Friday, February 21, 2014

We're so Sappy!

Well, its that time of year and we're hoping its a good one.  Maple Sap Season.  Every couple years we tap a few trees and make our own maple syrup.  It is something I love doing....and the kids have a great time too.  Plus we get awesome homemade syrup.  Here's some pics of the day.  And by some, I mean A LOT!

We started by building lids for the buckets we would be collecting in.  Each of the boys got a chance on the different power tools.  Only one made this mama clench....
A with the circular saw...

M takes a turn with the power saw.

G has a go....

They all did great

 A getting the measurements just right so he can.....

drill the holes in the lids.

A saws off the 1/2 inch PVC to make the stile.

M has his turn  (G was missing for this step)

Since the PVC was half in and we used a slightly smaller drill bit (1/8 of an inch smaller) the boys used a grinder to whittle down the end to a point.....this is the part that made mama clench.

By doing this....the pipe will have a tight seal within the hole in the tree preventing leaks

M was smoothest with the grinder.  Whew....glad that's done.
 And off to the woods we go....
L just sitting on a log supervising.

G taps the first tree.  When I was little we used an old school drill (and did it by hand).  power tools all the way now.

First taste

another taste

drill the hole at a downward angle so the sap can run out more easily....

Hammer in the stile....

getting herself a taste

another kid....another tree

This is our collection method this year.  Tap in the tree with plastic hose running down through a hole in the lid on a 5 gallon bucket.  the block is wedged under the handle keeping the lid down....

Focus is important.
 Work is done....time for play!
slackline fun over the creek.  

Pappy and L take time to chill.  :)

Life in pictures

Lots of pictures this week.....not much else to say!

Practicing Twinkle twinkle little star (clearly shoes and shirt are optional)

drummer boy.  We opened a can of worms with this one and I love it!

We do chemistry on mondays....this monday we tested the pH of several liquids we found in the pantry.  

Oh sweet mother of gluing.  While the boys used the cut and glue method to label a crayfish, L used glue to fully saturate felt letters and stick them to pretty much everything.  :)  (See those orange and yellow scissors in the lower right corner - BEST TODDLER scissors EVER)

G and a happy school moment.  :)

We got out some different "tot trays" this week.  Here L is sorting different shapes of noodles in an ice cube tray.  She also strung them on a pipe cleaner.

Giant lacing (Those are pool noodles cut into beads)
 Sometimes boys just don't wanna sit and do school work.  I'm not sure at what point sitting became necessary to learn.  Boys are boys are boys....and sitting nicely at the table is just not hardwired in.  This is what learning looked like at different points this week.  (there are so many other possible photo ops of this....but these are 2 I got this week.
See the chair behind M....he pushed it out of the way so he could stand to do his math.
This is also math.  Yep, that's my rocking chair.

Shifted to finish math....maybe his head was tired so he needed to prop it up.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fitness Challenge and Weekend prep work.

It is becoming more and more clear that if I am going to eat healthy, I need to do prep work on the weekend.  If I think/plan to do it during the week, it just doesn't happen (case in point-last week).  I never got any of the veggies or anything that I bought prepped to eat.  So I didn't eat them.

So this weekend, I prepped for the week.  And this is what I"ve got all ready in my fridge and pantry...

carrots, celery, and peppers (sliced and ready to go)
Blue Cheese dip
energy bites
protein cookies  (I leave out the protein powder which lowers the protein but no added sugar or flour so still good)
English muffins (yes I make these- I make almost all our bread products)
hard boiled eggs
salads (lettuce, black olives, radishes, carrots, blue/feta cheese, oil and vinegar dressing, etc etc etc)
Laughing Cow cheese
Chipotle Style Black Beans
Chipotle Brown Rice
Chipotle Chicken
yogurt -still gotta make this tomorrow.  I just ran out of time and energy.

These foods are for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.  I eat with the rest of the family every evening.  I try to eat what they eat (it really bothers the kids when I eat something different) at supper time.  I feel like I might actually be starting ahead of the game this week with good options for breakfast, lunch, and snacks all set up.

