Monday, October 31, 2011

He lost a tooth!

K-man finally lost his 4th tooth and a 5th barely hanging on.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cooler Weather and School

My favorite thing about the start of cooler weather is that we have more time to homeschool. We always try to start the school year early because we take lots of breaks to visit family or have family visit us. I also find it's always hard to keep the kids indoors when the weather is so nice so we take breaks quite often. I'm glad that I have the freedom to send my kids outside after doing a few subjects when it's beautiful outdoors, because I know when it turns colder we'll have plenty of time to catch up. This week it's been cooler and we've been putting in some full days of school.

 We're using My Father's World again this year and loving it. We are doing Countries and Cultures with K-man and 1st grade with K-girl. K-man's starting with the US and  Canada is next week. The kids can hardly wait to get their passports next week. I'm having K-man do all the assignments and the girls get to do all the "fun" things.

Working on a puzzle together.

 All done! I got this puzzle at a PE convention I went to in Boston with my mom. I lost one of the states while I was teaching middle school in Missouri, but the kids still love putting this puzzle together.

 K-sis is sooooo excited that she is learning to read. She's got all her at words down P-A-T. She's using some scrabble letters I got from my mom that she used in her P.E. class before she retired.

 All four K's at the table. The little girls are playing with dry erase markers, K-man is doing language arts and K-girl is doing some site word work.

Working hard!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

We love FOSS!

Anyone who knows my family well, knows that growing up we lived at the pool. My brother and I used to spend all afternoon at the pool each summer when we lived in NE and my mom taught swim lessons for the Red Cross. When we moved to KS we took lessons every summer, then taught lessons and worked as life guards during the summers.

You may also know that I'm pretty frugal and I hate to spend money on something that I know I can do myself. SO...knowing that I am quite capable of teaching kids to swim I really wanted to teach my own kids. Just think $40/kid for a week of lessons and I have 4 kids. $$$$$ Well, after we moved to MN, I signed K-man and K-girl up for lessons that first summer. Group lessons went okay, but I hated to spend $80 and watch a high school kid start lessons five minutes late and end five minutes early. The kids also spend most of the time clinging to the wall while they waited their turn, which left me frustrated. This meant that for two summers we didn't do any swim lessons besides having Nana Kristi teaching them one or two days when we swam in KS.

This fall my father offered to pay for lessons for our oldest three kiddos. I spent some time researching options and after I had two friends tell me about FOSS swim lessons and how wonderful they were, I knew we had to try them out. They are more expensive than lessons at the YMCA, but SO WORTH IT!

The lessons were held at the Athletic Republic training center in town. They have a small endless swim pool that has wonderful, heated water just perfect for kids. Each kid had an individual lessons for 4- 30 min. sessions. I was amazed at how she had my middle girls putting their faces in the water after just a few minutes.

 K-girl showing off her back float.


 K-sis back floating while giving a rubber duck a ride on her forehead. She is very insecure in the water so to watch her relax on her back was amazing!

 K-sis using her "monkey cheeks" while kicking. The instructor had the kids puff out their cheeks like monkeys so they wouldn't inhale water through their noses while swimming.

 K-man was floating on his own by the end of the first lesson.

 K-man practicing his rhythmic breathing and arm strokes.

 K-baby had to get in on the action too! It was still warm this week so this was how she dressed to get to swim lessons. You gotta love those ruby red slippers.

 K-baby kicking in the water.

K-baby practicing her kicking while sitting on the island (foam board). She loved making the ducks race through the water with her kicks.

Thank you Papa Tom and Nana Kristi for providing swim lessons for the kids!!! We are definitely going to have the kids do more lessons before summer arrives.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

K-man's First Duck

K-man shot his first duck this morning with Shawn. Boy was daddy proud!!!

K-man with his Coot and Shawn with a hen Mallard.

showing off the wing

K-man posing with his Coot and his new youth model 410 that Papa Bruce bought him for duck hunting. This kid now has his own arsenal of three guns.

It would have been even better if they'd been able to take Abby, but she just got two stitches in her chest yesterday and can't swim in the water for 10 days. This was her third visit to the vet in the past two weeks. Hopefully, she will be healthy for the rest of the winter because they were starting to give us a frequent visitor's discount at the vet office.

