Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sleeping with shoes

Nathan's love language must be clothing. Yup, in these pics, he's sleeping with his new shoes. I bought them for him this morning and I think he's thanked me 8 times. Whewheee! If only they were all so easy to please. Nate loves clothes. He likes sporty pants and shoes in particular. these days he often sleeps with his shoes, especially his "swimming shoes." What a crack up. One of my favorite parts of having three sweet, tiny boys is seeing what makes them tick- and what makes them so individual. Man, I love 'em!

To London...

Much to our delight, our family will be heading to London sometime early November. Ralph, with his great skill, has landed a job there for a year's time, after which we will come back to our home here.
We got word yesterday, promptly went to the post office to purchase 4 passport to be expedited back to us within 2 weeks. There is much to do to prepare, looking for someone to care for the house and the to pack (for a year) and quiet all things that we'll need to wait for us here. Then we'll be off, a day long flight to London, where we'll find a small apartment, I'm sure, that'll be home for our family for the next year! Joey is quite excited to see new part of the world, ride trains and travel. When I mention it to Nate he says, "Airplane ride? Today?" Tomorrow, or next month mean nothing to him. Eli is in the happy place of " long as I'm with my family...."
Ralph and I are both so excited, and would welcome any visitors that are interested in seeing the sights & all. For now, I think I have a bag to pack....

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sweet Potato #2 Says...

"Mom, will you tangle my shoelaces so I can ride my bike?" I dug out "new" old shoes that he's grown into. He loves them. Simple Pleasures.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Works for me Wednesday; Borax and Sheetkeeping

My mom recently introduced me to the beauty of Borax. It's a new favorite thing to have around, great for taking stink smells out of blankets, towels, even mattresses. I love it. It's also great for making gak (find the recipe below) by mixing it with glue. So fun for the kiddos.

I also have taken to folding all of one sheet set up together. I fold all the sheets up and stack them, aside from one pillowcase. Then I drop all the folded sheets into the pillowcase. Then, when it's time to make up the bed I don't have to hunt for the sheet family, they're nesting happily. Works for me!

Gak Materials

- Elmer’s Glue® (8 oz. bottle of Elmer’s Glue-All)
- Borax (a powdered soap found in the grocery store)
- Large mixing bowl
- Plastic cup (8 oz size works well)
- Spoon
- Measuring cup
- Food coloring (the spice of life)
- Water
- Paper towel (hey, you’ve got to clean up!)
- Zipper-lock bag (don’t you want to keep it when you’re done?)
- Empty plastic soda bottle with cap
- Water Here’s the easiest way to make a big batch Elmer’s Slime. The measurements do not have to be exact but it’s a good idea to start with the proportions below for the first batch. Just vary the quantities of each ingredient to get a new and interesting batch of goo.

This recipe is based on using a brand new 8 ounce bottle of Elmer’s Glue. Empty the entire bottle of glue into a mixing bowl. Fill the empty bottle with warm water and shake (okay, put the lid on first and then shake). Pour the glue-water mixture into the mixing bowl and use the spoon to mix well. Add the glue-water mixture to the glue in the mixing bowl. Go ahead… add a drop or two of food coloring.

Measure 1/2 cup of warm water into the plastic cup and add a teaspoon of Borax powder to the water. Stir the solution – don’t worry if all of the powder dissolves. This Borax solution is the secret linking agent that causes the Elmer’s Glue molecules to turn into slime.

While stirring the glue in the mixing bowl, slowly add a little of the Borax solution. Immediately you’ll feel the long strands of molecules starting to connect. It’s time to abandoned the spoon and use your hands to do the serious mixing. Keep adding the Borax solution to the glue mixture (don’t stop mixing) until you get a perfect batch of Elmer’s slime. You might like your slime more stringy while others like firm slime. Hey, you’re the head slime mixologist – do it your way!

When you’re finished playing with your Elmer’s slime, seal it up in a zipper-lock bag for safe keeping.

How does it work?

The mixture of Elmer’s Glue with Borax and water produces a putty-like material called a polymer. In simplest terms, a polymer is a long chain of molecules. You can use the example of cooking spaghetti to better understand why this polymer behaves in the way it does. When a pile of freshly cooked spaghetti comes out of the hot water and into the bowl, the strands flow like a liquid from the pan to the bowl. This is because the spaghetti strands are slippery and slide over one another. After awhile, the water drains off of the pasta, the strands start to stick together. The spaghetti takes on a rubbery texture. Wait a little while longer for all of the water to evaporate, and the pile of spaghetti turns into a solid mass -- drop it on the floor and watch it bounce. Many natural and synthetic polymers behave in a similar manner. Polymers are made out of long strands of molecules like spaghetti. If the long molecules slide past each other easily, then the substance acts like a liquid because the molecules flow. If the molecules stick together at a few places along the strand, then the substance behaves like a rubbery solid called an elastomer. Borax is the compound that is responsible for hooking the glue’s molecules together to form the putty-like material. There are several different methods for making this putty-like material. Some recipes call for liquid starch instead of Borax soap. Either way, when you make this homemade Silly Putt you are learning about some of the properties of polymers.


