Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

Hi guys! I know this post is only hours after the last one, but this one is about what we've been up to, if you are curious about that.

The kids' last day of school was the 13th and they still have one more week of vacation (yes one more week of vacation for me as well). I'm so thankful for the opportunity to homeschool and the freedom it has brought us. Our time off is always up to us, and I love that.

So monday the 16th, having no school, my plan was to go to the commissary and get everything that I would need for Christmas dinner. I forgot however, that the commissary is no longer open on Mondays, so I drove all the way to the good commissary on Bangor, only to have to drive all of the way back. I ended up shopping at WinCo foods, and that place was pretty good. The prices were close to commissary prices, and the only draw back was that we had to bag our own groceries, but that's what the boys are for right? They loved it! I held back the bread and eggs, than let them go at it, and they did a pretty good job. I did however get some pretty interesting looks from the other shoppers there, yes I'm the crazy lady with all of the kids.

We saw the movie Frozen on the 21st (yes the first day of winter, very appropriate). It's a great movie! The story and character are very touching and lovable. Olivia loved the movie so much that she bought Frozen character barbies and a nightgown with some of her Christmas money
See! Gotta love the bed head in this picture :)

I got to Skype with my family that next day (the 22nd), they were having a football / white elephant party. It was fun to watch. After the Skype call Jeremy and I ordered pizza! Jeremy's sister gave us 4 free pizza coupons for Christmas (she works at a Papa Johns, and knows that we love pizza). So we log onto the website to place our order, and low and behold we have enough reward points for yet another free pizza. So yes, we got 5 pizzas that night, and it was wonderful. The way I see it is, I didn't have to cook for 2 nights (AWESOME!).

Christmas morning was wonderful. I feel like we picked out awesome gifts for the kids, and it was a very relaxing day. I know I've said this before, but Christmas day is my favorite day out of the whole year. I get to reward my kids, for just being mine, I get to eat great food, and I get to sit around in my pjs all day.

This year Jeremy surprised me with an awesome gift, he bought me a Kitchenaid Mixer. I have been wanting one for a long time. With it he bought a whole bunch of boxed cake, cookie, and brownie mixes (he was thinking with his stomach that day). My friend Jessica who lives in southern California, is probably gagging right now because "Those boxes just have junk in them." and she is right, and I do have recipes that I make from scratch, but it's nice to be lazy sometimes.

Our chickens finally started to lay eggs (well we think two of them have anyways). This happened on the 27th. We woke up to find 2 eggs in the coop that day, and have gotten 1 egg each day since.
Our 2 eggs (from the first day)

Our chickens... this is Sunny, 


Yolkie, and Omelet

So yes once again Christmas is over, it came and went so fast. I'm grateful for another wonderful year, and I'm also grateful for one more week off of school (yes we don't start our school work again until next Monday the 6th), I'm going to need it. :)

How does 3000 miles feel during Christmas?

Getting asked this question is never easy, and most of the time I have no idea what to say anyways. How does it feel to live so far away from your family and friends during the holidays. For me it's just our way of life. It's something that I've had to deal with for a while now, and you just get use to it. The independent person in me likes to say that I like my privacy, and love the freedom of being able to do Christmas my own way, and that is partly right. Every now and then though the feeling creeps up on me, the feeling of why can't I be there with them, and the feeling of that not being fair. I have learned a long time ago that life isn't fair. So how do I deal with that feeling, of missing friends and family that live thousands of miles away?

When my grandfather was in the hospital, and my family was sure he wasn't going to live much longer, my dad said something to me that I have never forgotten. He told me that even though poppop wouldn't be with us anymore, we would still have all of our fond memories of him, and that when we missed him we could just think of one of them, and it would be like he was still here. I was 15 when he died and this really helped. I had a lot of great moments with him, he is still to this day one of my most favorite people (and I have meet a lot of people). So I still use that technique, and just relive some of my favorite memories with some of my favorite people.

