Thursday, November 25, 2010

'Tis the Season

Well, it is that time of year again. It always amazes me how much earlier the Christmas stuff comes out every year. I suppose in a few more years, we can just leave all of our Christmas decorations out because it will be the season again in January...nah, I don't think our HOA would approve!

We received an offer through our homeschool group for a gift bag from the local mall. It contained a free carousel ride, a $10 mall gift card, a $10 gift card to Picture People, a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich (who could pass that up?!) and a free 5 x 7 with Santa. Of course we were one of the crazy families there at 10 am to get a gift bag! It was great walking around and seeing several other homeschool families out at the mall. While we were there, we got our annual picture with Santa.


I pretty much let the kids dress themselves, they are beyond the age where I can convince them to dress cute for Santa pictures. At least they were color coordinated! Only in the South will you find kids in sandals in Santa pictures! I think it was in the 80s that day!
I am still behind on all of my preparations and will most likely not be joining the Black Friday crowds since I have no idea what I will buy for anyone, but I did complete the Santa picture a week and a half before Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our Little Ballerina

Our little ballerina had a mini-recital to show the parents what they have been learning since August. Princess TD absolutely loves ballet and wonders almost daily about how long it will be until she can dance pointe. I recorded it on my camera to share with family and immediately she asked me to post it on Facebook. I, of course, asked if I could post it on the blog instead. She agreed, so here it is.

video

It is not the best resolution. Next time I will try the higher resolution and see if that comes out better.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Blessed

Hmm...I find it very interesting that Google Reader has recommended my own blog as one I should follow. I don't know if that happens to everyone, but I thought maybe it was a not so subtle hint that I do indeed have a blog and that I should be updating it more often!

I also learned I have 12 followers! Wow! I had no idea that many people still read my ramblings outside of family. So, for the dozen of you still reading, here's an update.

This summer has been crazy to say the least. I can sum it up in one word...cancer...not in our little immediate family, but in our extended family. Our summer has been filled with doctors appointments, surgeries and hospital visits. Grammie was diagnosed within the last month, and her second surgery is scheduled for September 23. Please keep her in your prayers as we move through this difficult transition in her life.

This summer (and spring too) we have had to call on some of our good friends to help us out during these (and a couple of other) crises. It has been such an awesome blessing to see all of those who jumped in to help us and even those who offered and weren't able to help due to their circumstances at the time. So often we all go through life without really realizing how many lives we touch and how many people are there willing to help if they just know of the need. Our family has been blessed beyond words with wonderful people who are praying for us and with us, or are just there for us when we need it.

Thank you to all of our sweet friends! Your calls, e-mails, handwritten notes (Thanks WE. Your note made my day!), shared scriptures (even if I didn't get to read it...=)), and texts have made this so much easier.

We are blessed!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Weekend Off

We have had quite a few things going on in our life recently that has made our minds a bit preoccupied with things other than family fun. We decided to take a weekend off last weekend and spend the day out in the boat. We all lathered up in our SPF 50 sunscreen and headed to the lake!

We had a blast!

We ran around the lake for a bit.

We went swimming near the island. Even Mr. TD got in the water and easily got out for the first time since his back injury 3 1/2 years ago. He thoroughly enjoyed being in the water again!

We had a picnic lunch near the dam.

After lunch, we let the kids go tubing! They had a blast! They spent a good 2 hours in the tube telling us to go faster and faster. We didn't always do it, because most of the lake shore is bulkhead, which after a few hours of boat traffic makes the lake pretty choppy.

I did my best to snap a few pictures...it's kind of hard to hold the camera still on digital zoom when you are riding in a boat at 20+ mph on a choppy lake. Many of the pictures were of the top of the kids head with a good view of the boat wake!

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We can't wait to go again! We'll see what the schedule allows in the next few weeks!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Creativity and TV

In our normal day-to-day life, we don't watch much TV.

We might watch a few age appropriate shows in the morning as we get moving, but for the majority of the day we leave the TV off. There just isn't much on that I am interested in watching for my kids or myself. We have a lot more fun with playtime and it makes starting the school day much easier.

However, when I am finishing up dinner when after Mr. TD gets home, he typically turns it on and watches either a home improvement show or something on Food Network. It usually turns out that we start watching the Food Network Challenge show. We are truly amazed at what these artists can create out of sugar and cake! We have become quite the family of armchair judges and love to try to pick who the big winner will be.

I can remember when I was growing up hearing the adults around me talking about how watching too much TV would stifle our creativity and dull our minds. I am just not sure that is true!

