Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Dirty feet have found a place in my heart

There was a time when I found dirty little feet atrocious.  

Dirty feet used to mean I didn't take the time to bathe my child or I was delinquent in getting shoes on them before they escaped the house.  

These soiled feet meant that I must be so disorganized that I can't keep them in a scheduled routine for good hygiene.

Icky feet make the sheets sooty and they add to the unswept floors.  Or maybe the unswept floors add to the unsightly feet?

But then I read a fantastically crunchy post about how beneficial it is for your body to let your feet be in contact with the earth a little each day.  It said it was healthy!

And for only a moment I questioned it.  Why? 

I looked at my little barefoot twins gleeful faces race-crawling under the trampoline in search of roly-polies and any other critters for their little sisters.  

I looked at the little barefoot girls squatting in the dirt under the clothesline carefully searching for ladybugs.  

I saw Hammy also sans shoes playing in a jungle of tall weeds underneath the pomegranate tree and Bun beckoning him to join him from high up in the branches of the avocado tree. 

And I decided dirty feet were a sign of a well-lived childhood.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Picture frame menu board

You can easily make your own menu board with a multiple photo picture frame.  
April 25th sounded like a good time for me to change my menu board from Thanksgiving/autumn earthy colors to happy bright springy colors.

Instead of writing the day of the week on each one like I typically do, I used my label maker for the names.

I cleaned the glass and the frame and put it all together.

Then the kids' favorite part is making meal suggestions for the week.  Then I hung it on the wall.

Lastly, I put the wet erase marker on the top.

I promise, it's way easier to read in person.  

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

The Clothing Room aka The Family Closet

This feels kind of embarrassing to share but I have had several people ask how we do a family closet.  And since I took pics to answer in a KonMarie group I'm in, I'm finally ready to share with the friends and family who asked.

First of all, it's just the 8 kids who's clothing is kept here with the small amount in the closet that is my husband's physical fitness clothing.  Our clothing is in our own room. 

The only clothes the children have in their room is dirty and in a laundry basket waiting for their wash day.

Each kid has approximately 8 outfits (not counting swimsuits or church clothes) that they rotate through.  Piles are sparse because they need to wash or have washed and haven't folded and put away yet.

The clothes that are in-between sizes are kept in totes in the corner.  There are also a few extras of each type of clothing in most sizes, but we have found it much more manageable to limit the children to 8 outfits.  If one gets stained or a hole, then I get another out.

Shoes that are in-between sizes are in the tote under the bucket of black socks.

It's not beautiful, but it works really well for us.

I do intend to KonMarie this room.  When that happens, I'll probably share pics.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Covering a composition book

It's pretty simple:

1.  Trace -- I like to bring it right to the edge of the black bind.  
2.  Cut 
3.  Glue -- I've found Elmers glue sticks to work best.
4.  Smooth 

This is the paper I chose for the front.  I love it!  If I had two sheets, I would've done the same front and back.  

Sometimes there's a little extra paper after gluing.  Just trim it off carefully.

Now you have a beautiful unique notebook!  Embellish with stickers, buttons, flowers, quotes, or leave blank.  :)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

In which I give myself a pep talk about my not-yet-reading 6 year olds

I texted Danny today, "Sometimes teaching reading to 6 year old boys is like trying to make a bouncy house literate."

I was teaching them separately today-- not something I always do.  

I know it eventually sticks and they pick it up with good momentum.  But oh my.  

Today I had to remind myself all children are different and they will get it when they're ready.  And until then, we keep trying.

In addition to teaching reading daily and reading during Power of an Hour:

• We raise our children in a very language/literature-rich home.
• We make up poems, limericks, and alliteration while doing dishes.
• We play reading games while on walks, while driving in the van, and shopping.
• We read scriptures with them daily.  We discuss the stories and teachings.
• I read picture books by request when asked-- unless I've got a dire situation usually involving poop.
• I read classics (currently Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott) or their favorite history curriculum (Story of the World) to them every night for about an hour.  
• Reading children and non-reading children can be found throughout our home absorbed in books at any given moment.  We LOVE books!

Of my four readers:
* One could read the scriptures at 5 1/2.
* One didn't appear to know how to read and was suddenly reading all the chapter books in the house at 6 1/2.
* One I really struggled with at 5 1/2 while his little brother read all the words in the background which further frustrated the budding reader-- but at 7 you never would've guessed he had any struggle at all.
* And one randomly started reading at 22 months.