-My little sister coming to visit me in San Diego
-Jessica and I eating oranges and watching the Mythbusters
-Talking with Sarah in her kitchen watching her make cinnamon raisin bread
-Baking cookies with my Grandmother
-Working on my old VW with my dad
-Flying home, and surprising my Mother
-Playing Phase 10 with my brother and his wonderful wife
-Staying up way past bed time, and talking with my older sister
-Walking my kids to school with our neighbor Courtney tagging along
-Putting highlights in Dawn and Becky's hair
-Tricking Jessica into picking out her own birthday present
-Arriving in BWI to my dad alive and well after recovering from his accident
-Kandi and Amanda showing up at the hospital offering to take care of Darien and Nathaniel, so I could stay there with Zach

... the list could go on and on.

That's what I do. I makes me feel extremely blessed to have such wonderful memories. Now I know a lot of you may not be fan of the twilight series, but in the prologue of the first book, there is a quote that is just one of my favorite quotes

"When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it's not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end."

I really do feel like God has really blessed me with a lot of great experiences even if they didn't last as long as I wanted them to. I like to think about this every time I feel upset about where I am, and how much I wish I could live in my favorite city, instead of here (I know, I really shouldn't say that).

I really hope this helps anyone who is maybe missing someone this season (or any season). Don't forget to count your blessings.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My go to hair styles

So Friday I posted this picture to Facebook

I've been growing my hair out for two years. The last time I cut more than half an inch off was right before this picture was taken...

I haven't have a lot of pictures posted of how long my hair has gotten since then, so I had a huge reaction to the top picture, and many questions of how I do my hair now that it's long. Also just so everyone knows, I do not wear fancy hair styles like the one in that picture everyday. That would really be to much.

So an easy style that I go to all of the time in the Lace Twist.
I like to do it on the very front section of my hair, just to get it out of the way. So usually right after I wash my hair, or on days that my hair isn't crazy and frizzy, I'll wear it like this. (oh and go easy on me, I'm not wearing make-up in any of these :P)

Next go to in the Waterfall Braid
This is also another great one to just get that front section out of your way. So as long as the back of my hair looks great, I'll wear this one.

One that I do A LOT is pigtails. Yes I know, I'm pushing 30, and I still wear pigtails. I really don't care.
So I know we have all seen the braided pigtails right? Like this...

But have you seen the Rope Braided ones?
Or the Fishtail Braided ones?
Yeah I like to switch it up a bit, so that way even though it is pigtails at least it looks interesting. :)
Also pigtails are awesome because if you have to wear a hat (because it is really cold outside), the hat won't mess up your hair style.

So next is the Katniss Braid
Have you seen the Hunger Games? The main character Katniss Everdeen wears her hair like this, and I love it. I like to do this one, when my hair is to lumpy and frizzy to leave down.

Yes so those are my favorites! I hope this helps all of you long haired girls, and maybe some short haired ones too :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

So... Just so you know, this is going to be a long one

You saw the title right? Okay so you have been warned. This post consisted of all of the things we've been up too this month.

Gotta Have Those Shoes

I saw these shoes on pinterest a few weeks ago, and immediately wanted them
Since they are nike (clearly), I started my search on Nike's website, and found nothing. :( I tried a few other websites that I know to have shoes, but I come up dry. Does the shoe even exist?

About a week later during a skype call to my sister-in-law Jessica, I explain all of my shoe woes. Jessica is a shopping guru, so she volunteers to help me in my search. She finds them on Buckle's website, the only problem is, they don't have my size. Jessica then suggest that I look and see if there is a Buckle near me, the actual store may have my size.

Turns out there is one really close to me in the little mall 10 miles away. I start to get really excited at this point, and can't wait to go shopping the next day.

We get to the mall and once I walk into the store, I know there is no way the shores are here. The store was mostly clothing and a few pairs of shoes here and there, so I just pull up a picture of the shoes on my phone and show it to the sales associate. He tells me that he can look at other stores inventory and get the correct size and shoes sent to this store. Yay! Once again I get really excited until... "Did you say you were a size 7.5?" ... So it turns out they don't have any in that size, or in an 8 (yes I asked). I guess that means all of the stores don't have my size? None of them?

At this point I ready to admit defeat, pick up Jeremy's PS4 (that's the reason he's out), and go home, but Jeremy insist that we check a few more stores. To make a long story short after checking five stores and finding nothing, we pick up the PS4 and go home.

