Insect Tangrams

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , , ,

Rachel has had a love of shapes for as long as I can remember, and knows more shapes than most people I know, including three dimensional shapes, and random-sided ones. Tangrams are the perfect activity for her. We have a set of plastic tangrams so she can make her own shapes, but I found a set of pages online with insect designs. I simply made two copies, colored one and cut out the shapes and taped the other set into a file folder. Add a handy zip-loc bag and she has tangrams she can take wherever she wants and play with anytime.

Insect Puzzles

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , ,

Using some coloring pages I found online, I created the girls two simple 9 piece puzzles. This is a great way to make puzzles for any theme.

Bee Counting

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , , ,

I am almost done posting games. Hopefully, as of today I will be done. Its just that the girls have so much fun playing with them, either together, with me or their dad or alone. And I find them to be very effective teaching tools. Some units lend themselves better to games than others do. This insect unit has been great! The game pictured is a counting and marking game. There are two boards and each player rolls a six-sided dice. Whatever number they roll, they take the corresponding number of bees and cover the hives. Whoever covers all their hives first wins. These games also have a very practical funtion in that they give my two very different daughters something common to do together.

Julia In Jason's Hat

Author: Michele /

Jason left his hat home yesterday morning, and I snapped this cute pic of my littlest putting it on and taking it off.

Butterfly Masks

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , ,

Yesterday we made butterfly masks. I found a pattern for a mask on the internet. (If anyone ever wants links to these sites, please let me know). I let the two little girls color their masks then we added glittery accents. Rachel had a bit of a problem with sticking the glitter container in the glue and getting it clogged, but she finally figured out how to make it work. (My floor has a lovely green glitter sheen now that will take forever to completely get rid of). Then I cut out the masks and glued them onto sheets of craft foam for sturdiness. When they were dry, we added Mardi-Gras sticks (aka popcicle sticks) to make masquerade masks. Unfortunately my destructive little daughter has since destroyed them, but luckily I got some pics of the girls wearing their masks first.

Some Pics From the Weekend

Author: Michele /

I just wanted to put up a few random pics of my kids for family and friends who check in here. The first is of the three girls sitting on the couch. Liz is in the grey shirt, and the other two should be pretty easy to figure out. The other two I took last night of my big girls sleeping. They looked so cute when I went in to check on them. Liz is laying with her rather rag-tag best friend Sherbert the cat. Rachel is just sacked out. I will get more school pictures up sometime today or tomorrow. But I did want to share these.

Odd and Even Math Game

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , ,

This was a game I found on the DLTK site. It is one of my favorite sites, and I can't think of one unit we have done since we started that we have not found something there to use. The concept of this game is easy and teaches what seems to me to be a tricky concept. There are two game boards (only one of which is shown). One is labeled Odd Olly and the other is Even Elly. The game pieces are 6 spots for each lady bug and three leaf pieces, to cover the leaf template. The two players take turns rolling a dice. Say the first one is playing as Odd Olly and rolls a three. They would then take three dots and put one on the left side, one on the right side, one on the left. They would be out of dots, and would be asked if the two sides of the lady bug had the same number of dots. The answer of course is no, so they would get to put a piece of leaf on their board. Pieces of leaf are only awarded for rolls that match the "odd or even" of the game board. So Odd Olly would not get a leaf for rolling a 6. If the dots on both sides of the lady bug match, the number is even.

Insect Vocab Game

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , ,

One of the things I wanted to do again with this unit, that we have done successfully in the past, is to give Elizabeth some vocabulary words. Rachel inevitably ends up learning a few of them too, but this gives Liz a chance to have her very own game and her very own little store of knowledge on the topic we are studying. I had found a printable on the internet over the weekend on a lapbooking site, that was ladybug templates, and gave you the freedom to customize it for the child's needs. They recommended colors, numbers, ABCs or simple arithmatic problems. For us, it neatly solved the problem of the vocabulary game. I just made a basic file folder game, with the words on the folder then on the colored sides of the game pieces. When you turn the game pieces over, the definition is on the back. She was excited to give it a try, but I didn't get it finished until late last night, so I expect it will be what she wants to do when she gets home from school.

