Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires...courage.
-
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year...

Just wanted to tell you all Happy New Year! We wish all of you the best of God's blessings in the year to come. We are very blessed to have you in our lives. :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Karl's Birthday

Well, today Karl turns 34...I'm no longer older than him. :)

We will be having a nice lunch, then German Chocolate cake with ice cream for his dessert. This has been his traditional birthday cake since he was a kid. Karl went out to see a movie for some 'him' time this morning, always a nice thing on your birthday. He'll be home soon, and we'll spend the day honoring him.

Happy birthday, darlin'! We love you.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Coca-Cola Calamity...
















Anyone wanna take a guess about what happened here?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wishy-Washy, part 2

Well...I am still researching curricula, even though I said I thought I would stick with HOD. I can't seem to make up my mind about what I should do. I am nervous about whether I can make it work once the baby is here. However, I won't be making any decisions (well, at least purchases) until about May, so I have time. I plan to move on in what we are using now, and evaluate how things go...then determine if it will work for next year. I'll have several more posts about this before I'm done...woo hoo, I know you all love my curriculum posts!...so maybe I can talk myself through this. Right now I'm checking on Ebay just to see what is available. I've also done Google searches regarding homeschool curriculum, both general and specific. There's a lot out there to sort through. I have to see waht's available to purchase, and whether I have some materials here at home that I can use....I have quite a bit, so I'd like to incorporate some of that. I'll be back to this subject in time. Still thinking, and researching, and praying...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Changes to blog...

I just want to let you all know, things may look different for a while. I'm trying to figure out a new 'look' for our web page, so when you log on don't be alarmed if it looks different. Hopefully I'll settle on something before long, but for now get used to the changes....

:)

American Adventure series

The kids and I have a favorite series of books...historical fiction...that we've been reading through over the last year.The American Adventure series is a series of 48 books that tell all about American history, from the Mayflower to World War 11. We've read books 1-3 and book 6...now we're going back to finish 4 and 5 before moving on...when we began I did not have the entire set yet, so we just read what we had or could find at the library. At the used curriculum sale in May, I just happened to spy a box..the entire set...at someone's booth. I had been trying to purchase a full set on Ebay with no luck...I always lost the bid to someone willing to pay more $$$ than me...like $350-$500. Anyway, when I asked the lady at the booth how much and she said $50, I pounced on them. I know I never would have been able to find them elsewhere that cheaply. It was definitely a God thing. :) Now the first ones I found, before I even knew how great they are or how much in demand, I got at a used book store. Now that I have a full set, I don't need the extras, so I have listed them on Ebay. There are 18 of them...not in sequence. Check it out if you think you might be interested. Here's the link.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the night before Christmas...

and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse...

The kids are all tucked in, we've gotten the rest of the presents wrapped, and the stockings stuffed. Now, we're just waiting for morning so we can celebrate together. Although, we already celebrated a bit today. We had our traditional cocktail sausages, cheeseball with crackers, vegetable tray (served with a new dip taken from Rachel Ray's 30-Minute Meals), and wassail. We enjoyed all these yummy snacks while watching The Polar Express on DVD. It's the kids' favorite Christmas movie, and I have to admit Karl and I are big fans too. We never have been big on telling the kids about Santa...we have focused on Christmas being the celebration of Jesus' birth...but the movie still makes us choke up in spots. It's a great story, and of course we think Tom Hanks is great in his many roles. :)

We will finish up our reading of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens tomorrow hopefully...we've gotten a bit behind due to preparations for Christmas. We should have started it a little sooner...the book is quite verbose and has been quite a challenge to read aloud, even for me who LOVES to read!

I made my first made-from-scratch cheesecake today...for tomorrow's dessert. We'll see how it turns out...I also mixed up the stuffing, so all I have to add is the broth and raw eggs before popping it in the oven tomorrow. I still have to prepare our sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes (making these just because I wanted them!), gravy, green bean casserole, salad, and rolls. We have canned cranberry sauce...berries and no berries...so all I have to do for that is open and pour. And the rolls are brown-n-serve, so they'll be easy too. Karl is planning to make french toast for breakfast tomorrow morning, then we'll open gifts with the kids before starting our lunch preparations. Karl is in charge of the turkey, and will be using our rather large fryer ( a great gift from family...thanks so much!) to cook it in. He has some sort of cajun marinade to inject in it...I can't wait to taste it... The only real downside is he has had to shovel off the deck just to be able to get out there to cook! We had so much snow last week, and with the wind whipping it around, it had drifted so much that it was covering some of the glass in our slider. It's not supposed to be too cold tomorrow (high of 32, heehee) so that's a plus. :)

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stuff and Something...

Well, today is just going to be ramblings...whatever is on my mind, there's no specific agenda.

The kids just donned their snow gear and went out to play in the 19 degree temps. Don't worry, I limit their time outside when it's below 30...they'll have 'warmer' days later this week when they can stay out an hour or two at a time. Plus, they are old enough to feel uncomfortable and come in when they get too cold. I am planing to relax a bit. We finished school very early (earlier than lately anyway) today, so we had lunch and now it's playtime...which means computer time, and possibly Food Network for me...I enjoy watching Rachel Ray, Emeril, etc. on occasion. :)

We've almost completed the organization of the basement! Karl came home Thursday night, and he helped get it cleared out over the weekend. We have to have it done in time for the Lego Lambs party we are hosting next Sunday. It's just an end-of-the-season celebration for the kids that participated on Logan's team for First Lego League this year.

We've had a ton of snow since Friday...I don't know the actual inches, but Karl and I both think it was about 10 inches from Friday's storm alone...and we got a few more inches yesterday from a smaller storm, but there were very high winds yesterday. We could hear the wind whistling outside the windows most of the night. Corbin was scared of it when he went to bed last night, but he told me he felt better once Logan came into the room. (Corbin goes to bed earlier than Logan) We actually had to let him get up and sit at the bottom of the stairs because he was screaming and crying from fear...though Karl and I both question how much was fright and how much was his discontent with going to bed earlier than normal (due to disobedience) and missing the T.V. show that was on...? In any case, sitting on the stairs calmed him and he still had to miss the show.

I finally found my missing Christmas tree topper today. When we put up the tree and decorated it we decided it must have gotten broken. Last year on Christmas day we took a family photo in front of the tree. Amidst all this, our tree ended up falling over! Karl was able to get it back in place and finish the 'photo shoot' but we decided that our topper must have perished in the fall. However, in going through yet another box in the basement today I came upon it, so now our tree is complete. I'm glad we have a topper for this year, but I have to say I'm a little disappointed too because I was planning to have Karl take me to find a new one..I love to shop for almost anything....I doubt I can convince him of our need now! Oh well.

We're looking forward to our Christmas Eve and Christmas day together, although we wish some family and friends from across the country could have joined us. We wish all of you a blessed celebration....revel in the joy of Christ this season and all He's done for you.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Petronas Towers

I'm back in the US now, but before leaving I made a side trip to Kuala Lumpur. While There I was able to visit the Sky Bridge of the Petronas Towers. Pretty cool place. These were listed as the world's tallest building until 2004 upon the completion on Taipei 101 (I hope to hit that one soon, as Thailand is also one of my countries of responsibility) The fascinating feature of these towers is the two story bridge that connects them at the 41st and 42nd floor. The lower level of the bridge serves as the observation deck of the buildings. This is a little less than half way up the building so the view is not quite as impressive as some of the other tall buildings I've had the opportunity to scale, but the buildings themselves are pretty cool. There is park outside which is very nice with many foot paths, a large fountain and even a small water park. At the base of the building is a 6 story shopping mall. I spent a little time in here getting some gifts for the family. I stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which was right beside the towers (separated by only a sidewalk) so I went back out after dinner to see the towers at night. Wow. These buildings, when lit up... I could stare at them forever.

Fresh fish, caught to order

Went to a floating restaurant today. It wasn’t actually floating, it was at the end of a long pier in the water. Very nice open air restaurant. The menu was heavy on seafood, rice and noodles. after taking our order the waitress went over to a guy sitting at the entrance to the restaurant, on the walkway between it and the pier. She reads from the menu and begins pointing over the side of the pier. This little guy then begins fishing around with he net in the water, brings up some fish, and then picks them out of the net and drops them in a basket. The waitress then brings the newly filled basket to us and asked if these looked Ok.

