Saturday, April 28, 2007

I Did Great!!

We had such a great day yesterday!! So many reasons why it was a successful trip.

First, I got there with no incident AND found parking!! We got there an hour early and had time to walk around and enjoy the city. The kids loved it and so did I! It really is great!

Second, when we got into the museum I met up with my group and they were all the women I already knew from a previous get together. Wonderful women and sweet kids!

Third, the Docket lady who organized our tour was quite prejudice against home schoolers and was not kind. But Suzanne, the lady who organized it, handled it so well and with such grace.

Fourth, the mean lady turned out to be my groups leader and was very unkind to Josh not letting him join in on the drawing and such. The other mom I was with was upset and tried to get me to get her to include him. But I held my tongue and soon she threw him a piece of scratch paper and pencil. He began drawing what the other kids were drawing and really just as well. She noticed him and asked how old he was and said he was very talented and she couldn't believe how well he did. After that she gave him the same materials as everyone else. So because I held my tongue everything worked out!

Fifth, the kids, all the kids, were so incredibly well behaved I was blown away!! They were great!!

Sixth, I loved loved loved the museum. Getting to see all the art from the men and women I had studied so much in college was like being in the presence of greatness. I was over whelmed and like a child in a candy shop. The kids totally fed off of that and got excited with me. It was awesome.

Seventh, the sweet lady who organized the trip has two awesome daughter of babysitting age so I have now found two new babysitters!

Eight, I got home with no problem.

It was a great day!!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Chicago Art Institute

So excited!! Tomorrow the kids and I are going on a field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago!! It was organized by the Plainfield home school group and the lady who arranged it is getting us in for free with a guided tour!! Can't wait.

Okay the problem is, and I am ashamed to admit this, but I have never driven to Chicago by myself. And I am a little intimidated. So we are going to leave very early and just hang out down town if we get there too early.

So with Faith as my co-pilot we will be making our way through the city tomorrow.

Wish us luck!!


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bird Nest part 2

This is what I came down to this morning. They all had their bird watching binoculars and they were camped out at the window waiting to see if the mommy was going to return to the nest.

We learned yesterday that where most birds lay their eggs early in the morning robins eat worms in the morning and return to the nest late morning to lay.

Faith wrote about our nest here. The whole house it pretty bird crazy right now and I am having a hard time getting them focused on their math, reading, and spelling this morning.

Any suggestions?


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lewis and Clark 2007

For the last couple of weeks we have been studying Lewis and Clark, Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, and the historical stuff that surrounds them. We found a book at the library called Lewis and Clark on the Trail of Discovery- A Museum in a Book by Rod Gragg. Awesome book!! We have been reading it together and Faith, in her reading time, has been reading My Travels with Capts. Lewis and Clark by George Shannon a novel by Kate McMullan. She loved this book and learned so much about the expedition. I too have learned so much about Lewis and Clark and The Lousiana Purchase. So interesting.

One of the suggestions for the unit is to go on an expedition. So we packed up our nature journals and bags to collect samples just like Lewis and Clark and headed down to the nearest forest preserve. Seth was dissappointed that we drove there, since Lewis and Clark didn't have a car. But when he remembered they did have a boat and they got horses from the Native Americans to cross the Rockies, he was okay with it. So we drove a couple of miles up the road stopped at a forest preserve, that I have driven by a hundred times but never visited, and started our expedition.

It went awesome!! The kids did great drawing and describing what they saw, and collecting samples. Not sure if that is legal in a forest preserve but they only took small leaves not whole plants :)

But the best part was when Mike decided that we should not walk on the asphalt path back to the car but take the "short" way through the forest. I was a little hesitant since I had worn sandals to our hike. But I am so glad we did. It was gorgeous!! And when we were half way back Josh looked up at me and said,"Mommy thank you for taking me to this place, I love it! We get to see stuff and collect stuff and draw stuff...."

The two hours of walking created some sore feet but it was totally worth it. Next time I will wear tennis shoes.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Bird Nest Barbeque

We have been noticing over the last few weeks that every time we have tried to use the grill that there have been little sticks and twigs in our grill. I assumed that the kids were playing in it and told them to stop!

Well, as I was cleaning out the backyard beds this weekend I noticed a lot of stick stuff coming out of the grill and when I opened it this is what I found.

The thing that amazes me is that we had grilled just four days earlier. This little bird did all this work in just four days!

The bird who built this filled up the ENTIRE grill with material then built a gorgeous mansion of a nest on top of the grill part.

