Monday, September 30, 2013

First Violin Concert

Waiting . . .


September Update

Nearly done with our first month of school!!  For some reason, it seems easier this year.  I'm guessing some of that is due to my improved mental outlook on this new medication.  Speaking of which, I'm doing really well!  I had a few rough days with side effects, but they have become very manageable.  :-)

We are enjoying co-op.  It's amazing how unique each trimester is with the changes in membership and classes offered.  Individual interests in Kylen's age group are becoming more defined, which I find rather fascinating.  It will be neat to see where they take those interests over the next 4 years.  Kylen's primary interests right now are chess and learning to play various instruments.  He'd like to take up drums next!  Not sure that's going to happen.  Violin is going well.  They played at a coffee shop today!  Being a beginner, Kylen only played one song with the group, but it was pretty cool seeing him perform in public.  :-)

One of my goals this year is to have him write more reports/essays.  He chose chess for his first topic.  By happy coincidence, we have a tin of "Old Century Games for the World" that was given to us one Christmas.  We'd never played any of the games, but I came across it when we were moving stuff around.  I decided we would open it up this month.  Well, just after he started research for this report, we tried the first game.  It was an early form of chess!  Ha!  He told me he had even read about that game in the chess history book.  Some of the key differences: Players roll dice to find out which piece they get to move.  It's designed for four players, who actually play in teams.  (With two players, each player controls two colors.)  One's Raja (king) can actually return after being taken.  There is no piece equal to the queen.  Greg and Kylen have been playing it the last few evenings.  On top of that, a student brought an old version of chess to class today that Kylen had seen in that same book!  It's called Chinese chess.  What are the chances??

We are still attending the same church, where we have fallen into a routine of going every other Sunday.  This works well for my illness by allowing me a day of rest twice a month.  We also withdrew from the Belize mission team for various reasons (nothing bad, it just wasn't working out for us to participate much), but I felt God drawing me toward a monthly counselor training class.  I went once and loved it!!  Can't wait to go again!  We just finished a great video series in our Wednesday night Bible study, and I'm enjoying the Bible studies that resumed at co-op.  We also like the two books we're using as part of family devotions in the evenings (discovered through Sonlight currick).  They are Live Like a Jesus Freak and The BBC Manual.  Greg alternates between reading from the Bible and reading from one of those books while Kylen looks up scriptures.

Well, October typically feels stressful for some reason.  I have high hopes that won't be the case this time.  We shall see!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Photo Shoot with French Vanilla

This is my indulgence a few times a week, introduced to me by my dear husband who clearly isn't worried about my waist line!  I love the taste, smell, and color so much, I couldn't resist doing a little photo shoot.  How to make art with cafe French Vanilla:  fill a tall glass with milk, heat in the micro for a minute and a half or until hot, add two scoops of mix, stir in with a straw, drink some, drink some more, repeat until liquid is gone.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kylen's Breakfast Cereal

I seem to be doing a lot of food posts lately.  It's probably because school related activities dominate my time, yet we still need to eat to survive.  :-)

Here's the story behind this shot.  Kylen is a very exact person - to a fault.  Back when he was pretty overweight, I didn't want him eating a ton of cereal.  I got tired of him pouring it out and asking if it was too much, so I finally told him that as long as it fit in the bowl, it was fine.  Now he's a big strapping lad of 13, and I guess he's pushing the envelope of what "fits."  I had to smile when I saw this mound yesterday morning.  How much can it grow before it spills?

Working Out

We've found another good use for the basement: working out!  My VERY fit cousin came over for several training sessions to teach Greg and Kylen basketball drills and exercises.  It's actually "worked out" *ha ha* really well.  They've been disciplined about going though their routine almost nightly for several weeks, and Greg says he can feel the difference in his strength and endurance.  They have a song play list to make it more enjoyable and incorporate weights, bands, an exercise ball, and mat.  I don't know how long it will last, but so far it's going great!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Georgia ~ Peach Bread

Even though Georgia is known for its peaches, a couple of other states have surpassed them in  production.  Oh well!  We made a peach recipe anyway!  Ironically, the canned peaches said "California" on the front!  Lol!

We hit several obstacles (no fault of the recipe), not the least of which was running out of flour.  I had no idea we were so low!  I subbed a little wheat flour and added applesauce in case the wheat flour made it drier.  Miraculously, despite all the problems, the bread looked and tasted fantastic - very sweet and moist.  It was a tad strong on the cinnamon, so I may cut that in half next time.  It says to use two loaf pans, but it only came about halfway up even after cooked.  We have one loaf pan, so I poured half in a square pan.  Next time, I might try pouring the whole thing in one loaf pan.

