Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Coloring Sheets

While searching for activities to use with the middle kids for Advent, I came across this. A set of 24 coloring sheets that tell the Christmas story from the beginning with the Archangel Gabriel all the way to the Holy Family's flight into Egypt to escape King Herod. A simple way to tell the story one day at a time and help your kids count down the days until Jesus' birthday. Just make sure you have plenty of ink or hook up that laser printer if you are printing for 3 kids.

Monkey Bread

The kids made Monkey Bread today for breakfast. This was a treat to give everyone a chance for something new. Much cheaper than buying donuts and bagels, easier to make and clean up from than pancakes and eggs. Even better, the kids were able to do all the work themselves. I don't have any in progress pictures because I was sleeping in. Yes, my husband spoils me on the weekends. You can find the recipe here. The kids loved it and we will have to make it again sometime.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gabe Says. . .

. . . that two pieces of pie just are not enough for someone his size.

We did the whole turkey thing today. Alan as usual did a great job cooking everything. Tomorrow will be leftover day with plenty of food to work with. I love days when no one has to cook. But we have decided that next year we will have to make 3 pies if we hope to have enough for everyone. Now the kids are vegging out in front of a movie and we are hoping for a little quiet time for the evening.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sean's Story

like my room so much that i do not want to move
"I like my room," said Tom who never wanted to move.
"we all know," said Sam.
"but we are going to move anyway," said Lucy.
"move what? move my room?"
"no silly move as in out of the house"
"no said tom and he stormed into his room."
"the next day goodbye room," said Tom .
"then he stared to cry so we asked the workmen. to bring the room with us and they said no so we went on with out the room but he forgot all about the room that was better.''







the end








Thanksgiving At Our House

This is what Thanksgiving looked like at our house this year. Alan had to work this year so we decided to keep things simple and just have a bunch of snacks. The kids were happy, things were simple , everyone is fed and life goes on.Gabe got to spend some time hanging out with dog. The dog seems to understand that if he does not put up with being pounded on by the littlest members of the household, he will find himself in trouble.
Today has me pondering all of the typical holiday chaos and headaches folks tend to put themselves through. For what reason, I'm not sure. Folks spend way too much time cooking, cleaning and making themselves crazy over spending time with folks that many times drive them insane. I'm not sure what you get out of that sort of insanity. Maybe my thoughts are colored by the few years growing up when we actually lived close enough to extended family to spend some of the holidays with them. I remember never knowing anyone who was around, a bunch of adults who seemed to think the way to involve kids they didn't know well was to insult them which left the adult somehow feeling good about themselves but the child feeling terrible, just wanting to hide somewhere so no one would really notice me, the noise and chaos. I've sometimes wondered if our kids are missing out on something because they don't spend holidays or any real time with the gaggle of extended family. But then I realize that everyone enjoys themselves much more when you are surrounded by folks you know and enjoy being with. Not sure where I'm going with this really. I'm sure someone will get offended by what's been said already. But chances are in all honesty that most of the extended family is glad they don't have to deal with us anyway for holidays because there are so many of us that we overwhelm them. But who needs to feel the pressure of putting on a show for others anyway. Or spend the time worrying about if the house is in perfect order for that overly critical relative who will insult your home no matter what you've done to make it look nice.

Anyway, I think I've spent way too much time thinking today. I'm glad the kids are happy, Alan has a job he loves, we have enough of everything we need. And we have no stress today because the only people we are worried about today is each other. The impressions we make on those who live with us are so much more important than the ones we make on those who don't. And yet way too many folks spend way too many hours cleaning, stressing, painting, baking, fixing the furniture and cooking to impress those who don't share their lives everyday and just expect the ones who live with them to deal with getting the short end of the stick. Why do we do things this way? Just a question to ponder.