I can't bring myself to destroy it.

So, the bottom of the grill is near rusted out and we really need a new one anyways.

For now the old one will be a safe place for a new bird parent to keep their babies.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Little Night Owl Shopping

For my birthday mom and dad and Mike's grandma sent me money. At first I thought I really should spend this on new curriculum for school. Or on the vegetable garden I want to put in the back yard. But as I thought about it, and at the urgings of my husband who also gave me shopping money (but he knows me too well and he gave me a gift card to Kohl's so I would have no choice but to spend it on myself!!) I decided to hit the Night owl sale at Kohl's last night.

So after a long day at a conference in Indiana, Mike got back to town and him and Todd watched the seven kids while Paula and I hit the sale.

And oh what a sale it was. Yes, I enjoy shopping but more than just shopping I LOVE a great deal. And I only spent $0.78 over my birthday money! We closed the store, getting home just after 11.

Great friend. Great sale. Great husbands. Great day!!!


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Kindness Society

Sometimes as a parent I feel like I am talking to a wall. I feel like I say the same things over and over but they don't seem to be getting through. The same lessons again and again. Then all of a sudden there is a glimmer of hope. That is what I received this morning.

Seth was very excited to get the mail this morning. Okay, he is always very excited to get the mail but he seemed more so this morning. So finally it was after lunch I unleashed him to run out to the mailbox. He handed me the mail and in the middle of all the advertisements and junk there was a home made envelope addressed to Kylee Jones. It was from the Kindness Society. I recognized the handwriting as Faith's but still didn't know what was going on. So Kylee opened up the envelope and out fell a coupon for a free frosty from Wendy's with this letter attached:

Kylee H. Jones has won a free frosty to Wendy's. She has won this because she is the kindest person of the month. Every month we pick a person we think is the kindest, and she/he gets a reward. This program is for children only. We try to make them want to be kind. The prize will not always be a free frosty. It sometimes is only a "good job" letter. But our goal is for the children to be kind all the time, they must want to be kind, do it naturally. Kylee, we hope you enjoy the frosty.

The Kindness Society

The great thing about this was not only did Faith reward someone for being kind but she was kind to her sister by giving her the letter and her brother by including him in the plan and to top it all off her and Seth worked together with out arguing!!!! I was blown away and I have to say my heart swelled a little.

Couldn't we all use a little more kindness?


Internet Dependent

How sad. If you had told me a few years ago that in the year 2007 my entire day would be practically shut down because my Internet was down, I would have laughed at you!!

Seriously, this is a problem.

Not only could I not receive or send email but some of our school work is actually web based. It made for a tough morning.

Last night it started to freeze up and this morning it was non-existent. We called Comcast and they sent a guy out this afternoon. He got it up and running but had to replace our outside cables....which means digging up the back yard....I am sure they are good at their job and will not destroy my yard.....right?

But really the Internet access is worth it.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Great Neighbors

If you happened to be walking by my house yesterday afternoon around 5:30 you probably heard this:

Jassssminnnne Belllllle!!!!! Come Here Jazzzzzy!!! Come on Girl!!!

She hasn't done it in a while but yesterday she escaped. We had a fence put in to prevent this from happening and it has worked quite well until yesterday.

The boys were outside with their friend from down the street and they were playing with these hover missiles. It was a great day for it with the high winds they were having a great time. They were throwing them up and the wind was taking them up over the house into the front yard.

The boys were very happy.

Jasmine was in the house since she really likes the hover missiles as well and would love to catch and kill one.

She was very unhappy.

Since they were having to go into the front yard I told them it was okay to leave the gate open. And all was going smoothly until Faith opened the door and let Jasmine out in the yard. It took Jaz about three seconds to be out the gate and gone.

And she was gone. I mean gone.

I told the kids not to chase her because she really likes that. But as we were standing outside looking to see if she came back up the street my neighbor came driving up and said she saw Jasmine and that she would drive down and get her. Cool! Okay so Maureen left and was gone for about 10 minutes when I see her car come back up the street. No Jasmine.

She said she saw her, she was down at the park near the club house (which is pretty far down the street) playing with some kids at the park....

Stupid dog.

She then said that our other neighbor had grabbed his kids bike and was chasing her down for me.

After about 10 more minutes we see my other neighbor and his wife driving up the street with Jasmine in the back of their car. They thought it was hilarious. I was not thinking it was so funny. But what did hit me was what great neighbors I have!!! I am blown away by their generosity and kindness.