Liz's School Program

Author: Michele /

I think my leg has a permanent dent in it from attending Liz's School Program. Why, you may ask. Well, let's just say I spent a good 30 minutes getting kicked repeatedly by a Julie-Bear who had a pretty nice tempo going along with the music. In the group photos, Liz is the 4th kid from the right on the bottom row. The theme was Rockin' Nursery Rhymes and it was cute. My little girls thought it was an absolute blast! The pic of just Liz was taken after the program when we stopped by the tell her congerats. It was awesome, Jason was able to take a couple of hours off work to go. You could tell whenever Liz saw us. She got the biggest grin on her face. Thanks to her teacher's advice we had the best seat in the house.

Caterpillar Number Game and Lizzie's Fly Eating Frog

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , , ,

Sorry for all the posts; I am trying to play catch-up from being unable to post pictures. This is another printable game I found free online. It is matching a number a items with the numeral. Very easy to make, and fun to play. I find that file folders and tape and zip-loc bags make the greatest games. They are durable and easy to store. I saw online where someone was keeping a hile folder game closed with velcro so the pieces didn't fall out the sides during storage. I find it easier to stick the pieces in a zip-loc bag and staple it to the front.

Lizzie drew a picture I had to add to our bug wall. It also reminded me that I was leaving out two very important pieces of insect learning: life cycles and food chains. This will be a great introduction to our summer unit of animals. We plan to spend the summer studying animals. It will be easy to do with having a new baby in the house as the information available is overwhelming and it will be fun for the kids.


Author: Michele / Labels: , , , , ,

We learned that most caterpillars are not born green but rather turn that way from the chlorophyll in the plants they eat. What a great opportunity to explore color mixing. Even though the kids know what colors make other colors, there is nothing like the hands on fun of an art project and getting to see what you know in theory come to life...

Parts of an Insect and Painted Caterpillars

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , ,

The past couple of days have been busy here. We have been doing a lot of insect work, as well as keeping busy with everyday things. I have included a picture of one of the parts of an insect worksheets we did as well as the butterfly Rachel made out of hand and footprints. Elizabeth and Julia are working on theirs as well, but since it takes a good bit of drying time in between the different pieces, it is taking a while.

We have been working on mixing colors, so you will see a bit of that here, with more in subsequent posts. One of the parts of an insect sheets I got came from It is not the one shown here, and features (instead of the cartoon-y bug) two very lifelike line drawings, one of a hornet and one of an ant that show the three body parts very clearly. It also shows the legs and wings only attached to the thorax, as opposed to the picture shown which is a little more vague.

The two older girls have been learning the vocabulary of the body parts: head, thorax and abdomen and sometime this weekend I hope to make Elizabeth some vobaulary matching cards. We did this activity with the unit on dinosaurs, and she learned many new words such as bipedal, carnivorous, incisor, paleontologist and prehistoric.

Worm Homes

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , , ,

We will see how well it works, but we made a home for some worms. Of course, due to the place we live, worms are few and far between. How I miss the days of being able to pop into Wal-Mart for a styrofoam cup of nightcrawlers. By a happy accident, last spring we discovered that the local park is a verital heaven for earthworms. Rather than dig up my backyard, which may or may not have enough worms for our worm home, I took the girls along with a small kids shovel and a cool-whip container to the park. The place we dig for worms is technically in the sandbox, but is where the sandbox meets the dirt. In five minutes and in a hole the size of a piece of notebook paper, they found probably 45 worms.

There was an older gentleman at the park with his granddaughter and his dog. He came over and asked what we were doing. When I explained that I homeschooled and it was for a science project, he got a touch huffy. Then, when his granddaughter asked if she could have a worm, he replied that they had plenty of worms at their house and did not need to take worms from the park. I guess he didn't approve of me letting the girls take park worms. LOL. It's not like they will meet a gruesome end. I plan on letting them go in the beneficial insect garden Rachel, Julia and I planted yesterday.

