Tuesday, June 28, 2011


We had a birthday to go to for a wonderful friend turning 9 years old. We weren't sure what kind of gift we could make and then remembered that he is crazy about LEGOs just like my boys. I had a LEGO ice cube tray I bought a few years ago for a LEGO themed birthday party. Since then I have been collecting silicone ice cube trays in fun shapes whenever I see them for my soap making. I hadn't tried making soaps in that mold yet, but thought they would come out super cute. This project was something that all the kids could help with too. We used a melt and pour soap base that I melted in the microwave. Then the kids added food coloring and a scent of their choice before we poured it in the mold. The result was a colorful assortment of yummy smelling mini soaps! I especially loved that the kids all got to be a part of the crafting this time.

I had to show off this awesome pop-up card my oldest made for the birthday boy. He used this tutorial. I thought he did great! 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Our Week : 6.25.11

This week was pretty low-key. We kept up our studies with Lesson Pathways. I'm still trying to get into a good rhythm with homeschooling, but we're not quite there yet. We have made progress though. I saw an idea on funschooling that I thought might work for us. She uses a private blog to record assignments for the day. We tried that this week and it really seemed to work well. It was easy to fill in each morning, and I just edited the previous day to reflect what actually got done. We will continue with this for this next week and hopefully it will continue to work for us.

Here are some highlights from this week. Boog has been reviewing multiplication facts. We've never played Timez Attack before although I've seen it mentioned on other homeschooling sites in the past. It's been great for multiplication practice. He also built a mini solar cooker out of a Pringles chip can. He cooked himself a hot dog that tasted pretty good (he said.) It did take about 2 1/2 hours though.

Here it is with marshmallows. Why? I have no idea. I forgot to get a pic of it in action.

Roni read Mercy Watson to the Rescue this week and wrote his own animal story. It's the first time he's ever tried any kind of creative writing. He's my "facts only" kid. At the library, we can usually find him in the non-fiction section. This was a stretch for him. It's short but cute!

The Rat Problem
One day a cat named Elwood and his brother named Jack lived in New York. They had a problem. RATS!!! They had to think fast or the rats would take over the world. Jack had an idea. He thought about using rat repellant, but Elwood had another idea. He wanted to scare the rats away. The brothers agreed to use both ideas. First they scared the rats. Then they used rat repellant. And it worked! Then they lived happily ever after.
He also studied the Indus River Valley civilization. Is it ok to admit that I don't remember anything about this civilization? I feel a bit embarrassed. I think I enjoyed learning the history as much as he did. He even made some cool mandala art and Pixie got in on that project too.

Pixie and I read lots of books this week. She had gotten a bit behind her brothers on the library reading program so we went to town on a bunch of books this week. One of our favorite books from the library was Fairy Houses. We made plans to build our own fairy house very soon. We thought it might be fun to build one down by the river so we need to plan a day to go down there. She also practiced writing her numbers. She is very businesslike about her schoolwork. It's pretty fun to watch. She's definitely the one I have to break my no-worksheets rule for. She loves them.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Story (6) : The Hospital

Within a couple of weeks of getting my prescription for blood pressure meds, they stopped working. My blood pressure was all over the place. I emailed my doctor about it. She told me that she was at the hospital that day and I needed to come in. Again, everyone flipped out when I got there. They admitted me to monitor me while they did another 24 hour urine test. I would not accept the possibility that I might have to bring this baby into the world so early. I was only 29 weeks pregnant. I believed that this was merely a medication issue. I just needed to find the right combination of meds to get me to the end. They sent in a NICU nurse to talk to me about what would need to happen for Baby at 29 weeks gestation. I thanked him kindly for his time but told him that I wasn't there to have this baby - only as a precaution. I fought with nearly everyone who came in mostly about the vbac issue. It seemed that all the residents and doctors wanted to convince me that I was wrong. I again reassured them that if I needed to have an emergency delivery then I would probably opt for a repeat c-section but that I still believed I could go full-term and have a safe vbac. It was a miserable 24 hours. I really hate hospitals. We finally got back the results from the 24 hour test and it showed an increase in protein levels. Thankfully, at that point, my levels indicated mild pre-eclampsia. One doctor in particular tried to convince me to stay in the hospital. I refused. I wanted to go home.

