Friday, December 31, 2010

Year In Review 2010!!

As is my tradition, here is a look back at the year 2010.  I took the first sentence of the first blog entry of each month.  This year I just added my favorite pictures from the year instead of the picture from each blog entry.


We tend to start out each New Year with a bang. 


After 19 years of asking, waiting, and wondering, a soft-spoken neurologist finally gave us a missing piece to the puzzle in my son's brain. 


A few weeks ago, I noticed some burnout in the kiddos.


The kids have wanted to go on the Jump thing at the mall for a few years.


What a perfect day for a field trip.


I am once again thinking about balance.



My kiddos do so much better outdoors than indoors.


It has been such a busy week.


We rowed through The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush this week.


I am thinking about fun ....  Can you have too much fun in your life?


I have a child who is a reluctant listener to all types of music.


The children are really enjoying our "new" Advent book each day.

I hope all of you have a happy and healthy New Year!




Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Double Digits...

Well, it happened.  Goldilocks has turned 10!!!  I can hardly believe it.  What happened to that cute little 20 month old baby that was placed in my arms?  She had no knee caps and no smile.   Now, she is DOUBLE DIGITS!  As is our tradition, I will list one thing about her for each year.
  1.  Helpful
  2. Energetic
  3. Shy
  4. Talkative
  5. Musical
  6. Super Finder (If something is lost and you can not find it, this is your girl.)
  7. Excited
  8. Hands-On Learner
  9. Good Cleaner
  10. Sympathetic
Goldilocks got to go to a huge children's museum for her birthday.  She also got a kid's digital camera she has been wanting.  We celebrated with a dinner out at Applebees and a Ben and Jerry birthday cake.


  • Sunday, December 26, 2010

    White Christmas ...

    This post is heavy on pictures, since it is for the Grandparents.  We were teased all week by the weatherman.  We kept hearing that snow was in the forecast for Christmas Day, but we never heard how much snow would accumulate, so I ignored them. Well, we got 6 inches!!  This is the first white Christmas for most everyone in my family, the first here in our little city since 1969, and we are enjoying it!  We spent the morning oohing over the many gifts that family and friends had sent and running to the window and ahhing over the snow falling outside.

    The girls each got an American Girl doll that they have been wanting for years.  It was the only gift we (the parents) gave the girls, and then one set of Grandparents sent extra historic clothes for each doll.  The other set of Grandparents sent an American Girl doll horse for each girl and the American Girl "Itty Bitty" baby.  To say the girls' eyes were popping would be an understatement.

    Tom Sawyer, the Lego maniac, got lots of Legos!  He was in heaven and spent the whole day building.

    Timothy got a new mask for fencing and a saber.  He is excited about moving into saber classes, in addition to advanced fencing in January.  He also appreciated the stack of new books.

    Grandma gave all the children Wedgits!  Oh boy, are these fun!  I can see many hours of play ahead with these.  I love toys that everyone can play with (even the adults). 

    The afternoon was spent sledding--spending Christmas afternoon sledding--who would have imagined.  I actually felt like I was in New England for a little while.  Even Grandma got on a sled and had fun.

    I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!  We are enjoying our blessings here.


    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Goldilocks Sings

    Goldilocks participated in her homeschool choir Christmas concert recently. She was nervous and has been a bit resistant to choir so far this year. She thinks it is really hard to learn the music and sing for one hour at a time.  She also does not like taking the class without her siblings. However, she practiced her music at home, and as the weeks went by, her sweet alto voice could be heard singing bits and pieces of the songs. Her choir teacher is a wonderful homeschool mom who does an excellent job teaching the kids how to sing, and even sent recordings of the songs to our home via email.  The class is a tight knit group of kids and all are really sweet to each other. Slowly, Goldilocks has started talking to other kids in her class and learning their names.  This is all good progress for a child who hides behind her siblings and waits for them to make friends that she can pretend are hers.

    Her favorite song in the concert was a Hawaiian Christmas song.  They got to wear "grass skirts" made out of newspaper for this show. 