Anyway, funny park guy aside, what we did is took a 2-liter soda bottle and cut the neck and lid off of it. I ran some tape around the top to keep anyone from getting cut on the sharp plastic. I then filled the container with nice, rich dirt and added the worms. They were looking a little limp from their ride from the park so I popped the whole show in the fridge. We will see. Anyway, you wrap a sheet of black construction paper around the bottle to make it dark and drop a paper bag on top like a lid. In theory, in a day or two I should be able to remove the papers and the girls can see the way worms tunnel. I will let you know how it works.

Camo Bugs and Butterfly Matching

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , , , ,

I made the cutest file folder game for the girls yesterday. Since we are studying about insects, one of the topics that comes up is of course camoflauge. In one of my other books, I have an idea for hiding octopi in different colors and textures of coral. I figured the idea could easily be adapted to insects and it was with great result. I took everyday household objects such as aluminum foil, wax paper, paper plates, felt, green tissue paper, craft foam and markers and some various printouts I found free online of insects and flowers. Then I enhanced the bugs with the different textile materials, and made plants and flowers to match. For example, I covered a beetle with aluminum foil I colored green, then made the stalks of a couple of flowers to match. An ant was covered in red felt and then a daisy made of the same material. The bugs virtually disappear from the page when they are placed on the plants that camoflauge them, just like the do in real life. I glued the flowers onto a file folder and stapled a sandwich bag on the front in which to store the bugs. It was a huge hit! Now, Rachel can explore the tactle sensation of different bugs and plants, while learning about the ways bugs use camoflauge to hide.

We also made a butterfly matching game. I found a print-out on of butterflies, and using the internet colored them the way they look in real life. I made two copies of the same 6 cards and after laminating (with tape of course, my fave), and cutting them out, we now have a butterfly identification matching game. Rachel is not as impressed with this game, but Elizabeth is in love. I will add pictures of it tomorrow. My phone is out for the moment, so all pictures will have to be on hold until then.

Bug Activities

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , , ,

The following activities I either found online or in the case of the bug counting, in one of my many homeschooling books. The pattern was not for the activity I used it for, but oh well. It was to help fine motor skills by picking bugs out of "grass" with tongs. At this time, the bug counting is much more useful to us. The file folder game with the butterfly colors was a free online game and the bee tracing letters were also a free printable. I definately try to utiliaze free resources, although I do treat myself and the kids to new school books at tax time. I find it helps to flesh out our school experience and keep us from getting bored. Anyway, enjoy!

Spider Puppet

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , ,

Today, in addition to making the world's biggest pain of a mural (mostly because Rachel got bored coloring and I ended up doing most of it) on which we will put the bugs we make, we make the cutest spider puppet. The pattern came out of the book, Puppets and Storytime. Its a Dr. Jean book, for those who are familiar with her work. Anyway, you basically take two small paper plates and decorate them. Then, you take 8 strips of colored construction paper and accordian fold them to make spider legs. You take one old sock, add google eyes and a face (we used a pom-pom for the nose) and then assemble. Glue the legs, four on each side of the bottom plate, then insert the sock between the plates and staple. If you only staple on the sides, then you have a sock puppet, a little small for my bigger hands, but perfect for the hands of my three year old. She was super-impressed with the puppet and I was impressed with how easy it was to make.

A lot of the insect information (including the mural) that we are using comes from Its free to sign up, they don't spam you to death with emails and the lessons are great. I also supplement that with some activities out of a couple of fine motor skill books I have as well as an A-Z Mailbox book (I took flower cutouts from there to add to some bug cutouts for counting) and A-Z Themes for the Year. Holly sent me a scanner when her aunt came this way on family vacation, and it has made life a lot easier.

I will also post pictures of the color identification game I made (which I found free online) and the counting bugs and flowers. They are super-cute and the kids love them. Cover them with strips of packing tape and they are sturdy and durable.

