Thursday, March 31, 2016

No Foolin' Here ... We are Having a Grandson!

Last night was such a special night for us!

On Tuesday Kyndal had a gender ultrasound, but didn't peek at the results. The tech put them in a sealed envelope that Kyndal delivered to her friend Cassidy. And Cassidy took care of the rest.

The theme for the reveal party was "Bows or Arrows".

We held the party at our city park. We somehow dodged a rain storm and the wind died down just in time for the party to start. That was a blessing.

Family and close friends gathered to watch Collin shoot his bow and arrow into a paint-filled balloon mounted on a painted canvas.

Although we would have been thrilled with either a boy or a girl, I think my expression reflects how I really felt about the baby being a boy. I really, really wanted a grandson!

Collin hit the target on the first shot.

This photo shows how he and Kyndal felt about it. I love his little fist pump. He wanted a boy so bad, and we are all so happy for him (and her).

The little guy is due in September and we cannot wait to meet him!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

What are two or three expectations you have of yourself?

Esse Quam Videri - To be, rather than to seem, in all I do, and to be the best wife and mom (and grandma) I can be.

In what way does your outdoor space need sprucing up this spring?

New grass seed in the bare spots in the yard, new mulch, pulling weeds, new gravel in the driveway,flowers in the pots, power washing the house, etc., etc., etc.

According to Roadtrippers, six of North America's most wondrous waterfalls are Webster's Falls in Ontario, Upper Whitewater Falls in North Carolina, Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon, Multnomah Falls in Oregon, The Lower Yellowstone Falls, and Niagara. Have you seen any on this list? Which one on the list would you most like to visit? Prettiest waterfall not on the list that you've seen in person?

The only one on the list I have seen is the Lower Yellowstone Falls. They were pretty. But my favorite place to see waterfalls has been on the Big Island in Hawaii. Rainbow Falls was nice but Akaka Falls was really beautiful!

Looking back, what's something you wish you'd done as a teenager?

Been true to myself. In my defense I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do, trying to fit in. But I spent all my time doing that instead of exploring the things that made me happy. I didn't know at the time that I was an introvert. Of course I see that now, and I wish someone could have seen that in me and navigated me through those feelings. My favorite time was in junior high when my best friend and I would hang out together, watch old black and white movies, bake in her kitchen, listen to music, and just have fun. That was before boyfriends and all the junk of high school. I certainly would have been easier to get along with had I had enough courage to just be myself.

Ham ... yes please or no thank you? If you said 'yes please' which of the following do you like best ... baked hame with all the trimmings, a ham and cheese sandwich, prosciutto with melon, a ham biscuit, a bowl of split pea and ham soup, or a slice of pizza topped with ham and pineapple?

Ham doesn't thrill me. Prosciutto and melon is not something I have ever tried, but it sounds intriguing.

Are you typical of your generation? How so?

I would say no. I don't want the same things my generation seems to want. I don't strive for more. I don't want bigger or better things. I just want a simple and quiet life.

April rolls in at the end of the week, and in keeping with that theme ... 'act the fool', 'nobody's fool', 'a fool's errand', 'could have fooled me' ... which foolish idiom most recently applies to you? Explain.

Tonight I will be saying 'could have fooled me' that Kyndal and Collin's baby was a girl/boy. Yesterday Kyndal had a gender ultrasound and the tech sealed the results in an envelope that she delivered to her friend. Tonight at 6:00 p.m. Collin will shoot an arrow into a black balloon filled with paint and attached to a canvas. That balloon will pop and will splatter blue or pink paint onto the canvas to tell us whether we will be having a grandson or a granddaughter. I really have no idea what sex the baby is. I am thinking girl but hoping boy (only because we haven't had a baby boy in the family since Eli and he's 12 years old). Really all we want is a healthy grandbaby. It will definitely be a surprise!

Insert your own random thought here.

Enough days have passed by that I can finally talk about this without crying. Derek Morgan left Criminal Minds. I really thought it was a teaser, or a joke, or that he was only taking a short hiatus. But, no, Shemar Moore has moved onto other endeavors after 11 years. He is Criminal Minds. Devastated is all I can say!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday Coffee Chat ~ Easter

Happy Easter! Tell me about the best chocolate ever. Or, if you are the religious sort, share some special thoughts on this day.

