Saturday, February 16, 2013

Recap of our Valentine's week

We kept fairly busy this Valentine's week-besides the usual day to day school and house stuff, we had one very fun and highly anticipated field trip to the American Girl store!  Yes, my 7 year old was in heaven.....just look at all that girl stuff!

Here's what she was here to look at specifically....all the accessories for her beloved Kit doll.  Too bad  one of her outfits cost more than my little girl has ever had in her bank account (and more than I would want to spend!)  But that's okay..........that's what birthdays and Christmas are for! :-)

After a fun browsing time-including my rambunctious 4 year old bouncing off the walls- and a little bit of walking around the mall, we decided to stop at the food court for a nice bite to eat. Yum!  Amazing how McDonalds can just make my kids' day!

Being Valentine's week, the next day, my 7 and 8 year old participated in a fun Valentine's exchange-they had fun and it was a whole lot better than the ones we had when I was in school!

 My littler kids convinced me that we needed to go with a definite Valentine's theme this week, as far as food goes.  So we put forth a little (okay...maybe a lot!) more effort into preparation.  Here were a couple of the school kids lunches this week...
Heart shaped cheese and crackers, chocolate (healthy!) muffins, strawberries, and trail mix

Heart shaped sandwiches, cranberries (they look like raisins here, I know), homemade heart shaped chips, and a valentines chocolate

For breakfast?  How about valentine shaped pancakes-we tinted half the batch pink...

 And heart shaped poptarts!  They were whole wheat and made with our homemade strawberry jam, so not full of added sugar and junk..

Okay...this one was not healthy at all- I made a heart shaped cinnapie for dessert. Junky, yes, but they enjoyed it!

To cap off our valentines day, we took a quick trip to....

Yes! The new Whole foods market in Katy!  One of my favorite stores, but they're not kidding when they say you can spend your whole paycheck there! We didn't though-just bought the few things we came for and admired everything else.
This weekend it's taking it easy...a couple of sick ones at our house that will hopefully be cleared up in the next couple days.  Time for some good DVD watching and snuggling time!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A blessed day of both work and play!

Monday started out with the norm-schoolwork, of course!  But today the kiddos had an extra incentive-they were dying to go play at the park, so the sooner we got things done, the sooner we'd be out the door.  Well, it worked and they got done in record time! We packed up our lunches to take with us and made a quick stop at the store to get a few groceries we needed before heading to play.  Amazingly, this is where the biggest blessing happened! While going into the store, my 7 year old noticed  a man sitting far down the wall, with a small backpack, wearing very worn clothes.  He didn't have a sign, but my daughter immediately assumed he was homeless.  I told her if he was still there when we got done with our shopping then we'd go talk to him and find out more about him.  Sure enough, when we came out, he was still there, sitting against the wall, reading a small pocket bible.  I think we startled him a bit when we approached him and asked him where he was headed, given the backpack. He answered our question-he was homeless-sleeping on the streets and under a local bridge since August, unable to secure a job.  We sat and chatted with him for about 15 minutes, trying to point him toward any resources we knew about. We were able to give him one of the food bags we keep in our car for this purpose and told him we would be praying for him.  He said he knew God had a purpose in allowing this to happen and that he is blessed in so many ways.  Wow...what an amazing attitude, one that most of us would not have, given the circumstances.  He is not the first homeless person we have talked to like this.  God has given us many such encounters over the years and though I used to think I was the one helping them, maybe I have that backward....they are helping me....and my kids to see that circumstances do not have to shape your relationship with the Lord-he is there in every circumstance, good or bad, and we can rejoice in that everyday!  I have a long way to go, but I'm thankful He is teaching me this...
After our fun encounter, we ventured out to a park nearby our house we had driven by several times,except when we got there, it wasnt actually a playground, but a big slide for the neighborhood pool. Bummer!  Welll, I wasn't giving up. With a subdivision this size, there was bound to be a playground somewhere!  Aftnr about 5 minutes of driving, we found one!  Small, but perfect for us-the kids had the whole thing to themselves!
Pretty big play area!
Fun swinging!

And of course, the slides..

 Don't know whatt my little guy's fascination is with climbing UP the slide...

Mom even got in on the fun, too, going down the slide several times. be little again!  I had a great time.  We came home worn out, but happy!  A fun and blessed day!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

A rough winter......

