Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review

It is fun to look back and remember what happened this year. This year did not go the way we planned or thought but we see God's faithfulness and provision.

January was spent sorting through our house, getting the house ready to be listed, taking Miss K to therapy, and packing.

February was a bit more of the same but the end of February we moved out, left the east coast and began the drive to the northwest. We said good-bye to family and friends.

We stopped in Memphis and visited family where we enjoyed ribs. I don't think you can go to Memphis without eating ribs. Bob and I shared these. They were yummy -- maybe we need to go back again.

We stopped a few other places on our way including the Grand Canyon. We were there for sunrise and then later in the day.

We arrived in the Northwest in March and were busy meeting people and continuing to pray that God would provide what we needed to go overseas.

In April we went to Tulip Festival. That was one of the things on my Northwest bucket list. I am glad we were able to do it. 

What did we do in May? School, art class for Bob, eating, and just normal life things.

We spent the month of June at a house near the lake. Someone from church had offered us their house for the month. Miss K enjoyed the playhouse.

In July Miss K turned 9. It is had to believe that she is 9 though she has been saying, "soon I will be 10."

We spent most of July in Asia. The kids had fun on various outings while dad and mom were in meetings.

We spent most of August in England meeting with coworkers, visiting friends, and looking and where God would have us.

We began September on the East Coast visiting with family and friends.

Then we were back to the Northwest and back to school and those other things that we do everyday.

In October we were able to move back into the house. We enjoyed fall here with a trip to the pumpkin patch.

November was spent doing school, eating our lentils, visiting with friends, playing Catan (I might be addicted), and enjoying our time here while we wait.

In December we celebrated Bob's 13th birthday. I am still adjusting to having a teen in the house.

We celebrated Christmas. Our plans were not to be here for Christmas we had planned that we would be moving around that time but God had different plans for us. It was difficult in some ways but we managed to celebrate.

We had advent calendars this year. I think it was the first time to do that.

My kids learned not to trust the box. They didn't get Triscuits but rather socks.

In addition to the socks, Bob got some Legos, a new Bible, a Spirograph (I searched long and hard for that -- it has been $14.95 and then everyone was sold out and it was selling for $65 or so, finally there were two in stock and I was able to get one at the $14.95 price), and a stocking full of treats with a toothbrush.

Miss K got some outfits for her Bitty Baby, a ballerina magnetic doll, and socks.

That about wraps up this year. We are looking forward to next year and praying that we will quickly be able to get our visa and the move, unpack our things, settle.

We look forward to the 2014 with hope.


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Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Books

I know it is after Christmas. I decided to just write a list of some of the books that we read and enjoyed this year so we will remember for next year and maybe some others can have ideas on new books to add to their Christmas book collection. I have a few Christmas books and would love to add some more. Since our books are in storage we had to make do with what a friend loaned us and also what we got from the library.

The Clown of God  by Tomie dePaola-- This book makes me cry. It is a reminder to do everything to give glory to God even if it is juggling. I borrowed this from the library and would love to have a copy.

An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco - I love most of Patricia Polacco's books. I love the bright colors in the artwork; I love her simple stories so many about her life or her family. This was about her grandmother's youngest brother. Oranges were a special Christmas treat and the family was waiting for father to return with the oranges. While waiting, the family feeds the hobos passing through on the train. Frankie meets Jump-Up Billy and notices that he is shivering and cold so he gives his sweater the one his older sister had given him for Christmas the year before to him secretly. Father returns with the oranges just before Christmas. I could tell more of the story but that would take away from the fun of reading it. I will say that Frankie does something wrong and then confesses it but his family does something very special for Frankie. That alone is enough to make me cry but then you learn it was his last Christmas and you are so thankful for what the family did.

The Nativity illustrated by Julie Vivas - This is basically the telling of Luke 2 with illustrations but it is a fun way to read that passage.

The Gift by Aliana Brodmann is a cute Hanukkah story about a girl using her money to give to another.

Angela and the Baby Jesus - I loved the way that Angela showed a concern for baby Jesus. She didn't want him to be cold. I read that to Miss K and that night she brought her baby to me wrapped his swaddling clothing also known as her pink blanket and told me it was baby Jesus.

The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia Scarry - This was a cute story about a bear and all the smells of Christmas. I love books by Patricia or Richard Scarry so this was a fun one to read.

The Very First Christmas by Paul L. Maier - This was written to give you the true facts of Christmas by going through the Luke story and giving you the background facts.

These are some of the Christmas books that we enjoyed this year. I am thinking next year that I will wrap some of the books and see if we can get a book a day. I think that would get the kids involved in wanting to read the books.

Do you have a favorite Christmas book that I should add to my list?

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Blog in Review 2013

One of the things that I did this year was get back into blogging. I had been blogging but not as regularly. I enjoy blogging and sharing a bit of our life. Blogging has given me new friends, new ideas, new recipes and more new things. Blogging has helped me to remember and keep track of things we have done, places we have been, things we have experienced, things we have learned and a few other things.

