Monday, October 17, 2011

Highlights From Weeks 6 and 7/Fall Break

  • The girls have finished memorizing the books of the Old Testament and have moved on to memorizing the 10 commandments.
  • We have been reading The Golden Goblet, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, as our read-aloud.
  • Moriah has been reviewing adjectives and learning adverbs in grammar.
  • Emma is reviewing sentences and paragraphs in grammar.
  • They have been studying water and air in science. In one experiment they put a crumpled up piece of paper and put it in the bottom of a glass.  Then they turned the glass upside down and pushed into the kitchen sink which was filled with water. Their paper did not get wet because their glass was filled with air! Even though they couldn't see it, they could tell it was there b/c it kept the water out of the glass and away from their paper!
This week, since we had several appointments, we took a fall break.  It came at a perfect time! The weather was gorgeous and we had time to savor some of the beautiful, warm, fall days!

We played at the park.

Aiden had a friend over and they went looking for "big bucks."

And the girls buried them in the leaves!

 The girls made leaf houses.
Moriah's even comes with a pool!

Their leaf homes are in the country, near a park and a wild game reserve. The reserve is "home to over 200 deer, which includes over 100 bucks." I learned that on my personal tour. :)

Although they enjoy the comforts of country living, they also built a leaf city. The city has a library, store, courtroom, and doctor's office. Moriah is the librarian, shopkeeper, and doctor.

When Aiden, a frequent patient, is in need of medical attention, he lays on the ground with his eyes closed until help arrives. The girls come with the ambulance (their sled) and pull the patient to the doctor's office!

Emma is the mayor and artist. And Aiden, he is the P- Bus Driver (wondering what that
 is? See the quotes below!) 

Here's Emma standing in the middle of their city.

Here they are having fun with friends in their leaf house!

Some of our favorite recent quotes--they are all from Aiden, but he has been one hilarious little boy!

 "Look, Mom! It's the P-Bus!" Aiden pointing to the UPS truck!

Ryan likes to hunt, and he usually takes the kids in the woods to look for "buck rubs." Well, Papa took them out this week and it was a new thing for Aiden. He kept hearing them talk about "buck rubs."
When they came out of the woods, Aiden told Grandma he saw "butt rubs." Then he stuck his little bootie out, and gave it a shake to demonstrate a "butt rub!"

Aiden: "Daddy, you're a good spanker."
Daddy, trying really hard not to laugh, "Thanks, Aiden."

"Mommy, I want to take a snuggle with you."

Aiden, in the middle of the night. "I can't find my keys!"
Mommy, "It's okay, sweetie. Go to sleep, and I will find them."

Aiden was getting ready for bed and he said, "Good night, Daddy. When we wake up, we can tack!" (Which means play tackle.)
Then he quickly said, "Wait, Daddy! I didn't do my piano practice!" (He has to do everything the girls do!)
Daddy said, "You can do it in the morning. Good night."
7:00am  Aiden comes out of his room and says, "I need to do my piano practice!" He climbed up to the keyboard, set the demo to play and "practiced" like a little Mozart!

"IIIIIIIIIIIIII will o-beeeeeeey Your Word," Aiden, reciting his first memory verse!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Weekend Update/Jaw Manipulation

Well, this was the week we met with the oral surgeon in Brighton for a "jaw manipulation."
Ryan was sedated in the office and the doctor manipulated his jaw so he could try to find the cause of his limited mouth opening ( 15mm.) Previous CT scans do not show a bony issue, so it was assumed that there is scar tissue. Scar tissue will not show up in CT scans or xrays, but they did rule out a bony cause from the pictures. The doctor's goal was to find a more exact location of  the blockage during this manipulation. Also,  the scar tissue could possibly be loosened by the Dr. while Ryan was sedated. Worst case scenario, the scar tissue would need to be removed surgically by opening the TMJ joint. Working on the joint is rather risky. A local surgeon told us he was not comfortable performing surgery on the joint, which is why we were back in Brigton this week.

So, the good news is that it looks as if the TMJ joint will not have to be opened. Yay! But, the bad news is that his jaw needs to be re-broken. Yep, you read correctly. Re-broken! Yeah, I had to tell Ryan about 4 times before he realized I wasn't kidding. His bite is off and when he opens his mouth (or tries to :) everything shifts to the left, which may be the source of our problem. This may not completely fix the problem, but according to the Dr., it is the first step. Regardless of the limited opening, he said if we don't fix the bite it could lead to problems with the TMJ joint in the future.

We don't have a date set for this yet. The Dr. in Brighton is going to talk with the local surgeon to see if he is willing to do this part (the same local surgeon that did not want to open the joint.) If the local surgeon is willing to do this much then we can have the surgery done close to home. Otherwise, we'll have it done in Brighton. Having it done in Midland would be more convenient for an overnight hospital stay and weekly follow-up visits.

