Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fun New Blog!

For a while now I've wished I could link to my friend Kristin's personal blog because she is such a good photographer and witty writer.  It's been fun to keep up with her over the last few years and see her kids grow through her blog even though we've lived a thousand miles apart.  In fact, Kristin is the genius who won the "Name my Blog" contest at the beginning of this year when I changed it from The King's Missus to Faithful Homemaking.  Well now you too can be blessed by her inspiration....she's started an open-to-the-public homeschooling blog!  Two to three times a week she chronicles the fun stuff she does with her kiddoes with lots of fun pics and ideas for crafts, snacks, books, etc.  If you want fun ideas to do with littles, even if you don't technically homeschool them, this is a great blog for you to check out!

Add it to your Favorites today!

Lifelong Lessons

Homeschooling is FUN!

The kids love to do puppet shows in the pop-up tent

We made some clay pots and scrolls of Scripture to go in them.
Painting snake squash and pumpkins from Grammy's garden.

Our "Space Age" ant farm.  Someone had given us the brand-new kit in a box of hand-me-downs and we gave it a try, collecting our own ants.  However, it didn't seem to work so well, so I may order a batch of ants and try again.

Ants on a log

Sometimes the Dollar Store has the cutest crafts for homeschooling.  This bug kit, which contained all the materials to make 3 large bugs, was only $1.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall Food

 When I had a mountain of zucchinni in my kitchen thanks to friends and family, I wasn't sure how to use it all.  I asked my facebook friends for tips.  In addition to serving some sauteed and making a quadruple batch of chocolate zuke bread, I processed about 20 C. in the food processor and froze it for future baking.  One friend suggested I freeze some in ice cube trays to be added to smoothies and sauces for an extra boost of nutrition.  What a great idea!
 Apple Ladder Loaf is one of the tastiest things I've ever made!  Mmmmmm!
Ali and I made 4 loaves in the week following our trip to the orchard for various social functions and everyone agreed that it was amazing stuff!
 I wanted to try making pumpkin-shaped rolls but I had never done it before.  I discovered that adding food coloring to the dough is very difficult, especially when you have a huge double batch of dough to work with.  I used my favorite, tried-and-true roll recipe.  My cousin suggested that next time instead of using food coloring I should try adding juiced carrots to the liquid part of the dough in place of some of the water or milk.  I took a small part of dough and dyed it green to make stems with and since I had extra I made a few "zucchinni rolls."  Next time I think I'll try making actual pumpkin roll dough for pumpkin-shaped rolls! 

Fall Fun

Field Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

                                                                         Raking Leaves

Field Trip to the Apple Orchard

The Zucchinni Fest at my Mom's church was fun!  We dressed up a zucchinni like a baby.  My mom won the biggest zucchinni award (10#, 11oz.) and also tied for first place in the dessert category with her delicious zucchinni brownies.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Using this recipe (though I used some whole wheat flour and some cane sugar instead of all white flour and white sugar) I decided to try making hamburger buns one night for our BLT's.  They turned out so tasty that I will have to start making them in bulk and freezing!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Progress on Prep for Baby List

I've had some people tell me my list looks like their list on steroids, or that it's intimidating or amazing to them that I can get all of this done pre-baby.  But this was just a goal sheet and you'll see by reading over my progress that I have not fulfilled some of my goals or have re-worked them based on real life happenings.  I have had over 10 weeks to accomplish all of it so by taking it in little tiny chunks, anyone could do this and more!  My daily life as a homeschooling mom and taking care of sick children is much more busy than checking off the tasks on this list!


*Throw a "Preggo Party" for all of my pregnant friends to come over one night and work on a craft for their baby-on-the-way.
Update:  Didn't happen due to the chickenpox hitting in September since no one wanted to come to my house for a month.  Also, my preggo friends were so busy and had family trips and things going on that most of them delivered before I was able to schedule something in mid-October.  But, 3 of us due in October did have a wonderful time eating desserts and chatting about all things pregnancy one evening at one of their homes so we still got our Pregnancy Ladies' Night!

*Throw Justus a "semi-truck birthday" party in 2 weeks for his second birthday.