This blog is primarily about our family. We travel for fun and ministry so there are posts relating to our travel.

Here are some of the favorites from the readers of this blog.

One of the favorite ones from this year was our ice cream sandwiches from a street vendor in Singapore. I think this might have been the most clicked entry.

Miss K really did enjoy that sandwich. Chocolate chip ice cream is her favorite. I will add that getting a good photo of her is a challenge.

Bob ate two of them. These are perfect for a hot day and Singapore has plenty of those days. There is one season in Singapore - summer. On a cold day I think about moving there.

We also spend some time in England and were all over. Bob's favorite place was Keswick. He wants to go back next summer. On our way back to the team center we stopped by Hilltop Farm which is where Beatrix Potter lived. We were able to tour her house.

A big part of the blog is homeschooling, things we did, how we did them, and just a record of what is happening in our learning.

My schooling method falls towards the classical learning style and so this post about some of my thoughts was one that was clicked on quite a bit.

One of the posts that received the most comments was this about teaching grammar. That post was one that I read a few times because it was one that I didn't want to have a misspelling or grammar mistake. Some days I don't feel qualified or capable to teach everything but I continue on praying that God will enable me and provide the resources that I need.

We add a bit of special needs into our life with Miss K and the extra 21st chromosome. Teaching her life skills can be a challenge at times. Some of our success was shared and celebrated here.

This blog is also about various things that we enjoy. Bob enjoys soccer and there was a post sharing some of the photos from this fall.

I enjoy cooking and my family enjoys eating. That is a good combination. I enjoy finding new recipes, trying new foods, cooking with an international flare. I share some of this here on the blog as a way of remembering what I did. I shared my 10 pound bag of lentils and how we are slowly eating these lentils. By the way we have about a pound or two remaining. We will celebrate finishing by buying another bag (maybe).

I also enjoy crafting but as most of those things are in our shipment I have not done much so there has not been such to share. We are hoping and praying that we will be able to move the beginning of the year. We all have a list of things that we want from our shipment. I want my sewing machine so look for me to share some of the things I have made next year.

Thank you for reading and following my blog. Please let me know what you want to see more of next year.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bridges - Arch Bridge

We had our second Bridges class last week. Miss K was asking when we would do our bridges class and it worked in our schedules to have a second class last week. This time the topic was Arch Bridges.

The first question that the teacher asked was a bit of a trick question, who made the first arch bridge? Someone guessed the Romans and a few others but the correct answer was God as we see arch bridges in nature around us.

There was a bit of discussion and looking at some photos of famous arch bridges. Then what they were waiting for the chance to build an arch bridge.

I think they did decide that building an arch bridge out of K'nex is not that easy.

Bob added some decoration to his bridge. It looked like it was decorated for the New Year. Here is his bridge waiting to be load tested.

He is watching and waiting hoping that his bridge will perform. If I remember, I think his bridge held about 17 pounds and was one of the stronger bridges that evening.

It was a fun evening and the kids had a good time building the bridge. One of the boys recognized an arch bridge when they were driving the other day. That is a sign that the students learned something.

Here is our other evening of bridge building.

My husband is thinking that we might have one more class.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

May the joy of the season and the remembrance of 
the reason for the celebration fill your heart. 

Emmanuel - God with us.

Merry Christmas

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up December 20, 2013

It happened this week. I wasn't sure that I was ready for it. I had told him that it couldn't happen but it did. Bob turned 13 which isn't bad except that makes me the mom of a teenager. I am not old enough to be the mom of a teenager -- at least in my mind I am not that old. Bob had a great birthday celebration.

Between the AWANA party, Bob's birthday and the co-op Christmas party we had been trying to do some school. We are not taking a break between Christmas and New Year's as we will be traveling for a week in January and I am not packing books that week.

We went out for dinner for Bob's birthday and stayed for a bit of Snowflake Lane which was a show downtown.  Bob posed with Rudolf.

Miss K's ballet class had a recital. Just a time to show some of what they have learned this fall. She did great and has no problems being on stage and in front of people. She did spy daddy at the end and exclaimed loud enough for everyone to hear, "my daddy."

We are continuing through Mystery of History Vol II. We spent some time reading about the Vikings. Miss K colored her Viking helmet. I think it looks like her helmet it is decorated for the rainbow bridge.

We are continuing to work with Miss K on math. I am amazed at what she is learning and admit that I am a bit frustrated at what is not getting. This week Bob helped her with her skip counting. It was sweet to watch him working with her. 

We took a snow day today. It is not often that it snows here and it doesn't stay for long so we took advantage of the snow.

This is Bob just before he was hit by a snowball.

Miss K stayed out in the snow for a short time. She ate some snow, made a snowball, and took one short sled ride and was done. I guess she had enough of the snow.

Today we made Bob's birthday cake. It kinda slipped my mind that I should make a birthday cake. We had planned to go out so I said I would make a cake later. The other week while we were reading Bob had drawer a picture of TNT so we used that as the inspiration for the cake. I baked the cake, he drew a pattern and then cut it out. I allowed him to decorate the cake. He decided it was a bit harder than he thought. We lit 13 candles, sang and enjoyed the cake this evening.

