Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday - Library Day

Paging through a few of the 20+ books they checked out today...

And Sabrina finished both of her reading logs for the Barnes and Noble program, so I took her down to pick out her two free books:

BN freebies

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes....

"Mommy, that little boy speaks Hola and our kind of language. But he only speaks one of them at a time. Because he doesn't have two mouths. That would be weird and silly, huh? If he had two mouths?" - Niko, age 5

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I almost forgot to write that we did get to do an art project today, a day late. As the kids were cleaning up the living room, we heard a knock at the door. When I got to the door, I could see the UPS man running back to his truck. On our doorstep, he had left a package from Creativity for Kids.

Creativity for Kids is running a special program in the month of June.
"During the month of June, Creativity for Kids is giving away 1 FREE product to each of our Facebook Fans. It's easy! Simply go to our website and select your favorite item. Next, send an email to including your name, shipping address and product selection and we will mail you your FREE product. Invite your friends to be a fan of Creativity for Kids and they can get a free product too!"
So here is what you need to do... Log in to facebook and do a facebook search for "Creativity for Kids". Once you get to their Facebook Page, click on "become a fan". Now go to, check out their products and pick what you want!

I placed our request on June 15th and received it June 25th. I picked out the Butterfly Bedroom because that is the girls' room theme!

Their finished projects:

And a couple of cute pictures of my sweetie pie, Rexi:

I put him on the back of Niko's rocking chair while we watched TV. He was having a blast "dancing" to the music and making the chair rock. Such a silly baby!

So much life going on...

...that it's hard to keep up with the blogging.

Tuesday, park day... I took the littles and my Dad to a park we have passed many times on the freeway while heading to the beach. The little ponds looked so inviting, and when I learned that fishing was allowed, it seemed like a natural choice.

We left the park with 18 tiny little crappie, and a sunburned Mommy. ::::Note to self: just because it's overcast when you leave the house, it doesn't mean that you should skip the sunscreen::::

Wednesday was supposed to be our art day, but I really needed to tackle some housekeeping that had been put off. I told the kids that if they got all of the living room picked up, then we'd do a project... they didn't. But I did get caught up on the dishes and tackled a lot of laundry! I also took Sierra to the vet again with my Dad, as she had grown another large mammary tumor (and she's also developed hypothyroidism). That poor dog is going through a lot for dog that is barely three years old. They did another surgery to remove it, and when we picked her up today (Thursday) she already looked so much better. Her right leg had been swelling up as well, and the swelling was down a lot today and she was very lively and playful. Hopefully her recovery from this 3rd surgery will be a lot smoother and quicker, and we won't have to deal with any complications while she heals.

That brings us to today... we got all of our work done in the morning as usual, but I didn't have a hike planned yet because I knew we would be picking Sierra up at some point. After we picked her up and had lunch, I decided it would be nice to hit a small local park that is more of a walking trails park than a "real" hike, but the kids like to explore the riparian area there. They also decided that they wanted to try finding some geocaches.

We ended up finding all four of the geocaches we set out looking for! What fun! After finding our caches, we headed to the park to have our snack and play. They met a couple of girls who were trying to find some baby turtles that they had released last week, and before I knew it they were running amok as usual. Jumping over the stream, scrambling over trees, ducking under the bridge, and playing soccer on the bridge. Such busy little bees!

Our first geocache:



and 4th:

Our "hiking" picture:

And I'm off to read a bedtime story...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day (belated, of course)

Let's see... where to begin.

Friday was our "science day". As expected, our experiment of building a tower with straws and marshmallows was over pretty quickly. We did manage to build a couple of structures that stood upright, but they quickly wanted to move on to simply eating the marshmallows. And what a sticky mess it left on the table!

They told me that they wanted to learn more about frogs and tadpoles because of our new "pets", so I printed out a bunch of frog lapbook stuff and they worked on that until they were bored... they finished the rest of it up today (Monday). Abigail got such a kick out of it that she asked to do another lapbook for her report for this week.

Speaking of reports... Abigail chose Helen Keller for her first report last week. She's not much of a writer, so I am proud of her for at least finishing what she set out do even if it isn't as long as I would have liked.

The Life of Helen Keller

Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880. She died on June 1, 1968. A couple of months before her second birthday she became ill and lost her sight and hearing. She learned how to read in Braille. Her teacher taught her a lot in her life.