What I Don't Like About Hunting Season

This is one negative to where we live. Folks hunt within view/hearing range of our home. No, they are not legally allowed to hunt on our property or be on our property unless we give them permission. But the farm land across the street is open for hunting because the owner allows it and we have land directly behind our property that is used for hunting as well. The shots started this morning around 6:30. The dog has been going bonkers all day and I'm afraid to let the kids go outside today. Which stinks because it is a beautiful day and Dad is at work and we have nothing to do but hang around. When it was time to take care of the chickens, I sent the boys in pairs so that if something happened, there would be another one to come get me. Yup, that is a bit paranoid or strange. I mean, I guess I could have taken care of the darn birds myself but then I'd still want someone else around just in case. Not that I think the folks hunting are necessarily being dangerous. Just that I don't so much like the rifle hunting so darn close to the house when I don't know who is out there. Makes me a tad nervous until hunting season is over.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just Baffling

For the past few months, we have had a new mail carrier. I think she started on our route sometime in September or so. This lady baffles me. I believe we can all agree that it is part of the job of a postal carrier to actually deliver the mail. She has no issue putting things in our mailbox and then backing over our grass as she turns around. But heaven forbid there is a box to deliver. She won't enter the driveway if the chickens are out. She sits at the end of the driveway (and it is a fairly decent length) and honks expecting us to come to her. Let's just assume we're home. If the kids are outside or she thinks they are, she honks the horn and expects them to come get the mail from her. Yes, this bugs me. The kids are not supposed to be that close to the road for several reasons, the least of which is that traffic goes way too fast. Today I had a pick-up scheduled for some boxes that had to go out. She refuses to get out of her truck, sits in the driveway and honks. Keep in mind it is snowing. She is fully dressed in a coat and boots. I'm not. And she expects me to come out to her. Um, what do you get paid for? If the dog was able to reach the driveway or front door, I could understand but he can't and she has been told this repeatedly. Heck, even told this 4 times today. Yes, I refused to go outside with only socks on to walk over the gravel to get to her truck. The previous mail carrier was wonderful. She even went out of her way the first year we were here and made a second trip to the post office to pick up a box for us on Christmas Eve when she realized we did not know where the post office was and would not be able to get there before it closed. Maybe we've been spoiled by having wonderful mail carriers in the past but this lady seriously annoys me. Quit honking your horn and do your darn job. It is not my kids' job to run out to the road and get the boxes from you.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Slime Science

Science is always more fun when it gets messy. Take 2 boys, add in one inexpensive slime science kit, a few kitchen "chemicals" and the result is instant fun. These kids are lucky. I didn't get to make these polymers until Chemistry 2 in high school. This is a much more fun experiment to do when you are younger.



Bowling

Here is the hands down favorite part of bowling. Everyone shares an order of fries. You do the math on this one. 7 kids and one basket of fries. Add in the colored pencils and a coloring book and everyone is kept quite happy.



Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures today. I was trying to get better pictures but due to the simply stellar parenting going on at the next lane, I was unable to get decent pictures without stepping on their ill-behaved children. And trust me, I tend to be fairly tolerant of a group of kids getting together and getting a bit rowdy. This was way beyond anything I would consider ok. But I am ranting here. How about a cute Abby smile? I asked the older two boys to take pictures of each other and I ended up with pictures of pins and score boards so I will take another shot at that next week as well.

Monday, November 24, 2008

One Little Boy. . .

Take one little boy, give him one bowl of chicken and dumpling soup, follow that up with one ice cream sandwich. Your end result will be one adorable mess. But we don't worry about that stuff around here. After all, the kid is washable.

Monday's Are Not my Friend

I am loosing motivation to hang the laundry up lately. Which is a bad thing. Perhaps it is the fact that the propane bill only gets adjusted for usage changed once a year and it was just adjusted a few weeks ago so I won't see any change for months. Maybe it is that the children managed to break one of the two drying racks so now if it is not leaning against a wall or solid object, it will fall over. Maybe it is that I need a third drying rack and a single location to put them all neatly. I don't know, maybe I am being lazy. Maybe it is that every single time I go upstairs to hang the clothes up, some child gets into chaos down here. Maybe I need to take them all with me and have them sit in the hall while I work.

Gabe has a doctor's appointment today where I am sure to be told that he is just way to small and surely there must be something wrong with him. Which I will ignore. I imagine it was easier before doctors decided that the formula fed baby growth charts were some sort of all knowing bible to go on or something. And there is the joy of the doctor's office always calling Gabe a girl. Um, read the chart Einstein. It's in your hand. And at least one nurse will throw a hissy fit because the child has no shot record. Hm, what part of family history of neurological damage from vaccines do you not understand? Can you tell I don't look forward to well child visits? And let's add in the fact that I will be crammed into that tiny room with all the kids with the promise of "the doctor will be right with you" where there are tons of things for them to try to get into, it's always way too hot and there are usually only 2 chairs. Why they won't let you stay in the waiting room for more than 2 minutes, I have no clue.

