Thursday, April 28, 2011

I got an award!

I'm so excited! Aimee over at Girl Talk gave me an award today!
Go over and check out Aimee's blog. She writes about all sorts of fun stuff-how to have style on a budget, her awesome crafts (check out her "crafts I made" section), and (my favorite part) her two adorable boys! You'll be glad you did!

The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award are as follows:

Thank the person who gave you the award by linking back to them in your post.
Tell us seven things about yourself.
Award fifteen recently discovered new bloggers.

7 things about me:

*I turned 18, graduated from high school, married my high school sweetheart, and moved 3 hours from home all within 6 months of each other.

*I've never had a roommate other than my husband. I am an only child and I was married when I started college so I never lived in the dorms.

*My oldest child was born the week before dead week during the spring semester of my sophomore year of college. I had to call one of my professors from the hospital to let him know I was going to miss the exam that day. :) I took her with me to make up that exam when she was less than a week old. She also went to class with me a couple of times. So, you could definitely say she's been a "Cowboy" since the day she was born.

*I taught public school for 8 1/2 years-1 year of second grade, 2 years of first grade, 2 years of kindergarten, and 3 1/2 of PreK. The kids I had my first year of teaching will graduate from high school next year. That makes me feel old!

*In November 2009, I officially became a stay-at-home mom. We took my son out of public school PreK and brought him home. He had been in daycare since he was 8 weeks old. He is a completely different child these days.

*This has been our first year of homeschooling our kids. It's been an adventure and I've far from done it perfectly, but I love it! I've learned a lot this year and I know next year will be even better.

*I don't like to do things outdoors. The only exception is fishing. I absolutely love to go fishing. I think my dad was taking me fishing probably before I could walk. When I went to my daughter's outdoor day at school last year, I was the only mom who was brave enough to help the kids bait their hooks and take the fish off when they caught one.

I've been finding all sorts of fun new blogs lately. I'd like to pass this award on to a few of my favorites:

Angelica's Awesome Adventures
Cupcakes and Cartwheels
Flip Flops and Combat Boots
Once Upon a Miracle
Penelope Blue
Pumpkin Pie Painter
Too Blessed to be Stressed
Troop Petrie (not new to me, but I love, love her!)
Home of OHM
Frugally Green Mom
Embracing Destiny
Life Captured
Airplanes and Dragonflies
Project Alicia
Goodbye Disposable, Hello Cloth

Go over and visit all these lovely ladies and leave a comment to let them know you were there.


1. We had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off from Tae Kwon Do and it was fanstastic! We haven't had a weekend to stay home in a long time. By Saturday afternoon, though, I was ready to get out and do something, so we went grocery shopping. Remind me never to do that on the Saturday before a holiday again.

2. I am so thankful that the weather has been cool this week. It was winter when we moved in, so we never bothered to get the A/C hooked up. They're supposed to come do it sometime in the next week or so. Hooray!

3. I had a lovely time on Easter when we went to my grandparents' house for lunch. Most of our family couldn't make it this time so it was just us, my mom, my uncle with his wife and two kids, pops, and memaw. We missed everyone who wasn't there, but it was nice to get to actually sit and enjoy the day. I even got to sit in the dining room with the grown-ups this time! :)

4. Easter service at church was so special this year! Daniel usually has to work on Sunday, so I wasn't expecting him to get to come. But on Saturday, his boss offered him the day off on Sunday. I miss the days when we all used to go to church together! I'm so thankful he got to be there for Easter.

5. After all the rain and storms we've been having, it looks like today is going to be a beautiful day. The sun is shining and the sky is blue! Hope this weather sticks around for the weekend!

Head over to Nicole's blog and tell us what has been fantastic, cool, lovely, special, and beautiful in your life this week.

Better late than never-Happy Birthday Dakota

I've posted bits and pieces the last couple of weeks about Dakota's birthday, but I think it's time to give it a post of it's own. Wow-13!

We started off the day with her special breakfast request, lemon-poppy seed muffins. Yum! From there, we started our looong journey to the Oklahoma Aquarium, making several stops along the way.