All in all a pretty cool deal. Now I know that I posted once before about ordering seafood outside of the US, but when you’re hungry you’re hungry. Even still, a grouper is a pretty ugly fish when it’s alive. It doesn’t get any prettier when it’s cooked.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Things to do before baby's arrival...

Okay, this is just a list for myself, because I think it is not likely to get lost if it's on my blog....I will add to it as I think of things. Sorry, I'll try to post something more interesting to others next time!

  • arrange baby's room
  • organize baby clothes, and hang
  • purchase cradle bedding
  • pack hospital bag
  • find someone to stay with kids while I am in labor
  • create workable school schedule for once baby is here
  • paint boys' room...won't have time after arrival
  • purchase baby socks
  • stock up on diapers of various sizes; Newborn to 2
  • purchase Dr. Brown's bottles

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Just call me wishy-washy!

Well, I have been reviewing our current materials...Heart of Dakota...via their web site and I have fallen in love with it all over again! After looking through books that I actually already had on hand concerning how to make your own homeschooling plan, I found two very good ones by Lorraine Curry: Easy Homeschooling Techniques and Easy Homeschooling Curriculum. I read most of both of them (again) over the last two nights and there is some wonderful information about how to create a schedule, what to use for each grade level, etc. And it does seem easy...so there may be a time when I will go on and try it via her 'method'. However, after looking at the HOD stuff again, I am excited about what the next weeks and months will bring for us. I already have the next level manual (for when we finish our current one) and it looks as if it really will be easier on me by then as far as schooling Logan and Hailey goes. It is moving them towards independence in many areas...and honestly, many of the books and methods used by the author are the very ones recommended by Lorraine Curry in the books aforementioned. So it seems I am at least consistent in the method I am drawn to for homeschooling...and it doesn't seem to be textbooks, even though that's mostly what I was looking at and speaking of in my last post. I am not saying we won't change anything, we may, but I think we will at least stick to HOD for now as a guide and change things as needed. However, I believe using it 'as is' will be what turns out to be easiest after all. Time will tell, once the baby is here and we see how it goes.

Today was a 'warmer' day...up to 46 degrees. So the kids and I were actually able to get in the car and go to church...we had not been anywhere until today since Karl left! Afterwards we went to Uno Chicago Grill for lunch, then Target and Tops (groceries) for some needed items. I spoke with Karl during lunch, and it was a very interesting conversation...he's having experiences he will never forget! But, I think I'll leave that for him to tell as he has time. :) After our shopping was completed we came home, unloaded the truck, and the kids went outside to play in our remaining snow (slush). Today and tomorrow are warmer days for us...tomorrow predicted to be into the 50's....might I wear a short-sleeved shirt?! I expect most of the snow in our yard to be melted by tomorrow afternoon. However, the warm weather will once again be gone by Tuesday morning as colder weather and more snow moves in. We have to go out tomorrow morning to mail some packages...then back home to start another week of school.

Well, that's it for now. I have to go get the kids ready for bed (okay they can get themselves ready, but you know what I mean!) and prepare myself and my snacks for the Survivor finale and the reunion show! Bye!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The fishing village of Semporna



Well I call it a village, but it is probably the closest thing to a city for 50 miles. The hotel in which I’m staying for the week is easily the most modern building in the region. It is not much different form any budget hotel in the states. It seems very out of place in this isolated community. It is located right on the river at what appears to be the main pier that all the fishing, crab and squid boats use to unload their catch each morning. Across the river is a small community that I will likely not have time to visit during my stay, but it appears to be very similar to this side of the river, only less developed. The people here are vey friendly. One thing that has been unexpected is the lack of people begging for money. For the most part, hello here simply means hello. The people here don’t have much, but they are getting by and seem to be content with what they have. This morning before work I took a walk out to the dock to watch the fishermen unload. Walking through the narrow alley between two rusted out tin roofed buildings I couldn’t help feeling a little bit out of place. But aside form a few quizzical looks from some of the people milling about, no one gave me a hard time. As I reached the end of jetty I heard the call of “hello friend” from one of the buildings. This appeared to be a small coffee shop that serviced the fishermen with breakfast and coffee after a night out on the water. They wanted to know whether I was American or Australian. Apparently this is also a decent dive spot, so they occasionally get young travelers here on daddy’s money taking a “find yourself” journey. We talked for a short while and I told him I was just out to look at the boats. He said, so come see them, and ushered me through the building to the other side where more squid boats were docked. He also posed for a picture. Nice folks, but I have work to do. I’m off.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Well that's fishy

Woke up at about 4:45 am local time and got re-packed and ready to go. Arrived at the Airport and checked in. at about 6:00. on the way to the terminal I noticed a funny thing.

Yup, a fish market right there inside the airport. Crazy.

Loaded up on the plane for the last leg of my trip, KK to Tawau. On the 3rd day of the trip I’m finally ready to get to work… just as soon as I make the hour long drive from Tawau to Semporna.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

overnight stay in KK

From Singapore I traveled across to Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of the Sabah region in Malaysian Borneo. From the air, the landscape is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, with beautiful green countryside and oddly shaped cloud topped mountain peaks jutting out of nowhere. A coastal area, I hear it is one of the top rated dive spots in the world. After landing was a different story all together. The small part of the city that I saw was quite run down. I wouldn’t call it extreme poverty, but is definitely 3rd world. Little shacks dotted the road on the way to the hotel. As we passed onto the hotel property it was like entering an entirely new country. There was no more trash scattered on the roadway, no more pot holed half paved streets. All that was visible was the pristine shoreline and distant peaks. I’ve never been to Hawaii, but this little hotel and the surrounding grounds are exactly how I would imagine one of the upscale Hawaiian resorts to look. The first thing I thought when I got there (after the initial shock of “where did this place come from all of a sudden?”) was what a waste to be staying at a place like this without Wendy. The second thought was what a waste that I was way too tired and short on time to enjoy any of the amenities. I wanted nothing more than the bed and the shower. I had a flight to catch at 7:00 the next morning to Tawau, but I had to take a walk around the property before the sun set just to take a few pictures. Maybe Wendy and I can come back some day and do a little diving and whatever else there is to do around here.
Behind the hotel

The pool deck area with sunset in the background

Little Tiki Bar on a jetti pininsuila

Back to School

Well, after what seems like eternity, we have finally gotten back to our Heart of Dakota materials for school. We took a break from that starting with the week of our move, and due to moving in, unpacking, and a week-long Thanksgiving vacation we are just now getting back into the 'groove'. The kids have been working on handwriting, english, math, and doing lots of reading the whole time...but now we get to add back in the activities and read alouds for science, history, and story time. So far, it's been a good transition. We still have several things to do in the house to be considered completely moved in, but we're good for the most part. I'm hoping to get a lot of it done while Karl is away on his trip. I still have 7 days until he returns, so I think I can do it. :) I do still need to begin getting up at a regular (earlier) time, but we're still able to get all our stuff done...there's no going anywhere right now since I am not driving in the snow, so it doesn't really matter when we start or finish. I just feel better when we get started and finish earlier in the day.

I have been researching other curricula...which seems to be a constant pass time of mine, even when I'm happy with what we're using. I don't know if it's a constant need for change, a desire to make sure we aren't missing the perfect curriculum, or just a desire to find things I can add that are exciting...who knows? The problem is, I never seem to add the things I download for that purpose, because we don't really have a lot of time for that even with no extracurriculars on our schedule. The main reason I am searching now is because I am concerned that HOD will be difficult to use when the baby is here. We will finish out the year with it, so I'll have 3 months to try it with her in the house, but I want to research now so I'll be prepared if I feel we need to go with something different. Some things I am looking at are: Christian Light Education, Abeka, Core Knowledge, Landmark Baptist, Rod and Staff (we already use their English and the kids do great with it), Robinson Curriculum, A-Squared Homeschool Curriculum, and The Classics Curriculum. What I'm really looking for is something that will free me up to work on reading and math with Corbin, and of course to spend the time with the baby that I'll need. For now, Corbin has just begun using http://www.time4learning.com/ and is doing pretty well. It's done on the computer, has reports that I can look at so we can go back and work on something if he struggled, and it's self-paced. I think it'll be a good fit for now...and we'll get to LHTH with HOD if and when I carve out time in our schedule. So, it's a lot to consider. I definitely want the older to to begin to learn to be more independent, and we've already been doing that with English, math, and handwriting. I am of course available if they have questions about anything. So, if there are any of you in cyber-land that have used these curricula in the past, I would love to hear from you about how it worked, or didn't work, for you. I love personal recommendations, either for or against. I am also considering creating my own curriculum using the many things we already have on hand...I think I could do it but I also have a lot of self-doubt. We just have so much great stuff to teach from, I hate to keep buying curricula, adding to our piles of teaching materials, and not using what we already have. I may research that too...I know there are books available that tell you how to put together your own plan. I may need to make a trip to the library...or the bookstore.