Peach Bread
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups pureed peaches
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 - 1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla

Cream sugar and butter together.  Add eggs and mix thoroughly.  Add peach puree and dry ingredients; mix thoroughly.  Add vanilla and stir until blended.  Pour into two loaf pans approximately 5 x 9 inches in size, that have been well greased and floured. Bake at 325 for 45 to 55 minutes.  Let bread cool a few minutes before removing from pan.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fair Rides

Ryan told me this is his favorite ride at the fair.  It's mine now, too!  It reminds me a little of the swing ride, which used to be my favorite.  Not too wild, not too tame.

The Boys

I don't like this one, but Kylen and Ryan always go on it together when they get the chance.  They usually ride the one at Silverwood.

What a face!  Lol!

That concludes my posts on the Spokane Fair.  Kylen said he enjoyed it more with his uncle there.  I hope he can go with us again next year!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fair Paint

Both barrels!

Fair Tidbits

The fairgrounds have a train museum made up of several old train cars.  Greg took a bunch of pictures.  Here is one of the dining car:

Soon after we arrived, these two singers passed us belting out "El Paso" by Marty Robbins.  My mom named me after the woman in that song.  (Farrah is my middle name.)  Catchy tune but not exactly Christian!  I can't imagine how many miles they walked; we seemed to see them everywhere.  Extremely talented, their versions sounded just like the originals!  Made me smile.

My feet were sore, so I sat down whenever possible!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fair Animals

This guy was chowing down on the fence!

We could NOT believe these horns!  Poor thing had a hard time turning around!
So peaceful looking.

Spokane Fair 2013

Greg and Kylen are not big on the fair.  They don't like walking around looking at stuff or going on rides.  The main thing they enjoy is the food!  I asked my brother if he would join us this year, so I would have someone to go on rides with.  Growing up, the fair was always a big deal, and rides were the main attraction!

Of course we got in plenty of food, too . . .

What I WISH I had gotten: fries with cheese sauce, ground meat, sour cream, and salsa!

Greg's annual cube of fries (with ketchup).  :-)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Nerf Guns

Greg and Kylen haven't shown much interest in nerf guns in the past.  We have had a small one for several years that hasn't gotten much use.  But recently, Kylen was invited to a bring-your-own-nerf-gun party.  We had fun looking at the guns in the store and picked a couple out.  The boys had a great time testing them but eventually decided that the automatics have too many problems.  They traded them in for a different kind and had a blast shooting at each other.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pennsylvania ~ Pretzels

As part of our states study, we're trying a new recipe each week.  Our first two states were Delaware and Pennsylvania.  Kylen chose the Pennsylvania pretzels.  I've never made bread from scratch, so it was an interesting educational experience.  I think the recipe was meant to be healthy, because it had quite a bit of wheat flour.  They didn't turn out at all like we expected.  The dough wasn't stretchy like white pretzel dough, making it more difficult to shape, and they didn't turn out as soft as white pretzels.  But we decided they were pretty tasty with the right toppings!  Kylen and I liked them with strawberry jam or flavored cream cheese, while Greg prefered tzatziki sauce.

Kylen Brushing On the Egg

The Finished Product!

Monday, September 9, 2013

LEGO Grandma

When we got home from shopping yesterday, Greg and Kylen told me they purchased LEGO minifigs from the new series.  I didn't even know it was out yet!  We have a tradition of occasionally buying 6 and taking turns opening them, two a piece.  It's a lot of fun.  We decide on our favorites, lament over duplicates, and rejoice together over new ones.

Before opening our first package, we were talking about which minifigs we like best.  I noticed there was a grandma!  And she comes with a cat!  I have read many stories about people who lost loved ones and get strong, sometimes almost miraculous reminders of them.  This was my first such experience.  My grandma passed away over the summer, and she loved cats.  It gave me such a special feeling inside, being reminded of her that way.  I decided the minifig I'm most hoping for is the grandma with the cat.  I'll post a picture if we get one!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Come Little Leaves

Come, little leaves,
Said the wind one day;
Come over the meadows
With me and play.
Put on your dresses
Of red and gold;
For the days grow short,
And the nights grow cold.

Soon as the leaves
Heard the wind's loud call,
Down they came fluttering,
One and all.
Over the meadows
They danced and flew,
All singing the soft
Little songs they knew.

Dancing and flying,
The leaves went along,
Til Winter called them
To end their sweet song.
Soon, fast asleep
In their earthy beds,
The snow lay a coverlet
O'er their heads.

~George Cooper

My friend posted this poem on a homeschool forum.  Isn't it lovely?

Monday, September 2, 2013


We've made two pies, eaten a bunch, and more are coming!

School Mode

We will officially enter school mode tomorrow and remain there for the next 9 months.  Wheeee!  I am both looking forward to it and not looking forward to it.  Kylen feels about the same, I believe.  For my blog, this means posting will likely become more sporadic and spaced out.  It doesn't mean I don't love ya all!