Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas morning

May you and yours enjoy this CHRISTmas season and enjoy His peace and love all year long!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Its been a crazy busy month with wreath making, wrapping, mailing, two taekwondo tests, and school. The kids have been awesome this month and really helpful. I was very glad that I had almost all of my shopping done before Thanksgiving. I was able to mail out four boxes Thanksgiving weekend, but have been so busy, I just mailed the other four out this past weekend. Baking is done and the neighbors are enjoying the fruits of my labor (and hopefully gaining thighs as heavy as mine :) It is the season to share after all!)

Now, I am in the midst of cleaning out the closets and organizing. Something we didn't do when we moved in. It was all I could do to get unpacked-organization was for another day-after baby. I cleaned out my desk yesterday-took about four hours. Oh the junk we keep! Why? Why?

Today, I'm heading upstairs to tackle the closets. We gently tossed stuff in them when we moved and slammed the doors shut and told the kids that they were never never allowed to open them unless they wanted everything tumbling out. I'm heading up there soon, wish me luck. I'm letting the kids know that if I don't make any noise after an hour to send the firemen in looking for me under the piles of stuff!!

Merry CHRISTmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Around our house

This year is the first time we've ever cut down our Christmas Tree. We have always had a real one, except for the last three years in Japan. They do ship them over for us, but they are like dried twigs when we get them and total fire hazards. We have a tree farm right down the street from our house and we were able to go and cut our own!! It was alot of work and very exhausting to drag it to the car but it was totally fun!

Posing on the sleigh. Now we just need some snow!

Princess watching daddy cut down the tree

Enjoy Santa stopped by. Little Miss Trouble wouldn't go near him at all, not surprised though, its that age

TL's turn to saw

Finally Down!! Now to drag it to the car!

Snuggling with daddy is a special treat

Little Miss Trouble was so mad at her sisters because they wouldn't let her help wash the dishes. She had disappeared and I found her in the bathroom washing some of the dishes in the sink. Well, at least she removed her shirt so it wouldn't get wet!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Resources everywhere, and I do mean everywhere....

We recently finished a mini unit on Thanksgiving. Today, I found an awesome resource that I had stock piled away. I did not even remember it at all.

So, this week, I'm going to start making lists. Websites I have bookmarked, books we have, lapbooks, other material downloaded to the computer, and perhaps, if I'm lucky some things we've used from the library. All to make it easier in the next few years.

Anyone else have such a list? If so, just curious as to how you organized it. I was thinking on the computer, but also printing out each section and putting it in a file so I could just grab the file and go. Most topics I've covered at least once already and then I could grabe the file and review the lesson plans and things I need to get from the library. Any ideas? Thoughts? Input would be much appreciated!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Remember to write things down.....

Remember when we were growing up? Journals and diaries everywhere. Locked, unlocked. Pink, blue, striped, flowers, polka dots, sports-all different kinds.

Today, we don't see them quite as often as we used to. They have been taken over by computers. Much quicker to type it in then sit down and write it. Written letters are getting harder and harder to find. I usually get one a year from my aunt, and she just passed away.

With her passing, we found letters, papers, and all kinds of wonderful family treasures. I wonder if we keep looking, if we'll find diaries and even more letters stashed away. The house she lived in, her grandfather built.

Remember to write often. Write down things going on, prayers, memories; these are valued treasured not to be forgotten but cherished.

I will be posting during the CHRISTmas break my genealogy study. I pray that you and your family will use it and try to research some of your family history also!!

Have a wonderful and blessed week!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Night at the Museum

What an awesome movie!! At least the first one was. The kids and I loved it. We saw it in the movie theatre-twice (you have to remember that we lived in Japan and it was $1/ticket) and then purchased it for home. Tomorrow number two comes out. I can't wait. The kids can't wait. Hubby can't wait. Unfortunately, we'll be busy tomorrow night and have to wait until Wednesday to watch it. That's okay though, really it is.

We never got a chance to see number two in theatres so it will be alot of fun for us to watch Wednesday night. We were too busy moving from Japan and traveling all over the US to go to the theatre-plus, the cost of tickets in the states is crazy. We'd have to take out a loan to take all of us and get popcorn!