*Throw Jeremiah a "snake birthday" in mid-September, 2 months before his real, 4th birthday.
Update:  Purchased some party favors and have the snake cake idea in mind but decided with all the busy-ness of October that Mama will feel more like having the party in mid-November.  Having a newborn is easier than being preggo for me, something I tend to forget when I make these lists!

*Have at least 30 meals in the freezer. My plan was:


Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole-2

Chicken Brocolli Rice Casserole-4

Homemade Frozen Pizza Kits-3

Roast Beef and Mashed Potatoes-2

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup in the Crockpot-3

Green Chili Burritos-4

Tuna Casserole-3


Plowman's Share-2

Update:  The freezer we had in storage for 5 years apparently no longer works.  So, my grand ideas of filling a deep freeze completely up are not to be.  We are looking to buy a used deep freeze soon, but for now, my fridge freezer is going to have to do, and after squeezing in 18 meals, 7 desserts, some bags of rolls, some smoothie ingredients, my husbands' "essential food" aka ice-cream, there is no more room for frozen meals.  But 18 dinners should get me pretty far since I may receive meals from the church as well and even 2.5 weeks off from cooking will be great!
Here's what's in my freezer based on what I could squeak out of my budget and what I could make with what was on sale:
Chili x2
Tuna Casserole x2
Chicken Enchiladas x1
Potato Soup x1
Wild Rice Soup x3
Lasagna x2
Green Chili Chicken on Brown Rice x2
Bean Burrito Enchiladas x2
Spaghetti Bake x3

*Have 5-10# of cooked hamburger frozen in .75# bags for tacos, pizza, nachos, etc.
So far done:  3# of cooked turkey frozen in small portions for tacos, nachos, casseroles, etc.

*Make up lots of homemade dry mixes (pancake, waffle, pizza dough, cookie, wheat bread, taco seasoning, cream soup mix, etc.)
So far done:  11 whole wheat pancake mixes made up thanks to this incredible recipe I recently discovered!

*Stock the cupboards with crackers, granola bars, nuts, etc.   I wish I could have stocked more, but I only had so much to spend on my last Walmart run before the baby comes so it will have to do.  We are definitely stocked on all-fruit jam, honey, peanut butter, apple butter (I made from apples we picked for free), and baking ingredients.

*Freeze some cookie dough or cookies, muffins, zucchini bread, and butterhorn rolls.

*Buy a few months' supply of toilet paper, Clorox wipes, kleenex, and baby wipes and have plenty of laundry soap made up. Have a month's worth of paper plates ready.

*Buy the kids a little gift to help them feel special with the event of a new baby.  Found some plastic bowie knives for the boys and a ribbon twirler for Ali at the Dollar Tree and stuck them in my hospital bag.  Cheap, but I know the kids will like them a lot and it will be something fun to play with while they adjust to the new sibling.

*Sew Katrielle a minky blanky set. Got the purple minky fleece new at a yard sale (3 yards for $3) and plan to make her a "ducky" blankie just like her brothers have, with an extra, just like they have, for keeping in the closet for when the current one is dirty, lost, etc.
So far:  Should be able to finish those this week.  They only take 30 minutes each (if that) to make!

*Choose a middle name for our daughter.   And it's a secret until she comes!

*Have a homeschooling routine in place and the fall semester planned out for Ali regarding goals, school lessons, field trip plans, homeschool swimming schedule, etc.

*Borrow lots of childrens' movies from friends so we won't be borrowing them the library and having to remember to return them on time in the tiring post-birth days.
So far:  Found a friend with tons of DVDs and already asked her if I could borrow some.  Now all I need to do is go get them some evening.

*Rotate my kids' clothing from summer clothing to fall/winter and unpack the hats/mittens/gloves and store in the storage downstairs for when the snow flies. Store summer clothing in boxes in the garage or shed.

*Make or purchase cute thank-you cards to have on hand in case we get baby presents or meals from folks, etc. Dollar Tree has some really cute and inexpensive stationary!
So far:  Have collected some, but would like to make some cute, hand-made ones if I get the chance.

*Birthday cards ready to mail for friends and relatives with fall birthdays and gifts done, wrapped, and sent out to MN in advance with my in-laws for my nephews', sis-in-law's, and father-in-law's birthdays.

