Monday, April 30, 2012

Moments to Remember


Moments to Remember was developed as a simple way to look back on our week as homeschoolers and find photos that encompass the memories we want to remember. 
The week may have been tough, there may have been more bumps than smiles, but in the end these are the moments that keep us going, the ones we need to remember.

We are in the middle of celebrating three of our children's birthdays during a 2 week period.  I love to make birthdays special.  The children each choose what is for dinner on their birthday (usually their favorite food I make) and we always sing to them.  We then do a combined party with a few of our family and friends.  This is when we do the cake and presents.  On the day I took these pictures, grandma had taken two of the younger boys shopping and to dinner for their birthday.  It was a nice evening outside so we took the bubbles out to play and...the cats decided to join us.  

I laughed so hard watching the kids and cats compete to see who could pop the bubbles first.  This is definitely one of those moments to remember.

Join the link-up this week at Homeschool Creations!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Weekend Worth Remembering

After our last camping trip let-down about a month ago, we were due to have some fun.  This trip was an impromptu one, planned on Easter Sunday.  My husband really wanted to go camping Easter weekend, but we already had plans.  {Plus we moved to a rental house in December that is on 1/2 acre and I wanted to take advantage of our huge backyard for an Easter egg hunt, which we did.}  Talking about it with family on Easter, my sister-friend, Heather, decided she and her kids would go with us.  We knew we wanted to stay at the Santa Cruz KOA and made reservations right then and there.

We left on Friday afternoon, hoping that we would be traveling the opposite direction of the rain.  We did drive through patches of rain, but by the time we arrived in Santa Cruz the storm had passed.  Our campsite backed up to the playground which was very convenient.

The boys loved this play car, especially James!

Amada & John on the swing at Heather's cabin.

Friday evening after we set up camp, we drove down to the beach to watch the sunset.  And took advantage of all the stairs as this is one area James is working on in therapy.  We were a little slower than everyone else, but we made it!

The older boys found jellyfish that had washed up.  Unfortunately Johnathan can't stand anything that is slimy as it makes his gag-reflex work in overdrive.  He can't even *think* about it or he will throw up.  We headed back up to the car quickly while the older kids played for a few minutes.

The beach is my favorite place on Earth!

The campground also had this huge bouncing pillow for the kids.  There were so many kids on it and every time the older kids bounced, the younger ones either fell down or flew up in the air.

Of course we ended the night with a campfire and s'mores.

We decided that Saturday we would go to the Beach Boardwalk.  I had seen discount tickets at Costco so we purchased those ahead of time.  Boy did that turn out to be an excellent deal!  Two unlimited ride wristbands, as well as two additional attractions (bowling, miniature golf, laser tag, etc.) per person for $54.99.  {I wasn't aware of how many rides they had for the younger children or I would have bought wristbands for all of them as well.}  We arrived around 10:30am even though the Boardwalk doesn't officially open until 11am.  This gave us time to exchange our tickets for our wristbands and look at the map.  The older kids headed for Fright Fest and we took the younger ones to the rides.  This was great as there were no lines!

Amada was not very happy on her first ride.  I think she was upset that the boys weren't with her because as soon as we met up with them she was fine.  {Plug for homeschooling: Since your children are around each other more often, they learn to rely on each other and form stronger attachments with their siblings.}

Can you see a common theme?  The kids love pretending to drive.  I though these little Pepsi semi-trucks were so cute!! 

We stopped for a little snack and Amada found some flowers to admire.

  Next it was on to the Cave Train Adventure.  Johnathan was not too sure about this one.  He loves dinosaurs but was worried they were going to jump out at him.  And he is absolutely terrified of the dark.  I want him to be able to go on Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland so this was a good trial run.  And he survived.

Daniel, Johnathan, & Alex
James & Heather
Amada and me (Love Daniel in the background!)
Then we met up with the older kids and Alex was able to go on some "big kid" rides.

After lunch, we decided to take a ride to the other side of the Boardwalk on the Sky Glider.  This was so scary for me.  I was riding with Amada and she kept wanting to scoot forward.  There was no lap belt and the gap between the seat and bar in front was wide enough for her to slip through.  I kept a firm grip on her.


Remember we also had tickets for additional attractions?  We were feeling a little wind-blown and sunburned at this point so we decided to go bowling.  That would give us a rest from the elements.  We also ate again.  Key to keeping the kids happy...feed them & keep them busy!

Now it was time to rest/relax on the beach.  After eating ice cream cones and doing a little shopping for the teenage girls, of course.  It was such a gorgeous day!!

Somehow we were still smiling when we arrived back at the car.

The next day while we were packing up and preparing to leave, Daniel rented bikes for the kids to ride around the campground.  Their smiles speak volumes!

This is definitely a campground we plan on visiting again in the near future and a weekend worth remembering!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mom Tips

Medication Management

Ever have an area of your life that is so overwhelming you know you need to change?  That is how our medication management {or lack of} was.  All 4 of our younger children take multiple medications daily, some 2-3 times a day.  Add that with children who are impulsive and grab for anything they can reach and you have a disaster waiting to happen.  Due to lack of organization, I was the only one who could give the children their medication because my husband couldn't remember who was to take what.  You get the picture.  

So I decided that if I could dose up everyone's medication once a week, it would streamline the process.  I went and bought several pill boxes that have the days of the week marked, as well as AM and PM.  I wrote their names on both ends of the pill boxes with permanent marker.  

We store our prescription bottles in a locked box.  I wait until the kids are in bed to refill the pill boxes so I can sort the prescription bottles on the counter and proceed with filling the correct boxes.  This system has worked so well that my husband feels confident enough to help out with giving the children their medications.  I love it also because I only have to "think" about it once a week.  While I am filling the pill boxes, I call in any refills to the pharmacy that are due and I take a picture (with my iPhone) of the empty bottles so I won't forget which prescriptions to pick up during the next trip to the pharmacy.  Once I pick up the prescriptions, I just delete the photos from my phone.  Now there is no more forgetting to pick up prescriptions.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pizza Fun

We recently bought a Ninja blender at Costco and have been experimenting with it.  We are really trying to "make-it-ourselves" instead of buying ready-made when it comes to food items.  The Ninja makes great smoothies and salsa, but I wondered how it would do with making pizza dough.  Our kit also came with a recipe book which I highly recommend.  {The most important bit of advice I have is that when adding the flour, only add it in small increments.}

I also found this Pizza Learning Pack from Living Life Intentionally and we incorporated much of it for a fun {yet educational} day.  I didn't take many pictures, but here is one of the printables in action.  I use it inside a reusable dry erase packet I found in the dollar section at Target.  My husband works from home and is very much involved in the day-to-day schooling of our children.  I am very thankful for him!

We also were able to get copies of Pete's A Pizza book and movie from our local library.  The kids really enjoyed the movie and I did too (since I didn't have to read it!).

Product Details

And finally we made pizzas.  We made ours on wax paper...I do NOT recommend it!  I had a terrible time moving them onto the baking stone.  Either make directly on baking surface, or on parchment paper which can then be slid onto baking stone.    

I did not take any pictures of the finished product because (ahem) let's just say they baked a little too long and the dough raised quite a bit more.  They were not very pretty, but the kids still ate them.  Next time I will make some adjustments, but overall it was a fun and easy dinner!

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