Friday, May 18, 2012


Stopped to see the wildflowers on the way home from Oklahoma.  Beautiful!

Toothless Elly!  She fell and broke off part of her front tooth back in February.  The tooth decided to die, so we had to get it pulled.  After several visits to different dentists, we finally found one who said he would pull it without IV sedation.  A little bit of nitrous oxide, numbing gel, and a couple of injections around the tooth did the trick, and the tooth was pulled without Elly even really noticing.  In and out of the office in 20 minutes.  Not sure what the deal was with the other dentists wanting her sedated...  She never cried at all, and is quite proud of her toothless grin!  

We enjoyed a visit from Dave's parents the first week of May.  The kids loved the fact that they not only got time off school, but that they got to play lots while grandma and grandpa were with us.  Bowling, laser tag, a movie, the beach...  Fun times!  We even got a couple of projects done that had been on our to-do list for a really long time.  Sometimes I really wish we lived closer to family.  As it is, we enjoy the visits whenever we can get them!  :o)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Health Museum Houston

Back in April, we took a field trip to the Houston Health Museum.  Pig lungs, heart beats, and DNA chains, oh my!  First, we got a great visual of how smoking affects the lungs.  Fascinating!

Listen to the heartbeat!

The kids also got to explore cells, and the girls and I learned about teeth and tastebuds while the boys made DNA key chains.  I love that we have the opportunity to go on these field trips with our homeschool group.  Affordable, and the places we've been to so far this year have really been doing a great job setting up classes and opportunities for hands-on exploration.  Love this kind of learning!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


This last week, we got to travel to Oklahoma for the men's gymnastics Region 3 championships.  The drive was shorter than expected, which is always a good thing, and we really enjoyed our time with the rest of the team there.  The competition itself seemed to go on forever.  Bryan's session was supposed to go from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, and we didn't get out of there until 6:45 p.m.!  Sitting on bleachers for 6 hours is not my idea of fun, but we made it through.  Bryan did quite well, though he botched up his high bar routine, which cost him his spot on the regional development team.  He was a little sad that he won't get to go to the camp this summer, but he seems to have moved on.  He did place 1st on floor and tied for 2nd on pommel horse, which he is really happy about.  Came in 9th all-around in his age group, and had the biggest smile on his face when he went up for his all-around medal.  His goal for this year had been to place in the top 10 at Regionals, and he did it!  Go Bryan!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Thought I'd post a few pictures.  Lame mother that I am, nobody gets new clothes for Easter, and we don't do family pictures.  So just a few shots of the kids with their Easter spoils.  If you think Kaylee looks unhappy, it's because she was.  Apparently the hand puppet wasn't girly enough.  She's hard to please, that one!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Texas State Championships

This past weekend, we drove up to Dallas for Bryan's State competition.  Nothing says "road trip" like 5 hours in the car and kids yelling "Moooom" constantly because they want stuff all the time.  Fun!  :p  While the gymnastics meet did not quite go as planned, everyone ended up learning a lot.  The entire team qualified for Regionals in Oklahoma in a couple of weeks, too, which is exciting!  Another road trip!  haha  Overall, Bryan did quite well at State.  He did try to use honey on his hands on pbars, which resulted in him nearly falling off.  Yeah, don't try something you've never done before for the first time at a meet!  Just because you see someone else doing something doesn't mean you should, especially not without talking to your coach first...  Learned that the hard way!  Fortunately, nobody got hurt in the process.  Well, except Bryan's ego.  He's been pretty upset about his own carelessness.  I guess that's enough punishment, right?  We're all about natural consequences around here, and this one was textbook.  Anyway, he did manage to place 13th all-around, which is still an awesome accomplishment.  Now to train for Regionals!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Artsy stuff - and a confession

The best laid plans...  Sometimes don't happen.  I have to confess here that I am not at all artsy, or crafty, or any of those things.  I have an awesome book of art, where different famous pieces of art are introduced, you can learn about the style, and then there is even a project idea with specific instructions, so you can re-create at home.  It is a wonderful book, and I have had every intention to incorporate it in our homeschool.  Actually, I have two of those types of books.  Another one that is geared to kids a little bit older. I love looking through the pages, and dreaming of doing all the fun projects.  The thing is, I have yet to actually DO something.  So, I've been feeling a little bit guilty for depriving my children of opportunities to express their creative sides.  I love reading blogs like my friend Arianne's, I love all the fun creative things she does with her kids.  And my own creativity ends there.  So this past week, as I was, once again, contemplating what I could do to make incorporating some sort of art education part of our weekly schedule, I found this one day, when I came home from piano lesson with Bryan.