I don't kcow if that title quite describes it well enough-maybe I should have titled it: "The winter we wanted to forget!" Seriously-healthwise, this has been the toughest season we have our entire parenting careers.  Since Thanksgiving, there has always been someone sick at our house.  I'm not kidding.  The only one who was spared was our 17 year old son, but that is only because he works a full time night job and sleeps during the day, so we don't see him enough to infect him!  The rest of us got sick at least 2, 3, or 4 times over the past two months. Colds, congestion, fevers, vomiting (that was fun!), sore throats, coughs, and our latest.....bronchitis and pneumonia.

 I spent last weekend at the emergency room with my 11 year old daughter who was throwing up 10 times a day, unable to keep anything down. An x-ray, several tests, and a long wait later....they told us she was in the beginning stages of pneumonia.    She spent the entire week home from school, recovering and slowly getting back her strength.  Besides a little wheezing and some coughing, you'd never guess she'd been so sick.  She's continuing with breathing treatments, so we anticipate a full recovery! 

Just after she started recovering, 3 more of us developed the same awful, uncontrollable cough (yes-I was one of the lucky ones!)  When things  weren't improving and mom wasn't getting more than 3 hours of sleep a nite (!), off we shuffled to the doctor to get our own round of antibiotics and steroids to cure what we had.....bronchitis.  We've nearly finished our meds and things are improving....slowly. There are still many coughing fits, but they're not as often-and we're definitely sleeping better at nite. 

If there ever were a time I was excited for spring to come, that would be now.  It can't arrive soon enough.  Being able to be outside in the fresh air, instead of closed up inside with all the germs will certainly improve our chances! Plus, it's a nice mental boost, too. Yes, this was a rough winter...but I can't say it wasn't memorable!  The winter of '12 will definitely go down in history for us!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A fun outing!

Today we took a special field trip to a special place my 8 year old son had been waiting an eternity for-the Lego store!  Fortunately for us, there is one here in Houston only a half hour away, but since we're never in that part of town, we just never made the trip there.  We picked the perfect day-nonstop pouring rain all day-and headed down to the mall.  He and my 4 year old son were in awe when we finally reached the store.  So many legos in one place!
There was a huge selection, yes, but given that Legos aren't exactly cheap, we would have needed to take out a small loan to please these little guys!  We finally settled on a small minifigure pack, which he paid for, and mom splurged for a lego shaped bank for big guyand a spiderman keychain for little brother.   

After getting little sister a new wallet at the accessories store, we decided to go get
a bite to eat at Chick fila.  Yum!  And after riding the escalator up and down about five times, we headed back home-in the storms!  But even though the skies were gloomy, we had a great day together!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Back to the usual routine...

After a long and refreshing 2 week Christmas break, it was back to school for some of my kiddos and back to homeschool for the others.  It's hard to believe that these are the only two still at home during the day!  

Well,actually I still have my preschooler home, too, but he wouldn't sit still long enough to be in the picture.  Though I know it's good to get back to the  normal routine, it was nice having everyone home together, getting to spend more time with them.  As it is, most of them are gone from early morning until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, so the only time I really get to see them is in the evenings.  We didn't plan a lot of activities and stuff to do during this Christmas break-to be honest, were actually sick most of the time. But we did spend a lot of time just hanging out, enjoying eachother's company, whether it be watching a movie, reading a book, doing an errand, or playing x-box!  So when the buses came early this morning, I was happy they could get back to their studies, but was sad to see them go. 
We had an unusually calm homeschooling day and even made a run out to the the pouring replace a popped balloon for a sad little 4 year old.  Yep....$1 spent on a new one and I'm supermom! Made me feel great.
The kiddos helped with the dinner prep-meatloaf and potatoes-they love it. I hate peeling potatoes, but my little helpers don't mind, so it works out great.  The wrench thrown in all this is my 2 (yes two!) diehard vegetarians in our house.  No meat shall pass their lips, so I find myself getting creative with their meals while trying to keep them similair to ours.  Enter the veggie loaf!
Completely vegetarian.  Baked up great, held its shape and was pretty decent.   If you expected it to taste like meat, you'd be sadly disappointed-it's not supposed to. 
Well, time to get on to homework, showers, lunch prep for tomorrow, and the cycle starts over again! Can't wait till spring break!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What would you pay for a nap?

