Monday, September 1, 2014
It's time for some updates!
Our two biggest bits of news are that Zach came home from his deployment before we expected him to, and he and Heather have finalized a date for their wedding! Our family will be growing by 2 at the end of the year, as we welcome Heather and her son Brayden into our clan.
Annaliese was recently in town for Brayden's birthday. It was nice to see her.
Josiah is home from his summer in Nevada. He's hoping to get his permit soon and start learning to drive.
Sam had a birthday! Sweet 16! Or stinky 16, as he's been wrapped up in football practice lately.
This kinda looks like Brianna just thwacked her head on the diving board, but there are two of them, and she jumped off the other one. She's adjusting well to high school life.
That's Eli going off the high dive. This will probably be his last year homeschooling, as he's in 8th grade this year. Next year, he'll be off to high school, too.
Eli just had a birthday, as well, which means we now have 4 teenagers in the house again!
This picture of Jack was taken at the park recently while we were meeting new friends. I love the way homeschooled kids get together and include everybody. My kids had a really great time, and I'm still hearing about it, days later.
Hannah got her first second grade report card. They have letter grades now! Oh my! She got all As and Bs, and we're very proud of her, but my goodness, does she have to grow up so fast??
Katie will be having surgery in October. One of the docs at Shriners will be separating the little fingers on one of her hands, and releasing the band around her calf, as well. So we'll have a full arm cast on one side, and probably just bandages on the other while she's healing. We've been waiting for a surgery date since last September, so this is a very good thing. I would have pursued getting a date a lot more aggressively if it were an emergent surgery. As it is, someone dropped the ball, and with everything else we've had going on, I never followed up to see what happened.
School is going well for Luke. He gets lots of attention, since there's a teacher and 2 aides, and only 2 students in the class.
Paul has been really great, carrying more than his share around here when he's home. I know he'd appreciate your prayers.
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Sunday, August 31, 2014
August has been the Back To School month, and as such, we've been trying to figure out our routines. There haven't been as many focused learning sessions with Katie as I would like, but I still have some pictures to share.
Brianna and Katie, performing their acrobatic balancing act. It's so cute to see Katie's arms stretched out as she stands on Bri's legs.
You may have noticed Katie wearing pop beads in the Neighborhood Night Out pictures. She loves pop beads.
They're also very good fine motor practice for her.
Sometimes she needs help with them. We're working on saying, "Help, please," instead of whining. Not just with pop beads, but with other areas, as well.
Katie has some of her colors down, but we're still working on them.
These pouch lids are great for matching, stacking, sorting, games, etc.
Onward to September! Time to print out coloring pages with apples and autumn leaves. I enjoy the changing season.
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Saturday, August 30, 2014
We recently got the opportunity to try out Squeasy Snacker, a reusable food pouch from Squeasy Gear that comes in 3 sizes: 3.5 ounce, 6 ounce, and 16 ounce. We reviewed the 6 ounce pouch.
The Squeasy Snacker comes with a removable insert that can be used for thin liquids, to keep the pouch spill proof. This is good when you use the pouch for juice or water. I've mostly used the pouch for thicker things, without the inset.
I like that I can stick just about anything in the pouch. Instead of just plain yogurt, I can add things to increase the nutritional value of the snack. This is great for us, since we need to be proactive about getting healthy foods into Luke. I've put peanut butter in with other things before, and the squeeziness of the silicone makes it super easy to squeeze it out.
A huge bonus for me is that instead of pricey and sugar filled single yogurt tubes or bottles, we can buy big tubs of regular yogurt or applesauce and still have the convenience of a single serving on the go.
Although I initially was thinking only of Luke when I signed up to review Squeasy Snacker, but once I started using it, I realized it would be a great way to send yogurt to school with Hannah. Through trial and error, we learned that if I fill the pouch half way with yogurt and freeze it the night before, I can add refrigerated yogurt the next morning, and the whole pouch is just the right temp--not too warm, not too frozen--at lunch time.
Squeasy Snacker works great for applesauce, pudding, custard, tapioca, baby foods, congee, mashed potatoes, and anything of similar texture.
The Squeasy Snacker comes in 3 different colors; green, pink, or turquoise. One blog reader will win their own pouch in the color of their choice!
Check out this video telling more about Squeasy Snacker. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!
Friday, August 29, 2014
On Monday, school started for Samuel and Brianna, and we started homeschool with Jack and Eli, as well.
This is Brianna's first time in school since kindergarten, and freshman year is quite a bit different than learning to write your name and stand in line without touching anybody. We seem to be through the locker troubles and changing of schedules, though.
A couple hours after the big kids went to school this showed up at our house. Lukey has different drivers in the morning and the afternoon, but they both seem pleasant.
On Wednesday, after Katie popped out of the house to check out the bus (she loves buses!), the morning driver asked "how many kids?" with a vague wave at the house. I said eight. She said, "So this is a daycare?" Um, no.
Eli was my photographer for Luke's first morning on the bus, and he hopped on to get a pic as she was strapping down his chair.
Bye bye, Lukey! School seems to be going well for him. He made some contented noises over the weekend. The teacher and aids seem to like him, and there is another student (for a total of 2) in his class now.
As for homeschooling... We're having a great time! Still trying to get into the swing of things. Math and writing are not "fun" for the boys, but we have plenty of things that are fun. Like making this "library" of books of the Bible from matchboxes. This helped the boys understand the types of books and the groupings within the 66 books.
Even the tiger found this concept fascinating, apparently.
The boys got new t-shirts on the first day of school.
And Katie did a color matching activity with a bus printable and the bucket of pouch lids.
On Monday, we cut cardboard and glued it together for a frame. On Thursday, the glue was nice & dry for us to make faux wax tablets like those used in Roman schools, by pressing non-hardening clay into the frame.
The teacher's manual calls for sharpening a chopstick in a pencil sharpener to use as a stylus, but we used bamboo skewers instead. They worked great!
Eli's written the time period we're learning about in Roman numerals on his tablet. He also brought a piece of PVC pipe inside to use as a rolling pin to smooth out his tablet between uses.
The boys messed with their tablets through most of the morning's readings and while we listened to our exciting new audio book (review coming soon!).
We learned about Hannibal, leading Carthaginian troops over the Alps to attack Rome from the north, and that they brought elephants with them. We also learned the origin of the word Europe. I'm still dumbfounded that we have an entire continent named after the good rope made by people to the north of the Roman Empire.
I gave the boys each a blank Lego guy printable and told them to make any guy they wanted. They could then cut him out and add him to a background, as Eli did above, with his race car driver, or...
...they could write a story about their guy, as Jack did with his Crook! It was actually quite a story, too. A bank robbery involving a mine.
We played a game one morning, more on that later.
And Eli came up with a tasty new snack: Duck lip sandwich. Made from Pringles and rolled salami.
One of our science books has gone missing. Please pray that it turns up, as I don't want to buy it again, and I don't want to get horribly behind while we wait for it to reappear.
It's good to be getting our school routine going. We have 2 weeks to go until Hannah goes off track (no school for 3 weeks). Katie will be happy to have Hannah home to play with. I'll be happy to not have Hannah's homework every night!
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