I was home on bed rest for less than a week. That weekend we celebrated Fourth of July and my sister came for a visit. She had been planning the trip for awhile to help me get ready for baby #4. The day after she arrived, she drove me to my doctor for an appointment. It wasn't good. My doctor came in and sat next to the exam table. I was lying on my side to try and bring my blood pressure down. She said I needed to go back to the hospital. I asked if I had time to go home and pack a bag. "No," she said, "You need to go straight there." My husband and I had spent the weekend talking about whether or not to have the steroid shot to prepare the baby's lungs in case she needed to come early. I was hesitant, but after researching it and talking to one of the doctors at the hospital, I felt like it was the best choice for our situation. But, we hadn't had the shot yet. I knew that would be the first thing to do once at the hospital.

My sister drove me back to the hospital and waited with me until my husband could get there. What did I freak out about as I was waiting to be admitted? The fact that I hadn't knit a purple hat out of cotton yarn for the baby to wear when she was born. I was giving her instructions on where to go and what to get for me. I had to at least have a homemade hat for her. I'm sure I sounded a bit crazy. It was easier to freak out about a silly hat than face the realities of what was going on with my body.

Ahh, teaching hospitals. For the most part, we had a really good experience. But, there was one resident that drove me insane. He talked to me like I was a complete idiot. He sat down next to me while admitting me and said in a very syrupy voice, "So, Mrs. B, you have what we call high blood pressure." No sh-- sherlock. I wish I could remember his name, because even that was annoying, and he looked like he was 17 years old too. Anyway, it became a joke because this person kept showing up. Every time he would walk into my hospital room, my husband would start chuckling to himself. He thought it was funny especially because he annoyed me so much. The flip side was another doctor there that I really came to trust. He knew first hand the stress of having a baby premature. I trusted his opinion because he "got" that I wasn't in this to just save myself. I was determined to give my baby the best possible chance which meant I needed her to stay safe in my womb for as long as possible. He explained things to my husband and I (like the steroids) with respect and real data about risks and benefits. He was never condescending. Thank God for him. Truly.

I knew I was stuck in the hospital until Baby arrived. Everything I was trying to avoid - extra tests etc., I was now having ten-fold. Two non-stress tests a day, ultrasounds, medications, blood pressure checks all the time...the whole works. I felt like I was defeated. My hope for a natural birth was completely destroyed. And I felt like I couldn't be sad about it because this was what was going to keep Baby and me alive. I did my best to focus on staying pregnant. We were past 30 weeks which was better than 29 but I really wanted to get to 35 weeks. My awesome friends kept my spirits up. They all came bearing gifts of snack foods (the hospital food was getting to me) and nail polish. They gave me a pedicure and chocolate. What more could a girl want? I passed the 31 week mark. Another week down. I just kept thinking that every day I was still pregnant was a good day. So far I was maintaining all my levels and the tests showed that Baby was doing fine. But, how long would it last?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

We've had a low-key day today. The kids and I made cake pops for Brad (or maybe mostly for us???) to celebrate Father's Day. They weren't as pretty as the ones by Bakerella in her cool Cake Pop cookbook I checked out from the library, but they sure tasted yummy! We told him the orange was for the Harley's he loves. He didn't get the carefree day I think he was hoping for, but I hope he knows how much we appreciate him. He's an amazing daddy and husband, the rock of our family. Love you sweetie!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Our Week : 6.18.11

Homeschooling mama is back! I'm sure everyone could hear the weeping and groaning from my house this week. No more lazy days of Netflix and Roblox. I'm kidding. The reality is that this past year has been incredibly stressful for my kids too. They've had to become very self-sufficient and learned a ton of life skills. They all help me so much and help take care of their baby sister. Thankfully, as I've gotten stronger, they've had to do less but that means it's time to get back to our studies.

I just learned about a free curriculum site, Lesson Pathways, from a new friend. I am such a huge fan of Charlotte Mason style homeschooling and this is not CM at all. But, we need something a bit different right now. So, we're giving it a try and so far are really enjoying it. It's so nice to have a bunch of links to information on the internet all together in one place. We made it to the library this week so I did get some books to supplement the online information as well.

We also squeezed in some craft time. My two middle kids have been begging to sew something on my sewing machine. We opted for some pillows for their first project. They traced a square washcloth onto their choice of fabric. Then they sewed and stuffed.