Please ignore the ramblings of a slightly crazy person today. The laundry monster has taken over this weekend. It is all clean clothes but still, the baskets are full everywhere. The floors look as if someone broke a bag of cookies into crumbs and shook them all over the house. And the pellet stove just shut off for some reason. But we are making slow and steady progress. Now to find a way to convince Abby that her super cool boots from last year simply don't fit on her feet anymore.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Just an Observation

There is something to be said for a guy making cookies and cleaning the kitchen. Just saying.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Afternoon

Two small girls, one big bowl of popcorn. Makes you wish you were there, doesn't it?

Something New

Just have to say right now that I am feeling rather well rested for the first time in, oh, quite a while. Maybe it was the fact that I crashed on the couch 2 nights in a row shortly after dinner and still took a nap in the afternoon. Maybe it was the fact that I have been sick for, oh, way too many weeks to count. But this morning Alan let me sleep in (ok, let's be real. You can't sleep once the kids are up and screaming and fighting but I was still in bed) until they left a few minutes ago to head to the store. So it was 10:30 before I got up. He even brought me breakfast. And the rug down here and been vacuumed several times so I can see almost no dog hair on it. Wow. Someone must like me or something.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Puppy Chow

If you've never made a batch of people puppy chow, I suggest you make some. If for no other reason than the kids love it. I'm having a hard time getting the gang to understand that they do not want to eat all of it in one sitting because then they won't have a snack later today.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pencil Roll

I just wanted to provide proof that I do sometimes actually accomplish things. Maybe not on time, maybe not perfectly but I do actually do extra things around here every once in a while.
Last night I made a pencil roll to give us a portable way to carry colored pencils around. We've been spending the past few weeks at the bowling alley on Tuesdays. For the younger kids not bowling, this is not so much fun. One mom always comes in with a bag of coloring sheets and pencils or crayons to share. I commented this week that she was much more organized than I was and I really needed to get my act together. And that was when she told me that this magic bag of hers never leaves the car. Which got me thinking of ways I could do the same sort of thing. No, the sewing is not perfect but my kids don't seem to care. I had to use velcro rather than ribbon to tie it shut because we did not have any ribbon in the house which means that two of the pencil pockets aren't really usable. But there were extras anyway. Tonight I hope to make a smaller version for crayons and I picked up shoe laces while at the grocery store to use for the ribbon. Now I just need to dig up an extra bag and some coloring books or coloring sheets. Perhaps I'll add a few quiet toys as well. Seriously, I should have done something like this about 4 kids ago.

Motivation

Today has been one of those days. The days where you know you have a bunch on your plate and just can't get yourself moving to do it all. Maybe it is still being sick. Maybe it is being kicked and poked by Gabe most of the night. Maybe I just need a vacation. Heck, I even gave in to temptation and bought a couple loaves of bread while we were at the store this morning. That is a rare event indeed. But I finally motivate myself to start working on the laundry and other such messes and I am met first with a head wound. Poor child, I missed the fact that she was bleeding at first. So we have the wonderful debate of does this require stitches. I think for now we are safe. The guilty block throwing party has been sentenced to time in the corner and the injured party consoled and calmed down enough to stop the bleeding. Finally it is nap time and I get back to work. Making decent progress until the sewing machine tension gets all wacky, the thread runs out and a small child wakes up screaming. I'm starting to think the forces of nature are working against me. Perhaps tonight is a perfect night for pulling out frozen meal from the freezer and calling it a day. That is starting to look like a very tempting option to me right now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Heartbeat

I heard the heartbeat today! Super cool.

Chopsticks

Tried a new crockpot recipe last night. Sweet and sour pork. Everyone loved it and there were no leftovers. We did discover one small problem. The first summer we spent in this house, the younger children kept taking our chopsticks and sticking them in the fans "just to see what would happen" because, well, of course it would not be the same result every single time. End result is half of our chopsticks were destroyed. So who knows of a decently priced place to buy chopsticks? Not the throw away kind. The only kids who did not try to use them last night were Abby and Gabe. I'm pretty sure they will both be using them soon so we need quite a few more. Any suggestions?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Snow and More

Look, Peter. Here is your snow picture.
And here is super Kieran.
Katie carrying her baby on her back.
Abby is very proud of her new underwear. Now if she will only figure out how to use them properly. . . .

