meeting up with them again. 
Some other highlights...

We woke up to snow capped mountains this week
Little Man came to me this week and wanted to make a necklace for Grandma.  We pulled out some penne pasta, pony beads, and yarn.  He found this bead in the container(the only one like it)and thought it was “so cool”. 
 While he was stringing on the pasta and beads he was talking about how much “Grandma is going to love this necklace.”   “I think this necklace will make her happy!” Such a sweetie pie! Then he wanted to model his creation-he, he.

 He has become mama's little helper in the kitchen too.  Everytime I am baking he's there "I want to help!".  Then he drags the step ladder over to the counter top ready to be of assistance.  His favorite part is licking the bowl of course:)
We also worked on numbers and counting a bit this week. Most of the time he was enjoying tag along lessons, baking, and hanging out with mom.  We had a lot of cuddle time on the couch reading books and playing with his toys(doctor and his Thomas trains were his favorite this week). 

Sweet Girl has finished A Gathering of Days:  A New England Girl's Journal.  She wrote a book report about it for her writing assignment.  She has now started reading Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.  We'll have to check the weather reports and plan a trip to go back to Virginia City.  There is a Mark Twain museum and it's where he started his career.
She started Module 4:  Science, Applied Science, and Technology in Apologia General Science.  She has had a couple of experiments this week learning about simple machines( making a lever and pulley).  I can't say enough about how wonderful this curriculum is. The book gives wonderful information and explanations of what was supposed to happen and why it happened.  I am no scientist and Dr. Jay L. Wile has made teaching Science painless.
For her independent History reading she has started reading Streams to River, River to Sea which is about the Lewis and Clark expedition. 

Which brings me to History...this week we started A History of US:  The New Nation(1789-1850)Book 4.  Some of the topics included in our studies-President George Washington, President John Adams, President Thomas Jefferson, Judicial Review, and Lewis and Clark.  Some links I found this week-  Washington is Elected ,  Thomas Jefferson, Judicial Review and Construction-the nature of the Supreme Court, Biography of John Adams, and Lewis and Clark Expedition.  We only viewed a couple but I figured I'd share what I found;) 
Silly Guy wrote a newspaper this week in.  It was to take place in 1803.  He had a lot of fun with this assignment. Many of the topics he wrote about we've covered in his History and Literature lessons.  However, he did some additional research for the assignment.   Usually for writing I have him write out his assignment.  But being a newspaper, I gave him the option of choosing a template and to type the assignment.  Writing a newspaper was a hit with my Silly Guy.  

Literature-he finished reading The Lewis and Clark Expedition which he really liked. I also had him read some short stories (historical stories)in an Abeka book I picked up at an used curriculum fair.  
In Science this week he learned about trees.  Mostly reading the text and some books I grabbed from the library. We did do some tree and leaf rubbings.  Today he finished up the "Plants Unit" with a quiz.   

  I enjoy decorating the house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. So for art this week we started a two week project "Ceramic Turkey Bowls"using air drying clay.   Little Man had a different idea about the clay project. At first my 3 year old refused to allow anyone to help him.  Then he made a HUGE mess with the sponge and water.  I had a small pond on my kitchen table. So, I helped him to form the bowl.  I think he'll enjoy painting his bowl more.  Not to say he didn't have a blast splishing and splashing clay water everywhere:).       

Oh, I think they're gonna be cute filled with nuts or candies. 
I am so glad to have worked Art and Music into our weekly schedule this year.  In the past it has been on the schedule too but it was one of those things-If we have time.  With our schedule not jammed packed with so many activities we now have the time.  It's  really been a gift.  A gift of  time together to create:). 
 One thing that arrived in the mail this week is our new wall map. Our old one was ruined in the move. The kids(especially Silly Guy)loves to look at the map. They'll quiz each other for fun. Just by having a map on the wall since Silly Guy was 4(when we started homeschooling) he can pretty much locate anything on a map quick too. This year we've used Sonlight's maps(which aren't labeled) for our History/Geography lessons.  We've had fun with these maps and have turned Geography lessons into a daily Geography bee.
Let's just say Geography has become quite competitive around our home. Fun!
Join in at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Delicious Coffee Cake

I have been in the baking mood lately. Maybe because I get to stand beside the nice warm oven;)  Perfect compliment to a nice cup of tea or coffee.

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter-softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
For brown sugar filling you'll need 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2-3/4 cups chopped nuts(I used a combo of walnuts and pecans), and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon. 
  1. Make the brown sugar filling and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease your pan.  I used a 9 X 12 but you could also use a bundt cake pan. 
  3. Beat the sugar, butter, vanilla, and eggs on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. Beat the flour mixture into the wet mixture alternately with the yogurt on a low speed. 
  6. Spread 1/2 of the batter into the pan, sprinkle 1/2 of brown sugar filling and repeat. 
  7. Bake for about an hour. 
  8. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

To Fort Churchill

Silly Guy had a project to go on a dry seed hunt.  I wanted to take him somewhere we would find a more native selection.  I thought...the lake.  We hopped in the van across 10 miles of desert.  The drive was nice and much shorter from our house than the hotel.  The lake is such a peaceful place so the kids and I are excited it isn't far from home.  As we were driving we saw three herds of wild horses grazing. It's like seeing sea turtles swimming in the ocean...beautiful.
Once we reached the lake and since we got there so quickly we decided to go a little further to somewhere we hadn't been-Fort Churchill.  We were so glad we did!  It was a neat place!
A little history...

The fort was established in 1860, as a United States military post.  The fort was established to protect against Indian raids along the Carson River.  Also it was an important factor in preserving Union allegiance in Nevada and California during the Civil War.  The fort was constructed of adobes made from material from the river flood plain.  Rocks for the foundations were taken from nearby hill and lumber was brought in from the Sierra's(hauled by mule).  The total cost to build the fort was near $180,000.
The fort had one surgeon in a 20 bed hospital.  The hospital remained full most of the time due to small pox and measles.  There were also two storehouses, a powder magazine, and a guardhouse. 
The Mess Hall- The diet of the typical frontier soldier consisted of beef, beans, saltpork, coffee, and some condiments such as sugar, salt, molasses, and vinegar. The men rarely were able to eat vegetables. Gardens were cultivated to supplement their diets. Each company had their own cook rarely trained. The favorite cooking method was boiling. They would combine meat and vegetables into stews called "slumgullion" or just "slum". The company cook was called the "slumburner". Sound yummy?

Barracks...Enlisted life was tough on the fort. The fort was an isolated, dreary outpost with a $13.00/month pay day.  The hardships and low pay caused many of the men to desert.  Enlisted barracks(lower right)had dirt floors were furnished with bunks and chairs.  Unlike most of the frontier post, soldiers had the luxury of their own bunk.  The bunks were furnished with a blanket and made of straw.  However, the officer quarters(lower left)were excellent.  Each had a parlor, dining room, two bedrooms and an attached woodshed with an indoor privy.  The officer quarters were described in 1864 as "the most comfortable quarters on the coast.  Many of the officers had their families living on post with them too.

We saw a nature trail path and the kids were begging me to go.  I am just not comfortable enough with the area yet(especially without dad) and because of these guys...
I felt like such a chicken but I can't help it.  I have a BIG fear of snakes.  Ever since childhood I've had this fear.  My brother used to have fun with it and put rubber snakes under my blankets.  I can remember it like it was yesterday.  So yeah, then you throw in the one around for miles, hospital an hour and a half away, barely a cell phone signal, poision, thank you!! I told them next time we'll bring dad and go on the nature hike.  Not that my husbands presence will change the factors but having him with me makes things better:)

Learning more about our new home...Great find! 


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