So Jasmine is home and safe and the kids are happy.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mike insisted that I get a better domain name that is easier to find and give out. So I really don't know how it works or why but my new web address is

As far as I understand it you can still get here with either address, or but I don't know if they both work forever....I think they will. Or maybe it just makes it easier if I ever decide to leave blogger????? I don't know!!

So anyways you can reach the blog either way for now.


Saturday, April 14, 2007


Soooo, I asked Seth to clean the windows for me this morning. Really to occupy him and keep him out from underneath my feet. Who knew that it would turn into his life long ambition.

He really got into it and was taking it very seriously as you can see in this picture. When I walked in the room and he was balancing on the very narrow window ledge with his brother watching in awe.

He then told me that he had decided he was going to be a sky scraper window washer when he grows up!!

What mother doesn't long to hear those words from her son?


Friday, April 13, 2007

Mountains, Rivers, and Lakes Oh My!!

Amazing that I made it through 15+ years of schooling and never made one of these. But since we are talking about the Frontiersman and such the curriculum suggested you make a topographical map to help the students better understand the terrain. This is our first phase. Still lots more to be done and added but I think we got a pretty good start.

It was a great idea for everyone to get involved. They all helped fill in the map with clay and build up the major mountain ranges but Josh and Seth lost interest when we started labeling the major rivers. They started to form tiny Paul Bunion and Puss in Boots out of clay to add to the mountain ranges. No, I do not know how Paul and Puss are related.

Thank you to my sweet husband for drawing the outline for me. You rock!!!

Lots to do!!


Happy Birthday Mom!

I want to give a shout out to my mother-in- law because today is her birthday!! You can't see her super great in this picture but she is to the left of the guy with the hat. I have heard other people talk about how bad their mother-in-laws are but mine is awesome!!

Mom was at all the births of our children, except Joshi she was at the airport but didn't make it to the hospital before he was born. After Faith was born and when I was trying to assign names to everyone Esther said she didn't care what they called her she was just so happy to have a grand baby. That was when we decided that she looked so young she had to be called Granny. And it stuck.

When we still lived in the same state we loved to shop together and go to lunch at Houlihans for shrooms and soup. Yum!! And every Thursday night while Mike was at practice mom made dinner for the whole family. And I mean the whole family. All the brother's and their families, girlfriends, grandma, grandpa, everyone. It was awesome and I didn't have to cook!!!

Now they live in Kentucky and we live in Il so we don't get to see them as often, but everyone loves it when Granny and Papa come to visit!!!

Thanks mom for loving me and always making me feel like part of the family.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Jamaica- Last Year

I was just sitting in the kitchen looking out the window at the SNOW and thinking about this time last year when Mike and I were preparing to go on our cruise to Jamaica.....

Looking at the pictures does make me feel a bit warmer.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New Recipe

Mike loves stroganoff. But he likes what I call the cheater stroganoff. It is just hamburger with cream of mushroom soup and some sour cream. I have been making this for the last 12 1/2 years and trying to convince him to let me try the real deal. So I found a recipe and tried it out last night and here it is. I made it and it was Delicious!!

Mike loved it!! The kids loved it!!

The only thing I did different is omit the salt and I used fresh mushrooms that I sauteed.

I made this with it.




When Joshi came in this morning and said,"It's snowing!" I thought he must be kidding. Then when I looked outside and saw this.....I have four words.

It is April people!!!

Yesterday we had our windows cracked it was actually starting to warm up. I had no warning and I am feeling a little sad about this.

It's funny growing up in Arizona, you hear about things like this but you never think it will happen to you.....


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Back to Work

Today our week starts back up. Mike and I decided that yesterday should be a day off considering it was such a busy weekend and we didn't take any time off last week. So we took the day to rest, go to the library (where I think I am paying for their new wing), shop, and play.

But today we get back to business. Our music lessons got moved to today so I have that at 10:30. Their teachers rock!! I can't even tell you how great they are and how much we love them!! They are good friends of ours but they are also phenomenal music teachers. Some of the best musicians I have ever heard. Really. If you are looking for a teacher go here!!!

School wise we are finished with the eyeball. Faith did a research project on sight dogs last week and Kylee did one on Myopia. We will be touching briefly on the other senses now....Hey that was kind of punny. Then we move on to frontiersman and trappers. Which will be great because Kylee is reading the little house books. Speaking of Kylee reading she is doing great!!! She has always been my kid who doesn't enjoy reading. But she is doing much better and I am noticing her bring her book in the car with her and reading on her own now. I am very, very, very, happy about that!!!

