Friday, May 6, 2016

around here lately . . .

Just wanting to capture some memories of life right now . . . 

We got to go to David's art show at his one day a week school and see his interpretation of Georgia O'Keefe's work.  

Cora built a giant tower!  

David has been very interested in cooking and "plating" food creatively lately.  He wanted this dinner to be in rows.  

I got to teach David's Bible class one Sunday morning and we played a "dart board" game to review with velcro wrapped ping pong balls.  

These key lime mini cakes were pretty tempting at Costco but I passed them up.

I did make rosemary rice krispie treats for a girls' night!  

They were super yummy!  

Keeping my house picked up has felt like a battle lately.  After a morning of "resetting" I snapped this picture to capture the moment.  

As we did our music lesson the other day "Baby" decided to play along.  :)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

this is pretty fun

photo credit:  Adrian

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

pink shoes

firmly in the "do it myself" phase . . . 

dyeing eggs 2016 edition

On Good Friday Nana came over to visit so I decided to seize the moment of having another adult around to do our egg dyeing!  

Unfortunately ALL of our pictures with Nana in them are out of focus but I had to include ONE to show she was here!!  In this photo she is teaching David just like she once taught me about dipping an egg in different colors on either end to make a tri-color egg (white in the middle).  

For whatever reason our egg boiling and dying did not go all that well.  The kids had fun but the eggs weren't all the way cooked (as we found out when two fell on the floor) the dye colors came out really wonky, etc.  

After dyeing eggs traditionally, I decided to try out an idea I'd seen online.  Volcano egg dyeing!  

Cora is pouring her baking soda into her bowl herself.  

Mixing up some baking soda paint.  

After you paint your egg with the baking soda "paint" you pour vinegar over it!  

It was exciting and way less messy than the other way and also turned out some pretty and unique eggs!  I would definitely do it this way again.  

Do you have any egg dyeing traditions?  

Is there anyone reading who has never dyed eggs?


Monday, March 28, 2016


There was a little pre-dinner creative session at our house recently resulting in these two lovely pieces (one Cora's and one David's) now hung in our dining room "gallery".  

I am pretty much in love with this funky paper person!

Also, you might notice the days of creation in the top left of the photo.  We spent a week learning the days of creation using fun ideas found here.  It was a huge hit with the kids!


Saturday, March 26, 2016


“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool."  Isaiah 1:18

photo taken this morning 7:17 a.m. Easter weekend

“The others cast themselves down upon the fragrant grass, but Frodo stood awhile still lost in wonder. It seemed to him that he had stepped through a high window that looked on a vanished world. A light was upon it for which his language had no name. All that he saw was shapely, but the shapes seemed at once clear cut, as if they had been first conceived and drawn at the uncovering of his eyes, and ancient as if they had endured for ever. He saw no colour but those he knew, gold and white and blue and green, but they were fresh and poignant, as if he had at that moment first perceived them and made for them names new and wonderful. In winter here no heart could mourn for summer or for spring. No blemish or sickness or deformity could be seen in anything that grew upon the earth. On the land of L√≥rien, there was no stain.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Last week saw us in Pittsburgh to visit my in-laws and to celebrate my mother-in-law's retirement concert from the Pittsburgh Camerata which she has directed for the past 18 years.  

She has advanced the group in many ways and has done much good for the singers.  She excels at creative programming and goes where many will not.  This fall she did a concert centered around the theme of human trafficking and brought awareness to this serious issue (which you know is near and dear to my heart as well, what a blessing to share that with one's family) as well as raising funds for rescuing and rehabilitating victims.  

This is only my second concert of hers to get to attend but each time they have truly been captivating and as a side note, her name, Rebecca, means captivating as well.  

She is never one to sit still though and is on to new ventures including writing a Steelers website, Going Deep: An Introspective Steelers Site.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Letter A

Beginning in January we started through the alphabet in our homeschooling journey.  Now for reading we are using the curriculum, All About Reading and it introduces phonograms in it's own order and pacing.  We are not focusing on the letters of the alphabet from a learning to read or write standpoint but as a springboard for a spiral curriculum to learn all about God's wonderful world and all the things the people He created have learned, discovered, invented, thought, created, etc.  