On our way home Jeremy looks over at me and says "When we get home I am going to find those shoes for you."

"But you just got your new system, and I don't think these shoes exist anymore."

"Oh I'll find them, don't you worry."

At this point I felt like crying. It was a very loving thing to do, to put my wants before his. :)

So Jeremy searches and like Jess and I, he doesn't get far, until he starts a chat session with a nike sales rep (yeah I didn't know you could do that either). It turns out the shoes were discontinued some months ago, which is why they are so hard to find. This is when my husband decides that the only place they would be in on ebay... "Hey honey I found a pair in your size, but it's yellow is that okay?" Yeah he really didn't need to ask (yellow is my favorite color).

The kid needs glasses

About a month ago at co-op, all of the kids had a basic eye exam. All of my sons passed except Zachary. So I schedule him an appointment and the only time they had available before December was last Wednesday. Zachary it turns out is nearsighted and only need glasses for distance. I let him pick out a pair at Wal-mart. This of course makes Olivia jealous. They had Hello Kitty glasses there, and she wanted a pair. Of course Hello Kitty really isn't Zachary's style, so he picked out these...
I think they look great :)

Hey I Need Those Nilla Cookies

So last monday (a week from today) I made a list of what I was going to make on thanksgiving day. I was going to go to the commissary the next day, and pick everything up. That night I remember having a dream that I went shopping and had a great time, but when I got home the boys ate all of the nilla cookies (which I need for a pie), and so I have to go out and get more. Yes all of this in a dream.

The next day while we are all out shopping (the kids and I), I tell them about the dream, and we all have a good laugh, but when we get home, guess who I find getting into the cookies. Yes right when we walk through the door. Yes I should have pick up two boxes.

Olivia Discovers Where I Hide My Nail Polish, and Catching Fire

So yesterday Jeremy and I spent the first part of the morning cleaning the house. We were going on a date that night, and having a sitter watch the kids (first time this year). I was doing the dishes, and the house was quiet... to quiet. So I tell Jeremy to track down Olivia, and make sure she isn't getting into trouble. After about 30 sec Jeremy tells me that he going to let me get this one. I get with-in 10 feet of the door to my room, and I know immediately what she's gotten into. Yup the nail polish. The first thing she says to me is "I'm coloring mommy, get out." Really, it's my room. Jeremy took this picture...

It was all over her though. She decided that painting her nails wasn't enough. Her legs, feet, and hands were a big nail polish mess.

This added to the list of things to clean before the sitter gets here. Luckily we got the house and Olivia looking perfect and we were able to have a really good time at the movies.

We saw Catching Fire, and it was awesome. At no point in the movie was I disappointed, so yes I will be buying the blu-ray. The Huger Games is one of my favorite book series, and I enjoy reading them over and over again.

The Van Is At The Doctors

Alright, so lastly. Our van needed some work. The heat hasn't worked any this season, it's been awful having to drive it (also driving 2 hours to go hiking in a van with no heat is a bad idea... just so you know) and the check engine light came on the other day. Yikes! So today I take it into the dealership and the guy mentions that their are also some recalls on it, and that if we want to get that taken care of as well it may take a few days, but we would get a rental car for free. Well okay that doesn't sound to bad, but before we could set this up they had to find out what was wrong with the car, to see if they could fit everything in, and if they had the right parts. So we wait 3 hours (I'm not joking). The dealer ship did have this...
But this only kept us entertained for an hour. They said that the check engine was easy to figure out, but the heat took forever. Turns out the coolant cap was missing, and I was out of coolant (yeah I have not idea how that happened, and nether do they). So they get me a rental, and set the rest of the repairs up, and then we went home. Yes we were so grateful just to go home. The rental car is a Chrysler mini van. The siding doors open and close at the push of a button... yeah ... wow... I've never had a fancy car. Jeremy is trying to convince me to get a new van (or maybe a new used van), he found an E series at a dealership two hours from here (and included a ferry ride). It looked like a nice car... 2008 only 50,000 miles, but the dealer was not willing to wheel and deal over the phone, and I told him there was no way I was going over there just to have a salesman talk me into a deal I don't want to make.

