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Friday, May 5, 2017

New Home Owners

I feel like I am living a dream. My husband and I just bought our first house. We were so irresponsible when we were young, we never thought it would be possible. Once we put our minds to it and prayed about it, we decided to get to work and do what needed to be done to get it done. It has taken a few years and it hasn't been easy, but yes that is our beautiful home, pictured above.

It is an 1860 brick Victorian. I didn't want to write this post until we had the keys in our hand. It was such a roller coaster ride going through the process. Some mornings I woke up thinking that it would't happen. I will be sharing the inside with you once we get moved in (3 more days). If you are friends with me on Facebook then you have probably already seen it. I took this picture in the beginning of March. Today, the grass is so green and there are tulips coming up. It is just beautiful. I am looking forward to having my first cup of coffee on that porch.

I do plan on sharing more as we get moved and settled. I will probably need help with some gardening and decorating. the current furniture I have doesn't go with the style of the house.

This is us at closing when we got our keys. We left out of that place laughing. We still can't believe that they gave us keys to a house.

The kids are all excited that we have someplace for them to grow up. We also have something to leave for them when we are gone. We have four bedrooms and two baths. The girls each have their own room and the boys with be sharing. There is also a full attic that is already insulated. We just need to add walls. Then they will have that space to hang out in.

I look forward to sharing more with you. Right now, I have to go finish

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Favorite Apple Recipes

A friend of ours went out to pick some apples this weekend and he had more than enough for his family, so he offered the rest to us. We ended up with way more than we need. I have plenty of recipes that I can use apples with, but I still won't make a dent in them.

Here are some of my favorite apple recipes.

Apple Crisp, is the family favorite, so I will add that to the top of the list. I just may have to do a small batch for the kids tonight. Want to make it even better? Top it with a scoop of ice cream. This recipe has over 4000 reviews. Trust me, if you have never made this, you have to try it.

Another good one, is slow cooker oats. I love to wake up to this on a Sunday morning. We are usually rushing to get to church on time and breakfast is done. I have made this recipe with both quick cooking oats and steel cut oats. They are both good. The steel cut oats seem to keep the kids full longer.

We don't make apple pie very often, but when we do, we prefer Dutch apple pie. Here is another one that is best served with ice cream! It is always a vanilla or vanilla bean. You can even drizzle a bit of caramel on top.

Another good one is apple cinnamon pancakes. This is quick and easy. I just follow my regular pancake recipe. Cut up some apples, mix it with cinnamon and throw it in the batter. They are perfect every time and fun for the kids.

This is about all I have when it comes to apples. If I made all of this, I still wouldn't put a dent in this tub of apples. Do you have any ideas on what to do with all of these apples? Share with me your ideas and recipes. I will come back and let you know what we decide. I definitely don't want them going to waste.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Easy Peasy Homeschool Review

Ha, I am back. I kept to my promise and I am posting again. So, in my last post, I mentioned that I am home schooling all five kids. I have had many comments from people that are amazed that I do this. When the other three came, I already had a few years under my belt. I just worked them into what we were already doing.

Jonaya is pretty independent. It is not very often then she needs help. When she does have questions, she has her dad and Google. She is an avid reader, so she learns best with text over video.

Sterling and Ian are both doing 5th grade. When I started with Sterling he was behind in a lot of areas. I have kept working with him and in the summer we do a lot of review. He is now excelling in all subjects.

Ian is ahead a grade because I started him early with him having a November birthday. He is right where he needs to be, but gets lazy when it comes to reading.

Tierney was also behind when she came. At three years old, she still didn't know all of her colors. I worked with her through reading and play and she started catching on.

Sean has been right on target, so I have pushed him up a grade to work with Tierney at her level. They are both excellent readers for their age. Some of the words that they read surprises me still. They just learned how to read together last year.

OK, this is supposed to be a review, but I just wanted to explain where I was coming from. I use Easy Peasy All-in-one homeschool for their curriculum. Everything that I need is all online. She covers preschool all the way through high school. Here is the best part. It's completely free! I know, right?

Homeschooling five kids has me on a tight budget. I read all of these other blogs and parents have their kids on these wonderful curriculum. Don't get me wrong, they do look great, but we can't roll like that.

With Easy Peasy, I can easily access what my kids are doing for the day all in one place. I don't even have to lesson plan. It's done for me.

Easy Peasy Education

You may be wondering, can I really give my kids a good education with a free online curriculum? The answer is,"Yes." All of the subjects and reading is challenging and just above their grade level that is listed. It is intended to be college preparatory. It is not too intensive that they can't do it, but it is challenging.

You can do half of the day's school work together with lower grade levels, first through fourth and higher grade levels, fifth through eighth. High school is on a separate page and we are not quite there yet. These subjects include Bible, science, history, art, music and physical education. This is great to give a classroom atmosphere for large families and also saves on time.

What Do I Need To Start?

There is not very much you need to do to prepare ahead of time. There is a recommended supply list that you can use to shop at the beginning of the year. For the younger grades, there are a lot of print outs and lap books. I usually do a weeks worth and put it in a folder, so it doesn't slow us down. There is also an option to purchase work books through the website with everything already printed for you, if you don't want to fool with this. If you choose, this option, that will be a small investment for each book.

What If It's Not Enough?

There are many families that will supplement with other materials for some of the subjects. For example, there are not a lot of math problems. You can get an extra workbook or find more practice materials online.

We haven't done much of that this year, but I have the resources if I need to. Some days we can be done right around lunch time and others we are still working while the public school kids are getting off of the bus. It just depends on what else we have going on and their moods. I don't stress, as long as their work is done by the end of the week, it's all good. They can do school five days a week or get it all done at the beginning of the week and take the rest of the week off. "Don't sweat the small stuff," right?