For the kids (and the King) I am making some chocolate chip cookies too.  :)  (I hope to stay out of them with my healthier, but still containing chocolate chips, options)

I also just finished Day 26 of the Bikini Body Mommy challenge.  I sure hope to see results on Tuesday or Wednesday which is my next weigh in and measure day.  Cause the workouts are hard and although I hoped to start enjoying them....I really don't.  I like feeling strong, and I love my accountability group.  I do not like making myself exercise every day....I'd rather tone my arms, slim my waist and firm up my butt while sitting in a chair searching for recipes and craft projects on Pinterest....alas, that doesn't work so I sweat.  :/

What are you eating this week?  (I'm thinking about doing a photo journal of my meals this week-I am that excited about them)  :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Heard this week....

We went grocery shopping on Monday.  Car time is a time when we often hear things...funny things....from the mouths of our children.  Monday was no exception.

M:  "Mom, when I grow up should I be a bull rider, a mad scientist, or work in a lame-o office?"
Me:  "Well, I don't think bull rider is a great job choice for you.  I think you make a fabulous scientist but if you work in an office and provide for your family that is totally cool too"
M:  "I think I'll invent an invisible jet pack."
Me; "Mmm hmm"
M: (clearly talking to himself at this point)  "I could be a superhero"  ......long pause.....
        "Gonna need that jet pack."

I. did. not. laugh.  (which is proof that you do not need an invisible jet pack to have superpowers)  ;)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Keepin it real....

So the last several days have been anything but normal....My parents took all the kids to an indoor water park Thursday and Friday of last week.  Then we had the weekend.  Sunday we missed church thanks to more winter weather.  Monday we HAD to get groceries or risk starvation (ok, that may not be exactly true but close enough) and then karate.  Tuesday we had our normal day of volunteering and music lessons.  And finished it up with night school.  Night school is very very very rare around here but we had some catching up to do.  That is SIX days of no regular school hours.  Holy cow is that crazy!

So today we are back to school.  In a big way.  And it is HARD!  It is always hard after a break but wow!  Plus we got MORE snow last night, which gives my kids ants in their pants.

School usually starts at 9 here.  We spend 30 minutes per subject.  Bible/Awana, then Science, then 30 minutes of seatwork, then social studies, and another 30 minutes of seatwork.  After lunch the kids get to play for a while before naps and quiet reading.  (Seatwork is any subject that they can do primarily on their own with little bits of help from me - math, handwriting, phonics, etc).  Then we are home free and they can play as they wish.

  This is what today looked like.

9:00 - Bible and Awana.  We read our Bible study and then started practicing Awana verses.  Hit meltdown on memory work by 9:15.  Put it away and tried to practice our karate form.  Dismal failure.  Gave up and started science.

9:30 - We'd been doing science for 15 minutes.  It was a pretty intense (maybe TOO intense-I may have gone overboard) science lesson with lots of writing.  M was really having trouble with all the writing.  But I still knew he could do it.  Didn't finish science till 10:15 (started 15 minutes early, finished 15 minutes late)  There were tears involved and M didn't quite finish all of his cards.  He will have to finish those later.

10:15 - seatwork.  I did G's reading lesson (I think he's finally getting it) and the others did math.  M had trouble with a few questions in that he didn't want to do them at all.  A poked around for 45 minutes but did finally finish.  M finished his science cards.

11 - we "should" be getting close to wrapping up and making lunch.  It is clear we will not finish before lunch.  Still have social studies and spelling (for A).  Give up and make lunch.

12 - really want to do social studies but it is clear focus is no better because the snow is calling.  Let them go out and play.  G can't find his coverall bibs.  Most of all their gloves are missing.  They all have homes where they are supposed to be.  M yells at me that he needs his gloves.  I go bat crap crazy because I am unable to conjure gloves out of thin air and I don't know what he expects me to do.  He finally settles for the little lightweight gloves (yes I know his hands are going to be cold but again....I don't know what I am supposed to do).  While they are outside, I clean the laundry room and the library up (hoping to find gloves or bibs-woodstove is in the library so we dry wet clothes in there).  No luck.

