Thursday, December 30, 2010

Good Bye 2010...

I saw this on another blog and I thought it was kind of cool. She asks herself the same questions at the end of each year and it's interesting to see how the answers can change and stay the same too. It's kind of long so I won't blame you if you scoot out early ;)
But before that I just want to get some quick goals written down for 2011. Not resolutions, just goals.

1. Take more pictures. I seriously lacked on this in 2010.
2. Document more. Blogging, scrapbooking, picture taking. More.
3. Pay off credit card. self explanatory.
4. Maintain a healthy weight. I just quit Weight Watchers so we'll see how this goes :P

Ok on to the questions...
1. What did you do in 2011 that you never did before?
began a diet and exercise plan. kept it up for an entire year. well the diet part anyway. ran a lot. I hate running. started homeschooling. moved to Oakland.
2. Did you keep any of your resolutions from last year and will you make any new ones?
I tend not to make any resolutions. But I did set 4 simple goals for next year.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes. My neighbor and friend had a healthy baby boy last January. I can't believe he's almost 1!
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you didn't have in 2010?
hmmmm..... A panini press? I'm pretty easy to please. And a warm gooey sandwich sounds yummy.
7. What dates in 201o will be forever etched in your memory?
A day in January when I decided to take control of my weight and health. July 1st- the day we moved to Oakland. Our entire trip to Disneyland.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
losing 60 pounds. I mean I hate to go there, but it is kind of a big deal. Deciding to homeschool, finding out that it ain't all that bad, actually loving it.
9. What was your biggest failure?
certain parenting moments, of course. And also certain wifely moments too.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Well Pete almost cut his thumb off in July..does that count? We were all pretty sick with colds/flu towards the end of the year. But luckily nothing too serious.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
A vacation to Disneyland.
12. Where did most of your money go?
BILLS, BILLS, BILLS. oh I wish I could say: savings account, instead.
13. What did you get really excited about?
DISNEYLAND! I still can't believe it's over. Man, I love that place.
14. What song will always remind you of 2010?
dude, i have no clue.
15. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Camping. Taking pictures. Scrapbooking. Exercising.
16. Compared to this time last year you are...
-happier or sadder? happier
-fatter or thinner? THINNER! and stronger :)
-richer or poorer? Richer in life, poorer in the pocket.
17. What do you wish you'd done less of?
18. How did you spend Christmas?
At mom's, then again at Pete's moms.
19. What was your favorite TV program?
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire.
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
I really don't know. I'm not in the car as much anymore, therefore I don't listen to the radio as much either. Nothing really stands out in my mind.
22. What were your favorite films of the year?
Tangled, How to Train your Dragon, Despicable Me. (do you see a pattern?) We also just watched The Town over Christmas and it was really good! I remembered how much I like Ben Affleck.
23. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
Nothing and none of your beez wax ;-)
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
What?? I don't even know what this means. I DO know, that losing 60lbs has made my wardrobe very sad actually. I need a whole new one immediately! My closet is pathetic.
26. What kept you sane?
my husband. my mother. surprisingly-exercise.
27. A valuable life lesson you learned in 2010?
I'm still learning.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A White Christmas...

What a wonderful Christmas we had. It was so busy and yucky leading up to it, but actual Christmas was very nice. The only missing part was seeing my dad, who I missed very much. His chemo treatments make him very susceptible to infection so we all thought it best to keep germ-filled kids away for this time. I did talk to him though, and he sounds much better. He's been sleeping well and hasn't had to have his lungs drained of fluid for over a week now so it seems as though the prayers and the chemo are working. Thank you for that! ♥♥
Christmas Eve and Christmas morning were spent with my mom and Mike. I do have pics from that, I just haven't edited them yet. So those will come in a separate post.
Saturday afternoon we headed up the mountain to Pete's parents. There was actually no snow when we got there. We were a little shocked, I thought there would at least be a little. But we were lucky! Just about dusk Saturday night it started to snow, and we woke up to about 5 or 6 inches of fluffy white stuff Sunday morning. :)

This was so funny...Our dog, Maggie just loves Pete and kept chasing him down and then back up the hill we were sledding down. So finally Pete just put her on the sled with him. Can you not see the pure joy in her face? HA! She totally loved it.

This one is all kindsa blurry, but I just love it.

Jake headed down the hill. He was actually the best sledder...made it the farthest each time.

Meggy going all by herself and loving it.

Snowball fight!

Cute Hannah, making a brick for the snow wall.

Jake in his new coat from Grandma Katy.

And Megs in her new coat too :)

There's more, but those were the good ones, and the only ones I felt like waiting for blogger to upload. :) Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!! We're taking the week off from school work to hang out, clean up, reorganize, and move forward into 2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

10 things I still haven't done

The Holiday Procrastinators Edition

1. Finished my shopping. Yep. Still two gifts to buy.
2. Wrapped presents. I usually leave this till last anyway, but since we're going out of town Friday, I really need to get this done ASAP
3. Bought stocking stuffers. I do have some chapstick and a notebook for each. But yeah, that doesn't really "stuff" a stocking.
3. Made my contributions for Christmas breakfast and Christmas dinner. I can't really do that till Friday anyway, but it is still one more thing to do.
4. Found my kids snow clothes. Or bought them new ones. I'm not a fan of snow. Because I'm not a fan of being cold. And I find it silly to buy snow clothes for a once maybe twice a year event. (Nicole and Beth are laughing right now, I'm sure!) But it must be done. Grandma has lots of snow at her house and there will be lots of playing in it, I'm sure. But I can not find the snow boots we bought last year?? Where are they?
5. Bought batteries. I haven't even checked to see what kind the DS takes. Better do that quick. Knowing me, it won't take batteries but some other 40 dollar charger that doesn't come with it, that I'll have to hunt down Christmas Eve at Walmart only to find out it's sold out.
6. Finished baking. I still want to make more cookies. We've made 3 different types and they're all gone.
7. Laundry. I mean, I know this doesn't really count because there's ALWAYS laundry, but it does matter when you need to pack and there's no decent clean clothes.
8. Pack. I need to pack.
9. Neighbor gifts. I do have one neighbor and I'd like to take #6 and give some to her. She drives me nuts sometimes, but she really is a good friend.
10. Relax. I can't wait to get to my mom's Friday and just chill and enjoy the season. And then get to Pete's mom's on Saturday and chill out again.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Oh for cute!