I want to do some baking this weekend. I have made some carmel corn but I don't think much if left. I need to wrap presents and check if I have everything that I need.

I scored some fun vintage nature books at the thrift store which I will share with you.

We are enjoying Christmas books, outings, stories and fun celebrating the season -- remembering Christ  coming to earth as a baby to be the Savior of the world.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin and the Trumpeter of Krakow

One of the fun things about homeschooling is you know what your children are studying and you know how to coordinate learning with the other activities. It might sound like this was all planned but really it just happened.

We have been reading The Trumpeter of Krakow. It fits with our Middle Ages time period that we have been studying. I read the book aloud. We read about a chapter a day and so it did take a few weeks to read. Yesterday we finished the book.

I had a pumpkin sitting that needed to be cooked. I knew I could cook it and have pumpkin for pie, soup, muffins, pancakes but I still have some in the freezer from another pumpkin. I decided why not try something new and stuff it and back it. I looked online and got some recipe ideas but modified it a bit. The one recipe that I almost followed called for cheese. I like cheese but adding cheese to rice and sausage just didn't appeal to me. I did add a diced apple.

It was the perfect job for the children -- clean out the pumpkin. That meant their hands had to get a bit dirty.

While they cleaned out the pumpkin, I fried an onion with a pound of sausage and some garlic because everything tastes better with garlic and made some wild rice (cook according to the directions). I mixed the sausage and the wild rice together. I had some leftover cooked rice which I added as well just to stretch it a bit. I diced an apple and added it to the mixture. 

I tasted it and it was good. I had to quick stuff the pumpkin before I was tempted to eat all the sausage. 

I poured a bit of half and half on top which gave it a bit of a cream taste. I have to decide if I would do that next time or not.

1 pound sausage
1 onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced

Sauté till done.

1 package of wild rice or could do 2 packages
Cook a package of wild rice. Add to the sausage mixture.

Add a diced apple

Fill the pumpkin. Pour 1/2 cup of half and half over the mixture in the pumpkin.

Put the lid on and put it in the oven at 350 for 90 minutes. The knife should go into the side when it is done.

Scoop it out and get some of the cooked pumpkin as well. Put it on your plate and enjoy.

So what does that have to do with the book The Trumpeter of Krakow? Pan Andrew, his wife and son Joseph are fleeing from Ukraine to Poland. They have only a pumpkin in their cart and one that Pan Andrew will not sell. There is quite a bit of adventure and suspense as to why the pumpkin is so valuable. I can't tell you all of that because you have to have a reason to read the book. I will say that at the end of the book Pan Andrew describes how he would clean out the pumpkin and rub the outside with oil to preserve the pumpkin.

The children got to experience cleaning out the pumpkin. We just hid some sausage inside our pumpkin and baked it. No oh I can't tell you what was hidden inside.

It was the perfect ending to our book and one that was not planned but worked. My husband was impressed with the stuffed pumpkin and told me to remember what I did so I can do it again. So since I have put it on my blog, everyone can help me remember.

Do you plan meals around what you are learning?

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Birthday Celebrations

Bob is reaching that age when he doesn't want to be embarrassed, made the center of attention, and he has a bit of an introvert in him. He didn't want any mention of his birthday at AWANA and didn't even want a bit celebration. I wanted to celebrate and do something.

We had our traditional birthday pancake breakfast. The birthday child gets pancakes in the shape of his age. I just freehand them on the frying pan. It is a fun way to celebrate and I have pictures with their age.

We don't have a set time when we do gifts. This year we had them wrapped and so he opened them at breakfast. Also I knew it wasn't something that would tempt him from doing school.

Here is he peering into the box wondering what he was getting.

It was a daypack -- great for hiking and traveling. He had spied it in the store and since I didn't know what else to get him, that worked as a great birthday present.

A friend told me that they had to do something and they were a bit disappointed that he didn't want anything. So she filled a box with goodies and they dropped it off. She called me when they were on the way because she wanted him to open the door. I guess he just didn't put all that together because he was surprised. After a minute or two they jumped out from around the corner.

Opening all the cookies -- Trader Joe's cookies, chocolate, hot chocolate, chocolate covered pretzels and a fox. Yes, the fox was because he likes the song or maybe it is he doesn't like the song, "What does the Fox say?"

We went out for dinner and he ordered his favorite fettuccine alfredo. Don't tell Cheesecake Factory but he told him my recipe is better. Score one for mom's cooking.

There was another present that came in the mail. A gift from Grandpa and Grandma B. There was a Lego set that I knew he wanted but he sort of knew not to ask for it because it was one of the bigger sets. Well, I found a deal on it and so he got it. I don't think it took long to set it up. He was already adding to it and making the museum bigger. I think the smile catches the fact that he loves it and was surprised.

He has some birthday money to spend and some thank you notes to write. It was a fun day and celebration.

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