Friday, March 26, 2010

Mama , you were right . . .

Aghh, what wonderful words to a mama. I wanted to just pause and let those words soak in or ask him to repeat them so I could hear it just one more time. I was going to yell a wild "yes" but decided that instead I should probably just ask, "about, what?".

"You were right. If you have a good attitude, things go better."

Wow! I didn't know what to think. Things are sinking in. He is listening and learning.

We were driving to meet friends for lunch and had just past the craft store and pet store. He told me, "when we went to get fish food, I complained but now I have a good attitude and the trip went fast so you are right. If you have a good attitude, things go better."

Just a week or so ago we had gone to get fish food and he had complained the whole way about how far it was -- it was just about 3 miles away. Today we were driving that same way and this comment came from his mouth.

I did put aside all my gloating and just reaffirmed that yes that is right we do want to have a good attitude.

It was a proud mama moment.

History, Science, Cooking all come together

One of the fun things of homeschooling is when what you learn can be applied at home. The other week J asked, "how do you make sauerkraut ?" That was a good question and not like the usual, "what if your arms were wings?" or "what if you were 12 feet tall?" I am practical and reality based and so I struggle with those questions but when he asked, "how do you make sauerkraut?" That one I could answer. I knew St. Patrick's day was coming and since we live in a good Irish community that meant that cabbage would be on sale -- 9 cents a pound. We can try to make sauerkraut.

A big head of cabbage, a big knife, a big bowl and some salt.

Pound and pound to get as much liquid out of the cabbage.

Put it in a jar and wait three days.

We were making sauerkraut. The jar sealed itself. We waited the three days and then a bit more. This week we make pork and sauerkraut.

History came in to this as we had read how the Chinese used salt to preserve food. We opened the jar and it was preserved. All we had added was salt.

Science came in to this as we opened the jar the liquid started foaming and exploding out of the jar. We quick moved to the sink. We tasted it and added it to the crockpot.

We enjoyed our dinner of pork and sauerkraut. We are still alive that was two days ago.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

World Down Syndrome Day

3/21 = World Down Syndrome Day - It is simple the 21st chromosome has an extra chromosome along with that is extra fun, stubbornness, and a few other things. Here are some reflections for this year. I think I will just interview myself.

This is the youngest picture that I have of her that I will share. That was the night before the heart cath.

What is one of the fun things about having a Down Syndrome child? Miss K keeps us laughing. It might be what she says or do but with her around there is probably a laugh there as well. Like when she wanted to wear her yellow pj's to bed except she doesn't have any.

What is one of the hardest things? She is stubborn which is good. It was that stubborn streak that kept her fighting for her life the night the doctor told us she wasn't going to make it but it is that same stubbornness that you deal with when she wants to wear her yellow pj's or allow mama to put her to bed when she wants daddy.

What is Miss K's favorite thing to do? That is easy - watch, which is her way of saying watch DVD. She likes to watch Chinese, Bernstein Bears, Bob the Builder, Veggie Tales, Annie and a few other things.

What does she like to eat? She really is a good eater. She is like her mama and likes chips, French Fries, and pretzels. She loves meatloaf and icing.

How is she developing? When I look back on her milestones, she hit most of them at the end of normal range. Her speech is a bit delayed but she will say, "mama, help me" or " what you doing?" She is walking and jumping. She has learned to use scissors both the good and the bad -- she did cut her own hair. She is amazing in what she does know. She can count in both English and Chinese, she knows colors, letters and letter sounds, shapes, and still can read most of the words that we worked on years ago.

It is amazing to she what she has learned and I look forward to what she will learn as she continues to grow.

The post recent picture is below, yesterday at Rita's. She has grown in the last 5 1/2 years about 25 pounds and about 12 inches.

So today we celebrate Down Syndrome Day and Miss K.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


A few weeks ago, I promised the kids that I would take them to Rita's on the first day of spring to celebrate. Rita's opened the beginning of March when we still had snow on the ground and that was too early for me. So after lunch we went to Rita's. We drove past to the normal one we go to and the line was long. We decided to go to another one in the area and the line was long there as well. I had promised so we decided to go.

The line moved quick and we ordered -- cherry for J, vanilla for Miss K, root beer for myself, and daddy had sweet tea. About that time we learned why the line was long -- it was free.

That was a great way to celebrate spring.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Terra Cotta Warrior

One of the projects that J was given to work on this week was make a Terra Cotta Warrior. For inspiration we looked at pictures.