To those of you who know my husband, you probably know he can be a bit umm....lippy at times. You can imagine the wisecracks we've heard about the line-up of people wanting to help with the breaking of his jaw! Ryan said he'll be selling the honors to the highest bidder on e-bay!!

Please pray for guidance for us and for the doctors!
Thank you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

World Teacher Day

Did you know that there is a World Teacher Day?
Well, there is!
The girls discovered this from their calendar.
It was last week (or maybe the week before-they all run together!)

And this was my gift from my two favorite students: a shiny red apple, and this note:

I know there are grammar and spelling mistakes that would give an English teacher heart failure, but this just made my heart melt!

Slug Bug Blue!

We spend a lot of time in the car these days, and the girls have been playing the slug bug game.  They have learned where all the regulars are in Midland. For example there is always one at the library, the 555 building, and by the Circle. Last week I overheard these slug bug related conversations in the van.

Moriah, in a robot voice: "Slug bug scanning, slug bug scanning.....scanning incomplete. Shutting down."

"Slug bug silver!" --Moriah, who now has 2 slug bugs to Emma's 0.
"Oh, I quit!" --Emma's response to above statement.

"Slug bug lellow!!"--Aiden, shouting with excitement as a yellow non-slug bug car went by.

"Oh, I hate those cars that look like slug bugs! They get me every time!"--Emma, referring to PT Cruisers.

"Slug bug re----Oh, it's not there today!"--both girls in unsion, as they realize one of the "regulars" must have taken the day off!

"Aiden, do you want to be our little servant boy?"--Emma
"No, I want to be slug bug blue!"--Aiden
"Okay, how about you be our slug bug blue servant boy?"--Emma, ever so sweetly.
"Okay!"--Aiden, with excitement
"Great, then that means you have to do whatever we say!"--Emma, still with a hint of sweetness.
"Muaahh-ahhh-ahhhh-ahhhh!!"--Moriah, chiming in with her evil laugh.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Weekend Update--From the Kids' Perspective

  • We recently were talking about the accident, and how far we have come. I asked the girls, "Don't you think we have come a long way?" Moriah responded, "No! Daddy still can't run! I want Daddy to be able to run!" She asked if we remembered the night last fall before the accident that we stayed outside and played hide and seek-tag. I had forgotten all about that night! We laughed as we remembered chasing each other in the dark on a warm fall night. I think one of the girls said, "Remember Dad hid up in the tree? And no one could catch him, but he caught all of us?"
  • Aiden plays "crash" quite often. He will be driving his Jeep or tricycle in the backyard and have a crash. He lays on the ground and waits for the ambulance (his sisters) to come. Sometimes I laugh watching him play, I don't know if I want to laugh because it's so funny, or cry that this is part of what he plays. He still talks about his real ambulance ride. He remembers that he was in the ambulance with mommy (which is correct) and that mommy was all snuggled up (which to him means having a blanket up to your neck.)
  • One evening a few weeks ago we were all in the living room and Emma was sharing a story. Suddenly, we heard the sirens of an ambulance. Emma stopped talking and her face grew dark. She looked at Moriah and said, "It's coming this way."  Within seconds the ambulance passed by the house and Emma said, "I don't like sirens. They make me feel sad and scared." Ryan and I were both surprised by her reaction. As we talked later we thought about what it must have been like for them that night--waiting in the van, in the dark, listening to sirens coming in the distance, hearing them get closer, knowing they're coming for you--it was something I had never thought of and it made my heart ache for my little ones! Thankfully, someone shared the idea of encouraging the kids to pray for the people in the ambulance. What a great idea to help them take the focus off their fears by saying a prayer for the other person!
  • Although much has changed for our kids, there are somethings that never change--they still are growing like weeds!! We measured the kids this week and they have each grown an inch since July!
  • And they still have fun together! They have been enjoying this gorgeous fall weather, making leaf piles, and leaf houses, and dens--because they are always pretending to be some sort of animal!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Weekend Update