Done with Dinos and on to Bugs

Author: Michele /

I wanted to post a few pictures of my little girls doing school along with some pictures of Rachel with the Dino wall we made. I like to display the girls schoolwork and devote one wall of my living room to just that. I think it gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work. It also makes a great springboard for showing off to Dad and visitors. They can then recap what they learned and exhibit their work. This started last summer when we took a trip aroudn the world, doing crafts from each country we visited. Anyway, I plan to be more consistant about posting regarding the insect unit we are doing, just to give those of you who are interested, an idea of what we do in school and how much the girls actually learn. It is an amazing thing how much they rise to meet your expectations. It makes me sad for the standards in public schools. I can see already Elizabeth with school learning to do what is expected and not what is best. To watch the kids beg to do schoolwork and art projects lifts my heart. I guess I must be doing something right. I will post tonight or tomorrow about the Insect stuff we have started, as well as some pictures of some of the games I have made the girls. I will also add the links to the sites we use, so again, anyone who is interested can look at exactly what we are doing.

Other than that, we are all doing well. Finally got the house and all the yards clean! I also added the van to that mix yesterday. It really frees up my time to clean before bed, but boy does it make me tired. Anyway, I am off to make spider puppets. Will post again soon.

Light, Blessings and Joy to all.


Author: Michele /

Last night, as I lay in bed thinking about this baby growing inside of me, and talking with Jason about the girls, I eralized how much guilt I still feel over losing Eric. I know Jason loves his daughters to death, but I had really hoped to be able to give him a son to watch grow up. I can't help but think in the back of my mind, where such thoughts are want to dwell, that had I not given in and gotten that original c-section, had I only stayed awake after I fed him that morning, that somehow it would have made a difference, and we would have a 4 1/2 year old little boy causing havok in our tiny house. Jason told me he was happy with his girls, and excited for this one, girl number four. And I guess I really have to take him at word. But there is still a bitter slice in my heart that torments me late at night. I know that my girls ending up in the hospital after their c-sections was my fault, along with the time they spent in the nursery due to inhaled fluid and breathing troubles. If I could turn back the clock, I would have done my homework a little better and stood my ground. I was thinking back to being pregnant with Elizabeth. I skipped all the c-section information as well as most of the delivery interference chapters in my book. I never thought they would apply to me. Her birth was awful, although at least it was vaginal. Then with Eric, when they started crying c-section, I was still so ignorant. I assumed that because I had done it once I would automatically fall into the club of doing it again. There was no need for his section, and I see that now, but at the time I was still in Dr is God mode, and honestly, it was presented to me as a now or later kind of deal. Plus, I had been waiting 40 plus weeks to see the rascal. I had Elizabeth at home, and Jason and I were fighting all the time. I just wanted to try to get back to normal.

That is the other thing I think about. I know my husband carries a lot of guilt over Eric. He wasn't there for the birth and he really was in "I need to grow up" mode. (I am not being mean, this is what he has told me). He hardly ever even held Eric. I wanted to give him a boy, with a birth he could attend to try to ease some of that trauma. I am lucky though. I don't know many men that would have stuck with me through all we have through together. And yet, our marriage today is so much stronger than ever. I thank God we decided when we got pregnant with Elizabeth (Jason's idea btw), that divorce was not an easy option for us. Most couples don't last through what we have been through.

Then with Rachel, having an anterior placenta, and after the down syndrome scare (part of the reason there will be no blood work this time) and after losing Eric and losing the miscarriage, I was just too damn scared to fight. Yet, when I think back to the midnight race to Lubbock to the children's hospital and the week and a half we spent there because she caught RSV (which had anyone listened to me, they would have caught a lot sooner!) I know that I should have bitten back my fear, and been stronger for her.

As for baby Julia, I keep her picture up on my mantle, the one they brought me when they couldn't bring her to me, of her covered in monitors and oxygen tubes to remind me of what a c-section baby looks like and to give me strength and courage to do this thing I have set out to do. Again, I thank God my husband is supportive. I am scared, even though I really think all will be well. If something goes wrong with another of my babies, I don't know how I will live with myself. But I really am trying. I have done so much reading on risks versus benefits. And I know if I go to the hospital, they will fight me every step of the way. I can't concentrate on getting a baby out when I am fighting over every damn interevention they can think of. And they make you sign the c-section consent when you get to the hospital. I tried to refuse with Eric and it was a huge issue. I just don't want to be responsible for another baby with problems. All of my c-section babies have either ended up dead or in the hospital at less than two weeks.