Sunday night was date night for hubby and I-something we try to do consistently about every 6 weeks or so. We need the refreshment and adult time to talk about something besides kids!  Actually our date nite was Saturday, but he was sick so we switched it to Sunday.  Fortunately, our babysitter
(our oldest son) had off both days, so it was fine.  Problem was....I was sick.  Sick with this awful, yucky, head cold/sore throat thing I received on Christmas and does not want to let up.   Fearing it would be way too long before we got to do it again, and knowing how much he wanted to go see a particular movie, I decided to buck it up and push through.  I wasn't trying to play the martyr role and hubby was not making me feel guilty if I didn't want to go, I just figured maybe I'd start feeling better once I was out and about.  Well....that was a wrong guess.

 We got to the theater and bought our tickets for the 3 hour (yes, 3 hours!) movie and hunkered down.  I stayed with it for much of the first part, but my body took over after that and I snoozed...out cold for the last 2/3 of the movie.  So if you're going to see the Hobbit, don't ask me if it's a good movie-I don't know! Though it was a bummer to miss a movie you paid good money for, I got to thinking that actually, it was money well spent, considering the circumstances.  I mean, I would never have gotten over 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep  in the middle of the day like I did there.  No one waking me to ask for something, no loud voices keeping me awake (okay-the movie volume doesn't count), and it was nice and dark. was actually....nice! Hmmmm..maybe I should do this more often!

After the movie, we drove to dinner and, despite having a server who was shockingly inattentive (okay-actually completely absent!), we were able to enjoy a good meal, but more importantly, some good conversation and time spent together.  And we got a good laugh about the server. When we got home, I promptly put myself to bed and rested, which is what my body was screaming for!  Should I have gone out that nite?  Probably not-I would have done better nursing myself back to health.  But was it worth it?  You bet!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve birthday, baking fun, Christmas celebrations, and a silly test!

I woke up on Christmas Eve and gave dinner a short thought.  I wanted to fix a side dish for the meal and settled on cornbread.  While looking for my bag of conrmeal, i spied a box of this corn muffin mix in the back. 

 With all these yummy wholesome ingredients! I can't even pronounce some of them! Being supermom that I am not, I decided to go ahead and bake up a batch of this chemically laden food.  But for my family, i knew one box was not enough and I wasn't about to go to the store to fetch another.  So I pulled out my bag of conrmeal and made another batch from scratch.

Now I had to know, which ones would my kids like better? only Yes-only I would really care about this
We had a taste test between both of them and honestly, it was split down the middle.  My one daughter who loved #1 (Jiffy Mix) was so sure that was the one I  made!  When I asked those who picked #1 what they liked better, they all said the same thing-it was sweeter.  True indeed-my version had no sugar, just some honey.  Interesting experiment, but it's not going to make me run out and buy Jiffy unless I'm seriously pressed for time!!

Next, we had to get prepared for my 7 yo daughters's birthday which actually is on Christmas Eve.  She wanted  a giant M and M cookie, which my 11 year old helped me make.  Turned out quite yummy!

We made a double batch of dough and made the rest into cookies.  After sampling a dozen or so, we packaged up the rest to send home with my oldest son, who lives in an apartment on his own.  We often get requests from he and his roommate for home baked goodies.  We're happy to comply!

We were a little behind on getting our annual Christmas gifts out to our sweet neighbors, as we've had nonstop illness over here for the past 3 weeks.  Fortunately, we hadn't planned something too difficult.  We made up a dozen jars of homeade strawberry jam (so yummy!)

We gave a fresh baked loaf of bread with each, tied with a cute Christmas ribbon!

 Simple, but a nice way to let them know how much we appreciate them!

Now onto Christmas morning!  After a yummy pancake breakfast, the present opening began.  The big gift this year?  An X-Box 360!  This is our first venture into video game land, so hopefully it goes smoothly!
 We even had a stealth spiderman among us...

And look, my handsome 19 year old even joined us before he had to go into work.  It was great to have him!

Lots of legos, giftcards, DVDs, toys, and other stuff left a big bunch of smiling kids!

 \After a yummy Christmas dinner that nite made by Chef Dad, we had a happy birthday Jesus celebration.  Everyone sang and then dug into some pie and ice cream!

What a great Christmas celebration!  We are looking forward to many more blessings in the coming year!