Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We have enjoyed a lot of quality family time this holiday season.  Unfortunately that means there hasn't been much happening here on the blog.  Hopefully you too have been busy with your loved ones.  

From our home to yours,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Birthday Princess

Today our youngest {Princess Amada} turned 4 years old!  Where has the time gone?  It's hard to believe that 4 years ago today we didn't even know she would be joining our family.  We received the call and picked her up from the hospital all in the same day...December 14, 2008.  And my heart melted.

Amada - 4 years old
Birthdays are very important around our house.  Since we have a large family, we want to make sure that each of our children have that "special day".  Amada went shopping to pick out a new outfit.  We decided not to have a large, organized birthday party this year.  Instead I wanted to take her to Build-a-Bear Workshop with just the girls...mommy, grandma, Adriana (big sister), and Ashley.

None of us had ever been to Build-a Bear so we weren't quite sure what to expect.  Amada needed some coaxing to pick out her bear.  She is a little shy, especially in new situations, so I wasn't surprised.  We also picked out a giggle sound for her bear.  She helped with the stuffing.

{So precious!}

They really have thought of everything.  Next you need to give your bear a heart.  

Rubbing the heart to keep the bear warm.
Patting it to start the heart beating.

I think she had her rub the heart on her belly next, so the bear would never be hungry.
Kissing the heart so the bear will always feel loved.
{Amada wanted big sister to kiss it first.}

Then you place the heart inside the bear.

Here is her completed bear!  It's so perfect...her favorite colors are pink and purple.  Next you name your bear and Amada chose the name "kitty".  

Giving the bear a bath to get rid of any leftover fuzz.
Lastly, typing her name for the bear's birth certificate.
She also picked out an outfit {an Aurora princess dress}, a pair of pajamas, and a stroller for her bear.  It is a little pricey for a stuffed animal, but it was a fun "memory making" time.  And I am sure we will be back for more.

Then it was back home for dinner, cake, and presents.  You'd never know it's almost Christmas though...

Sleeping Beauty DVD {Aurora is her favorite Princess although she has never seen the movie.}
A dancing fairy musical jewelry box.
Pretend sugar cookie baking set by Melissa & Doug.
She also received a couple of new outfits from grandma; one with a very cute, pink, sparkly vest.

She requested a Cinderella cake.

And now it's time for bed.  Happy Birthday Princess Amada!  {She is already talking about her "Five Birthday".}

How do you celebrate your children's birthday?  


Monday, December 3, 2012

Growth Hormones...9 months and growing

James had his follow up with the Endocrinologist today.  He has been on daily growth hormone injections for 9 months now and I am happy to report that he is {still} growing!

Beginning Measurements                             Current Measurements
Weight: 46.1 pounds                                   Weight: 53.5 pounds
Height: 47.1 inches                                      Height: 50 1/4 inches

Overall he has gained over 8 pounds and has grown over 3 inches taller!  I am amazed.  He does so well with the whole injection process.  He is still in charge of the alcohol swab and cleaning the injection site.

We have also been working with an Occupational Therapist for feeding issues.  James has a limited number of foods that he will eat, either due to sensory issues {texture} or jaw weakness.  We have exercises we are doing with him to increase jaw strength and have found some creative ways to add nutrients to his food choices.

Here is a recent picture of James and I while we were in Oregon for Thanksgiving.  James is my little love bug.

James will have several blood tests performed when he hits the 1 year mark of being on growth hormones.  I will keep you posted on his journey.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Apple Fritters

We still have lots of apples left over from our apple picking trip and I have been experimenting with apple recipes.  This was an extremely popular recipe with all of the kids (and myself)!  Goes great with breakfast or as a snack.

2 cups flour
1/2 cup and 3 Tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 whole large eggs
3/4 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 whole Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced

Powdered sugar for dusting


1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (first 5 ingredients listed).  In a separate bowl, add eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and melted butter.  Once each bowls are mixed, gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Fold in apples.

Heat a couple of inches of canola oil over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, drop batter by scoopful into the oil.  They will sink at first, but as they cook they will rise.

Flip over to cook on the other side.  They should be nicely browned.

Remove and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb excess oil.  You may either dust with powdered sugar or dip the warm fritters into the glaze.

Serve warm!  These are so yummy they will not last very long.


Monday, October 29, 2012

The BEST Homemade Caramel

For my husband and I, caramel is an absolute favorite.  We had an idea to make some and once we tasted what we made, there was no going back to store bought caramel.  I will warn you however, this caramel is highly addicting!  Yes, it's that good!  But you don't have to take my word for it.  With this recipe, it is so easy to make.  Perfect for gift-giving also.

1 cup butter
2 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
(We usually double the recipe.)

You will need a candy thermometer and a heavy duty stock pot.  When done cooking, we pour ours into a 13 x 9 pan (or two) lined with parchment paper.  You will want to prepare this before starting the cooking process.  If you plan on dipping apples, prepare those in advance as well.

Cut butter into smaller pieces and melt over low heat.  Carefully add brown sugar to the center of the pan, stirring constantly until combined with butter.  Add light corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk.  Increase to medium heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Then increase to medium-high heat until boiling.  Once boiling, clip on candy thermometer making sure it is not touching the bottom of your pan.  Reduce heat to medium, keeping a steady boil and stirring constantly.  Watch candy thermometer closely.  We take ours off the heat when it reaches 235-240 degrees.  This makes a nice soft, chewy caramel.  Add vanilla.  If dipping, start immediately.  Otherwise pour into prepared pan and allow to set.  Be careful though because this is HOT!

We let ours set overnight, then cut and wrap in waxed paper.

Are you ready to go make some now?