They came out great, funny faces and all! 

And the littlest one has been hard at work too. She has learned to clap this week. This is significant because it's one of the milestones that we haven't been able to check off the list. I wasn't worried because she was using both hands and passing toys back and forth, but it's good to see her figure it out. We still can't convince her to try crawling though. Here she is mid roll. That's her preferred form of transport right now. 

And I thought I'd share the poem that Boog wrote this week. He was supposed to make a list of things that bother him and he turned it into a poem. It made me chuckle just a little...

The Things that Bother Me
My brother’s a nuisance
My sister’s a pain
My dog’s a nut-brain 
And dishes are just LAME!
Bees i dislike
Whining i just hate
Spiders make me sick
And headaches make me shake.
All of these thing fill me with rage
I just wish i could make them go away!  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hello My Friend

I actually dragged out my long lost friend, my sewing machine, this past weekend. It felt good to do something crafty even if it was something so simple. One tea towel apron for a special friend of my daughter who had a very fun horse themed party. I had a heck of a time finding little cooking utensils to go with the gift. I ended up finding these cuties at Bed, Bath and Beyond but that was my 4th or 5th stop. I'm going to have to keep a look out for kid's cooking utensils. I know I've seen them at Michaels and Target before. Next time, I think I'll stock up so we always have a few extra. These aprons are so quick to put together, and I know my daughter and niece use their aprons all the time. I've made this apron and this one before as well as a few that never made it on this blog.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Dear 39,

Ate half a doughnut...what a treat!

I had a great first day, 39. We had treats, my favorite dinner, new shoes and a trip to the library. I had lots of birthday wishes that made me feel very loved. It was my kind of perfect day.

I really have high hopes for you, 39. You see there were several doctors that thought I wouldn't make it to 39. They told my family to say goodbye...even my young kids. I don't remember that part because I was pretty out of it, but it was traumatic for the whole family. And now, here I am celebrating another year. Is it selfish to hope that 39 is better than 38? You know that 38 was not that kind to me with all the medical issues. I mean I'm incredibly grateful for my beautiful family, my kids and husband. I'm especially grateful for the birth of my sweet baby. I'm so thankful for her health and her happy demeanor. But, seriously, it was the day after 38 came into my life that all of my medical issues started - my first trip to the hospital. And those hospital trips just kept coming and the stays got longer each time.

I still have healing to do, but I feel so much stronger than a few months ago. I'm home being "mom" again. That's really all I want out of life. It seems so silly. I was so ambitious when I was younger - fancy college, fancy job. Now? The fanciest job I could ever ask for is at home with my kids.

Library Trip

I really wish I could see into the future. I really want to see if I'll get a different kind of year this year. I want a year of good health, peace and maybe even some room for me to get a little entrepreneurial. I don't want to worry about pain and sickness. I want to focus on wellness.

So 39, I'm counting on you taking me out of my thirties on a high note. I want to be able to look back at 38 and say that it was incredibly difficult but we made it through. 39, I want you to be the year that I can look back on and smile. I really like smiling. :)

Sincerely yours,


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Pac-Man Cake

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated Roni's 8th birthday. He loves homemade cakes. Well, home-decorated cakes...I still usually end up using a cake mix. I am by no means "good" at cake decorating. My mom is amazing. She hasn't done much recently, but when I was a kid she made amazing cakes. I should make her dig up a few pictures for me...hey, mom?! Anyway, my cake decorating is purely for fun and not professional at all. In the past he has had a dinosaur cake, space shuttle, a horse and a cute little teddy bear for his first birthday. This year he wanted Pac-Man which totally cracked me up because it seems so eighties. Because of our crazy year, I wasn't sure I could get it done. But, somehow we managed. It was the first time I've ever used fondant. I used this marshmallow fondant recipe. It actually didn't even taste too bad. I just made two round cakes and didn't trim the top but left the top kind of rounded. I cut out the mouth and covered it in the yellow fondant. Then I used a cup to cut two dots from the cake I had cut from Pac-Man's mouth. I covered those with white fondant. Hopefully, I can try using marshmallow fondant again. I can see where I could have cleaned it up a bit, but overall I was really pleased with the results. And my-now-8-year-old was pleased too which is what's important!