He Learns Quickly

Or maybe he just frequently sees his siblings standing in the corner. Gabe was getting into trouble today. I'm trying to make some bread for dinner and Gabe keeps climbing on the oven. He perches his feet on the drawer and hangs on to the handle. Cute as this may appear, it is very dangerous as the oven does not have a floor brace installed and if the weight on the drawer is placed just right, the oven can flip over and kill a small child. Do I really think Gabe is heavy enough to do that? Heck no. I don't even think the kid weighs 20 lbs soaking wet. But it's still dangerous and after removing him and telling him no 2 times, the third time he got his bottom smacked. And then the child ran off and stood in the corner while looking at me mournfully. Very cute. I should have taken a picture.

50 lbs of Potatoes

Some days I am still amazed at the amount of food this family consumes. Other days I simply realize it is part of raising a house full of growing children. I found a great deal on potatoes on Craigslist and ordered 50 lbs of them because I wasn't quite sure I could store 100 lbs easily in the pantry. Well, I am now kicking myself for not getting 100 lbs because the 50 lb bag is not as big as I expected it to be. Now to adjust the meal plans for the next few weeks so we can start using some of them up. Yes, I am totally grateful that we have a house full of happy, healthy kids. Also thankful we banned picky eating when the first one was little because if I was trying to cater to picky eaters, I'm sure the grocery budget would be out of control. My attempts to make what we have in the house stretch as far as possible these past few weeks has shown me that the kids will not only eat but also enjoy several things I never expected them to enjoy. They love bean soup. And coleslaw. Venison was also a hit. Makes me realize how much harder folks make it on themselves when they tolerate picky eating. No, I'm not talking about a kid with allergies or known sensory issues. I'm talking that spoiled brat sitting at the table across the room from you at the restaurant who is throwing a fit over his chicken nuggets because they don't look right or something equally stupid. I just don't understand the concept myself but then again I've been accused of being too hard on my kids so maybe this is one of those things that I just will never understand.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Adventures in Babywearing

We are huge fans of babywearing around here. I think the one baby gadget that I cannot be without is a decent baby carrier. And when I say decent I do not mean a snugli or bjorn or any of the other torture devices frequently sold in mainstream stores. We use slings, wraps, mei tai's, an ergo and Alan has a framed backpack he likes. The kids have one for their dolls and the bigger boys carry the younger kids in the carriers when we need extra help. In all my years of babywearing, I have never had the unique experience I had today. Today I learned that back carries combined with a fleece soaker can lead to compression leaks. In other words, Gabe peed right down my back. Luckily I suppose we were at the local stuffmart at the time so I was able to buy new clothes for both of us so we could continue our shopping. I'm seriously hoping this is an experience I do not get to enjoy again. And on a side note, if you are still using a snugli or bjorn or some similar baby carrier, please consider buying a better quality one. Trust me when I say that your back will thank you.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gabe

Gabe thinks he is a big kid. He loves to sit on the big bench in the dining room.
He loves to climb into the rocking chair and rock as fast as he can. One of these days, we'll have to break the news to him that he still has a bit of growing left to do. But for now, he's having way too much fun to spoil it for him.

Have you ever experienced grocery shopping with 7 kids in tow? It is an experience to be cherished. Ok, maybe I am a bit out of it. Two carts are a must so you can contain as many small folks as possible. Just make sure that the driver of the second cart is not over eager or you just may loose the back of your ankles. Then there are the folks who seem to think they have to drill your children on why they are not in school today. I mean, you can't just take your kids out in public during school hours or you must be hiding something. Everyone knows that when you want to hide your children because they are skipping school you head right to the grocery store. But there are some small benefits of taking so many kids with you shopping. When the store sets a limit on the amount of an item you can buy, you have a few more customers with you who can also buy the full amount of said item on sale. And then we must stand and watch the train in the store for a few minutes. I do believe this was the first time Gabe really noticed it. He was absolutely enthralled. Just remember the next time you see a caravan of kids in the store, you don't really have to comment. Yes, we've heard them all before and you aren't too original. Trust me. If you must comment, make it positive because believe me even when all the kids are pretty much behaving, by the time shopping is over Mom just needs a break.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sick Kids

