Friday, May 31, 2013

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Linking to Soule Mama

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Burro's & Lake Trip

Yesterday we stayed home while hubbie had a work training, we all read quietly, our son with his Dr. Seuss books, our daughter drew and read and I read and even took a short nap. We all did some household chores then took our daughter to Ballet in the later afternoon so she could spend several hours practicing before their upcoming performance this Saturday. Today she is also practicing four hours this afternoon- hard work, but she loves every moment of it and enjoys spending time with her friends as well. Today after a morning of working in the yard, cleaning up and taking care of all of our animals, we packed up and headed to the lake before our daughters Ballet practice and before hubbie had to get into bed to sleep for work tonight.

Knowing they live in the area, but never seeing them down on the 'beach' area of the lake, today was a surprise to come across two burro's grazing in the grass right in front of our usual lake spot. They didn't even seem bothered when more people arrived as the afternoon went on.
Relaxing, resting, floating, it was a beautiful day spent together.

Hope the gorgeous weather finds you outdoors enjoying your family as well!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Homemade Bow, Cajun Vegan Meal & Homemade Syrup, Summer Reading

So far this week....
Monday was a holiday, but I'm the person working all hours when the office is closed, so Monday I worked- Worked meaning I worked from home, answered calls and took care of things when the phone rang- a few calls came in the morning but brought a quiet afternoon, unusual but I was so very thankful that even though I couldn't go anywhere it was quiet enough for me to spend much time with my family that day.

Homemade Bow & Arrows
Monday the holiday, we had a 'Robin Hood' Day- we read several stories on Robin Hood (while we are awaiting the larger classic version from the library to come in!) and watched the Disney Movie that night as well. It was amazing what terms and situations brought up discussions and intrigue. So wonderful to see children's minds at work, really analyzing a story. Both our kids were involved and interested even though it was our son whose interest sparked first about bows and arrows and Robin Hood, his sister quickly wanted to join in as well. Then after some reading we did a little research, found several bow and arrow making links online and were off to the yard to explore and find our perfect sticks. The next one we may attempt to make is a PVC pipe bow, we'll see :)

Still need to make our 'arrows' as we only used straight sticks and notched them for now, but haven't finished making them fancy or anything yet!

How to Make a Stick Bow and Arrow
PVC Pipe Bow and Arrow for Kids

Success! The kids made a goal for themselves- set up a folding chair and were determined to shoot the arrow through the hole in the chair....and the DID it! SO FUN! Even Mom took a few shots, but wasn't as good as the kids were!

Cajun Dinner and Homemade Syrup for breakfast the next morning...
Although not anything fancy, we don't usually eat cajun spiced food only because of the kids, but we went light on the spice and tried these two options out, one baked one fried.
Baked Sweet Potatoes & Cauliflower
tossed with olive oil, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic, salt & pepper to taste
Bake 400' for 30 minutes, flipping half way through
 Cajun Battered Cauliflower and Onion Rings
flour, water, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic, salt & pepper to taste 
stir to make into pancake consistent batter
Dipped Veggies in batter then fried in oil on the stove top, about 1 min on each side
 And we served the cajun veggies with a side of Dirty Rice :)

Homemade Butter Pancake Syrup
So simple, easy, love the site and all the recipes:

Butter Flavoured Pancake Syrup

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple extract
Place sugar, water and honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil one minute. Remove from heat, stir in butter, vanilla and maple extract until butter is melted. Serve immediately or cool (syrup will thicken as it cools). Store, covered, in the fridge.
Makes: 3/4-1 cup

We used earth balance soy free 'butter' and couldn't find pure maple so had to opt for imitation which I noticed other people commenting on her recipe post had used. We will be checking out other stores for some 'pure' maple extract.
 Just in case the household didn't like it, I made a small batch for the first time....
Our son put the syrup on his pancakes this morning and told me he liked this 'new' syrup MUCH better than his old!!! SUCCESS! 

