Friday, June 24, 2011

A boy obsessed

When Aidan was a toddler, he developed a love of trains.  This love of trains eventually led us to discover a Museum that was all about trains.  The museum started as a memorial to the story of the Great Locomotive Chase.  In the beginning, he was mainly fascinated with the trains, but the story is a pretty interesting one, and he began to love the story.  Recently the love of that story has developed into a full blown obsession with the civil war. 

He has become a soldier.  Sometimes he fights for the confederacy, and sometimes he fights for the union.  He takes his soldier duty VERY seriously.
We had a rifle on hand, but no bayonet- so he had to make his own.  He found hats, weapons, and various props to assist him in his work.
I can't help but smile every time I hear the heavy footfalls of my soldier marching in formation, guarding the house from enemy attack.  Quite often I am asked to play the role of the soldiers mother.  I have to be worried and concerned, and provide him with food.
We found out a neighbor of ours is also interested in the civil war, and the two  of them have many conversations about the particulars of battle.  He taught Aidan how to salute with a rifle and the proper stance for firing his weapon.
Along with the love of the Civil War, he has discovered these small plastic army men.  It is all he can do to earn enough money to run to the store and buy another bag of them.  He also spends HOURS setting each and every one of them up in just the right formation.  (And hours crying when some clumsy fool bounces the floor and 2/3 of them fall over).  Here he has recreated the battle of Fort Sumter.
 Have army men... will travel.  We have to take them EVERYWHERE we go- doctors office, pool, friends house, we must not leave home without the precious army men.  And when we get there, they must be set up just right, and cried about when they fall.
 He asked the librarian for the kids civil war section, and came home with approximately 125,000 books about the civil war, which Kydon and I have the pleasure of reading to him.  The other day he told our neighbor that he is studying the battle of Gettysburg.  And I can promise that he really is!
The favorite book so far- combining his love of weapons with his love of the civil war.  Check out the Gatling Gun on the cover- did you know it can shoot 100 bullets per minute?  I didn't, but I do now.

We have been to a few battlefields.  We have watched documentaries.  We have explored countless books.  I know more about the civil war than I ever did growing up.  He is a boy obsessed. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

BREAD!!!

I made bread.  I really did!  I have tried and tried over many years to bake bread, with pretty unsuccessful results.  I gave up for a long time, just figuring that it wasn't in me to make it work.  But I still wanted to conquer it.  I finally decided that if I had an electric mixer, I would be able to master it. 

Last September, for my birthday, Kydon surprised me with a mixer. Now I had no excuse- I had to try it! So, 9 months later, I did! :) In the past, I could say that I *tried* to make bread, but this time I actually did it.

The result was smooth, firm, perfectly done bread. It smelled divine, and actually tasted wonderful. I am still in shock.  We used it for sandwiches, french toast, and just sliced with butter and/or jam.
 I used 100% whole wheat, and the kids actually loved it.  I did too.  And I must admit that less than 24 hours after it came out of the oven, 1.5 loaves have been consumed.  Is it still healthy if you eat that much of it? 
Here is the recipe, compliments of my friend Jenni:
5 cups hot water
11-12 cups flour
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup gluten flour
1/4 heaping teaspoon Vitamin C crystals
3 T yeast
1 T salt

Mix water with 3 cups of flour.  Then add oil, honey, gluten flour, Vitamin C crystals, yeast and salt in that order.  Add rest of flour.  Mix for 5 min on high until bread pulls away from bowl. 

Put on oiled countertop and divide into 4-5 loaves.  Put into greased bread pans to raise 40-45 min with a towel over the pans.

Bake at 325 for 35 minutes.

The gluten and Vit. C crystals give this bread a lighter texture than most whole wheat bread recipes. 

*******************

My notes:  I didn't have any gluten flour, so I just used extra wheat flour.  I also couldn't find any Vit. C crystals, so I used Vit. C powder and increased the amount to 1 T. 

I couldn't believe how easy this was, only 45 min of rising time and 35 min of  baking time.  I will be making this again!

Little Dippers

I saw these little sauce containers at the store the other day, and got really happy.  So many possibilities with a little container! 