We made graham cracker houses today! They turned out so cute! And I think I had more fun than the kids. Megan was more interested in eating the candy at first and then got creative. Jake was having fun at first and then got bored. Me? I just kinda went crazy. It was fun and easy and I'll think we'll be doing this again next year. Totally worth the 15 dollars I spent in candy we'll never eat.
You can click on the images to make them larger

I followed tips from this site. It worked really, really well. The icing is disgusting, so don't eat it. But it is exactly like tacky glue. I didn't use the hot sugar method to stick the grahams to the cardboard, it worked fine without it. The directions to cut the graham crackers worked perfectly! I made up the houses myself ahead of time because I knew my kids would just get frustrated and I wanted them to just have fun with it. Plus, I have control issues. ;)
Here are the finished houses. They're so cute! Megan is on the left, Jake in the middle and me on the right.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Tuesday in December.

1. I'm trying really hard to enjoy this holiday season. But it's tough this year. With us being sick and my dad being really sick added to the normal stress of the season, I'm just having a hard time really getting into it.
2. We did finally get our tree up. With a few mishaps and shenanigans, it really deserves it's own post :)
3. my advice to you: don't get divorced. It makes your children crazy well into their adulthood. This isn't meant to make either one of my parents feel bad. I understand now why it happened and I am essentially ok with it. I don't wish for my parents to be together or anything. It's just a fact. And Christmastime is the hardest.
4. more advice: if you have the means to do it, have more than one child. Again, this is nothing against my parents. I had a wonderful childhood, I really did. But now that I'm an adult, I have no one (like a sister) to b*tch to about family crap. So I come to the internets to complain instead. You're welcome!
5. I tried to make cookies yesterday for our charter school teacher. We meet with her once a month to make sure sure we're on track and following state standards for our grade level. Anyway, the cookies were a complete disaster X two. I wanted to make jam thumbprint cookies. I went to the internet in search of a recipe since I couldn't find the one I used to have. Anyway I made up the recipe, but doubled it since it only made 10 cookies. Who makes only 10 cookies?? Anyway, you're supposed to roll the dough in your hand then in sugar, then use your finger to make a well for the jam. Well, the dough was WAY way too crumbly. It wouldn't even stick together. FAIL #1. So I went back to the internet and found another, similar recipe and just added to what I already had mixed (probably a bad idea). They stayed together though, and I was able to get them in the oven. But then...Then the jam melted out all over the place. And the actual cookie? wouldn't even cook all the way. Even after 15 minutes. FAIL #2.
6. I made up a batch of regular old chocolate chip this morning and filled a little tin. You really can't go wrong with chocolate chip, right?
7. Why did I ever think $500 would be enough money to buy all the gifts on my list this year? $500 sounds like a decent amount, even too much really. But hot dang! money goes fast. Especially when Santa decided to go ahead and get child #1 what he really wanted. $500 for both kids, Pete, parents and 3 nieces + 1 nephew.
8. I'm going simple this year on the gifts. For my kids that pretty much means: something you want, something you need. I left out the something you wear and something to read. Only because Jake's gift was expensive and he doesn't need new clothes right now. I will probably get him a book though. I mean, how could I not? I'm still working on Megan's gifts, but she really doesn't "want" anything yet. She still hasn't quite grasped the concept like Jake has. And that's ok. I know what she likes so I got her that.
9. Yes, Santa caved and got Jake the Nintendo DSi XL. I wasn't going to do it. I had completely talked myself out of it. But there were several factors in my final decision: 1) I know it's what he really, really wanted. And I can't stand a disappointed kid on Christmas. 2) We don't own any other gaming system. No Wii, XBox, Playstation or any of that stuff. 3) Pete said, "WHAT?! you're not getting him that?" after I thought he didn't want him to have one. All that, plus I found a really good deal, I had a coupon on top of that and games were 50% off at Toys R Us. But he ain't gettin' nothin' else from us. Except maybe that book ;-)
10. I don't know what else to write. I'm exhausted just reading back what I wrote, and assume you must be too if you made it this far!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Aaahh, city life...

Sirens, freeway noise, people....
Spiders, bugs, ticks, mice...
uh huh. you read that right.
Living here on this hill, smack dab in the city, is very much like living in the country.

Last night we had two encounters that just go to show how much we don't live in the city. First, at dinner Megan is pulling at her ear. Pulling and pulling and saying how much her ear hurt. I just figured the cold that we've all had must have finally turned into an ear infection. I mentally thought ok after dinner give her some tylenol, in the morning make an appointment and get some pink stuff. But she kept pulling and tugging and was almost in tears by the end of dinner. So I took a look. Behind her ear was red and almost looked like poison oak or something. Then I saw it. Right behind her earlobe was a tiny little black tick trying to dig it's way into her brain! A tick! On my baby! EEEEWWW!! Pete pulled it out and all was fine.
So after that, I decided to take a long hot shower and get cozy in my jammies. (And make sure I didn't have any ticks! EEEWW!!!) I wanted to sit down by the fire and read my book. I got out of the shower and heard a muffled little meow meow outside the bathroom window. I knew it was just our cat, Miss Kitty, wanting to come in from the cold. I finished wrapping my hair up and getting my jammies on, then went down the hall, through the kitchen and into the dinning/entry/fireplace room. (it's a multi-functional space and I don't know what to call it) I found my family all huddled around Pete. Bang! Pow! Zip! They were playing some silly shooting game on his iPhone.
I opened the front door and then the screen to let Miss Kitty in. But she wasn't right there.
Hmmm, I thought.
Me: Miss Kitty! Kitty, kitty, kitty! Come on pretty girl. (makes silly kissy noises)
I heard something, then saw her fluffy tail as she whizzed into the house.
Bang! Pow! Zip! Everyone else is still intently watching the video game.
As I turned from closing the door I see Miss Kitty proudly perched in front of me with something in her mouth.
Me: Ahh! She has something in her mouth!
Bang! Pow! Zip!
Me: Ahhhh! It's a mouse!
Cue cat to then drop said mouse onto the floor.
Bang! Pow! Zip! Awesome Daddy! Yes!
Me: It's still alive!!! GET IT!!
Bang! Pow! Zip! seriously, no one even moved! Really?!
Me: There is a MOUSE and it is NOT DEAD! GET. IT.!!!
Bang! Pow!
Me: Seriously?! Put the freakin game down and get this frickin MOUSE!
Pete: ok, ok. (in the nicey cat talk voice:) get it Miss Kitty. Get the Mouse.
This whole time I'm trying to get someone's attention, Miss Kitty just sat there proudly. And the mouse, fortunantly I suppose, just stood there stunned. Once everyone started moving, well, so did the mouse.
Me: Ahhh! Get it! GET IT! Ahh!
Miss Kitty did kinda pat at it a little. But where was her killer instinct?? Where where her claws and her fierce, flesh tearing teeth??!
Pete: She's not just going to let it go, she'll get it. (said just as she let it go again and it scurried off into the kitchen)
Pete then stepped on it's tail and had it somewhat controlled.
Jake: I'll get the broom!
smart kid!
Pete then whacked the mouse on the head a couple times, scooped it up with the dust pan and that was that.