In honor of the movie, is offering a free lapbook. Just go to their website and get it. You will have to join if you are not a member already. I highly recommend doing it because they give away a free book every week!!

Enjoy the movie tomorrow!! And have a great school week!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Thanksgiving is a wonderful family tradition. Unfortunately, being military, we've spent maybe two Thanksgivings with family in the last thirteen years. I think those were the years that my dad actually retired and moved to VA to be near us and the kids. You'll note however, that we hightailed it outta VA and went to Japan. Not because of Grandpa, but that's where the Navy said to go.

So, each year, we have friends-our extended Navy family over for dinner. This year is no exception, we are lucky to have two couples and a single sailor that we were stationed with in Japan also living here. We do have another family that was going to come, but unfortunately, their son was hit by a car on Monday. Please pray for him. He's expected to fully recover-just a fractured femur, pelvic bone, and a small tear in his spleen-but this is a horrible way to spend the holidays. Especially when you're 11.

I look back over the years and remember all the friends that we've hosted for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. At first, it was mostly single sailors, then it changed into families, and now its a mixture of both. We are blessed to share these holidays with wonderful, caring people that are now all a part of our extended family. I still keep in touch with alot of them. Some still call me mom-this comes from those single sailor years where they often came to me for advise.

I miss my family alot, but find this blessing a wonderful thing indeed!! May you and yours have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Night at the Museum

Last night we hosted a Night at the Museum party at my house. The kids came dressed in historical costumes and brought a dish to share. Their dish could be from the time period or country related to their costume. We had Vikings, Annie Oakley, Robin Hood, the woman who discovered silk (her name slips my mind early this morning), Amelia Earhart, and a coal miner. They were very creative with their costumes. We did some odd history trivia before the movie started to break the ice some, and the kids really enjoyed it.

I"m not posting a photo because I don't have permission to put the kids photo on my blog. I'm thinking this may be an annual event. Perhaps next year we'll do National Treasure and go on a Treasure Hunt!!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

the Middle Ages.....

the time of knights, maidens and chivalry; and probably one of my most favorite in history!! Who can resist Robin Hood and his merry men, King Richard, the Hundred Years War and the Black Plague-okay so its not all romantic!

We started Middle Ages this week and we are enjoying it very much. I am using Hands of a Child's lapbook for Trey. I've found some other sources that I'm listing here:

Medieval Towns, Trade, and Travel by Lynne Elliott
Kaleidoscope Kids Knights and Castles activity book by Avery Hart and Paul Mantell
Usborne Beginners Castles
Color and Learn Medieval Times Coloring book
Usborne the Great Castle Search
The Making of a Knight by Patrick O'Brien
Hands on Heritage Medieval Times Activity Book

I also found four dvd's at our library that are fantastic. They are made by Schlessinger Video. We watched a dvd on the serf, knight, noble and I just ordered one on the history of the middle ages. You can check out all titles by this company at . I am so excited to find these. Each video is only about 20-25 minutes long, it was very entertaining (even the six year old sat through it) and each dvd has questions and activities suggested with it.

We're planning many different activities with this unit: a medieval feast, making a castle, making a shield and helmet, headwear for the girls, and making a catapult. I'm looking forward to it and will keep you updated in pictures as we progress through.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Its a blustery day out there. We're getting 40-50mph winds right now and its supposed to get stronger, up to 75mph. Yes folks, that's hurricane strength winds!! We still have power, and praying that we keep it, but our satellite is out. I wanted to check the weather update, not so much, I guess.

As promised, here's photos from our many drives to Seattle.

You can check out fun and interesting facts about the space needle at Did you know that it is 1254 Hershey candy bars tall? That it has a revolving restaurant at the top?

This is the home of the Seattle Seahawks football team. And right next door, just for Arby, who loves baseball is..........

Safeco field, home of the Seattle Mariners Baseball team. Only something my hubby and Arby would appreciate. I, as usual when seeing something related to baseball, was snoozing in the seat. Baseball's like watching grass grow I tell ya!! Give me some football or hockey, even basketball....

Have a great day and stay safe everyone!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Field Trip-Pioneer Cemetary

When Grandpa was here, I still tried to get a little school done in the way of field trips. We went down to Coupeville, which is about ten miles south of us, to check out the pioneer cemetery. It is loaded with old stones and it very beautiful to see. We really enjoyed walking around-well, dad and I did. The kids ran for cover in the car after about fifteen minutes. Something about 35mph wind gusts-they complained they were cold.