I'm starting to think I am never going to get in to see the midwife. The negative to seeing this particular midwife practice is that their office is open pretty much one day a week. Last week we had the car issue. This week, well, 2 sick kids. Then again I always say I hate having to go into the office for no real reason. We check my BP at home, I can check the fundal height myself, I can weigh myself. And this midwife does not believe she needs to go over all the routine warnings and such they give you each and every pregnancy. She tends to believe that after this many kids, I already know what I'm doing which is nice. We aren't planning on doing any of the testing or ultrasounds and the blood work is already done. So I guess it's not really a big deal but it does seem a bit odd.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dead Deer

Our neighbor brought over some venison roast for us to try last night. So that was dinner tonight. Alan comes home from work and Liam excitedly announces to him that we are having dead deer for dinner. A few minutes later Liam and Katie are being loud and obnoxious and running everywhere so they are sent to the corner. They continue to be obnoxious from the corner. So Alan comes over and tells them that if they don't quiet down and stay still they will be sent to bed and not be allowed to have any dead deer for dinner. Amazingly enough this threat is enough to get them to stand up and be quiet. On the positive side, everyone liked the venison. Even Gabe asked for more, signing more, more very excitedly over the meat. Hopefully we will be able to find another source of venison in the future.

Pictures from Today

Views from a typical school day around here. Maybe not totally typical as we have one sick kid crashed on the couch.
Really, aside from the laundry baskets that are supposed to be hiding under the bench, the house is actually clean today. For some reason the kids decided to pull them out.
Katie and Liam are back to working nicely together. They are terribly competitive and on a normal day, you hear them talking about how they are going to do better than the other one. I don't know, maybe that will spur them on a bit. Or it will drive me insane.

I have to say I kind of like seeing glimpses into the lives of other homeschooling families. I know there are folks who picture homeschooled kids as simply huddled behind desks and sitting with books for hours at a time. Needless to say, that rarely happens. But we like it that way. And, no, I don't care at all where a child in the same grade level at the public school down the street is with their work or what my child would or should be doing if they were in school. Every school works differently and we have our own schedule. Guess that is the beauty of keeping them home. They are never behind, never ahead, never stuck bored out of their minds because the rest of the class doesn't get it yet, never stuck baffled and confused because the rest of the class moved on without them. If I could have back all the hours I spent in school bored out of my mind, I do believe I would have several years of childhood back to spend actually having fun. Or maybe I would have had time to learn about something that was actually interesting or of use to me later in life.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New View

A few months ago we rearranged the house a bit so that I could make room for all the kids' school supplies in one location. This has helped a ton in keeping track of everything. But when we rearranged, we took all the pictures off the walls. Last night we finally got around to starting to put the pictures back up. Alan also decided to move the other half of the pew that we used in the dining room into the living room for extra seating because we simply did not have enough seats for everyone in there. Gabe loves it because it is at just the right height for him to get up and down all by himself.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Barn Has Doors!

What's in Your Pantry?

We've started keeping a one-year-old in our pantry. The only problem with this arrangement is that he and his two-year-old sister seem to think the flour is there for them to play in.

Saturday Again

Here is Abby dressed up as the Blessed Mother. She looks very sweet. Reason number 100 that I love playsilks. The kids can do so much with them.

I really should be cleaning the house but I am sorely lacking in motivation at the moment. My entire body aches for some reason. The kids are supposed to be outside searching for missing eggs. They've only been finding maybe 3 a day and that just is not enough. I'm sure we have more than 3 birds laying on a regular basis and 3 eggs a day is no where near enough for our family. Alan is trying to fix the lawn tractor again so he can get it moving and put into the barn for the winter. A belt came off and he has had a heck of a time trying to get it back on. We roasted marshmallows last night to make the kids feel better about having to cancel the party today. Nothing like a house full of folks who smell like a campfire. Hunting season is gearing up (rifle season starts today, hope I have the terms right) which means the kids will be spending much less time outside for the next few weeks. We can often hear the hunters in our backyard since they are just on the other side of the creek so I tend to be a bit paranoid about letting the kids run in the trees this time of year. It's only a few weeks and then things will be back to normal. Of course, we still need to make friends with a hunter or two so we can get some cheap meat. Ah, I can dream. On a positive note, we finally have Alan's car back from the shop. Only took them 2 weeks and way too much complaining about how hard the job was to get it fixed.

