Sunday, June 27, 2010


G'day mates!  We had a beaut time studying Aussie for two weeks.   In fact, it's been requested that we take a vacation there someday.  Yah, we'd better start saving up!

It was fun to learn about the animals there that we don't see very often here, even in zoos.  We made koala bears out of peanut butter, powdered sugar and cocoa, adding chocolate chips for eyes, arms and legs.  The boys thought it was fun, and although their globs of peanut butter/sugar mixture might not have looked quite like koalas, they still tasted good.

Our koala bear treats in the making.  Mine, Gabriel's and Matthew's.

We rolled them in cocoa per the instructions, but I think they looked better without it. 

My kids already had some knowledge of Australia, whatever they picked up from watching Finding Nemo about a hundred times in the last few years.  They did recognize the Sidney Opera House, and it was fun to build a paper model of it.  "Laa-aaa-aaa-aaa," always sings in my head whenever I think of it.  Yes, I've also watched Finding Nemo one hundred times (or at least parts of it). 

We finished our study of the land down under with a dinner of Australian Meat Pie, Damper Bread, Grilled Sweet Potatoes (not really Australian, but I did cook them on the "barbie"), strawberries and kiwi (an Australian fruit), and finished dinner off with some Pavlova (for which according to Google there is an ongoing argument about whether it originated in New Zealand or Australia).  The meal was delicious and even Matthew said, "Everything is better than I expected."  It was nice to have a meal that no one complained about at all, from start to finish.  I think the fact that I made the dessert first might have had their attention elsewhere. 

The sweet potatoes on the "barbie".

We've found a new way to encourage Leah to try eating new things that she otherwise doesn't want to...with baby food.  We now sit Anna at the dinner table with us and feed her baby cereal mixed with fruit.  Leah loves it and wants to finish off what Anna doesn't eat.  "Eat your dinner until Anna's done and then you can have the rest."  And it works.  I'm not sure what we'll do when Anna finishes off the whole jar...I hadn't thought that far ahead when I started letting Leah have the leftovers.  In the meantime, Leah's eating a ton of veggies that she was starting to fight against eating before. 


We also really enjoyed reading beautiful picture books about the Great Barrier Reef and we found a Netflix DVD about it as well.  Christopher was also excited that an episode of Curious George that they watched on PBS was about a coral reef too.  Perfect timing, right?

Next stop, Antarctica!

A Park Scavenger Hunt

We belong to a homeschool group that gets to gether several times a month for park days and field trips.  This week, the park day was at our favorite park in Garden Ridge.

The boys' favorite thing to do in the park is to build canals in the creek.  They bring milk or water bottle tops to float down their canals.  This is the kind of 'homeschooling' learning that I love.  I hope one day we will live somewhere where our backyard will have areas for the kids to explore God's beauty in nature. 

We are fortnuate to have had a good amount of rain this year to keep some water in the creek, although this is the lowest it's been in a while.  Last summer, it was so dry that we didn't even know that there ever was water in the creek. 

One of the mom's in this homeschool group organized a scavenger hunt for this park day.  The kids worked in small groups to find a list of about thirty items that could be found around the park, including snail shells, bugs, seed pods, certain types of leaves and other things like that. 

Leah wanted to help find the leaves even after we moved on on our list.

Until she discovered the rocks down by the creek that needed to be thrown into the water.

It's getting really hot in Texas now so we tend to do indoor things or just stay home, but this park has a lot of shade and it gets a good breeze blowing though it so I'm sure we'll continue to go there a lot through the summer. 

Besides, we need to get our fill of trees before we move down to Tucson at the end of the year.  We've been looking at houses on the internet down there and it looks pretty brown and treeless for the most part.  We're excited to be going though.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


We hang out at home a lot more than we used to.  Getting out with five little ones is a little more challenging to say the least.  Add to that the traffic of going into a big city to do most things, as well as the intense heat of these Texas summers, a five month old who is finally taking great naps twice a day, and we are happy to hang out at home most of the time. 