Just in case you doubted that the cemetery was for pioneers-see it says it here.

Dad and I found this one very interesting.

Here is a view down from a little hill. The cemetery is very large and was very interesting to see all those old graves. We may have to head back when its not so blustery.

This very old headstone was interesting. We wondered when they arrived to Whidbey Island and discussed the hardships they must have endured. After all, if they ran out of supplies, it wasn't likely that they ran to the store down the street. What about medicines? School? It made my kids really think about things.

If you click on this photo, you should be able to enlarge it enough to read some very interesting information about the blockhouse that is located on the grounds.

Here is TL standing in the fireplace area. We had a very interesting discussion about how they cooked food.

Princess wanted to know where they slept, because the inside is very small. We discussed the loft area (which was not in this blockhouse), how they had to store food, probably table and chairs and the possibility of a very large family (6-10 people) in this very small space. The kids said that they rather enjoyed their spacious house and would not have enjoyed those days at all.

My next post will show pictures from Seattle, on our many trips back and forth to the airport!

Have a blessed day!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Getting back to normal

My kids are exhausted. Many late nights and busy days with Grandpa. I originally was going to take Wednesday off after Grandpa left, but Kevin and I discussed how tired the kids are and decided that Thursday was only going to be an hour or two of school. Here we are Friday morning, and only Little Miss Trouble is awake and its nine am. I didn't realize how out of our routine we had gotten.

Dad arrived in time to celebrate Little Miss Trouble's second birthday. As a surprise to him, I arranged to have my brother fly out this past weekend-just in time for dad's 60th birthday. It was a ton of fun. I haven't seen my brother in over three years and the kids loved it. They thoroughly enjoyed Uncle Kevin-yes my brother and husband have the same name. Y'know-this is my brother Daryl and my other brother Daryl? My mother uses it as this is my son Kevin, and my other son Kevin.

Anway, one of the days it was cloudy, but not raining so we went sight seeing to Mount Erie. The view is gorgeous, but it was cloudy, so it wasn't too great. Considering my brother lives near Buffalo, a clean dumpster would have been an improvement scenery wise.

Here's my "little" brother, myself, and dad-and yes, it was really chilly that day!

Enjoying some family time...

Gotta run. Tylar's up and crying. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend-more photos to come soon!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Some sad news....

I received a call this morning that my great Aunt Vivian passed away due to her cancer. We're thankful. She was in pain, she was suffering, we've been praying for her time to come quickly. She's with her Father now, God is good!

Over the past few years, I've gotten to know my Aunt Vivian better. I've been working on our family genealogy and she has provided me with many insights into the past. I've learned about her mother, father, and her family. I looked at old family photos, heard about a letter and visit from an aunt from Scotland, and found out that Aunt Vivian lives in the same house that her grandfather built. I'm sad that I didn't get to know more. I was just starting to ask the questions about who they really were. Where did they live? What did they do? I didn't even get into asking about stories from the past. Now that is all lost. My sense of loss from Aunt Vivian is only heightened by my sense of loss of our family history.

I ask that you please pray for her son, Steve. Steve has never married and has stayed with his mother all of these years, being able to be with her during her elderly years. His sense of loss and grief are great and I pray that prayer will guide him through this rough time.

My children are lucky to have all of their grandparents living. This year, we are focusing on a huge genealogy, family history unit in which they will explore their ancestors by research and interviews. I'm really looking forward to it and will share the details with you. I plan on posting all that we're doing in the hopes that you will take advantage of this and learn about your own family. Prayers and blessings to you for a wonderful week!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Little Miss Trouble's birthday

We have been very busy this past week. Grandpa made it into town for the birthday and to celebrate his 60th on the first. As a surprise, I flew my brother in last night and he and Kevin met us out to dinner. Dad was very surprised to see the Kevin's squared walk up (both my husband and brother are Kevin).

Little Miss Trouble's birthday went off without a hitch. We had some neighbors over for hamburgers, hot dogs, and cake.

