Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Let There Be Light!

We had under cabinet lighting in our last house.  Loved 'em!!   Do you have them? 

After almost four years, David we finally got around to installing them in this house.

So what is the big deal about under cabinet lighting?  Take a look at my before and after photos::



(My ceiling lights were on in both pics.)

I'm so excited to finally be able to read my recipes!!!   After he finished, we kind of looked at each other in "duh" sort of way and asked, "Why didn't we do that sooner?!?!" 

The price for sight? 

Lowe's::

*(3)  20" fluorescent light boxes (plug-in and linkable) - these covered about 12' of counter top space when   centered under the wall cabinets.

*16' of  18 gauge wire

*(1) single switch/outlet

Total:  $60.00

~ Patty ~

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lenten hula-hoops



Lenten sacrifice, when done correctly (with the right mind set) will always lead us to God.  No matter how big (or small) we are, sacrifice will always find us the peace we are seeking and ultimately joy.


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It all began when Mabel came down Friday evening telling me that everyone was watching a Disney movie and she had "given up" t.v. for the day and night. 

Hmmm....What to do? What to do?

I suggested she go out into the garage to keep  her dad company.  (Yes, I pushed her off onto her dad :)

What began as seemingly tough sacrifice ended up bringing joy and laughter to that child...as well as her parents and neighbors.  Joy is good.  God is good...all the time!

Heading outside, I found Mabel not only visiting with her daddy but teaching him how to hula-hoop. 

You know me, I snagged my camera ~



They were having a serious hula-hooping jam session...jamming out to this song, I'm Into Something Good, by Herman's Hermits. 

BTW, jam sessions with Dad totally blow Disney out of the water!

David had yelled for me to get the Motrin ready.  Right on it, Babe!

Before I knew it, this little person (not one of mine) came sneaking into the garage to see what all the commotion was about.  I did a double take to find Little Miss Sassy who eagerly jumped right in with the fun...(those girls had moves!)


(I think David was really getting into this hula-hooping thing!)

Little Sassy's parent came up the drive and her dad Rob was a good enough sport to entertain us with his abilities. 


Laughing at all the fun, we were all amazed how this joy came about through one little girl's Lenten sacrifice.  But they hadn't seen anything yet!  Cheryl and I had a few moves of our own...or so we thought. 


(My abs were s.o.r.e. the next day.)

What I love about our Rob & Cheryl and their family is that even though we do not share the same faith, we share the same God...and we put God first in our lives...followed by family and then country.  And we all love to share in His joy!

Lent is about half way over...and I hope your journey has brought you peace and joy thus far!

~ Patty ~

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mujigae (Korean for rainbow)




Rainbows. 

They are amazing to look at and they do create somewhat of a stampede  in our house when one of the Littles spots one out the window.


Of course we had to study a mini-unit on rainbows when the feast of St. Patrick rolled around.  And with all of the rainbow talk, we seem to see colors everywhere these days!

Take a peek at what I received earlier in the week~

Warning:  Cuteness alert!!!






(That is myself on the left with glasses, Stan is on the right, standing underneath a beautiful rainbow over our house.)


I told you that was cute.  Cute and adorable.  He was soooo proud when he handed it to me folded up all accordion-style.

I also received color in the form that I do not particularly care for ~


(Compliments of watching children on a playground for only 45 minutes.  And I rarely burn!)

And an unexpected, colorful date came my way this week!

Thursday, at dinner, I looked at Stan and asked if he wanted to go on a date with me.  It was totally spontaneous and he was immediately, totally psyched!  Scarfing down his dinner and giving me the old "thumbs up" sign meant game! on!



In Korean, Mommy is pronounced  "uhm-ma" and Son is pronounced  "ah-duhl" .

He was so excited in that photo, I thought he was going to fuse his face to mine!  I told him where we were going was a surprise...actually 2 surprise stops were in store.

So we hopped into the van and almost immediately saw a big, red firetruck.  Stan loves to see firetrucks.



Don't worry, I didn't shoot the photo while driving.  I was being safe.  I had stopped to pull over...this baby had all the bells and whistles going off...it was actually the second one that had gone by. 

And even though that red and shiny truck amazed us, the excitement only climbed as we passed all the places he thought I was going to take him. 

In his words..."Mom, what a date!"  (And we hadn't even arrived yet!)