Another amazing trip to the Library, Monday's are usually our shopping days, errand days, but with the holiday, we went grocery shopping yesterday, Tuesday. And with the week packed with activities of 4H, extra dance due to our daughters recital this weekend, we headed to the library yesterday as well. 
Summer Reading Program at Home
Our family has embarked on a Summer Reading program- the libraries have programs, giving kids prizes and doing fun activities but our kids wanted to come up with their own program for home. They decided that they would put together a prize bucket of sorts with little prizes they could earn weekly- our daughter picked out special color changing crayons, our son picked mini containers of bubbles, both kids wanted finger puppets then we decided that at the end of Summer we'd take another ice skating trip when their Reading program was complete.
Here is what each kid is doing for the program this Summer:
Our Daughter, 12..nearly 13years old:
Being our daughter reads daily several books, having her read a certain amount of books did not seem like anything out of the ordinary to be considered a Summer reading program- So she on her own, thought carefully about this and presented the idea, that she would read 1 new book each week, and each week she would do a book report of her choice- whether it be a written summary, a lap book, a diorama, poster board- whatever she chooses and then she would present it to the family to teach us about the book she read.
Our Son, 8years old:
Our Son, although he can read, has not up to this point enjoyed reading, it has been a struggle for him, reading only when he has to, when he is playing a game and has to read a card or instruction. When I'm reading to him and I have him help, every other sentence. Or at times he enjoys computer reading stories in which he can click on words he doesn't know.  So, he decided for himself that he would read 2 books each week for the Summer, this may sound a little amount, but any amount and being this decision was all on his own, is a huge step for him.
Our Son's books...
 Family Listening....
 Mommy Reading...

Sharing some Amazing Moments...
 At the Library our son found several Cat in the Hat books, and I reminded him we have a whole series at home as well- which excited him. He told me he was going to sit and look over the book, while I picked up our books off the hold shelf. With excitement he ran over to me several minutes later, exclaiming he had read 10 pages on his own and stated I come over quickly. Gathering my books up, I checked the time, supposed to be leaving right then to meet my husband for lunch, one thought briefly crossed my mind to tell him to gather his books and we'd read at home....but NO, my son WANTED to read NOW and that was AMAZING- everything else can wait, nothing is more important than this moment. I sat with him as he read to me- all the way to page 62!!! 62 pages! I could have screamed right there in the library- but I didn't. We high-five, hugged and I KNOW he knew how proud of him I was, and more importantly he was proud of himself and gained that reading confidence he needed. I knew it would come. I have had faith that his reading would progress and he would learn to love reading. Coming home, he told his daddy then asked to read me the rest of the book- of course! Then he did! Over 80 pages in 1 day from my son.  Amazing Moment.

Our daughter, at times has had doubts about homeschooling, questioning whether she is learning what she needs to, what she is 'supposed' to, how she compares to others kids in public school. I wonder at times if she questions because she was in public school so long...She goes back and forth with her thoughts. We had several months of no talks of public schooling then a few weeks prior as our year was ending she began talking about public school again. Just one day, one conversation and just like that it was done, no more talk of it. This has been a huge change for us, to home school, not only for the children but for me, my husband, our way of life. Yet with the change, it seems so incredibly natural. I know de-schooling can take time, lots of it even, and I remind myself of patience as we all settle into this new way of life. I am truly looking forward to this year, another year on this amazing journey.  But through the random here and there conversations of public school- I see the truth in her- as she freely tells a stranger at the store, so proudly that she homeschools, when asked if she is enjoying 'summer break'. As other children complain about having such a short Summer and she beckons them to come homeschool too, telling them how great it is. I know in my heart that this is right for both my children. It is natural to question- I have faith that she will settle into this and be at peace with herself, our way of schooling here at home and not feel the need to question if she is like everyone else, but to just be her own person- she is on her way there, it is an awesome journey as a mother to see and to be a part of, to support her in this, guide her, be with her.
This is a great be a mother.

4H Clover Kids Craft
4H Poultry Waterfowl meeting was last night, along with that, the littler kids, ages 5-8yrs has some time to do a craft, our son also chose a story for the craft.
Grass Eggs Instructions:
Egg Shell- empty the contents, let the kids decorate the shell- our kids did chicks, no soil needed, wet a cotton ball and place it inside the egg then sprinkle grass seeds inside. Should take 3-5 days to start sprouting then grow, grow a head of grass to trim!
Next month the kids project will be making a yarn birds nest for these little guys! The kids all had fun and each project was unique and different.

It has been a fun few days, more busy days to come but hopefully in between we'll catch our breath, play, read and enjoy!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Building....Cheap Duck Enclosure, Desk Converted Play Kitchen

With the weekends brings staying at home due to me working. No complaints really, as housework gets done, play is had, movie night each eve, quality family well as work gets done!

Cheap Tote Duck Enclosure
Saw this idea for bantam chickens online...and we made our own modifications...The first building project nearly complete....a transition duck enclosure- our ducklings are now 6 weeks old, and getting their feathers in, quacking up a storm and growing like weeds...their one plastic tote just doesn't cut it, so we added an attached tote for a swimming pool and are working on a third tote for a dry nesting area, this should suffice a bit longer until outdoor accommodations can be made down the road. Inexpensive, more space- they are so happy!