Of course, we still do our traditional cupcakes for breakfast on birthday mornings. Dad is home now for the next 2.5 years, but then goes off again to sea duty so we will continue this tradition and my hips will thank me later, I'm sure.

Here's the newest photo of Tylar. She's getting to be so much fun now, actually smiling and "talking" a little bit.

I have lots of other pictures to post as we've been very busy, when it hasn't been raining-pumpkin patch and carving, sights around Seattle and visiting the pioneer cemetary in what seemed like 40mph winds in freezing temps!

Have a great day!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Our first six weeks is done!

We had a very successful first six weeks, if I do say so for myself. It was busy, especially with a newborn and a toddler. Did I tell you that Little Miss Trouble is an artist? Our walls are her canvas!

I introduced projects this year. TL is currently working on a lapbook of the first ten presidents; so far, he has completed four. The girls just finished a lapbook on Cycle of Life for Animals. It was very interesting. While TL finishes up his lapbook, the girls will be working first on a lapbook about deer and then butterflies-their choices. We get all of our lapbooks at Hands of a Child. You can click the link on the side and it will take you right to their website. We love them and I love that all the research is done for me and that each lapbook can be adjusted to the different age groups.

I also started Spanish this past week. We're just learning basics this year-counting, days, some phrases, and lots of vocabulary. That's going well. We only do about ten minutes a day, but its great.

The most promising thing is the Passport Club. We are so enjoying learning the different countries. The kids are doing really well and I must say that I'm enjoying learning where countries are located. How embarrassing that I can't identify most of the countries in Africa and Europe is quite a blur! With new countries, I can't seem to keep any of it straight anymore!

I'm looking forward to having this week off. My dad will be here tomorrow and the kids are so looking forward to having Grandpa buy them stuff, I mean, spend time with them. We're hopefully off for lots of sight seeing, so I'll be sure to post pictures.

On a side note, please keep my Aunt Vivian in your prayers. After her doctor telling her for weeks that she should be in pain because of her elderly age, she changed doctors. She filled with cancer, most of it is in her bones. She has deteriorated alot this past week. Right now, she's in hospice care and it could be any time. I'm so sorry that I didn't get to go home this summer like I had planned. We're losing a wonderful part of our family. She is filled with so many family stories and information. I'm thankful that I started asking questions a few years ago about our family. She has filled in many blanks and given me so much information. I encourage you to have your children interview their grandparents, great grandparents, etc and find out more about your family. In fact, I will be posting a list of questions that I'm having Trey ask his grandparents. I will be buying a digital recorder, because it will be wonderful to listen to stories years from now!!

Blessings to all!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Coupons, coupons, coupons

Kelli posted on her blog about her coupon obsession. While mine, is not quite like hers, I do strive to make some sort of sense of my coupon pile that is shoved in the "junk" drawer. I enjoy trying to see how much money I can save, although I never get over $15. This week is was $12. I tried to sneak in another $2 off coupon but the pimple faced youngster was alert enough to catch my coupon date.

We shop at the commissary. For you non-military, it is our grocery store. The great part is that we save significantly over regular super market prices. The bad part is that there isn't any coupon doubling or sales-ever. So when I see these great deals that others make, I get jealous.

I could I suppose, go through the ads in the paper and hope to find some awesome bargain sale that I could go to. Naw.....really, dragging five kids to the store to save $5 isn't my idea of a good time and I find that when they're with me, coupon shopping is very difficult. They keep dumping other items in the cart too, which racks up the total. So my charming hubby, lets me, on the weekends, run to the commissary all by myself for some adult time-with my coupons in hand and forty million people in the commissary all trying to save a buck.

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


TL has always struggled with spelling. Its hard to spell words, when you're phonetically dsylexic. Writing was a chore and one that he easily gave up on. It was frustrating not to be able to put your thoughts down on paper.

This year we tried yet another spelling program. Its basically just a workbook with spelling words. Its from Evan-Moor and called Building Spelling Skills. Each day he does a worksheet to reinforce spelling skills. And I make him memorize four weeks a day for the week. He's doing very well. Last week, we didn't review the words alot and he missed five outta seventeen, however, the other weeks he's only missed one or two. I realized that all this time, I'd been trying to plug phonetic spelling into my non phonetic kid. Poor kid. This year, his writing has much improved and he's trying to sound things out when spelling them, which he NEVER did before. Yeah!