Well, it's getting close to dinner-time. I need to get something on the stove so I can feed my hungry babies...and me too! Until next time...adieu!

Never Waste a Layover

For any one who doesn't know, I’m Karl. Wendy’s hubby of 13 years. I’m currently on my first trip to the Far East since taking over the region as program manager. I will be spending a majority of my time on Borneo Island at the eastern tip of Malaysia. I’ll try to post snippits of the trip on Wendy’s site as time permits.

I Arrived in Singapore after a nonstop flight from Newark, NJ. This was an interesting flight on Singapore Airlines, as the entire plane is configured for business class seating. I’ll go ahead and say it. I don’t care how nice the seats are, 19 hours is a long time to be on a plane. Landing meant time to stretch my legs.

I had an 8 hour layover here before traveling to my final destination in Tawau, Malaysia, and not wanting to spend it in an airport terminal, I decided to take a taxi downtown. I did not know this, but the country of Singapore is not much more than the size of a large US city. It sits right middle of the two main land masses of Malaysia and is separated on all sides by water. The city proper is very clean and modern. Once downtown, you really wouldn’t know you were outside of the states. It was Just before 7 am local time when I arrived, and most of the downtown area was closed. Because of this I had the Taxi driver drop me off a couple miles outside the downtown area in a residential area that contained a shopping district that he said was open 24 hours. This particular strip reminded me of some of the costal areas of Mexico and the Caribbean, and is probably where most of the locals do their day to day shopping. Interesting side note. I had something happen to me that I never experienced before. When the taxi let me out the meter read 20RM. (RM is shorthand for Renggit, the local currency). After giving the driver 24 he said "you gave me more." and haded back the extra 4. I never thought I'd live to meet a cabbie that didn't accept tips!





From here I hoofed it to the downtown harbor area, which was beginning to open for business by the time I arrived. In a previous post I think I remember writing about my ride on the London Eye, created as the largest ferris wheel on the planet. As cool as it was, I remember being slightly disappointed that by the time I got to it, a larger one had already been constructed… in Singapore. So on my way downtown I walked through Singapore’s new creation, the Singapore Flyer, which was of course built a few meters taller than the one in London making it the new largest. But as is the case with all record breakers, they are due to be one day broken themselves. Dubai is currently working on the Great Dubai Wheel which is due for completion next year.
This was taken from one of the overpass walkways on my trek downtown. That’s the other tip off that you’re out of the states. Everyone drives on the left side of the street. I really like those trees.


This is me across the harbor from the business district on my way downtown. Notice the little white objects in the water behind me. I was told that they are wishing balls. They are the size of large beach balls. The idea is that you pay a little bit of money to write your wish for the upcoming year on one of them and set it afloat in the harbor. I’m not sure if this is an old tradition or a new idea thought up to raise money for charity, but is seems fun. Also note the little white post over my left shoulder on the opposite bank. This is a Mer-Lion. The next picture is a closer view of this, but I just wanted to give a sense of perspective to the distances of the pictures.



This is a closer shot of the Mer-Lion, guarding the downtown harbor area. It is a half Lion half fish combo (think Mermaid, but fuzzier) and is apparently a national symbol of Singapore. Since taking this pic, I’ve seen a couple in tourist brochures taken from a different angle to make it appear as if the water from its mouth is flowing into the open mouth of a person in the foreground. I wish I had thought of that. Oh well, maybe next time.

After getting my morning exercise I hopped back into a cab for the next leg of my journey that would take me for an overnight stay in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Overall, it was a great morning. I think my new travel motto will be “Never waste a layover.”

Monday, December 8, 2008

First Lego League Tournament...

The competition was fierce yesterday at the First Lego League Championship Tournament, but our team did very well. We did not win the championship title, but the Lego Lambs did come home with 2 trophies (for the team) for second highest in points and most innovative robot design. Here is an article if you'd like to read more...it includes a photo of two of our team members. We also hear we were on the nightly news...captured collecting one of our trophies! Cool stuff. :) I found a link to that too...we are the team in the dark aqua shirts...shows just a brief glimpse.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Such a cutie...

I have something cute I want to share that Corbin said today. :)

We finally bought Wall-E and watched it today. During a scene that shows the Milky Way galaxy Corbin tells Logan, "The Milky Way..where the aliens can get milk." I just thought his innocence was so cute..he'll learn all about the world soon enough, and I'm still enjoying his fresh, untouched perspective!

We also got our Christmas tree up and decorated today, and it looks very nice. Now it really is beginning to feel like Christmas! We've gotten our Christmas shopping done..just have to send some packages to family members. And I do still have to wrap the kids presents....we'll save that 'til just before Christmas day. We're gonna work hard at 'school' for the next two weeks, then we'll be off again until after New Year's Day We'll start back once Karl returns to work in the new year. And then, of course, we have Hailey and Logan's birthdays. They want us to go to Splash Lagoon again; I'm not sure if we're planning to do that or not. It was fun, so maybe we will. I have to do shopping for that too, but I'll wait for the after-Christmas sales to try to get some good deals!

Well, I have to keep an eye on dinner. Have a great weekend everyone, and keep Logan's team in your prayers His big competition for Lego League is tomorrow.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Back from vacation

Just a quick post to say that we are safely back home...after a great week with family in the beautiful mountains! I had such fun playing with my nephew, talking with family members, eating (so MUCH) delicious food, and generally relaxing. It was cold, but about 15 degrees warmer than in NY when we left, so it felt almost 'tropical'. :)

Karl has one more day off before reporting back to work. We spent the day today just getting things back in place from our trip and also catching up on bills, unpacked the last boxes in the kitchen, and de-cluttered a bit. Tomorrow he will take Hailey to the eye doctor, we will go get some much-needed groceries, and I think Logan has Lego League tomorrow night. His team is doing awesome by the way, winning two trophies at the qualifying meet, and will move on to the regional competition that occurs on Sunday.

We will dive right back in to school, full-time, on Wednesday until about the 20th of December. I do plan to spend a little time making some sugar cookies with the kids, decorating for Christmas, and planning our Christmas dinner, too.

I'll be back to post more soon, but right now we're getting kids to bed so we can catch up on the T.V. shows we missed while on vacation!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hi-lites from the last few weeks...

Well, we are getting ready to head out on Sunday to GA for a week's vacation during Thanksgiving. We have packing to do, more un-packing of boxes this week, plus Logan has his qualifying round for Lego League competition on Saturday. Karl, has 2 papers due before we leave too, so please pray for all of us that we will be patient with one another amidst all the things we have to do. :)

I wanted to share a few photos from the last 2-3 weeks that I have not gotten around to posting until now. Enjoy!
The 'Pioneer' Woerner family...my mom made all the outfits, except Karl's, and we wore these to a church festival on Halloween night. We had fun...got plenty of candy, played lots of games, met new people...thanks, Nana!!



Corbin took a 'theatre' class during the 10 weeks of co-op this fall. Here is a photo of him during the performance of The Apple Dumpling. He is the goose just to the right of the child in the red shirt.

The kids bundled up to play in the first snow of the season...
Karl...playing goalie....there is a line of trees behind the house, with a ditch directly behind it. He came home early to sled with the kids (such a great Dad!) and had to stand at the bottom of the hill to keep them from sledding right into the ditch.



Our kids and the neighbor kids...working together to get our 'tube-ogan' back up the hill!


Mom and Dad's RV...covered with icicles and snow.




Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Not much new...

Wow! It's been a week since I've posted anything; I guess we've been busy with my parents here and trying to get the last of the boxes unpacked. We still have quite a few to work on, but the house looks much better than it did when we started. My hope is that we can be unpacked enough by next Monday to dive back into school full-time...I think we will be, but we have some work to do between now and then.

The kids have kept up pretty well with their English, Math, and Handwriting the whole time. They have also spent LOTS of time doing art projects and have spent a little time blogging. As a matter of fact, Logan is writing a story, so you all should check out his blog (see the link on my sidebar) to read it. He's just beginning, so you'll need to check back for the rest of the story...day by day, probably. Of course, they've enjoyed their time with Nana and PawPaw, just playing and talking and spending time playing with Jessie (my parents' dog).