Here's why:

My sweet little ones have wanted to play with the Play Doh for a couple of weeks now. Because of our schedule, we haven't had the uninterrupted time for them to make the mess and clean it up before we were on the run again. Finally, we had a few hours, so I let them go at it!

Within minutes, they were designing and building cakes. Little TD said, "Wait!" and ran to his room and came back a few minutes later. I was in the process of doing laundry, so I missed a bit of the complete conversation, but when I returned to the kitchen, this is what I heard:

Princess TD: " Okay, now move your designs to the table."

Little TD: "Wow! I made it!"

Princess TD: "Time to face the judges."

(Some conversation I didn't quite catch...)

Princess TD: "And the winner of the Food Network Play Doh Challenge is.....Little TD!"

(Cheers from both)

Little TD: "I can't believe it!" (Said as Princess TD puts a play medal around his neck which was won by Little TD at a friends birthday party almost 3 years ago!)

Little TD: "Okay Sissy, now it's your turn to win!"


They then proceeded to demolish their creations and start all over again with Princess TD winning the second time.

Pretty creative if you ask me!

No pictures this time...just a funny story. Next time I will have the SD card IN my camera instead of attached to my computer!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Princess TD has a Birthday!

Princess TD is 7 years old! I can hardly believe my baby is 7! It is truly amazing how fast she has grown. I am incredibly blessed that I can be at home to watch her grow and mature into such a sweet young lady. There are always hard days, but overall this adventure has been wonderful. An adventure made even more sweet by her learning at home. I continue to be amazed at the wonder of the light bulb moments when she figures out something she has struggled to understand. I am one blessed momma!
She has expressed an interest in dance off and on since she was young, but she never wanted to take a class. We weren't going to force her to go if it was only going to be a fight for us. She finally decided that she wanted to take a ballet class. She is thoroughly enjoying it and wants to continue. We will have to see if it will continue to be feasible to continue long term, both with schedule and financial considerations. Here she is on her first day.

Traditionally for her birthday, we have purchased a July 4th themed outfit for her to wear. Most of the time the shirt or dress would have something embroidered that would be along the lines of "Independence Girl," "Firecracker" or the like, which is VERY appropriate for her and not just because her birthday is July 4th. She has grown to be so tall, that clothing manufacturers don't make cute clothes like that anymore in her size. Therefore, this momma is forced to make her the outfits that she wants. {Oh, and I am no where near as talented as her Grammie (my mom) when it comes to sewing...this outfit was HUGE when I first fitted it to her!} It just so happened that I had just enough fabric left over to make her doll, Katherine, a similar matching outfit.

This year for her cake, she wanted one with a Strawberry Shortcake theme. I had grand plans for how the cake would look, but the actual cake was no where near what I wanted it to be. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was rushing a bit to get things moving, and my top layer fell apart. I had to use an entire batch of icing just to "glue" it back together. Needless to say, it wasn't even close to level. Overall, it came out pretty good though, and I think it was one of my tastiest cakes to date!


On the evening of her birthday, we ventured over to our former neighbor's new home and did some kid fireworks with their daughter. We had a blast...literally! Our neighbors new home is gorgeous and we will sure miss them, especially the crazy things KT with her friend CJ. They are great kids and a lot of fun to be around. Hopefully CJ will still come around when he gets bored...Little TD loves learning scooter tricks from him!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

American Heritage Girls Family Campout

This year was the first year for a new American Heritage Girls troop that we joined in September. It has been so much fun for both Princess TD and me. Even Little TD is learning a lot when he sits in on our meetings. He just loved learning about airplanes when we did the Aviation badge!

Anyway, the troop planned a family campout for spring. Quite a few of the families had not camped before, and not knowing really what to expect, it was definitely a challenge for Mrs. H to plan! We all really appreciate the hard work she put into planning this campout for us.

We all had a great time on Saturday, but the trip was cut short because of the threat of rain. It seems any time the TD Family is camping, you can count on the threat of rain! We completed our activities for the day, which included working on completing the Hiking and Fire Safety badges.

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We had an awesome time and can't wait for the next campout!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Our Visit with Friends

Back in March when we took our anniversary camping trip, we stopped by to visit some friends who moved to the area. We had an awesome visit and Princess TD and Little TD haven't stopped talking about Mr. James, Ms. Carole, and their kids V, JD, S, and T.

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We had a great visit! They moved into their house just about a year ago, and we hadn't seen it yet. It is a beautiful home made even more beautiful by the sweet family who lives in it. Even though it had been some time since our whole families had been together, the kids just picked up right where they left off, and so did the adults. It is such a blessing to have good friends like that!

