Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Killdeer on our evening family walks ...

Every evening after we eat our meal, we clean up the house and then walk around our neighborhood. On our evening walks we noticed this very cool bird, the killdeer. The killdeer nests on the ground. It will start shouting at you if you get anywhere near it's nest ... and it will begin to put on a distraction display to guide you away from it's nest. We found it's nest and got a picture of the killdeer guarding it's eggs. Do you see the eggs in the picture above and below?
We look forward to seeing this bird each evening and are excited for the eggs to hatch!

I am going to try to do a little unit study for the children about this specific bird - it's fascinating to watch!

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Memorial Day Tribute - Teaching the Children

I come from a rich heritage of men who have served in the US Armed Services. I value the work that they do for us. How do I teach this abstract concept to my children? How do I make them realize the importance of what the US military does to ensure our freedom? It's not the easiest thing to get a child, who is naturally egocentric, to understand the scope and magnitude of a soldier who is giving up his life for freedom. We owe so much to the men and women who have fought and lost their lives. I grew up in a military family. The nature of a military family is sacrificial. So, I am thankful for the military families as well! At this point, I speak candidly to the children about the US military and the sacrifices. I do hope and pray that as they grow older and are able to understand more that an deep appreciation will grow in them for our US Military.

I hope that you will take time to listen to this amazing song that was just released this past weekend. I know this sibling group personally and was privileged to spend lots of time with them when I was in college. I know for a fact that these people are truly authentic, humble, and sincere. This song is a tribute to those who have lost their lives fighting for our freedom!
Row Upon Row

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lots and Lots of Legos

Recently, Martin has gotten a couple of new star wars lego sets. He absolutely loves legos - especially star wars legos. After he built his new sets, he decided to pull out his older sets - take them all apart - and rebuild them. He spent every afternoon last week working on it.

Tools for making whole foods meals

We rarely to never eat out. If we do eat out, it's almost always because someone has given us a gift card, or my mom and dad are treating us! It's quite common for me to pack us a lunch if we have to be out running errands. We also make as much as we can from scratch to ensure that we have the most control over the ingredients that we consume as possible. I have been making all of our whole grain bread products (loaves, pizza crust, buns, rolls, tortillas, muffins, and other baked goods) for about 4 1/2 years now. We make grain purchases once or twice a year - usually about 150-300 pounds at a time.

The question that I get often is:
How do you do it?
I have some tools to share with you that I have picked up over the years to make it manageable.

1. Plan ahead - this one is huge!
In order to make all meals at home and not have eating out as a safety net, I have to have a plan in place. I plan out a menu 2-4 weeks in advance. This keeps me on task for buying the ingredients that I need to make the meals. It also keeps me from spending each afternoon fretting over what I will be making that evening.
2. Weekly repeats.
Almost every Saturday, I make the same meal. It's a favorite for everyone, so no one minds the repeat. Every Sunday we eat leftovers after church. (I plan the week out in order to ensure that we will have leftovers in the fridge for Sunday afternoon) Every Sunday evening, we have all fruit smoothies and organic popcorn.
Every Wednesday, I make homemade pizza.
With those repeats, it helps to menu plan knowing that those days are already planned out.
3. Keep it simple.
I have learned over the years that meals do not have to be complicated. There are some meals that I make that are very time consuming - the only reason that I keep them in the rotation is because every one loves it so much! You can even find shortcuts for those meals, however. (pre-chopping the veggies and throwing it in the freezer) I am working on getting better at that.
4. Work it into the routine.
I've also learned over the years that if you want it badly enough, you'll make the effort required to make it happen. Nutrition is very important to me, so of course, I am going to make it happen! Making our bread is just as natural as making my bed or running the vacuum, it's just something I worked into the routine.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Playground Pictures

These are some fun pictures of the children playing at the strawberry farm.

Strawberry Picking!