Helen Keller ran for women’s rights. She helped people with disabilities. She wrote books. She was awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Thousands of people came to hear her speak. Helen Keller was a wonderful person.

She did do all of the pre-writing worksheets that I printed out for them, so I know she learned a lot more than what she shared.

Sabrina's report was on Walt Disney, and she just finished handwriting it tonight. I'll share it with you after she gets it typed up.

Friday afternoon we attended "Science Friday" again at the local educational supply store. This week's topic was gravity, and they learned about air pressure and how it reacts to the lack or presence of gravity... which included the science assistant dropping bottles of water from the roof of the store, and having the kids swing buckets of water around upside down. Wet, but fun!

Saturday afternoon we took our goffin cockatoo, Rexi, to the bird store to be groomed. The kids and I also got to meet my hubby's new baby, a sweet little cockatiel that is still being handfed. We'll bring him home as soon as he is weaned. His name is Twitchington, with the nickname "Twitch", after Twitch and Kherington from the last season of So You Think You Can Dance. I suggested that name in jest while we were watching SYTYCD last week after he said he loved that name, and it just sort of stuck.

On Saturday night, the hubby took me out on another "date". We went to Medieval Times and had a fun time enjoying the show together. We got back home at nearly 11pm! So late for a couple of early birds like us.

Sunday... we just hung out around the house. Nathanial picked a massive amount of nectarines off our tree and made nectarine smoothies and fruit pops, and cut up a whole bunch of nectarine slices for us all to enjoy too.

For Father's Day dinner, we had bacon-wrapped filet with steamed asparagus and cauliflower "faux-tatoes". Yummy!!

Today (Monday) was library day. We turned in our 14 books from last week and picked out 17 for this week. Two on peafowl, two on ancient egyption women and ancient egyptian fashion, and a whole bunch of fun books & books from their summer reading lists. That was one heavy book bag! After the library, we did our weekly grocery shopping with my dad...

Rough menu plan for the week:

Monday: Steak with fajitas veggies (onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes), whole wheat low-carb tortillas, brown rice, homemade guacamole (plus corn for the kids)

Tuesday: Grilled salmon roast, steamed broccoli

Wednesday: Chicken with homemade salsa, brown rice, peas

Thursday: Italian sausages with onions and peppers (hot dogs and veg for the kids!)

Friday: Roast cornish game hens with brown rice and mushrooms (chicken soup for the kids)

...menus subject to change on my whim.
This is our first week adding carbs back into our meals for dinner, hence the brown rice so many times over. The low-carb diet really has worked out well for us, so I'm curious to see how this transition is going to end. I lost 15lbs over the last 9 weeks, and the hubby lost 17... and that was with us having every Friday as our "cheat day" where we went ahead and ate whatever! The first week was kind of rough, but we quickly fell into the hang of it. If you'd like to try it out yourself, it's the Rite Aid Rite Weight Plan in conjunction with Lindora ( - a free 10 week program where you can lose up to 10% of your body weight (I actually lost a little more than 10%, but I'll take it!). I'd like to lose another 15lbs, but I'm happy with the progress we've made.

Well, I am heading to bed. I just finished up making and printing out all of the lapbook parts that Abigail wanted for her report on Peafowl. I couldn't find a ready made one so we had to make our own which required having her list out all of the info that she wanted to include, figure out how to present it, and find good clipart, etc. That was a lot of work! ;)

Tomorrow is park day and I have picked out a park that we have passed many times and remarked "I'd like to go there!" - a cute little "Wilderness Park" with two small lakes and the opportunity to fish AND play on the playground. Before drifting off to sleep, I'll read a little more of Fragment.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our First Letterbox

I decided to combine our hiking trips with "Letterboxing". We were so excited to find our first one; I think we were all jumping up and down in the middle of the trail!

Let's see... we went to a "new" park that we hadn't explored yet. We found our letterbox. We hiked up the canyon. We played on the playground. And then, we spent an hour "tadpoling". The littles had so much catching the little tadpoles and we brought a bunch home to watch turn into frogs. We'll release any frogs that grow up back at the same stream.

