Saturday, October 31, 2009

November Hiatus

I may or may not blog during the month of November. I also am hoping to not have many phone calls or emails during November--we're trying to scale back where we can so we can pull this off.

Our entire family, along with several friends, is participating in NaNoWriMo. Basically, you write a novel in one month.

So, see you in December. I think this is just what I need. I've blogged a bunch this past month but still haven't been "feeling it," so I think I'm still in a bit of a blog funk.

Plus, this little hiatus will make you all appreciate our blogging more. :P

I may check in now and then a little bit.

If you're bored, join us and write a book:

Happy November, everyone!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall Fun

Fall means back-to-school routine. We sort of school year round, but we always tweak our schedule and approach every Fall and dive into the fun stuff we come up with. This is true of our family and our homeschool group.

So, this past Monday was a particularly full one. This is uncharacteristic for us, since we're adamantly opposed to "over programming." It stresses me out.

Thing is, thankfully with homeschooling, we are able to do so much with our days that our evenings can be spent at home as a family.

And around here, there are so many classes you can take during the day (instruments, Tae Kwan Do, YMCA, ice skating, etc.) as well as so many classes and clubs through our homeschool group (art class, writers' group, knitting group, Legos group, newspaper club, etc.), that we can do so many neat things without feeling like we're always on the go and not having a moment to breathe. It's nice.

So, our main homeschool group day is Friday--that's the day we do whatever class or field trip we're doing for that week, then we have lunch, and then we all go to the YMCA for swimming and sports in the gym.

On some Mondays (mostly 1st and 3rd), we have additional fun stuff we do. This past Monday was a full one.

We did some school stuff in the morning.
10-11am Art Class taught by Miss Jenny (she's great!)
11-noon Writers' Group (we made mini-books; so fun!)
Noon Rendezvous lunch with Mark
1-3pm Knitting Group and Lego Club
5:00 Dinner as a family
5:30-6:30 Group Violin (Suzuki)
7pm Individual Violin Lesson

Also, I attended a wonderful meditation class from 7-8.

Full Fall day. But oh so fun! I got pictures of a lot of it, but they're a bit fuzzy.

And what's fall without good fall food?

I mentioned this on Facebook, but it bears repeating:

One cool, rainy Saturday, we made these:

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins
They were DELICIOUS!
And kind of healthy, too (use applesauce instead of oil).
Recipe here

We also made homemade gnocchi with creamy saffron shrimp and caramelized onions and Italian sausage from our home-grown pig! Yum.

We also got our barn painted (it looks fabulous, by the way). As promised, here is a picture of the man who has been working on it:

We've made some fall crafts:

Those are painted acorns--then we make jack-o-lantern faces on them

The kids decided to donate some of their money to help endangered animals, so they each sent in donations to the World Wildlife Federation and they got these T-shirts as a thank you!

The kids also got a fun surprise in the mail from Vavó:

Posing for a picture

Thing 2's idea to take a picture with a look of "WOW!"
from seeing what's inside the card

Thing 1 also got to attend something really neat . . . An American Girl Night!!

10 Girls and their dolls (one girl not pictured)
enjoyed a fun evening of American Doll fun!

Thing 1 with her Samantha Doll
Each girl brought something representative of her doll's era
SUCH cute gingerbread cookies!

Thing 2 had a great time hanging out with the boys
and playing Bakugan and Yu-Gi-Oh!

No pictures of us, but I had fun hanging out with the Moms and Mark had fun watching a Phillies game while hanging out with the Dad of the hosting family. Fun night for all!

And here is picturesque fall--we were sitting down to dinner and looked out our back patio door and saw this and had to take a picture:

We love where we live!

And what's Fall without a visit to a pumpkin patch? Our homeschool group did a field trip to a local farm this past week and it was really fun!

Buddies -- on a hayride

Friends -- on a hayride

A couple that is looking a lot alike (we always have to some extent; back in our dating years, people would look at pictures of us and ask if we're brother and sister. Um, yeah, no)
-- also on a hayride

Listening to the farmer talk about all the different kinds
of pumpkins and gourds

We picked these from the pumpkin patch!

Thing 1 and her good friend navigate the corn maze

Good buddies navigate the corn maze

We found one of the stations!

Sampling the cider

Boys with their pumpkins

Yay! Toothless Grins!

After the field trip, our crew (and many others) met at the YMCA for swimming and street hockey (my hockey pics are a bit blurry, but here are some pool pics):


Sibling strength and love :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just got a text from Mark

Thing 2 is at the dentist. He's getting his molars sealed. He says to the hygienist:

"My mom told me about it, but I want to know if it tastes bad, if it hurts--you know, important stuff."

Apparently, I am neglectful. So glad he can hold his own and ask the important stuff.

Life can also be . . .


It had been a while since we'd been to a wedding and we LOVED attending this one. The kids very much enjoyed their first wedding. It was outdoors, lovely, and yes, I cried. It was emotional and really, really beautiful. And the reception was so much fun. We danced for hours and stayed until the DJ was done. It was fantastic! I can't tell you how healing it was to let loose a little bit and have some fun like this. It carried me for weeks!

The happy couple

The bride's brothers played beautifully for the wedding

The bride's littlest sisters were flower girls

My mom took this picture, hence the finger.

My mom and the teen boys!

Thing 2 got his moves on with hands in his pockets--so cute!

The bridal party does the Thriller Dance

Thing 1 and Thing 2 can really cut a rug!