Pete: jeeze you panicked. You acted like that was like a big deal or something.

I just looked at him quizzically.

Can someone please explain to me how having a real live mouse in the house is NOT a big deal?

Monday, December 06, 2010

The weekend that wasn't.

I think this is the latest into December I have gone without putting up our Christmas tree in years. Yep. It's still not up. This right here?: The extent of our holiday decorations. I had a horrible nights sleep Thursday night. It was windy and there was this noise outside that was driving me absolutely mad. Crazy mad. I couldn't sleep. And the short times where I did drift off, I had the weirdest dreams. Anyway, Friday I got up, shook off the no sleep and decided we should have a craft day. I took a shower, got dressed and we headed off to Michael's to grab some glitter and Styrofoam cones. I don't even know what happened, but after 20 minutes in that store, I was done. I felt like I could hardly stand. We came directly home and I was done. Fever, chills, aches. ugh. I just hate feeling like that. I'm just barely feeling better today.
So no tree up. No fantastical holiday baking day. Although, we did manage to get in a few crafts. And about 10,000 movies in our jammies. It was funny because Pete came home Friday and spied that little tree next to the fireplace. I had picked it up at Michaels because it was 50% off and I thought it was cute. Anyway, Pete goes "so is that our Christmas tree this year"? He was kidding. My first reaction was HECK NO! you Grinch! But part of me kinda thinks: that wouldn't be a half bad idea! I'm not going to do that to my kids though. I'm not that mean. Mostly.
Anyway, we did manage the glitter trees. They took all of maybe 10 minutes to make and look really cute in person. Martha Stewart extra fine glitter is awesome. The tallest white tree is actually covered in doilies. I 100% copied the idea from Rhonna Farrer and it took about 5 minutes. Hers still look cuter than mine does though. Megan made all the sequin snowflakes. We painted a bunch of popsicle sticks white, some sprinkled with Pink Paisley glitter too, and then she glued a bunch of craft sequins on. They are pretty cute. I punched holes in them so we could hang them on the tree, but now I'm thinking they look pretty cute on the mantel. I couldn't keep Jake's interest with the crafts, he was much more interested in shooting his BB gun instead. Oh well. We'll see what this week brings. I better go get the tree out now, so at least I can see it and get it out of the box!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Christmas cookies...

It's that time of year again. The time of year when I get crazy ambitious with my ideas for holiday baking. Every year I think I'm going to have a whole day-NO-a whole weekend full of FUN baking!! Then, about halfway into the first batch of rolled out cookies, I ask myself...why am I doing this again??
But I just can't help myself. The idea always creeps in, and sounds like a good one in the beginning. We'll see how far I get this year...

So far here is a list of what I would like to make:

*Cream cheese frosted cut-out cookies -so yummy!
* Mexican Wedding cookies -nobody ever eats these but me and my mom but dang, i love them!
* Pepparkakor-These are a traditional Swedish cookie, kind of like a thin crispy gingerbread. Pete grew up with his best friends mom making these all the time. So they are for him. I like them too though.
* Chocolate chip- because who doesn't like chocolate chip?
* Spritz- again, probably only me and Megan will eat these, but they're so buttery and yummy. I just hope I can get the right consistency with the dough so they'll come out of the cookie press correctly. There's a real science to it.
* Thumb prints- can you tell i really like the buttery cookies? mm mm mm!
* Peanut butter
* Snicker doodles-another of Pete's favorites
* Some sort of chocolate dipped pretzel, or pretzel/chocolate combination. Haven't quite decided what yet.

So what are your traditional Christmas cookies, or candies, or baked goods?? I'd love to try something new. Share a recipe if you have one! Does anyone make biscotti, or candy or fudge??

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Wednesday. Wordless. sorta.

Kinda boring this time. But I'm almost getting into the Christmas spirit. Happy December!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Going, going, going...

waiting for the parade at Disneyland

Oh November has been a blur. We have been going non-stop since before Halloween. It's been fun, but...shoot, could you give me another week before December? I just don't feel up to it yet!
I had all these dreams of getting my house decorated for Christmas this week. And baking cookies. And a bunch of fun Christmas crafts for the kids.
But I just can't seem to get myself there yet.
Remember to tell me next year not to plan a vacation in November. This is two years in a row we've done it, and while it's fun at the time, it seems like getting ready for Christmas is much more of a hassle, or well maybe overwhelming, than it should be. Or than I want it to be. I want to enjoy December. But every year I feel pressure starting the day after Thanksgiving, like a looming dooming cloud. And then it all flashes by like a dream and it's over 27 days later.
Next year I'm decorating on November 1st, like they do at Disneyland.

The castle, Walt and Mickey waiting for the fireworks

I'm thinking of doing December Daily again this year. I got my book all ready last year and then ended up skipping the whole project. :( I love my album from 2008. This year I'm thinking of doing all digital and then printing as a book from Shutterfly or something. Probably using Ali Edwards' templates. I like instant gratification, but I don't have a properly working photo printer right now, nor do I have the money to fix it or get a new one. I also don't have the patience to wait for my photos to be printed by Costco or whoever. So I'm thinking I can get instantly gratified by creating my pages each day digitally and then getting the book printed in January some time. In theory.
One last quick note...if you are the praying type, I could sure use some prayers for my dad. I mentioned before that he had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and that he seemed to be doing well after chemo. Well this weekend we were visiting and I could tell that he wasn't feeling all that great. He called today to say he was on his way back to the hospital at the advice of his doctor because he was having a hard time breathing. Last time they had to remove about a quart of fluid that was around his lungs and he's thinking they will have to do that again. I really don't know any more than that. They're waiting to hear what the doctors have to say. He seems in good spirits, but wants to find out what's going on. Naturally. So I'm waiting too, to hear from him or my step-mother. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous or scared. I'm trying to keep in good spirits and keep myself busy until I know anything else. Thanks for your prayers!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I can't believe....