Mr. Gabe is calling me to change his stinky diaper so I guess I'd better go take care of him and the next load of laundry. He is very upset that he is not allowed outside right now to play with the big kids. His life is so rough.

Friday, November 7, 2008

One Sick Kid

The day started with one sick kid. Who seemed to get worse as the morning progressed. Which resulted in canceling the All Saints Day Party scheduled for tomorrow. We will be eating hot dogs and chips for a while. Ok, not that long since I'd only bought 60 so far and that is only about 4 meals for us. Yes, my kids can eat. So one child has been under quarantine in his bedroom today. 5 others have been playing outside all day. One lone little boy has been hanging out inside keeping me company while throwing a fit every so often because he can't go outside and play with the big kids. It must be hard being one.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Small Request

I've noticed recently that folks have been sharing the blog address with others. If you do so, please let me know so that I am aware of who is reading this. I need to be aware of who is seeing the information about the kids. If you are reading this and the blog address was given to you by anyone other than myself or Alan, please leave me a comment to let me know who you are and that you are there. I'm hoping to avoid having to password protect the blog. I realize I can't necessarily see everyone who is out there reading but if you would help out and make me feel a bit better, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

More Laundry

We're experiencing a wonderful warm spell this week and I am taking advantage of it to use the clothesline for a few more days. I'm also kicking the kids outside and telling them to go play. They insist I am being mean. They have no clue.
Yes, the poor clothesline is in sad, sad shape. The dog likes to attack it and jump up and break the lines. The kids seem to think it's something to swing from. I'm lucky the clothes are just a few inches off the ground and not dragging in the dirt. We are hoping to fix it again next spring. But a recent goal of ours is to use the dryer as little as possible. The dryer runs on propane and propane is expensive. So we have 2 drying racks set up in the house, clothes hanging on hangers on the gate around the pellet stove, dresses and dress shirts and pants on hangers in the laundry room, and diaper covers hung over the top rail on the bunk bed in Gabe's room. Yup, getting a little creative here. We plan to buy a third drying rack and a few more hangers (seems the kids break a couple every week so we have gone from way too many to not quite enough for everyone) and hopefully we will only have to run the dryer once for every 3 or 4 loads of laundry that we wash. I won't see an immediate change in the propane bill this way since it's on a level bill plan but hopefully the next time they adjust the bill, it will go down rather than up.

Gabe in the Laundry

Ok, I admit it. There are often several baskets of clean laundry in the living room. I am very good about keeping the laundry clean. But around here we tend to have problems with the folding and putting away issue. So Gabe has decided that a wonderful place to play is right on top of a basket of clean laundry. He climbs right in and makes himself at home. Last night night he decided that Dad's socks made perfect scarves. Very cute kid.

Very Sad Today

My heart is very heavy today. We've elected the man to office that our enemies wanted in office. We've elected a man who believes in partial birth abortion at all stages of pregnancy. Yup, crushing a baby's skull and sucking their brain out. A man who believes if a child miraculously survives an abortion, they should be left on the side to die. How these views are not called what they truly are, I don't know. Murder is murder folks. We've elected a man who does not respect parental rights. Who wants to ratify the UN treaty on children's rights. A treaty which will strip all parents of the right to educate their children as they see fit. You will loose your right to raise your child in your own faith. To provide the education you feel is best. To discipline your child. I fear for our country over the next 4 years. We've turned our backs on our morals and values and our God. Perhaps Alan is right and it is time to move. Or perhaps my other friend has it right and it is time to stock up on weapons to defend your family. Pray folks. Pray hard.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fall in the Yard

A few pictures of the yard. I really should have taken them a couple weeks ago because things were very beautiful then but they still look rather pretty.I had a few other shots that I thought were a bit better but they were taken sideways and I can't figure out how to turn them around with this program. So if I get more, I'll add them but here's what we have for now.
All photo credits go to Bryan. He seems to be my go-to person when I want pictures of things in the yard and he is more than willing to put up with my requests for a chance to play with the camera.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Meal Plan Challenge