The girls had been to the aquarium one time before with Pawpaw and Sierra went there about this time last year with her Kindergarten class, but this was my first time. I can't wait to go back! We got a membership, so I'm sure it won't be too long.

I was definitely lacking in photography skills that day, but I'll share the pictures anyway.

The night before, Dakota had said that her goal was to read EVERYTHING they had posted about each exhibit. She got through about 1/2 of it I think. :)

One of the best things at the aquarium is that they let you touch lots of animals! The first touching area had starfish, shrimp,
and horseshoe crabs.
The Oklahoma exhibit was pretty cool. There were some animals in there that I never even knew we had in Oklahoma.
There was a guide here talking to the kids about the mammals in the exhibit. They had beavers, otters, and raccoons. Unfortunately for us, they all decided to take a nap while we were there.
I have no idea what exhibit this is, but I really like the picture.
We got to touch a sea cucumber. They are really squishy. Ewwwwwww! But still cool. (I love the look on Dakota's face)
The sting rays weremy favorite part! First, there was an exhibit where you could feed them. They were "full" when we got there, so we just watched them. Still cool.

Yes, that's me. Blah.

Next, was the touching tank. There were also bamboo sharks to touch. Never thought I'd be able to say I had touched a shark. I love this picture! Landon couldn't get enough of the sting rays. There were a few times I really thought he was going to fall in. He and Daniel had to go into the restroom and dry his shirt with the hand dryer when we were finished.

We attempted to get a group picture of the kids. You can see how that went.

The shark exhibit was pretty neat, but not my favorite. You can go into the tunnel and the sharks swim all around you and even over your head. NO THANK YOU! Sharks are cool to watch on TV, but I don't ever want to be surrounded by them, even if they are behind glass. No scuba diving for me, thanks. I got out of the tunnel as soon as I could.
After the aquarium, we had an early dinner at Zio's, then made the trip back home for presents and cake.

This was her best present of the night.
Saturday afternoon, we had family over to celebrate with us. There was more cake, presents,

and cash (I may have to ask her for a loan).

It was a great weekend!

Happy 13th Birthday, Dakota! I love you!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Got Candy?

Remember that stash of Halloween candy I talked about in this post? The one my kids think they need to raid every day after lunch? Well, lately it has been slim pickins in there. Mostly dumdum suckers, some random hard candies, and gum.

But don't worry. This happens every year about this time. Just when it looks like there's no chocolate in sight, Easter comes around. My kids usually hunt eggs at least twice and load up on all sorts of yummy things. Just in time to restock the candy basket. So now it looks like this

Let me tell you, there's all kinds of deliciousness in there now. The chocolate will be the first to go. Well, not all of it. We usually have this stuff left once all of the "good" chocolate is gone.
Not to say that we won't eat these if we need a piece of chocolate bad enough, but they are always the last to go. But this year, I think I've found a way to get my kids to eat these first-and love them-chocolate chip pancakes!
First, you unwrap a bunch (in Oklahoma that's the way we measure things) of them and put them in a snack sized zippie bag. Next, you pound them with the side of a meat tenderizer (I don't recommend trying to hold the bag in place with your hand during this step. I do recommend putting a paper plate underneath to catch the crumbs when the bag breaks). Then, you mix together some biscuit mix, milk, and eggs in a bowl, throw the candy pieces in, and stir it all together so it looks like this
Cook in a very hot skillet, turning it once the bubbles on the surface start to pop. They will look something like this
Serve with butter and syrup (and lots of milk) to some kids with serious bed head issues.

And there you have it. You get rid of the not-so-good chocolate and have a yummy breakfast at the same time.
Dakota liked them too, although she didn't really want me to take her picture. She tends to avoid my camera when she thinks my blog or facebook might be involved (can't imagine why). In fact, she said she liked these even better than the ones we make sometimes with regular chocolate chips.
Here's what Landon thought of my pancakes
I think I may still get that Mom of the Year award after all.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday-the alien boy

please ignore the grape soda mustache. And you really don't want to know how he got them to stick like that. Ha!