If I could find someone who would let me labor and deliver how I wanted, I would so do that. But at this point, I can't. I tapped out all those resources. My other option is the wait and oops I am in active labor, better go to hospital since its time to push. What then is the difference between those last few minutes here or there? We are less than two minutes from the hospital. If there is a problem, and God willing please there won't be, we can transfer. I plan then at that point to plead ignorance. Had no idea I was actually in labor. Whatever it takes.

I know that I do not want CPS in my life again, and I know they can try if something goes wrong. Not legally, as there is nothing illegal in what we are planning, but that has never stopped them before. I hate to tell them though. This mama has done her homework. There will be no more easy capitualtion into whatever all these people want to say. I know my rights, I know where I stand. And if I do transfer to the hospital, they better watch out! I will do so prepared to fight. Ever seen a cornered mother lion? At that point, that will be me....

Easter Sunday

Author: Michele /

Really this is just a quick note to wish all who read a Happy Easter. This is a long weekend, as both Jason and Elizabeth had extra days off, so that alawys throws off my routine. Tomorrow I will post the yummiest crepe recipe ever as well as my 27 week picture, although since Tuesday marks 28 weeks, I may wait for that one. Anyway, Easter here has been peaceful. We did eggs with kids this morning and made a late breakfast. Tonight we will have lasagna and bread and maybe asparagus. Not traditional Easter fare I know, but it is just the 5 of us and no one really cares. I will check for hams later and maybe do a prolonged Easter dinner at a later date. Well, I am off to plan out dinner. Happy Easter. Love all of us here.

Kids at Park

Author: Michele /

We took the kids to the park this afternoon. It was quite the exciting event, let me tell you. Between the sand angels, which sadly we could not get a decent picture of and the 10,000 slides, I couldn't tell you what was more exciting. Okay that is a bit of sarcasm. Lets just say we don't go the park because it is my favorite place to hang out, but the kiddos really do love it. Suprisingly enough, even without naps today they were quite good.

Elizabeth brought home a ton of papers today, and among them was a photography form for Kindergarten graduation?!?!?! They have to be kidding me! This is the fourth, count them FOUR picture taking thing the elementary has had this year (and its only April, mind you). The kids are supposed to wear white shirts with collars and not to worry the photographer will provide caps and gowns. It reminds me of the quote from The Incredibles, where the dad is talking about elementary graduation as yet another way to celebrate mediocrity. Do not get me wrong. In no way do I think my precocious first born is mediocre, however I do think Kindergarten graduation is a little much!

This of course came along with a request for Elizabeth to take snacks to school tomorrow and also to bring 20 candy-filled eggs for the Easter Egg hunt at the school. The demands never end. And yet, about three times a week she brings home some little junky trinket her teacher has used to bribe the kids to learn this or bring that paper back to school. It makes me a touch nauseous to tell you the truth. There is no reward for doing a good job, just being the satisfaction that you did a good job. Elizabeth was working on her reading words a couple of weeks ago and was getting frustrated because she kept trying to say them fast and kept messing them up. I told her it was more important that she could read them well than read them fast. She gave me that look that only little girls can manage, you know the one, and said, "but mooo-ooom if I don't say them fast I won't get three check marks." Yep, her teacher doesn't use grades, but instead using a grading system of checks and smilies with funky mouths. You do super you get three checks, pretty good is two, mediocre is one and poor is a goofy looking smiley. It's absolutely ridiculous. Already, her love of learning is dimming in the light of needing to please. We have to get her out of that school!

Well, it is way past my bedtime here, but I wanted to post some pics for those who are interested and for myself as well. What a fun way to chronicle the passage of time. I already have a new preggy picture to post, but I will get to that tomorrow.
Love, Light and Blessings all.