Our big living room couch is where we spend most of our day when we're at home.  Lots of kisses and hugs happen on this couch.  Anna and Leah may be the most kissed and hugged little girls when it comes to brothers and sisters.  And Christopher especially likes to hold Anna.  She couldn't have asked for a more devoted big brother.

Gabe found a little lizard running around on the kitchen floor the other day.  I never know if the boys are going to run away from little critters or try to catch them and this time, Gabe chose the latter.  He carried the little lizard to me by its tail.  I let him hang out with it for a while before I felt bad for the lizard and had Gabe release it into the backyard.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Little Bit of Organization & Other Fun Things

After hearing the boys say that they can never find a pencil one too many times, I went about collecting pencils from their hiding places.  This is what I came up with.

Most of them weren't hiding after all, but rather, their points weren't sharp enough for my boys' liking and since pencil sharpeners just don't last in our house, we're giving mechanical pencils a try.

While Chris and the older boys were at Kids' Camp, and Gabriel was at VBS one morning, I took the girls and spent two glorious hours at the Container Store.  My very first time there.  It was wonderful.  A bit overwhelming, and I could easily blow hundreds of dollars there.  Actually, thousands.  But, much to my husband's relief, I did not.  I did get some good things for our homeschool shelf that's in the dining room, which houses our most used school books and supplies.  I didn't take a before picture, but just picture a couple of notebooks full of paper going through a tornado.  Throw a handful of pencils, crayons, markers and glue sticks into the mix.  Pretty much like that. 

But here is what it looked like after I had my way with it.

Each boy has a shelf of his own, and Gabe's is the most empty of school books so he gets to host writing supplies on his shelf.  Speaking of which, this is what I bought to organize our pencils and glue and scissors and staplers, etc.

We've had this system going all week and it's still neat and tidy so hopefully we can keep it that way. 


A few things we've done in the past few weeks.

The San Antonio Children's Museum.  Gabriel, Leah, Anna and I went while the big boys were at Kids' Camp. 

Gabriel mapping out the plan of playing.

Anna getting in on the fun.

The grocery store was a big hit.  Leah and Gabriel knew just what to do with all the food in the little store.

Leah's cart was a little too small for her and she got upset whenever her groceries starting spilling over the sides.  One of the museum workers helped her to fit everything in though, and convinced her that it was time to check her groceries out.

When Chris and the boys got back, we all went to see Toy Story 3 3D.  We are big fans of the first two movies and the third one was a hit as well. 

Although he liked the movie, Gabriel thought part of it was too intense and scary and even cried for a few minutes.  We just had to remind him that the good guys weren't going to get hurt and that the movie was pretend.  He gets like this at many movies, but only for the first time watching.  The next time he sees it, he'll be fine.  Anna did well through the movie, but Chris had to go stand at the bottom of the seating area with Leah a few times.  She's just not into sitting still for so long yet.


Anna has started doing more big baby girl stuff and is has decided that smiling is really fun and being happy is how she wants to roll most of the time.  She'll play by herself for a while on the floor, she can hold onto toys and get them to her mouth pretty well now, and she'll play in her jumperoo or even hang out in her Bumbo while I cook dinner.  She's awesome at giving nice slobbery kisses and will start chewing on any fingers within her grasp.  She loves to suck her thumb if she can't find someone else's to chew on.  She is sleeping in her own 'room' in the pack and play now and prefers to roll onto her tummy whenever I lie her down.  She'll go right to sleep usually now instead of needing to cry for a minute or two like she used to do.  She still wakes up a time or two at night to breastfeed.  She takes one short morning nap, about an hour or so, and takes a nice long afternoon nap, about three hours which I'm pretty good at lining up with Leah's three hour afternoon nap...awesome!  We do school during that time and I still have time to sit and relax.  It's nice to listen to her wake up babbling to herself through the baby monitor.  She is so precious and I'm so in love with her.

Five months old is definately a fun age to be.