1 - everyone comes back in and is practicing their instruments.  I realize I am still in my pajamas and have not yet brushed my teeth.  Last night's dishes (and all those dirtied since then) are piled in the sink.  Meh, whatever.  Its time for L to take a nap.  Take her potty and get a book or two to read.  Send the others to their beds for rest/quiet reading (they take how to draw books and enough paper to kill a forest of trees).  After L is in bed make them lay in their beds quietly since we've been at melt down pretty much all day.  Pray they fall asleep.

1:30 - L is sleeping.  M and G are close and A is reading quietly in his room with instructions to stay in there.  This is where my day gets challenging for me.  I have dishes to do, laundry to fold, my bedroom needs picked up, and any number of other things need done.  Plus I'd really like to make some healthy snacks since there really aren't any in the house right now.  I am also part of a fitness challenge with a group of friends...and need to fit my workout in sometime today.  Today it is only 20 minutes...but I risk waking the kids up while I do it.  So what do I choose?  Today, the workout ranks first.  And I'll try to not make a bunch of noise.

1:30-2:15 - workout-done ; shower-done ; teeth - brushed. (YAY!).  Oh and I'm dressed....kinda.  I put on clean pajamas.  That totally counts.  A and M start asking to come out of their rooms rather than read quietly in them.  I know they are big (10 and 8).  But I NEED down time in the afternoon or angry Hulk mom appears (she's already ducked in once today).  I am not asking them to sleep.  Just stay in their own spaces and do something quietly.  That's all.  When they come out, they talk, they fight, they laugh.  Then they wake up their sister who cries, and screams, and whines.  Quiet time is just a part of our day.  Frankly, we all need a little space apart from each other....

2:30 - A and M are up playing nicely (yes I caved - lets hope the nicely playing lasts).  Folded the laundry.  It is now in piles on the library floor.  Lets hope it gets put away before it gets kicked over and has to be folded again.  Socks are thrown in a laundry basket.  I HATE sorting socks.  Maybe I'll pay the boys to do those.

3:00 - Boys are "playing Battleship".  Which seems a lot louder than it should be.  This is when I start craving an afternoon snack....but since I haven't had a chance to make anything (I'm not blowing all this working out on junkie snacks), I don't know what to eat.  Oh, that reminds me.  I forgot to get the burger out of the freezer for dinner tonight.  Great.  Melted some peanut butter to dip a banana in....L woke up and now I'm busted with my snack.  Eat all sneaky in the kitchen. Totally did not enjoy it.

3:15 - Finally getting to social studies.  And spelling.

4:10 - finished with school.  FINALLY!  And I only yelled one more time so we could get spelling done. :/  I should totally do the dishes and start on supper....but I'm gonna play on pinterest for a while and beg the King to do the dishes for me. (it worked....he washed the dishes for me....he ROCKS!)

5:15- dinner is served.  Shepherd's Pie. 1 of 4 kids ate it.

5:30 - I actually did tonight's dishes but the King is making puppy chow for movie watching tonight (way to sabotage my eating babe-and I still don't have any healthy snacks so I KNOW I'll eat some)  so I will still wake up with a sink of dirty dishes.  Whatever.  I'm done for the night.  Gonna print some music and practice my guitar.

5:30b  Except the computer screwed up so I didn't get the music printed fast enough....they are done with the puppy chow and ready to start a I don't have time to practice.  Nice.

It is pretty clear things do not always go as planned in our home.  I think there is perception of homeschooling families that one of two things are true.  1) the kids (and mom) mess around all day and no one really learns/does anything.  2) they are this super family where everyone gets along and sticks to the plans and it all comes up roses.  And, in truth, we all just do the best we can with the day/attitudes/personalities we have going on in our home....just like any other family.