Awesome Giveaway!

Cincinnati Coupons is giving away an awesome Strawberry Shortcake set. Sierra loves Strawberry Shortcake! Landon will sometimes even pop in the DVD we have and watch it. He really likes the songs on there.

Head over to the Cincinnati Coupons and enter to win.

True Story Tuesday-4/26/11

What is it about Monday? It doesn't seem to matter that I'm not working anymore or that we're homeschooling, Mondays are still Mondays. So, for my True Story Tuesday this week, I'm going to tell you about our Monday.

Sierra woke up Saturday with what I thought were bug bites on her face. Turns out to be poison ivy. I was advised by several people that I needed to take her to the doctor since it was on her face, so as soon as they were open yesterday I called to get an appointment. We were able to get the last appointment with the PA that was open.

The weather's been kind of nasty around here lately. Wind, rain, thunder, lightning, tornadoes-typical Oklahoma springtime weather. So, of course about the time we were ready to leave, it started raining. My kids are notoriously slow about getting into the van so I decided to send them out in shifts. That way, no one would be stuck out in the rain waiting for someone else to move out of the way. We gathered in the laundry room and got every one's jackets on and hoods up. The rain had slacked off a little, so I went ahead and sent Cheyenne and Sierra out together with instructions to hurry and get in, then shut the door behind them. The moment they stepped onto the porch, the clouds decided to dump the rain by the bucketful and accompany it thunder and lightning. Once they were in safely, I sent Dakota out and turned to Landon.

He said "I'm not going out there." I said, "We have to. We're going to be late for Sierra's appointment." He said, "No, if I go out there, I'll get strike-ed by lightning!" I assured him that he wasn't going to get struck by lightning and finally managed to get him out the door. He clapped his hands over his ears because of the thunder and took off for the van while I locked the door to the house. The poor kid! He wanted to get into the van and out of the rain, but he didn't want to take his hands off his ears because of the thunder. Did you know it's impossible to open the sliding door on a minivan with your elbows? I finally got to him just before he hit meltdown mode, got him safely into the van, and off we went.

The rain continued to pour down until just about the time we pulled into the clinic parking lot. Luckily, it let up just long enough for us to get inside before the downpour started back in full force. We got checked in and made our way to pediatrics. The appointment went smoothly and we walked out with no shot for Sierra! Hooray! Next stop was Wal-Green's to fill Sierra's three (yes, three) prescriptions. Only one problem-it was still pouring.

I stood in the lobby for a while trying to decide what to do. I wasn't sure how long the rain was going to last, so I didn't really want to try to wait it out. But, I also didn't want the kids to get soaked trying to get to the van. The clinic has a covered pickup/drop off area but I wasn't sure whether or not I should leave the kids standing there alone while I went to get the van. I finally convinced myself that they would be fine for the two minutes that it would take me to get the van. I read them the riot act about what would happen if the so much as moved an inch from the place I left them and went to get the van. In real time, the walk to the van took maybe 2 minutes but in mommy time (kind of like dog years) it took hours. By the time I got to the van, I was a nervous wreck and in a hurry to go get the kids. I hopped in the van, cranked the defrost up, turned the windshield wipers on, and started to back out. I was almost out of my parking spot when I heard (you guessed it) a small thud at the rear of the van. Looking back, I see the back end of a white truck in my back window. Nice. I pulled up and looked back to make sure there weren't any people involved, then went to get the kids.
I told them to hurry up (perhaps a bit louder than necessary) and get in, then quickly went back to assess the damage. Both vehicles were fine. I wasn't sure what to do, so I texted my husband who quickly called me back and advised me to leave a note and take a couple of pictures with my phone just in case. After waiting a while for someone to come out, that's what I did. I still feel bad about it, but so far I haven't gotten any phone calls. Crossing my fingers that I don't.
We made it to Wal-Green's to drop off the prescriptions at the drive-thru and were told it would be ready in about 45 minutes. I needed to get gas and run to the bank, so that worked out perfectly.
I stopped at my favorite gas station (the one with Diet Pepsi in the fountain AND crushed ice), filled up my tank (okay, I didn't actually fill it all the way up because I can't bear to see what that would cost), then pulled up in front of the store (because ya know, they have my favorite drink in there). The kids sat in the van with Dakota "in charge" so they didn't have to get out in the rain again. As I was standing in line, a fire truck drove by. I didn't think much of it until a minute later when a firefighter came walking in. The clerk said "What's up___?" (apparently she knew him). He said "Someone called in a gas spill here." "There's no gas spill here," she said. He looked kind of puzzled then walked out with a "Hmm."
I paid for my drink (ahhhhhhh, makes me want one now) and left. That's when I realized that the firetruck had parked right next to my van! My poor kids! They weren't too panicked, but I could tell they had been a little worried.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful (thank goodness). We picked up Sierra's meds, went to Wal-Mart to kill an hour, took the big girls to Tae Kwon Do, came home and had spaghetti for dinner, then went to bed.
Oh yeah, and Sierra lost another tooth.
Thank goodness Monday only happens once a week!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Miscellany Monday 4/25/11