Ms. Carole taught Princess TD so much about chickens! She took her out to the coop (Mr. James did an awesome job building it) and showed her the chickens and chicks and explained how the eggs were gathered. Princess TD even gathered some eggs, and then was so proud when we got to bring some home with us! There is nothing better than farm fresh eggs! Here are a couple for comparison: the green egg, a brown egg (both from the ranch) and a store bought white egg.



Just a few short weeks after our visit, Mr. James had an accident on his dirt bike and broke his knee and leg. It was a pretty serious injury that required surgery. He experienced complications due to infection and has spent a little more than the last 2 months in the hospital. He is supposed to be going home this week. We continue to pray for him and healing. We love you Mr. James!!!


Update: As of today, June 29, Mr. James is heading home to be with his family again!!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

This & That

I have so many blog posts rambling around, but not nearly enough hours in the day to complete them all, I am going to do a quick, bullet point update for everyone.


  • School is going very well. Princess TD is reading independently and I am so impressed with her comprehension. She loves our curriculum and the more challenging readers that we are reading. She loves to retell the stories to me, her brother, Mr. TD and really anyone who will listen. I guess she's catching on pretty well to the concept of narration...gotta love Charlotte Mason!

  • Speaking of school and our curriculum...I am making the trek up north (to Arlington) to meet the author of the curriculum we use, Carrie Austin. I can't express enough how excited I am to finally meet her and talk about our future plans with Heart of Dakota! I have been planning out my questions and thoughts...I am sure this will be a moment where I say something silly or forget to ask a question, so it is my goal to be prepared! (I am almost as excited as when I got to meet Lisa Whelchel. =))


  • Planning my meeting has made me realize how silly and insecure I can be at times, but the thoughts of insecurity were confirmed when I attended the second half of the simulcast of Beth Moore's So Long, Insecurity. (Great book, BTW) I realized that all of the fretting I am doing over meeting "the author" is just plain crazy! I am not meeting "The Author," which is where I should feel humbled and insecure, but another homeschooling mom like myself. I am now praying for His guidance as I ask the questions needed to make our homeschool what He wants it to be. (Oh, and I am still taking my list! I do think He expects some preparation on my part!)

  • Easter was so much fun this year! We had some great friends over for lunch after church and then our kids went on an egg hunt. I was amazed at how fast the 4 kids found all of the eggs. We barely had time to get our cameras turned on and ourselves out the door before they had the backyard cleaned out! Here are Princess TD and Little TD after we returned home from church and of the candy swap after the egg hunt. So cute!

  • I have posted about American Heritage Girls before, and will post about our first camp trip soon, but not much about what we are looking for in the group. Princess TD makes friends everywhere we go, but rarely do we see the girls she makes friends with again. Our homeschool group is so large, that you have to make an effort to connect with another family to ever hope to see them again. We have done that with a couple of families, but we were still looking for a regular connection with the same group of girls. AHG has provided that for us, as well as leading us to another homeschool group. We, and especially Princess TD, enjoy seeing the same girls every week and it is providing her the chance to work on her skills at maintaining friendships. In an effort to promote these relations, one of the AHG moms planned a Tea Party for the girls, where they came all dressed up for a special time together. Princess TD wore a dress that was sent to her by my aunt, and my grandma's (my aunt's mom) china tea cup and saucer. She was so adorable that day and even drank from her cup with her pinkie up (much to Mr. TD's chagrin). Little TD was along for the ride that day and as usual, was a perfect angel. I only hope that Princess TD is just as compliant when he gets to the age where he has his own activities that don't include her! I can hope, right?!? Here's the Princess at her Tea Party!


Well, that is all for now. Stay tuned for a report on the camp out...it was a blast!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Badge Work

Princess TD has been working on a few badges at home for American Heritage Girls. She has completed several in class, and a surprise two at our AHG Family Camp Out last weekend. One of the ones she wanted to complete at home was the Photography badge. The book is pretty old, and says that all the badge work must be completed on a 35mm camera. Well, I worked with one of our troop committee members to rewrite the requirements for a digital camera. She completed the badge with her digital camera (and mine). She was to take 24 pictures around the neighborhood. She opted to wait for the spring flowers to bloom and took pictures of them at our house, our neighbors houses and at a local park. She did a great job and took some very interesting shots. Here is what she took:

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At our end of the year banquet, Princess TD will receive the following badges: Our Flag, Gardening, Aviation, Outdoor Skills, Cycling, Photography, Hiking, and Fire Safety/Fire Building. She is having a blast with the group and loves going to the meetings.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Camp Anniversary

The last few years, it has become a family tradition to plan a camping trip to celebrate our anniversary. This year we planned a joint trip with Mr. TD's parents. We chose a central location in Mission Tejas State Park, and made our preparations. We camp so often, we have a checklist, and our site set-up runs like a well oiled machine. We arrived at camp after Grandma and Grandpa, but made quick work of setting up our site and were able to help them finish setting up their trailer.