    The concert was lovely.  The kids' voices were really nice and they are making so much progress.

    She still would like to quit the choir, but her mean Mom will not let her.  This is too beneficial for her.  I know that someday she will appreciate this time.  In the meanwhile, she will make friends, learn to sing, learn to endure and work hard, and become more self-confident.


    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Christmas In The Trenches ... Muffin Tin Monday

    This week for Muffin Tin Monday, we read Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon.  This is a story from WWI about soliders in the trenches celebrating Christmas.  For a few short hours, there was peace between the two groups of men and everyone forgot that they were at war. It implies how tragic war is that soldiers are forced to kill people that they would be friends with if it was not wartime. I was raised as a Quaker, so of course raised on this story.

    I thought it would be fun to make them a kid friendly M.R.E. (Meal Ready to Eat).  I wish I had had a real M.R.E. to show them.   If you have never seen or eaten one, they are filled with sodium and the taste is passable if you are really hungry. They are very well thought out and packed very efficiently. My children get very little processed food, so this was a very popular muffin tin.  LOL

    In each muffin tin was raisins, juice bag, two hershey kisses, cheese crackers, Scooby Doo gummies and raspberry yogurt.  I also served this for breakfast because of our schedule that day.  They were in heaven!

    To see more muffin tins go visit Michelle.


    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    More Fun With Advent Books

    The fun continues around here with our Advent books.  Sometimes I think I am a bit nuts trying to pull this off every year.  It takes about 8 hours of planning to come up with the projects, wrap the books and put them into order.  Then I have to stay on top of what is coming next, so I have the proper supplies on hand.  However, the kids and I so enjoy this special time together.  In addition, it really helps the kids forget about all that they want on Christmas Day and focus on celebrating every day.  Here are the highlights from this last week.

    Making snowflakes after reading  Santa Comes to The Little House

    Making a Rice Krispie village after reading The Baker's Dozen .

    The biggest highlight was Grandma Sue reading The Steadfast Tin Solider. After hearing the story, they ate blueberry muffins with a surprise inside.

    Yummy, muffins and a quarter.  What could be better?  By the way, I washed the quarters in hydrogen peroxide first. I can't believe our time of Advent is almost over for this year.  There is still some fun to come!


    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Muffin Tin Monday ... Jingle The Christmas Clown

    For Advent we open a "new" Christmas book each day and do a fun activity around the book.  The kids love this and enjoy seeing old favorites as well as new books to explore.  This week for Muffin Tin Monday, we read Jingle the Christmas Clown by Tomie dePaola.  This is a wonderful story set during the Middle Ages in Europe.  A traveling circus troop comes to a familar village and finds that most of the villagers have moved on to the big city to find work.  The traveling circus decides to leave the baby animals and a young clown behind because they need to rest.  The baby animals and clown decide to put on a free show for the elderly of the village.

    The kids made ice cream cone clowns.  The tin contained an ice cream cone, colored sugar, maraschino cherries, scoop of vanilla ice cream, sprinkles, and marshmallows.

    I did not get a picture of the kids' creations, because they ate them so fast.  Please go visit Muffin Tin Monday to see more great muffin tins.


    Thursday, December 9, 2010


    I am struggling with where to blog right now.  I really like the community of homeschoolblogger.  However, I am having so much trouble loading pages, commenting on friends, and figuring out issues.  So after much prayer, I am going to try out blogger for a month or so and decide where I am meant to be.  Please come visit me at

    And please leave me a comment and let me know if blogger works for you.



    The Nutcracker and The Mouse King...

    All four of our children were in "The Nutcracker and The Mouse King" this past weekend. It was an originally choreographed performance following the original book by Hoffman, rather than Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite". The kids worked so hard for months in advance.  When it came to the big night all of the children went on stage without a moments hesitation.  They were so ready and did an excellent job.  We are so proud of them.  Thanks to my Father, a professional photographer just retired from the National Gallery of Art and the only person allowed to take photos on the two performance nights, I have tons of great photos.  While I am thanking people, thank you to my Mom and Stepmom for working backstage one night each to help our children be as comfortable as possible and be the best that they could be.  My dear Husband worked backstage every night of the performance and received loads of compliments from the regular backstage staff.  He's a keeper, I tell ya! 

