"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

## Friday, December 6, 2013

### A Fun Math Game

With all the moving we've been doing this year, we haven't been able to be as consistent as I like with homeschool.  Usually we just school right through summer, but this year we've had a lot of odd breaks.  So we have had a little slipping on some of the basics.  Most recently I've noticed that the multiplication tables could use some refreshing.

So when I stumbled across this idea on Kids Activities Blog I knew this would be a lot more fun way to review than flashcards or worksheets.

Basically, it's just a pile of popsicle sticks with an equation on one end and an answer (to a different equation) on the other end.  The challenge is to make a line - like a train - putting the sticks in order so that the answer matches the question.  This is much more difficult than it looks because, for instance, there are several combinations that multiply up to 36.  And if you don't get exactly the right 36, you won't be able to connect them all.  So there's logic involved to.  We played with this all morning.  I think I'll have him do it every day for awhile and see if we can improve his speed.

Meanwhile we had our distractions.  Do you like the fireman's gloves?

And the two year old managed to open the toy cabinet.  I found him laying on the cover in the sunshine nearly asleep.

And then I had to share this cool picture of my daughter (on the right) with two of her friends.  This was taken before the Messiah concert the other night.

It sounds like much of the country is dealing with nasty weather.  We've had our share.  It was down to -24 degrees yesterday (of course I missed getting a picture of that).

And to make matters more interesting, our heat isn't working properly.  We have the thermostats (on all three levels) set to 90 degrees and the warmest we can get it is 61.  Brr.  Not so bad in the daytime because the play room has a bunch of south-facing windows that really warm it up (I imagine we'll be complaining about those next summer). But at night we're struggling to keep it 58 degrees.  At least we have a propane stove on the bottom level - which is technically a walk-out basement.  It helps.  And we have an infrared heater we use in our bedroom on the top floor.  So we aren't in danger of freezing, but we're not warm.  We had repairmen out today but there is apparently a code they have to put in to be able to fix it and the only guy that knows the code wouldn't answer the phone.  So they'll be back ... Monday :(  At least the problem is easily fixed - they just need to turn up the heat on the water (we have hydronic hot water baseboard heat, which is set 50 degrees too low).

I'm hoping it will warm up this weekend.  We need to go find a Christmas tree and get some decorations up before we miss Christmas entirely.

## Thursday, December 5, 2013

### Swimming

Awhile back, I took my two year old swimming during the nine year old's lessons.  It's been quite awhile back. I didn't realize how long it had been until I saw this picture.  He's had a haircut since then, and even that's been awhile.

He hadn't been for a very long time, so it took some getting used to, but he eventually relaxed enough to enjoy himself.  We have a very cool aquatic center.  As I've mentioned before, natural gas field money has been really good to our county.  We're spoiled by all the fancy facilities we have.  The aquatic center is one of those things.

This is the leisure pool.  There is also a separate competitive pool.  The leisure pool has three basic areas to it.

The area where the submarine is has a gradual slope so little guys can go in ankle deep and gradually deeper.  There are buckets that they can turn on to dump water on you or a water wheel that does the same thing (you can easily avoid them if you don't want water dumped on you.  There are also fountain like sprayers that come up out of the floor in a couple places.  Beyond the submarine there is a "lazy river" - which has directional water flowing so you can just float along or you can walk against the water channel.

Then there is a really big waterslide.  It is not on in this picture, but when they turn it on, there is a rush of water flowing down it.

The pictures of the leisure pool were taken from the upstairs balcony of the competitive pool, looking down on the pool.

We also have a big climbing wall, and all the other recreational things - a gym, lots of fitness classes, racquetball courts, workout machines, running track, etc.  I saw this recent addition to our climbing wall today and thought of my cajun brother-in-law.  I texted him and my sister a picture, and my sister wisely pointed out that it didn't seem like the best idea in the world to stick your hand into the mouth of a gator.  Good point!  But it's still cute ;)

### "My" Room... Yeah Sure It Is

This is supposed to be my room.  My sanctuary. Where I can go for peace and quiet.

So why does it seem to be everyone else's favorite room?

Did you see the post of the beautifully made bed?  This is what the 5 year old thought of it.

And the nine year old likes to "use" the treadmill...

I woke this morning to find this - as I often do in the mornings.  At least he's just crawling onto the couch now, and not into our bed.  He is kind enough not to even wake us :)

So, "my room"?  No such thing without a door.

But I really don't mind it that much... most of the time ;)

Thankfully the master bathroom has a door ... and a lock!

## Wednesday, December 4, 2013

### New Toys

So the black Friday sales were good to me - for more than just the new computer.  I found a nice stainless steel trash can for \$14, and I bought myself this griddle for under \$10.  We tried it out last night with breakfast for dinner.  It works very well.  No more smoking up the whole kitchen while making one pancake at a time.

If I had known how much I would like cooking on a griddle I would have gotten one a long time ago.

Yum.

I have a new hairdresser ;)  We found a little pony playdough set at the thrift store a couple weeks ago, and it had this little pink plastic comb in it.  The five year old is obsessed with the comb (and the fake scissors).

He did my hair, then his own hair...

Then the evil purple minion's hair.  I have to say that minion definitely looks like he could use a comb - lol.

