Friday, September 28, 2012

I'm Okay With That

If any of my children were meant to go to conventional school, it would be the JayP. I've known it since day one. The boy has always been a very social creature and having been sandwiched in between a gaggle of sisters made homeschooling him that much more challenging. He's also been one that has needed not only an environment in which he feels he's competing for something, but also the benefit of outside adult influence and encouragement.

He's been at Saint Joe's for several months and the boy has truly flourished. Amazingly, he's stayed on top of his academics and has accepted the responsibilities of doing make up work and has even argued for the occasional better grade he deserved/earned. I've been pleasantly surprised by his ability to adapt so quickly to such a new environment and I must admit he has learned some much needed life skills along the way; skills he may not have gained at home.

Not only has he figured the "school" thing out, he's enjoyed the opportunity of playing school sports. He played some basketball last year, and has been playing baseball this fall. For a kid who had never played a team sport, he's done rather well, especially at baseball. He's a great contact hitter and we were able to see him hit a home run in his last game.

All in all, he's pretty pleased with being in school. I'm no fool. Not every kid is a good fit for homeschooling. I'm okay with that.
Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, September 27, 2012


It was a number I haven't seen in years.  I cheered in excitement.  After 21 years of marriage and 9 pregnancies the pounds have slowly been melting away--very slowly. Having grown up surrounded by yo-yo dieters and with family histories of eating disorders,  I refuse to "diet" but I do use a program that tracks the calories I eat every day and I try very hard to stay within my 1900 calorie limit every day.  I'm running and walking several times a week, but I'm not killing myself over it.  Obviously I'm in no hurry.  Slow and steady wins the race.

Since picking up running again, I've finally dropped down to my pre-Lil' Lamb weight, but this morning I saw a number on the scale I haven't seen since before Oleander, our third baby.  I was so excited I wanted to see that number again so I stepped back onto the scale and in just seconds I gained 3 pounds.  WTHeck!  The scale had to be off.  I moved it and stepped up again.  The 3 culprit pounds were still there.  The scale was moved once more, and yes, it was still giving me the heavier weight.  Grrrr!  Whatev!

It's ok.  My clothes are definitely looser.  Having completed the Couch to 5K program, I'm now working on the 5K to 10K version.  The weight will eventually come off.

I'm still ticked off at the ding-dang scale. Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


My sister texted yesterday.  She had to head up to my Grandma's house with my Dad and help him begin clearing it out.  The government has raised the taxes from $5 to $1500 a quarter and the state is taking the house to help pay for Grandma's medical expenses.  I understand, I really do.  Her medical expenses are real and mounting, I'm sure.

I'm also sure the government has no clue what that house means to my grandmother and her family.  It is permeated with memory, vivid and dear to us all.  It makes me so sad.  This is the end of a huge part of my life growing up.  I feel so sorry for my Dad and sister having to pack away the House that Love Built.  I'm so sad I can't be there to help, nor can I be there to recapture those precious memories. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sneaking Veggies

My kids love fruit smoothies and homemade hummus, which are both nutritious as they are, but in an effort to get more veggies into our diets, I've been looking for ways to sneak them into their favorite fun foods. Ok, I haven't really been "sneaking" veggies into the kid's food. They are usually standing right there with their little noses upturned, but in the end they were surprised it all tasted so yummy.

Zucchini Laced Fruit Smoothie

1 1/2 cup shredded zucchini with skin
10 ounce bag of frozen fruit (I've used strawberries and raspberries and I think any fruit will actually work just as well)
1 cup vanilla yogurt (If you use plain yogurt you will need to sweeten your smoothie a touch with honey or agave)
1-2 cups unsweetened 100 % fruit juice (if you use fresh fruit you can probably skip the juice altogether)

Blend until smooth. Makes 2 good sized smoothies.