Well, got to start on our day.

Oh and if you want to see some more pictures from Easter Mike has his rewind posted.


Monday, April 9, 2007

Our Easter

What a great day!! The service was awesome!

I loved it.

Then after, as everyone was leaving to go have lunch at their sister's house, I looked at my little family and got a little sad. We have no blood relatives here so our holidays consist of the six of us. And I have to say I usually make some effort to cook something special on Thanksgiving but Christmas and Easter usually don't get the big meal. And in my defense, I do cook just about every night for my family. I love to cook and do it often so I think that taking off the holiday is okay.

So after church we went to a restaurant and then came home. Mike and I both were so tired but the kids were missing their daddy and I didn't want to give in to us laying down and napping while the kids did whatever. So I remembered we have Netflix and they have a watch now option. The movies aren't recent but they have a few family movies. So we found The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, downloaded it on the computer, pulled out the futon in the school room and all 7 (Yes, it is the only piece of furniture Jaz is allowed on) of us crashed and watched the movie. Truth be told Mike and I snoozed a little but we were all together.

After the movie I got up and prepared our Easter dinner of left over pizza (thanks Paula) and deviled eggs.

Then we got ready for bed and all six (No, Jaz is not allowed on our bed) of us crashed in our bed and watched Amazing Race.

Then off to their own beds. I think it was a great Easter.

But we do miss our fam.


Sunday, April 8, 2007


What a great day!! All I can say is Wow!! I feel totally whooped. And if I feel this way you can imagine how the staff at the Orchard must feel!! They are awesome!! Here and here are links to the big egg drop with pics and a summary!!

Thanks Orchard staff and volunteers!!


Saturday, April 7, 2007

Two Books in Two Weeks!

If I could identify a plus side for me with Mike being preoccupied the last couple of weeks with the coming services it is that I can read to my hearts content in the evenings and not feel guilty. So I read two books and loved them both!!! Really life is too short to read a bad book, right Paula? So the first one was another Adriana Trigiani book called Queen of the Big Time. Excellent book. I can't say enough about this author. All of her books have just been really great reads. If you are looking to just enjoy a book these are perfect.

The next one I read was Eve's Daughter's by Lynn Austin. She is a christian author and I have to admit I have shied away from christian authors in the past. I have tried a few and just found their writing to be shallow with the characters and plot underdeveloped and predictable. This can be a bad thing for me because I have this problem, once I start a book I have to finish it. Mike can't understand why I don't just stop reading it. I just can't. There have been times when I have read an entire book hoping that the main character would just turn up dead so that the book could be over.

Okay so I got off the topic there. Eve's Daughter's was the story of four generations of women in one family and how their choices all effected the next generation. It was very well written and even had me on the verge of tears a couple of times. I highly recommend this book. I am looking forward to getting a couple more of her books and seeing if they are as good.

Happy reading!!


Friday, April 6, 2007

Easter is Almost Here!!!!

I think Jaz is feeling the effects of the busy week before Easter.

Are you?


Thursday, April 5, 2007

Easter Egg Drop?

My kids are freaking out!! They can not wait until Saturday. Our church is hosting it's first egg drop. A helicopter is going to drop 10,000 eggs into the field at the church and then the kids get to scramble for the eggs. They are so excited! Every morning when they get up I get the,"Only --- more days till the egg drop!!" report. It is going to be awesome.

Four services this weekend, two on Saturday and two on Sunday morning with the egg drop in between the two Saturday services.

We are all looking forward to it!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

28 degrees but feels like 15 degrees???

Okay here is my number one pet peeve.

You have to understand growing up in Arizona it may get to be 120 outside but they don't say stupid things like "It is 120 degrees but it feels like 140!!" No, when it is 120 degrees it feels like a 120 degrees. They say it like it is.

But here, in IL, it is like they are trying to make it sound better than what it is. Who cares if it is 28 degrees if it feels like it is 15 degrees!! Shouldn't you just go ahead and say it is 15 degrees out if that is what it feels like? Isn't that the whole point of temperature!!!????

All I want to know is what happened to spring?


Yummy Soup

I made the yummiest soup last night. It was so good so I thought I would post it here for other's to enjoy. Here it is. The only thing I did to alter it was I added hot pork sausage and I omitted the zucchini because I am the only one who likes it. But other than that I followed the recipe and it was awesome.

