Sunday, August 24, 2014

Our First Week

Well, if you follow along on Instagram or Facebook, you might have an idea about how crazy the past few months have been. Here's one reason....


Our family of four will become a family of 5 in January!  We were surprised to find this out but very excited! With this baby I have been needing to rest more than with the others (I'll save you the details) and home is easiest place to do that. So......our time in DC ended with the exception of a trip to visit coming up. 

Then this happened.  The first day of homeschool. I can happily tell you that we all made it to Friday! Week one is in the books! Not every day was great, but most of them were. We are all excited about what this is turning into. And it is changing... I was a classroom teacher.  It really is different than teaching your kids in your home. Some things are the same (thank goodness) but some of it is different and I'm learning what that looks like for us.  The kids are doing great and I am having fun planning our lessons and field trips!

We also had our first Book Club! We aren't part of a co-op yet and wanted the kids to have the opportunity to work with other kids.  A friend of mine and I had decided to take turns of Friday afternoons having all the kids play together. Perfect situation for a book club! They are at my house every other Friday. When they come we will read a book together (something I pick to go with a theme or season) and do a few differentiated activities that go along with what we read. 

This time we read a book about Johnny Appleseed to kick off my kiddos' apple theme (I love teaching in themes). After we read the book the little guys did a coloring sheet and printed the name Johnny Appleseed. While they were working on that, the bigger girls (who are both named Michaela but spell it differently) worked with letter tiles to spell as many words as they could out of JOHNNY APPLESEED. They filled up the entire page! I know they could have found more if there would have been more time. 

Next it was time for an apple taste testing. I cut 5 different types of apples, labeled them, and set them out. The kids tasted them all and wrote down whether or not they liked them. Then they chose their favorite over all. 

The last activity for the afternoon was good ol' apple prints. I gave them a piece of scrapbook paper cut in half, half an apple that I had patted dry, and paints. They painted the inside part of the apple and used it as a stamp. The creations turned out pretty neat and all very different! 

We are only one week into our homeschool journey but I am seeing little signs that their bond is growing. There are still plenty of times when they aren't getting along, but I'm praying there are less and less. 




Friday, July 25, 2014

DIY Bottles for DIY Cleaners

Hey there! Things have been busy here at home...we are back in Alabama for now...cleaning up around the house, prepping for our first homeschool year, and taking care of our accidental pumpkin patch.
In this picture, the kids decided to set up a sale. Kayla was selling her bracelets and charms (she is crazy about Rainbow Loom right now!) and Noah picked some cars to sell.  It was a hot Wednesday morning and only one person stopped. Bless his heart! He picked out a couple of items from each kid and paid them $5. That totally made their day! Guy-who-stopped-by, I thank you so much!


The weather has been great! Fall-like temps ever couple of weeks are so refreshing! The cool morning air and the fact that we are already harvesting pie pumpkins have me thinking about sprucing up the place for fall. I will hold back. After all, it isn't even August yet!

One little project I finished was my cleaning bottles. I found these spray bottles. They come in a pack of 6 for less than $12. Perfect!  I planned on printing labels for them but for now they are just decorated with some cute washi tape. So fast and easy. I just wrote the labels with a black Sharpie and filled them up!

Countertop Spray: This is my Mrs. Meyer's all purpose cleaner. Currently my fav is Radish
Shower Cleaner: when it's time to clean the shower, fill with vinegar (leaving room at the top for soap) and heat in the microwave for 45 sec to 1 min. Add 2-3 tbsp Dawn dish soap (or an off brand) and mix gently by tipping back and forth. Spray and let sit on surfaces for 20 min or so. 
Tile Floor Cleaner: I'm still working on the perfect mixture....I'll share when I am totally happy with the results.
Glass and Mirror: Water....that's it! I just spray a little bit of water and use microfiber cloths to clean my windows and mirrors. I haven't found anything better!
I still have two bottles to fill. I am doing some experimenting with a couple of cleaning recipes.
Do you have any favorites?