Since our first night there was our actual anniversary, Grandma made dinner and it was yummy! She made taco soup and it was perfect since that afternoon was a bit chilly. We could definitely tell when that cold front came through!

The weather forcast said there was a slight chance of scattered thunderstorms our first night out. Well, let me say there was a 100% chance of thunderstorms where we were! Our canopy over our eating area collapsed from the weight of the rain water! We woke up to one of the corners of the shelter bent inward and almost touching the ground. It was all mangled and the metal supports were bent beyond repair. We were able to bend them back to somewhat the proper place, but it won't be used again. Grandpa took it home with him to see if he could use parts from it to salvage our first canopy that also had bent supports. Needless to say, we'll be looking for a new shelter design - soon!

Princess TD spent every night in the camper with Grandma and Grandpa. Little TD spent one night in the camper, but preferred sleeping in the tent where his sister couldn't bother him! They had a blast running back and forth between the two sites.

On our second day, we hiked all over the park and explored many things in nature. Grandma spent a lot of time teaching Princess TD about the blooming plants we encountered. Princess TD was like Grandma's shadow and followed her everywhere. Little TD loved collecting sticks and trying to make a bow and arrow, a sword and any other "boy" kind of thing! He loved playing outside in the woods.



















Princess TD took this picture of the rest of us on our hike. She did a great job!

On our third day, we visited the park in Rusk to look at it for a potential camp trip and check out the train of the Texas State Railroad. When the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart on re-entry, approximately 50 pieces of the shuttle were found in Rusk State Park. It was amazing to look at the pictures at the memorial site they created.




After exploring a bit outside and in the gift shop, Princess TD sat with Grandma and Grandpa watching a film on the history of the railroad, and Little TD and I watched the engine come through and attach to the passenger cars to make the trip to Palestine. He loved watching the train couple up! He about jumped out of his skin each time the engine blew its whistle-it was VERY loud! We will have to come back and take the train ride! The park was very nice too! We picked out a couple of good sites for our tent.




















After we returned back to Mission Tejas, we attempted to recreate a picture that was taken of Mr. TD's family at the Mission San Fransisco de los Tejas at the park when Mr. TD was almost 2 years old! We didn't get the recreated picture, but opted for a "new" family picture instead!

Our last day was spent cleaning up the pollen as best we could on all of our things to get them packed up. The bottom of our tent was still wet from the rainstorm, so we had to dry it off before we could pack it back up. After we cleared out our site, we headed to our friends ranch nearby. That will have to be another post...this one is long and I'm tired!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Long time, no post...

Well it seems that my good intentions to post more regularly have all but died! There are so many things happening all at once, I can't seem to pull myself away from life long enough to share them with everyone here. I think I am going to have to schedule time to blog into my weekly routine so then it gets done a couple times a month. But there I go again with good intentions.

School is going very well. Little TD is asking daily to do school and wants it to last longer. I am still on the fence about starting him in Kindergarten early. He is ready to learn to read and has been doing basic math skills (thanks to his big sister) and is mastering drawing lines and holding a pencil, so I am not sure why I am so concerned. I guess it is the pressure from the long history of public school thought that you shouldn't start Kindergarten until you are 5 years old. It would really only be a few months before he's five, so I don't see him at a huge disadvantage! One of my best friends from high school was born in November and she started school before she was 5 too, and she turned out great-she graduated from high school early and has a master's degree. I really should stop second guessing myself I guess.

He has had a couple of fun projects in his school time. Back in January, we were studying about Joshua and Jericho. Here he is constructing his own wall of Jericho out of peanut butter and crackers.

His teacher wasn't very prepared, so we didn't have square crackers. We just had to use extra "mortar" to keep the wall upright. It made for a tasty lunch too!

That same week, we also built the city of Jericho out of blocks and then marched around the city and knocked the wall down. Just like typical boys, his favorite part was the knocking down of the walls!