  • Apples have been the theme this week! We took our apples to the cider mill with Ryan's parents, so we have been enjoying fresh cider along with other apple treats! We've had cider donuts, caramel apples, hot cider, cold cider and one of our cider oatmeal! When making oatmeal replace the water with cider and YUM-O!   A fall Michigan tradition that I look forward to is cider and donuts. Where I come from we have donuts with milk or coffee, but not cider. My first fall here I kept hearing the phrase "cider and donuts" and I didn't get it. Until one night at a bonfire we had hot apple cider and fresh cinnamon donuts. And that's when I realized that I had been missing out on one of the yummiest fall traditions ever!! It's now something I look forward to every year!!
  • Thinking of things that I learned after moving to Michigan.... just after we moved here we met with our customer service rep to set up our auto/home insurance. The woman was explaining our auto policy to us and as she pointed out one deductible she said,  "Let's say you hit a deer, then your deductible would be___." I thought that was such a random thing to say, hit a deer! Really? She might as well have said a cow or horse! I asked if that really happens that often, and she gave me a look that said, "Oh my, you have a lot to learn!"
  •  Ryan did see his family dr and he was able to come off the blood thinner that he was on. Not only is it great that he doesn't have to take it anymore, but it also means 1 less appt. each month! He was going to the lab for monthly level checks, but not anymore! Other than that, there's not too much new to report. He's still going to rehab therapy twice a week, and I'm going to physical therapy twice a week. This week my therapist asked me to lay on the table face down and raise my arms above my head. Then she asked me to raise my arms up. I couldn't do it with the right arm! It just didn't budge! So she had me stand against the wall, arms above my head and lift my arms away from the wall. With some help from her, I was able to do that, but straining and grunting like I was bench pressing 100lbs!! It's crazy that something I used to never think twice about doing is so much work!
A few of our favorite recent quotes:

"Oh Mommy, I love you so, so much!"--Aiden in the kitchen with me. Yep, this one's my favorite this week!

"Well, you see, we've lost our GPS, so we need a map of the solar system so we can travel around in our spaceship."--Emma, while making a map for their spaceship game they have been playing with their friends.

"Uh, don't call me that."--Moriah, to her friend, after he called her by her nickname that she only allows her mom, dad, and sister to use!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Monthly Meal Planning

We are a homeschooling family, and we often get asked questions about it.

Some of the most common ones we have heard are:
Is it legal?
What about socialization?
Do you have to use a set curriculum?
Do you need a teaching degree?
Why do you homeschool?
Do you have your kids tested?
How do you keep up with everything?

 Today's post is related to the last question listed above. With each year of school, and with each little blessing added to our family, I had to be more organized and planned to get everything done in a day! Once our third child arrived on the scene I knew I had to put a meal planning system into action!!

When our first child was a newborn, a woman spoke about meal planning at a MOPS meeting. At that time I thought meal planning was not for me!  I thought I could do it all. I didn't want to plan meals. Each day I would decide what was going to be for dinner and prepare a fresh meal for my family.

Oh, how that old me makes me laugh!! I was so naive! Now I do a monthly meal plan and prep.It is one of the ways I am able to keep up with everything, and it saves money too! A few friends have asked me how I do it, so here it is!

  1. At the end of the month I sit down and write out 25 dinner ideas for the next month.  It seems like a daunting task, but we tend to eat the same things, so I often copy my plan from the month before.  I always add any meals that are in the freezer, crock pot meals for busy days, and simple meals like grilled cheese/soup or nuggets/fries. I also repeat some meals, like pizza and spaghetti.  I just write out 25 meals on the side of my calendar, which is on the fridge. When we have a particular meal for dinner I scratch it off my list. Any meals that are left at the end of the month automatically get put on the next list.
2. Once my list is complete, I make my shopping list. After checking my cabinets and freezer, anything that I need to make my 25 meals gets put on this list.

3. Grocery shop! The kids used to stay home with daddy while I did this, but we're still getting back into the swing of things!

4. Since all of my meat has just been bought, I prepare what I can ahead of time. For example, if I need 6lbs of burger for spaghetti, tacos, and chili. I brown all 6 lbs at once, and put them in freezer bags and label them by which meal they are for. I do the same for chicken. I boil up all the chicken I would need for chicken pot pie, enchiladas, etc. Once the chicken is shredded or cubed I freeze it in quantities according to the recipes. This saves me a ton of time on prep work and clean up!

5. Depending on my schedule I may prepare some meals ahead of time and freeze them. One cookbook that I have found helpful is Once a Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson. Typically, if I am preparing a meal that can be frozen, I double it and put one in the freezer. I usually do this with lasagna, meatloaf, enchiladas, marinated chicken breast, and several soups.

6. Each week I run into the local fruit/meat market to pick up milk, bread, cheese, lunch meat and fresh fruits/veggies. Any fresh items I need for my menu plan are picked up here too.

That's how meal planning works for me!

A few more notes:

If planning by the month is overwhelming, you could plan for a week or two at a time.

In the summer, I usually do not meal plan. Our schedule is a bit more relaxed and we often just eat what's fresh in the garden!

This fall is the first time I have been back to meal planning since the accident. It has been overwhelming going back to it, but it is so helpful to have meals planned!