Thursday, January 29, 2015

Let the Teenage Years Begin...

At 6:01 this morning, this young lady turned 13! Yikes! Where have these years flown away to? In the blink of an eye she has gone from a precious little bundle the nurses placed in my arms to a beautiful young woman on the verge of amazing things!

Happy Birthday, Lillian!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Classical Conversations Week 13

I have meant to post updates each week for what we do for Classical Conversations, but that has proven to be harder than you can imagine.

So I start again this semester and we will see how far we get.

We missed our community day for week 13 due to illness--a lot of illness in the form of a stomach bug.  I had it Monday/Tuesday, Alexander had it Wednesday (luckily his was minor!), Camille had it Thursday/Friday, and Alex and Lillie had it Saturday/Sunday and were still in the bed for part of Monday.  My in-laws even caught it too. It was horrible and I pray it is gone!

Camille and I tried to do some things before it hit her and after she was better while cleaning up messes and caring for sick people.  I did discover the one thing that seems to require more time than anything around here--feeding people! Needless to say we did not feel like eating much last week and I don't think I cooked at all.  I cannot tell you how much time I had even after cleaning up throw-up, fixing people Gatorade and crackers, and playing outside with Alexander so we could escape the germs.
Anyway, for history we simply memorized our sentence.  I had hoped to do more, but simply knowing the 14th Amendment made all former slaves U.S. citizens was enough for me.  I did check out a book that Camille is supposed to read and we started on Bud, Not Buddy as a read aloud.

For science this semester we have started studying about atoms, molecules, elements, and the periodic table.  This week we learned what atoms and molecules are.  Camille read a book on atoms, we thumbed through another book to see how molecules are formed, and she watched a video.  Then we got to the fun stuff.

She made different molecules out of toothpicks and gumdrops.  Science with candy is always fun.  She also used an orange, toothpicks, and gumdrops to make positive or negative atoms.  We pretended the seeds of the orange were the protons/neutrons and I would tell her how many there were and whether I wanted a positive or negative atom.  She would have to put the correct number of electrons on the outside.

We also did an experiment that they had done in class that illustrated there are pockets of space between water molecules.  We filled up a measuring cup with one cup of water and added blue food coloring.  We then measured a cup of rubbing alcohol in another cup and poured it into our blue water.  Instead of having 2 cups total, the liquid measured slightly less than 2 cups due to the pockets of space.

We played our Latin matching game to help pound in the vocabulary we have been learning all year.  The end product will be Camille reciting John 1:1-7 in English and Latin.  This is a fun way to practice.

For art over the next six weeks we will be talking about American artists.  This week was Grandma Moses.  We read a short biography and discussed a few things about her before Camille tried her hand at painting like Moses. She painted from the "top to bottom" so the sky first, then mountains or hills, then houses, etc. 

We were lucky to get to these projects, and did little else other than review our information.  We started working on a paper about Thomas Jefferson for our Essentials class, but only got through part of it.  I am not too worried since it really is more about her learning the process of doing a multi-source paper than on the finished product.  We will try to finish that over the next break we have since this week we add another step in the process with a different topic.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Pumpkin Patch 2014


Well I keep finding drafts in my posts section and realize that I forgot to finish up a few things from the fall.

We typically go to the Grand Ole Pumpkin Patch each year.  We drive several hours both ways just to enjoy something we have been doing since Camille was tiny.  This year they were closed for some reason so we had to do something different.  October was a crazy month so we ended up just visiting a local church that has a big patch to raise money for missions.

It was not nearly as fun as what we are used to, but it worked.  Hopefully next year we will be able to head back to our favorite one!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Callaway Gardens

I didn't post this in Thanksgiving for some reason, but on our way to Asheville we stopped for the night at Callaway Gardens.  It had been several years since our last Christmas visit and so we felt it was a good way to split up a very long drive with a small toddler!

It was VERY cold, but as beautiful as ever.

The pictures of the girls did not turn out.

The next day we went to the butterfly center before getting back on the road.

 For all you How to Train Your Dragon fans, this one reminded us of Toothless.

Farewell!  See you again soon!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

What Alexander Loves

I have not done a great job of keeping you all apprised of Alexander and what he has been up to during his short life.

He is pushing 17 months now and into everything. But in a good, boyish, curious way.

He is a whopping 26ish pounds and stands over 3 feet tall when you can get him still enough to measure.

I love that boy.  I am dead tired by 10:00am 4:00pm, but I love watching him figure out the world around him.  I can sometimes just imagine what is going on in that brain of his!

This is just a short list of some of Alexander's favorite things.

He loves his sisters!  I will tell him to go knock on Lillie's door or Camille's door and he runs down the hall and knocks.  I love to see him bring them a book and lift his arms for them to pick him up and read. They are an invaluable help to me and they love him just as much as he loves them!

He loves to sweep.  Since he was about a year old and could stand, he has tried to use the big broom.  My mom finally brought him a smaller one and he likes to carry it around.  I know I will be able to use this to my advantage soon!