Desk Converted Play Kitchen
A work in progress still, but mostly done- and done enough for our son to get outside and make several mud concoctions today! As I type he is still right outside my window, 'cooking' away. He helped nail, paint and decide what his kitchen needed. It was a fun project together that still needs some finishing touches....plans to cut out a hole for the bowl and put in a pretend water faucet...some knobs for the 'stove' and paint an oven, maybe a few more things as well! But for now- good enough to play with!

Wonderful weekend of play and work.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


What is it about swinging that sets you free, makes you feel like you can do anything. Feet swaying in the wind as you hold on, breeze through your face and hair, seeming to go so very high to the sky yet coming back down to ground your feet on the floor. While our daughter went to a friends house to swim for the day my son and I had a day together- gymnastics, lunch and the park. Asking me to swing with him, I joined him and we both swung quietly....listening, watching, relaxing, enjoying. Then all of the sudden ginormous bursts of laughter erupted from him as he found if he leaned back a little, the wind caught his pants and filled them with air, blowing them up. His laugh is contagious and I couldn't help but join and laugh as well- each time the pants blew up, his laughter erupted even louder. Such simple things amuse. Some times as adults we need to just let go and laugh at these simple things- the laughter sets your soul free, lightens everything going on around you.

Pure enjoyment with my son.

The weather was so beautiful as the sun began to go down, so we spent the eve outside. The kids drew pictures while I worked on some paperwork, and we all talked, laughed and enjoyed being outdoors. They took turns between climbing the tree, playing tag and drawing pictures.

We marveled at how the farmers work so quickly on the fields next door- last night they were barely bailed and this morn, the entire field was complete with bails covering the land. It never gets old watching them work.

To more glorious weather so that more outdoor adventures can be had.

Friday, May 24, 2013

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Linking to Soule Mama

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ice Skating!

So, we told the kids for their congrats on completing the school year, their first full year home schooling, they could choose any outing/activity they wanted and we'd do it as a family. They decided on ice skating. So we all headed to the rink today for fun. It was a blast, not only for the kids but for myself and hubbie as well. What a joy to see the kids pick it up so quickly, both kids haven't skated for 4 years or so...and our son was so little that I held him up most of the time, this time he was skating on his own by the end and our daughter only spent a few minutes on the wall then skated freely and happily the rest of the time. 

A great family day spent together.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Homeschool Corner, Bathroom Bunnies, Water Fun

 Today was a productive day, we worked hard taking care of the animals, cleaning cages, scrubbing down everything, sweeping and both kids were so very helpful. There were no complaints in this house today. Then we headed out to the Library and park, had a picnic lunch and came home to work a bit more on our daughters homeschool corner. Now that our 'year' has unofficially ended, it is time for a new, and to start fresh- so we are 'making over' their little corners to prepare for some Summer studies and next years learning.

Our Daughter's Homeschool progress
Our daughter's has tons of color, material and thread, animal pictures and is coming along nicely, all the way she wants, decorating it herself.

Bathroom Bunnies...YES Bunnies are IN the bathroom
 The heat is insane and we just can't keep up, so everyone moved inside...everyone meaning the rabbits and cavies. Cavies are in the kids rooms as well as our old boy bunny 'Jet' and the rest of the 4 bun's are in the bathroom and shower in the kids bathroom. Funny yes, a little crazy sure, but we want to make sure they are well taken care of, comfortable and not over heating this Summer.

Entrance to the bun sits on the cabinet
 3 more buns in the shower area
 View of them all, works nicely, so we can deal for a few months till its cool enough to get them back outside!

 Weekly Library Trip
We made out!!
Inspired by a friend, our son checked out several Origami books. Our Summer is going to kick off with reading Robin Hood as a family, and our son has a huge interest in bows and arrows, so we are going to learn how to make our own, and all make them- our daughter even thought this sounded fun and wants to join in on the story time and bow/arrow making! Awesome! Some history books, fun and more in depth reading for our daughter and I always love to make out on cheap for sale magazines and books when we are there too! Got a few history dvd's for $2.00 and a few Time magazines for $0.10! Can't beat that deal!

 Spray Park Time

 And a little reading and relaxing for Momma! Finding awesome recipes and reading about homesteading, listening to my children laugh and play...ahhh my kind of day.

Tomorrow we venture ice skating for our 'end of the year' family party just the four of us, then its off to Ballet class this week along with 4H with friends. Busy but fun. We'll also be working on getting the now fast growing ducklings into a new enclosure as well!

Hope this week finds you well, finds you happy and finds you loving life.