I think these little buddies will get it.  I'll keep telling myself that and giving them opportunities to succeed.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The bread that Grandma loved to bake

This is a recipe for the bread that my Grandma loved to bake.  Even though she was my paternal grandmother, this recipe is from my mom.

Grandma wrote me letters for the last 13 years of her life in thick black, sometimes blue Sharpie marker (once in red) on yellow legal pads.  I had to read them out loud to understand them.  She didn't number her pages and they were sometimes out of order.  One thing that really stuck in my mind was how much she loved to cook and bake for friends and family.  She often sent me recipes that she clipped from newspapers.

In more than a couple letters she told me to practice, practice, practice, and learn how to bake bread just like my mom.  Grandma told me several times that her favorite bread recipe was Mom's half-white and half-whole wheat bread.  She would bake it in pineapple cans.

But you can totally bake this in bread pans in the oven.

Grandma's favorite bread recipe

Makes 2 small loaves

1 package or 1 tablespoon active-dry or instant yeast
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 to 6 1/2 cups flour, half whole wheat, half white (or as desired)
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups very warm tap water

1.  Mix yeast, nonfat dry milk, sugar, salt, and about 2 cups of flour together.  Add vegetable oil and water; blend with electric mixer on low speed for about 5 minutes.  Slowly mix in more flour with wooden spoon until too stiff to stir.

2.  Knead dough 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth, and elastic.  Place in lightly greased bowl; turn to coat top; cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until double in bulk, about 45 minutes.  (High-altitude rises quicker--don't let overrise!)

3.  Shape into 2 loaves for 8-by-4-inch pans.  Grease pans.  Push dough into loaf pans; pull out and turn over (greasing tops).  Press back into pans.  Let rise until double in bulk, about 40 minutes.  (High-altitude rises faster-- don't let overrise!)

4.  Bake at 350 degrees (high-altitude 375 degrees) for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until loaves are hollow sounding when tapped on bottom, and bottom of pans sizzle when touched lightly with a damp finger.

Grandma's favorite bread recipe adapted for the bread machine

Makes 1 small loaf.

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon very warm tap water
3 1/4 cups flour, half whole wheat, half white (or as desired)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons active-dry or instant yeast
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1.  Place warm water in bread machine.
2.  Add dry ingreidents, yeast, and oil.
3.  Let bread machine knead per bread machine instructions.
4.  Let rise in bread machine and bake in bread machine, or remove from machine, shape into 1 loaf, and follow instructions above from step #3 but for one loaf.

A slice of morning fun

Squdge said, "I drew Adam and Eve about to get kicked out of the Garden of Eden.  Eve ate the forbidden fruit and Adam did too and now they are hiding from God behind the bushes.  But He can see them anywhere!  Hahaha!"

Bouncing little girls and their balloons and paper bracelets.  Peach made bracelets for her and Biscuit.  They took a trampoline break after learning about Persia.
Peach finding out what happens when you draw on a balloon and deflate it-- "It gets black all over and it goes smaller."

Monday, February 22, 2016

Betrayed by the beckoning cookies

Tater learned it's best to keep a safe distance instead of getting as close as you can to something you can't have.

You can't quite tell in these pictures, but he burned the underpart of his bottom lip -- and it blistered and popped instantly -- when he tried to look closely at the cookies that were just pulled from the oven.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A veggie interview with the 8 year old and two 6 year olds

I said to Hammy, Tater, and Squdge tonight while they were falling asleep,

"Aunt April would like to know which vegetables are the yummy vegetables."

This is their list.

artichokes steamed 
tomatoes -- all raw tomatoes and all kinds of them 
ants on a log (celery with peanut butter and raisins) 
green beans 
sugar snap peas
bell peppers 
spinach in a milkshake 
pinto beans 

cooked carrots
sliced canned carrots 
canned beets
steamed beets
steamed broccoli with mayo 
butternut squash and ALL kinds of squash 

cauliflower raw 
sugar snap peas
snacking (bell) peppers 
broccoli fries
steamed broccoli 
sautéed onion 
beans and rice 
steamed chard or chard in salad with kale and spinach
stuff we grow!


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