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Apple Picking

Last week we had "Field Trip Friday" and went apple picking at Apple Hill.  Last year was our first time actually picking the apples and it was such a memorable experience for everyone we decided to go again.  This year my mom was able to join us.  The specific grower we visited was Pine 'O Mine.  They grow granny smith and golden delicious apples and charge $1 a pound for the apples.  There are other farms/ranches that are much more commercialized, but with that comes larger crowds.

It was an absolutely beautiful day and the kids had some fun on the tire swings.  

Alex being pushed by dad.
John being pushed by dad.  Gee do you think he's enjoying it at all?
Where's Amada?

Here she is!

Now it's time for some apple picking!  How do you pick an apple?  Twist, twist, pull.


James was in charge of the box.  He loves having a job to do.

Alex looks like he wants to bite into that apple.

I wonder what was on that apple?  John looks concerned.

Everyone picking golden delicious apples.

Here's our loot.  I love coming home and making homemade goodies: applesauce, caramel to go with the apples, apple fritters, applesauce cake with cream cheese frosting, and apple crisp to name a few.  I will be posting recipes this week.  Yum!

Can you tell that Fall is my favorite season?  What are some traditions that your family takes part in every year?

I am linking up with 1plus1plus1equals1 for the monthly Moments to Remember feature.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gimme Some Love

Ok, so I am having some problems getting Word Press up and running.  Actually I haven't even been able to log in yet.  My hosting company is working on their end but say it may be another 3 days before it is complete.  Oh my...

I do have some good news though.  Here are a few alternative ways you can contact me or follow along.

*New* Email:
Twitter: @ndeleon007
Instagram: diverginglives
YouTube: DivergingLives

If you have recently migrated a Blogger blog to Word Press what is your best advice?


Monday, October 15, 2012

I Took the Plunge

Please bear with me.  I took the plunge and bought a hosting plan for this blog, so I will be moving it over to Word Press.  I know enough to get by, but am not very gifted in the "technical" area.  It may take me a while to complete the move.

I have debated the switch for a while and finally decided to move forward.  Why?
  • I like the idea that the content I put on my blog, is mine.  I don't have to worry about Blogger deleting my blog and therefore losing all my content.
  • I have been making some cool curriculum for our boys that I would like to share without having to host on a shared hosting account.
  • From what I understand, Word Press has many more options for customization and I like options.
For now the blog will remain the same until I figure out more on Word Press and get everything set up.  Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Surgery {Ear Tubes}

This morning, bright and early, James and I made a trip to the hospital for an outpatient procedure.  This is a regular occurrence for us, usually 2-3 times a year.  You know you're a regular when they have the bed set-up in the pre-op area with all of your favorite items and all the nurses greet you by first name.

James watching Barney.

James, our 8 year old son, has an open cleft palate {despite 3 attempts to repair it} so he is prone to ear infections.  As a preventative measure we have to keep {functioning} ear tubes in place.  We've tried the "wait and watch" approach, but he always ends up with an infection, which sets the snowball effect into motion.

     * Trip to the doctor for antibiotics, usually never at a convenient time.  Thankfully our pediatrician's office has an urgent care with evening and weekend appointments!
     * Through trial and error we discovered there is only 1 antibiotic that works for James: Augmentin ES.  The pharmacy doesn't always carry this and sometimes we have to wait a day or two.
     * Augmentin ES is such a strong antibiotic that it causes loose stools and a diaper rash/yeast infection.  Since James takes Probiotics daily, he no longer battles diarrhea while on antibiotics.
     * Not to mention, having a sick little boy.  When James is sick it really takes a toll on his entire system (physically, mentally and emotionally).
     * Decrease in his hearing function with infection and fluid build-up, which in turn effects his speech clarity.

Even though we have to head to the hospital about every 6 months for James to get a new set of ear tubes, it is well worth it!  He has become accustomed to the routine and does incredibly well.  Of course it helps that we have such a great hospital too.  James is such a brave boy with a huge smile, even after surgery!  He complains a little about all the wires and the IV, but maybe he just knows that once they come off he can go home.

James post-operatively, still smiling!
We will re-check his hearing in a couple of weeks and hopefully now that the tubes are functioning properly, his hearing will be closer to normal.  If not, we will deal with it when we come to it.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ladybug Life Cycle

I was kind of concerned about doing the ladybug life cycle at this time of year, but this was our last summertime activity.  It turned out well though because last week we had several days of HOT weather, like 100 degrees HOT!

While we waited for our ladybug larvae to arrive from insect lore, we began learning about them using our ladybug life cycle figures.  I also made these very colorful cards (which I laminated and attached magnetic strips to the back).  The kids were able to order the life cycle cards on their magnetic white boards.

We read the book The Grouchy Ladybug and used our foam clocks (from the dollar section at Target) to practice telling time (to the hour).

We used this template to create our very own Grouchy Ladybug Clocks.

This was really neat to watch.  The kids raced down every morning to see the progression of our ladybugs.  The entire process took a little over a week, but every day there was a change so it made the waiting more bearable.

Our ladybug larvae have arrived!

The larvae are growing!  They shed their skin as they grow and
you can see the remains inside the container.

We have pupae!

And now...We have ladybugs!

We released the ladybugs into our rose bushes to take care of our aphid problem.

Here are some links to other sites, as well as some resources we found helpful in our unit study of ladybugs:

Enchanted Learning: Life Cycle of a Ladybug Printable Book for Early Readers
Home Training Tools: Learn About Ladybugs
Home Training Tools: Ladybug Life Cycle
Lapbook Lessons: Tons of Ladybug Activities


Homeschool Helps: Equivalent Fractions FREEBIE

 I know it has been a while since I have posted. Life is crazy, as usual. We are back to homeschooling two of our children this year. Becaus...