Sunday, April 22, 2012

Another Soggy Saturday

Spring soccer is so soggy! We're two for two now.... two weeks of games in the chilly rain. I think we'll do an indoor activity next year. Chess club?

Adam is the one who really loves soccer the most. This week he was out of the goal box and he loved running all over the field. He scored one goal and almost got another one in as well.

Garden of the Good Shepherd - Garden Party 2

This week's theme in our "Garden of the Good Shepherd" Easter observance was "Welcome to the Lord's Table." We read Scripture and reflections about the following symbols: table, chairs, bread, wine, milk, honey, and fruit. We had the privilege of welcoming my mom, sister, and nephew to share this week's garden party with us.

Before dinner, we decorated the tables and chairs.

In addition to yummy chicken and some veggies, we enjoyed the following symbolic foods:

White grape juice mixed with Sprite

Dinner rolls with butter and honey

Fruit Salad

Ice Cream Sundaes

It was fun to share this special meal with our family members. The boys are really getting into the daily reflections and weekly garden parties. Happy third week of Easter!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Further Proof of my Insanity

Just a few random things from my week that probably further proof my insanity.

1. I took the boys on a field trip to a whistle factory. The American Whistle Factory is located here in Central Ohio. It's the only metal whistle factory in the USA. It's small, but pretty neat to see. The boys loved the tour, which was organized by another mom in our homeschool group. They love seeing machines work. (Sidenote.... check out the show "How It's Made" on the Science Network. We're loving these glimpses into some super-cool factories.)

Now, here's the insane part.... Each boy got his own whistle to take home. Yep, that's right. Metal whistles. In the van. In the house. In the yard. I'm sure my neighbors are less than thrilled. If you call me and I don't answer, it's probably because my hearing has been permanently impaired by the whistles.

2. Papier-mache. Really, that's all I should have to say for this one.... but here's the story: I decided that all kindergarten and first graders should have the experience of doing papier-mache. We're reviewing some geography and preparing for Earth Day, so it would be really cool to make our own globes, right? It was a beautiful day on Wednesday. I gathered all the papier-mache supplies and set them up on a table in the back yard. I showed the boys how to dip the newspaper strips into the flour and water mixture and place them on their balloons.

Note that there are no pictures of this process.... It was simply too messy for any of us to touch the camera!

The boys followed my lead for about 2.5 minutes before they decided that this was just too yucky and time consuming. They globbed bunches of paper on their balloons and ran inside to wash their hands. I, determined to make this project a success, spent the next hour "fixing" and finishing their balloons and my own. I got one layer of paper on pretty perfectly. I put them in the sun to dry.

Here they are.... my masterpieces!
Well, that's the last look you're going to get at "our" papier-mache project. A few hours later the boys went back outside and decided to "just gently kick them around the yard a very little bit." I should have taken a picture of the mangled "masterpieces".... but I was too mad. Project over.

I spent a few days considering whether or not to try it again.... but decided that papier-mache is NOT something kindergarteners and first graders need to know. Maybe 3rd and 4th graders?

3. Giant heavy big long tube ----

... balancing on the fence. Sometimes I wonder what my neighbors must witness and think.

When we got our kitchen floor replaced, the new vinyl came on this giant tube. I asked if I could keep it. Surely I'll find some great use for it, right? (Now is when my sisters accuse me of being a hoarder.) When I cleaned out the garage this week, this had to go. The boys carried it to the back yard and had great adventures with it, including propping it on the swing set clubhouse and rolling balls and cars through it to the ground. For a few days balanced on our fence. I finally had Jon cut it in half so we can store it somewhere until I find its great purpose.

So, if you've been wondering what I've been up to, there you have it. The insane adventures of a quirky homeschool mom. If you need a (used) whistle, want to teach my kids papier-mache, or have a great idea for using the giant cardboard tubes.... let me know.

We've Got Our Daddy Back!!!

Hip hip hooray!
We all survived another tax season!
We now return to our regularly-scheduled life!

We welcomed Jon home on Tuesday night with some posters and balloons and cheers. We all went out to the Cheesecake*Factory for dinner to celebrate! We've spent the past few days enjoying having him around and helping him rest and catch up on some things.

I am very proud of Jon for how hard he works. Each year he seems to handle it better and better. And he has assumed more and more leadership at his firm and taken on more and more clients. He loves his job and he works for fantastic people who reward him well. He was thrilled to come home on Thursday with a big bonus.... and a three day weekend.

Today Jon told me he's still doing tax returns in his sleep.... still winding down from the whirlwind. I'm trying very hard not to inundate him with all the projects and discussions I've got waiting for him. It's always an adjustment for us to get back to "normal" with parenting, our relationship, and household tasks.

But we're so glad to be a family spending time together again!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Oh well!

We were cleaning out the garage today and we ended up packing away all of the fun winter stuff that we got for Christmas and NEVER got to use! It was such a strange snow-less winter here in Central Ohio. I thought for sure we'd get snow on Easter. I guess we're not completely out of the woods yet. I hope I didn't jinx us by putting the stuff away!