Alexander loves a good book.  His favorites are But Not the Hippopotamus and really any Sandra Boynton books, all Curious George books, No, David! by David Shannon, Miss Spider Patch books, and a book about colors that he has loved since he was little.


We are reading No, David! 
(Please ignore the loud scream at the end of this.  It was the middle child being crazy.)

He loves Curious George.  My brother and his family got him this stuffed George for Christmas and Alexander loves on it so sweetly. 

He loves the piano.  We think he may be a prodigy.  Or more likely not, but just a kid who likes to hit on the keys...

He loves to be outside.  Like Lillie, that was one of his first recognizable words.  We try to oblige him whenever we can, but it has sure been hard with all the bad weather and sickness we have had.  I am hoping more sunny days are coming (I don't care if they are cold!) and less yuckiness so he can enjoy the great outdoors. He loves to walk down the street, or even better, have Camille pull him in the wagon. He really has those sisters wrapped around his little finger!

He loves a ball.  Or really anything he can throw. Which these days is anything he picks up. So you have been warned if you come over!

Since he was about nine months old he has been able to say the sounds for A and M.  I know that seems far-fetched, but we actually taught him those since they are his initials and he learned them, which surprised us. Since then we have tried other letters, but it's still just those two. He will point to an A when he sees one and make the sound.  Or an M. Or he will pick up the corresponding block when we tell him to find the A or the M. Imagine how much he loves our M wall in the foyer.

He loves to be a ham! And I guess most kids do, but he seems extra cheesy at times! And super cute all of the time!

So what do I love most about Alexander?  The qualities are too numerous to name!  His smile, his kisses, whether blown or given on the cheek, his curls, his funny looks, his sweet nature, his desire to clean up after himself (lets hope he keeps that up!), his sense of humor, the way he loves on his sisters, and so much more!

This boy is definitely a keeper!

His latest trick that we caught on camera is walking backwards and it gets a chuckle from us anytime we see him do it!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

So, What Is "Eating from the Pantry?"

The other day I told my mother that we were not buying too many groceries since we were eating from the freezer and pantry.  I strongly encouraged her to do the same, maybe for more than one month.

She asked me what it meant to eat from the pantry.  I tried to explain that unless it was milk, eggs, fruits, or veggies, we pretty much make do with what we have in the pantry or fridge. It is not eating those meals that we have intentionally put up for later (unless you really have to), but mainly using up those things you have forgotten about long ago. I like to try to see just how bare my shelves can look by the end because I love to use up all those last little bits of things lurking in the depths of my freezer.

I went on to tell her some of what we had eaten.  One morning we used the almost trashcan ready bananas for banana muffins. One night I used frozen squash that I had cooked and put away a couple of years a little while ago to make squash dressing that was delicious! We paired it with leftover Lima beans we had in the fridge and salmon patties that used up a jar of pesto and two stale pieces of bread that were in the fridge.

Another night we had some kidney beans that had been frozen for meals and paired it with sausage for red beans and rice.  I kept out some of the sausage and the next morning made biscuits with cream that needed to be used.  We had yummy sausage biscuits. For lunch one day we used a bag of cooked rice I had frozen, a fourth of a bag of frozen (for a while) mixed veggies, a half bag of frozen shrimp, a couple of green onions that were on their last leg, a few eggs, and some spices to make shrimp fried rice which is a favorite of everyone around here.

We used up the ingredients we had bought for homemade Chex Mix and made one last batch.  We also made a batch of Sweet Chex Crunch (I'll share the recipe for that one day!) with the last little bit of cereal and a half bottle of brown rice syrup I found on a shelf.  Wait, I think we may have just enough cereal left to make a small batch muddy buddies one day! We also have just enough cream to make homemade ice cream and leftover graham crackers from our gingerbread houses to make an ice cream pie with a homemade crust.  Camille had put that on her list of desserts she wanted over the holidays and it didn't get done!

Sounds good, huh? I really wanted my mom (and you) to see that eating from the pantry is not depriving my family of anything.  (Well unless you listen to my kids who are all complaining about not having apples.  I figure they can eat the ripe bananas first!) But it's really about getting creative and cleaning out those things that sit and ruin if we are not intentional about finishing them up. I won't bore you with statistics of how much food we waste, but it is a staggering number.  This is my meager attempt to shrink that number at least at my house!

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Look Back at Our Thanksgiving

I was getting ready to post a look back at Christmas when I realized I was one holiday behind! So here is Thanksgiving.

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know we travel each year to different places to meet up with Alex's extended family.  His very big extended family.  This was a tradition long before I became a part of the family and it is one of my favorite things each year.  Some of the places we have been include Houston, Destin, Amelia Island, the mountains of North Carolina, and this year was Asheville. 

This crowd was smaller than in years past (only about 35), but still a fun group.  I didn't get many pictures other than of Alexander at lunch and then of our visit to a nature center.

We had a great time despite the frigid temps and are already looking forward to seeing the crew next year!  Oh wait, we have a wedding in May so it may be sooner this year.