The kids have enjoyed being home with a yard to play in and all their neighborhood friends (have I mentioned we live in the friendliest neighborhood?) In this picture, the kids decided to set up a sale while I was painting the play/school room. Don't worry, I checked on them regularly and could see them the whole time. Kayla was selling her bracelets and charms (she is crazy about Rainbow Loom right now!) and Noah picked some cars to sell. The signs they make are the cutest ever!
  It was a hot Wednesday morning and only one person stopped. Bless his heart! He picked out a couple of items from each kid and paid them $5. That totally made their day!
Dear Guy-who-stopped-by, I thank you so much!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Vintage Pancake Recipe

I have been spending a good while in Nashville I feel like I should give you a proper southern greeting...
Howdy!  I hope you're having a great week and enjoying the summer weather! We are in the middle of our southern escape from the business of Washington, D.C., soaking up all things southern and small town.  Being away from Alabama and Tennessee has made me realize how much I really do love it here.  I can't believe it has been more than 10 years since we moved south!
Whenever I am at my parent's house I love to read through my Grandma's Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book from 1947.  This week I made some pancakes from it and they turned out so perfect!


Griddle Cakes (from Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book 1947)

2 beaten eggs
2 cups milk
2 Tablespoons melted shortening (I used butter)
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sugar
*I added 1 tsp vanilla*

Combine eggs, milk, and shortening (or butter). Add flour sifted with salt, baking powder, and sugar; beat smooth.  Bake on ungreased griddle. Makes 12-15 cakes. 

I served ours with butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar.
Yum!

Using my Grandma's wooden spoon and bowls made me feel like I was cooking with her back in simpler times! I can just imagine all the wonderful family meals made with that bowl and spoon. 

Thanks so much for stoppin' on by! I love hearing from you! If you have any favorite dishes your Mom or Grandma used to make, I would love to hear about them! 

Have a blessed week!

Making Sweet Memories

Our summer is flying by! I can't believe that the Fourth of July has already come and gone.  I hope you are making some sweet memories with your kiddos! Summer can be a difficult time with relaxed schedules, free time, travel time...but if you think about the memories that are being made, it can be a great time!

Here are some pics of what we have been up to the past couple of weeks: 

Fourth of July was perfect! Nice weather and a fun down-homey festival with great food and music!  The kids participated in the bike rodeo. The description just said the kids were encouraged to decorate their bikes. I had no idea it was a contest...but thankfully the judges were creative! Noah won 'fastest rider' and Kayla won 'most colorful'. 






After the Fourth, we packed up the van and headed south. Our first stop was my parent's house. I posted a pic on Instagram and said that even though this isn't where I grew up, it's still home because this is where my family is.
Noah has been helping Grandpa take care of the yard. They have also enjoyed watching the work behind the fence. The land is being cleared for more houses.  No one is excited for more houses back there but you can't help but have fun watching the big trucks.

Kayla has had fun with the old Barbies Grandma has.

We finally headed out to Puckett's in Leiper's Fork for lunch! Yum!


And doesn't everyone pull their very old dog in a wagon? There is something about a boy and his dog that is so sweet!


And then there is Rosie. She is my brother and sister-in-law's new puppy. She is so sweet! The kids are in heaven....and can't stop asking for a puppy. 

While I'm here I'm trying to photograph as many of her old photos as I can. I'll have a post soon about what to do with them.  How cute is my sweet Great Grandma?!





Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mom's French Dips

With summer in full swing there are many days that I don't want to spend much time prepping dinner. Pulling out the crockpot in the morning is so easy!  

I grew up with this recipe for French Dips. So yummy. The best part is the bread in the au jus. 


Mom's French Dips
3-4 lb chuck roast cut into 3 or 4 pieces
1 beef bouillon 
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 bay leaf
3-5 peppercorns
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1tsp garlic powder

Remove fat and place meat in crockpot. Fill with ingredients. Add water to almost cover meat and cook on low 6-8 hours. Shred beef and add back into crockpot with about 1/2 hour left to cook.