...That it's Thursday already.
....That it's already been a week since going on vacation. (which i do have a lot to say about, but not sure if everyone really wants the details or not)
....That Thanksgiving is in ONE WEEK. holy crap.
....That Christmas is in 33 days or something crazy close to that. (why does this stuff always just sneak up on me like this??)
....That our school year is just about 1/2 over already. Already?
...That it was 80 degrees yesterday, and tomorrow it's supposed to be freezing and raining like crazy.
...That Christmas is in 33 days! Did I say that already??
....That I'm getting a cold. And I can already tell it's going to be a bad one. not that I really can't believe that, it's just ugh....I don't want to be sick.

so speaking of Christmas...what is TOPS on your kids wish-lists this year? Our kids already know that Disneyland was a big (read: expensive!) part of their Christmas this year. So I'm not going all out but...
Anyway, Megan still is at the age where she doesn't really have anything specific. She still just likes horses. And clothes.
Jake, on the other hand, really wants a Nintendo DS. And I was sort of all for it....until I saw the price. Man, those things are not cheap! Of course, I think everything over a dollar is expensive ;) but $169?? It's more than I wanted to spend on just one thing. What do you think? Do your kids have one? Is it worth the money? I mean, I know the kids like them...everywhere we go we see some kid with their face stuck to one. So...maybe I'm just being cheap. Which yeah, this is ME we're talking about here. ;P

Well, that's all I got for now. My nose is stuffy, and my throat hurts. Off to nurse this yucky cold...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

10 on Tuesday.

1. I have no energy today. I've been excited and pumped up for days, and now the day I have so much to do..the day before the day I've been anticipating for 2 months is here and I just want to take a nap.
2. It might be because I was up all night with a little girl coughing and coughing and coughing. ugh. She's fine during the day. But she coughs all night. :( BUT! I did find a cough medicine that actually works (over the counter!) Children's Mucinex. It does exactly what the box says it does. It took a little while for it to kick in, but once it did she was silent and sleeping.
3. Oh, in case #1 makes NO SENSE at all....We're going to Disneyland tomorrow. EEEK!
4. My tummy was in knots all morning. I hate that feeling. And it's exactly what happens every single time we go on a big vacation. Make it stop!
5. I probably won't be able to sleep tonight. Because I'm such a nerd that vacations still make me feel like a kid on Christmas morning. The morning can just not come quick enough. Is it time for bed yet? It's only 3 am?? Can we get up yet? Breakfast? Who needs breakfast?! Lets get this show on the road. Literally.
6. I've done entirely too much planning and research for this trip. I downloaded an app for my phone that will tell us all the wait times on the rides. I already know when all the parades, shows and fireworks are happening and what time/what day I want to see them. I also made us reservations for dinner at the Blue Bayou. The restaurant that's inside the Pirates of the Caribbean! I'm excited for that. Never eaten there before.
7. Why do my kids still ask for candy every time we go to a store, knowing FULL WELL we have a ginormous basket full of candy at home? Why?
8. I have so many other things I should be doing right now. The kitchen needs to be cleaned and dishwasher ran. The glitter box needs to be cleaned and extra food and water set out for the cat. I need to find the memory card for the camera.
9. I just want to take a nap! did I say that already?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

10 things about Halloween.

Halloween Camping 2010

1. I brought my camera. But I was very lazy. So I just used my phone for pics.
2. It was pretty cold. Generally, it tends to get cold right after Halloween here. Not this year. Ok, well, Halloween day was nice, but because we were camping, the campground celebrated on Saturday. And Saturday was kind of miserable. Weather wise, anyway.
3. I'm constantly amazed at how creative people can be! It didn't seem like as many people went all out, like they did last year. But still some sites were just amazing! There was one that had set up a couple of Easy-Ups and made a 'Fun House'. All the people dressed up like clowns. Except they were scary clowns. They had the music of a fun house, the lights, balloons...everything! And when you walked into the fun house, they scared the crap out of you! LOL! It was great. Megan I think might have had a small heart attack. But she made it. And then a few minutes later said, "that was fun!" YES!! Jake on the other hand, was not impressed.
4. I didn't dress up. I was going to, but I just couldn't get over the fact that it was windy and cold and drizzly. I wanted to be as warm as possible. That wasn't going to happen in a costume! I don't know how you Minnesotans do it!
5. Halloween camping is so much fun. But a LOT of work. Thank you Mom and Mike for making it memorable for my kids. They really do love all that you do! You can sort of see from the first pic up there that they had 2 EZ-ups set up (because of rain) and a little graveyard path that went back to the 3 witches and a cauldron of candy. Oh yes, and the graveyard butler at the beginning of the path. He was a big hit! Everybody loved him.
6. Note to self and to mom: bring twice as much candy next time. Seriously, what were we thinking? We didn't have nearly as much candy as we needed. Well, we maybe had just enough. By the time it got dark, we were completely out. But most people were done by then anyway.
7. Speaking of candy...Holy cow! I kid you not...we have at least 10 pounds of candy. At least. No two children should ever bring home this much candy from one night of trick-or treating. It's just ridiculous. Think about it...there were at least 200 campsites at the campground. 99% of them were occupied, 100% of those were handing out candy-many people giving more than one piece at a time, times that by two kids...equals a $^# load of candy!! Even in a night of trick-or-treating in a neighborhood, I doubt you would hit 200 houses. Would you?
8. But it was all good candy. The kind of candy that needs to be hidden immediately! I'm talkin' 10 pounds of Reese's, Snickers, Kit-Kat, Skittles and Starbursts. No raisins or rolls of pennies!
9. People were creative with their campsites, but not so much with their costumes. There were, of course, a few great ones. But mostly I just saw kids in store-bought cheaply made costumes and no make-up. Now, don't get me wrong. My kids' costumes where NOT masterpieces by any means! Megan was wearing a cheaply made store bought costume. I wish I had the talent and time and know-how to sew my own, but I don't. As I'm sure most people nowadays can relate to. But still. I still think you need to do it up as best you can. A costume is not just a piece of clothing. It's head to toe show, man! Take the time to do hair and make-up. It makes that store-bought costume really come to life! To me, it's the funnest part of dressing up anyway, right? I know it's Megan's favorite. She couldn't find a mirror so she spent the better part of the afternoon looking at her reflection in the pot sitting on the stove inside the trailer! I'm serious.
10. I can't wait to go next year! I'm already thinking of ideas since we'll have our own campsite next time. This year we stayed with my mom but we've already reserved our spot for next Halloween now that we have a trailer of our own!! Pete had a trailer for a ranch he was hunting on right after he sold the other pig ranch. He's no longer doing hunts there, so the trailer is ours to use whenever we like! It's old, but it's nice. At least it's not pale blue and dusty rose on the inside! LOL! I used to be a 'camping purest' tents are the only way to really camp I used to say. Then I had kids. And I got real.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday.