We also have a separate math curriculum but going through the alphabet this way allows us to focus on various things/read literature about things that start with the letter.  Then as the kids get older we can go more in depth on say . . . amphibians or whatever it is but they are getting an introduction and scaffolding for their learning now.  

So above are some of my "key words" for our Letter A Unit to spark ideas.  

Our library has an amazing Educational Resource Center that we like to visit and do things pertaining to the unit as well as just play, explore and learn through choosing manipulatives to play with on our own.  

We used letter tiles to spell out some A words and David chose on his own to make a sentence complete with punctuation and spaces between the words.  

We also explored all of the continents that start with the letter A.

Until I was going through photos I had forgotten that we actually began our Letter A unit before New Year's as we were getting a bit restless and ready to be back into some routine.  

Then we rang in the new year with Grandma and Grandad.  

We have been to Alaska several times so Alaska came up at various times in this unit.  We also have a large map of the United States as decor in our dining room so the kids look at it a lot during meals and ask different things and learn along the way. 

This Alaska Christmas ornament was made by my brother for me!

We also ate some "A" foods including Apple Jacks, Asian pears for the first time, antipasto and alphabet soup

We read A LOT of alphabet books during these two weeks including this one that was a favorite and continues to be.  

The notes you can see underneath the book are from Sarah at Frugal Fun 4 Boys and have been so helpful to me as we navigate learning respect and discipline, etc.  in our home.  I highly recommend checking out her blog and particularly the series I linked to.  

We are always including home ec classes in our homeschool!  No matter what occupation you end up with, everyone needs clean clothes.  :) 

This girl really likes to help with the laundry and is a pretty good folder too.  :) 

One of the kids snapped a picture of mom!  

We also made alphabet soup for the first time during this unit!  

We also did various activities from our Letter A pinterest board some of the favorites being an alphabet soup bath, domino addition game and an alphabet relay.  

In addition we did a rhythm of the day each day we did our "triangle time" (in schools they usually call it circle time when all the kids and teacher sit in a circle on the rug and sing, talk about calendar, etc. but since there are three of us, we call it "triangle time")  :)  Rhythm of the day is something I used to do in my music classroom.  Basically the students read a rhythm and learn to clap it, say it, count it and then play it on an instrument.  It's lots of fun and my kids LOVE it and I love that even at two Cora is learning to read music.  We put various A words to our rhythms and used instruments like agogo bells and comparing and contrasting agogo bells and tick tock blocks.

One day was ALL about Alphabet soup!!!  Three books about it, cooking it together, making pretend alphabet soup together with a relay and naming things that started with the letter we drew and tricking Daddy with our alphabet soup for dinner - the kids were in their own alphabet soup in the bathtub!  But we really ate what was in the crockpot!

Ants - learning all kinds of facts

Watching a really cool Disney nature video about Arctic animals like musk ox, caribou, grizzlies, wolves etc.  And also reading books and watching you tube videos and doing our animal devotional book about arctic and other animals.

Reading a million books about animals, alphabet, arachnids, ants, apples, etc., etc.

Learning the 12 apostles song and memorizing “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

LOTS of formal reading and math curriculum with phonograms, site words, etc. and pattern blocks, unifix cubes, etc.

Addition practice  

Learning some of Aaron Copland’s (an “A”merican composer) music like Appalachian Spring and Rodeo

Looking at different A places on the globe including Alaska and getting a better understanding of it’s scope and postition in the arctic

Practicing letter formation of lowercase a

Learning more about fine art and artists

Friday, March 11, 2016

Foodie Friday

This was my breakfast last Friday.  It was SUPER yummy.  

I got the book Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn from the library and I have really been enjoying it.  It has been encouraging me to save on our food budget in small ways.  I have been cooking through the breakfast section this week and this is the Maple Morning Polenta!  

I made it for breakfast Thursday morning.  