Alright, something for you to try. After finishing up lesson plans for all 5 kids last night (yes, I actually did them ahead of time this week), I sat down to make a few more meal plans. We are currently on week 5 of the previously mentioned meal plans and doing very well as far as sticking with them goes. I was able to make 4 more weeks of meal plans using mostly what we have in the house. I think I can get at least 2 more weeks out of what is in the house but I was starting to get a bit uninspired. So how far out can you plan dinners using what is in your freezer and pantry? Let's be fair, you have to buy more milk, produce, things of that nature. But otherwise, how far out can you go with what is in your freezer? If you really sit down and figure out how much food you have in the house, it can sometimes be amazing how far you can go without buying more stuff. Makes me question how much we waste just because it goes bad before it can be used because there is too much stuff in the kitchen. Granted, around here we have gotten much better about freezing things before they go bad and using up leftovers before they have a chance to meet the garbage pile. And scraps can go to the chickens. And there is the container kept in the freezer for the extra veggies left after meals to be turned into soup when it gets full. You know, that half serving or few extra pieces left in the bowl at the end of the meal. Put them all in a container in the freezer. When it gets full, it's time to make soup. If you also save the bones from your chickens and use them to make chicken broth and keep that in the freezer, you can end up with an almost free meal. Just have to think outside the box a bit. Or go back to the way folks used to do things in generations past. I think we've become way too lazy in recent times, personally.

Signs of Fall

It's official. It's getting cool around here. I have to run the pellet stove to have a place to set the bread dough so it will rise. The kitchen is getting nice and freezing cold again. It does warm up a bit if the oven runs for a while but otherwise, the kitchen stays rather cold. And since I use the crock pot whenever possible since it is cheaper than using the propane for the oven, well, cold is normal. Not exactly sure why to be honest but the pantry we have in the kitchen keeps things nice and frozen in the winter. I imagine it has something to do with being located on the wall the garage is on since the garage was added on after the house was built. All 3 rooms along that wall get rather cold in the winter. We have a fireplace in our bedroom so that one is not a big deal but the kitchen and dining room stay cold. And the kids come in from playing outside and go huddle in front of the pellet stove because it is the warmest place in the house. Yes, I'll send the older boys out with the camera later to catch a few pictures of the trees. Some of them are rather pretty.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Katie Again

There must be something going on with Katie lately. Yesterday she says Dad is in jail. Today she asks me how many kids I have. I said you know darn well how many kids I have. She says "Oh, right. 14." Happily writes that answer down in her notebook and wanders off. I wonder if the child is trying to tell me something.

Saturday Ramblings

So what do you do on a weekend with no car and no adult interaction? It's only been 5 days since I've had the van and am going a wee bit stir crazy. I'd love to get out of the house for something, anything. But that won't happen until at least Tuesday. Yup, my life is so rough. (insert slight sarcasm here)

The children are finding all sorts of new ways to get into trouble in the back yard. Apparently if Mom and Dad are not looking, you can build a bridge over the creek with the little ones. Or dig a big gigantic hole in the middle of the yard. Ok, I can live with a hole if they'd asked first but they never do that. And the creek is an ok place to play if an adult knows where you are. Again, why bother asking when you can get in trouble later. I guess that option must be more fun. Perhaps the children are going a bit stir crazy as well. Or maybe they realize that these last few weeks of warmer weather should be enjoyed to their fullest. As long as they avoid swimming in mud puddles again, I'll be happy.

The picture above is Gabe trying to figure out how to play the train whistle. Lucky me, one more kid who is learning how to make obscene amounts of noise inside the house.

I suppose I should plan to use my weekend in some sort of productive fashion. You know, like sitting down with the lesson plans, writing out the quarterly reports, maybe planning the All Saints Day party we are supposed to be hosting on Friday. Or I could do the unthinkable and actually fold the 10 loads of laundry sitting around in various laundry baskets. But if I did that, what would I have left to assign to a surly child who can't seem to manage to quit running their mouth. Hm, that is something to consider.

I imagine that is more than enough random ramblings for one morning. I suppose it is time to get up and go deal with that diaper waiting for me. I so can't wait for Abby to actually potty train. Yup, dreaming here again but if you must dream, why not dream big.