iPhone ShakeitPhoto app.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday. again!

1. Had another really great weekend. I love that I can say that over and over and it never gets old. Whether we stay at home or go off on an adventure, being together doesn't seem to get old to me. I spent so many weekends over the last 4 years alone. Well, with just me and the kids--since Pete was always at the ranch. I absolutely love that we're all together so much more now. And bonus: our weekends are always three days long. Pete gets Friday's off. ♥♥♥

2. Saturday I was able to go off on my own though. I went and visited with some of the girls I used to work with. It was fun to see everyone again. But sort of odd too, since I'm the only one who doesn't work outside the home. It's weird because it's like I still fit in....but then again I don't. Hard to explain I guess.

3. My friend Christine, who hosted the party, has lost over 150 lbs!! For serious! All on her own. She looks amazing. If her voice didn't come out of her face, I would hardly know it was her. I hadn't seen her in about a year, except for an occasional pic on Facebook. But there's nothing like 'in person'. Wow! She is just truly an inspiration. She has worked so hard and proved so many people wrong in so many ways. I really love her and I'm so glad she is living a much more healthy life.

4. I have met my weight loss goals too. Well, actually, I've exceeded them by about 20 lbs. I've had many people say "I didn't know you had that much to lose!" Heck, I didn't either. I didn't even think it was possible. But here I am...the same weight I was when I got married. I can hardly believe it myself. I don't mean this to be boastful, but I can not tell you how good it feels to put clothes on and they Without feeling like I'm about to burst. Or without worrying about my muffin top (wait, lets be honest here: huge inner-tube spare tire) hanging out the top of my jeans. I finally feel like me again. Which is weird and probably only I understand that statement. I don't have any formal before and afters, but this one here on the left is me about a week into my weight loss and on the right is me about a week ago.

I need to get back into working out though. I haven't made it a priority since moving. There just seems to be other things to do. I'm very good at putting off the stuff I don't like. And even after 6 months of working out every single day, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. I still don't like it! But it is important and if I want to keep myself looking this way I'm going to need to make it a priority again.

5. Ok so this one SO does not belong right after I just told you all how I lost all kindsa weight and want to be health and all, but it's too good not to mention. For your next gathering you MUST make this dip. For reals. If you're married already, your husband will propose to you again. If your single, someone is bound to propose to you after they eat this. I'm not kidding, it's so good!

Jalapeno Popper Dip (tastes just like a jalapeno popper!):
(adapted from Annie's Eats)

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 (4 oz.) can diced jalapeƱo peppers, drained
½ cup shredded Mexican style cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, green chiles, jalapeƱos, and shredded cheeses. Mix thoroughly with a spoon or spatula until smooth and evenly combined. Spread the mixture into a baking dish (approximately 9 x 9-inches).

In a second bowl, combine the Panko and Parmesan and stir with a fork until combined. Sprinkle over the cream cheese mixture in the baking dish. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and the topping is golden. Serve warm with baguette slices, vegetables, etc. as desired.

I made this for our party Saturday. It was a huge hit. I used LOW FAT everything and no one, not even Pete who notices everything, noticed. If you can control yourself, it's really not all that bad for you. But it's really, really hard to control yourself with this stuff. I had to walk away.

6. We're still truckin' along on this homeschool thing. I am still liking it, and I think Jake is liking it more too. We've been writing and essay on Jamestown (the first settlement here in America). So far he has three pages written! I have guided him some in paragraph structure. I still think he could not do that on his own. But all the sentences are his. He's very proud of himself. He said, "the 2nd graders at my old school would never write this much!". And he said it with a big smile on his face. :)

7. Oh! here's another really good, super simple, very frugal recipe! See that's the thing about Weight Watchers: it totally makes you obsess about food way more than you ever did before. you think about it constantly. at least I did...but it's getting better...maybe.
Take a package of lean, boneless pork chops; sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper and then stick em in the crockpot. Cover the chops with about a cup-cup and a half of salsa verde (the green stuff) not the green enchilada sauce, but actual green salsa. Just enough till they're covered. Stick the lid on and turn the crockpot on low for....i dunno...all day. Right before you're ready to eat, take em out and shred the chops, then stick the meat back in the juices. Then, make tacos or burritos or whatever. It's so yummy! And healthy! And Cheap!

8. I know I wrote this on Facebook the other day but it's still so funny to me: The fact that Megan calls the cat's litter box the "glitter box". It makes me laugh every time. Yesterday she informed me that Miss Kitty had "no food, no water, but a wheely clean glitter box!".

9. Confession: I like all the shows on the CW network. Really. One Tree Hill, The Vampire Diaries, yes even 90210 and that silly Hellcats show. I can't help it.

10. Halloween camping THIS weekend! YAY! praying it doesn't's supposed to :(

Friday, October 22, 2010

The littlest pumpkin.