Would I Recommend This Curriculum?

I would definitely recommend this curriculum, especially if you are new to home school. There is no guess work involved. Everything is right there for you. Unless, there is some drastic change, I see myself using this curriculum for years to come. I have my kids tested every year, to be sure we are still on the right track. they all test above their grade level, so I think this is a winner.

Do you use Easy Peasy, too? I would love to know what you think.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Little Feet Update

Wow! I can't believe it has been over two years from when we were getting ready for the adoption. You may notice in the picture that I have an extra set of feet. Long story short, the two that I adopted in March of 2014 are actually part of a sibling group of four. Their sister was adopted by a paternal aunt. That left Sean. DHS wanted to keep the siblings together, so they asked if we would take him. It didn't take us long to pray about it. Of course, we took him. So, we call him our "oops baby" since we weren't planning on having five kids.

(L to R) Ian, Tierney, Jonaya, Sean, and Sterling

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you probably know this already. We adopted him in October of 2014. You have probably been wondering what has been going on for the last two years, if we have had them that long. For the most part, the kids have been great. My husband has had a lot of health issues. It had gotten so bad, that some nights I would go to bed wondering if I would have a husband the next day. Things are a lot better now. Thank you, Jesus! He still has one more surgery to go in December. I may share his story another day because it is truly a miracle.

Now back to my "little feet." My oldest's is not so little anymore. Jonaya just celebrated her 14th birthday. She is actually able to get her learner's permit here in Iowa. Davon is now 11. He has decided that he now wants to go by his middle name which is Sterling. Ian is nine, he will be 10 in November. Tierney is seven, though she still looks like she is five. The child won't grow and she can eat me under the table. Sean is six. He was the last one to come and is the baby. He plays it up.

I have decided to home school all five of them. I pulled Davon out of public school after his third grade year and the other two never went because they were still too young. Jonaya and Ian have always been home schooled. Jonaya is in 8th grade and is pretty independent. She just has to check in with me. Sterling and Ian are both in 5th grade. A lot they can do on their own and I am close by for any questions. Tierney and Sean are both in 2nd grade. They need the most attention, right now, but do pretty good.

We are actually taking this week off. I usually do six weeks on and one week off. That is more for me than them. I can get caught up with house cleaning and other things that I need to get done. This also keeps us from getting burnt out.

I say this every time and then life happens, but I will be back later this week to share more.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Our Family is Growing!

No, I am not pregnant. Remember the two foster children that I wrote about last year? Well, they are going to be mine! They are already mine in my heart. We are now planning for the official big day on March 19, 2014. This wasn't the easiest ride, but it was certainly better than most stories that I hear.

We still have things that we are working on and I imagine that we will be for a long time. For now, things are improving everyday. I will take what I can get.

I am looking forward to being able to share pictures of them. I might be biased, but they are so cute. They look like they could be mine. Well, almost. Little T looks biracial. D looks more like he can be John's son.

I do want to get back on here regularly (I know I say that every time, but life gets in the way) to document all of these life changing moments. I have some planning to do, to make this day special. We do have family flying in and we are planning a big celebration the Saturday after.

I am so proud of my bio kids. They have such beautiful souls. They have opened up their hearts and they are sharing their space. I haven't had one complaint in the past year. Wow, if it was me as a kid, I would have issues. Don't get me wrong, we have had our days where we can't get a long, but it is completely normal sibling issues.

I look at the world around me and I see how incredibly blessed that I am. I am so thankful for the way my life is going. Now, I just have to start praying that I don't do any permanent damage to these kids...haha

Friday, July 5, 2013

Enjoying Summer

I have been quite busy for the last few months. I have two more amazing kids living with me. They have been here since February. There is a boy who is 7 and a little girl that just turned. I can't say that things have been exactly easy. In the beginning I had my doubt about what I had gotten myself into.

John has even left the food business and found a job where he can be home more. He now has nights, weekends and holidays off. I don't know what to do with myself, I am so happy. He even has the option to work from home on some days. I get nothing done, but that is ok.

We have already been able to go on two camping trips. I will start planning the next one in the next week or so. Everyone in the family enjoys that. John and the kids have taken to fishing this year. It is fun hearing those stories when they get back.

We haven't had any formal school since the end of May. Once, public school had let out for the summer, I knew it was useless. We had already reached the required minimum by then, so it was ok. We have been able to do a lot of reading and the boys have worked on some math. My oldest, Jonaya, is taking a marine biology course through currclick. She is enjoying that, but it is almost over. She also has a couple more weeks of small group at church on Wednesday.

That is all that has been new with us. I spend most of my time managing four kids and driving them to appointments. I wouldn't change it for the world, though. I love it.

I hope everything is going well in your lives and you are enjoying your summer, like I am.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Just Waiting

We are finally finished with our parenting class. All three home studies are complete. All of the paper work is turned in. Now, we just wait for the phone to ring. It could be next week, it could be next month. We just sit and wait.

I am nervous and excited at the same time. We will go from a family of four to six! If I fall off the face of the cyberworld, then you know why.

I have been cleaning house and reorganizing like a maniac. We live in a 3 bedroom 2 bath townhouse, so with two more kids living here, I don't want to be busting out at the seams.

I am so thankful for all of the support we have had throughout this process. We couldn't have done this alone. People are so generous and have such big hearts. I am looking forward to be able to pay if forward.

Once again, if you can help out a family with foster or adoptive children, please help. Our kids need you.