Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stay Tuned!

I've been very quiet on here, but not because things have been boring. It's because I'm having so much fun!

We're house-sitting for my aunt. Too much to do over there to spend time on the internet. Her house is so much fun it's like a fabulous vacation, even when I'm just doing the laundry.

I'll post some pictures soon, but in the mean time I have to go mash some yams.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Fabulous Photo

My Dad just sent me one of the most beautiful photos I have ever seen.


My parents live by Bear Lake on the Utah/Idaho border and this is the kind of stuff they see out the windows of their home. Fish calls said home "the house by the beautiful lake." A very good name, that!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Loopin' Louie

The closets of the Burrow contain all sorts of old treasures. Recently the boys unearthed an old game called "Loopin' Louie." Louie the crop duster flies around and around and you have to swat him away from your chickens.



It's pretty popular with all four children, though the Rabbit tends to want to steal everyone's chickens.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Math on the Level

Last June when I went to the homeschool convention one of the things I was looking for was the right math curriculum. I was interested in several and I took a close look at each one of them.

I left the convention feeling more confused than ever about which curriculum to use!

Then I agonized over it all summer.

Finally I decided to go with "Math on the Level." The only problem was the price. You only have to buy it once and it works for all your kids for all of elementary school math, but the up-front cost is a substantial chunk.

So what I decided to do was try to copy the basic idea of the program on my own until I could afford to buy the actual system. The whole premise of the system-- and this is what really drew me to it-- is that you only do 5 review problems every day. These are hand-written by mom on notebook paper, custom-tailored to the learning needs of the child. After fighting with Bean all last year trying to get him to pay attention long enough to finish even one math worksheet, five problems a day sounded like heaven. I liked the look of lots of other math programs like Math-U-See, Miquon, and Singapore, but I dreaded trying to get my boys to sit still long enough to work their way through their assignments. My boys are actually very good at math but very bad at sitting still.

Ever since we started school in August I've been giving the boys 5 problems a day hand-written on notebook paper. This got them used to the "Math on the Level" system and also allowed me to see if I liked this system before I shelled out the big bucks. Would they really retain their knowledge of math if they only did five problems a day? And would it be tedious for me to have to hand-write their worksheets?

They do remember and learn. And writing out their math worksheets is not nearly as tedious as cajoling them to finish 20 problems. And so when we finally got our unemployment back pay, I bought the full curriculum.

I'm sitting here with the books in my lap, planning my boys' math lessons for the week. I'm quite pleased with the system. I was thinking maybe I was smart and clever enough to just wing it and teach my kids math on my own, but as I'm looking through this curriculum I see that there is a lot of stuff I would have left out. In other words, I will definitely get my money's worth out of it.

I don't know that this curriculum would work for everyone, but for the combination of my teaching style and my kids' learning style it's going to work just great.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gingerbread

First fire in the fireplace today. So cozy. I love fireplaces, and the one at the Burrow is top-notch. Everything was so snug and warm I had to go make gingerbread with real whipped cream. This is winter comfort food for me. Here is the recipe:

Gingerbread

1 egg
1/2 c oil
1 c molasses
1 c boiling water
2 1/4 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon

Beat egg. Add oil, molasses, and water and mix thoroughly. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into an 8x8 pan and bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes.

We served this at our wedding. It makes me happy. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dangerous Women

My sisters can be extremely dangerous people to be around. You get together with them and you find yourself face to face with stuff like this


from a gourmet bakery in downtown Salt Lake City.

I have managed to maintain my weight since I reached my goal last spring and I'd like to keep it that way. My hope is that me and my health nut ways will be a good influence on my sisters, but last time I was with them and the issue came up they said "there's two of us and only one of you!" and then they got this diabolical gleam in their eyes and handed me a large box of french fries.

Like I said, they're dangerous.

But so much fun.

I just have to learn moderation and then we'll all be happy.
Posted by Picasa

Loving Leaves

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Leaf Magic

My sister Pineapple lives on a street that is heaven in the autumn. It is lined thickly with mature maple trees. We spent last Saturday afternoon there. This picture was taken from her porch (that's my van on the left).


This is the view if you lay on her front lawn in the crunchy scrunchy leaves and look straight up.



Here's what your kids do to you while you're laying on the ground in the crunchy scrunchy leaves and looking straight up. (They buried me completely and then we called Fish to come outside and I jumped up and scared him and chased him around the yard-- it was fabulous!)


It's the most wonderful autumn yard in the whole world!

Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 9, 2009

Oh, How I Love Them!

Posted by Picasa

Today's Broadcast

My mother-in-law is back home and doing well. It's wonderful to have her back.

Some of us are sick, to one degree or another. Some of my kids are very listless, which is rather a nice change.

We found out today (finally!) that we qualify for unemployment benefits. I am so relieved!

Discovery Park

A few weeks ago on a lovely autumn day we went to Discovery Park. It is one of the coolest parks I've ever been to.

