Friday, September 29, 2017

Menu Plan for Conference Weekend and the Week

Friday: Wacky Pasta, Green Salad, chicken fingers*  Start Cinnamon Rolls

Saturday:  Cinnamon Rolls, Pastry Wrapped sausage links
Hoagies, fruit
Emily's freezer meal: Million dollar spaghetti, cheesy rolls, salad

Sunday:  Berries and cream with German pancakes
Mac and cheese
BBQ Sliders, fried okra, french fries

Red Beans and Rice*

Leftovers or fish sticks

Stuffed Shells*

Chinese Spaghetti

Pizza or Stromboli


Mashed potatoes & gravy
Dump Cake

Honey Lime Enchiladas (use whole chicken)*
Refried Beans or Black Beans

*Make extra for freezer

Freezer Meals already in freezer:

White Chicken Chili
Pizza Stromboli
Cheesy Rolls
Butter Chicken
Chicken Cacciatore

Shopping List:
85/15 beef 2 lb
hoagie meat

Hawaiian sweet rolls
Buns for hoagies

Blue cheese
Cottage cheese

fish sticks
frozen broccoli

Salad stuff
pea pods
4 limes

Dishwasher powder
Brillo pad
quart freezer bags

Juice boxes

Chocolate chips
Corn meal

green enchilada sauce?

Granola bars


Friday, October 9, 2015

"The Big Disconnect" by Catherine Steiner-Adair

This is a life-changing book for me.  I have been feeling uncomfortable with the way screens and technology are changing our lives.  Taking over our relationships, our time, our thoughts.  My oldest is turning 12 and got a chromebook from school and it's made me look at what boundaries we need to set with.  Then it made me look at my own habits and wonder how I would like my children to pick up those habits.  How would it change our family relationships?  I didn't like what I was feeling but felt helpless as to what to do about it.  This book has helped put into words that uncomfortable feeling and backed it with research and real-life experiences.  It is inspiring me to look at my own screen habits and to "unplug" or "disconnect" more often and focus on being present.  I've always heard and believed how important it is to be "at the crossroads" with our children.  And I've tried to physically do so- to be home and available when my children come home from school or go to a friend's house or activity, just in case they need to talk or so I can be alert to any cues that something is going on.  I had never thought about how my smart phone/texting/emails/blogging takes me away mentally.  I need to be here mentally at the crossroads as well.

I miss those simple days when we spent our time outside as much as possible without a phone.  I miss the days when my husband and I could have a conversation without one of use scrolling through an article or email or texting on our phones.  I miss those days when I wasn't having 3 texting conversations and trying to listen to my 4 children and follow a recipe on my phone.  I miss those days when I would sew or read a book in the evenings instead of perusing blogs and gardening articles, pinterest, emails, facebook while watching a TV show- only halfway doing anything and getting really nothing done.  I miss the days when I accomplished more because I wasn't checking facebook and email and texting every 30 minutes.  Boy, am I telling on myself now!!

My husband and I were one of the last people I know to get smart phones.  Our 3rd child was about 2 years old when we got them.  That was when my life changed- and not for the better.  Yes, it's nice to text sometimes and have mapquest to tell me where to go, etc.  But is it worth the sacrifice of the rest of me?  Maybe I'm being a little dramatic.  Last year when  had my fourth child and the every two hour 20 minute long feedings began, I started getting on my phone even more.  I was on facebook all the time.  I googled every question I had and filled my head with the "wisdom" of the world wide web.  Now I cringe to think about all that wasted time.  I could have spent that time reading to my 4 year old or reading good books to myself or gazing upon the perfection of my newborn.  I so wish I could take back that time.

This week I have vowed to take back my life!  I am trying to get away from my phone, in particular, and focus on my family and building back those relationships.  This paragraph struck me: "The unlimited possibility of the World Wide Web speaks to all of us with its potential for creativity, new knowledge and new relationships.  It offers us an immediate escape from our daily world where so much of what we do is tedious.  But it also imprisons us in its world of infinite access.  It has added a new workplace boss-- not a person but the expanded job demands made of us round the clock with no regard to our need to be separate from work and connected to our self and our families.  In a much larger sense the medium itself has become an even more demanding has no boundaries...We feel compelled to connect and we struggle with the guilt, the lost time and the exhaustion that come with it."  SO TRUE!!!  I have greatly enjoyed the relief from taking back my life.  My phone still calls to me.  Sometimes it is hard.  Sometimes I don't know what to do with myself but it feels good to get away from it all. 

I can't possibly write down all the quotes I liked from this book but here are a few so that I can remind myself if I start slipping back to my old ways:

"Our expanded ability to be technologically connected on screens to the world almost anytime, anyplace, is unquestionably pulling us away from making families primary in children's lives and in grown-ups' lives.  Without being aware of it, we've shifted our attention from the primacy of nourishing family connections in the ordinary ways children need it, and turned instead to self-interests, work and other sources of fulfillment. Left to their own devices, our children will do the same."

"Neurologically speaking, empathy takes time and practice to sink in...the speed and superficiality of the tech experience have thinned the neural experiences that create empathy.  In contrast, activities such as reading books or other substantive content create complex arrays of neural pathways, the necessary rich weave of interconnectedness that develops empathy and allows it to deepen."

"We know that from birth to two the brain is learning not just what to think but how to think , and we know that tech and TV pose risks for your baby's healthy development.  With convenience and consumerism driving the conversation, empirical research can seem so remote, so out of step with what's popular...When we give babies stimulants instead of calming attention and offer tech distractions from ordinary life instead of guidance through it, we teach them at a very young age to deal with life's ups and downs by plugging into external sources to self-regulate rather than develop those skills within."