Avocado-Chipotle Hummus

2 cans chickpeas (drain one of the cans but keep the liquid from the other)
1 1/2 avocados
2 cloves garlic
Juice from one lime
1/2 chipotle pepper packed in adobo sauce
2 Tbsp Tahini or 2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil (use 1/4 cup and add more until hummus is the consistency you like)

Process or blend until smooth. Serve with veggie chips, crackers, raw veggies, or multigrain tortilla chips.

Nutritional benefits of zucchini-zero fat or cholesterol; good source of fiber in the skin, high in potassium,manganese, and folate; good source of vitamins C, K, B6, and riboflavin.

Nutritional benefits of avocado-good source of monounsaturated fats, potassium, lutein, and folate. A wonderful heart-smart food. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, September 20, 2012

{P, H,F,R} The Hike

round button chicken


Last Friday we took the homeschoolers hiking up Mount Ogden.  It was a beautiful day for a hike.

It was about an hour and a half climb that I would characterize as being mildly difficult.  The reward was the awesome waterfall at the end of the trail.


This kind of stuff is right up Special K's alley.  She had a blast and was the first to the top and the first to see the waterfall.


Wingnut Jr. thoroughly enjoyed himself.   He insisted on carrying my water pack on his back and had a stick in each hand.  The sticks made some of the climb and descent a bit precarious, but he would not discard them.  Boys and their sticks.

I loved this capture of Lil' Lamb reaching from the pack.  He managed to grab a few leaves and branches from his perch.


I really do need to teach someone else how to use my camera if I ever want to have a half way decent photo of myself taken with it.  LOL!

Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kids are Amazing

For the first time in our homeschooling career we are undertaking somewhat formal physical ed.  Up to this point, our children were always involved in some kind of sport or physical activity that we paid for, be it swim lessons, tennis, karate, gymnastics, ballet, etc.  The biggest drawback in living out in the country is that we have to drive a half an hour to get to most places that would have extracurricular activities we could count as PE.  No biggie.  We have a nice park with a basketball court, volleyball net, and a 1/4 mile track.  The weather is lovely this time of year, perfect for PE.

Skoshi A and Special K are joining me on the Little Flowers Virtual Fun Run hosted by my buddy Katie in October and so they are training to run a 5K.  I'm bribing them a little to motivate them.  Apparently, Wingnut Jr. likes the bribing idea and he's got something in mind.  Funny,  when I suggested running a 1/2 mile to him several months ago he fussed and whined and I really began to believe 1/2 a mile was too far.  Boy was I ever wrong.   Yesterday, at the mere suggestion of a prize, the boy ran an entire mile without stopping or whining, and he still looked fresh.  I think he really could have gone quite a bit further.  I'm beginning to believe kids are truly natural athletes and all it takes is a little motivation to prove it.  Unfortunately, we live in a very sedentary culture and it is so easy to lose any natural fitness we possess.

Lil' Lamb could not be left out.  After playing on the playground for a spell, he noticed his siblings making their way around the track.  He began to run after them, pumping his little left arm.  Poor little man tripped and face planted after only 1/2 a lap, but oh what an 1/8 of a mile that was!

Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, September 17, 2012

Update on the Skosh

Our family doctor called with Skoshi A's blood work results.  Go figure, she did indeed test positive for Lyme's disease.  This really was the best case scenario, as ominous as it sounds, Lyme's is treatable if caught in the early stages.  Unfortunately, she tested positive for latter stage Lyme's.  The disease is still treatable with a course of antibiotics, but she may have lingering long term symptoms.  I had no idea Lyme's was such a sneaker!

We are so thankful for a responsive doctor!  He did not hesitate to do this particular test for us, even though his first inclination was toward JRA (Junior Rheumatoid Arthritis).  I asked if he thought we should all be tested and he deferred to my "mother's instinct".  As none of the rest of us have any complaints to think of, I don't think testing is warranted at this time.

