Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Food Bill

It's in the news everywhere. Food prices are rising. Some foods are being rationed. I'm not going to rant about the cost of food because it won't do me or anyone any good. I just have one thing to say. Why is it that kids' appetites increase proportionately to food prices? For example I thought I was shopper of the year on Thursday. My local grocer had GM cereals on sale; save $5.00 on 5 boxes. I had 75 cent and $1.00 coupons for every box, plus the grocer gave a gallon of milk free to any customer who bought the 5 boxes of cereal. Jackpot! I purchased some of the normal low sugar favorites, but I also threw in a box of Cookie Crisp (an absolute favorite) and Lucky Charms (gotta love those dehydrated marshmallows). In total I ended with 10 boxes of cereal, hoping they would last the entire month if I spaced them with eggs, toast, bagels, yogurt and fruit, pancakes, waffles, and french toast for breakfasts. The entire jumbo sized box of Cookie Crisp is gone. It was consumed for all of 2 breakfasts.

In the dairy case I discovered quart size yogurt. What a great idea. I picked up two of them since the price was right. Today I set out tiny bowls, spoons and strawberry yogurt for an afternoon snack. I ate a small bowl, did some laundry and came back to an empty yogurt container. What? That should of lasted for two afternoon snacks. Now here it is, quickly approaching dinner time and the kids are already starving (according to them). It scares me because they've basically watched episode upon episode of Clifford, played computer games and colored all day, due to severe winds and cold temperatures. Just how hungry will they be the next time they get a day full of sunshine and bike riding? Please don't answer that.

FYI***Very interesting reading over at Wikipedia about the history of breakfast cereals. Did you know that the original idea for Lucky Charms came from mixing Cheerios bits with Kraft Circus Peanuts? Now you do.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Movie Night

Everyone's Hero - animated film centering around the stealing and recovering of Babe Ruth's famous bat. Of course the main star has a talking ball as well. Very cute movie and we all got plenty of laughs from the clever animation.

*The reviewer's first paragraph is a little harsh, but keep reading because I along with all the other ten year olds agree this is a cute movie. I must not be quite as mature as the reviewer.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Camo and Colors

Last year we raised 6 ducklings just for fun. We took them off the hands of a friend who took them off the hands of the county ag agent after the June Dairy Breakfast. What fun we had watching those little fuzz balls turn into full grown Mallard ducks. We lost a few to predators once we turned them loose on our pond, but in the end two survived, one male and one female, and hung around until well into November. Now this spring we have a pair of Mallard ducks at our campout spot; they hang around pecking at the gravel driveway and basically exploring the same territory that our ducks explored last year. We believe that Camo (female) and Colors (male) are back. Typically we have geese hang around our front yard, but in 11 years I can't remember one time that a pair of ducks mingled in our yard. We've had ducks before, they're just much more skittish than these two. So without further ado, here are our ducks.

I couldn't help but take a few pictures of spring greenery popping up everywhere.

Fast growing Bleeding Heart - it's amazing to watch it grow inches daily

Red Poppy - always blooming for my June birthday

Sedum coming up in the rock garden under the bird feeder - often called Live Forever

Spring Green sunglasses - making the world spring alive

10 Cent Treasure

The best garage sale purchase of the day. It's amazing how little a mom can spend and how thrilled a little girl can be.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Weekend with Virtually No Plans

We started our weekend with a birthday party. Lou's friend invited the whole family for a cookout party, which was full of loud kids, spilled drinks and pickles, yummy cake, fun and lively games and lots of laughter. Today's plans are a little more laid back. DH took Ray out turkey hunting for about an hour this morning. According to Ray they saw, "One gobbaler and two hens." We had a leisurely morning of pancakes and hunting DVD's. It's dreary this morning and most likely will be all day. Better than 1.64" of rain, which is the total from the last two days' rain. So the plan is to hit a few garage sales (first of the year), do a little baking and quilting in the afternoon and pick up Grace from her sleepover later this evening. DH has plans of working on building the boys' bunk beds and probably taking a nap. The 4:30 a.m. turkey hunting alarm has caught up with him. I'm sure the kids plan on eating candy and playing with all their birthday favors. You know, mini kazoos, colored sunglasses, plastic watches and the like. Tomorrow we plan on enjoying the sunny 73 degree day. I don't know how quite yet, but I'm sure we'll find a way. Maybe we'll do a little raking, take a walk in the woods, eat lunch outside at the picnic table, play kickball.....I don't know just yet.