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters
We got off lucky this week and didn't have any tae kwon do classes Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. It was a nice break, but I think Dakota and Cheyenne are ready to go back. Their last class was last Monday. I bet after a whole week off they are going to be sore tomorrow. :)

I actually made it through all day Friday without having to go anywhere! Hooray! This weekend was the first Saturday in a looooooong time that we got to stay home. I was so happy to get to spend the morning doing some extra cleaning (weird, I know). I didn't really deep clean anything, but I got a lot of little things done. I spent 15 minutes in each room, including the pantry and the linen closet, doing whatever extra needed to be done. We gathered up quite a bit of stuff to take to Goodwill. It was a pretty good morning!

Saturday evening, we had dinner with some of Daniel's family. His uncle, aunt, and a cousin who live in Alaska are here visiting, so we went over to see them before cousin W. had to go back. Then, we came home and dyed our eggs,
painted pictures,
and made resurrection cookies.

Sunday was super busy. The kids woke up to find baskets left by the Easter bunny,
we had Resurrection Rolls for breakfast,
then went to church. The kids had an egg hunt after the service, then we were off to lunch at Pops' and Memaw's house. We've finally been getting some much needed rain, so we decided to skip the egg hunt there. Too many puddles!
From there, we had dessert at Grandpa and Grandma Phyllis' house. The rain let up just enough to let the kids hunt eggs in the front yard (the backyard was a lake). Right after, the storms rolled in.
Poor Sierra! She woke up Saturday morning with what I thought were bug bites on her forehead and arms. She complained that it itched, but I didn't really think much of it. Then yesterday, it was worse. Daniel looked at it and said "that's poison ivy." Poor baby, she's been itching like crazy. We gave her some benadryl and put some "pink stuff" on it. Since it's on her face, I think I'm going to take her in to the doctor today. Hopefully they can help us clear it up fast.

Speaking of the doctor, I think they're finally open. I should probably go call them before all the appointments fill up. Have a great week everyone!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal

.In my life this week…

This has been a pretty calm and peaceful week. We've actually been at home most of the week. I like it that way.

Daniel went for orientation at his new job yesterday. Today he's riding along with someone. I think this job is going to make things so much better for us! I'm excited.

In our homeschool this week…

We're chugging right along. Dakota and Cheyenne are almost finished with their English books and Cheyenne is about to finish up math. Hooray!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

We leave for Florida in less than a month! Four weeks from today! I know the kids are getting really excited. I'm just ready for it to be here already. We're going to have lots of fun, but the preparing and waiting are stressful. There are so many things that I want to buy or do that have to wait until after the trip. Oh well, it'll all work out in the end.

My favorite thing this week was…

Landon is reading!!!!!! The last few weeks, he's had little readers at the end of the week and he's been able to read them! They're mostly sight words and CVC words, "Kim had a hat", but he's doing it. I remember looking at those when we first got the curriculum and thinking there was no way he would be ready for them by the end of kindergarten. In fact, I was planning on having him go through the K curriculum twice but he doesn't need it. I'm so proud of him!

