Tuesday, May 26, 2015

School Days Wrap Up {Daybook}

Outside my window... peeks of sun and clouds after the rain today (Memorial Day). My perennial gardens are greening up and beautifully lush. The vegetable garden is making progress with beans, carrots and potatoes poking out of the ground.

Thinking about... summer days and summer plans. With the baby due just after the summertime, it's hard not to wish away these days in anticipation of the new little child. These are the days we long for all winter and I want to enjoy them as much as possible. With them come many activities, opportunities for enjoyment and projects that need time (money too). I'm trying to sort them all out to find what's manageable, but also serves each of the needs/desires of everyone in the household. Realistically I won't be able to fit it all in, but I'll do what I can.

Changes... the big kids will continue piano lessons every other week this summer with a new piano teacher. We'll be on a trial period with her and have the understanding that the fall schedule is a little up in the air and will depend on baby. We've been looking to leap to a different teacher for a while and a couple things fell into place to make that possible. Our hope is that the new "older" teacher will help them enjoy playing piano, along with both challenge and encourage them.

The other big change that is on the horizon in July is that our beloved pastor will be leaving us. We've known this for almost two weeks, but he just announced it over the weekend. To say that our hearts are saddened is an understatement. I'm trying to sort my way through the emotions and feel like I'm going through the stages of grieving. So far, I'm still in the denial stage. He has become a good friend to our family. blessed each member in a different way and was what our family needed these last three years. He will be greatly missed. We haven't explained his leaving to the little girls yet. Since they think he pretty much walks on water I think the task may prove to be difficult.

I am hearing... the washer spinning out numerous loads of laundry amidst some early morning quietness. Another benefit of restless sleeping and pregnancy induced early mornings.

What I'm reading... currently I'm trying to get into the 'Miss Julia' book series, without much success. I thought it sounded like a good series and there are plenty of titles, but the story line isn't grabbing me just yet.

Suggestions for good, easy summer reading? I enjoy lighthearted, Christian based, page turning fiction that doesn't require a lot of brain cells that I can pick up easily when I have few snippets of time.

From the kitchen... Saturday morning was muffin baking morning. I made at least ten dozen mini muffins that serve well as additions to breakfast and snack time around here. I made the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Cranberry (Craisin), and Oat Bran muffins. On Monday I canned ten pints of strawberry rhubarb jam using my MIL's steam canner for the first time. That just may be the way to go instead of the old huge boiling canner method I've always used in the past.

From the schoolroom... we made it through the CAT testing last week along with other lighter school work. This week we'll finish up what needs to get done and I think one student will have a few math lessons to finish up in June with dad. I'm hoping to get in a field trip this week, but it will depend on weather, location and free time this week to make a trek.

Around the house... the new basement bathroom project continues to make progress. Reed expanded his credentials and now knows how to cut, install and grout tile.  Next up is the flooring and painting before we call the plumber to come work his magic and get everything all hooked up.

After reading the book, I started the KonMari method mainly in my clothes and some drawers, but hope to keep working through tidying other areas around here as well. I find it oddly gratifying, which should pretty much explain yet another new level of my organizing crazy.  I know you are suppose to dive right in and keep on until you are finished, but right now I don't have the time or energy. Perhaps I can get into it in a few other areas once we're done with school work. 

Baby belly... we're at 24 weeks. I'm feeling pretty well, but find myself tired by evening time after being up on my feet all day. I'm still sticking with a good, healthy diet in addition to almost daily workouts or some length of walking fit within my days. I have another ultrasound later this week to see if baby is more cooperative to check heart and kidneys that they couldn't view a few weeks ago.

Sorry the photo isn't the greatest and clearly black is just tough to photograph. It wasn't intentional to be deceiving, but happened to be what I had on today.

Coming up this week... last piano lessons for the school year and perhaps the last with this piano teacher; piano recital; another baby ultrasound; hopefully a field trip with the kids; new bathroom painting?

Photo to share... last Friday:

beautiful spring weather + ice cream treats + the park = the perfect afternoon.

Have a wonderful week! 

(Be sure to let me know if you have summer book suggestions in the comments)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Easy As 1-2-3: Apple Dump Cake

Do you have these three ingredients plus a crock pot?

Then you can make this easy dessert, a great fix it and forget it!


1. Apple Pie Filling

2. Yellow Cake Mix

3. Stick of Butter

I sprayed my crock pot with cooking spray first, but I bet one of those handy crock pot liners would be great too. 

Pour in the apple pie filling.

Sprinkle the dry cake mix over the pie filling and then toss a stick of butter on top.

Turn your crock pot on Low for about 4 hours until the top is golden brown.

Ta-da! That's it.

I served it up warm with a scoop of ice cream. 
5/6 family members were pleased with the result and agreed we should try this recipe again.

This recipe brought to you by: Living-the-life-no-time-to-create-thoughtful-blog-posts-mama.

I think Margaret said it best yesterday. I've gotten used to it knowing this is what happens when spring arrives in Minnesota and homeschool blogger moms are trying to wrap up the school year. 

Happy Tuesday to you!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

 I am thinking about....Baby Names.

Anyone else struggle with deciding baby names? As we look ahead to add another child to our humble abode and family, we feel so blessed. The thing is, as we've added more children I also feel the urge to find the "perfect" name that suits baby and our family. I really want to LOVE the name, which is a little silly because I'll love the child and the name falls into place. I find myself toying with names and then coming back to a certain name or two just not quite able to let some of them go. I get a little name crazy, especially when I think "this MAY be our last baby (I have thought that with the last three pregnancies), what names do I think are cute/meaningful and want to be sure to use?"

But then, it's not just about me. I have a husband who needs to try on the names for size too. And then, so as not to be too exclusive, we try the names on with the kids as well. Any ideas how hard that is in a house full of stubborn, determined human beings??!!

I'll tell ya....VERY.

Last night in an attempt to really troll through the deepest, meaningful names that would strike my heart and mind as the.best.names.ever., I pulled out this book:

My bestie sent it to me in the early weeks of this pregnancy. She must know me well, huh?

I sat down and perused every single page of that book and logged a short list of possibilities. There were perhaps eight names for each gender that made it.

With plenty of wonderful names on both sides of the family used, it kind of cuts down the list you know?

Well then, how about Dagobert? Maxellendis perhaps? (Kidding, of course)

But then, then! I took it to the higher court of baby naming specialists and tried them on for size. 

Do you have any idea how sweet some of those names sound when a toddler says them? Melt my heart with the preciousness. I then ran them by the big kids. I think they could only agree on two names for each gender. Lily gasped as some of her most liked names were poo-pooed by her brother. Inside, a little part of me did too realizing this is going to be harder than anticipated. 

Lastly, we took it to the patriarch. I should have known based on past experience this would be my toughest sell.

Pregnant wife: "I want to run a few names by you and see what you think."

Unaware husband: "I thought we already decided which names we already liked and chose them."

Hormonal person: "Well, sure, but what if there's another REALLY GREAT name we haven't thought of?"

He humored me for two minutes. 

And we came right back to the names he felt we had already settled on. 

Well, I tried. At least I'm settled on the middle names for each gender. 

Now I just need to look at this latest photo of little one and decide whether or not carrying the baby plus going through labor and delivery trumps everyone else's votes.

Who knows, maybe it will be Eutropius or Madalberta after all?

We'll see in September. Until then, our lips are sealed and we'll all have to wait for the final reveal.

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