So that's all for now. I'll write again soon :)

Friday, November 8, 2013

What are your days like?

Hi everyone, I'm doing something a little different today, so bear with me. This is going to be a log of a somewhat hectic but typical day for me. I'm sure most of you moms can relate. Weather you have one child or more... does this sound like you?

At 6:30 am I am woken up 30 minutes before my alarm goes off, to a crying like girl who can't find her bracelet. Most mornings I wonder why I even bother to set the alarm. My sons are up and fixing breakfast in the kitchen. Even though they know they can sleep in until 7am, they never do. They are all grumpy and irritating each other, as I walk in and grab a bowl for Olivia, who is at the television asking to watch Wreck-it-Ralph, and she would also like juice and milk please. By the time I find the movie, fix her breakfast, and get her dressed, the boys are ready to start school. I myself am hungry, but I'll eat later when things slow down.

I set down with Nathaniel and we go over his spelling words this week, while my older two work on their math. Ten minutes into this, I am interrupted by my three year old, who apparently needs help going to the bathroom. After following her upstairs however, I find that she doesn't need or even want my help at all, she just wants me to be there. This is when I notice my throat is dry and I have only enough time to grab a glass of water, before I am called back downstairs by Zachary, who needs help with a problem in math.

After helping Zachary with math, getting Nathaniel start on math, and taking the dog out (yeah almost forgot to do that), I go back upstairs (I should mention that our schoolroom is in the basement) to the kitchen. I'm about to get a bowl of cereal, when my three year old tells me that she would now like to watch Cinderella. So I put that on for her, but by that time Nathaniel needs me. So I decide to grab a glass of milk instead of fixing a bowl of cereal. I get Nathaniel back on track, and start the laundry. This is when Olivia comes to tell me that Zazzles (our new kitten) is in the Christmas tree again, and won't come out. All of this and it is only 9:30am. I pry Zazzles out of the tree, finally grab some breakfast, and sit down to grade some papers. Of course ten minutes into that, and the three year old has to use the bathroom again. She is refusing to go with out me there.

I hear the washer ding, and rush back downstairs to switch the load over to the dryer, and start a new one. This is when I notice that the cats are out of food. I look all over the laundry room, only to remember that the bag of food is upstairs in the kitchen (of course it is, because putting it up there made perfect sense at the time). While upstairs I notice Olivia has a different dress on, and ask her about it. Apparently her last dress wasn't as magical as this one. Okay whatever at least she has closes on.

After feeding the cats, I go back to my disk, to finish an e-mail to our homeschool supervisor about our progress last month. The dryer dings along with the washer, and it's back to the laundry. I hear my phone ding, reminding me to put on my eczema cream. It goes off everyday at 12pm, and the boys know that, so I hear them cheer and rush upstairs to get some lunch. After about a minute I yell up to them reminding them to help Olivia if she is hungry. This is when Darien tells me, that she has the box of Captain Crunch and has been snacking on that, so she may not be hungry. Yeah I know, that's not a meal. The boys are nice enough to fix her a sandwich and peel her half an orange anyways, and she eats half of both (yeah typical three year old).

At this time I have the laundry folded and sorted into piles. I call my sons downstairs to put away their share. By this time in the day, Darien and Nathaniel are already finished with their school, but Zachary has a few pages left. I walk upstairs in hopes of grabbing a book and having 30 minutes to myself when Olivia tells me she is hungry. "Well where is your lunch? Eat the rest of that." But she tells me she can't because the dog ate it. After getting her a snack, I notice the dishes need to be done, so I unload, and reload the dishwasher.

I finally sit down and I am so excited to start reading. YAY ME TIME! After fifteen minutes of reading bliss, Darien pops his head into my room to tell me that the dishwasher is leaking (yes ours is temperamental if it gets a little dirty it will clog and leak). I stop the dishwasher, mop up the puddle, and clean the whole thing out. Yes during all of this I am interrupted by Olivia needing another supervised bathroom break. After all of that Zachary tells me the dyer is finished, and he is also finished with his school work. Awesome! So it's back to folding and sorting.