Now, we just need to keep working on the reading. He's doing well and making progress. My problem is that when he comes across a word he doesn't know, he substitutes a different word. Say he comes across the word digestion-he'll say disaster or whatever word starts with d that comes to his mind. He also refuses to ask me to help him with words. When he's doing silent reading, he has not ever asked me about a word. I'm not sure how to fix that. Any suggestions? Arby? Kellie? Anyone?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Prayer request

My great-Aunt Vivian is filled with cancer. My mom just called. I'm horribly sad for her. She's a wonderful woman and a joy to speak to. SHe's in alot of pain as the cancer has progressed into her bones. Please pray for her. She needs peace.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Camping at Jim Creek

I have finally had a few moments to download the photos from our camping trip at Jim Creek two weeks ago. Enjoy the view-it was gorgeous there.

Little Miss Trouble checking out the water at the creek (and that's crick for you silly people that think its a creek).

TL playing in Jim Creek.

View from the top.

The leaves were just starting to change two weeks ago.

Check out the moss on the trees.

Even Shadow had a playmate, even if it was a smaller one!

The girls and our neighbor having a blast camping. They did so much together and had an awesome time!

This is a shot of the Twin Lakes that are at the top of the mountain. We literally drove straight up, on a gravel road, without a barrier and a cliff on one side. I don't do heights well and was freaking out the entire drive, but the view was wonderful.

This is a another shot of Twin Lakes. You can see the marsh land really well here. They have wonderful signs describing the wild life and the purpose of marsh land.

This is a picture of Jim Creek. This was a little bit from our campsite, but very pretty indeed.

The gorgeous view from our campsite. It was so nice and relaxing there.

Bug-a-bug chopping fire wood for the camp fire, and yes, we did have s'mores.

I should have the blog finished up this weekend, I hope anyway. I have five large bags of apples to make applesauce with and can. Thank you Angel, for your apple butter recipe. And special thanks to Heather for giving me the links needed to change my blog around.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Still here

Sorry for not posting much the last few days. We've been really busy with school and our projects. TL is currently reading about and doing a lapbook on one president a week. I will update with pictures next week. The girls are learning about the Circle of Life from the lapbook from Hands of a Child. They should have that done next week or the week after. My father comes for a visit for a week, so I won't start their new project until after he leaves. They've requested to learn about deer-there are alot of black tailed deer here and they see them almost everyday. I have to be careful not to hit them.

You have probably noticed some changes in my blog. I am actually working on making it three columns to add more information. I hope to have that done later this week. Please bear with me. I also changed the picture to our resident eagle that is always flying overhead. I finally had my camera with me one day while he/she was perched on the tree down the street. I also took a picture of the nest, which is huge.

The Passport Club is going wonderfully. Last month TL learned all five levels and earned five stamps in his passport. The girls each learned two levels. I may try to up it to three for them. They seemed a little bored at the end of the month.

This is the map we use to test with and study from each month

This is the map that we use to help study with. It shows everything the kids would learn if they study all five levels each month. We also have smaller study maps (these two are about 2 feet by 3 feet) that shows on a monthly basis, what needs to be studied. The smaller maps are very helpful to me, because I can point out the general are of Tajikistan, but have no idea exactly where it is.

This is a copy of Princess' passport page from September.

TL is testing for his Taekwondo lower yellow belt tomorrow. I'm praying that he does well. He sometimes acts a little goofy, although I think during the test, he will be okay. He would definitely be the class clown if he were in school-and I would always be in the office!! :)

Bug-a-bug just received her belt from her test last week. She was very excited. She is in a lower division of taekwondo, from the big kids, called Kinderkicks.

Receiving her belt from her teacher

Proudly displaying her new belt

I have a new layout that I will be doing for the blog, hopefully this week. First, I have to find my tax returns from last year so I can apply for financial aid for school. I really need to finish my bachelor's.

I also have a ton of pictures to load from our camping trip, the views were awesome. We are also hosting six flat friends. I will only ever host two at a time from now it. Its a little more work than I wanted, but its alot of fun and the kids are really liking it. Hopefully, I can also get to that this week. Have a wonderful day and week everyone!