I'm taking two important things from this experience.  I will always trust my own instincts when it comes to my kids and any weird unexplainable health problems will lead to an immediate Lyme's test!

So, it's one month of antibiotics for Skosh and we'll just continue to pray her symptoms do not persist beyond this initial course of treatment.  Pax! Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Dose of Cute 6 Year Old Boy

Wingnut Jr. has always been the unending source of amusement in this family.

On Tuesday he asked,  "If I work diligently on my work this morning, can I do half math?"

After congratulating him on his proper use of the word diligently I answered his query in the negative.

"Oh, darn it."

While reading aloud to me on Wednesday, the lil' guy slyly began inserting funny voices into the narration.

"No silly, voices," I commanded.

"Oh, darn it."

On a trip into town, Wingnut Jr. was reminiscing about the fun he had on the neighbors' miniature snowmobile.  He kept calling it a "snow-more-bile".

Correcting him, I said, "It's a snowMOBILE."

"That's what I said," he reassured me.

Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, September 13, 2012

{P, H, F, R} Summer's End

round button chicken


These are probably the last of the summer wild flowers.  These wild sunflowers are blooming all over Utah right now.  I love their bright sunny faces.


Happy boys playing a little football.

Wingnut can get a little rough.  The boys love that.

Lil' Lamb taking a break from the action.


Wingnut has gotten me hooked on the History Channel's Counting Cars.  I've never been a car girl, but now everywhere I go I see possibilities.  I love this old Ford truck.

Cars make excellent subjects for photography, especially cars with character.


He may look like an angel with a dirty face, but he's not.

Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Can Still Feel Pretty Inept

I needed to run into town and mail a quick package to Karate Kid.  I took my two little boys along and promised we'd stop for a treat at the local coffee/smoothie cafe.  We ordered their smoothies and the boys sat at one of the tables together and began to play with the complimentery checkers board.  Lil' Lamb was in a mood and so I was hoping those smoothies would arrive before the checkers ended up on the floor or in his mouth.  Mercifully, they were quickly made and so I left Wingnut Jr. in charge of his little brother, although they weren't much more than 4 feet away from me as I paid.

I had my back turned to them for mere seconds before the ruckus began.  I quickly paid, but was called back by the cashier to fill out a ticket for their weekly prize drawing.  As I frantically filled out the ticket, the ruckus became a melee. Lil' Lamb began to scream and Wingnut Jr. wailed in frustration.  Let me tell you, Lil' Lamb can scream and he can scream loudly and he can scream at a very, very high pitch.  It makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.

As he screamed, the only other customer in the cafe threw up her arms and began yelling, "Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! What is that!"

 I was stunned.  I quickly turned to the boys and got them to calm down.  Apparently, Lil' Lamb had wanted to get down off his chair and Wingnut Jr. didn't think he should and was trying as hard as he could to keep his little brother in his seat.  Thus the screaming.  Perfectly reasonable, no?  Without hesitation I grabbed the smoothies and my boys and headed for the door.  As we scrambled for the exit, the offended woman began to apologize profusely.  She really does love children and used to work with them, but his screaming was so high pitched.  For some reason, her apology made it all that much more mortifying.  Silly, I know.

We hightailed it out of the cafe and drank our smoothies in the van with our tails tucked behind us.  After all these years and seven children, I can still feel pretty inept as a mom at times.  New moms, it happens to all of us, even us veterans!  Take courage and keep your chins up. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, September 10, 2012

At Least You Could Stand for Something

If you haven't seen this video from last week's DNC. It's one you have to see to believe.

After the furor  over not including God and Jerusalem in the party platform, the rules were suspended by a floor vote and then the delegates were given the opportunity to vote on whether to reinstate God and Jerusalem into the platform.  Three times the mayor of LA asked the delegates to voice "aye" in favor of the amendment or "nay"to vote against.  It takes a 2/3 majority to ratify an amendment to the platform.  It is inherently clear from the video the 2/3 majority was not reached.  In fact, it seemed more delegates voted "nay".  It is also clear from the footage this outcome was not expected and so instead of actually accepting the vote against the amendment, the powers that be added the amendment anyway to the sound of booing from the floor.