Nathaniel finds me after I am finished with the laundry, and asks me if I would read his Nemo book with him, so he could play video games (we have a rule where you have to read for a set amount of time, before being allowed to play video games). We read together and I am very pleased with his progress. This is also when Darien tells me that he has also read, so he and Nathaniel start to play minecraft together. By this time I remember that I haven't had lunch, and it's almost 3pm... already...

I fix myself a sandwich and settle back down in my room, and begin to read again. I get a hour, a whole hour of reading bliss (it was wonderful), then it's time to start on dinner.

Yes I'm going to stop there, because I'm sure you can imagine what the rest of the night was like, with the fixing of dinner, Jeremy coming home, more dishes to do, and baths to be given (well just to Olivia, I'm so glad the boys a very self sufficient). I sure a lot of you moms can relate weather you work, or stay at home, weather you send them to school, or teach them at home, weather you have one child or ten, yeah you know the feeling. ;)

Friday, October 18, 2013


You know it's nice to notice that your favorite group has a new album out, one that you knew nothing about, and you stumble upon it, and giggle with glee. Without hesitation you download it and think "tonight in going to be awesome!"

Do you Minecraft?

First I want to start off and saying that I'm sorry for the gap in post. I things are really ordinary around here, and I haven't had mush to write about (I think I almost always use that excuse about a gap in post) (well sorry about that too).

We have a new favorite thing around here in the Legates house, and it's Minecraft. We started playing a few weeks ago (all of us really), and we love it, and wonder how we have ever lived without it before. Minecraft in a big building sandbox kind of game. You can chose to play survival mode, where you need to acquire all of your resources to build, eat, and survive (there are monsters that try to kill you), and there is create mode where you are given unlimited resources to build and create whatever you what. If you are going to give survival mode a try, I recommend watching these videos. Jeremy and I have teamed up on survival mode, and it's been having so much fun. He would mine, while I added on to our house, and feed the animals. I also love create mode! Being able to create anything you can thing of is very rewarding.

I've known about minecraft for sometime, well I knew that it existed, but I didn't know what it was about. The boys' friends at co-op just kept talking about it, and that's what made us curious. The game can be downloaded on to almost any computer (no mater how old), and they have a version for the xbox. Jeremy and I play on the computer, and the boys play on the xbox, and yes both allow for multipliers, so yes basically we can all play at the same time (and we totally have). Also for all of you frugal people, the game is only $20, no matter what version you get.

I just had to share, because it really is an awesome game, and it's one that makes you think, and lets you be creative.

Oh and I've been taking a picture each time I change our classroom board. This year my goal is to make the board fun and interactive, so here's what I've come up with so far this school year. Tell me what you think. :) (click on the pictures to make them bigger)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Co-op has started again!

I write this post with excitement, because I am very happy that co-op has started again. Last Saturday morning I found Nathaniel setting on our red chair, bouncing up and down. When I asked him why he was so excited, he answered and said "because co-op starts today." That of course made me sad, because I had to tell him that he had his days mixed up, and it wasn't Wednesday. "Oh then is it tomorrow?" He asked, and I had to tell him no. He started to look sad. "Then is it the day after that?" He also asked, and I have to once again tell him no. Yes he loves co-op that much, they all do (well except of the one little girl who doesn't get to go).

This year they moved it to a new location, and I was glad that I didn't drive to the old place anyways out of habit. I like the new location much better, because It's really close to the mall, and all of the other places I like to go shopping. If I have any shopping I need to do, I usually save it for Co-op day, when I only have one kid to worry about (and the boys really hate shopping).

The boys are so grown up, and I can't believe it, the two older boys didn't need any help finding their new class rooms, and to tell you the truth the youngest didn't either, but I insisted (it's all I really get to do anymore). Olivia almost sat down with Nathaniel in his class room (I'm sure his teacher would have loved having an extra student), but I made her leave with me. She was not happy about it, and reminded me that we were leaving without her brothers.