I found it pretty sad though that another mother at the park turned to me as her kids ventured down to the creek and asked something along the lines of "do you know if there are any mosquitoes or things that will bite them or anything like that in the water?" It's just depressing to me that as a society so many people have become disconnected with nature that they don't feel comfortable letting their kids roll up their jeans and splash around in a creek to catch tadpoles and crawdads and whatever else they can find. There's a time for protectiveness (I'm extremely anal about helmets for example) of course, but I think a lot of people have a tendency to take it too far and they lose out on a lot. This is something that I really want for my children, for them to be comfortable in our world, to learn about it so they can grow up loving it and wanting to protect it. I just find it so refreshing when my children turn to me and remark on things like how awesome of job God did when he made peacock feathers because they're so amazing and beautiful, or that "this is going to be my new hobby whenever we're near water!" - this kind of delight in their surroundings is truly part of the summer spirit to me.

Pix tomorrow. I'm ready to crash.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Peacock Art

Wednesday. Art Day.

Inspired by our trip to the Arboretum, I decided we should look to peacocks for our inspiration for today's project. I looked around the web and didn't quite find anything that struck the right chord with me, so I "winged" it. I decided a mixed medium project would be fun, and the beautiful colors of their tails just called for some wax resist!

We started by tracing two hand prints on a sheet of white paper. We ultimately found that for the most balanced tail it was best to trace each hand, the left and the right, slightly overlapping.

Peacock Art

Now, flip the paper over!

Start drawing loose circles on your paper, fanned out like a peacocks tail. Looking at the colors in one of the feathers we bought in the gift shop, we went with purples, browns, blues, and greens. After drawing your circles, draw lighter green lines, and finish off with lots of yellow polka dots (the girls decided the flecks of yellow would best represent the iridescent gold in the feathers).

Peacock Art

Peacock Art

This part really freaked out Cecilia. I took a paintbrush and dredge it in black water color, and covered the paper. She started yelling, "No!!! Why are we painting it all black? We can't see the pretty colors!" And then she watched in amazement as the wax resisted the black paint, so that only the white paper turned black.

Peacock Art

While our papers dried, we started cutting out the body parts. A large blue oval for the body, a small green circle for the head, and a yellow triangle for the beak. We assembled the bodies and popped on a pair of googly eyes. Now, when your paper is dry, cut out the tail along the hand prints that you drew on the back of the paper. Glue it all together, and you're done!

Peacock Art

Voila! Petey Peacock and his crew. (Wait, what's the word for a family of peafowl??)

Peacock Art

Peacocks fighting

Pardon the not-wonderful quality of the video as this is from Sabrina's cheap little cell phone, but she happened to catch two peacocks fighting over a peahen yesterday at the arboretum. I also got video of it on our camcorder, but I wanted to share this because we thought it was pretty neat!!

Summer.... ah, summer....

School is out; it's time to shout! Hooray, hooray!

The last two weeks of school were very busy and stressful and I am so glad they are over! I had a group project that had to be done for accounting, a research paper for my English composition class, and had to do homework and study for a final in accounting. Add all of that to last minute projects that the kids had to do for school, plus performances and award ceremonies, and I was just non-stop on the go. All of my housework got put on the back burner, and now it is probably going to take me a month to get it all caught back up!

Happily, I managed to pull off A's on the project and research paper, and ended up with an A in English and passed the accounting class with a C. Accounting is just not my thing... especially stocks. While I'm not happy about getting a C in any class, I am simply happy that the class is over with and that I managed to pass it despite getting very low scores on both of the midterms. I haven't even considered what classes I will take in the fall, but History and Speech are probably the next ones that I need to take to finish up my GE requirements for a degree.

We're starting off with a basic plan for the summer. The littles are all doing Summer Bridge workbooks, plus we're dong daily reading and journal writing. Cecilia also has 4 spelling assignments per week. Abigail and Sabrina asked if they could do research reports on various subjects as well, so Abbi is starting off with Helen Keller and Sabrina chose Walt Disney. Our "rough plan" for each week is Monday/Library Day, Tuesday/Park, Wednesday/Art Day, Thursday/Hike, and Friday/Science.

This week for library day, we started off by checking out some of the books on their Summer Bridge reading lists, plus the books for their research, and some just for pure fun. Tuesday was the free day at The Arboretum so went there for our "park day". We managed to get through with just a minimum of whining from Cecilia. Lots of pictures to share!!