Today we had a lunch called "little dippers".
 For dips we had peanut butter, honey, hummus, and ranch dressing.  The dippers were pretzels, chips, apples, carrots, olives, and bananas.
 It was super easy to put together, and they had so much fun experimenting with different options.
"Apples and ranch is AWESOME!" 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Conundrum

I have a conundrum this summer.  Actually two.  Here is the first:

Aidan very much prefers to stay home.  All day every day.  Now, he does like to do fun things, and he enjoys the pool immensely, but if he does not have plenty of hours to relax at home, he is one unhappy boy.  He will actually beg me to not do fun stuff and let him stay home.  (A boy after my own heart).

Abigail very much prefers to be going and going and going every minute of the day.  She is STARVED for human companionship, and she must go and do everything she can, with as many people as possible.

Jack, thank goodness, is okay with either.  He loves to go places and do things, but he is also happy playing at home.

I've been trying to balance both preferences, having some times of going places and balancing it with some down time, but the going isn't enough for one, and the staying isn't enough for the other.

Luckily, Abigail has a friend right across the street.  That friend has been playing with and inviting Abigail along with her to whatever they might be doing.  I thought it was the perfect solution- Abigail could be out and about, and Aidan could be home more.

However, nothing is that easy.  Enter the second conundrum:

Aidan, while desiring to be at home and playing quietly, also hates to be left out of anything.  Every time Abigail goes to do something, he is quite upset and annoyed and hurt that he doesn't get to go.  However, every time we join them or plan our own thing to do, he is also annoyed and upset that he can't stay home.

Conundrum.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Final First Tooth

Jack has been waiting, and longing, and hoping for the day that he would FINALLY lose a tooth.  It is so hard to be the last one to hit the milestone!

 He didn't really have any that were even wiggling, but thanks (?) to a trampoline-related collision with his brother's hard head, his 2 bottom teeth got really loose really quick.  One tightened back up, but he kept working the other, and it finally got loose enough to pull out.
He couldn't have been more happy!  Finally, a hole like the others!  After Aidan's success with note-leaving for the tooth fairy, Jack wrote one that demanded $10.00 or a toy.  Hey, at least he left an option!  Since it was his first tooth, and he is the last child, the tooth fairy obliged with a little nerf basketball hoop for his door. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wild Dog

We've had a visitor the past 3 days.

Meet "Wild Dog"

 Jack named him Max, Aidan named him Shock (because he looks like he got hit by lightning), and Abigail named her Hannah (because she might be a girl).  I just called it Wild Dog, and I hoped every day that we wouldn't see him anymore.
I mean, how torturous is it to have 3 wild kids at home all day, trapped inside because outside is this crazy wild dog, roaming around our street.  The kids LOVED him- from inside.  They would smear themselves all over the window talking and calling to this dog.  

Therefore, the dog spent an unnatural amount of time outside our house, hoping for something.   After 2 days, we finally called Animal Control.  This durn dog sat on our front porch for 2 hours in the morning.  The AC dude pulls up, and the durn dog is g.o.n.e.  No where to be found. 
 I was so sick of it that we decided to try and do something about it.  The next time he came around, I lured him into the backyard, and shut the gate.  He trotted very nicely up on our deck and sat there like any normal dog would.  We quick called Animal Control back, and they raced out and went after him.
 As I was inside with the kids, watching Kydon and AC guy try to corner this Wild Dog, I couldn't help but wonder...
 How the heck do I get involved in this stuff?  There was a time I wouldn't even have known this dog existed, let alone playing a pivitol role in trapping and catching him.  What happened to my life of go to work, go to sleep, and eat out?  Now I'm trying to corrall and trap wild dogs so that my wild kids are free to roam the streets.
 Aidan was pretty sad when the truck drove away- I think he was secretly hoping to keep Shock.
 Abigail was happy to have that thing gone.  Her friend across the street has been at home all week, and they were too scared to run back and forth 50,000 times a day like they usually do.
 Jack was also a bit sad.  First Grandma's dog had to go back home after spending a week with us, and now Max had to go away as well... I guess a wild dog is better than no dog at all!
Bye bye, wild one!