I also made a loaf of bread and here is the recipe. But I have to tell you the key to this bread is the flour. The best is the bread flour from Sams.

1 1/3 cup water (warm)
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups of bread flour
5 tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
2 ½ teaspoons yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine on dough setting or I use my kitchen aid and just mix for about five minutes. Then I cover it for an hour. After the machine is done punch down the dough and roll out in to a 9 x 15 rectangle. Roll up from the 15-inch side and tuck fold underneath the roll. Place on baking stone or sheet and cover with a towel. Place in pre heated and TURNED OFF 250 oven . Let rise about 20 minutes then take off the towel and turn oven on to 370. Let bake until brown about 15-20 minutes.



Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Blind Leading The Blind

As we continue our Attentiveness unit, the boys will be spending their afternoon blind. The first thing Seth did was go get a stick. He is doing pretty good making it around the house.

The first thing Joshi said was,"I can't see! I can't see!" And asked his brother to help him. Seth said, "here take my hand" as they went down the stairs together. How scary is that!!!!

Seth just asked me how he was going to have his video game time this afternoon....He was not very happy with my answer.

His next question was how was he going to go to the bathroom...maybe this wasn't such a great idea.


Thanks Kids!!!

Okay so maybe this is totally normal and every kid does this but I am blown away this morning.

On school days the girls are the ones who set their alarm. They set it for eight and sometimes we make it to eight and sometimes it is earlier. But this morning they set it for seven got up shut my door and started fixing me breakfast!! Faith made scrambled eggs, and fried up some ham and Kylee made cinnamon toast. I was so surprised. Then Faith cleaned up her mess!! (No the picture is not the breakfast she made it actually looked alot better than this one!!)

This was all for my birthday and I got some awesome home made cards as well as a home made doll from Faith. I didn't even know she was using the hot glue gun, yes that is a little scary.

I wish I could show you the cards. You can so see their personalities in all of them. Faith's was sweet, kind and expressive, Kylee's had some great cows drawn on it and a dollar inside, Seth's was loving with a picture of him and I on the front and a sucker taped inside with the words I love you next to it, and Joshi's, his had an envelope that he wrote some Joshi words on, so I couldn't read it but he read it to me, it was a riddle (the answer was Jasmine) and inside a card with a picture of we say using the facilities, and a picture of him and me and his doodle monster walking along. Yes he is my son. If anyone knows me they know I love a card that will make me laugh and this one did it!!

What a great birthday!!!


Monday, April 2, 2007

Our Story

I have to warn you before you begin reading, this is probably going to be long.

I was asked this weekend by a mom considering home schooling about my story. I realized I hadn't really thought much about our story in a while. As I told it I realized how much it had evolved in the past four years.

Mike and I made the decision to school our kids at home mostly because the school district we were in, in N.C. was a mess. Faith was doing so much home work at night in the first grade that a good friend of mine said I may as well pull her out and school her at home since that was basically what i was doing anyways.

I really thought at the time, "You have got to be kidding!! Me home school!! I am not equipped for this! I am not organized, I don't have the skills I need to do this not to mention the patience!" I said I would pray about it but really I had already made up my mind. As the weeks went on I finally thought I would just go ahead and ask the kids what they thought, thinking for sure that they would say no. But to my surprise as I asked them they said,"Yes! Yes! We want to home school!" That totally backfired. So I told God,"Okay I will do this but YOU are going to have to provide EVERYTHING cause I got NOTHING!!!"

So that is exactly what God did. He equipped me. I do not have the skills it takes to do what I am doing. Trust me!! And now even though we are living in the land of great schools I have the privilege of spending every day with my kids, shaping their character and teaching them to be leaders. Not sheltering them from the world. Teaching them how to be loving and kind and encouraging humans. So although our journey started out because of a poor school it has turned into a chance to influence and encourage our children. An opportunity to create disciples. I don't want to step on toes here or sound cliche but you didn't see Jesus sending the disciples to some other teacher, who may not have had the same values or teachings as He, no He spent time with them and encouraged them and taught them. And I know it isn't right for everyone. I can't make choices for other people's families, only my own. And I see lots of moms who can send their kids to school and not loose their influence and that is awesome. But it wasn't working for me. I realize looking back that it wasn't just the sad school that was the problem but also the teacher who didn't have the same values as our family. My little girl was spending a lot of time with this teacher and she was turning into a miniature form of her. It wasn't good.

Okay so much more to say but I am going to leave it here for now.