I am not a connoisseur of chocolate. I like chocolate. But, really, any ol' chocolate will do. I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate and definitely the two of them over white chocolate (a bad white chocolate covered pretzel + alcohol incident from my past). Brynne received a cookies 'n cream bunny in her basket this year and she declared it to be the best!

I guess I am of the religious sort, but I really just don't have any special thoughts on this day to share. It is an important day for all Christians, celebrating the day our Savior conquered death that could not hold Him, raising Himself to sit at the right hand of God to begin the intercession for me with my Father and secure my place in Heaven. I do not take that for granted and try to celebrate that fact every day, not just on Easter.

This Easter Kyndal and Collin spent the weekend at his parents', Dawson spent the weekend in Oklahoma with his girlfriend, and Rick stayed in Oklahoma to rest up from the exhausting couple of weeks due to the passing of his mother and some changes at work.

So, it was just Eli, Brynne and myself on Easter.

We decorated eggs on Friday night.

Brynne went to the park to hunt eggs in the town's hunt on Saturday.

On Sunday morning they dove into their Easter baskets.

Then we went to Sunday school where we introduced the class to our Resurrection Eggs, helped hide eggs for the younger classes, and took a few photos.

We hunted our own Easter eggs after Sunday school. It was about 40 degrees outside and raining, so it was a quick hunt.

The kids played in the afternoon while I took a nap and did laundry. I also went over to watch my nieces color their eggs.

After a visit with my parents and some long-time friends of theirs, I took Eli and Brynne to Applebee's for dinner.

We had a nice day.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Big and Loud

We are one week away from our Spring Break, not that I am counting the days or anything (8 days, if you are wondering).

I can always tell when we are getting close because we tend to start just a tad bit later in the day and do just a tad bit less than I have planned. In other words, we are just sick of school and ready for the beach.

But we did put in a full week of learning this week despite our desire to just throw our books in the air and start our break early. No. We can't do that. We have to persevere.

We did current events. We did spelling. We did grammar. We did math. We read out of our personal books. We read out loud from McGuffey's. We did copywork. We read a chapter out of The Silver Chair each day. We read about 20 pages from the Diary of a Young Girl each day.

We learned about tidal bulges by watching Explain It: How do the tides work? and Tides and the Moon. We did this little demonstration about them.

Did you know that the highest point on earth is not Mount Everest? It's actually Mount Chimborazo. Read about it.

We learned about the ear canal and how sound waves pass to the brain. Scholastic has a nice little worksheet called Inside the Ear and we watched Ear Anatomy 3D. Then we did a little demonstration. Demonstrations are always a great way to wrap-up learning.

And we watched a video about Auschwitz. Again, difficult stuff to watch, but necessary in our studies on the Holocaust. We have finished up that part of WWII by reading about the liberation from WWII for Kids and are now going to spend a week on the Pacific Theater to prepare for our upcoming trip to the National WWII Museum. I think we tend to associate WWII with Pearl Harbor and then the Holocaust and forget that the war continued after that in the Pacific.

Brynne had Girls on the Run class and Eli had speech therapy. We skipped our enrichment class this week because of a visit with family we had scheduled.

One more week. One more week. We can do it!

2015-2016 Hours Logged - 803 1/4 hours out of 1,000 required hours (250 1/5 hours outside home)
Plus 83 Summer Hours

Friday, March 25, 2016

Random 5 on Friday

1. Yesterday we had a brief visit from my sister-in-law Shawna and 3 year old niece Bell. The visit was too short but we got a whole lot of Bell in that amount of time. She is such a spunky fun little girl and absolutely adorable! Makes me miss my brother when he was that age because she is a whole lot like him.

2. Easter has snuck up on us this year and I am less than prepared. I think we might color some eggs tonight. Everyone will be gone on Sunday except for Eli, Brynne, and I so we have plans to go to Sunday school, hunt our eggs, and then go out to dinner Sunday evening. No cooking for me. That's nice!

3. We get to find out the sex of Collin and Kyndal's baby on Wednesday! I am very excited to find out if my grandbaby will be a boy or a girl. I am Team Blue all the way!