Here is the result of his work.

I wasn't here for the making of this warrior but I understand there was quite a bit of laughter and fun.

3.14 Pi Day

Sunday was Pi day and so we did have pie both pizza pie and pumpkin pie.

The kids opted for Rice Krispie Treats instead.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Norman Rockwell - Living in Art

I finally got around to taking the kids to the Norman Rockwell display. I had to do it this week as it closes here on Sunday. I had grand plans of reading the book that I had bought prior to our visit but we didn't get that done. I did give J two coffee table books that I had ordered from to look at this morning.

We walked into the mall while the exhibition was and saw this.

The look on his face was one of those homeschool moments, those times that remind you that this is why you are doing what you do every day. He was excited. He had seen that in the book. We then headed for the exhibition after stopping at the Lego store which I didn't know was there (we must not get out much).

We walked in and the first thing we saw was this. I have to say that the kids really felt like they were walking into the art. I think J as much as said that on the way home. He walked right up and looked at this.

There was a Model T there that the kids could sit on. J was excited that when he turned the steering wheel, the wheels moved. I think both kids enjoyed the school area. I did laugh a bit because those desks are very much like the ones that the kids use for school.

J did pose with the teacher.

I think the soda foundation was one of my favorite places. I just loved the way the kids could sit right there as if they were part of the picture.

Miss K really wanted the cookies. She kept going back to that and then she put her hand in the milk.

At the end they had a display of all the Saturday Evening Post covers that Norman Rockwell painted. I gave J the camera and told him to take a picture of his favorite one. I was a bit surprised at the one he took a picture of. I thought he would have picked a sports one or maybe one he had seen in a book but this is what he picked.

Miss K was begging, "my turn" and so I gave her the camera. I did have to turn the camera away from her face and this is what she picked.

It was a fun afternoon worth the $5.00 that it cost me to get in. It really did bring art to life and was worth it. Now we will read our book.

Math 3

We started Saxon 3 today. Yesterday, we finished Saxon 2. J is a 3rd grader but we did Saxon 2 to start because I had it and I wanted to make sure we filled in any gaps he might have. So today we started Saxon 3. Don't tell him that he should be done with math for the year. I am working to slowly catch him up. He did look at the book and decided it wasn't too hard. Maybe we will have better attitudes with this level. One can always hope can't they.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Adventures in the Kitchen

I am working to be a bit more organized in the kitchen. There are a number of things in that "more organized" category one of which is making some freezer meals. I don't really plan to do the once a month cooking but have found that it is nice to have some meals in the freezer for days when I don't feel like cooking or have a million other things to do. The other thing that I like doing is finding good deals. This week one of the stores had split chicken breasts on sale $1/pound. I got a pack 5 split breasts for $4.78.

The other new love and thrill that I have is requesting books online from the library. I sit in my comfy chair with my laptop and see what books I can find. One of my recent books was Once a month cooking. I sat down with that and made a list of ground beef, beef, chicken, and pork recipes that I thought we would like. So with my 4.78 pounds of chicken and the cookbook from the library I was ready to see what I could make and add to the freezer.

First, I had to cook the chicken. I decided to try something new to me -- cooking them in the crockpot. I put all 5 in, added a bit of water and turned it on high. That was about 10:00 this morning. See how they fit.

They were cooked by 5:00. So this evening I made double batches of Sweet & Sour chicken. It tasted good when I tasted it. I didn't add double the water chestnuts mainly to save the expense of 2 cans. It was easy except for the fact that I used sliced pineapple instead of chunks and used my new ceramic knife to cut them while holding them  and let me tell you that knife is sharp. No stitches were needed but I did decide that I should use a cutting board.

I also made a double batch of Chicken a 'la king.

This recipe was also from the Once a Month cookbook. I did just add a whole jar of pimientos. The recipe called for a tablespoon. I dumped the whole jar in because what was I going to do with some leftovers.

Now I have 4 meals in the freezer. I am not showing you a picture of my freezer because it is packed. I was a bit scared that I wouldn't be able to get these meals in there but I did.

So after today's adventure I would cook the chicken in the crockpot again.

Something is working

As I did some reading this morning, Master J sat and drew. He was happy with the clipboard and I was happy that he wasn't running around. He showed me his robot but then told me that it wasn't just a robot -- it was special -- see all the right angles.

He is listening and learning. Even more he is using math.