Kaylee and Elly had raided our art supply basket and gone to town.  In the process, they learned about using different types of paint, mixing colors, layering colors, and they even got creative and did prints of their hands and feet.  And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Something I had known for a long time, that had gotten lost somewhere in a dusty corner of my brain.  Children are not empty vessels waiting to be filled.  As a parent, I do not have to teach them everything.  Some things, yes, but for so many areas in learning, all I have to do is facilitate.  Provide materials and opportunities, and let them do the rest.  Then I started feeling better about my own lack of creative genius, because my kids will develop theirs all on their own.  And teach me in the process.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March Ramblings

Well, that was fun!  We started out the month with a visit to the Weather Museum.  It's a rather small place, but the kids still had a fun time.  Then the birthdays started.  Kaylee went first, turning 7 years old.  She got to have a sleep over party with her two little friends, which was most definitely the highlight of her day.

A few days later, Elly got to celebrate her much anticipated 4th birthday.  A donut for breakfast and opening presents was all she needed to be happy.

Bryan finished out birthday week at our house when he turned 9.  Poor guy never did get a cake, not even a donut.  I think we were all done with the sweets by the time his birthday came around...  He may still get a party at some point, not entirely sure yet.  He was still happy, though.  After all, it's really the presents that make a birthday great, right?

Besides partying, the boys also enjoyed their scouting activities.  Bryan earned his Bear badge in Cub Scouts, and Tyler got to go on a camp out with his 11 year old scout troop.

Last week, we finally got to go on a field trip we'd been wanting to go on for quite some time.  I actually organized this one for our homeschool group.  We went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science and saw the Crime Lab Detective exhibit.  It was worth it for the $3 field trip rate we paid, but I don't know that I would pay regular price for it.  The kids enjoyed it, especially the boys, but I was a bit underwhelmed.  Maybe my expectations were too high?  Or maybe it was the fact that Kaylee started having some tummy issues and I couldn't really spend as much time solving the crime as I would have liked.  We also saw Dawn of the Space Age, which everyone enjoyed immensely.  All in all, a fun field trip.  I love the science museum! 

Speaking of science, the kids have also been enjoying our new science curriculum we recently started.  We started with chemistry.  What's not to love when you get to play with marshmallows???

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kale Quinoa Quiche

So I've been having this goal to start blogging again, and what better way to do that than start with food?  Food is always good, right?  Kale season is in full swing here, and while I don't have any in my garden this year, my friend has plenty in hers, so I still get to eat some when I feel like it.  Yum!  I've also been wanting to explore the many ways of quinoa goodness.  What better way than to combine the two?  I got the inspiration for the following recipe here, and changed it up just a bit to fit what ingredients I had on hand.  It turned out delicious! Even Bryan ate some, which is saying something.  He generally turns down anything green...

You need:
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
some olive oil
1 bunch kale - about 6-10 leaves, depending on size
half a white onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup shredded cheese, I used a Mexican blend
1/2 cup half & half
5 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9" pie dish and set aside. Put quinoa in a sieve and rinse (the grains are very small, so get a fine mesh). Combine quinoa and water in a small pan and bring to boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. While quinoa is cooking, dice onion and take stems off kale and chop.  Heat olive oil in pan, add onion, and cook for a couple of minutes until onion starts to caramelize.  Add chopped kale (make sure you use a large pan, as there is quite a lot of kale!).  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Mince and add clove of garlic, and cook one more minute.  Remove mixture from heat.
3. While the kale is cooling, mix eggs and half & half in a bowl until well combined, add some salt and pepper.
4. Add egg mixture to kale mixture, and stir until well combined.  Stir in cooked quinoa and cheese at this point, as well.  
5. Pour mixture into pie dish and cook for about 45 minutes, until top is golden.  Knife inserted in center should come out without runny egg on it.
6. Eat and enjoy!  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Battleship Texas

Since it's in the same area as the San Jacinto Monument, we decided to tour the Battleship Texas, as well.  This ship fought in both World Wars, and at times had up to 1800 sailors on board!  The ship was like a miniature floating town, complete with a couple of stores, barber, dentist, and surgeon.  Oh, and a few jail cells, too!  

View of the ship from San Jacinto Monument.

Right next to the ship.

On board.

Sleeping Quarters

General Store



San Jacinto Monument

Being that none of us were born, raised, or otherwise connected to the great state of Texas until we moved here just about 4 years ago, our knowledge of Texas history was limited mostly to the Alamo.  Who knew that not too long after that battle, another battle was fought, right here in the Houston area?  This time around, the Texans had the upper hand.  You can learn more about the San Jacinto battle right here.  The kids quite enjoyed the history lesson, as did the adults!

View from the observation deck on the monument.

Exploring the battle grounds!

The twin sisters.  Not the girls, the cannons!  These are replicas of the cannons used in the battle.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Winter Fun in Germany

A collection of snow fun, Christmas, and New Years.  I think it's safe to say that a good time was had by all.

This is what Christmas for 12 people looked like!

New Year's Eve with some great friends!