Mother's Act

Author: Michele / Labels: ,

I dont know how many of you have heard of the Mother's Act, but I was absolutely appalled when someone brought it to my attention today! You can view the article I read at this site. Basically, it would force treatment for depression on pregnant mothers and new mothers regardless of side effects and personal choice at doctor's discretion. Sadly, they even named it for a woman who committed suicide after being treated for these problems. Despite the possible side effects of anti-depressants on women and unborn babies, this act would make it possible for women to be pushed into taking them, as well as new mothers. The difficulty with breastfeeding here would be an issue, yet no one seems too concerned about it. Anyway, as a woman who struggled with depression while pregnant, I can tell you that anti-depressants are not something to be taken lightly. Yes, they can be necessary, but the risks should be weighed against the benefits. This bill is being backed obviously by supporters of huge pharmaceutical companies; the senator who is pushing for it is a known supporter of such groups. It is also being sneaked in via a conglomerate bill that contains many unrelated programs and benefits. Please take a moment and sign the petition to stop this bill. Peace, Love and Light

Dinosaur Fossils and Snacks for Kids

Author: Michele / Labels:

So much fun, although very messy! Elizabeth was home today from school due to what appears to be pink-eye. So, the girls continued working on their dinosaur books and then for a fun project, I let them make fossils. What I did was added a couple of inches of mixed plaster of paris to the bottom of a 8-9" round cake pan (greased). Then after letting the plaster set up for about 30 minutes or so, I turned the girls loose with a variety of small plastic dinosaur toys. Of course they made a mess, but the fossils look cute and the girls had a blast making them. Once the plaster is completely set, then they can be removed from the pans and the girls will have their very own "dino fossils."

I also made some snacks for after nap. Thank goodness for no-bake cookies. Yep, I am talking about the oatmeal, chocolate peanut butter kind. Snack food is at a premium these days, so we have been making our own. Unfortunately I ran out of flour yesterday (making rolls that did NOT turn out well at all), so had to be even more creative than normal. As a result, the girls will get cookies and jell-o jigglers over the next couple of days. I am counting down until Thursday (PAYDAY!).

I am sure there are mamas out there who shudder at the thought that I feed my kids snacks such as these. Let me insert a disclaimer here: First of all I am on a very tight budget. Organic fruitsnacks etc don't quite make the cut. Second, my kids prefer fruits and veggies which we happen to be out of. Gotta love it huh? Third, I'm doing the best I can here.

Isn't that really all a parent can do? The best they can?

Hubby In Newspaper

Author: Michele /

My husband was in the newspaper, front page this morning, working to restore an old clock that used to sit on the City Hall. It was hit by a semi this past fall. He would be the one relaxing (he says hanging on for dear life) LOL. Also pictured is his co-worker and friend Salome and their boss Gary.

Sunday Morning

Author: Michele /

Just taking a few minutes this morning before the hustle and bustle of life begins anew. I can already tell it is going to be a long day. Laundry is the top order of the day as Kid 2 peed her bed (for the first time in a loooong time) and my bed needs washed too. Then I guess its floors and gathering schoolwork for the kids. They were bugging me about it yesterday. No 5-day school week at my house. They would do school 24/7 if they could.

Should spend the afternoon getting bible study ready for tomorrow night so as to avoid that whole drama scene. Then I guess if there is any time left over, it will be onto chapter two of Pheonix. Not that I think anyone particularly cares, but it gives me something to do. The kids have scattered all my note cards from hell to breakfast, but hopefully I have enough notes left I can remember what I was doing.

My brother rolled into town yesterday from Killeen. He and my parents took my kids for a little while yesterday and brought them home with a ton of new stuff they didn't need. If they wanted to be helpful they could have paid for some of Elizabeth's school crap that seems to be cropping up. Instead apparently my father made a comment to her that they looked like little white children with no clothes. WTF is that supposed to mean? For one, it would have helped if I had had more than 2minutes to get them ready, and for two they looked fine when they left. Rachel dressed herself (which grates on my parents nerves, but I don't see a problem with). Sure she was in jeans and a halloween shirt. Who cares? They went to our crappy little Wal-Mart, not to the Ritz Carlton. Luckily my brother is leaving Friday so we don't have to worry about anything regarding Easter.

It is so peaceful not talking to them all. It seems like everytime there is some communication with my family there is some bullsh*t drama. My kids don't need and neither do myself or my husband. So anyway, mini-rant over and back to real life. Just wanted to jot some stuff down before I forgot.

Peace, Blessings and Love.

