Saturday, August 28, 2010

We're having fun in KS!

We arrived in Kansas right after midnight! The kids got up at 7:00 a.m. to play and didn't stop ALL DAY LONG!!!!

k-man bowling




K-sis bowling

K-baby's new tutu

K-man at the park

K-sis in her new tutu and slippers Nana got her.

The sandbox

Enjoying the bounce house at cousin A's house.

K-man and K-baby riding around the farm.

The girls taking turns on the tractor.

All the kids

I'm tired after one day...hopefully we can survive the whole vacation.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back to School, Homeschool that is!

I'm excited about our new school year to start tomorrow! I can hardly believe that I am going to have a 2nd grader, kindergartner, a pre-preschooler (that's what we call k-sis) and a toddler. We are hoping to iron out our schedule before we leave for a 10 day vacation to KS.

These beautiful children are the reason that I homeschool! I enjoy their innocence, inquisitiveness and even the fighting and whining. We really wanted them to form a tight family/sibling bond with each other and also provide them with a loving/christian environment in which to learn. We also didn't want to send K-man off to school right before we had K-baby. I felt like they wouldn't get the time to know each other and he would miss out on so much if he had to be gone to school all day. We don't know yet how long we will homeschool them, we are taking it a year at a time. I love it so far and homeschooling has been a wonderful fit for our family so far.

This is the area that I used to plan out all of the grand plans that I hope to accomplish this coming school year. Usually this table is covered in my crafting supplies, but I put them away for a while so I could get all my educational resources organized. We have LOTS of stuff to cover this school year!

This is our school/daily schedule. It looks intimidating, but it is really simple. Each hour of the day is broken in to 30 minute segments and each kid (and me) have tasks assigned to each square. This allows me to get to all of the subjects including preschool stuff with k-sis and playtime with K-baby. :) The kids always love it when it says play with k-baby on their school schedule.

I don't follow this schedule to a T, but it gives us a guide as we get things done during the day, keeps me on task, and also allows me to keep the kids going. They don't seem to mind me saying, "look at the schedule," when they ask if it's time for the computer.

These are some of the curriculum books that we are going to read this year. We also have additional curriculum books to cover with our school of choice co-op that I haven't bought yet. Yes, I'm a procrastinator at heart. We also have some science to finish up from last year.

We are changing stuff up a bit this year. This year K-man and K-sis are going to attend the school of choice christian co-op which meets at one of the elementary schools in town. They get to go to school on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for about 2 hours for art, p.e. and some science and history. They are focusing on American History this year which fits in perfectly with our curriculum this year, so I'm considering this enrichment.

The co-op is christian based and has two teachers for 25 kids. One of the teachers is our neighbor and our kids love playing together. Both teachers go to our church and so do a couple of the other families that I know. I'm also glad that they allow/love the parents come in to help out at any time.

Each of my "big kids" gets their own file crate. These work great because the kids know where to find their stuff, where to put it when they are done and in what order they need to complete it in. This is kind-of like a workbox system, but more compact. Their files are numbered and they work from number 1 to 10 and complete all the work that is in each file. It's not all hard work either, that red folder is for art.

So wish us luck in our school year! I'm sure all the kids are going to love their teacher and their teacher really does love them too.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

12 years and a rodeo

I have been way behind in my postings, so the rodeo and our 12th anniversary actually took place mid-August and I'm just now getting around to sharing some of the pictures.

Shawn took the older 2 k-kids to the Red Horse Ranch Arena for their annual rodeo. K-man and K-girl loved every minute and they didn't get back home until around 11 o'clock that night.
This was one of the acts. The kids were pretty excited because the guy did Roman riding (standing on the back of 2 horses while they are moving) just like Papa Bruce did when he did rodeo.

Standing in front of the stock at the rodeo.

K-man all smiles!

It is hard to believe that Shawn and I have been married for 12 years already, boy does time fly!!
Shawn and I met while running cross country at Southwestern College in Winfield, KS. We started dating a few months after we started our freshman year and were married the summer before our senior year. Never in a million years did I think we would move from dorm room, to dorm room, to rental house, to 3 different homes in 4 different states. So far we have lived our married lives in Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin and are now settled in Minnesota.
It has been an adventure all along and God has truly blessed our lives with four healthy, beautiful, wonderful children. Shawn loves his job as a biologist everyday and I have enjoyed venturing into the world of homeschooling with our kids.
Shawn planned a wonderful date for us on our anniversary, which we ended up canceling because K-baby was sick and K-sis was bit by our neighbor's dog and in the ER the night before. Luckily, the next weekend was better and we had a wonderful time on our date.
Shawn took me to a super club and then we hiked up to Inspiration Peak (one of the highest points in MN). We had a great time and enjoyed some time talking on the way there and back.