Olivia and I went thrift shopping after we dropped the boys off. I was celebrating, she was pouting, until we got to the store. Goodwill now has their Halloween decorations up, and Olivia loves Halloween decorations. My little girl loves monsters and skeletons (she calls them pirates). I'm not really sure why she loves them, but she just does (Monsters inc. is one of her favorite movies). Olivia also found a new favorite dress at Goodwill and that cheered her up quite a bit.

The boys had a ton of good things to talk about when we picked them up. One of Nathaniel's friends shared a caramel apple with him, and Darien was able to discuss Pokemon with his best friend Harrison. Zachary said he hung out with Sundari, but he wouldn't tell us anymore about that (does this mean my son is starting to like girls, and already has one that he likes?).

The weather has gotten colder here all of the sudden. I had to break down today and finally turn on the heat, because I really couldn't take the cold (yes I'm still a San Diegan at heart). We've been wearing jackets and long sleeves for a week now, so yes summer is definitely over for us.

I've started a few new crochet projects. My kids have asked for blankets as part of their Christmas present, and I let them pick out the colors. This is what I have done so far...

I usually pick a different one to do every day, and just try to get as far as possible in what little free time I have (can you tell who's blanket is who's?). Jeremy has also asked for one, and I have started his, but his is on the back burner right now. I'll post pictures once I am finished. If anyone was wondering I used half double stitches (those are my favorites), and the yarn is Red Heart (yes because they sell it for a good price at walmart).

Well that is all for right now. I'm sorry that things have slowed down, but that's just how things are this time of year. Thanks for reading :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Helpful Homeschooling Tools (a guest post by Clare E. Booth)

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Harry Potter Party 2013!

We had our Harry Potter Party (YAY!). It was great, and I may need some time to recover. Here is our guest list and schedule...

We started friday night (as you can see), to split up the movies so that we wouldn't end up feeling so worn out afterwards.

In our house we do have everyone sorted into which ever Hogwarts house fits their personality (yes the cats too).

The menu was fun and mostly simple. In my last post there are 2 videos that show you how to make Cauldron cake pops, and chocolate frogs.

As far as the butter beer, I made up a recipe of my own...

I used two scoops of Ice cream, six cups of Cream soda, and three cups of Ginger ale. My only complaint was that it wasn't as carbonated as I would have liked, but I felt like I got the taste right.

Now are for the pretzel wands... I took the big pretzel sticks, and dipped them in melted chocolate (I took some chocolate chips, and melted them in the microwave), then rolled them in sprinkles and nerds candy. I set them on some wax paper, then put them in the freezer for about ten minutes. They were really good.

The cupcakes were not really anything special, I just put pointy ice cream cones on top of them, to make it look like they were wearing wizard hats...

The rice crispy treat were also nothing special, but they were of course really good.

The eggs, mac and cheese, and pizza were for meals, so that way we actually got some real food in us, and not just sweets.

Despite the fact that my kids can eat a lot of food, I still have left overs. I really liked the menu and enjoyed everything on it, so next year I don't think it will change much.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

First Week of School, Congrats to Shelby, and School Pictures

Hey everyone! We are finished with our first week of school, and finally into the swing of things again.

This was how I did the white board on the first day of school (and actually to tell you the truth it still looks that way... oh well). The question of the day was "Who is your favorite fictional character of all time?" As you can see I also put on the board that they were not to answer it until the end of the day, because I really wanted them to think on it. Finally after much thought they all had an answer for me. Darien picked Severus Snape (from Harry Potter), Zachary picked Wreck-it Ralph (from the Disney movie Wreck-it Ralph), and Nathaniel picked Violet (from the Disney movie The Incredibles). Their assignment after that was to write a story about them, a new story. I'll let you guys know how that turned out.

I also mentioned in a previous post that we have new bedtime rules in regards to grades, and this is what I came up with...

The New Good Grades / Bad Grades Bedtime rules

You can now earn a later bedtime by getting good grades, but you can also be sent to bed early for bad grades. This will be counted weekly, so at the end of the week on Friday mom will grade all of your papers. Your grades will decide your bedtime for that upcoming week Monday - Friday (weekends you will always keep your 8pm bedtime).