Friday, June 10, 2011

I am the Entertainment Committee

The phrase I remember most from my childhood summers is my mom saying "I am not your entertainment committee".  We were expected to find our own fun, our own activities, and entertain ourselves.

So far this summer, I feel like I am the entertainment committee (by choice).  There is SO much I want to do with them!  I have tons of homeschool plans, reading programs, we have work/chore charts, scheduled lessons and classes, and I have a huge list of unscheduled activities that I can't wait to do.

So far, two weeks into our summer break, we are so busy we aren't even making a dent in all my plans!  Homeschool is way behind.  We have done our reading every day, but the Book Of Mormon outline is several days behind, our handwriting lessons have only happened twice, and there is no Spanish happening at all.  I did put the math workbooks in the car, so at least as we go back and forth they have been doing a bit of math!  I have been consistent with the chores- those have been done every day (mostly because I make them happen first thing in the morning, and we get up plenty early). 

It is just so. darn. hot.  The only thing we all want to do is head to the pool.  So that is what we have done.  We have swim lessons at 10:00, then we come home for lunch, then head back to the pool for the afternoon.  We are supposed to do school work after lunch before going back, but the kids just want to play, and I'm usually hot and trying to get everything unpacked and repacked and checking my email so I don't want to force it to happen.

I keep telling myself that summer is only 2 weeks in- there is still plenty of time to get everything done.  Maybe now that swimming lessons are done it will be easier to do a little more in the morning.

How is your summer?  Are you busy and rushing and trying to fit everything in?  Or are you bored and trying to figure out how to keep everyone from driving you crazy??  :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Today...

Today, Abigail woke up and did ALL of her cleaning projects for the whole week and all of her school work for the whole day, and then did some of Jack and Aidan's work.  (Waking up happy at 5am does have some benefits!)

Today, we saw an adorable puppet show, which Aidan didn't like and didn't want to go and hated.  (When he wasn't laughing his head off and dancing, that is!)

Today, we are way behind on our homeschool projects and work.  (Oh well!)

Today, we made a detour after the puppet show and walked to the doughnut store.  (yum!)

Today, after fueling up on doughnuts, we walked over to the Library.  (Even though we have plans to meet friends there tomorrow!)

Today, Aidan found the Civil War section of kids books.  (He will be occupied for at least 2 weeks!)

Today, Abigail wants to read all 10 books to get her reward tomorrow.  (She only has 4 more to go, and it's only noon!)

Today has not gone at all according to my carefully laid plan.  (Thank goodness!)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

What summer looks like

This is what our first week of summer looks like....

 Getting crazy on the trampoline,
Kids having fun, 
 A few injuries,
 A LOT of swimming and various water activities,
 A little bit of school work,
 Dirty dishes filling the counters every 10 minutes,
 2 new buzz cuts and a lot of popsicles,
 Several tantrums,
 Swimming lessons,
And 3 Cute Kids!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Muffins for Mothers Day

The kids all made cute little cards and pictures and things for Mother's Day.  I love the little fill in the blank things and sweet cards they make.

Jack's card said "you are the best mommy in the whole wide world"  Love it!
 Here are the fill in the blanks- in their eyes I am 8.5 lbs and 59 feet tall.  I love cream of wheat (it must be my favorite, because I'm always telling them how good it is in a pathetic attempt to get them to eat it), my favorite activity is jumping on our trampoline, and I love Christmas because I get to watch them open presents (who wouldn't love that?)!  The thing I like best about being a mother is that I get to be with a child. 
 Then there were a few unscripted ones- Abigail said "Happy Mothers' day.  I like that you cook for us.  And make longrey (laundry) for us.  And be our mom.  This is how much I love you (followed by a long line). 

Aidan wrote "Happy Mothers' day.  I like that you cook for us.  And make longrey for us.  And be our mom.  For me.

I can't help but wonder if they worked together.

My favorite was one from Abigail- on the back of a heart, she wrote "Dear Mom, I love you because you come to DEAR read to the class.  I love you because you love me and you take care of me.  I love you because you are my mom.  I love that you cook food for me."

I told her how sweet it was, and how much I liked it, to which she responded that her teacher made her write all those things.  Sweet.