    Goldilocks (9) was a snow kid. She is the child being pulled off stage by the Godfather.  Her modern dance class did a wonderful job depicting kids playing in the snow.  All of my kids really surpassed my expectations, not only in their performances but also in their endurance and obedience through this experience.  Staying up so late night after night and dealing with the controlled chaos backstage was a huge triumph for them.  (For those who did not follow us on homeschoolblogger, our children have a variety of special needs that makes their ability to do what other children do more complicated.)

    Tom Sawyer (8) was a dragon toy that came to life. He is the one at far left with the ears on his mask.  His all boy dance class brought laughter and applause from the crowd as soon as they started jumping around on stage.  His "boy dance class" is so awesome! It is called that because young boys do not want to take ballet and modern, etc. classes, so they don't realize they are learning the correct moves while being in the all boy class. They made their own masks and he got to bring his mask home for keeps.

    Our oldest son, Timothy (20), was a soldier.  He is in the middle at the very back.  His fencing class was the mice and soldiers.  They put on a great battle scene.  I wanted my son to be in the forefront, but he was so relieved to be in the back. LOL

    Little Red Ridinghood (7) was cotton candy.  Her ballet class was so cute.  She is the one on the far left in both of the above pictures.  Several people stopped us after the performance to say she had stolen the show of the younger dancers because she new all her dance moves and posed properly.  Others came forward to comment on how well all of the children had done and that no one showed any stage fright.  What sweet things to hear about my children!

    Here is just a few more pictures of their bows.

    There was only one small crisis during the whole performance.  On the last night of the play, the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate. The temperature was in the 20's, and the kids were mostly barefoot and in short sleeves. The fencers were heroes and took off their armored jackets to wrap around kids and we put the barefoot kids on our feet so that they would not have to stand on the cold pavement.  We were back inside in 10 minutes!!  A side note ~ My husband and I were supposed to be in the audience that night but just felt that it was the wrong decision.  So, after a bit of prayer, we decided to both work backstage that night.  We did not know why, but we just felt led.  I would have been in such a panic if I had been in the audience unable to get to my kids.  God is Good!


    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    A New Reader

    I have maintained a blog over at homeschoolblogger for a few years now.  However, they are becoming unreliable, so I think I will try it over here.  Here is a short introduction to our lives.  We are a homeschool family with four kids.  Our oldest graduated from our homeschool the year before last.  Our three younger children are in 3rd grade and 1st grade.  Two of our children are adopted and three have special needs.  I talk about our family's homeschool journey and our struggles and triumphs with raising special needs kids.

    Our youngest, Little Red Ridinghood (7) finished 100 Easy Lessons yesterday. We are so proud of her.  I told her she only had 14 more lessons in order to earn her reading party.  She said she wanted to earn her reading party that very day.  Like her siblings, before her, she sat there and read her way through the last of the lessons.  I was really surprised that she read that many lessons in one day.  Yay!!!

    We went straight to the store and picked out her cake.  We had a quick reading party for her and presented her with a reading certificate.  We even have grandparents in town, so it was extra special to have guests at her reading party.  It is exciting to have everyone reading now.  Two of them are still not STRONG readers but the phonics is there.


    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Muffin Tin Monday ~ Winter's Gift

    The children are really enjoying our "new" Advent book each day.  I thought I would combine Muffin Tin Monday with one of our books this week. We enjoyed the book Winter's Gift about a lonely old man who has lost hope.  But then a mare in need crosses his path, and in helping the mare, his spirit is renewed.

    I tried to put comfort foods that one would eat during the winter in a cold wooded area.  The muffin tin had hot chocolate with whip cream, ham rolls, a clementine,  cranberry sauce, slices of cheese, and crackers.  As a special treat, their Step Grandmother read the book while they were eating.