- If you get all 100%
     *then you get to stay up until 9pm

- If your lowest grade is in the 90's
     *then you get to stay up until 8:30pm

- If your lowest grade is in the 80's
     *then your bedtime will stay the same at 8pm

- If you lowest grade is 79% or lower
     *then you are to go to bed at 7:30pm and take your notes with you

Keep up the good grades and you will be rewarded

- If you get 2 great weeks in a row (meaning 90% or higher on all or your test and quizzes), then you will be allowed to take your DS to bed with you.

I don't know about your kids, but mine love to stay up past bedtime, and now they can earn it. The Abeka curriculum is a tough one with studying, notes to take, and a lot of memorizing, but I want my kids to be challenged. With this rule in-place they want to study, and not just slide by.

Now if you guys are still wondering about those chickens well here they are

This is their new coop (you can see three of them in this picture). Yes they have gotten much bigger. The coop we got off of amazon, and it was actually a rabbit hutch, but it works as a coop as well. I love it, and it's super easy to clean. The roof opens up, and the upper floor slides out, so I can take it out and hose it down.

Something exciting happened this weekend...


Yeah wow!

I know, they make a really cute couple (picture by Jessica Ober). They had their wedding in my parents' back yard, and it was beautiful. I was able to be there via Skype. Yes I was carried around on a laptop, and it was awesome.   It almost felt like I was there. I'm really happy for them both, and I'm sure they will have a wonderful life together.

I got the kids school pictures done early this year. I really wanted to do something fun and different this year, since last year we did the whole sailor thing...

I wanted a way, not to top it, but to at the least be just as cool... cute... oh I'm not sure... I finally decided that I wanted to do hats and scarfs (you know since we live in the northwest and all), and to make it unique, they wore their Hogwarts' house hats, and I crocheted scarfs to match (because the scarfs were super expensive on amazon).

I took the pictures with my iPhone at Scenic Beach in Seabeck, WA. I love them! Okay so their not professional but their good enough for me, and they were cheaper this way. I got them printed at walgreens, and I had a coupon as well. I'm just really excited right now about all of the money I saved.

In other Harry Potter news, we are planning another Harry Potter party. It's going to be in October. We have one every year, it's where we watch the movies back to back (we have to start early), and eat yummy food, and just have a fun time and hang out as a family. This year I'm making...

And that's just the desserts. I'm really excited and can't want, and yes I will tell you all about it. :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Starting school again!

Hey everyone, I'm excited to announce that this is our first day of school! This will be my fourth year of homeschooling my wonderful children. Now I am a person who loves time off, and I really enjoy the days of summer, but I am so ready to start school again.

Last week was a week of fail, and not because anything bad happened to me, it was just because I have nothing to do, or well I should say that nothing was holding my interest. I was so happy at the beginning of last week, to have at least one week of freedom left. I told myself that I was going to enjoy it. I was going to do things that I found fun and relaxing like, read a few books, play the sims, and some warcraft, catch up on some laundry (I really don't enjoy that, but I did have time on my hands so whatever), watch some of my fav TV shows like Star Trek, Big Bang Theory, and Bones. You know... fun and relaxing. All of these sounded great until I started to do them. I just didn't want to. I would start to read, and get 15 mins into it, and get bored and give up. I would start to play the sims and on the sims start to build this exquisite house for mermaids, and then the game would freeze... ... yeah... (I didn't really have the patience to re-boot, and start all over again) So then off to laundry, but you can only do so much laundry before everything is clean including all of the sheets. Not to mention that during all of these activities I was getting interrupted by a three year old every 15 mins or so. I'm also sad to say that I just didn't enjoy watching Star Trek and Bones as much as I normally do. I know what you must be thinking "Oh poor Randi, she's bored and complaining about it. GET A LIFE." and you would so be right.

So yeah, that's why I'm happy that school is starting. Yes I know I'm crazy. It's just time for summer to be over (lets just face it) (and according to the northwest weather it was over two weeks ago), and it's time to start school. It's time to get the books out, and see our friends from co-op again (I'm really looking forward to that starting up again, yes says the person who was complaining about being bored).