Last weekend we went to see my dad. We hadn't been up there in a while and we were due a visit. A few months ago my dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. IE: Cancer. *ugh*
I haven't said anything about because, frankly, I just didn't know what to say. He's my dad and I'm his little girl. And he's one of the biggest, strongest man I've ever known. So to see him go through see him weak? Well, it's kind of tough. I will say though, that he's actually doing really well. He's finished his chemo for now. It was supposed to be 6 rounds, but it was reduced to 4 when the doctor saw marked improvements just after 3. So that is good. He's still recovering, but seems to be getting his strength back. It was good we went to see him. He said he did more that weekend than he'd done in 3 months. Grandkids will do that to you, I think. ;)
So while we were visiting we took a little drive down to the smallest pumpkin patch in the world. Actually, it wasn't really even a pumpkin patch at all. It was a few pallets spread out on the lawn by the fire station with a few pumpkins, some scarecrows and an old truck. My dad was lured by the old truck. ;)

Anyway, the kids picked out a few pumpkins. Megan took her time looking for just the right one. She wanted the littlest one she could find. Because we'd just read The Littlest Pumpkin and she didn't want any here at this patch to feel left out.

After the tiniest pumpkin patch in the universe we went to the local grave yard. It's just something we do occasionally and it seemed to fit the season (Halloween and all). And it's not just your typical grave yard...These are old. Been around since the Gold Rush days. It's kinda cool to see how old the headstones are. Some of them actually say what they died of, or you can tell if there was some sort of mining accident because several people died on the same day. I dunno, call me crazy, but I think it's interesting. And when I die I want to be buried in one of these cemeteries. I just think they're cool, and much better than some fancy green lawn somewhere in suburbia.
Anyway, so that is that. It was a nice visit with my dad and I'm glad we went.
Today is misty and gloomy. Pete lit a fire for me first thing this morning and it's been going all day. I love it! I have pot roast in the oven and I made pumpkin cream pies for dessert. Which aren't really pies at all. They're more like little cakes with cinnamon flavored cream cheese frosting in the middle. Supper yummy. Supper fall-ish. Pretty much perfect.
I hoping that all the rain gets rained out this weekend so that next weekend it's nice and sunny. Next weekend is Halloween camping!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ten on Tuesday.

1. all of a sudden my WiFi on my iPhone is working like a dream. It hasn't worked in months and I could never figure it out. Then all of a sudden today it's working perfect...even out and about like at the library. I wonder if it has anything to do with the power going off (switching off my wireless network)??
2. I really believe that after a certain age all drivers MUST take an actual driving test, not a written test, to receive a new drivers license. Old people going 40 MPH on the freeway is just not safe. Old ladies driving 1972 Buick Skylarks driving 15 MPH down a city street (weaving all over the place) is not safe. I realize that not ALL old people do this, but so many do. Please give me a driving test when I'm 80. And please refer me back to this internet post when I get all crotchety and bent out of shape about it.
3. The library is awesome. Seriously, why did it take me having to homeschool my kids to realize what a wonderful place it is? The library will entertain my kids for at least an hour each week. Probably more, if I went more. Plus (and this is the best part) it's completely silent in the car on the way home. Like completely. They both sit and read all the way home. It might be my favorite part of the day.
4. We had a really fun, but somehow really exhausting weekend. Friday night the kids were up past 11. Then we got up early Saturday and went to a local harvest festival. It was really fun. The kids got to pick corn straight out of the field. We got a bag full of beautiful Indian corn. I'd never quite seen some like this. Bright reds and blues. Really, really neat. They also had an entire field of popcorn. Like corn for popping. They said you let it dry out for 2 months and then stick it in a paper bag in the microwave for 3 minutes and it pops right off the cob. For some reason I think this is SO COOL! I can't wait to try it. Anyway, we were at the harvest fest ALL. DAY.

Then we were invited to our friends for dinner. We showed up at 6 and stayed till 10:30. That's late for us! But it was so much fun. The kids rode motorcycles and played outside all night. Sunday was church and then we ended up going to another friends house for dessert after lunch. Yesterday by 2 o'clock I was done. Jake was reading his lesson to me and I about fell asleep! I could not keep my eyes open. I fell asleep on the couch at 7:30. I don't remember anything else.
5. Our friends that had us over for dinner had the best food. Oh my gosh! I LOVE Mexican food. In fact, I could probably eat it every day as long as you threw in a pizza every now and then. Anyway, she went to the Mexican market and got fresh corn tortillas (so fresh they were still steaming in the bag), salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, chips and carne asada. Why don't I go to the Mexican market? Seriously...I have been missing out! This food was incredible. She sent me home with some left over salsas and the corn tortillas. I made chicken enchiladas last night. YUM again!
6. We are just about 2 weeks out from our Halloween camping trip. I'm getting excited! What are your kids dressing up as this year? Meg is going to be Tinkerbell. Jake is going to be a pirate again. Pete is going to be the same scary mask guy he was last year and I think I'm going to be a butterfly.
7. I can not believe how fast time is flying. How is it already mid-October??
8. But that also means it's less than 30 days until our Disneyland trip!! I am beyond excited. I mean, I even have dreams about it. I found this really cool FREE app for my iPhone called MouseWait. It's supposed to have pretty accurate wait times for all the rides in Disneyland and California Adventure. It also has a list of restaurants in DL, CA and Downtown Disney with menus and prices. It will even use your GPS location to tell you which rides/restaurants/bathrooms are nearest to you and give you a map (not that i need one) as to how to get there from where you are. There's also a list of hidden Mickey's that you can check off as you find them throughout the park. I am totally GEEKED OUT.
9. Speaking of technology and friend is totally addicted to her phone. Really badly. The other day we're driving to a park that we'd both driven by together many times and even been to together before. Yet here she was driving down the freeway with one hand, and staring at the GPS on her phone in the other hand trying to navigate by a little screen to tell her where to go. All while we are passing up HUGE signs on the road that tell us EXACTLY where to go. I finally told her: why don't you try putting the phone down and following the actual signs on the actual road?!! It sounds snarkey now that I read it back, but really it was a funny moment. We laughed. Have we really gotten that dependent that we can't even look at the signs on the road to tell us where to go?
10. Oh Tuesday, I like you so much better than Monday. At least this week I do. :)
*bonus!* 11. Why oh WHY are the tabloids making these girls from 16 and Pregnant/Teen Mom into stars?? I understand (sort of) the point of these shows on MTV that show that it's not so easy to be a teen mom. That pregnancy is hard, that labor is not easy, that being a mom when you're 17 is scary as hell. I do understand the 'reality' of it, if you will. But every time I go to the grocery store, I stand in line and see these girls and their kids plastered all over People and US Weekly making them look like some kind of teen hero/superstar. I'm sorry, but this is NOT what we should teach our children to look up to. Well, neither is any of the other crap the plaster on those mags BUT *anyway.....* it irritates me.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