Do any of you have one of those awesome yogurt places where you pay by the ounce?  We have quite a few in the DFW area, but our favorite has to be Yogurtville.  

Yogurtville.  Our first stop. 

You've never been there?  Well, let me  get the door for you ...




With 16 flavors of soft serve yogurt to choose from and a smorgasbord of candies, fruit, and nuts...oh boy!  you would have thought he died...sliding up an upward,  rainbow slide...straight into Heaven - Twice!!



 (He chose strawberry/banana and Belgium chocolate flavored yogurt, rainbow mini-marshmallows, gummy bears, and chocolate sprinkles.)

 
Even the ceiling lights were fun and colorful! 



Reminds me of a giant, green life-saver!

He was rocking and dancing from side to side as he savored each morsel...humming along as he chewed.   He ended up sliding on over next to me. 

Throwing his arm around me, going in for the squeeze, told me that it was a f.a.b.u.l.o.u.s. date so far.

With full bellies, we headed out to surprise stop #2.  This was for all the times that poor boy had to painfully suffer the trips to American Girl!

One very colorful sign said it all - one sign that made the boy's eyes light up like a Fourth of July night sky ~





We walked and looked...stopped and exclaimed.  But there was one isle that was beckoning him.  The one isle that he dreams and fantasizes about,  and we found it ~






I was just telling a friend on the phone the other day...if I could teach Stan his ABC's through Star Wars or Dino's...he'd have no problems with memorization.  Well, folks, look at what I found (and purchased)!





We came looking for the double-sided light saber ... but then we saw the price.  I wasn't going to spend $35 on a toy when it wasn't a birthday.  Drat!  We had to pass and look for something else.

It was not difficult to find another toy.  He's been eyeing this one for almost a year now.




And all was well in his world!

Date night receipt::

Yogurtville $9
Toys R Us $35
Memories - priceless!


~ Patty ~

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wrapping Up Our Week 3/24/11



~ On My Mind ~

Even though we had a good week, I'm still excited to know that we have only 8 weeks to go till summer vacation!

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~ Our highlights from the week ~

History

Probably the most fun this week. 

Ester began her 4th quarter study on Texas.  I've added some new books to this unit...


The Heinemann State Studies is an excellent series for children in grades 3-5.   The Texas book was a cute one that was filled with fun facts that are easy and interesting to know.  These books can be found representing all the states, if not most.

i.e. The horned lizzard is the Texas state reptile.  Did you know it can squirt blood from its eyes?!?! 

FYI alert:

Speaking of books...while at Barnes and Noble....I was told homeschoolers, with their membership card, can participate in the Educator Appreciation Days, April 9-17th!  A special 25% discount!!!  Get your membership card if you do not already have one!

Science

*At the beginning of the semester, Mabel started science (she did history for the first semester).  She is loving it and has worked with planets, color (prisms/rainbows) and now magnets.  She and David have some fun magnet experiments coming up this weekend.

 (And since it is basic and fun, Stan follows her and does whatever experiments she is doing.)

*Sally started health this quarter.  I'll put up more on that next week.

Religion

*Mabel is really enjoying studying about the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  She is anticipating seeing Father within the next few weeks.

*Starting to formulate plans for Sally's Confirmation preparation.  A friend and I are gathering information before speaking with Father.  I'm so thankful that he is pro-home school.  Amen!

*I need to call Father and see if our home school kids can have our own private Stations of the Cross.  The time he has set up is for the public and is not "school hours".  Hopefully, it'll all work out?

Extra Curricular

*Oil painting had to be rescheduled for next week. 

*Little Flowers/Little Woman's Hospitality program was on Wednesday.  (It will be my turn to teach LF's in April - Loyalty will be the theme - )

*Choir practice for the girls. 

*Stan and I had a Mommy/Son date Thursday night.  I'll be sure to post about our "colorful" night this weekend!

*Kid swap Friday afternoon....Stan went to "their" house to be with the boys...."their" girls came to our house to hang with Sally, Ester, and Mabel.

First Aid

Mabel was stung in the hand Thursday afternoon.  Wanted me to tell you all :(

Please feel welcome to join in the fun at Jen's Forever, For Always, No Matter What.

~ Patty ~

This Moment



This moment...One photo....No words.

For more beautiful moments, visit soulemama.


~ Patty ~

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beauty Shop

Electric hair curlers....Grammy's influence. 

Grammy can not  fly with her electric curlers so a couple of visits back she purchased a set  and left them here for when "she comes back". 