The boys love to do nothing more, lately, than bike, scoot and toot! Scooter is getting more and more comfortable on two wheels, LC is loving the bike w/ trainers and Sweet Pea, he flies! His tricycle legs really go. It's been a fun time out there. Too bad it's cooling off so much lately, taking us down into the 30's at night and today it's just below 60. Worse comes to worse I let them cruise around the garage. This is just a fabulous activity for them...and me too. I love being out, and love them burning all that crazy boy energy they have!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

September Spiders

I've always said that September was the month of the spider (though I probably learned this from an old wise friend when I was young) and this month is proving my theory once again. The other day little J and I were having one of those great mother & son moments on the front porch, when he spotted a fabulous spider web on our front porch. We searched for the spider, but didn't find her (all nice spiders are girls) until that night, when we saw her perched in the center of her web waiting for dinner. The next night, we showed our dinner guests, who promptly scooted as far as they could from under her web to avoid being jumped on. They didn't, however, seem to mind that their son and daughter pass below. Anyhow, our nice spider has since been named Charlette, and after a little internet research, we've decided she'll continue to grace our porch, as she is most likely an orb spider...harmless to us, and helpful with all those unwanted pests. So, welcome, Charlette.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Peanut Butter and Bellies

An hour ago I mixed up a can of OJ. It's gone. Gone! Every last drop. So goes the ever-changing state of our groceries....they slip away before I can even fix them.
Really now, should I be surprised? And some of you are in this parenting thing farther than I, you would laugh and say "just you wait..." Still though, I'm amazed at how much these boys can put away, and ten minutes later say "I'm hungry." We get in the car "I'm hungry" They get in bed, "I'm hungry." We eat, "Mom, can I be excused? I'm hungry."
I wish we had a whole wall of ever producing blackberries in the back that the boys could endlessly munch on. But we don't, and so I'm in charge of filling these little bellies, and trying to do it well.
I've calculated that in the last year I've prepared approximately 600 pbj's more or less. Who knows how many broccoli's I've steamed, how many crusts I've fed to the birds, how many gallons of milk I've been through.
I'm now in search of some healthy baked treats. My kiddos love "my" protein bars (WAY too expensive to share.) I'd love to come up with something comparable in protein & flavor for them. Please share your favorite bar/cookie recipes with me if you care to! I'll let you know what favorites I find!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Schooling my munchkins at home

So I'm getting the question a lot these days. I'm amazed at how much support I'm getting from some friends and family and how others question me in a way that says they just don't get it.

Truth be told, I've asked myself that question a time or two in this first week of school. We have an incredible school right down the street, they're already teaching Kindergarten. Why should I be doing this on my own? The first week of any new routine/schooling is never easy, but now I flounder around for the next few weeks, trying to get down the best schedule that includes teaching and entertaining my little chickens as well as challenging and giving individual time to my big one. Three different little people with such different needs. That's a big job for me...and I feel weary often, and wonder.... why am I homeschooling? So now, I'm developing a statement of sorts, the reasons that I've decided to homeschool. One of the interesting things about homeschooling is that people have such a variety of reasons for doing it. Ralph and I came to a place this summer that we had to decide if we were going to homeschool this year, and if so...why?

That was a real journey for me. I think it's oftentimes assumed that homeschooling is done for religious keep kids from what a the schools teach- what the peers teach (a good reason for me). But my major reason for homeschooling is rather, what we can offer here at home that public and even private schools cannot.

I was thinking of it like this:

I'm in charge of the construction of three homes. Very important homes. The most important projects of my life. I have all the supplies I need to build them myself. I can pour the foundation of the things of which I think most important. I can use the materials, the plans, the time that I see most important in building these. It's up to me, I can be creative and embellish where this project leads. I can put the time and care and energy into this that I want. I have the resources. I have the time. I have the interest and the passion and am working on the patience....why NOT homeschool?

My kids get to live real life. We have discussions about God, measurements, the solar system, what monkeys eat, as we sit, stand, drive and walk. We learn while living. Taking advantage of the teachable moments makes education more applicable. My boys get to, working in our garden, looking up bugs on the internet, making a grocery list, shopping, making books for loved ones, praying for each other, learning how to approriately behave in all of life's situations, and spending time, yes socializing, with kids of every age & adults.

It is also a well known fact that little boys don't like to sit in a chair...sit in a classroom for hour upon hour. I have the flexibility to say "Recess! Right now, everybody outside! Go see how many bugs you can find. I can teach in the direction that my kids love, indiviualize.

Relationships. My boys, they are each other's friends. Joey loves nothing better than to teach Eli new words, or explain a new concept to Nate. Nate loves helping Eli to master something new, and listen to Joey read. Eli loves to sit next to his brothers, singing songs about the days of the week or cutting papers to shredsy while we work on math. We are all learning how to work together. We are learning to give, and take in time. We are all learning how to live in the fruit of the spirit...really. God is working in me as I lead these young boys, gentleness, paitience, joy, kindness, self control....all these things I find in Him. I need it daily!

I'm a stay at home mom...I have the desire to keep these boys at home, if only for a while, I have the time and know The Source of the greatest endurance.

So for me, but only for me can I say, "Why wouldn't I homeschool?"

Now to those many of you, my friends, who's little munchkins are loving and thriving in schools, please know that , like many other parenting decisions, I see homeschooling as the best method of schooling for us. I have no expectation that y'all conform to my ideals....but that you do just what you know you should be doing....

"Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. " ~Galations 6:4&5