Have a relaxing weekend!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's True

What's true? Boys grow in spurts. I've heard it from so many moms.
  • he grew 6 inches in 6 months
  • can't keep him in pants
  • his feet grow so fast he never wears the tread off his shoes

I believed it to be true, just never lived it in such a dramatic way as others had. Until now. A month ago Lee needed some new church pants. Not because of growing, just because he'd been wearing the same pair of black cargo pants for probably two years and they were down right worn out. We headed to the basement clothing bins and found two pair of very nice church pants: khaki and black. Just his size; we were both happy. I didn't need to spend money on new pants and he didn't have to endure the dreaded shopping for new clothes outing. Last night at a wedding reception he leaned over to me, saying, I can't eat my supper; my pants are too tight. What? They fit just last week at church; they fit Easter Sunday. I stuck my finger in the waist band and sure enough they were definitely too tight. Then this morning he comes out all dressed for church wearing his black church pants. I looked over and chuckled, bright white socks showed between the hem and shoe at least 3 inches. Again, I exclaimed, What? They just fit a couple weeks ago. Amazing how one boy can wear the same pants for 2 years and then grow out of two pair of pants in just one month. And now I'm one of them; I am a mother who can make comments about the magnitude of boys' growth spurts.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Download on Laundry

Lots of talk about laundry in the blog world and home keeping in general. I just wanted to note a few of my not so tricky "tricks" to help keep laundry going smoothly. A long while back I posted my laundry routine in detail. Today, I just have a few pointers.

  1. Only dirty clothes are washed.

  2. No one is allowed to bed at night until their clothing is put in its place (drawer, clothing hook, laundry basket).

  3. Every bedroom has a small plastic tote for dirty laundry.

  4. One child is assigned to laundry pickup each month. Every morning before any play or even school they must collect all laundry and place in laundry room.

Now this only keeps the collecting part of laundry under control. The next step involves me. But it's generally easy because I can see at a glance, by 8:30 a.m., how many loads will need to get done in order to make the mountain a mole hill. I make a mental note as to when to start the wash. Now? because there is so much. Maybe later? because there's only one full load and I have other pressing things to do now. My last bit of advice is to just get the dirty laundry into the laundry area. I've found that any job is easier when you can see the whole picture.

**Just a note about my laundry details post: Somehow between then and now my average number of loads per day has increased to 2-3 loads. I'm sure it's due to winter clothing being larger than summer clothing and the fact that the kids' clothes are growing along with them. Bigger kids = bigger clothes = more loads of laundry

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Movie Night

For the family: Martian Child and homemade pizza, sliced pears, baby carrots, banana bread

I've passed Martian Child a dozen times or so at the movie store, always turned off by the title. But after reading the review at Christian Cinema took a chance at it and we were all pleasantly surprised.

For us: Dan in Real Life

We tried this movie last week and both fell asleep, not because of the movie but because of life. So we tried it again and stayed awake. We both thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It was a pretty light hearted romantic comedy.

On Poetry and Atlases

In our normal school schedule this week lined up as an off week. However, with field trips, quilting days and turkey hunting next week I opted to do something a little different and actually have school this week. Grace and Lee are focusing on Language Arts and Map Skills. So this week has been a little more intense concerning those two subjects. The kids are excited to move through the lessons and be that much closer to the finish line, however, it entails some pretty in depth work in some areas.

Today was one of those in depth days. Grace had to write poetry, probably her least favorite thing in the world to do. The word poetry brings her to a panic, whether it be reading, reciting, memorizing or writing. First she had to write poetry based on opposites starting with morning and ending with night. Then she made one up about horses starting with take the horse out and ending with put the horse back in. Things were going smoothly until she was instructed to write a 4-6 line rhyming poem. Her negative vibes were so intense I found myself actually sweating as she scribbled unrelated misspelled rhyming words onto a torn piece of looseleaf. I asked her to take her negativity elsewhere. So she took it about four feet away and huffed and sighed as she wrote. Well after we both calmed down and I directed her to a few children's books of poetry and coaxed her into writing, this is the finished product.

Her pants are blue
and so are you.
Her shirt is yellow
makes me think of lemon jello.
Her shoes were blue and white
her smile so bright,
made me think of golden light.