We've been able to meet a couple of the neighbors and everyone has been very kind. A lady and her daughter brought over a grape pie yesterday to welcome us to the neighborhood...they were very nice, and the pie is delicious! The daughter, Emily, is a teenager and is available to babysit occasionally. They only live 2 doors down, so that would work great for us. We'll have to have her come over soon to see how she gets along with the kids.

Well, I'll try to get back soon. I have to get back to unpacking boxes and organizing the basement (school room). Take care!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's a girl!

We went to see the Dr. yesterday, and had an ultrasound while in the office. We had a great time seeing all the shots of the baby and watching it move. And the general consensus is that it's a GIRL! Of course, it's not absolutely foolproof, but we're gonna go with it. We'll see at the actual birth! :) Hailey is very excited, because she has been wanting a sister for several years now.....she can't stop smiling. Now we have to get started thinking of names.

Here are a few pictures we came home with.



Hi, Grandma!








Sunday, November 2, 2008

Moving day, etc...

Well, moving day has come and gone; everything went fine. The guys arrived around 8:30 and were done by about 2:30 or so in the afternoon. Then, we were able to get to work unpacking boxes. We got the kitchen done the first day, except for a few things. That was nice because we were able to go ahead and cook a meal by Friday night. Karl and I worked on the kids' rooms, and Karl did a lot on our room while I was at co-op Friday and grocery shopping yesterday. Now, we have just a few more boxes in the main part of the house, and we'll be able to get started on the basement...there are a LOT of boxes there, plus toys to be organized and placed on shelves. Once we complete that...not sure how long it will take...we can get to the boxes, desks, etc. that are stored in the garage and put them in their proper places too. It's likely to be a several-weeks-long process, but I'd rather do that and have it all organized than to just throw things on shelves and feel disorganized from the start. I want to be able to find everything we need without a mad search...and I want it to be easy for everyone to return things to their appropriate homes within the house. Here's hoping, and praying, that my wants will become reality!

We did take a break today to go to church and out to lunch, then browsing at Michaels and Borders bookstore. We can't spend all of our time working!

Now, Karl is working on a paper he has due for his class, I'm blogging, Logan is reading, and the younger two are in bed. My mom and dad retired to their RV about an hour ago because they were worn out too. :) I plan to be back to blog more once we've made some progress....and I'd like to post some pictures once we get them taken. It may be a while yet!

I hope everyone's had a great weekend. We have, even if it's been a long and tiring one. We're so excited to be in our own home, and out of the rental! I really feel so blessed, and I think this house fits us perfectly.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Loading Day

Today, the "loaders" arrived at about 7:30 a.m. to start loading all of our boxes and furniture onto the truck. They were done by 1:30 P.M. and now we're just waiting until we can go over to the new house. We have already done the closing, but the sellers needed just a few more hours to finish up cleaning, etc. Our things can't be delivered until tomorrow, so it's really not a big deal. Karl and I will spend the night in the new house so we can be there when the movers arrive....the kids will stay with my parents at the renatl house (in their RV) until tomorrow evening after the movers are finished taking everything into the new house. We do still have some cleaning to do on the rental...floors, bathrooms, etc....but then we'll do a walk-thru for the owners and be done. We're so ready to be in the new house and it's just a matter of hours now! I'll post more here soon, and hopefully have some good pictures of the interior of the house for all to see. Until then.....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Packing Day

Well, the week has arrived! This morning the packers arrived and have begun putting all of our things in storage boxes. We will close tomorrow, and move into the house on Thursday. We're very excited, and ready to get in the new house and get settled! I'll update more later. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yet another link...Sarah Palin

Check this out for a good laugh....

Sarah Palin

50 facts about me

A fellow blogger had a list of 101 facts about herself on her blog, inspired by a friend of hers. I thought I would follow suit...but right now I only have time to do 50. Maybe I'll get to more later...maybe not.

1. I love the smell of freshly mowed grass
2. I like to mow the grass & rake leaves
3. I enjoyed shoveling snow (1st time experience) last winter
4. I had my first baby at the age of 23
5. I am now expectng my 4th baby at the age of 33
6. I am married to my high school sweetheart
7. My high school sweetheart is the love of my life
8. I want to travel in Italy, France, & Spain with my husband
9. I've been on 3 cruises
10. I want to go on a cruise to Alaska
11. I want to start my own in-home daycare
12. I would like to adopt children someday
13. I love to teach
14. I love words...to my husband's dismay!
15. I enjoy flavored coffees
16. I would love to move back to Alabama to be near family
17. My favorite dessert is cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory
18. I miss eating my Mama's lima beans, collard greens, and corn bread!
19. I love to read about/see the Amish life
20. I don't like mushrooms
21. Coca-Cola is the only carbonated beverage for me.
22. I am a certified PADI scuba diver...haven't been diving in 8 years, though
23. I have two gray cats...got them when they were 5 weeks old...the fluffy one was going to my cat. She fell in love with my daughter instead and tolerates me. LOL
24. I am moving into a new house in 8 days! :)
25. I am an avid Survivor fan!
26. I like to watch The Biggest Loser while eating high-calorie snacks...not really, that's just what we always end up doing...it's a great show.
27. I had lost 8 pounds before I found out I was pregnant (this time).
28. I adore the winter Olympics (ice skating) and summer Olympics (gymnastics).
29. I had NEVER spent a night alone until 2005.
30. In 2006 I spent 6 months of nights alone, except when Karl came home on the (2) weekends each month.
31. I often watch T.V., read a book, and surf the 'net' all at the same time.(ADD anyone?)
32. I wanted to be a model when I was a teenager.
33. As a 3rd grader, I wrote a letter to Michael Jackson...it never got to him.
34. Until 3rd grade, I often wore cutoff jeans and no shirt, requiring people(family) to call me Roger.(?)
35. I wanted to dress up as Tom and Jerry, or Popeye and Olive Oil for Halloween last year...couldn't get Karl to do it!
36. I used to roof houses with my Daddy as a young girl.
37. I always looked forward to playing Powder Puff football my Senior year of high school...I was really bummed when several years before I became a Senior the tradition was cancelled because some girls came to the game drunk.
38. I went to college for a year on a 2-year music scholarship, and gave it up. I wish I could do that over!
39. Where we live now, the mailman delivers our mail to our mailbox...right next to our door.
40. When we move, I'll actually have to walk up the driveway to retrieve the mail!
41. I can't stand snakes...my daughter wants to own one.
42. My favorite holiday season is Christmas.
43. I would like to own a Smart car.
44. My favorite dog is a Chocolate Lab or a Siberian Husky.
45. I love the smell of newborn puppies.
46. My favorite flower is a daisy.
47. My favorite color is green.
48. I love to learn about U.S. History.
49. I want to learn how to sew so I can make a quilt.
50. I spend TOO MUCH time on the computer.

A valance, a lady, and her God

When I awoke this morning, I never could have imagined the battle that would later ensue. I happily got out of bed, anticipating a good breakfast and some hot coffee (decaf). Once I put the coffee on, I headed downstairs to wash and fold some laundry before making my breakfast. I put the kids to work too, putting towels away, cleaning the bathrooms, and finishing up with their other chores.

I had just sat down to eat when the phone rang...it was Karl, calling to say good morning from Washington, D.C. He'll be home later tonight, so that was another 'good' thing about my day. We spoke for a few moments then he had to get back to his meeting, and I to my breakfast.

I had a few sips of my coffee, then decided to go ahead and replace the valance that we had taken down when we moved into this house. We had hung a curtain instead, because it keeps the glare off the T.V. when we're watching. I thought it would be best to just get that task done...it would be one less thing to do this weekend before the move. It was easy enough to get the curtain off the rod and take it downstairs to be washed. However, when I returned to face the task of putting the valance on the rod...hence my battle.

You would think this an easy, 5-minute 'to-do' on my list. Nope, not for me. I am not mechanically inclined as my mother has always been, not did God choose to bless me with her creative bent. And, my dear husband is not here, so I could not call upon him for help. I commenced to wrestle with this rod and valance for the better part of an hour! I did not realize (not mechanically inclined) that the end parts that are bent were removable, so I tried to get the valance on over that...it did not go very far. Once one fell off...well, then I realized I could remove the end pieces and the valance should slide right on. Could this be easy? No. The other end piece fell off inside the valance...try getting that out!

