Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Granola - YUM!

Oh my goodness, I have found the best fall inspired snack. Where? Pinterest, of course!!! It is called Pumpkin Spice Granola and it is oh so yummy.  Please visit Joyful Healthy Eats for the original recipe.
 The recipe is super simple and I had everything on hand (which rarely happens).  I only made two minor adjustments.  I used walnuts instead of almonds and added extra dried cranberries.  I also think pistachios would be tasty.

dry and wet ingredients

ready to bake

mixed with vanilla yogurt and ready to eat  (sorry for the blurry pic)

We host Thanksgiving every year for both sides of our family.  I always like to send something home with everyone.  A couple of years ago I sent everyone home with a small loaf of homemade bread.  Last year, our guests received a bag of ingredients to make fresh stove top potpourri (see here).  I think this granola may be the gift to receive this Thanksgiving. :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

1st Grade Suffix Practice - Halloween Style

My six year old son is currently learning different suffixes and the rules for applying a suffix to a root word.  These are the rules we are currently working on. 1.  If the root word has a short vowel sound and ends with a consonant, double the consonant and add the suffix. 2.  If the root word has a long vowel sound followed by a consonant and ending with a silent vowel, drop the silent vowel and add the suffix. Since Halloween is this Friday, I thought it would be fun to have a suffix review with a little bit of a Halloween theme.  This isn't anything overly creative but I think he will really enjoy it. Each card works with a certain suffix.  Looking at the card, the left side contains words that have to do with rule #1.  The right side of the cards uses words that pertain to rule #2.  The bats are really just for fun and matching to each card.  He will have to re-write each word with the correct suffix.

The stickers are for marking each correct word after he is finished.  My kids love marking their work with stickers, stamps, markers, etc.

Like I said, it isn't anything overly creative but sometimes getting out of the book, using colorful cards, and fun stickers makes the morning more enjoyable.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Family Field Trip : NASA

One of the many perks to homeschooling our kids are the awesome opportunities we have for field trips.  Recently, our family of five took an unforgettable field trip to NASA.  We decided to go during the annual NASA Homeschooling Day.  

It. Was. Aweswome!!!

We were definitely given the star treatment.  First, all homeschooling families were given a huge discount on tickets (over 50% per person).  We had free reign of the space center from 10am-5pm with multiple workshops for kids plus additional workshops for parents.  We also had free parking - FREEEEE PARKING!!!!!  It is the little things that make me happy.  Free parking makes me feel like I might as well be arriving on the red carpet.  :)  There was so much to do we did not get to all of it which means we will just have to go back another year. :)

One of the most exciting parts of the day was getting to take the tram tour of Johnson Space Center.  We actually got to go into Mission Control.  We sat in the actual mission control room for Apollo 13.  It has been left just as it was so many years ago.  It was such an emotional space, such an amazing experience.

Not only was the venue amazing and beyond educational but it was one of those days where the stars seem to align (get it...). :)  Everyone in our family enjoyed the trip.  We seemed to hang on each moment we had together - nobody threw fits, cried, got sick, or any other issue that may often arise on family trips.  It was a perfect day!

We took so many pictures.  It was hard to narrow it down as to which ones I wanted to share.  Here are a few or twenty of my favorites. :)

It is mind blowing how big everything is in person.

Our oldest was beyond excited.  This was pretty much the expression on his face all day long.

Replica of the International Space Station

Learning about the space station

Okay, this creeped me out a bit.  This is how astronauts sleep while in space...

It was very interesting to read about the various space suits used over the past several decades.

The gray dirt on the boots is actual moon dust!!!

Rover Races

Hula hooping - This really did not have to do with space but she is always ready to hula hoop and dance to loud music.  :)  It also made for some super tiny hiney hip action that made me smile!

Angry Birds Space...Need I say more?

Controlling moon rovers

About to enter the space simulator.  

You could watch what was happening in the simulator on a monitor.  This was mid role as you can see my the straps on the harness.

"Curiosity" - Mars Rover

More moon dust.  I love how this picture turned out.

We had the best picnic lunch on the grounds of NASA.  I thought I could get a decent picture of the kids...  So I thought...

Two out of the three look great. :)


Well now one looks like something smells bad...sigh...

I think I took about 30 different shots... oh, well

It is so nice that out oldest can take our picture, now.

Apollo 13 Mission Control - left just how it was during that mission.  The emotions in this room were overwhelming.  We sat in the very chairs of the Apollo 13 crew's family members as they watched if their loved ones would return.

Just one of the many boosters that took Saturn V into space in order to launch Apollo 13.

The rocket "Mercury" in Rocket Park

This gave the kids the feeling of what position the astronauts sit in during a launch.

So many more pictures, I could have done 4 posts on NASA.  We will definitely go back!!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