Pic of Chicken Craft and Two Yummy Recipes

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ok here is the chicken craft I mentioned earlier. The green chick looked better before the puppy chewed off his face and he had to get a new one, which for some reason seems to be on there crooked...go figure. Anway, while I was thinking about it, I wanted to post two recipes that I made today that are stand-by favorites, never-fail and yummy. Hope you enjoy them as much as my family does.

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake:
1 c. buttermilk
2 t. baking soda
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
3 T cocoa powder
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 t. vanilla
1 c. boiling water
2 c. flour

1. Combine buttermilk and baking soda. Set aside.
2. Mix together sugar, eggs, cocoa, vegetable oil and vanilla.
3. Add boiling water to buttermilk mixture then add to sugar mixture.
4. Add flour.
5. Pour into 9x13 greased and floured pan.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Buttermilk Bread
1/4 c. warm water
1 T. yeast
1 t plus 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
2 t. salt
4 3/4 c. flour

1. In cup, combine water, yeast and teaspoon sugar. Stir to dissolve. Let sit 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile heat buttermilk, butter and remaining sugar to warm (butter does not have to be completely melted).
3. In large boil, combine salt and flour. Gradually add buttermilk mixture. Stir with wooden spoon until blended. (I use my stand mixer).
4. Knead 10 minutes. Let raise. Punch down. Cut in half. Place each half in a greased laof pan.
5. Let raise once more.
6. Preheat oven to 375. Bake 25-30 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy! Have a great weekend!!!

Author: Michele /

Well for those who care, I still have two loads of laundry left to do. LOL. I also spent the morning posting chapter one of the novel I have been playing around with for the past year. It is fantasy-ish I guess. Anyway, it is linked to this blog if anyone is interested. I thought maybe writing it on here might get me a little more motivated than just as a word doc. We will see though, right.

Same old kind of day here. Is it just me or does cleaning house seem like "the job that never ends...yes it goes on and on my friends...some people started doing it not knowing what it was...and they'll continue doing it forever just is the job that never ends..." Those of you who were lambchop fans back in the day will recognize the idea. Anyway I promise not to just use this space to gripe about cleaning.

HOLY BOOBS BAT-MAN! I woke up this morning with twice the chest I had last night. Amazing the way that works during pregnancy huh? I guess I am a little behind, but honestly I thought I would be deflated forever. LOL. If TMI sorry. I am just a little taken aback by it. I don't think I have ever experienced this to quite a degree unless I was weaning a kiddo or after my son died. So craziness.

Rachel and I are starting our Dino book today. She is in love with books she makes herself, so I thought a book filled with different dinosaurs would be fun for her. I think I have learned more than the kids with this unit. I try to look online and find new articles about dinos and fossils. Elizabeth is especially interested in them. It made her day that they found a new tiny dino that had the name Elizabethae in its name. Rachel and I also started working on numbers. She gets numbers and letter confused. In fact, she spent a good portion of our school time yesterday trying to make me understand that the 1 she colored was actually an I or an l. I am honestly amazed by her grasp of ABCs.

I made Julia a puppet for a rhyme about colors. It is a mother hen with all different colors of baby chicks. Super cute! It came out of an ancient book on pom-pom puppets that a friend gave me. What is so fun, is that Elizabeth and Rachel both love it as well (although they have both known their colors for quite some time) and so spend time playing it with Julia. I love to see the girls helping each other and working together. It is one of the biggest draws to homeschooling for me.

That brings me to another point. How to convince Liz that homeschool is funner than regular school? I wish I had never sent her to public school, although I didn't know I would at the time. She is bringing home some behaviors I am not overly fond of and Jason is about at the end of his rope with her. We would like to eventually have all four girls at home. But I don't want being home to be a punishment for Elizabeth. So, do I wait until she has a traumatic school experience (and hope it comes although that sounds terrible) or do we just pull her out with the "we are parents, we know best" schtick? I am going to spend the summer working with her and see if I can't convince her home is better. There are just so many things in this school district and honestly in school districts in general that I don't like and that Jason and I don't want for our girls.

With Rachel, homeschooling her was a no-brainer. And Julia will stay home as well, but it is a little harder with Liz since she has already gone two years.