*If 30 week ultrasound reveals that a C-section is still probable, borrow 3 books through inter-library loan on C-section advice and recovery and read prior to my surgery.
Update:  We're now planning on a regular delivery thanks to my placenta coming upward as my belly grew.  I had a complete previa, with only a 10% of it moving, so everyone was amazed that it did, including me!  So, my mentality had to shift quite a bit from C-section mode to regular delivery and all that entails (many nights of sleeplessness, hard contractions, not knowing when I'll deliver, not getting to go early, not knowing exactly when to line up childcare, a super-long labor, etc.) but we are thankful for this turn of events.

*While I still have plenty of time after baby comes for Christmas shopping and Christmas newsletter/baby announcement, I may plan out a list of Christmas gift ideas for family members and start my Christmas newsletter.
So far done:  Have a list in my calendar/planner of gift ideas for the kids and some relatives.  Have the Christmas letter half-written in my head.

*Bug Josiah to make me a stool that Justus can use to climb into his crib by himself in the event that I have a C-sec.
Not applicable anymore.  But I am bugging him to help me get the yard cleaned up and fixed up and raked up before baby since he's finished painting the house.

*Tentatively plan childcare for our older 3 when we are in the hospital for baby's birth. Discuss with my mom whether or not she will take off of work to watch the kids or attend the birth. Discuss with my husband how many days off he will have and what we will do for post-birth help if our moms aren't available and I'm recovering from surgery.    Since it's no longer a C-section, my mom will be watching the birth just as she did with Justus.  Then she will take care of the kids here at our home for the first night when we are with baby in the hospital.  Lining up childcare has been one of the hardest things for me to do!  I found places for the two older kids to go right away but it is always so hard for me to leave my "baby" with someone.  (I miss my buddy Shiloh!)  I also don't want to burden friends of mine who all either work or have lots of kids of their own to care for whom they drive to school and activities, etc.  So, I'm still working out the details for where Justus will go but have a couple trustworthy folks we are hoping to call.

*Read through our Miracle of Life book often with the kids so they will understand better how a baby lives in utero and discuss the changes that will come to our family with a newborn's arrival.     Really hoping Ali doesn't go tell everyone she knows what she's learned in recent days ever since she asked the question, "How will the baby get out?" and got a fairly accurate, but still very vague, explanation from her Mama!

*Have the guest beds all made up and rooms ready just in case we have unexpected company.
Need to get this done as my mom, and possibly my aunt too, will need a bed if they come help with the kids while we are in the hospital.

*Start the pages for Katrielle's scrapbook and finish Justus' last two pages on his baby book.
So far:  Working on organizing digital photo files so I can order the pics for Justus' album and finish it.  I'm about 6 months behind on organizing my photos, which for someone who takes pics constantly, like me, means thousands of photos to sort!

*Set up our second monitor so I can speak to the kids downstairs when I am upstairs as well as hearing them downstairs. (Can you tell I'm trying to avoid the stairs more?)  Did it, but found out it doesn't work as well as I'd hoped so I tend to just run up and down the stairs to get the kids.  But since previa is no longer an issue, the exercise is good for me and might produce contractions! =)

*Put kid bowls and cups in a lower cabinet and train Ali and Jer to be able to set the table for every meal and snacks too.

A few weeks before Katrielle comes:

*Wash the carseat carrier and swing out and get carseat loaded into the back of the van.

*Pack diaper bag and hospital bag.

*Wash bassinet linens and blankets one more time.

*One last decluttering of the toys downstairs and kids' clothing so we have less clutter to manage when baby comes.

*Buy lots of batteries for the camera.

Already Done as of Making this List:

*Diaper stash for the first few months Thanks to my friend Tracy who gave me lots of diapers her daughter outgrew too quickly and a great Amazon sale on diapers.

*Baby clothes newborn-5T are sorted, and all the 0-6 month stuff is ready and washed and folded!  Can we say SPOILED!  We have gotten soooo many hand-me-downs that are like-new and brand new and I had lots of cute dresses saved from Ali so she will be one well-dressed baby!