5 Favorites.

1. This chapstick/lip balm.

A few months ago when we first moved here I all of a sudden had the most horrible chapped lips. I've had issues with chapped lips my whole life, but this was something different. I could not get them to get better. I kept lathering on this cheap chap stick I got at Target. (Target brand) It would be better for a while, and then it was like burning. Like I had a million little cuts all over my lips and someone kept dunking me in salt water. Yeah. It was awful. I don't know why it took me so long to figure out, but apparently there was some sort of chemical in that cheap stuff that I was allergic to. I did a google search for the best chap sticks/lip balms and found these Yes To Carrots lip balms. They are fantastic! 98% Organic. Which doesn't really mean anything to me except that they don't have any weird chemicals I can't pronounce and they don't burn my lips! I have the minty one. It goes on super smooth, has a nice fresh scent and leaves your lips a little shimmery almost like a lip gloss.....but with out the nasty stickiness. AND you can get them at Target. SCORE! Oh and yes, I feel these are much better than Burt's Bees. I know that is the popular all natural, organic lip balm...but Yes To Carrots is way better in my opinion.
2. Essie Nail Polish.

I've heard/read a lot about these nail polishes for a while. But you had to go to a specialty shop or a salon to buy them. No thanks. That is until now...I recently saw them at Bed Bath and Beyond and then the other day I noticed they were at Target! SCORE! Yeah, I like Target. Anyway, they've gotten a lot of hype in the blogisphere so I decided why not? Yep. It's kind of the best nail polish I've tried. I got this color Soiree Mauve. (it's SUCH a color my mom would choose!) I've warn it on my fingernails for the last week, taken showers every day, washed dishes, pulled weeds, washed little girls hair, got hot glue all over my hands,'s not chipped. Like, at all. When I walked out of the Target that day I thought to myself did I really just buy nail polish for 16 dollars?? (i bought 2 colors, they're 7.99 a piece!) Totally worth it.
3. Honey Crisp Apples.
I'm so addicted. I'm pretty sure I first heard of these from Kal a few years ago on her blog. They are truly the best apples ever!! I ate all the ones I bought in 2 days (6 apples I think). I went and made a special trip to Safeway just by apples. They're that good.
4. My kid reading.

Last year he pretty much hated it. It was a chore. And boring. And hard. This summer we worked really hard. I joined the local library and we've been going every other week since we moved here. It really is true what they say about reading TO your kids and reading WITH your kids and exposing them to all different kinds of books. I think it really does instill a love of books and reading for them. Over the summer we started reading the Magic Tree House series. I highly recommend them for kids in 1st-3rd grades. They're easy chapter books filled with lots of history and science. Anyway, we'd been reading these books together, but just last week Jake picked one out all on his own and started reading it in the car on the way home from the library. He finished it on his own in 2 days! It really did feel like we'd finally jumped over a hurdle. Now he begs for me to read to him, and asks all the time for new books. He's pulled several books off the shelf in his room and read them on his own too. I'm just so proud of him. Oh and while we were at the library last week I picked up this book. Bunnicula. Do you remember that one? Oh I loved it as a kid. I've been reading this one to him, since it's a tiny bit over his reading level. He just loves it.
5. Megan singing.
It's the funniest thing. I catch her singing to herself all the time. I remember Jake doing this at this age too. She just makes up a melody to anything. And sings for like 5 minutes straight. Then asks: did you like my song? do you want me to sing it again?
It just cracks me up!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I drove my kids all the way across town to the special splash pad park because its a bazillion degrees and we have no A/C at home. And my kids are the only ones playing on the jungle gym. Weirdos.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just when I thought it was safe....

To put all the kids summer clothes away, summer showed up in Oakland. Of course! It's ok though, I'm not complaining. September has been absolutely gorgeous! Wonderful weather. If this is what fall is like, I'll take it. Plus around here fall means all kinds of fun stuff! Like pumpkin patches and apple orchards, and fall festivals. Oh and Halloween Camping!!!! Yes, we're doing it again this year and we are SOOO excited!! We haven't been camping this year at all so we're happy to be going, and extra happy that it's Halloween camping cuz...dude, that was so much fun last year. AND......AND !!! We just booked our trip to DISNEYLAND for November!!!! Is it wrong that I'm so painfully excited that we're going to Disneyland? Seriously, I'm 99% sure I'm more excited than my kids are. And the other cool thing? We're staying here. Oh YEAH! Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. Have you seen this place? Click over. I'll wait............................Um yeah. It's kind of fantastic. I've always wanted to stay in a Disney Hotel but never had the chance to do it. Usually, they're pretty outrageously expensive. We usually stay at the Embassy Suites, which we all love. The breakfast, the room, the free drinks and snacks at 7 every evening. Oh and the Koi pond. The kids love the Koi pond. The only bad thing was having to take the shuttle to and fro the parks. That wasn't horrible, but it would be nice to be closer to the least walking distance. So I started looking into our options when we decided we were definitely going to go. Turns out during "off season" they give super awesome deals on Disney trips. This hotel is usually way, way WAY out of our price range. But since it's off season, they took a giant 30% off. It made it only slightly higher than the Embassy Suites. And it's inside California Adventure. Can't get much closer than that! Yes, there is an unhealthy amount of excitement inside me right now! You can laugh, it's ok.
Thank you for all your kind words about Nacho. We are all doing much better now. And we're not considering getting another dog any time soon! One is fine and we're loving her and caring for her more than ever now.
And that's about it. Here's some pics I took of the kids last weekend because every post needs a pic or two. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tragedy strikes.