I'm writing and posting this early, because it's going to be a big day. I always feel really tired after the first day of school (it usually takes me a week to get into the swing of things). This year I have a new rewards system in place for getting good grades, and the kids are super excited about it. I'll have to tell you guys about it in a later post. We have also moved the chickens outside in their coop, and I'll have more on that later as well. I need to get off of here and start my day.

Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Using Fanfiction to Engage Students (guest post by : Nikolas Baron)

I love to see students express their imagination through their words. I think that often, children of all ages have something they want to say but struggle with how to say it. Often, they have no idea how to begin, and as their educators, we're at as much of a loss as they are. It's easy to tell them to just sit down and write a story, but if they aren't natural writers, or even worse, they aren't natural readers, this is much easier said than done. In my work with Grammarly, I study how people write and the tools they use to become better writers, and I think encouraging students to write “fanfiction” can be a great way to spark a desire to write more and, possibly, read a bit more as well.
Simply put, “fanfiction” is an original story based on another work, usually a TV show or movie, though there are plenty of examples of fanfiction that are based on books and video games. Fanfiction has a long history in pop culture, dating back centuries, but it didn't quite take off until the 1960s, when many science-fiction magazines started publishing original stories by subscribers. Since then, the Internet has given fanfiction writers a limitless venue through which they can display their works.
The idea behind fanfiction is that you love these works so much, when they're over, you want the adventure to continue, and in order for that to happen, you're going to be the one to write it. You are literally writing an original story based within the universe of a work that you've read and enjoyed.
So, how does this concept translate into helping students learn to enjoy writing? Well, who wouldn't want to go to Hogwarts with Harry Potter? Or fight the empire alongside Luke Skywalker? With fanfiction, you can do this, and it can be fun. We gravitate toward these stories because we often identify with the characters and situations within them, and our students are no different. Encouraging them to write their own stories set within universes they love will hopefully build a desire within them to figure out why they love those stories and use those elements to tell their own stories. You can also encourage them to put themselves into the stories and see what happens. What happens when your student becomes an ensign in Starfleet or comes into the possession of the One Ring? Or both at the same time? Fanfiction is limitless, and because of this, students can be free to express themselves however they want.
Of course, it's important that you spend time reading over their work with them, so that you can help foster their writing abilities. You can support them, while guiding them to becoming better writers. And, hopefully, when they see how they can express themselves through their words, and how they have an audience that cares about what they have to say, they'll have that desire to become better writers.
When they finally find that desire, it will hopefully lead to further polishing their work. In doing so, they might want to fine-tune their grammar. After all, it's frustrating to have a great story hurt by technical mistakes. At Grammarly, we have one of the best grammar checks on the Internet. It will scan their text for over 250 grammar errors and help them learn how to fix them. When they're telling great stories, coupled with excellent grammar, their writing will be unstoppable.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Mermaid Pants

My daughter Olivia had a green pair of pants that she never wore. There were a hand-me-down from our neighbor in Jackson Park. I always wondered what I could do with them, because we didn't have anything to match them because they were just a strange color.

 Yup that's them! I had a weird dream one night about wearing mermaid pants, I awoke thinking "I'm sure Olivia would love to wear mermaid pants," and that's where I got the idea to turn these green pants into mermaid pants

 I started off by measuring around the bottom of the pants. So yeah 7 inches. I decided that I wanted the first strips of fabric to start and stop about half an inch form the inseam (I was making this all up as I went, so bear with me).

I cut 4 strips of fabric measuring 12 inches by 3 inches.

Then I rounded the top corners,

and I sewed them together making them 2 strips.

Time for pinning!

I pinned an inch of fabric, then an inch of folded over fabric, to make a ruffled effect.

Then I sewed all the way around.

Next was triangles. Since the pants were 7 inches at the bottom, I measured 8 inched of fabric for the bottom of the triangle.

I marked the beginning, the end, and half way.

From the half way mark, I measured up 6 inches, and from there drew a line from that mark to both of the ends, this make up the other sides of the triangle.

I maked 4 triangles

then sewed them together to make 2 (yes this does look like a bikini top).

Next I pinned and sewed them onto the bottom of the pants, under the previous strip of fabric.

All done! I would have taken more photos of after, but she run off after that. :)