### My Grandma's Quilt

I was so happy when my mom decided to give me a quilt her mother had made.  It doesn't fit any of the beds at her house, but I never dreamed it would fit my king size bed.  I think it was probably meant for a queen, but it works pretty well for the king.  It's definitely long enough.  It was made back in the day when people rolled their pillows in their quilt, so it's extra long.  It drags the floor a bit at the foot.  The only place it isn't quite as big as a king would be are on the sides.  But I'm not picky. I love it.

It is entirely done by hand - embroidered motifs, hand pieced and hand quilted.  I can't imagine how many hours she must have put into this quilt.  And knowing my grandmother, I'm sure she made one for each of her five kids. I remember one year for Christmas she gave each of her grandkids a crocheted afghan.  At the time she would have had 9 grandchildren. All of them were different, suited to each child.  Mine was a ripple pattern done in varying shades of purple - a color I was so in love with that the carpet in my room was purple when I was a teen.  I still have the afghan.

Well, it sure felt like I read more than four books this month.  I guess with the holiday vacation week in there I didn't get as far as I thought.  I have a couple other books I'm about halfway through with too, so that didn't help.  I've really been trying to stick with only reading one at a time this year.

Anyway here's what I read in November.  When I took the photo at the library I messed up the order of the books.  The middle two should be switched around. (I always stack them in the order read, with the bottom being the first read and the top being the most recent finish).

1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth - this was the final in a trilogy I never would have read had it not been for an online book club.  I enjoyed the first one, the second wasn't great and the third I only read because it tied everything up.  It has pretty negative reviews but I think it's because people didn't care for the ending.  It was better than the second book, but nothing special.
2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer - This is one of my favorite books.  I read it a year ago, then again this month because it was our library's daytime book club pick.  We even changed our book club name to match it (minus the potato peel pie ... though there was some discussion of Rocky Mountain oysters, which I think we're better off without ;)
3. A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova - This was another book club pick - our library's evening club. We're trying to read books from authors from different countries, who write about their country.  It's a fun club.  This book was only average though - a solid "meh."
4. An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield.  This is definitely one of the most inspiring books I've ever read.  Talk about focus.  Read the book.  My favorite quote from the book - "There is no situation so bad that you can't make it worse." :)  There are parts that drag a bit but overall, it's very inspiring.

November stats -
Total inches - 6
Total pages - 1,406
Total books - 4

Year to date stats -
Total inches - 80 3/4
Total pages - 20,464
Total books - 66

## Tuesday, December 3, 2013

### Homeward Bound

Well we're home now.  We traveled yesterday, and figured we better get a pretty early start since the weather was supposed to turn bad.  I was worried we'd run into bad roads before we got home, but thankfully we didn't.  (As you can see, the "hat" came home with us).

I was a little concerned when we weren't even to Laramie before we had snow blowing across the road.  Thankfully that's the only snow we saw until we got closer to home.

The storm clouds were sure threatening though.  And the wind was horrendous.  In fact I-80 was closed to light trailers and high profile vehicles.  We saw one camper flipped and destroyed in the median.  Winds were 65 mph plus.

Which made this insane - not one, but two light trailers.

It always cracks me up how the boys sleep in the car.

And see the snowflakes on the window? Those are gel ornaments he had to have when we were doing our black Friday shopping.

We made several bathroom stops on the way home, and the last one coincided with the best ice cream shop in all of Wyoming - the Farson Mercantile. ;)  By the way, this is a SMALL.

The weather only got bad when we came into our home town.  It was snowing pretty heavy on the other side of town.  Thankfully the roads were only bad for 5 miles of our whole trip.

Of course the boys were all happy to see Daddy who stayed home to work while we went off to visit.  The nine year old played Scrabble with him on the Nook.  And the two year old snuggled in and fell asleep with Daddy.

We had a lot of mail waiting for us when we got home, including the five year old's birthday present from his oldest brother - an evil purple minion!

I'm guessing you can tell how big of a hit this was.  This minion is much bigger than his yellow one.

He was so excited to feed his fish - Pascal - a red beta.  He had to show the minion his fish.

Poor fish - what a scary sight this must have been!  I can't imagine what he must have been thinking.

Believe it or not, all the kids opted to do a little homeschool last night before bed too.  The nine year old did one of our "Great Map Mysteries" and the younger two played with the apps on the tablet, colored with markers, and the five year old did some cutting too.  Guess it's time to get back to homeschool!

### A Few Final Cute Pictures From Grandma's

This was Thanksgiving morning. I love my munchkins!

The kids were really good during a crazy black Friday shopping trip.  (Yes, we took them along - and succeeded in hiding all the pertinent stuff from them).  The five year old found this headband.  Pretty fun.

Did I mention we were in line for a VERY long time? :)

Rub-a-dub-dub, three cousins in a tub.  We intended for there to only be two, but one more jumped in on his own. Considering baths usually cause panic attacks for him, we let him stay.

It was a week full of lots of playing.  So one of the last mornings - after he had gotten up and eaten breakfast - my two year old crashed on the couch.  This literally never happens, so it's noteworthy - ha.

This is how my five year old felt first thing in the morning... while his little brother had crashed on the couch.  We had a lot of late nights and early mornings, so the kids were a little slow to wake up.  (By the way, don't you just love that chair?)

Anyway, it was a very fun week.  I'm looking forward to getting these guys together again when we are all feeling well.