Why, oh why, did the DNC care in the first place?  I don't believe the omissions were "accidental" in the least.  I also don't think many dyed in the wool dems give one whit if God and Jerusalem are part of the party platform.  Having removed any mention of either could hardly have hurt the President's chance of re-election, in my opinion.  So why did they make a big deal out of it in the first place?  Just stand up for your platform.  If you don't believe in God and you don't believe Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel, say so and stick by your guns.  For goodness sake, stand for something, even if it is wrong.  This just makes you look idiotic.

There ends my rant for the day. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, September 7, 2012

Another Mysterious Ailment

Since September of last year, Skoshi A has suffered from migratory joint pain and swelling. It has affected several joints but never more than one at a time. Other than the discomfort from the pain and swelling it hasn't bothered our steadfast girl too much and she just shrugs and chugs along.

As the discomfort would last only a couple days and then disappear as mysteriously as it had come, and as Skosh had grown several inches in just a short period of time, I chalked up this mysterious ailment to her all too quickly growing body rebelling against her. Between March and this September, she hadn't had a single episode, so we thought she was in the clear. On Friday last week her hip was swollen, hot to the touch, and painful. By Saturday the pain and swelling had travelled to her knee. Her knee swelled to twice its normal size and I knew this was something that really bore a more professional investigation.

Our family doctor took her history and gave her a quick, but thorough examination. It is as I feared, likely an auto-immune disorder and possibly JRA(juvenile rheumatoid arthritis). He ordered a blood panel to screen for several diseases and on my suggestion he also ordered a Lyme's disease test. He agreed her symptoms could also be explained by Lyme's and the timing does seem to fit.

And so we wait for the results. Hopefully we could have some answers next week. If not, there may be further testing required to get to the bottom of this medical puzzle. Say a prayer for our sweetie. She's such a little trooper and so far this hasn't affected her sunny outlook on life.

Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, September 6, 2012

{P, H, F, R} September 6

round button chicken

We had a blue moon last week, in case you missed it.  You know what?  A blue moon is not blue at all.  It's the same ol' color.  What is meant by a blue moon is that because of the lunar cycle, we occasionally have a full moon twice in the same month.  Still it was a very pretty evening here in Utah.

After a fairly long dry spell, we were blessed with some much needed rain. . . and then some hail that damaged a good portion of the garden. . . and then a rainbow.


The boys have discovered the happiness of digging in the pile of rocks and dirt with all their trucks.


Lil' Lamb doesn't need toys to keep himself entertained on the rock pile.  He can have hours of fun throwing the rocks into the lawn.


Though I wasn't able to plant the garden of my dreams this spring, our neighbors have been incredibly generous with their bounty.  We've received lettuce, kale, zucchini, and yellow squash.  I love, love, love grilled yellow squash!

Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lil' Lamb 19 Months

This is often the only time the lil' guy is still enough to photograph.  He is one busy boy.  Busy and loud, loud, loud.  Is it no wonder I cannot wait for nap time around here!  He's a beauty when he's asleep. ❤

Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Day of School 2012

Today we begin a new school year.  I've been doing this for 14 years now and still look forward to the first day of school.  I also look forward to the last day of school, but we won't go there today.

So far it has been a good beginning.  Lil' Lamb slept in making it possible for me to get up and whip up a batch of big fluffy lemon poppyseed muffins.  They're in the oven as I type.  Skoshi A is sitting at the table working on Algebra.  Wingnut Jr. is tidying his room and getting dressed.  Special K is playing trains with the baby in the family room.  Lessons begin officially at 8:30.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us as we begin a new year and may God Bless our homeschooling endeavors! Print Friendly and PDF