Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cribbage Hand

While playing cribbage with Dan the other night I got this hand for 20 points:
Even so, I lost the game.  (I was green).

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Exotic Places

A conversation with Fritter this morning who was wrapped up in my cozy green blanket:

Me: Did you know that I got that blanket from my grandpa in Indiana?

Fritter:  Where is that?  In North America, South America...

Me: North America.

Fritter:  Ladybug!  Mom got this blanket from her grandpa in North America!

Friday, July 26, 2013

7 Quick Takes


 I started my morning out right with this workout from Weight Watchers.  I found the videos (VHS) a few years ago on ebay.  I love them because I basically have two left feet.  Other, more complicated videos I've tried to follow usually make me trip over myself.  I can keep up with this one and it's fun.  But doing it at home with three children running around is not an easy task.  This was me this morning:

Instructor: step kick, step kick, step kick, ha! step touch, step touch, step touch....

Me: Ha! (step touch, step touch...)

Ladybug who has been outside playing starts crying.  I run out to see if she's ok.  She is.  I run back inside, in time for this:

Instructor: sit back knee lift, sit back knee life, sit back knee lift, ha! step slide, step slide, step slide...

Me: Ha! (step slide, step slide..)

Sunflower steals a toy from Fritter who proceeds to chase her around the yard.  I run out to break up the fight.  Back inside and the video is now on the cool down, "the perfect end to the perfect workout".  Indeed.

We got smart phones.  I swore I would never own a smart phone.  My old cell phone has barely worked for the past year because I lost it in the church parking lot where it sat and baked for three days before I got it back, and we didn't buy the insurance to replace broken phones, so I just dealt with it.  What do I need a cell phone for anyway?  I'm home most of the time and we have a landline.
But our contract was up, and we wanted to switch companies, so my husband went last weekend to the phone store.  He came home and surprised me with an Android.  I was reluctant at first.  I sort of took pride in being low tech.  How would I deal with this new gadget?  I vowed I wouldn't like it. 
Ummm...yeah.  I'm totally sold.  Hello Instagram!  :)
Any recommendations for apps for an Android?
My little Frog went to his two-month check up this week.  I knew he was big.  The rolls on this little guy are out of control.  But my jaw dropped when the nurse reported him in the 90% range for height and weight.  For comparisons sake (because when you have four kids, who can help but compare them to each other, fair or not) Fritter (who is a very tall child) stayed in the 75% range until he was three, at which point he then shot up to 97%.  I think we're going to have a very big kid on our hands.
 The baby got a much needed bath a couple of days ago.  There are not many things better than a freshly bathed baby.  I cannot resist kissing his squishy cheeks.  Doesn't he look snuggly  in his little ducky robe?

Again, for comparison sake, here is Fritter in the same robe at about three weeks old:

He was a snuggly little guy to.

I finally got around to taking our traditional new-baby-with-the-other-children picture.  They make me smile.  Most of the time.  :)