Garden of the Good Shepherd - Garden Party 1

Tonight we celebrated the first garden party of our "Garden of the Good Shepherd" Easter observance. (The kit we use is available here. It is published by Liturgy Training Publications. Most of the ideas for the corresponding weekly garden parties came from Shower of Roses. We also did the garden parties in 2010. There are posts about those parties in the archives of this blog.)

This week's readings were all about the Good Shepherd caring for his sheep. Here's what our chart looks like so far ---

Today was a beautiful warm sunny day, so we decided to have our garden party on the back porch. Jon was able to come home and join us. We had a wonderful festive meal.

We used our Paschal candle and Easter lily for decorations. We also added our Saint Faustina doll as today is Divine Mercy Sunday. I was excited to use my three-tiered stand, which was a birthday gift from my mother-in-law.
Ray helped me set the table and get everything ready.
Each food at the garden party has a symbolic meaning that goes along with one of the stickers/symbols from the week.
Mini Shepherd's Pies representing Jesus, the Good Shepherd
Breadsticks shaped like shepherd's staffs

Lamb cupcakes

Popcorn, representing the sheep/lambs.
The bowl represents the sheepfold.

Graham cracker/peanut butter/pretzels, representing the gate to the sheepfold
"Wolf paw" cookies!

 The symbolic foods made for an interesting meal. None of us could eat everything... but we did enjoy talking about the symbolism and tasting all the yummy food! What a fun way to celebrate the Second Sunday of Easter! Keep the "Alleluia's" coming!

**Note to my friends/readers who may also be doing the garden parties this year.... I found a lot of the cookies and other items listed in the plans at Dollar Tree this week!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

50 Days of Resurrection Joy!

We've certainly been celebrating the Octave of Easter with gusto! We had a fun week filled with lots and lots of activities. We did manage to get "basic school" done every day, but we also went to the zoo, karate, soccer practice, dance class, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, the library, our first soccer game of the season, and a roller skating birthday party! We participated in two Easter egg hunts on Easter Sunday, hosted one for my godchildren and their families on Wednesday, and went to one more at a park with our homeschooling group on Thursday! We enjoyed beautiful weather (except for some rain during the soccer game). And all the while Jon has been working and working and working.... but the end of tax season is SO close now. You can bet we'll be rejoicing even more wholeheartedly once we get Daddy back!

Here are some pictures from our busy, fun week ---

Four of my five godchildren were able to come to an Easter egg hunt and lunch at our place! (Our other godchild lives in Michigan.) We had a great time.

Now this is a beautiful sight! TEN children playing peacefully in our basement. They all had so much fun --- with no incidences or trouble at all!

Homeschool Easter Egg Hunt at a local park ---

Adam and his friend Ryan enjoying a beautiful day at the park!

Ray hanging out at the top of the rock wall.

You've gotta love these classic boy faces!
It's SO hard to wait for the egg hunt to start.

"And they're off!"

 Catechesis of the Good Shepherd ---

At our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd class, we celebrated the Liturgy of the Light.
Adam receiving the Light of Christ

Celebrating with our friends!

Spring Soccer Season has begun!

Adam was once again effective and entertaining as goalie!

Adam is a full head taller thean all the other kids on his team.

This is the only non-blurry picture I got from Ray's game. It was raining and I was a little bit busy. See picture below! ;)

Ava's 10th Birthday Party at the Roller Rink!

I can't believe that my niece Ava is turning 10! We had a great time at her party today.... but most of my pictures turned out too blurry or too dark. I didn't even get a decent picture of Ava! My boys had only skated twice before. Ray did amazingly well. He was pretty independent. Adam was another story. His legs were like Jello! But he was determined to skate no matter what. They both skated and skated and skated until the party ended and the lights were turned off!

Roller Kings!
Adam, Carter, Ray

Isn't this funny?
Mamaw helping Adam skate with a "walker!"
Shouldn't it be the kid helping grandma with a walker? ;)

Happy Birthday Ava!
Whew! No wonder I'm tired! What a week. Tomorrow we will celebrate our first Garden Party for our Garden of the Good Shepherd Easter observance. It will also be Divine Mercy Sunday. After that, we're diving into a BIG week of school work... and getting ready to celebrate the END of tax season! Hooray! Alleluia!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Zoo Day

We spent a good part of yesterday at the zoo with some friends. Even though it was a chilly and windy day, we had a great time! It was not at all crowded and the animals were very active.

This polar bear really put on a show for us! He was having a blast playing with this barrel. We were having a blast watching him.

 Once again I'm so thankful for the flexibility of homeschooling. Although we haven't taken an official spring break, we have been able to alter our schedule for fun (and also educational) outings like this. There have been several days over the last few weeks when we've done what I call "basic school." That means the boys have completed their core book work - Math, Phonics, Handwriting - and they've read to me... and then we've been off on fun adventures!