Vavó and Thing 1 have some fun on the dance floor

Thing 2 dances with a bridesmaid (yet another of the bride's many sisters)


Vavó got the kids some fun new DVDs. Why? Just because. She's just a cool grandma that way and we're grateful. So, she got Thing 1 the new "Three Musketeers" Barbie movie (I used to scoff, too, but the Barbie movies are really, REALLY well done and not what you'd expect at all--very Victorian/classic in their style and approach with humor, great music, and strong female protagonists--we love them!) and Thing 2 got the new Bionicle movie. After watching The Three Musketeers, the kids immediately made swords out of cardboard, donned capes, and began their own swashbuckling adventures!

Our very own Musketeers!

And another of Thing 2's recent creative ideas--he made us all "airplane kits" and instructed us on how to make and decorate our planes and also made up a game so we could compete in flying them. So clever. Oh yeah, and our family is playing A LOT of "10 Days" games (see them in the picture?). We've got Africa, Asia, and Europe and our kids are getting the geography down just through the fun of the game (and watching Amazing Race). :)

Airplane Kits


We got to meet and listen to Abe Lincoln and boy, was he funny! It was great to hear his stories and his life lessons. We're so lucky that he came to our county to visit with us!

Abe Lincoln


Terrie and I went out to celebrate her birthday and she tried sushi for the first time--it was so fun!

Good Friends


We got to visit a bee keeper and tour the chocolate factory and also visit a school, all in one day. Here is our group at the bee keeper's . . . cautiously checking out the hives and then trying all kinds of goodies with homegrown honey!

Visiting the hives


My sister-in-law Lindsay has reminded me of someone since the day I met her. I haven't been able to put my finger on it. Yesterday, while watching Scrubs, I totally figured it out big time. Any guesses from those who know her mannerisms and expressions? Lindsay, what do you think?


A woman in our homeschool group approached the YMCA about tapping into a local demographic that would benefit both them and us--homeschoolers. Their gym isn't used much during the day and we'd love a place to meet and play. Win win. So we meet there every Friday afternoon (after our morning field trips/classes/play time and lunch).

First we hang out in the meeting room for ping pong, fooz ball, billiards, and more. Then the kids get an hour of free swim time followed by an hour of gym time--so far we've done soccer, kickball, and basketball. Gymnastics and Street Hockey and more are coming up (um, okay, I wrote this a while ago--we've done all those things now except for gymnastics -- that's this week).

It's fun to play at the Y-M-C-A!
(It's in your head now, isn't it. You're welcome.)


My best girl friend growing up is coming to visit with another girlfriend of ours--the 3 of us used to have so much fun together as teenagers. They are coming for a 4-day girls' weekend in November and we are so excited! We are going to laugh until it hurts and we cry, because that's how we roll. Recently, we've reconnected even more and have found that we have some pretty major things in common. Ah, the mid 30s. :)


We're in our 3rd year of business! It's crazy to think of that. Wasn't it just yesterday that we quit the traditional career track for medicine and took a gigantic leap of faith, not knowing exactly what we'd do? And then we barely, barely made ends meet while we pursued all the classes and business steps and county requirements necessary to do what we're doing now? Wasn't that just yesterday? Well, apparently that was over 3 years ago.

So, we decided to celebrate with our clients. We sent out postcards to all of our clients, inviting them to a catered, roasted pig backyard barbecue. Everyone who came loved it. And those who couldn't come were sorry to not be able to attend but thought it was a great idea. We did it, because we like being "that kind of place." It also served to remind everyone of who we are without soliciting their business--just saying thank you. Awesome.

We received tons of compliments on our beautiful backyard,
which was really nice to hear after all the hard work of this past summer!


It's getting to be that time of year. We made 2 kinds of sugar cookies -- regular and chocolate and both are SO good. We also even made our own homemade glaze, too. Sometimes I amaze myself at the things I do. That may sound arrogant, but that's not at all how I mean it. I'm simply saying I'm proud of myself. I love my Mom dearly and she knows it, but never ever ever do I recall making cookies together (she hates to bake). So in some ways, this is out of my comfort zone. Therefore, when I do it, I feel pretty dang impressed with myself!

The glaze turned out amazing!


Our homeschool group volunteers with our local library and it's so thrilling to see what a group of people can do when working together. Click to enlarge:


We go on a lot of fun outings. Not sure I feel like uploading more pictures at the moment, but I'll tell you about two recent outings.

1. We attended the annual Hershey Symphony Children's Concert where they let the kids pet horses (it was a horse theme this year) and try out the instruments beforehand. Then they put on a fun, interactive concert totally geared toward kids. It was great. Several families from our homeschool group attended the concert so we all did a little swapping and somehow we came home with 6 kids for movie, popcorn, pizza, and playing outside. Then all 18 of us met at Baskin Robbins for dessert.

Never mind, I'll upload pictures.

Party at our house!

2. We also attended the local ice rink's annual open house for homeschoolers and that's always a lot of fun.

They both enjoy it, but each seems to be gravitating toward a different interest (which is neat)--Tae Kwon Do/Karate for Thing 2 and Skating for Thing 1.


These are our new walkways, courtesy of 1. my spotting the awesome, extremely easy and inexpensive idea in a newspaper article while doing an activity with the kids and 2. Mark's hard work in actually doing it!

This is now how you step up to our walkway to our door. It needed it BADLY.
This area used to pool into a giant wet and muddy puddle before we put this in.
What a difference!
We're eventually going to plant moss in the cracks.

And this is the entrance from the street gate. Love it!


I found this note the other day. Both of our kids like to write themselves lists and notes. I can't imagine where they get that. This is a note Thing 2 wrote to remind himself to do something. He is so cute. You can't help but smile when you find stuff like this:

"Call Jake to ask what the store is called."


One of my favorite aspects of the flexibility our schedule allows is that I can often see scenes like this in the middle of the day:

And that concludes this 2-part series of "Life Can Be." Hope you enjoyed it.