4. The stormyish weather this week has had my joints in a snit. Man, I have have been achy all week.

5. In 9 days my friend Megan and I will be making the trip south with our four kids. We are going to Atlanta to go on the CNN Student News tour, driving through Selma, Alabama (since the kids and I studied the MLK, Jr., march that occurred there), spending 5 full days in Pensacola at my parents' house, going to New Orleans to visit the National WWII Museum, and then heading home. It will be a full trip but lots of fun! I am especially looking forward to those 5 days in Pensacola and the stack of books I am taking along.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Has spring sprung in your little corner of the world? Other than the calendar how would I know? What's your favorite thing about spring?

The first way you would know is by the moaning and groaning I am doing from all of my arthritis acting up. The slow-brewing stormy weather of spring and pressure changes makes me miserable! Otherwise around here it is the usual: more green, more birds, warmer temps.

My favorite thing about spring?

More green, more birds, warmer temps.

How does Easter impact you?

Photo Credit

I saw this somewhere on Facebook and thought it would make a fun Hodgepodge question. Which of the following would you find most disappointing ... a just-stuffed taco shell breaking open and spilling out before you take the first bite? dropping a just-purchased Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts coffee? opening the peanut butter jar and finding it empty? upending a just-purchased ice cream cone? a burnt bagel popping up in your toaster when you're rushing breakfast? or cutting into an avocado and finding out it's rotten?

It might surprise you that I am not picking a just-purchased cup of coffee, because coffee can be replaced. But my burnt carby bagel of goodness cannot. And that would completely bum me out, especially first thing in the morning!

What's something held together with tape at your house? Or a paper clip? Or a wing and a prayer?

The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is the back of a picture frame. However, there's pretty much nothing that can't be fixed around here by this Macgyverette. I can use household items to fix just about anything.

Do you feel underappreciated? In what way?

I do not feel underappreciated by my husband or children. They are all very good about thanking me for things that I do for them and I know that they appreciate me. Now, misunderstood by anyone other than them that, in turn, makes me feel underappreciated? Yes.

What's something you'd build if you knew how?

I'd tear down our back deck and garage and build an all-new setup. And I would sneak in a chicken coop even though we aren't supposed to have them within city limits.

Insert your own random thought here.

This would be a yummy Easter dinner!!

Paleo Perfection: Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Flank Steak
Want an impressive entrée that’s surprisingly simple to make? Our Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Flank Steak is just what you need, and it’s featured in this week's meal plans such as Paleo, Low Calorie, Low Carb, Mediterranean and Gluten Free. The vibrant-colored filling is a robust combination of sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, fresh spinach, and bacon. Better still, you can prep most of it ahead.
Posted by eMeals on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tuesday Coffee Chat

What's new with you?

That's the prompt for this week's Tuesday Coffee Chat. Hmmm ...

My life feels pretty ordinary and mundane most of the time without much change. But as I think about this I guess there is some "new", at least to this season.

Now that Spring is springing and we have the annual Girls on the Run 5k the first weekend in May, I have hit the pavement again easing myself back into running. This time I have a partner in Eli because he decided that he would like to run the 5k instead of the 1-mile fun run. And Brynne has issued a challenge that her and her two friends are going to beat him. So he and I pulled out my Couch to 5k app and are training the right way. I could get out there and run 3 miles right now, but it sure does feel good to be doing it slow and steady instead. Plus it's fun to see him get better with each run.

I am going to be a Nana in 25 weeks! And we get to find out the sex of the baby next Wednesday. That's certainly something new, shifting from mom to now grandma, too. It's fun to see my baby growing a baby.

We are planning for a couple of trips coming up. In two weeks the little kids and I are taking our best buds from Oklahoma to Florida with us for a 10 day trip. We are going to Atlanta to go on the CNN Student News tour, driving through Selma, Alabama, to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, spending about 6 days in Pensacola to go to the beach, see the Blue Angels, and tour some forts, and then ending our trip at the WWII Museum in New Orleans. That will be a full educational vacation, and I am hoping we get in some down time for some reading!

Look at how sad we were after our last vacation ended with our friends.

At the beginning of May we have a weekend trip to St. Louis for the kids' annual state bowling tournament. While there we are going to hit City Museum and the zoo.

They were Missouri state champions two years ago.
Look how tiny they were!!