Thursday mornings are our "school mornings".  As we are homeschooling this year we "do school" most everyday including Saturdays it seems because it is fun doing various science experiments, etc. with Dad on the weekend but on Thursdays David goes to a one day a week public school Kindergarten for homeschooling families and Cora goes to "Nana School" on Thursdays giving me a nice day to run errands, get things done around the house, have a lunch date with Adrian, etc.  

Anyway, Thursdays are pretty rushed for us.  Ideally we would leave the house at 7:25 on Thursday mornings to drive the 15-20 minutes to school and my kids usually wake up around 7:00.  Sometimes I wake them up early but that usually results in grumpiness that makes the morning even harder.  

So . . . I measured out most all of the ingredients the night before and then made it up Thursday morning before school.  It was really yummy.  There were leftovers so I heated some of those up Friday morning with frozen blueberries, pecans, maple syrup and some cream cheese.  SUPER yummy!  

Last weekend Adrian and I got to go on a 19 hour date!  We had such a good time!  My parents graciously kept our children and we drove to Denver to use a free hotel night we had.  

We ate dinner at Rusty Taco which is soo good!  Especially the Texican and breakfast the next morning at Jelly Cafe.  So tasty!  They have doughnut holes fried right on the spot and we ordered a set of four.  I also got the ultimate biscuits and gravy which was delicious!  I rarely order a savory for breakfast but I am so glad that's what I picked.  

I was laughing at myself though because I had three beverages!  We walked over from the hotel, 20 minutes or so, and so I wanted a big glass of water but I'd also been craving orange juice since the night before so I ordered that AND I've kind of turned a corner on my coffee consumption lately.  I used to only really be a "social" coffee drinker and definitely fancied up with lots of milk/syrups/whipped cream, etc.  

Lately, I have been wanting coffee a lot more and have drunk it without sugar and even completely straight up black!  

Maybe it's a change associated with approaching my 40s . . . 

Speaking of coffee . . . I had to take a picture of this girl drinking what looks like coffee :)  (it's actually prune juice and almond milk because we are having those sorts of issues at our house right now) :( 

But last week she didn't have "Nana School" and I took her with me to the coffee shop where I often go when I have time by myself and as we were getting out she said, "I wish I could have coffee."  And because she thinks that you get everything (like going to Kindergarten, etc.) when you turn five like Brother, she said, "I have coffee when I five?!"  And I had to say "no, you can have coffee when you're a grown up!"  :) :)

Okay, these might be gross and I know it is probably overpriced marketing mumbo jumbo but I spotted this at King Soopers on Thursday and I kind of want one in my Easter basket.  :) 

My mom bought these jars for me and I really like them.  I have started storing a lot of my grains and dry goods in jars and we are using a lot more of them these days because we got a pressure cooker.  I'll admit, I wasn't really on board at first but it has revolutionized dinner at our house lately.

I like that it is "hands off" like the crockpot but I don't even have to plan ahead like I do for the crockpot!  An hour or two before I want to be eating I can grab meat straight out of the freezer and/or dry beans and just throw them in and cook!  I am really loving it.  

Also to love is asparagus season!  

and friends who come over to help you bake your first cherry pie (which happens to be your husband's favorite but you've never yet made it in 7 years of marriage!  

It was a winner!  Thank you, Megan!!

a yummy, frugal dinner recently - chicken thighs thrown into the pressure cooker with the last of two bottles of bbq sauce that were just hanging out in the fridge and some water - super tender and good! - quinoa, grated carrot, Worcestershire sauce, some super seed blend (chia, sesame and flax for good fiber), vinegar, a few leftover veggies, etc. thrown into the rice cooker which turned out to be delicious!  and asparagus roasted with olive oil and a little seasoning

Two cute little non-dairy cherry pies served a la mode with coconut milk ice cream

Have you been doing any cooking lately?  Tried a new restaurant?  Would you try Peeps milk? Do you have a pressure cooker and have any suggestions for me?  I'm still learning!  

Happy Weekend!  


cute girlie eating her pie