At this point I'm starting to pray, "Lord, please let me just get this done. This is so stupid and frustrating!" You might think that praying for something such is this is silly...but I happen to believe that God cares about ALL the details of my life...even my wrestling match with this valance and rod! :) So I finally figured out a way to work the end piece out of the valance without ripping it apart(do they really need this thing anyway?)either purposely or accidentally. Then I began trying to slide the valance on again. Now it's easy, right? Oh, no. You have to keep in mind that I am 18 weeks pregnant, and by now by belly is in the way of certain things. I was unable to handle this thing like I normally would. So, I'm trying to hold the rod with my feet while pulling the valance on. I tried placing it on the table and pushing the fabric on...across the top of the couch, in my lap...all were a struggle, but it was going on inch my tiny inch. I continued my praying...now saying, "Please let me get this on without breaking the rod or tearing the fabric. We want to get our deposit back...Lord, I know you understand." Finally, the fabric is all the way on the rod and I can try to put it up...oh wait, I have to put the end pieces back on. You would think surely this is easy for me, right? No, again. One piece says left and one piece says right...believe it or not it took me a moment to figure out which side each went on....and I thought I had just put the valance on upside down! However, God did spare me that crisis(He loves me!), and I soon figured out where to place them. Now time to climb back into the chair to put the rod back in place. Again, no easy task for me. I called Logan down to hold it for me while I put up one side...it's so nice to have a child who is both old enough and tall enough to help his poor, challenged Mama! Once I got my side on I stepped up behind him, had him step down, and then dismissed him to go play. (we are supposed to be doing school work by now, but I am determined to show this valance and rod who's boss!)Once it was in place, I began straightening the valance...to make sure it wasn't too bunched on either side...when the end piece falls off again..inside the valance. "Nooooooo!!" is all that was heard through the house, and my kids reply(from upstairs) with "Mom, did you call us?" No, I did not. "Lord, please help me," is all I could say. And He did. I was able to get the piece back on easily, and snapped back into place...that was the problem, it didn't snap before...and get the valance straightened with no further issues.

Believe me when I say I am tired! My arms ache from trying to hold up that silly rod while sliding on the valance. My coffee,which I thought I would get right back to, was cold by the time I was done. But, I overcame....my frustration, my anger (momentary), my desire to cry...and I do believe it was because of prayer. Obviously I pray for bigger things, more important things; I think we all do...even if we do not profess to be Christians or lead a Christian life. But I often find myself praying for these little things, such as during my morning battle ;) or when I can't find a book I need, or when I can't find the building I'm looking for and I'm driving in circles....When I take the time to pray and ask God for help, He invariably steps in, calms me down, and gives me the answer...it's that still, small voice that says "Go look on the third shelf of the bookshelf in the living room one more time"...and there is the book. Or the voice that says, "Call your husband, he can help you with this." Or, the voice I heard this morning that said, "Just calm down, trust in me, and I will help you get this done." Now, these are not audible voices...but I do believe it is the 'voice' of God leading me to the answer I need. He is involved in the little things, and even when we're struggling, and we don't understand, He is there to guide us if we will just ask Him.

Now, I am going to get a fresh cup of HOT coffee....and enjoy it before I do anymore work. I think I deserve it after the battle I've endured. ;)

Monday, October 20, 2008

A funny political 'joke'...

Here is something I got through email from a friend of mine. I just couldn't resist posting it here for all to see.


Sarah Palin is invited to meet with the Pope while he is vacationing
south of Rome in Venice.

The liberal press reluctantly watches the semi-private audience, hoping
they will be able to allot minimal coverage, if any.

The Pope asks Governor Palin to join him on a Gondola ride through the
canals of Venice.

They're admiring the sights and agreeing on moral issues when all of a
sudden the Pope's hat (zucchetto) blows off his head and out into the
water.

The gondolier starts to reach for the Pontiff's hat with his pole, but
this move threatens to overturn the floating craft.

Sarah waves the tour guide off, saying, 'Wait, wait. I'll take care of
this. Don't worry.'

She steps off the gondola onto the surface of the water and walks out
to the Pope's hat, bends over and picks it up. She walks back across
the water to the gondola and steps aboard.

She hands the hat to the Pope amid stunned silence.

The next morning the topic of conversation among Congress, CBS News,
NBC News, ABC News, CNN, the New York Times, Hollywood celebrities, and
in France and Germany is...


...'Palin Can't Swim.'

What's your color?

A fellow blogger and HOD user had this on her blog, and I just had to add it here. Test yourself to see what 'color' you are. Here is mine.

BLUE

You give your love and friendship unconditionally. You enjoy long, thoughtful conversations rich in philosophy and spirituality. You are very loyal and intuitive.

Find out your color at QuizMeme.com!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

An article concerning Obama..

Here is an article I came across on a fellow Blogger's page, MamaBugs.

It's an interesting read, and I agree with many things said here. Read over it, maybe you'll learn a thing or two about this Presidential candidate. Here's the link.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Another visit to the OB...

I had another Dr. visit today...I'll be 18 weeks this weekend. Everything is looking fine...in fact, the Dr. said "you're growing perfectly" when referring to the size of my belly. :)

There is some concern about my weight gain this time, as we don't want a repeat of the events involved with Corbin's birth, but I trust that God gave us this baby and will take care of him/her just as He has all the rest. To me, it just shows His strength that He's brought us through all the trials we've had with our pregnancies/births. I am sure He has a bigger, better plan for me than I would ever deign to know...so I'll do my part to keep my weight in check, but trust in Him for the ultimate result.

The kids were well-behaved again. I even left Corbin in Logan's charge and they all did fine...in the lobby of the Dr.'s office. We'll see if they can keep that up...I may begin to believe I'm raising responsible, obedient children after all!

More ideas for grocery savings...

Here is yet another link I wanted to share. Unfortunately, I am unable to use this site here...unless I want to try it at CVS, Rite Aid, or Walgreens...I don't. However, in other parts of the country you can find great savings at grocery stores such as Albertsons. With prices as high as they are these days, I thought you all might be able to use the help. Let me know if you are successful with this.

www.thegrocerygame.com

I can't get my 'add a link' button to work, so just copy and paste this into your browser. I'll have Karl help me fix it when he returns.

Monday, October 13, 2008

17 weeks and counting...

I just wanted to let everyone know the pregnancy is going well. I am out of the exhausted and nauseaous phase, and into a more energetic (well, a bit) phase. :) I have felt a few flutters from the baby's movements, and I'm sure that will increase soon to real kicks. I decided to add a picture so you can all see what I look like now. And I'll post some more along the way.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another link...for anyone

Sharing another link...this time for FREE downloads. It is a site for homeschoolers, but there are items available that anyone might be interested in having. I suggest you check it out. There is a free item listed each week day...Monday through Friday. Enjoy your booty!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Presidents, First Ladies, and the White House

I just wanted to share a link with you that I think is very interesting. With all the debates and political 'stuff'(Hooplah!) going on right now, I thought a look at past presidents might be a nice break. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fall is here...

With the arrival of 'official' fall came the fall weather. It has been much cooler and even cold some days. I think our shorts days are over now until late spring. :( However, with fall also comes the promise of all the fun fall outings and yummy fall produce!

We went today on our Second-annual Woerner-family Apple-picking Hike at The Apple Farm in Victor, NY...only a short distance away. The weather was finally sunny and not too cold (58) so we headed out around 11:30 this morning. We got quite a few empire apples and some golden delicious apples, as well. The owners warned us upon our arrival that all the apples were spotted because they had been "hail-kissed" due to a hail storm, but they assured us they still taste great. They were right; most were very spotted, some had holes in them, and of course we saw and smelled the usual rotten apples that had fallen on the ground. However, we discovered (Karl's smart suggestion) that the apples on the underside were mostly okay, so we began picking from there and ended up with tasty and pretty apples for the rest of our adventure!

I am looking forward to using the apples to make filling for apple pies, homemade applesauce, apple muffins, and just for eating as they are. If any of you have other suggestions for how to use them, please post a comment. We ended up with 33 pounds of apples...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Scheduling

I have been reading a lot lately about organization, schedules, chore charts, meal planing, etc. Anything to do with homemaking, homeschooling, or family life and I've been researching it. With our growing family I realize there will be MORE laundry, MORE dishes, LESS time, LESS sleep, MORE responsibility, LESS money, etc. So, I'm doing all I can now to prepare for the arrival of the baby.