And this girlie has been asking me to dollie her up for some time.  So we played beauty shop after school.


And as we filled up our happy tanks on  "girl talk", we  tried not to burn Mommy's fingertips nor the tips of Mabel's ears. 

We had so much fun!



We have to make sure we do it just like Grammy does it. 


 (Grammy does a hairnet - without the pose! )


With all the playing around, I have a heavy heart.  I want try to focus on my baby girl before she grows up and doesn't want to play beauty shop anymore.  (Nor be my baby girl!)

Feeling oh so pretty!




With poker-straight hair, curls do not last long.  These beauties had fallen (almost) straight within two hours.  She was disappointed and sad that Daddy could not see them, but we have the pictures at least....and the memories.  Love the memories...


~ Patty ~


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Healthy Snackin'

Ester found this Bird's Nest recipe in an American Girl magazine and decided to give it a whirl.  It is yummy, easy, and healthy!


Simply, sliced bananas spread with peanut butter with yogurt raisins on top.

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Peanut Energy Bars




Ingredients:

1/2 c dry roasted, salted peanuts (*I substituted unsalted...tasted just as good.)
1/2 c roasted sunflower kernels
2 c chopped dried fruit
2 c oatmeal (I used Quaker Old Fashioned Oats)
2 c multi grain cheerios
1/4 toasted wheatgerm
1/2 c natural peanut butter (I used our home made peanut butter - Vitamix - you can use reg. peanut butter)
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 c honey
1 tsp vanilla

1.  Coat 9x13 pan with cooking spray

2. Combine peanuts, sunflower kernels, fruit, oats, cereal, and wheat germ in a large bowl.

3.  Melt peanut butter, brown sugar, and honey together until bubbly.  Add vanilla and stir until blended.  Pour over dry ingredients and stir until coated.

4.  Transfer to prepared pan.  Press down firmly. Refrigerate one hour to harden.  Cut into bars.  Wrap individually in plastic wrap.  Keep in refrigerator. 

(You can add a scoop of protein powder for the extra protein.)

* I originally made these for David and myself, but the kids had a taste and loved them as well! *



~ Patty ~


Monday, March 21, 2011

BFF



I have a new BFF(Best Friends Forever)

Let me introduce you all...

Friends, Mr. Hamper.

Mr. Hamper, Friends.







Mr. Hamper now stands in the corner of our bedroom closet and lovingly holds all the items that will making their way to Goodwill until the lawn bag liner is filled. 

(Thank you, Smart Martha!)

Some of you have posted about 40 Bags in 40 Days.  Done it.  LOVED it!!! 

Loved it so much that I started purging my house of unnecessary items on a weekly basis.  I was constantly piling things up on top of my dryer...which drove me nuts...and making bunches of trips to the Goodwill store...driving my dear husband nuts (because of the price of gas.)

Now I have a place for the items and will shorten the trips to Goodwill. 

I'm feeling giddy!  (Am I that simple of a person?!?! LOL) 


~ Patty ~

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Child (and Woman) Meets Beast

Nature beckoned and we answered the call!




We went to one of our favorite places...even though this is only our second time there.  It is like a slice of heaven.    A place to leave your worries behind and just be.  Where soaking up the fun and laughter of your littles finds you in a state of kid-dom yourself.

I was dreading the  two  hour drive but  found myself relaxing as soon as we snaked our way out of the city leaving the concrete and steel behind.  A drive southwest that slowly unfolds all of God's beauty before your eyes.  With every blink, came a new view...a new terrain.  All gorgeous!

That's what I like about Texas. 

We first found ourselves in  flat land spotted with cedar trees...a place where you can see forever.  There are longhorns and railroads along the route.  A drive where small businesses thrive and towns proudly announce their teams' state football championships on their water towers.  You won't find the BMW's and Mercedes Benz here.  They are replaced with big  trucks with the silhouette of a big cowboy hat in the driver seat.

And then you blink and find yourself entering a land where the mesquite, cedar and cactus grow abundantly along the craggy, rocky terrain.  A place that makes you think,  Now this is where some western movie was made!



I was seriously waiting for some cowboy to come riding out as I took that photo.




And then we arrived.  Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.  

The scenery is oh so breathtaking.  Seriously! Knock your socks off, catch your breath, pausing and reflecting on God's awesome power, beautiful!