*Bassinet, changing table, and clothes set up in our bedroom

*Asked every friend I know who had a C-section to give me tips and share their experiences

*Taught Ali how to get Justus out of his crib in the mornings and bring him up to breakfast.  Update:  He climbs out of his crib himself so he and Jer come up when they wake up, usually while we're having breakfast.

*Kids can get themselves drinks of water, thanks to a fancy fridge with water/ice option

*Organized all Christmas decorations and things in the garage so it will be a snap to decorate for the holidays, even with a new baby.
One thing I tend to forget is that life will go on after a baby, and will even be MUCH BETTER when I no longer feel the pain of pubic bone displacia, my umbilical hernias, my night-time nausea, extreme exhaustion, etc.  I appreciated what Julie wrote to me in the comments after I first posted this goal list:
"Just remember that 4th kid doesn't mean that the world (or your part in it) really isn't that much harder than three!"
Spoken by a mom who works some night shifts as a nurse, homeschools, runs triatholons, and just had her fourth baby in January!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Little Table

This little round table was $10 at a yard sale.  In the past, we've lived in homes that were so tiny I couldn't possibly have squeezed in an extra like this.  It is perfect in the corner of our dining room where I can display candles, seasonal decorations (like a Nativity set or Jesse Tree) or plants and herbs.  A week ago, it was the perfect place to put my quadruple batch of whole wheat bread dough in a warm, sunny place to rise.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Chicken Pox Tips

Last week, exactly two weeks from the time Jeremiah got the pox, Alathia and Justus finally broke out with them.  Thankfully a couple of nurses had told us the week before that there would be a 14 day incubation period so in the week we were waiting for the pox to come, we were able to attend Homeschool Swimming every morning and do some playdates without being contagious to other children.  Then we isolated our children again and waited a few days for them to break out and then had another week of isolation as they got over them.
Instead of buying oatmeal bath solutions, just take 2 C. of oatmeal, mix with a couple of cups of water and microwave for 2 minutes.  Then spoon the oatmeal into an old nylon sock or section of pantyhose and throw in the bathwater.  This amount will make 3 or 4 and I kept them in a ziploc in the fridge until we needed them.  I let my kids play with the oatmeal ball because the more they squeezed it in the tub, the more soothing oatmeal mush came out of it into the water!  We also did a lot of baking soda baths too.  I would dump half of a box of Arm and Hammer into the tub of warm water.  A month ago a guy who sells Baking Soda and Laundry Detergent gave my dad a case of the stuff for free and Josiah got to bring home a bunch of those freebies from work so we have tons of baking soda on hand.

Justus got the worst case, and was pretty uncomfortable and needy for a few days, poor guy!  Ali was the itchiest of the three but I found that allowing her to play lots of computer games and to skip school and watch a few movies a day was the way to keep her distracted from the itch.  I used Children's Tylenol for the fevers and Children's Benadryl to help control the worst of the itch so they could sleep.  Justus got 4 baths a day for his worst couple of days.  It wasn't fun to see my little people miserable, but in retrospect, it went by in the blink of an eye and they were feeling great and energetic again in just a few days. 

Other survival tips:

Have your hubby bring home Pizza Hut on your worst day--a blessing for the tired Mama and a blessing for the kids who rarely, if ever, get to eat out and love pizza!

Popsicles, ice cream bars, ice-cream, and icy drinks were a hit with my kiddoes

I bought some snacks we don't usually have on hand, like Jell-O cups, pudding cups, juice boxes and fruit snacks.

Fruits and applesauce were good snacks throughout the day too.

I tried tea tree oil and Calamine Lotion on the spots, and though lots of people say tea tree oil is amazing, it didn't seem to work for us.  Calamine really soothed the itch for them so we applied it a few times a day after baths.  My little girl would writhe and complain that the lotion was too cold so I would heat a little water in a small glass bowl in the microwave, then dump the water out and pour a little Calamine in.  The hot bowl would warm the Calamine and I'd apply their pink "paint" with a cotton ball.

My mom was a sweetheart and brought little things by almost every day for the kids.  Balloons one day, bubbles the next, and supper for us one night.  It was very thoughtful and helpful and the kids enjoyed being spoiled, to the point that whenever she pops by the house now they say, "What did you bring us?"
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