We have had somewhat of a schedule for our schooling. We always (almost) do things in the same order each day. This helps everyone to know what comes next. We don't have assigned times per subject...I feel that would be too much pressure for me...but we just do it in sequence. We do have a start-time goal of 8:30 a.m. and we go from there. Here is how we usually do it:

Bible study and music
Poetry
Handwriting/Copywork
Math
English
Spelling
Science reading and/or experiment
Geography/Art/Vocabulary (this rotates..1 day per week for each)
Health/Spanish/Creative writing(1 day per week for each)
History readings
Story time readings

We also have a reading program for both of the older kids that we will be adding in over the next week or two. I think we will do that at the end of our school day, as I need to work with each of them separately on this.

Corbin has been working in his 'workbook' each day while the older two are completing their writen work. We need to add the rest of his school, but I've been trying to get all the kinks worked out for the others before trying to do that. We are so close! :)

We have also had several days that we've had appointments or we've had to leave the house so the realtor could show it (for our landlord). Even though these have not been all day events, it does break up our day and makes it difficult to finish our work on those days. When this happens, we just carry that work over to the next day. Doing that helps me to feel less stressed, which I am very prone to do.

We have about 4 weeks until we move into our house, and I cannot wait! So, there will be more 'interruptions' in the weeks to come. But, it will be well worth it when we are in a house that actually fits us and our possessions. I know there will be several weeks of adjustment, but we plan to just keep working on the things we can...and we will get back to the extra things we don't get to once we're settled. I feel sure the winter season will provide plenty of hours for cuddling up and reading, as well as catching up on any subject in which we get 'behind'.

I am also looking into creating 'centers' for our homeschool area (our basement). I like this idea, as it will give any child who is waiting for me to work with them something educational to do while I am working with his/her sibling. Plus, when the baby is here and needs feeding, changing, holding these centers can be utilized then as well. I am thrilled with the fact that we should have room in the new house to do this. We plan to do school in the basement, and have most of the toys/games/art supplies there as well. So it should just be a matter of grouping like things together:

Audio center: cd's, cd player, headphones, audio books, computer, movies
Language center:Beginning readers, writing prompts, paper and pencils, poetry to copy and memorize, alphabet flash cards,spelling words to practice, list of spelling rules, spelling games
Math center::Number flash cards; addition, subtraction, multiplication, division flash cards; word problems


These are just a few ideas. I've found some web sites that have more complete lists of what to put in specific centers...I'll be referring to them when I begin putting our centers together. We are not trying to re-create the classroom at home by doing this...we really enjoy the flexibility homeschooling offers, and don't really want it to feel like a traditional school. The kids use all of these things at home already. I'm just looking to make it all more user-friendly, so I can tell them "go to the Language center and work on XYZ" and it will be easy for them to understand exactly what I mean. Plus, my hope is this will help reduce the 'downtime' we have between lessons and requests for tv watching...we already have too much of that, and I fully believe it reduces the effectiveness of our teaching time.

Another area we need to tweak is chores. The kids have things they are responsible for getting done each day, but we need to do a better job of following through(Mom included). We will change the way we do things when we move because many things will be different and change will be required in certain areas. We also plan to give each child a bit more responsibility in order to make things easier on us. We have a lot to get done each day, and their help is necessary to maintain a peaceful, clean home. I am not talking about spotless; that's not my goal, nor do I feel it's possible if I am doing all my other jobs properly. But we do need to eliminate the clutter as much as possible, keep up on laundry and the basic cleaning of the house. That way, we can relax each day, knowing we accomplished our goals. We will also be more likely to entertain, which we really enjoy doing, if our home is clean, peaceful, and virtually clutter-free. A girl can hope, can't she? ;)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Barefoot Books link

Finally, I'm adding the button for my 'shop'. See my sidebar. Check out ALL the selections...there are some great ones. I'm very excited about this new venture and the opportunity to offer a wonderful product. Have fun shopping!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Selling Books

I just wanted to let everyone know that I have just signed up to be a 'stallholder' for Barefoot Books. I am still learning about the company, but there are children's books and puzzles available and much more. I'm excited about this opportunity, because I have been looking for something that I can do from home to help supplement our income. Karl provides for us very well, but I know it can be stressful trying to meet the needs of a growing family! Now maybe I can help relieve some of that pressure, even if it's just by making a few dollars here and there.

I will have more information and a link so you can browse for books listed here in a few days, so check back. I may have something you've been looking for.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Looking for a way to reduce debt?

I have been learning a lot from Cindy Rushton over the last several months. She is hosting a 'talk' on debt-free living. See the link below to join her.
http://www.cindysaffiliates.com/go.php?offer=wendyiw&pid=7


Here is a FREE article on maintaining your budget.


The Simple Way to Maintain Your Budget
By Leslie Valeska

In the last two years it has been noted that Americans use their debit and credit cards more than their checkbooks. In fact, their usage has more than doubled! This is great in some ways, but it can be a nightmare for the budget conscious. When I left the envelope system of budgeting, in lieu of my debit card, something amazing happened. My expenses went up. In short, it is so much easier to spend one or two dollars here and there when the actual paper cash isn’t coming out of your hand. It’s like we aren’t really spending that money or something.
However, you CAN have a debit card AND stay within your budget. Actually, you can do this for all your budgeting needs for the household. The best part, this is a simple process.
Use a separate bank account and debit card for all your household purchases. For the most ease, you and your husband might want to look into opening another account at your current bank of choice if you are pleased with their services and they offer no fee banking. You will likely have to place a minimum of $25-50 dollars in the account when you open it. This is a good thing, because it will enable you to use your entire budget without penalty. Confused? Read On.
One good reason for this set up is that your husband can transfer money weekly or monthly, in an amount that totals your family’s total budget for the month. When you go to the grocery you will know exactly how much you have to spend and not a penny more. A way to provide accountability for yourself is to agree that if you go over your budget by $2, then that amount will be deducted from the next month’s stipend. In this way, you will have not only an incentive to stay within your budget, but a method of discipline for your budgeting. One extra bonus with this method is that it is much simpler to track your household expenses.
The beauty of this process is that you will do nothing differently than you do now. You will simply have a separate account with which to do it.
*******************************
Need MORE Help? Check out my online seminar! We have an entire weekend of workshops that are sure to take you by the hand and help you to get back on track with your finances. When you purchase your ticket you get MORE help with our Membership Site full of articles, audio workshops and other free gifts that you can immediately download today! Grab your ticket here: http://www.cindysaffiliates.com/go.php?offer=wendyiw&pid=7

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Baby's Heartbeat

We went to the doctor on Friday...yes, all of us! Logan and Hailey sat in the lobby reading and drawing while I took Corbin back with me( I just wasn't convinced he would behave without my supervision). Karl came a few minutes later...he knew it was the day they would listen for the FIRST time for the heartbeat, so he joined us. What a sweetie! She found it easily enough, then lost it. Then, she heard two heartbeats...but said one was mine. :) We did hear the baby's heart beating very strongly and clearly, and the doctor said it sounds good. So, everything is progressing well so far. Corbin was happy to share in the excitement with us, and all the kids behaved very well. Now I don't have to worry so much about finding childcare for them just so I can go to the doctor...they actually know how to conduct themselves. Yeah!

I am feeling better these days. I'm still tired sometimes, and occasionally nauseous, but I think the worst has passed. Now, I'm into my second trimester and the supposed 'glory days'. We'll see...I'm trying to watch my diet more carefully, making sure I make healthy choices. The doctor says to avoid eating too many carbohydrates and gaining too much weight... in order to try to avoid the birthing issues we experienced with Corbin. Shoulder Dystocia resulted in a traumatic birth and we really don't want to go through that again if we can help it! I'm also hoping to get back to the gym 3 days a week now that I have some energy back...to help stay in shape and to aid in avoiding excessive weight gain...I gained a LOT with the other 3 kids...I'm aiming for the recommended weight gain this time..about 30 pounds. Plus, it should be easier to lose the baby weight after the birth if I'm in good shape. Don't worry...I'm doing all of this with the doctors' approval and supervision...everything is fine.

That's about it for today...it's about bed time for me. I'll post again soon.

Some links to check out

See this link for some help with organization. I have been reading some from Cindy's blog...and I'm learning a lot about organization and homeschooling, and getting ideas for crockpot meals, and so much more. If you need ideas or help in any of those areas, I suggest you check out the link and see her web site. She's got a plethora of information available about many things.