Not Dickinson or Poe, but we were both happy with the outcome, so much so that she actually plans on reading it to dad at supper.

Next up... Atlas work. Pair a serious, perfectionist, extremely literal nine year old boy with a Map Skills workbook and Scholastic Atlas and the outcome.....? Well, let's just say I wouldn't want to repeat this day. Of course the workbook only wants him to color in 5 general climate zones for the U.S. and the atlas includes 12 different climate zones. The workbook calls it a Land Use map, the atlas, an Economic Industry map. Too many discrepancies, too many countries to look up in the Index, too many everything, according to him. But now the work is done and he is in total glory trapping muskrats.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Same Conversation, Different Day

Every day I have the same conversation with Ray.

Ray: Mama, you have your baby yet?

Me: No, not until after your birthday.

Ray: You make me a Spiderman cake today?

Me: No, not until after the fireworks.

Ray: You buy fireworks today?

Me: No, not until Fourth of July...in the summer.

Ray: I wear shorts today.

And here is where I finally just pick him up and tickle his tummy until he forgets about the conversation.....until tomorrow.

Whose Son Is This?

Last night I offered Lee some green grapes before bed and here is his response:

No thanks, grapes are so sugary and I try to limit my sugar after dinner so I'm not up all night.

What? Limit his sugar? Where could he have possibly heard this? Or did he just come up with it on his own? I'll never know.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Long Awaited Capri Pant Wearing Day

I told the girls they could wear their capris on the first forecasted 60 degree day. Well our personal forecast claims it will be 61 today.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Highlights of the Week

Sunday: We looked at a pony, which as the week progressed, we decided to buy. Looks like this weekend we'll be transferring her to the stable. The girls are excited, the boys indifferent and I am a little worried about the time commitment necessary to train Pearl properly.

Monday: Rain was predicted for the afternoon so we went on a morning nature walk and scheduled school work for the afternoon.

open water - what a beautiful sight
first sighting of a Sandhill Crane this yearpoplar buds
a good climbing treecold and on the way home to a mug of hot cocoa

We celebrated the Annunciation of the Lord. I read the story from our Children's Bible, we prayed a decade of the rosary and then made tissue paper flowers for Mary.

Tuesday: Movie Night - Portesi freezer pizza and Derby Stallion.

Wednesday: Violin, Subway lunch and then a high school production of Bye, Bye Birdie. Just a note about gas. I honestly never realized how often my three year old farts, until I was sitting in the bleachers of a crammed gymnasium for three hours. Even the 7th grade boys groaned about the smell.

Thursday: MOPS in the morning and school work in the afternoon. Horse stable, exercise class and pork roast for supper.

Friday: Public schools have the day off so a friend came for the entire day. Grace and Lee still did math, language and spelling. They four-wheeled, baked Peanut Butter Swirl Bars, roller bladed, ate popsicles, played hide-and-seek and watched PollyWorld. Just a note about that movie. I had assumed that a Polly Pockets movie would be absolutely suitable for young children when Lou grabbed it from the shelf of Family Video. So they popped in the video and I headed to the computer to do work and pleasure. Part way through I walked in on a distraught Polly, upset that her father doesn't want her around and his girlfriend doesn't like her. Loudly, I exclaimed What is this an animated soap opera? The kids were quick to hush me so I sat down and watched for a while. Seems like Polly's parents are divorced and her father's girlfriend doesn't like her and is trying to get the father to send Polly to boarding school. Polly just wants to stay home and play in a rock band with her friends, some of which aren't very nice. While eating lunch Grace asked me why I didn't like the movie. Although everything worked out well in the end and the girlfriend was no longer the girlfriend and Polly stayed with dad, I pointed out that there's enough divorce in the world and why do they have to market a movie to 5 year olds about divorce, dads with girlfriends and not being liked by an adult. Don't enough kids live this life. Would it be too much for the movie makers to present a plot where the parents loved each other? and Polly had positive adults in her life? and her friends weren't backstabbing characters?

Nice Try

Lee: Mom, can I play boat racing on the computer?

Me: Have you brushed your teeth? put away laundry? fed the animals?

Lee: Ya, Ya, Ya

Me: Have you practiced guitar today?

Lee: Ya, I practiced silently before anyone got up this morning.

Me: (laughing)Nice try, now go practice.