I know many of the people who know me think I am going overboard. We homeschooled Rachel and that was wierd but ok, since she has trouble. Now we want to homeschool them all, I switched kids to cloth diapers, fought with the dr about shots, want to have this baby at home, etc...It just seems that one decision liberates you to make more choices for your family.

I won't lie either. Even though I know it has been rough not speaking to my parents, it makes all these decisions easier. Makes me think God had a plan in all this. Plus, Jason and I are doing great, kids are doing better. So all in all the changes are for the better I think.

Well I am off to do school work and make some bread to go with dinner. Hubby mentioned he really likes homemade bread (hint hint since I haven't made any in a while). LOL. Am trying a new recipe for dinner. I will post if it is tasty.

Love, Light and Blessings.

New Beginnings

Author: Michele /

Well, here I am with yet another new beginning. Blog entry number one: Seems to me like this spring has been a time of new beginnings, even for old things, if that makes sense. I am already 26 weeks pregnant with my little one, Baby Abigail (middle-nameless so far). It seems like time is flying. This is pregnancy number 5 (6 if you count the miscarriage in 2005) and yet things have gone smoother than ever before. Since summarily dismissing my doctor and taking over my own prenatal care, the days roll fluidly into one another. That is not to say we are not busy. Between Elizabeth's school-stuff and homeschooling Rachel there is always something to do. Add to the mix my springcleaning and whew it makes for one exhausted mama. I actually talked to a friend today about my decision to UC and she was super supportive. It reminds me that our conceptions of people can be so off base. The people I thought I would flip out haven't and those I thought would take it well flew off the handle.

Despite the fact that my days have been so smooth, today I find myself restless and feeling like I am in a rut. There is nothing else to do in my house but more laundry (I am almost done- but sheesh there is only so much sorting and folding a girl can do before she goes crazy). Rachel and Julia are down for their naps, it's not time to get Elizabeth from school, and I am feeling a little stir crazy. Sure we will hit the grocery store this afternoon, and maybe the park, but I find myself wanting to figure out how to take a little more time for me. It seems between the housework and the cooking and the housework and the kids and the housework and well you get the idea that by the time the kids are in bed I am so tired I don't want to do anything. But it isn't sleepy-tired, so I lay awake and spend too much time thinking.

I am hoping and praying that April is a better month than March. Not that there is anything inherantly wrong with March, but it was a rough month here. Rachel turned three (already!) and it just reopened some of the current fightings with family (another post another day!). There were more bills than money (isn't that the way of it). I am stretching too little groceries across too many people. And as I mentioned spring cleaning. DH feels guilty if he doesn't help but he makes me feel guilty if he does. Anyone else have this kind of catch-22 situation?

The girls and I have been continuing learning about dinosaurs, and let me tell you it has been fun. There is nothing cuter than listening to a three year old say "diplodocus" and "stegosaurus" and "tyrannosaurus rex". Yesterday we made rolled cookies- my concession to Elizabeth ever since the leprechaun left her that damn note about making green cookies (WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?!) and called them dinosaur eggs. They were the most colorful dino eggs ever, but it should spare me from having to make Easter cookies too. I find I can get the kids to eat anything if I throw a dino phrase in front of the actual dish.

Example. I made egg-rolls the other night. The kids didn't want them. Turn them into Pteradactyl Rolls though and I had no problems. I am running out of ideas, and guess we will be changing homeschool units soon. Craft ideas are wearing thin and I am thinking the girls might like to start spring. I am just waiting until payday so I can get all the essentials: printer cartridge, paper, and tape. Lol. Packing tape is the handiest invention for homeschooling and I wish I had found it before now. It is a great alternative to laminating and sturdies up anything.

Sorry this is rambly. My mind has been falling into rabbit holes lately, not holding onto one train of thought for too long. And today there is nothing pressing on my mind. I just wanted to drop some musings onto paper and see what they looked like. I can see how this kind of chatting with yourself can become addictive. Its journaling with a spin I suppose. Anyway, I guess I have put off the laundry long enough. I have diapers to dry and a few more little loads to wash. My goal is to be finished today and stay caught up. I will let you know how it goes. :)

Peace, Blessings and Light to all.