Also, try http://www.cindyrushton.com/. You can also find her other web sites from there. There's some very interesting reading, online talks you can listen to, etc. Please check it out!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

No News

No real news today, but I wanted to blog anyway. :)

We did go on a field trip with the home school group today...to the firehouse. We were able to tour the facility, see their gear, and the trucks and equipment. They also demonstrated for us how the ladder truck works. The kids loved that! At the end, we were able to go back in and let the kids climb into the other trucks and 'live the life of a fireman' so to speak. It was very informative...we learned a bit about fire safety, and the kids had loads of fun. All the volunteers there (it's a completely volunteer-run department) were very kind and accommodating. I'm very glad we went.

We will attend co-op in the morning..just our 2nd week..but the kids have had fun getting their homework ready for their classes. Hailey had to write a creative story and Logan had to read Voyage of the Dawntreader (C.S. Lewis) for his book club. Corbin is in theatre...and will be performing in a play at the end of the session...I wonder if there is a way to get video of that and place it here? I'll have to check on that...but we'll at least have pictures!

Well, that's really it. I go to the doctor tomorrow...so I'll update on that this weekend. Take care.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Showing the house..

As you know, we are moving into our new house at the end of October...as long as things go as planned. Our landlord is trying to find someone to rent this house, since we're leaving. I got a call yesterday from his realtor saying someone wanted to look at it at 11am today. So, we spent the afternoon yesterday just picking up clutter, cleaning bathrooms, etc. And this morning I cleaned all the floors. We still do have some 'stacks' in our 'school room' but they were at least neat, not teetering and in danger of falling over. It's interesting showing a house while still living in it! We never had to do that with our Florida home. I don't know if they liked it or not, since we left while they were here, but I hope they want it. It would help our landlord out to get someone in here as soon as we leave.

We went to 'our house' on Saturday; the owners were having a garage sale and had let us know about it. They had a snow blower Karl had already agreed to buy, and they're gonna leave it in the garage for us. They certainly won't need it in South Carolina where they're moving! I also spotted a canning pot for $1...she had some jars too but had sold them the day before. Karl and I had just talked about canning a couple days before that. I've been wanting to try canning some vegetables, or making homemade jam or applesauce. Now, I'm one step closer to being able to do that. I need to go to the Goodwill store to try and find some jars.

While we were at the house, the neighbor boy came over...it turns out he is in the 6th grade and he has a sister in the 3rd grade...so the kids got to meet them. They played the whole time between our back yards...Charles (that's the boy) likes Bionicles like Logan, so they played with those some. And Hailey and Natalie (the girl) seemed to get along well too. The kids also introduced our kids to the neighbor boy across the street, Kurt. So, they have some built in friends; yeah! We have never lived anywhere that we had neighbor kids that were the same age and gender as our kids...we're very excited! Corbin just tagged along, no little one for him, but the 'big' boys played with him and he had fun anyway. :) Something else funny...the father's name is Carl and he also works at Harris...we did not get to meet him, but we met the mom and her name is Marianne...she was very nice.

Well, that's about it. We have to get a snack and watch our daily (almost) dose of Little House on the Prairie now.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Menus

I have added a basic list of our menu items that we use here for breakfasts and lunches. We may have cereal several days of the week, we always have pancakes on Saturday as that has been dubbed 'Pancake Day' around here, and the kids often make grits for themselves for breakfast to eat along with fruit. We always add a fruit and milk or juice to whatever we are eating to round out the meal.

I did not add a menu for Dinners yet. I like to have a variety of meals, but we do often repeat them. I am going to try to put together a list of those meals as well to add here. I may eventually have a set menu, either weekly or monthly, that I follow. I am finding it is much easier to have things like that listed on my blog instead of in a notebook or on a scrap of paper...I am always using my computer, and it can't get lost or misplaced like a notebook or slip of paper often does! Plus, if there is anyone struggling with being organized in this area (or others) as I do, maybe having a list to follow will help them too.:)

I will probably add to the lists as I remember other meals that we often have. My goal is to eventually have them listed at least by week, if not by day. Then, I will be able to have some items on my grocery list each week that are always the same. My hope is that this will aid in saving money because I won't be buying strange and unusual items that we won't use a lot.

Grocery Store Savings

I haven't blogged about this lately...I really meant to do this weekly. But, I was not able to shave $100 off of last month's grocery budget. I ended spending too much at the beginning of the month, then as time went on we kept having to go back, and eventually were up to our normal budgeted amount. Oh, well. I'm trying again...

This month, so far, I have been able to keep it at the amount I was aiming for. We have the ability to spend more, but I really want to try to keep it lower because we are trying to save money towards closing costs on the house (I can't wait to move in!) and every little bit helps. One thing I have done is start shopping only for the week. In the past I have stocked up on items that I know we use a lot of, and we may do that again eventually, but right now shopping only for what I need for the week is what is keeping us under budget. We are still eating well, with plenty to eat and plenty of healthy options, so I'm excited. I am hoping to be able to utilize the sales more next week. I have some coupons too, so maybe between the two I can save even more. We'll just have to see. Anyway, that's my grocery store savings update....about $18.00 less per week so far. It's not a phenomenal amount, but I'd say it's pretty decent! :) If anyone else has tips for saving money at the grocery store I'd love to hear about them. Just post a comment here. Thanks! Have an awesome week.

Friday, September 5, 2008

What a busy day...for us

Today was an unusually busy day for us! When we lived in Florida and home schooled, the kids had activities 4 out of 5 days of the week, so we were in the car at least part of each day except Mondays. Once we moved to New York, partly because we were new to the area and knew no one, and partly because I knew we needed the change, we were not nearly as busy. The kids did have their activities...Lego League for Logan, Camp Arrowhead on some Wednesdays, ice skating for Hailey, and occasionally swim lessons. It's been good for us to stay home more, together, learning to be happy at home with our family. Outside activities have their place, and we enjoy getting out, but we had to learn that we did not need to depend on outside things to keep us entertained and happy...myself included. So today, when we had a morning meeting (kids in childcare there) and then an afternoon meeting (kids playing with the other moms' kids) it was a lot for us. For me! We actually were also invited for a noon-time activity at a water park, but I knew none of us could handle being out of the house ALL day. So we declined, and came home for some lunch and a couple of hours of relaxation. We will keep the water park in mind for another day, though. I'm glad that we've become used to staying home and enjoying one another's company. We're able to get our schooling done and chores...although today the chores and school were put off 'til Monday because we were too busy! I love the fellowship it provides us, but I don't love that we lose a whole day of work time here. It's still there to do tomorrow, though, so no real loss I guess. :) I've begun a 'to do' list on the blog...strictly for myself. The kids each have their own charts on the wall in our hallway. I just thought since I'm on the computer so much the blog was a logical place to put it. I use the computer every day...I may not open a calendar or appointment book each day. I may not get to everything each day, and some days will have more listed than others, but it's something. I will place an X by each item I complete, then start a new list the next day...transferring all tasks not completed to that day's list. I'm doing this in hopes of accomplishing more each day than I am currently. It's a plan, anyway.

Well, I am very tired. I am going to go lie down and read until I fall asleep...I don't expect to get very far in my book.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bike-riding

Corbin's first ride...
Logan is experienced...
Here's the 3 Musketeers...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

In honor of Labor Day, we had some friends over for a 'grill fest". This is a man who works at Harris with Karl, and they have become quite good friends. We had dinner at their home several months ago, the kids included, and I thoroughly enjoyed their company. They are also Christians, so that gave us some more common ground. We have gone out to dinner with them once, and now have had them here. I hope we can spend more time with them as they are great fun, the kids enjoy them, and they seem to enjoy our kids. We had some good food and fellowship, and I'm grateful for that. :)

We've been fairly busy around here with getting school started back up, so I haven't taken much time to blog. Once we get our routine in place I expect I'll have more time again. We've been reading about Christopher Columbus and his voyage across the Atlantic to the "Indies", as well as reading another book about him, but that is written from the perspective of a 'ship's boy' on the Santa Maria. We've also been reading about Phillis Wheatley, a young slave girl, and we're enjoying her antics and 'watching' her learn new things. We're anxious to find out what happens to her in future readings. In Science, we've been conducting some experiments, and we've learned why some things float and others sink. We've also learned what causes waves. Corbin has been joining in on these as he has fun with it too. It's been fun listening to him to see what he remembers from them. Today, he was able to point out every planet (on a place mat we have) when we said its name, and he even pointed out that Pluto was not there! I guess they've removed that since it is no longer considered a planet. I certainly have not taught him the names of the planets...so how did he get so smart? No matter...I am constantly amazed at the things the kids know just from reading on their own, or that they've learned from a sibling. It's enough for me that he knows it at the age of 5! We've also begun a timeline where we will mark certain events that take place in our History readings. It's very simple but I think it will be fun. We are off to a slow start, adding things gradually so we can incorporate them easily into our school day. Last week we started learning the Spanish alphabet (and sounds). I plan to teach them many words this year, and eventually get them using Rosetta Stone Spanish...at least Logan and Hailey. I have Hooked on Spanish for Corbin to use. I look forward to it because we will all be learning together...I've wanted to learn Spanish for a long time, and I've had the Rosetta Stone program for 2-3 years. It's time we all used it!