Want to know something about me?  I cannot sleep unless I am covered by a blanket.  I don't know why, but there it is.  This doesn't work out so well, though, because we live in Arizona and it's summer time.  We keep our home at 80 degrees, and while it's livable, it is certainly not comfortable when you have a blanket on you during nap time.  (Yes, I do take naps, almost every day when the kids lay down).  But I have found a solution.  When the AC turns on, the vent in our front room is aimed so that it blows directly onto a certain spot on the couch.  And when it's on, it can be downright cold (in comparison to the rest of the house).  And so I have been timing my nap to when the AC comes on.  And then I curl up under my blanket and pretend it's blizzarding outside.
It's been awhile since I've talked about my laundry.  Sorry for depriving you. 
I finally have a good system for keeping clean clothes in the house.  (Note that they are clean.  Not necessarily folded.)  We have terribly hard water here and until about six months ago, I just couldn't get my clothes clean.  I tried everything I could think of: Oxiclean, Borax, Fels Naptha, making my own detergent, Tide, soaking, everything.  There would still be little grease spots left on any dark colored shirt and after awhile, the clothes would just get all dingy looking no matter how many times I washed them.
And then a few months ago, while I was preparing for our little Froggy to arrive, I ordered some Calgon water softener to strip the cloth diapers.  Nothing else had worked to get the smell out, and that includes bleach.  The Calgon worked so well to make my diapers wearable again, that I thought I'd try it out on the regular laundry.  Wonder of wonders!  It worked!  No more greasy spots!  No more dingy clothes!  We had clean clothes again!
So want to know my routine?  Whites and sheets get liquid Tide up to the 2 mark along with a cup of ammonia to get the body oils and other stuff out and washed on hot.  Colors get Tide up to the 2 mark along with capful of Calgon and washed on warm.  If I notice any stain (including baby poop) I use a little Murphy's Wood Oil Soap on it that has been put in a (clean) peri bottle.  (Use what you have, right?  :)  Diapers get a warm water rinse, a hot wash with liquid Tide halfway up to the 1 mark and a capful of Calgon, and then a hot water rinse.
Laundry woes, be gone!  (Except for the whole folding and putting away thing.  I've yet to come up with a good system for that.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Darn It

Darn that Google Reader.  I know I'm a little late in the game to be complaining about the demise of Google Reader.  I thought I was ahead of the game.  I saw they were leaving me and I thought, fine then, I'll just leave them first.  So I did. 

Bloglines seemed simple which is what I wanted so I went with it.  I didn't enjoy it as much as I did Google, but hey it was fine.  And then about two weeks ago, I couldn't get it to load.  So I just clicked onto the blogs I read and it was fine.  But then I tried again the next day and it still wouldn't load.  I was patient.  I didn't want to change again.  I don't like change.

But today I'm done.  It still won't load and while I am keeping up to date on my very favorite blogs, I still want them all in one place where it's easy to read.  So I looked up alternatives and feedly seemed like the obvious choice.  That is until I tried it and it too will not load.  I clicked around a couple more, and it seemed like the same story.  One site told me I would get my content for free, in a few months when everyone else ahead of me had gotten on.

But then I lucked out and clicked on Pulse.  OOoohh!  It's pretty!  (Imagine me saying this as a two year old would, because that's how I feel).  And the blogs.  They load up so nice.  And it's quick. 

So darn you Google for making me change.  And thank you Pulse for (so far) seeming so nice. 

*Also, I think Pulse can be loaded on my new Android.  But I'd have to figure out how to use this new fangled phone first. So that probably won't happen.  Like I said.  I don't like change.  :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013


So while I have not been blogging much, I have been taking pictures.  Here are some of the things we've been up to.
Fritter has been hard at work doing all sorts of things.  While out in the garage with dad the other day he built this:
 I've been informed that it is a wire charger.  In my personal opinion, I think it's the work of a genius.  :)

Currently he is working on building models, and today found him sanding the wood pieces for a bi-plane he is building.
 A few weeks ago both big kids had Catholic Vacation Bible School, and while I didn't get any pictures of them there, I did get one of them in their shirts.
 Which leads me to Ladybug.  Little Miss Ladybug has become quite the card stitcher.  Last Saturday she sat down to stitch with Sunflower.
 And a few days later she sat down to stitch with Little Frog.  Actually this is becoming a normal scene around here.  If Froggy is on a blanket on the floor, Ladybug can usually be found right next to him, stitching away while he "chats" to her.
 I've joined in with my own stitching on Sunflower's monkey that needed repair.
 When she's not sewing, Ladybug has been practicing with her jump rope.  And today she did it.  One perfect jump over the rope at a time.  Soon enough she'll be a jump rope master.