Then at the end of May Rick and I are taking a 3 night trip to Puerta Vallarta to celebrate our upcoming 15 year anniversary. We haven't taken a vacation for just the two of us in a long time so we are hoping for some relaxation, adventure, and us time.

I have already read 14 of my 25 book goal for 2016, and that doesn't include the read alouds I do with the kids! It has been a great reading year so far, and I am still going strong. There's just nothing better than a good book. You can follow me on Goodreads if you would like to see what I am reading. My profile is under Nicole Taulman. Come be my reading friend.

Warmer temps also mean getting out in the yard and starting Brynne's softball league. We are having a garage sale in a couple of weeks and Rick and I have plans to completely gut and purge our garage soon. Before you know it we will be on our summer school schedule with camps, book clubs, and lots of swimming. I am really looking forward to that this year. We have had a full year of learning, and I am ready to scale things back a bit.

So what's new with you?

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Mush!

Seriously, I just can't seem to get my Weekly Wrap-ups done these days! This one is going to cover three weeks, so hold onto your hats. We have had some slow and steady days at home with our noses to the grind getting our basic studies done. We have had some days where we have concentrated on some fun unit studies. And we have had one day when we went on a really great field trip.

Current events, reading, copywork, spelling, grammar, math, and personal reading happens almost every day. Our mornings usually consist of tackling all of these subjects.

We read out loud every single day. The kids read aloud from McGuffey's, we have completed Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis, and are still reading Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

Brynne continues to read daily out of the Warriors books by Erin Hunter. She is currently reading Dark River, but will quickly be moving onto the next book. She reads these fast! Eli finished the 8th book in the How to Train your Dragon series and decided that he would like to move onto something else for a while. He is getting ready to start Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins.

In our WWII studies, we have been moving slowly through the Holocaust. We finished Schindler's List. That was a tough thing to watch with kids so young, but we did it slowly and deliberately talking through all of the atrocities but also the hope and joy provided by Oskar Schindler.

As a family we went to see the movie Race about Jesse Owens running in the Olympics during WWII. That led us into watching the original scenes from Leni Riefenstahl's documentary "Olympia".

Did you know Dr. Suess was involved in WWII propaganda? On his birthday on March 2nd, we concentrated on this aspect of his life. We watched the Youtube video called "Dr. Suess: The Untold Story" and completed a worksheet about him provided by the WWII Museum. Then we watched videos of his created character, Private Snafu.

Do you follow the Iditarod? We do every single year. Several years ago there was a documentary about the famous sled race that really got us into it and excited to follow some of favorite mushers. Each year we each pick one to win and then track their progress through the race. In addition to following the race this year, Eli completed a lapbook from Homeschool in the Woods called "Iditarod" and Brynne completed one called "Sled Dogs". We also watched Balto this year.

Back on President's Day we spent the day learning all about Missouri's President Harry S. Truman. We watched the movie Truman to get us ready for a field trip to Independence, Missouri, his hometown. We finally took that field trip this past week. We toured the grounds of his family farm, watched a video at the visitor's center, went on a tour of his wife's family home on Delaware Street, toured the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, ate lunch at his favorite diner Dixon's Chili, and then ended our day with phosphates and ice cream at Clinton's Drugstore which was Harry S. Truman's first job.

On St. Patrick's Day we learned a little and had a little fun. We watched a video called "Bet You Didn't Know" all about St. Patrick. We then read a great short story written by a homeschool student called "St. Patrick: Sower of Light in Ireland". We went through the timeline of his life, and then did a mapping assignment about Ireland. These materials were provided free by Knowledge Quest. We also played a fun dice and drawing game called "Let's Roll a Leprechaun" (even daddy and I got in on the fun) and watched a cute Hallmark movie called "The Magical Legend of the Leprechaun".

We are still having our enrichment class every week, studying about recycling and energy conservation. We made cootie catchers with facts about both, and this week we made specific pledges about specific things we will do to accomplish each.

And that's a little of what we have been up to the last three weeks.

We are exactly where I wanted us to be at this juncture in our school year. We have two weeks of school left before we take a trip to Atlanta, Florida, and New Orleans. When we get home we will have about two more weeks of school before we take our May break. I think I might be ready for the school year to be over. How about you?

2015-2016 Hours Logged - 778 1/4 hours out of 1,000 required hours (248 hours outside home)
Plus 83 Summer Hours