Karl has officially started his classes, so he'll be busy with that 2-3 nights a week. So far I don't think he believes it will be difficult, but maybe a bit time-consuming. He continues to acclimate to his new role as Program Manager, and seems to be doing well with that. This week will see him back to work 5 days a week, as the summer hours end with the Labor Day weekend. He's enjoyed having his Fridays off, but not so much the longer days. It will be nice for him to be able to work less hours each day (if he's not too busy).

Co-op starts for the kids and I next Friday, September 12. This is a weekly day at a local church here...classes are available through our home school group. I will be co-teaching a class, as well as taking a class. All three of the kids will have classes for 3 hours in the morning each week. I believe the classes continue through November 14. Logan will be learning about the election process, Hailey will take a dances class, and Corbin a science class, among other things. They are excited about the opportunity to get out of the house for an activity each week, as well as being able to see their friends. And I am looking forward to the 'adult time' for myself, too. :)

I think that's all I have for now. I'd love to have some comments from some of you. Take care!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Now I can get to bed at a decent time...

At the risk of sounding UN-patriotic, I have to say I am glad the Olympics is over. It was 17 days of staying up until 11:30p.m.-1:00a.m. and I just can't handle that anymore! Don't get me wrong, I love the Olympics. It is so wonderful to see all those athletes come together in one place to compete, and to see so many amazing feats performed. And I do love to hear the sentimental stories about so many of the participants. I equally love my sleep/rest, and I am so happy not to have to obsess about who's performing and what I might miss if I go to bed! :) Now, we can record our 'regular' shows and watch them at our leisure, because there will be no fear of hearing or seeing what happened on T.V. or radio the next day. Yeah!

Right now, we are in the middle of 'school'. We all just finished lunch, and Logan is heading back to complete his Math and Health assignments. Then we'll be able to finish with our Science and History readings. Later, we will head to the library to pick up our story time book. We're learning about Christopher Columbus in History, and the book Pedro's Journal is our assigned story time reading. It is apparently a journal written by someone who traveled/explored with Columbus. Anyway, it will be fun to read and will increase our knowledge of what the explorer actually endured. In Science we're learning about the ocean and beach and it's animals. I so wish we were near the ocean right now so we could actually go there as a field trip to explore some of the things we're reading about. The good thing is we've all been before, so we are personally familiar with crabs, shells, the feel of the sand (I miss that tight sunburned/sea-salt feeling you get at the beach!), the sound of the waves, and of course the breath-taking sight of the vast ocean waters. As far as locations go, that's probably the thing I have missed the most since we've moved...going to the beach on a Saturday morning with a picnic basket/cooler in hand. I can't wait to get back there to visit again!

Today is a beautiful day...it's cool and breezy, but sunny. I can see our neighbor cutting his grass and hear the sound of the mower. Something I identify with summer, and have always loved, is the scent of freshly mowed grass and how nice the yards look just afterwards. Not to mention (oh, I already mentioned it!) the beach and wonderful smells there. Even though it's still officially summer, I can tell fall is on the way. A very few of the leaves have begun to change. This won't begin in earnest for several more weeks, but it's still nice to see. Our summer has been too short, but we will enjoy our fall and winter. We'll be going apple-picking, out to the Grape Festival in Naples, to Chase Farms for sweet corn and raspberry (or peach)shortcake and whatever other good produce they have, as well as to feed the goats. We look forward to Halloween and the fun of trick-or-treating. And of course we move into our house at the end of October. So it seems we'll have plenty to do in the next weeks. Co-op also starts, so we'll be learning new things there. I am still very tired, but I'm sure my energy will return since I'll be getting enough sleep now (no Olympics) and I'll be into the 2ND trimester in a couple of weeks anyway.

We finally found out that our house is fine. The renters said the water came to about the middle of our back yard, so no flooding there. The road apparently only had about 3 inches covering it, but he did say the ditches are full. I imagine they will be for a while. I'm just glad that our home and their 'stuff' in the house got through the storm with no damage. There are many that were not so fortunate.

Well, I don't have much else to write about at the moment. I'll be on again later in the week, I'm sure. Take care!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dr's Appointment

I had my first Dr's appointment on Thursday. She said everything looks good, and I'm definitely pregnant. The 'official' due date is March 23, 2009. However, those of you who know me are aware that I have yet to reach any of my due dates! I expect this baby to be born near the beginning of March myself. My due date with Corbin was July 4, but I always maintained that he would be born mid-June...his birthday is June 17. So, we'll see if I'm right again with this one.

I have already gained a few pounds..uuugghh!..I tried so hard to lose weight this spring! Oh well, that's the nature of pregnancy. :) My clothes no longer fit. Karl gave me some money to go buy some 'in-between' clothes to wear until I can fit into maternity clothes. I have a feeling it won't be long. These 'in-between' clothes are more snug already! I think in a few more weeks it will be maternity all the way. It's been earlier with each pregnancy...my body just remembers, I guess.

We're getting very excited about the purchase of our new house. We can hardly wait until the closing...it seems so far away! I'm hoping the weeks will pass quickly and it will be here before we know it. I can't wait to have all the space in the kitchen. I love to cook and bake, and growing up our kitchen was always a gathering place to cook, eat, and talk. Our (Karl and I) kitchens have always been so small that we've told the kids to go out because there wasn't enough room. We have let them help some, but now there will be more than enough room for ALL of them to be in there if they want to. I'm especially happy with the island in the middle of the kitchen. It seems like the perfect spot for kneading bread dough...yes, I've begun making my own bread...rolling out cookies and pie shells, pizza crusts, etc. I've managed to do this in our previous kitchens, but I believe it will be so much better and I'll have plenty of 'elbow room'. We are also thrilled with the prospect of a finished basement. I overheard Hailey telling a friend recently (we were visiting their home and they have a finished basement) that we don't have a finished basement and it's all spiderweb-by. I had to laugh...it is, and no one really likes to spend much time down there! We go down to do laundry and that's it. Now, we will have our school books in the basement, as well as most toys. We''ll head down there each day during school time. We may even put some furniture down there if we decide to buy new. What we have is about 9.5 years old. It could last us a while, and might, but we may also just move it downstairs and get something new for the upstairs. We still have to decide on that. We may eventually have a T.V. down there and our video game equipment, but right now we only have one T.V. so that will be upstairs in the family room. We are talking about having the cats stay in the basement, as well. We will be down there every day for a lengthy amount of time, so they should still get lots of attention. That way, any cat hair (Simone sheds terribly) will only be down there and easier to vacuum up, and the cat box can be down there and out of sight/smell! There's a separate room where we could place the litter box and their food. We're so happy we were blessed with this opportunity..and it seems like such a great fit.

Karl took Logan and Hailey out bike riding on the canal path today...around 11:30 I think. I took Corbin with me to the grocery store and to pick up a b'day gift for a party they have to attend tomorrow. We came back, ate lunch, and they are still not back. He was planning to stop and have lunch with them in Fairport, then head home. Karl just called and they are now in Bushnell's Basin, which is about 5 miles away by car. They're just now heading home, and it's 3:04. I think I know some kids who will sleep hard tonight! But I know they have had a great time with their dad, and that's definitely worth it.:)

We have not heard anything about our Florida home...we're praying that means there was no damage from Fay. We plan to call the renters this weekend just to check on the house. If any of you can give me any information about how the Ripley Terrace area is doing in NE Palm Bay, that would be great. Just send a quick email. Thanks!

Well, I don't have any more news. I really am gonna try to post more often...I should be getting a bit more energy back soon. Maybe once the Olympics are over, I'll only be tired from being pregnant and not from that combined with too many late nights! Ya'll have a great weekend. :)