"As parents, we must find the social and emotional head space to calm ourselves and react to all of these minimoments in nuanced ways.  In our everyday interactions with our children, from doing errands to playtime to bedtime, we are teaching the same thing repeatedly-- self-regulation and social and emotional skills-- but we have to be able to focus on these tasks with genuine interest and presence."

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Week

I love these cute crafts for apples:

And these are so cute for A is for Animals:

C Week

C is for Cloud
Read "Little Cloud".  Go observe the clouds in the sky.
Make cotton ball clouds
Do this from preschoolalphabet:
Blue Skies & White Clouds
  1. On a white piece of paper, use a white crayon to draw cloud shapes all over the paper.
  2. Give the kids a “blank” cloud paper and a cup of watered-down blue paint.
  3. Have them paint a blue sky over the whole paper, revealing all of the white clouds!
Eat blue jello with whipped cream. (clouds)

C is for Chameleon
We tried this idea.
C is for cow

C is for Cookie
Love these ideas! We did the cookie counting game except with chocolate chips instead of M&Ms.

C is for car
My son will love these ideas!

B Week

I got a lot of my ideas from

B is for Bat

Read about bats and look at pictures of bats on the internet.
Go on a bat hunt.  Hide bat cut outs with googly eyes and a fact about bats written on them in white around the house like these.  Give your preschooler a flashlight and let them find the hidden bats.  When they find them, read the information about bats together.
Love this idea:

B is for Butterfly

We made butterfly cutouts in the shape of a B and then he painted them with water colors like these.
We also made a large flower cutout with a hole in the middle and put it over a cup with juice.  He put a straw through the whole to sip the "nectar."  We also made these butterfly cut outs and listened to the song found here.

B is for Baa Baa Black Sheep

Lots of fun from preschoolalphabet.  My son liked doing all of these.

B is for Bear

Again, lots of great ideas from preschoolalphabet.

And I love this idea to add sound effects to "We're Going on a Bear Hunt."

B is for Books

Go on a Book Scavenger Hunt (idea from here.)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Summer Bucket LIst

I love that my kids are driven and that they like to do projects and create things.  They have a summer bucket list but here are a few more ideas from pinterest for them...

Salt and paint

Balloon powered Lego car



Family History

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Summer Goals

Dinner Nights- Tues thru Thurs the boys will be in charge of helping with dinner.  That means the week before they need to decided what they are making so that when I shop on Friday I can get ingredients.

Library events- I want to take the boys to lots of events at the library this year like the special ones about dragonflies, etc.  And of course, sign up for the reading program

Reading Programs-  Speaking of which there are lots of reading programs- Barnes and Nobles, Half Price Books, library.  Every day as part of their chores they need to read at least 20 minutes.  We're going to have a Reading log and they need to fill this out for at least one book a week.  The log will ask the following questions:
What is the title and author?
Who are the characters?
What type of book is this?  (nonfiction, mystery, historical fiction, etc)
What is the conflict?
How is the conflict resolved?
What was your favorite part of the book?
Did you like this book?  Why or why not?
Summarize the story.
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being highly recommend) how would you recommend this book?

Exploration- Every week I want to focus on a different topic.  Throughout the week we will check out books about the topic, find info on the web about it, do activities and organize what we learn into a notebook.  There will be certain questions they need to answer in their notebooks to write about it.  They can draw, cut out pictures, etc. to include as well.  Some of the topics we will take field trips to learn more about.  Topics: dinosaurs, diamonds, the moon, bees, butterflies,

International Dinner- Once a month we will visit a foreign country and eat what they would eat.  I will let the boys pick what country they want to visit.

Art- I would like to have some art projects (once a week?).  I also want to frame the art they've already done and hang it up nicely in our play room.

Day trips- (On top of our longer planned vacations) 50 cent movies, beach, Brazos Bend, Lone Ranger Train?, Austin, Outdoor Theatre, Science Museum- free night, zoo

Schedule- Quiet Time everyday between 1-3 in their room to let Evie get  a nap and Mom accomplish things or take a nap, too. :)  After 3 we can play with friends, go swimming, have media time, etc.  I would like to start out quiet time with Mommy reading hour right after lunch I want to read out loud to them for 30 minutes.  During lunch I would like to read part of For the Strength of Youth and repeat the articles of faith.  (I'm kind of thinking backwards here.)  Breakfast will probably be whenever they get up and are ready so no set time.  But I do want to have some sort of exercise in the morning.  I haven't figured out how that will work yet.

Bored?  Do indexing!!!  Dallas said he wants to learn to do this this summer.

Chores:  Once they finish chores they can one hour of media time- computer games, cartoons, Wii.  Watching another play counts as their time!  Here are the chores:
Dress, teeth
Make beds (do better job)
Put away clothes
Weed 100 weeds or do garden chore or Trim under trampoline
Read 20 mins, Fill out reading log once a week
Practice piano
Do vocab practice on computer
Do TEA website
2 a week work on Exploration Notebook
2 a week do a WS page from school books

Piano lessons:  I am going to teach all my lessons, including Dallas and Levi on Mondays.  I have some goals for my students:  1 Min Race; Banana Split practice incentive; Recital in July; Find Curriculum about ear training and study; Visit music store to find some fun sheet music

Marriage:  Plan weekly dates; Have Sunday night planning/companion study

Personal:  Get 3 month food storage; 30 minutes a day in my scriptures;  I want to do strength training and 30 minutes a day exercise; Eat more protein and less sugar- Drink a green smoothie everyday; Practice my piano, too; Make more homemade bread; Stick to a budget; Finish my sewing projects; Continue to keep up the blog; Plan fall garden and start seeds