Friday, July 30, 2010

Thinking, planning.....

It's really hard to believe that our summer vacation is winding down.  
This is our last week of VBS and all the activity that comes with it.
Most of the other free programs and activities in our community are done with, 
and we're looking at starting up school here in a couple weeks.
We do have a few things planned to do in the coming days, but the pace is slowing down 
and the calendar is emptying out, and my mind is starting to think ahead and plan for the next season.

I find myself thinking of cooler days and fragrant, warm smells of cinnamon, apples, and pumpkin.
We've already decided on our theme for next year's annual "Birthday Bash", and I've started collecting ideas
that will be frugal, easy, and super cute to use!!
See if you can guess what our theme will be:













Here are some other things that have been swirling around in my mind lately:


What I've been reading this summer:   



What I've been memorizing recently:

Philippians 1


What I'm considering for homeschooling this fall:







Recipes I'd like to try in the next couple weeks:




Movies my husband and I have been watching this summer....
after most of the children are in bed!!


Music that we have been enjoying recently:


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Adventures from last week.....

Last week was another jam-packed week full of fun and learning.
We are having such a great time this summer!!!
Take a peek....



We finally finished all of the reading logs from our local library and went to claim our prizes!!
We LOVE our children's librarian!!



Craft time at the library



They are painting T-shirts that will double as pillow cases!!


On Saturday, they were all invited to a birthday party at the giant inflatable bouncy place!!









This was Aryn's response most of the time!!



Then, of course, all the children attended yet another fun week of VBS with their best friends every morning.
Here is Ashlyn (third from left) on "Family Night" performing some of the songs!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Soul-thrilling

There is no other instrument that thrills my soul like the sound of the pipe organ.  I don't think there is any sound more grand, more glorious, more thrilling than the sound of a well-played, full organ in an old European cathedral.  Just take a listen......


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Did you know?


"Learning differences are the leading cause of
 CREATIVITY!!"

I saw this on an ad for a school here in our area that caters to children with "learning differences."
I LOVE it!!
Gives a whole new way of thinking to those children with ADHD, autism, dyslexia and the like.

Here's more of the ad:

"Is your child at risk? 
 Extraordinary minds can be hidden in ordinary classrooms.  We're ready to unveil the
MAGNIFICENT 
mind
of your child!"

I just might use that as the motto of our homeschool!!!

I shared all that with you as an introduction to what my oldest daughter spent last week doing.
She just OOZES arts and crafts.  
She has ADHD (a common learning difference).....high on the AD and low on the H.
There isn't a DAY that goes by that she doesn't make something.
And it always involves a mess of some kind which she rarely cleans up without being reminded.
So when I learned about "art camp", I just knew we needed her do this.

Here'a a peek at some of the art mediums she was able to get her hands on with an instructor.....
and the mess stayed there (YAY for me!!)


Clay




Clay




Tile and glass



Tile and glass


I don't have pictures of the painting projects she was able to experiment with, but they included
a wooden box,
a book bag,
an abstract painting on canvas.

She also tried a self portrait with colored pencils, learned how to cut glass, made a necklace, and made some chalk drawings.  

It was awesome for her to get to try so many different things that she doesn't usually have access to.
We'll definitely be doing this again next year!!!






Saturday, July 17, 2010

YIKES!!!

While Ashlyn was at camp,
she had a bit of a struggle keeping her blood sugar levels in normal ranges.
Last year was her first year to go to camp with Type 1 Diabetes.
She had been diagnosed just 5 months earlier, so she was still
in that honeymoon period where she didn't have as many up's and down's in 
her blood sugar levels.
Our goal is to see her blood sugar level between 80 and 150.
Normally, we are in the 100's to 200's.
The camp nurse was excellent about keeping juice boxes close at hand,
and keeping her carbed up at swim time and during game times.

So after she got home, I think her body was in a bit of a rebound from all the exercise
she was doing during camp.
A couple days after getting home, she came to me complaining of being hungry.
That is always a red flag for us that she's probably low.
I told her to go check her blood sugar.

So.....this is what she got......


YEAH!!

How on earth this child was still up walking around and talking clearly, I'll never know!!
I was under the impression that when your blood sugar hits levels like this, you're supposed to pass out
or start seizing or something.

Anyway, that was a first for us to see her number THAT low!!!
She drank a juice box, got something to eat,
and laid down in front of the fan.
Before long, she was back up and at 'em!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Grandma's Homemade Doughnuts

When I was a little girl, I loved getting to spend the night at my grandmother's house.
One of my favorite memories of her was the doughnuts she made for us on Saturday mornings.
My grandmother was a bona fide "hoarder", so if you've watched one of those TV programs about that issue,
then you know what her kitchen looked like.
But my sister and I didn't care.
She always had just the right amount of space left on her stove to make these.
These were such a treat for us,
and I've always remembered exactly how to make these.
They are not packed with nutrition and not something I would recommend on a daily basis.
But their greasy sugariness are DELICIOUS!!


Grandma's Homemade Doughnuts

1 tube of refrigerated biscuits


**I used the tubes of 10 small biscuits, but you could use any size.
I want to try the Pillsbury Grands sometime!!


Fill a large pan half full of vegetable oil.
I use Canola.
Turn it on and heat it until a little ball of biscuit dough starts to fry.


Pinch one biscuit between your thumb and first finger until you've created the "hole" in the center of the doughnut.




Carefully drop about 5 biscuits (depending on the size of your pan, of course)
into the hot oil and fry on one side until lightly brown.


They fry up lightly brown in about 25 seconds, so you have to watch them carefully.
Flip them over with a fork and let them fry on the other side.