We did finish Saxon 2 today. I should have taken a picture of it but really the workbook is missing the cover, torn, and falling apart. Tomorrow we get out Saxon 3 and since it is new there that is probably a better photo opp.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Everyday Things - Coffee

I love coffee. I did not grow up in a coffee drinking family. It was something happened when I became an adult. My husband loves coffee with me. Around our house one word can be a question, "coffee". To which the other person replies, "I will fix it."

In 1998 I remember when Starbucks arrived in Taiwan. I also remember taking my husband there for coffee. It was soon after we met and near where I lived. He had lived in Seattle so it was a treat to go to Starbucks. I remember visiting Hong Kong when there were just a few Starbucks. A friend and I searched to find one. Now they are on almost every street corner or so it seems. Just before we moved there was one at the other end of the area where we lived.

I like Starbucks but I love Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf which I found in Singapore. We had a few in Taiwan for a short time. Honestly, I like Seattle's Best better than Starbucks.

Normally, I just make it at home. Right now I am waiting for a replacement coffee maker. Hopefully, it will come in the mail soon. This one just shuts off.

I have children that love coffee. J will drink coffee milk which means decaf coffee with lots of milk. Miss K has a coffee habit that got started when Starbucks would give her a babycinno for free. Now when she see Starbucks, she says, "coffee". I am teaching my children to love what I love and enjoy the finer things in life.

That is an old picture of Miss K enjoying coffee in Beijing.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Dr. Suess

Dr. Suess was born today in 1904. We decided to have some fun and celebrate his birthday. Of course, we had green eggs and ham for breakfast.

Three drops of green food coloring make the eggs green. There was some spinach in there. They tasted fine as long as you did not look at the color.

Miss K is pondering this new breakfast. Yes, she has football pj's on. She got them a cousin or a friend (D, did these come from you?) I thought, "hey, who cares she wears them at home, who is going to see her in them?" No, one until she wears them in a picture that is posted on the blog so everyone can see that she wears football pj's. Back to breakfast. You know, she ate them and I didn't have to feed them to her. There was also a bit extra green in there as I added spinach.

Master J read Green Eggs and Ham.

We have cake for tonight's dinner. Daddy cut the hat and mama decorated. That was as red and I could make it. I ran out of red food coloring.

Math Fun

Some of these math posts are for my memory. As I mentioned before J and I seem to have our struggles when it is time to do math. I am on the lookout for math games or ways to make it more fun and trick him in that we are doing math but he didn't know it. Today we were supposed to make a graph using dominoes. It became a game and he didn't want to stop. We did it three times. Adding the totals and recording it on our graph. We took turns and each had different color crayons.

The Water Cycle

We read The Magic Schoolbus at the Waterworks the other day for science. Today, I decided that we would review what we learned. I am a visual learner and so that tends to be how I teach. J does like crafts and things like that so it helps. He did a good job showing the various things in the water cycle going from evaporation to taking a bath.

We then made a top for it so we can see one section at a time.

One of the things that I enjoy about homechooling is I know what he is studying so as we walked back from the bus stop (taking Miss K to her bus) we saw the water inlet and I asked him what it was and what he thought it did.

Monday, March 1, 2010

National Pig Day

Today is National Pig Day and so in honor of that I wore pigtails. I think I was probably about 8 the last time I wore pigtails. I even went out in public today. I took Miss K to preschool and then Jack to his monthly medical appointment for his meds. He told the nurse that "my mom is wearing pigtails because it is National Pig Day". We cleaned up the pigpen aka the family room. We didn't bother to try to clean the room known as my craft room or as J said to the babysitters dad when he gave him a tour "that is where my mom does her crafty things".

We played Pass the Pigs.

and pigged out on some pretzels.

My kids love to wear there pj's usually it is after dinner but today it was a bit earlier.

We decided not to eat pig as that would not be celebrating for the pig.

Root Beer Floats

Miss K has only had soda a few times in her five years. The other evening we had a special treat -- Root beer floats. It was a treat because we had room in the freezer for some ice cream and had root beer in the house. I think this was the first float she had and she ate every bit of it and then drank it with a straw.

Breakfast with Grandpa and Grandma

Miss K got the camera. She loves to look at pictures on the camera and has learned how to take pictures. She needs to work a bit more on her photography before she wins an award. Here is a sample of her photography at work.

Grandma was there. She likes to take pictures of herself.


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