And by saving 25 old cell phones you have earned 5 tickets into this wonderfully expensive place! 

Major Cha-ching  moment for me.  

How did I save 25 cell phones you ask?  You can thank dear husband's old cronies in the corporate world and a couple of fellow homeschooling families.

$8 (for the bag of feed) and 25 old cell phones bought us a day of grand memory making.  The ticket lady said it was the cheapest entry she's seen all week.  No fooling.  I have come to embrace the meaning of frugal!

Fossil Rim is a place where you  your child can hang out and be amongst the beasts.  Literally!  From your car window.  We had some good hang time.




Then there were those animals that we would rather look at. We know that Zebras are not friendly animals.  My hand was totally positioned over the "up" bottom to the windows... ready and waiting.  I did not want anyone to go home with missing digits!



And these two little people were looking for cheetahs...which were behind a nice, tall fence.   (That would be a dust line on the car window that is rolled up.  It was a dry and dusty day.  Texas is very dry right now.) 


And oh! there were so many gorgeous animals to look at from afar.   



We packed our lunches and picnicked at the midway point called The Lookout.  Another beautiful spot to rest in the shade and take in the views.  The weather was simply gorgeous (mid-80s)...a perfect compliment to our scenery.



 And I have to laugh when I tell you this...no joke...Texas even does spring break BIG

The entire state pretty much follows the same vacation schedule around two weeks in March.  Elementary schools through Universities, public and parochial.  It is a respected and revered time of year where families vacation together...perhaps before the bloody heat sets in?!   Everywhere you go, everyone knows you are on spring break.  (Even the ortho closes for spring break.)

Fossil Rim was filled to the brim with spring breakers.  So much so, the bellies of the animals were filled from all the carloads of feed being fed to them.  Only a handful of times did the animals come to the car windows to feed from us.

Case in point...look at this line of cars...


...and we were #30 in line...at the exit point.  See that rhino?  He and his comrades were pretty far away, enjoying their shade....too far away to have anyone feed them by hand :)

We came out of there with half a bag of feed left, so we passed it off to others who were just coming in for the day.

But like everything...all good things must come to an end.  We needed to head back northeast...back home...to get our van washed.  I swear I had a pound of dirt in each eyeball and desperately needed to peel my contacts off by the time I reached home.  So worth it!!!

Definitely one of our best field trip places.

I love being able to hop in your car and with a full tank a gas and vacation for a day.  You can drive to one of the numerous regions of Texas and it is like entering another part of the country. 

So why am I doing flip-flops?  Why is it such a big deal?  I grew up amongst cornfields and soybeans fields....where driving from Illinois to Nebraska (Creighton University Alumna) one had to check the mile markers to make sure you were even moving! 

And of course there is the wild spirit inside of me that has this overwhelming need to be fed with learning and seeing and touching and experiencing.  I am definitely an adventure enthusiast!

~ Patty ~

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wrapping Up Our Week 3/18/11



~ On My Mind ~

Batteries are recharged.  Ready for to start school on Monday.

Field trips

We toured the Cathedral Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas.

We went to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.  I'll post more on this fun and fantastic trip this weekend!  (It was our second time there - you know it is good when they want to go back!)

Reading/Religion

*For the Feast of St. Patrick, we read about St. Patrick as well as rainbows - wouldn't it be fun to slide down or find a pot of gold at the end of one?!



(The St. Patrick books ideas came from Catholic Mosaic.  The Rainbow books came from my old teaching days.)


We also watched this great DVD that many of you probably have seen...






*Reading material for the Littles (recommended by Catholic Mosaic)...




Note:  The Most Beautiful Gift in The World - perfect for reconciliation!  Little Rose of Sharon - perfect for Good Friday!

* In honor of St. Patrick's feast day, the littles made these fun rainbow cupcakes.  I tried to take pics of the different stages to share~


I found the recipe from Family Fun years ago, but a recent post at Tiffany's reminded me of them.  (My kids thank you, Tiffany.  It's been that long!)

They don't look as pretty as the ones in Family Fun, but they sure taste great!

Postcard Buddies

We received another postcard in the mail this week from Michigan.  Hello Michigan!




We received it from Jen and family.  Thank you, Jen!  The kids love. love. love. receiving mail (especially from other families around the country!)

Be on the look out.  We just stuck your postcards in the mail today. 

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For more fun, please join in at Jen's Forever, For Always, No Matter What!

~ Patty ~

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