 Ah Sunflower.  This one keeps me on my toes.  Here she is in her "brides" dress breaking crayons coloring.
 We do have calm moments with her though too.  Reading Brer Rabbit:
 Playing her rock game during blanket rug time:
 My Little Frog has just been a joy to have around.  He is such an easy going baby.  He has been perfecting his smiles to the delight of us all.
 And that's what our family has been up to recently.
*That should satisfy the blogging guilt for a little while at least.  :)

Friday, July 12, 2013


My poor neglected blog.  Between vacation planning (or unplanning as the case may be), wrangling a two year old, nursing a newborn, getting the two year old off the table, snuggling the newborn, switching out videos for the big kids, cleaning up yet another mess from the two year old...  Well you get the idea.  Plugging my camera into the computer in order to blog just seems like such a big project right now.

I am finishing up some school planning and just spent the entire day (not kidding) working on plans for celebrating the liturgical year.  If it's not planned and not written down, I will never do anything about it, so I'm hoping this was time well spent.

In case you are interested, here are the resources I'm using to plan:

The Mother of Divine Grace Syllabus is obvious, since there are lots of book choices surrounding the feast days of the Church.

Cay Gibson's Catholic Mosaic is awesome and I look forward to using it this year.  I really, really want the Coloring Companion for it, but I'm not sure yet if it will fit in the budget.

A Year With God from Catholic Heritage Curricula has a lot of great ideas in it, although many of them are pretty involved so this year I think we might only use a few.

The Year & Our Children is packed with ideas that I haven't even begun to scrape the surface of.

Jessica at a Shower of Roses is pretty much a rock star when it comes to celebrating the liturgical year.  Between her blog and the companion to it Catholic Cuisine there is a wealth of ideas.

Here are our school plans:

Fritter (1st grade):
I have decided to stick with Mother of Divine Grace.  We did well with it last year and I'm looking forward to this coming year.  Where we vary from the curriculum is below.

Fritter has finished 100 Easy Lessons for reading and so we are just jumping ahead to Sound Beginnings.  We are also going to use the American Cardinal Readers which I received used from a friend. 

To supplement we will be using:

Lepanto Grammar 1
Explode the Code

For Science:
God's Marvelous Works 1
Health, Safety, and Manners 1
Seaside and Wayside Reader 1
Science Experiments from various books

For History:
American History for Young Catholics
Maps Charts and Graphs A (Again, if it fits in the budget.  This might be one we get next semester.)

Obviously we have a good stock of historical and science books and readers on a variety of subjects.  I'm considering a quarterly theme to focus on, but I'm not sure if we'll do it unless I plan really well.*  Some ideas I've thought of are astronomy, dinosaurs, animal groups...still thinking this one out.

Ladybug (PK) and Sunflower:
I am planning on using Brightly Beaming Resources Preparatory Curricula for both girls.  Fritter and I had fun with it when he was little. 
I have some of the Explode the Code books left for Ladybug from last year, so we'll do those.  I have a general Kindergarten workbook that I think I can get to go with our learning poster.

I enrolled our family in our Catholic homeschool groups Co-op which will be twice a month.  I only paid for one semester, so this gives us a chance to see how well it fits.
Fritter will be in soccer and swimming this fall.
Ladybug will continue in her tap/ballet class
Both big kids will be in our homeschool PE class
Both big kids will also be in Catechism of the Good Shepherd

We are also beginning to work on one skill at a time.  These may be decided as we go or I may get a chance to plan it out more.  Right now Fritter is working on building models while following instructions (a habit he really needs work with).  These include Lego models, airplane models, ect.  Ladybug is working on learning how to jump rope.  And I am working with Sunflower on blanket time (without fussing).  So far she'll stay on the blanket, but not without lots of fussing.  :)  Hopefully we can get this one down by the time school starts again, because I think it will really help.  Last year when she gave up her nap I had her do playpen time.  Some days she did fine but other days she whined for most of the time and threw out all her toys.

So far these are our plans.  I keep looking to see if there are gaps.  See anything obvious?  ;)

*Note: After talking with my husband this morning and getting his input we have decided on these four quarterly themes:

Planetary Science
The Human Body
Medieval History
Transportation & Identification

As to what order and the different things we do, the jury is still out, but I'm guessing there will be various field trips involved.  :)