What’s working/not working for us…

I'm frustrated with our current curriculum. I really want something more hands-on-more projects, art activities, creative writing. I'm arguing with myself over just finishing up English and Math and calling it good or sticking it out and finishing up the geography and science too.

I've been trying to decide whether to stick with this curriculum (MFW) for next year or switch to something else. The Weaver curriculum from A&O sounds good to me, but I can't find anyone who's actually used it or any sample pages to look at. Someone suggested that I e-mail the company and ask them for a sample. I think I will try that.

If anyone has used it, please let me know your experience. I'd love to have some advice.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

I need a good Algebra curriculum for next year. Not sure I can afford Teaching Textbooks, even though I've heard good things about it. She and I both HATE Saxon! I just went with it because it was a name I knew. Not going to work for her next year.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Thursday, April 21, 2011

5QF-April 22, 2011 Easter Edition

1. What is your favorite Easter tradition?
Other than dying eggs (which I am not a big fan of), we don't really have many Easter traditions. The kids leave their baskets by the door for the Easter bunny to fill. We usually hunt eggs a time or two with family. We go to church (this will actually be the first time since Dakota was born that we will get to go to our own church for Easter Sunday and I'm so excited about that). Nothing too exciting for us.
I am hoping to start a new tradition this year, though, and make resurrection rolls/cookies for Sunday morning. I've seen lots of recipes for different versions. All I need to do now is decide which one I want to make.
There's this one, or this one, or this one. Which do you like best? I'm leaning toward the second one because I like the way you tell the story and read the verses as you make them. I may make that one and one of the others.

2. Are you a "shower" or a "long, hot bath" kind of person?
How about a "long, hot shower"? I don't really care for baths much. When I taught PreK, one of my students came in and said, "My mom says that when you take a bath you are sitting in your own filth. That's why we take showers." (imagine that from a 4 year old. too cute) When I take a shower, I turn the cold water almost completely off. Ahhhhhhhhhh! Makes me want to go take a shower right now and warm up! Maybe I would finally wake up this morning.

3. Can you parallel park and if so when is the last time you did it?
Only if I am parking in the very last space so that I can just pull straight in. :) I can't do the whole backing in/pulling forward/turning the wheel all the way to the ??? thing (I can't ever remember which way). I did actually pass that part of my driver's test but I don't think I've even attempted it since then.

4. What is your favorite Easter candy?
Resse's eggs! I don't know why, but they taste so much better than regular Reese's cups. Yummy!

5. Easter: do you go all out with the Easter Bunny or focus on the religious part of the holiday?
We do both, like we do at Christmas. The kids get their Easter baskets from the Easter bunny when they wake up on Sunday morning. Then, we all go to church together. My kids know the reason we celebrate Easter but it's okay to have some fun too!

I really can't believe we're already two days from Easter! Time is going by fast this year. I guess we'd better get busy dying eggs this weekend!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Thursday 5-April 21

This week's words are:


When we went to the aquarium on Friday, we saw lots of dazzling creatures like these
wasn't it nice of them to let Dory and Nemo stay together?

Dakota had a spectacular 13th birthday! Still hard to believe she's a teenager!
We had a cookout at church tonight. Lots of yummy food, kite flying for the youth, and bouncy houses for the little kids. It was a little cold and windy, but the kids had a terrific time anyway.

After a week of "fasting" all drinks except water, I was so ready for a Diet Pepsi. So, when we stopped to get gas on our way to church I went in and got one. It was perfect! Diet Pepsi from the fountain with crushed ice is the best! Yum!

The ladies' group from our church met on Monday evening and I was ecstatic that I got to go. It's so nice to finally be getting to know some people here besides our family. And as much as I love my kids and love being home with them, it sure is nice to have conversation with adults once in a while. Can't wait for next time!

Wordless Wednesday-notice anything different?

Pictures I took at the aquarium on Friday

Pictures my husband took at the aquarium on Friday