Princess TD is still loving school at home. She is still perplexed why it takes the neighborhood kids so long when they go to school. She definitely doesn't want to join them, but is curious why hers is so short. Of course I gave her the obvious reason -that she is very intelligent and that I only have Little TD and her to teach at school, and not 18-20 more kids.

We started working on the concept of multiplication last week, and she got it in about 10 minutes. I was amazed! Now I guess we move on to fact memorization...(yuck! I was never big on memorization!) Thanks to the recommendation of one of my good friends, who is a veteran homeschool mom herself, I think we'll get that down pretty quick because we have been listening to this for a couple of years now.

Her least favorite subject continues to be writing and copywork. She seems to enjoy copying scripture on paper she can color, so that is where we are working now.

As a science experiment, we planted some seeds to watch them sprout. We planted a few green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet peppers. I choose these partly because of the differences in germination times and partly because those were things that my family would actually eat if they grew! Well, guess what!? I haven't killed them yet, so we planted them in a Square Foot Garden in the back yard! Here is a picture on the day they were planted.


So far they are still growing, and the extra seedlings are still growing in smaller pots, just in case the planted ones don't make it!

Another project we did a couple of months ago involved dropping a crayon into a glass of water to see what would happen. It sank, of course. Then we added a couple of tablespoons of salt, and then put the crayon back to see what would happen. It floated. Princess TD was thrilled it worked!


Well, that will do it for the update this week. Spring is in the air and we are venturing out for our usual activities. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for our anniversary celebration camping trip, the zoo, Blue Bell ice cream and bluebonnets, our first American Heritage Girls family campout and time with good friends! It will be a busy spring for us!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just a few things going on...

We have been busy. Well, we are always busy, but this month has been exceptionally busy! There is so much to cover...where to begin!

  • We started the month staying up way too late and having fun playing cards with some good friends. It's always a great way to start the month and the year celebrating with friends (and their family too)!

  • After recovering, the next week (oh, and it does take a week when you get to be our age!) we hosted my sister, my nieces and another gymnast from my sister's gym when they were in town for a meet in Katy. We kept my youngest niece while the rest were at the meet. Let's just say, she wasn't exactly thrilled with me! Every time I looked at her, talked to her, anything. she screamed and cried! I am usually the one who can put any one's baby to sleep....not my niece! Princess TD was the only one who could get her to stop crying, eat or drink anything. So, my sweet little girl got a crash course in babysitting and boy was she thrilled to be the one "in charge" of taking care of her cousin! She got so tired of crying at one point, she crawled over to her bear and went to sleep...so cute!

  • During said weekend, the extra gymnast who was staying with us contracted a stomach bug. He was sick the whole weekend. Poor thing. He only stayed with us for one night, and I immediately cleaned everything he touched with Clorox wipes.


  • The week following, my sister and her whole family contracted said stomach bug. Not so much a big deal for us since they live in the next state, BUT we were planning to visit them the next weekend for my niece's 1st birthday! Wow! Luckily they were all well, the house was cleaned and we avoided the bug!


  • We then followed every slow driver across east Texas to make our way to my niece's first birthday party. It seemed to take us all day to get there! My mom was visiting from St. Louis, so it was a good old fashioned family party. It was great and my niece loved her gifts (except the ones we gave her, clothes) and loved the cake. My sister made her a banana cake with banana flavored icing. Here's the sweet birthday girl!


  • This is proof that she can be a happy baby, as long as her aunt is not talking to her! She was happy to be playing with Princess TD, who is sitting behind her in the picture!


  • Princess TD is loving American Heritage Girls. We are meeting 3 times a month now, and things are on a roll. She has completed her first badge, Our Flag, and is working on Aviation, Cycling, Photography and Sewing. She has a pen-pal in Ohio that she is writing to every month this year. We are still working on the first letter. We are also working on cards for a couple of soldiers stationed overseas. I am now a helper in her group. Little TD just sits in the corner and plays while we are occupied. Princess TD wants to enroll him in the Kindergarten group, but was very disappointed when I explained that it was only for girls.


  • Little TD is growing up so fast! He is clearly into the preschool stage, if not on his way to the elementary stage! He can keep up with the little boy across the street who is in Kindergarten (and almost 6). They are constantly racing to see who is faster. It's really cute to see him playing with boy things and outgrowing the "girly" things he did with his sister and the little girl next door (who is his age).

  • Just for my aunt, here is a picture of the kids from Christmas day. They are playing with the new things Santa brought, a bike for Princess TD, and a scooter for Little TD. More Christmas pictures will follow.