When I was in high school we went there several times on group dates. We would play tag and sardines. The play structure is so big and complex that there are plenty of unique places to hide.


Like these beehives. Just right for a little Rabbit-- try squeezing six teenagers inside one!


I remember as a teenager thinking "I would have died of happiness to be at this park when I was a little kid." So it was really really fun to take my kids there and watch them play happily.


Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Temple Square

Not long ago, we spent an afternoon on Temple Square. I lucked out and got a gorgeous picture of the Salt Lake Temple:


I also liked this picture, taken on the roof of the Conference Center:


It was a glorious, mild autumn afternoon and we all had a wonderful time.


Here's Roo and her cousin in their matching pink jackets:

I'm so glad we're able to do things like this! It's great to be back in Utah!
Posted by Picasa

Four in a Row




Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 6, 2009

"DOGGY!"


Raptor Cat is the Rabbit's new love in life. I thought she could say "kitty" but she keeps very enthusiastically calling him "doggy!"

He's very patient with her, even when she holds on to his tail (she's just holding, not pulling.) In fact, he even seems to enjoy her affection.

Raptor has been a resident at the Burrow for as long as I've known the Badger. He's more than 15 years old. Apparently when he was a young'un he was pretty feisty, but by now he's a sweetheart.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shoes Too Big

My mother-in-law is one of my favorite people in the entire world.

This past week she has been in the hospital. Her heart has been doing dangerous things, scaring her doctors and causing them to put her in the ICU and have surgery. It's been a rough and very emotional week for the family.

Now, after successful surgery, it looks like she's going to be okay and can come home in a couple of days.

I am so relieved and grateful.

When she went to the hospital, I suddenly found myself in her shoes. What with everything going on in everyone else's lives the management of domestics at the Burrow fell mostly to me.

I had no idea what a big job it was. The Burrow is a large home and Mom Badger is much more of the heart that keeps everything flowing than even I had any idea. There were a couple of days where I felt like I spent the entire day just in the kitchen. Luckily for me, it is a beautiful kitchen, but it is a large kitchen and the cleaning and maintenance of it are endless, especially when you've got a bunch of little kids running around leaving jam and Cheerio trails behind them. Sometimes in our little nest on the prairie I yearned for a larger kitchen but now I've decided a small kitchen is fine until the kids grow to the point where they can really help me clean it!

Anyway, I have been glad to help. I'm so grateful for such a concrete way to support the family during this time. But I feel like I haven't done a very good job. I'm just not up to my mother-in-law's caliber. Her shoes are way too big for me. When she comes home I'd like for her to see everything neat and clean and in order so that she can relax and rest and know that her home will be taken care of while she convalesces. I know I can't do it all myself though-- I shall have to enlist the assistance of other family members. It takes more than one of us to measure up.

We nearly lost Mom this week and I'm so grateful we didn't. I have so much more I can learn from her, as well as so much more growth to go through as I strive to attain something of her stature.

My Favorite Picture of the Rabbit Ever

We went to Uncle Owl's house last week and the Rabbit was absolutely enchanted with their grand piano.


She loves music. Uncle Owl's family is very musical-- I'm excited for my kids to have their example as they develop their musical talent.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How-loween?

Fresh from a move, with nearly all our posessions in storage and practically no money, I wasn't sure how we were going to have Halloween this year. I thought up all kinds of clever ideas of how I could spirit my kids away to some location where there were no trick-or-treaters and they wouldn't notice they didn't have costumes and candy. Then we could make homemade donuts and bob for apples or something.

But how can you not have costumes when your kids talk for months ahead of time about what they're going to be for Halloween?

Somehow, everything came together. I opened up a big blue tub of stuff that had ended up at the Burrow and found that it contained things I meant to have in storage, but right on top was this bag with this lion costume my sister-in-law had given me years ago and which I had hardly even ever looked at. Turned out it fit the Rabbit absolutely perfectly and was fabulously darling.


Then my sister Pineapple lent me a snake costume that her son wore a few years ago. The boys both fought over who was going to get to wear it until another aunt lent us some pirate accessories. When Fish got stuck with the snake as opposed to being a pirate, he sulked. However, Bean cleverly jollied him out of it by letting him wear the eye patch to the church party so he could be a "pirate snake."


And Roo borrowed Cousin Fiend's fairy dress.


So everything worked out great, despite some small hiccups along the way. I was amazed at how it all came together. I really feel like we're being watched over and taken care of, even in little things like Halloween cosutmes for the kids.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fall Color Up the Canyon

Autumn in the mountains is one of my favorite things in the entire world. We got to Utah in time to catch the last of this year's canyon color. It was so beautiful. It's all gone now-- a month later-- but I'm still trying to get caught up on blog posting.



Posted by Picasa

Autumn Glory

A few days after we got here, we found ourselves driving by the Mount Timpanogos Temple. The leaves were at their peak and the sky was as blue as it gets.




Posted by Picasa