Remove from the hot oil when completely browned and let drain
on a paper-towel covered plate.
Then find yourself a helper who is wandering around the house looking for something to do.
Fill a large ziploc bag with powdered sugar.
Drop about 3 doughnuts into the bag and let your helper shake them around until covered in powdered sugar.




I also made a batch of "cinnamon sugar" doughnuts by adding several tablespoons of cinnamon 
to the remaining powdered sugar in the bag.



Our delicious finished product!!!!
Enjoy!!

P.S.  I saw an episode of Paula Dean making these doughnuts, and I was so excited to see her
using the same technique my Grandma used so many years ago!!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/canned-biscuit-dough-donuts-and-holes-recipe/index.html

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sleepover fun!!

While her older siblings were away at camp for the week, I thought it would be the perfect time for Abby to have her friend over for a girly sleepover.
She doesn't get exclusive time like this very often,
and I wanted to maximize this time for her.

Her sisters are not really into playing with her and her toys since they've outgrown most of it.
So we had such a fun time planning things to do that she doesn't usually have someone to do with her.

Here's a peek at all our fun!!
























The girls helped me make these doughnuts for their breakfast,
and I'll post how we did this on Friday!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Packing for summer camp 101



This year was a little different getting everyone ready for summer camp.
My son was finally old enough to go, so I had 4 people to get ready.

Here are a couple tips that I have found invaluable in packing for summer camp:

Have you seen these bags?
I have only been able to find them at hardware stores such as Home Depot, but they are PERFECT
for sleeping bags, pillows, towels and other linens.
They are really sturdy and thick, but it doesn't make any difference if they don't come home.
This is the second or third year that I've packed my children's bedding and linens in them, and this is the third year that every bag came home full of the same bedding and wet towels, and the bags did not tear or have holes in them.
I HIGHLY recommend them.

I know this next tip is probably my OCD coming out, but bear with me......it really helps my children.
I go through my children's clothes and we pick out 5 outfits for the week (you might need more if your children are at camp longer than mine were.)
Hint:  They shouldn't be brand new, designer label clothes.
NOBODY cares.
They WILL get filthy.
They MAY get lost.
It doesn't matter if your child is the cutest one at camp or not.
That's not the point.
But I do care that my children don't wear the same outfit everyday for 5 days in a row.
I was a camp counselor for 2 summers.
I remember how the children smelled who did that.
I don't want to do that to my children's counselor, especially since it's not necessary.
Anyway, after we've picked out the outfits, I grab a bag from the box above and stuff an outfit into the bag.
Then I label it Monday.
Then we stuff the next bag with the next day's outfit and put Tuesday on it,
and on we go until we've bagged up the entire weeks worth of clothes.
I only put a pair of pants, a shirt, and clean socks into these bags.
The underwear go into a separate bag with the jammies since they usually shower up at night.
(yes, I put all 3 or 4 pairs of jammies into a separate bag with 5 changes of underwear)
I pack a trash bag into the suitcase and instruct my children that as they take off their filthy clothes for the day,
they need to stuff them into the trash bag.

Each child gets one suitcase/duffel bag and their giant bag of bedding.
I label every sock and toothbrush and underwear and shirt and shoe with their name.
They take one pair of tennis shoes, one pair of sandals or flip flops for chapel, and one pair of flip flops for the pool.
One bath towel, and one beach towel for the pool.
One play outfit for every day, and one dressier outfit for chapel every night.
I instruct them to hang them up after every time they use them so the towel will be dry when they need it next.

I do all this in hopes of training my children how to stay organized in a group setting.
I remember seeing children (as a camp counselor) with their suitcases open and all their nicely folded clothes in a big heap.
Stuff gets lost or mixed up or wet.
Lexi is nearly 13 now, and she didn't need as much of this this year.
She can keep track of stuff better now, and knows how to match an outfit or problem solve if a shirt falls on the floor and gets muddy.
It's a nearly flawless system and my girls have come home with every article of everything they've taken.

Now, my son on the other hand.
We weren't as fortunate.
When he mentioned that he forgot his $2 flip-flops, I was okay with that.
When he said that his Bible was under his bed at camp, I was fine.
But after I had washed and hung up every stitch of clothing that went to camp, I realized I was missing
a collared shirt that he needed for chapel in the evenings.
Then I realized I had only hung up one pair of his jeans.
He took 3.
And the tan shorts.....that I had just bought because he had outgrown nearly all his other shorts.
And don't mind that hard-to-miss, oversized bath towel.
The beach towel for swim time made it home, but the shower towel was not so lucky.

So I learned my lesson this year.
No matter how detailed your system is, no matter how many times you go over the routine with your children,
8 year old boys (especially those with ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER) just aren't
thinking of those things when they are in a hurry and having the time of their life!!!




This is the pile of laundry we had when they all got back.
But they had a wonderful time.
All the work in getting them ready is so worth the fun and the memories and the spiritual challenges they experienced all week!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer camp!!!!

All last week my three oldest had the wonderful opportunity to attend "church" camp with the children from our 
church.  They were 4 hours away from home and way out in the boonies.
That makes a mom of children with "special" needs a little nervous.
So what do you do?
You send the Dad along too!!!

So my husband went as a "sponsor" and drove the truck full of luggage.
The children had a marvelous time.....as I'm sure you can see in the pictures (which my husband also took.)
I was interested to see how my son would do as this was his first year to get to go.
I will talk about that in the next day or so.
Don't worry......he did great.

This was the second summer for my daughter with Type 1 Diabetes to get to go too.
It was a little different for her from last year.
Last year she was still in "the honeymoon."
This year she was checking her blood sugar all. the. time.
which was good because she tended to go low a lot more this year.
But it didn't stop her from having so much fun and being able to participate in everything from the
big group games to swimming.