In Two Days I will have a Ten Year Old

Where has the time gone?  In two days our oldest son will turn ten years old, double digits, half way through his time in our home, half way to being an adult, not far from being a teenager, and officially a tween (whatever that term really means). As the trend has been lately, I can't seem to fall asleep at night.  This isn't new, it has been months since I have been able to fall asleep within a reasonable amount of time.  Two days ago my husband's grandfather passed away.  His health has been failing but we weren't expecting him to pass away.  Since then, the family has been busy organizing all the details for the services.  My husband is a third generation butcher for the family meat market.  His grandfather opened the business in 1964 and it has been an establishment for many generations and families in our community.  Since I couldn't sleep and Pawpaw Moody was on my mind, I decided to dig through old pictures to see what I could find.  My mother-in-law is in the process of collecting pictures for the funeral and I thought it would be helpful to her if I could contribute a few. While sitting on the floor in our closet, I came across several pictures, cards, etc. from the day our oldest son was born.  Like any mother, my eyes teared up and throat became tight.  As I looked through the pictures the images became blurred through my tears.  Ten years?  How is this possible?  Have we done a good job?  Is God happy with where he is, where we are at this  ten year mile stone? I think I have mentioned before that my maternal grandmother (Esther Johnson) had a firm belief in guardian angels.  She actually did quite a bit of research on the topic.  She was asked on more than one occasion to speak and write about her views and opinions of angels.  When I was a little girl she gave me a guardian angel.  She told me her name was Adora and that she lived sitting on my shoulder.  Grandma would write stories about the adventures of Adora and Beth (me).  I loved her stories.  I would eagerly wait for them to arrive in the mail. When I became pregnant with our son, I insisted that Grandma name a guardian angel for him.  His arrival was a bit dramatic.  We knew he was going to be born with CHD (congenital heart disease).  We also knew that he would not be able to stay at the hospital with me but would quickly be transported to our local children's hospital.  Three weeks early (he has always been a child that keeps us on our toes), I wasn't sure if Grandma had selected a name for the angel. Knowing how much the stories of Adora and Beth meant to me, my mom wrote a story about our son, the day of his birth, and how his guardian angel was assigned to him. The original story is a bit lengthy for this post but I would still love to share a part of it. Adora peeked outside of the operating room doors.  "Where did he come from?  Who picked him out and what is his name?" she yelled after Obadiah (this is my husband, Charlie's guardian angel).  But he wasn't able to hear her.  He and Charlie were getting hugs and kisses from Charlie's parents and Elizabeth's dad and everyone was talking at once.  They all wanted to hear about Jacob's birth.  Then, Adora looked down the hallway in the opposite direction.  Standing in a corner by herself, was Jacob's Grandma Sally, talking on her cell phone.  Adora flew over Grandma Sally's head and listened.  Grandma Sally had called her mother (Jacob's Great-grandma Johnson).  "Of course," thought Adora.  "Why didn't I think of that?  Great-grandma Johnson is the guardian angel expert in this family.  She will know what to do."

"Thank you, Grandma Sally said into the cell phone.  I will tell Elizabeth that you have picked out Felix to be Jacob's guardian angel."  Then she walked down the hallway to the recovery room so she could be with Elizabeth.

Adora smiled as she followed Grandma Sally to the recovery room.  Felix is perfect for Jacob, she thought.  Obadiah and I should have picked him out right away.  He is small, and he doesn't have much experience, but he is very brave and quite stubborn.  Most importantly, he has the biggest, strongest heart of all of the angels in Heaven and he will make sure that Jacob has a wonderful life.

Exactly one hour after he was born, Jacob was packed up in the transport incubator with all of his tubes and wires hooked up to him.  The transport team wheeled him back down to the same little waiting areas so his parents and all of his grandparents could see him before he left for the children's hospital.  As everyone reached in to touch Jacob's hands, Felix flapped his wings at top speed and hovered just above the incubator where he could keep a close eye on Jacob.

The story continues but I just had to share this small part.  Like I said, where did the time go?  How has it been 10 years, a decade?  I am so thankful for the love of guardian angels that was passed from my grandmother to me.  I am also thankful for the love of writing in our family.  These moments in time, documented, told in a story, are priceless treasures. I will admit our family is beyond exhausted and we know the week ahead of us is going to be filled with so many emotions as we say good-bye to Pawpaw Moody.  However, it will also be filled with the joy of watching our son turn ten years old. So, in an odd way, I am thankful I couldn't fall asleep.  Not only did I get to think about a great man but in the process of looking for pictures, I found an incredible story that had been tucked away for a decade.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Stitch Fix - Arrival!!!

My first Stitch Fix shipment arrived yesterday.  I was so excited when I saw the Fed Ex truck pull up to my house.  There may have been an audible squeal... :) The box seemed to be singing my name and jumped into my arms when I opened the doors.  Okay, maybe not but I had been counting down the days to receive this little gem. Such a pretty box and the attention to detail made me feel so special.  :)

Eeee, "Your stylist..."  Yes that is right, I don't shop for myself, my stylist does that for me".  Hehehe, I was having way too much fun!

Everything was wrapped up in the cutest little bundle.

This envelope (remember from my stylist) contained an invoice and price breakdown of all items, plus the cutest little wardrobe cards.  

I love the wardrobe cards!  It was so much fun to look at the different ideas for incorporating the five pieces that were in the box.

Okay, so let's get to the best part - the GOODS!!!!  

This was by far my most favorite piece.  I love, love, love tunics with leggings and riding boots.  This fit perfectly into my current wardrobe yet included colors I really never pick for myself.

I like the diversity of wearing it belted or unbelted.  Also, you could add a skinny leather belt or even a chunkier belt for another look.  I wore this top to Bible study last night and received several compliments.

Now, this teal (color is showing different in the picture) and navy top was super cute.  Unfortunately, the fit was not good.  

I always like cardigans, especially with 3/4 length sleeves.  However, I wasn't crazy about the color.  I couldn't decide if it was maroon or more brown - strange.  Also, I think I could get a similar cardigan at Target for a lot less money.

This scarf was really pretty and I debated about keeping it.  BUT, we live in South Texas and it just doesn't get that cold.  This would be adorable in a state like Minnesota! :)

There was also a pair of skinny jeans, but I forgot to take a picture of those.  Must have been a Freudian slip that I forgot the picture.  I really don't "do" skinny jeans.  I am a curvy girl who loves bread and butter!!! :)

Overall, I am only keeping one item but I loved every bit of the process.  This morning I left notes and opinions on each item for my stylist (as instructed).  I packaged all returning items in the provided bag and dropped it off at a local UPS stop.  So, Simple!!!  My next delivery will arrive December 2nd.  I am counting down the days!!!