At the top!

Shawn hiking up the trail. We could see lots of lakes from the top. Our county has around a 1,000 lake in it and is beautiful to explore.

Me at the bottom of the trail. It's nice to get a picture of me every once in a while. :)
Hopefully, God will provide us with many more years together as wonderful as the first 12.

Visitors from Wisconsin

My best friend Heather came to visit all the way from WI with her two boys. It's a long ways to drive with kids (at least 8 hours), so I am grateful that she took the time to come and see us. Next time it's my turn to go that direction...4 kids...DVD player....we should be just fine. Luckily, all my kids are wonderful travelers.

We met Heather and her family right after we moved to WI. Heather was having a garage sale at her house and invited K-man and I over for a play date (hard to imagine that I only had one kid back then) and we have been great friends ever since.

Heather and K-sis working on putting vinyl on a pail.

A. and K-man riding out front.

The whole crew swimming at the lake.

After the kids spent 10 minutes gathering up toys to bring with them to the lake, I forgot to load the tote. :( But the kids were great sports and shared the one Tupperware container while trying to catch all the little blue gill that were swimming around. Who knew that blue gill LOVE cheese flavored popcorn.

the girls snuggling with their friend

Some of our stuff...You can tell we had LOTS of fun!

So, we probably wouldn't win the "best mom" award for this week, but our kids play great together and had a blast. They watched some movies, played outside, did some wii and even played some baseball with Shawn.

Heather brought her cricut cutter and some vinyl and we practiced using it in my kitchen. Now if I ever do dishes I will always think of her.

All our cards and projects...we were busy!

I can't wait until we get together again this winter sometime. It's great to have good friends and if you ever get to meet Heather you will realize that she is one in a million!!!!
I am also thankful for my wonderful husband, who after putting in a full days work, did dishes, played with kids, gave kids showers/baths and entertained the whole crew so Heather and I could play. He even took all 6 kids on a hike and to the park to play baseball one evening. I love you honey...thanks for making our week a great one. ;)

I'm falling behind

We had a busy Saturday to start off our weekend. Shawn had to work at the Prairie Wetland Center for an hour giving a wildflower tour so we decided to go too and try out all the activities.
Before we went we had a wonderful picnic at the park. There was no breeze, humid and 80 degrees. It felt really HOT, and by the end of the day we were all sweaty. We may not survive our trip to KS.
The family having a picnic at Groto Park.

Trying to feed the geese our left-over bread.

This is the big otter at the park...of course we had to climb up to take a picture.

K-baby and K-girl walking the spider web path at the nature center. They had little stations to learn about different animals. At each station they would stamp your passport and give you another part of a spider craft to make. At the end we had some homemade local honey on crackers for a prize. It was wonderful!!

K-man caught a male monarch. You can see the little sticker that they tag it with right by his finger.

This is the female monarch that K-sis caught and K-girl carried in the net. :)

K-girl's butterfly snack.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I'm thinking of becoming a vegetarian

Well maybe not, but I would have plenty of veggies to eat if I really decided to. We have been busy stocking up on veggies from our CSA share and even some free corn we got.
A few weeks ago Shawn's parents came for a quick visit and I put Bruce to work picking beans. I was glad he came because he picked a ton of beans for me and I'm sure we will be enjoying them all winter long.
Bruce (Shawn's dad), Kolsen and I picked 80 pounds of green beans at Bluebird gardens a couple of weeks ago.

These are my frozen green beans. Yvette bought a freezer saver for her apples and let me borrow it for my veggies. I definitely think this appliance will be on my Christmas list.

I canned 15 quart jars of green beans. This was my first time ever using a pressure cooker.

Canning isn't hard, but it is time consuming and has a definite learning curve. I bought a huge pressure cooking pot at Fleet Farm, only to discover it won't work on my stove. My new pot was too tall and you can't use them on a glass top stove. Since Shawn won't buy me a new gas stove to can stuff on, I have to can using our gas grill. On the plus side, this frees up my stove for blanching my veggie to freeze and it doesn't heat up our house.
Did you now that it takes 30-60 minutes to heat up a pressure cooker and then you have to cook the veggies for around an hour and THEN you have to let it cool off for 30-45 minutes. Did I mention canning was time consuming???

This is 19 dozen ears of corn :)

3 of my reasons for canning and freezing my own veggies.

Our corn shucking party, even the neighbor kids came over to help.

another picture of corn...yes those are 2 large totes

corn waiting to be frozen or canned

The final corn total: 60 pints canned corn, 10 gallon bags and 12 quart bags of frozen corn.

Last weeks CSA share (only our half)
and today is Tuesday, which means box day for our CSA and I already know we are supposed to get MORE corn. Oh boy!