Nana and Papa Cook (part 2)

We always manage to squeeze in lots of fun activities while my parents are visiting. I remembered to bring my camera to most of the things we did, but I didn't manage to get any pictures of bowling. The kids had a blast and I'm pretty sure some of them even beat me.

On Saturday after we went to the Apple open house at Meadow Farm Foods (and had tons of free yummy food samples) we drove up to Detroit Lakes. While up there we visited some camp sites my parents might stay at next summer. We also managed to stop at two different parks along the lake. It was cold, but beautiful.

 Park along the lake at Pelican Rapids.

 There were hundreds of Coots swimming right by the edge of the lake.

 I love my parents!

 Don't forget we picked produce on Sunday! My mom helped me wash all the onions and get them in the freezer. I gave LOTS of the produce away to friends, but I still have some more to process.

On Monday morning we had a field trip to the Prairie Wetlands with the WATCH homeschool group that we are involved in. We had enough kids for three groups so Papa Tom and I went with the little two girls and Nana went with the older two K-kids in the middle group.
 Papa Tom, K-sis and K-baby listening to Theresa tell us what colors we might see on our adventure. I was amazed that we were able to find pink, purple and red this late in the year.

 Watching the Canada Geese fly right over our heads and land in one of the ponds.

 When we walked over the floating bridge we stopped to see what we could find in the water. We saw some Duck Shrimp and a Boatman bug in the water.

 The kids also took parts of some cattail and blew the seeds in the wind. The kids were covered in cattail fluff and smiling from ear to ear.

 K-sis with her milkweed seed.

 Papa and K-baby walking on the trail. You can see the Prairie Wetland facilities in the background. They have some amazing buildings here.

 K-sis hugging a tree. The kids were also looking for things that were smooth and rough.

 While looking for all the different colors on our walk the group to a break to hide in the tall prairie grass.

 I found them!

 K-sis had a blast.

 Looking down an animal hole that we found on the trail. Theresa was kind enough to remind the kids that we don't stick hands down any holes.

We had a great time. I don't think Nana took her camera so I didn't get any pictures of the big kids. They spent their time looking for invertebrates. After our field trip finished up we rushed over to Viking Cafe to meet Shawn for lunch and have some delicious meatballs. Then went on to swim lessons for the big three kids which will have to be another post by itself.

We even managed to squeeze in many games of marbles, Battleship, Connect Four, Candy Land and some puzzles. I think K-man was the marbles champion, he kept beating everyone he played.

I am so thankful that God gave Shawn and I both loving parents who are willing to travel long distances to come and visit us! I love that they can stay for a week at a time (maybe more after they retire??) and spoil our kids!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Enjoying Nana and Papa Time

My parents were finally able to travel up North to visit us. After driving for 12 hours my parents arrive at about 1 o'clock in the morning on Thursday. The kids were so excited on Thursday morning when they woke up Nana and Papa were both waiting for them!

Nana had to give out presents right away. She gave each of the kids a new tennis racquets. Of course we had to go and use them right away so we went to Broadway Park to try them out.

 Nana and the K-kids with their new racquet's.

 Papa, K-girl, K-man and Nana playing doubles. K-man was really good!

 K-sis loved pushing the ball on the ground with her racquet.

 K-baby talked Papa into going over to the park.

 We are so thankful for this beautiful smile!

 Papa and K-sis trying out the merry-go-round.


 Nana Kristi

 K-baby trying out the duck.

 The whole crew at the park. You gotta love it when they won't smile cause it's too sunny.

 K-baby is always trying out the dangerous parts of the park. She's got to keep up with all her siblings.

 K-baby and Nana Kristi

 Trying out their new racquets with Nana in the backyard with our badminton net.

On Saturday our health food store had an open house to celebrate MN apples.  On our way to the store we stopped off to take a short hike at a local park.
 Hiking with Nana and Papa.

 Showing Nana and Papa the "secret" swim area. It was pretty windy that day so we finally had to break out the winter gear.

 Nana Kristi

 hiking on the trail

K-man showing off his NASCAR gear. I think he'll be set for Halloween this year thanks to Papa Tom.

We love it when our parents get the chance to come up and spend some time playing with us. One of the benefits of living so far away from grandparents is that we get some great quality time when they visit for a week at a time. Nothings better than spending a whole week having fun with Nana and Papa!

I have more pictures but decided to split them into two posts.