Last week we went strawberry picking. It was so much fun! Even Aaron said, "I had no idea it would be this much fun!" Personally, I had no idea how quickly we would pick 10 pounds of strawberries! After we picked our strawberries, the children played on a little playground near the strawberry picking area. It was a toss up on which they enjoyed more - the playground or the strawberry picking. It was a fun little field trip and I am ready to go pick some more. I made a super delicious strawberry pie with freshly made whipped cream. It was my first strawberry pie - and I am so excited at how good it turned out.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Building the playset

We are super excited about all of the building that has been going on in our garage over the last several days! Thanks to Nanny (Rich's Mom), we were able to purchase a fantastic play set for our backyard! We've never had a play set, so this is very exciting for the children!
We are not sure yet when it will all be done - but the boys are enjoying hanging out with Daddy as he builds it. Jonathan is especially interested in building, so he will hardly leave Rich's side!
I'll post updates as we get further along!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rosalie's new bed

It's hard for me to even believe it, but Rosalie is no longer in a crib! We moved her out of the crib last Sunday and into a toddler bed. She is doing really well with it. I suppose she was just ready for the transition because it has been so easy! I started with having her nap in it one afternoon and we haven't gone back. She loves her new bed. She has never once gotten out of it without permission. She loves that she can get in it and out of it without help.
When I took the crib apart on Tuesday, it was bittersweet! That crib has been a fixture in our home for the past 9 years. All 4 of the children used it. Every time I moved one baby out of it, I had another one to put in it. (except for this time)
I am thrilled to move on to this stage with Rosalie. I am thrilled that she is so happy about it. Admittedly, it is an emotional thing for me.
This is a pretty big milestone for Rosalie ... just one of many more to come!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Climbing Trees

Martin and Aaron are always looking for trees to climb. Here are a few pictures I snapped of them climbing a huge tree at the park. (Thankfully) We don't really have good climbing trees where we live. :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's getting a little easier ...

... to get a picture of all 4 of them - looking at the camera at the same time!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Raising children is hard!

It's hard to believe that he's 9! I've learned a lot about Martin and who he is becoming in this past year. There are times that I look at him and think, "wow, you are becoming a wonderful young man!" Then there are other times when I look at him and think, "who are you...and what have you done with my Martin?" Those of you who have been in this stage with your children must know exactly what I mean. He is a wonderful big brother. He is a huge help to me and always have been.
Then we have days when it seems as though he has completely forgotten what being kind looks like and I start wondering where in the world I went wrong? Do you ever have any days like that? Sometimes, depending on my mood, it gets me downright depressed.
Sometimes I forget that no matter how much I pour into my children, train my children, love my children, and teach them about God's word, they still are human beings. Just as I fail everyday to be perfect, they will fail too.
So, if you ever have one of those days that you feel like you've ruined your child ... and your child will be lucky to survive being raised by you ... just remember this: (I'm preaching to myself as well!) The best place you can go in those moments is on your knees. Find a quiet solitary place for each of your children and require them to stay there while you regroup. Go find your quiet place and get down on your knees. If there is something that you are doing that you need to fix ... ask God to reveal it to you. Cry out to the Only One who can calm you and give you peace. Raising children is the hardest thing I've ever done.
Leave me a message if you need me to pray for you. I'd be honored.
Time Warp Wife

Monday, May 16, 2011

Almost done with our school year!

Aaron will be finishing the 1st grade!

Jonathan has been doing a *little* bit of preschool stuff while the bigger boys do their work. He's super excited to start K in the fall!

Rosalie has been working on independent play while the bigger children do their work. She has improved in that area and is getting better everyday. Thankfully kindergarten doesn't take much time to do, and she'll still have her playmate most of the day!

Martin will be done with 3rd grade!! It's so hard to believe that I will have a 4th grader.
My regular readers may notice that I put banners up below Aaron and Martin's picture that show what curriculum we will be using next year. I have been slowly collecting all that I need and I am excited about our next school year.

While the boys are super excited about summer break. I am not so excited. I love routine. I especially love our morning routine that includes school. So, when we are on break, I am actually less efficient with my time than when we are doing school. It makes me crazy. So, good luck to me when break starts 3 weeks from now! :)
We have lots planned for the summer to keep them/me busy, though!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Picking flowers ...

To the beach!

Out in the distance you can see the beautiful Chesapeake Bay. One of the days that we were visiting Virginia, we took the boys to a Buckroe Beach in Hampton.

Rosalie had a wonderful time playing in the sand!
Jonathan did too!

One giant sand box for those two to enjoy!

Martin and Aaron enjoyed the freezing cold water. That's right ... they didn't seem to mind the cold water at all!

Tons of fun to be had ... what's a little cold water?

They played until there lips turned blue and their teeth were chattering!

On a side note ... eventually both Rosalie and Jonathan ventured to the water's edge. Jonathan really seemed to enjoy it and have fun with it. Rosalie was hilarious! She would put the tips of her toes in the water ... and when a small wave would splash over her feet ... she'd run away shouting, "water's going to get me!"