Favorite Things

January 23rd, 2013 by Rachel

1. We watched Mr. Universe one night around the new year. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages. We paused it a few times just to catch our breath. The parts about homebirth and parenting were hilarious! There was some language, just so you know. Here is a preview of one of my favorite parts:

2. This is the tastiest and easiest butternut squash recipe. I have been making it once a week. Speedy gobbles it up by the fistful.

3. I entered the twenty-first century this month by getting a smart phone. Well, actually Thomas took care of picking one out and purchasing it for me, but it is mine. I held off for a long time, but wow, this makes reminding myself of things, texting, finding price comparisons and directions SO easy.

I remember when I first got a cell phone in 2003. I waited a really long time because I was so poor, but calling my mom without having to get a calling card sounded appealing. So did being in the know about my friends’ plans for the evening without having to go home and listen to the answering machine. On my way to the cell phone store, I got rear-ended. It was really minor and my car was fine, for my beat up, no-hubcap Rolla. While in the store, a huge thunderstorm came up, and my roommate and I got drenched on the short run back to the car. Then, my car wouldn’t start. The battery had died while I was in the store for 30 minutes. I began to wonder if God was telling me not to get a cell phone. And look at me now!

4. I made a weekly schedule for our homeschooling. It doesn’t have specific times because there are many obstacles to getting things done by a set time, and that is one of the beauties of homeschooling. It is basic and says, “Monday: math, spelling lesson, new Bible verse, CC review, review all of CC Latin and Grammar memory work, art class, science lesson/activity.” It has helped Bud stay on track and see what needs to be done each day. It also helps me stay on top of reviewing all of our memory work each week. My only regret is that I didn’t do something like this sooner!

5. Speaking of homeschooling, if you do CC, have you seen this blog? I love her craft ideas for teaching more about some of the memory work. We are enjoying delving deeper into our science memory work, and these crafts are a great idea.

2013 Goals

January 8th, 2013 by Rachel

I made a few goals last year, but I didn’t do a very good job assessing my progress, and I forgot about a few of them. Oops! I hope to assess my progress every quarter and see how I am doing.

-Clean 100# (current max is 90)
-Back Squat 150# (current is 135)
-Deadlift 200# (current is 170)
-Jerk/Press 100# (current is 90)
-Be able to do a full handstand pushup
-Run a < 9 minute mile (I really need Thomas to pace me to make this happen) -Maintain lifting/crossfit workouts 3-4xs/week, run once a week Spiritual
Do some sort of Bible study/devotional (will update when I find one)

Have people over 20 times this yar. Since Micah was born, we have not been as good about inviting people over for dinner like we did in the past. Dinner time is louder and crazier that it used to be, but I need to get over that.

Streamline meal planning with a paleo-friendly meal plan. Meal-planning and making a grocery list have been taking longer than they should (I abandoned my 12-week meal rotation I made two years ago because we don’t eat most of those foods anymore.)

-Make a schedule for reviewing past week’s memory work.
-Start doing a reading curriculum with Annalise (ordered it yesterday), and in the summer, begin math with her.

-Attend 1-2 births this year.
-Complete 15 CEUs by June. This was one of the goals I forgot about last year. Yikes! I need to get busy.

Soft “Paleo” Chocolate Chip Cookies

January 4th, 2013 by Rachel

I love chocolate chip cookies, and I had perfected my recipe over the years. Thomas insisted that I keep that recipe a family secret, much to the disappointment of some fans of the cookies. I blame those cookies for about 10 pounds that I gained during my pregnancy with Sugar. Anyway, I have been trying various grain-free chocolate chip cookies over the past two years since I started following a paleo diet (not that cookies are paleo, but you know… a treat now and again is okay.) I never found a recipe that I liked enough to make more than once. I tweaked several different recipes and came up with one that my family and I love. The kids don’t even complain about wanting the old kind anymore!

Soft Grain-free Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups almond flour (locally, I get this at Brazos Natural Foods. It is the cheapest and best quality around. You can spend more and get Bob’s Red Mill, too.)
1/3 – 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (I also get this at BNF, it has a lower glycemic level than regular sugar or honey)
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life are good, so are dark Santa Barbara chocolate chips)

Melt your butter and stir together all the ingredients. No need to beat it or anything, just combine everything in a bowl, then stir in your chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes, no longer! They might not look all the way done, but let them cool completely on the cookie sheet. They are even better the next day, as if the almond flour softens more overnight. Makes about 15 cookies.