Our dog died last Saturday. It was awful. AW. FUL. Nacho was always kind of a strange little dog. But we loved him anyway. Friday night Jake went out to feed the dogs and Nacho came out of the bushes looking all weird. Weirder than normal. He had been digging (obvious from the dirt all over him) but his eyes also looked kinda wiggy too. I can't explain it. But he didn't look right. I just kinda shrugged off though and said he was fine and to just go ahead and feed him. Well about an hour later I walk by the back door and notice him still standing over his food bowl, but not eating it. And then snapping at our other dog when she walked by. He never does this. And usually the food is gone in 10 seconds anyway. I just thought maybe he doesn't feel good and again I just passed it off as nothing. A few hours later I walked by the door again and decided to go check on him and he didn't come. He always comes. They both do as soon as the door opens. I called him. Still nothing. Finally after a few more calls he came stumbling out of the bushes with his head down. I just wasn't sure what to do. I knew something was wrong, but...what?? He slowly made his way back to the bushes and hid and I could not get him to come out. Oh and I should mention that Pete was not home all weekend. He had a group of hunters and would not be back until Sunday afternoon. I've had enough animals in my lifetime to know that when they go hiding in bushes and won't come out, there's really something wrong. But what could I do?
I went to bed that night and just hoped that he would be better in the morning.
When I got up Saturday, I went to the back door and saw both dogs cuddling together on the patio. I figured Nacho must be feeling better because that's how I find them most mornings anyway. And, well, he wasn't in the bushes so I thought that was a good sign.
I went about my day normally. We got dressed, went to the store and ran some errands. We got back home around 1 that afternoon. I went to the back door and noticed only Maggie was at the door. No Nacho. My heart stopped for a second. This could not be good. I called for him. Nothing. The kids and I both went out on the patio and called and called. Finally, Jake says "mommy! he's in here!" Oh thank goodness I thought, he's just lying in the dog house. But oh, it was just awful. Nacho was lying in the dog house, just barely hanging on to life. It was the most horrible sight. To see an animal suffering like that, and knowing there just wasn't anything I could do. I quickly rushed the kids back in the house. They are a total MESS at this point crying and sobbing. I'm panicking, not sure what to do. I mean, what am I going to do? THERE IS NO HUSBAND HERE TO DEAL WITH THIS! And I couldn't just leave him there.
I quickly pulled myself together and went back into the house. I gathered up the kids and did the only thing I could think of to comfort them and myself. We said a little prayer, and hoped that God would take Nacho to heaven quickly so that he wouldn't suffer any longer. It was the most pitiful prayer. The kids just wailed and sobbed.
I made them lunch and then waited with a pit in my stomach.
But God seriously answered our prayer, and quickly. I checked outside after a few minutes and it was evident that he had passed.
Thank goodness my neighbor was home. I felt horrible, but I had to ask him to come and assist with the burial. I felt horrible. I mean who asks their neighbor to bury a dog? I do. I just could not have done it myself. Thank goodness for good neighbors. He used to work at a vet so he knew just what to do.
We figured Nacho had eaten something bad...There's all kinds of critters around here. And it was pretty evident by the way he expired, that he had either eaten poison, or eaten something that had been poisoned. It is a terrible way to go.
I can't help but feel guilty some how. Or negligent. I knew he was sick. I just didn't realize HOW sick until it was too late. There was nothing I could have done. But still. I still feel horrible about the whole situation. It's one thing when your dog is old and you kinda know he's getting on in years and the end will come soon. It's another thing when they're young and just acting weird one night and then GONE the next day.
And poor Maggie. She just seems so sad now. We've all been trying to give her extra love. We also went and did a major cleaning up of the back yard. I DO NOT want it to happen again.
Luckily Maggie is getting older and isn't too interested in eating things she's not supposed to anymore.
Anyway. So that's the drama that's been going on around here.
A more lighthearted post to come soon.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Flying by the seat of my pants.

Every week I make a plan for the next week regarding our homeschool. I make a pretty detailed lesson plan including what we'll do every day in Language Arts, Math, Science, History/Geography and Extra/Life Skills/PE etc... I go through each of our textbooks reading the lessons, making copies of worksheets, deciding if there might be a field trip we could go on that would go with science or history. I usually try and plan some sort of art or craft project. I try and make sure there are plenty of outings and at least one day a week we get together with our neighbors.

I do all this, yet most days I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I use my lesson plan as a road map, but almost daily I'm finding ways to enrich our learning even more. See all my notes everywhere? :) I fell like we're learning good stuff, but it's just little spurts of information and then that's it, we quickly move on to the next topic. One of the things that always intrigued me most about homeschooling was the ability to really dive into a subject and truly study it. I'm not sure we're quite there yet. The curriculum I chose (for English, and Science especially) is mostly standard based. So, kind of like public school, you move through it rather quickly and I'm not sure how much of it is really retained. I like the idea of the short, concise lessons, but I also like the idea of lots of hands on projects and experiences so that you (your kid) really remembers the subject. I think I've done okay at adding things in, but I'm already thinking that next year I might look into a more comprehensive program, especially for science. (since both kids seem to enjoy it so much)
It's all a learning experience, right?
I did find this fantastic History through literature program. So far I am really loving it. It's from a company called Beautiful Feet Books. We chose the Early American History pack. The program is supposed to go through about 2 years of school. It IS Christian based material so our charter school would not fund this. {Religion is not my focus with our curriculum, I feel like my kids get a lot of it at home anyway, and of course at church and Sunday school, but I thought this particular program was really well put together and that's why I chose it} It's not cheap. What I ended up doing is buying the first 2 or 3 books on my own on Amazon along with the lesson manual. When I finish what we have, I'll go and order more books. Side note: have you tried Amazon Prime? it's 70 bucks a year and on most items you get FREE 2 day shipping. Ok so it's not free, but it pays for itself quickly if you use Amazon a lot. I bought all my Christmas presents last year this way and it was awesome. Totally worth the 70 dollars.
So back to Early American History..... We're currently reading the first book in the series, Leif the Lucky. This book is about Leif Erikson, the person believed to first discover North America about 500 years before Columbus. (I had no idea. See, I'm learning too!) Leif is a Viking, his father originally from Norway. The lesson materials don't really go into detail about Vikings, so I thought it would be good to study these people at little more in depth. I thought...wouldn't be cool to make our own model of a Viking ship? I looked up model ships online. Wow, they're pretty intense, even for an adult, and um...expensive! So I nixed that idea. I thought, ok....maybe we could just color a picture of a Viking ship. So I googled: free viking ship coloring page and found this.

I LOVE the internet!!
And can I just tell you, the Crayola Website is seriously awesome!! Where have I been?? There are free coloring pages GALORE. Free games and activities. VIDEOS. My kids love the videos. There are a lot of really great craft ideas. I've bookmarked it and I have a feeling I'll be using this website a LOT in the coming months. Especially for rainy days.
Anyway, I don't intend on making this a homeschool blog, but since it is part of our daily life, I will, from time to time, post about certain things. Especially cool things!