Funny Kids

January 3rd, 2013 by Rachel

I drafted this post a few weeks ago, but forgot about it.
The kids had us in stitches last weekend with all the hilarious things they were saying. The bigger two participated in their first race. While they have attended several races to cheer on Mom and Dad, this was their first to run in. They surprised me with how well they did on the 1.2 mile course. I hoped and prayed that they would finish it without giving up halfway, and they did!

Sugar refused to let Thomas run with her, and opted to run with a friend of hers and his daddy. Afterward, she boasted about not needing a daddy to run with like her friend did, but I pointed out that she just used her friend’s daddy instead of her own. Her friend’s daddy relayed some of their conversation along the run:

Sugar: I just had to wear my hair in a ponytail this morning or else I would have hair all in my face. You can’t run with hair all in your face! You can’t see where you are going!

Later, Sugar: I am going to need a bath after this! Running makes you sweaty and stinky like a hamster. Hamsters stink and I am going to smell like a hamster! (I have no idea where this came from!)

While explaining to Bud about Johnny Manziel winning the Heisman Trophy, Bud failed to see the significance of the event. Finally he said, “If the trophy isn’t made of solid gold, I don’t see what the big deal is.”

Thomas and I got all dressed up to go to his company’s Christmas party. I bent down to tell Sugar good-bye while she patted my hair, dress and jewelry.
Me: I love you, Sugar.
Sugar: I love your earrings.

December in Our Home

January 2nd, 2013 by Rachel

We upgraded to a new camera after a Black Friday sale we couldn’t resist. Our old camera was purchased before we got married, and the quality of pictures has steadily declined. (I blame the children.) This month, we took twice as many pictures as we took in any other month. Of course, December is full of picture-taking opportunities, but still… this post has a lot of pictures. Click on any to enlarge them.

We went on several nature walks during the first part of December when the weather was gorgeous. We have been learning about plants and classifications of living things, and the kids have really enjoyed the nature walks. Bud was determined to catch a butterfly, but found lots of caterpillars instead.

The kids also ran in their first race, a one mile kid’s race as part of the BCS Marathon. They both finished and had a blast, though training for it had its highs and lows.

December was full of parties–end of CC semester party, a CC review day party, our PE co-op Christmas party, Thomas’ company’s Christmas party, and Christmas celebrations with my mom, Woody and siblings, my dad, Gigi, and sister, Thomas’ parents, and our little family on Christmas day. Whew! We also drove through Santa’s Wonderland one night (Speedy sat in the drivers seat and had a blast), and we walked through Christmas at the Creek one night. While visiting my mom, we spent a morning in Tyler catching up with our friends, the Eylers. (It was so much fun to see you guys!)

Christmas with kids is a lot of fun, and I enjoyed seeing them soak up more about the meaning of Christmas–God with us. Our tree was typical of one with a toddler in the house, no ornaments on the bottom three feet, though Speedy was often found standing on one of the presents he drug out from under the tree in order to be able to reach an ornament.

We also harvested a measly crop of sweet potatoes (we didn’t water enough), and have had lots of broccoli and lettuce. Did I mention we got a new camera and took a ton of pictures?

November in Our Home

January 2nd, 2013 by Rachel

I am a little behind, but at least my pictures are organized on the computer by month. November was a busy month for our family with homeschooling, Classical Conversations, gymnastics, and starting a new Bradley series. I also taught a breastfeeding class at the crisis pregnancy center. Bud also started Upward basketball, and Thomas jumped in to coach his team. They are enjoying that special time together, and Thomas is learning how to coach six to eight year olds with limited basketball experience.

We spent a lot of time outside this month enjoying cooler temperatures.

We made a trip to Hamilton to visit Thomas’ parents. There was a benefit for the fire department, and the kids enjoyed climbing all over some of the fire trucks. We had fun walking around the square.

I cut 11 inches off my hair, and I love it!

Newborn got married to Sam with Thomas officiating the wedding. As you can see by the picture, he had a really hard time keeping a straight face while saying things like, “Newborn, do you take Sam…”

We spent a Saturday at the Brazos Valley Worldfest. With a huge amount of International students at A&M, there were many countries represented. The kids enjoyed learning more about countries they have learned about with our geography lessons at home and their CC memory work. Sugar was amazed by the fancy dresses, and we all had fun with the food.

Thomas built a bike rack for the garage. This has been helpful in preventing the pile of bikes that has been growing over the years.

A sweet friend of ours got married, and we all had a blast at her wedding.

We celebrated cooler weather by roasting marshmallows in the backyard.

We spent Thanksgiving here with several friends coming over. There were 10 adults and 9 children, and more than enough food. Once again, we bought a smoked turkey from C&J’s bbq, which was delicious. We had a great time, and were so happy to spend time with lots of friends, but I didn’t get any pictures.