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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

Another Racheal Ray Dinner

Big Meatballs with Pasta

1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
2 small to medium yellow onion, 1 grated and 1 finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
1 egg
1/2 to 2/3 cup Italian bread crumbs, a couple of overflowing handfuls
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus some to pass at table
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or nutmeg
3 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped sage leaves, 4 to 6 sprigs
A couple generous handfuls flat-leaf parsley, chopped, divided
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
1 pound bucatini (thick, hollow spaghetti)
1/4 pound pancetta, chopped( I used bacon)
12 baby portobello caps, (crimini mushrooms), chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine, eyeball it
1 cup, (8 ounces), beef stock
1 (28-ounce), can crushed tomatoes, San Marzano if available
Preheat 400 degrees F. Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil.

Mix meat with the grated onion, 3 cloves chopped garlic, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, allspice, capers, sage, a handful of the chopped parsley, salt and pepper and a healthy drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Mix meat, score the meat into 4 sections and make 3 very large balls from each section. Arrange the 12 balls on a nonstick cookie sheet and roast 15 minutes until firm but not hard.

Drop bucatini (I used reagular Speggettie pasta) in salted boiling water to cook off. Drain.

Add another tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet and the pancetta. Cook 3 to 4 minutes then add the remaining garlic and mushrooms to the pan and cook 5 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Add remaining chopped onion and deglaze the pan with wine, cook off 1 minute, add in stock and whisk up remaining drippings. Stir in the tomatoes and season sauce with salt and pepper, if necessary. Stir in parsley. Simmer 5 minutes.

Toss pasta with half the sauce. Remove balls from oven and add to remaining sauce and turn to coat. Serve large balls, 3 per person, along side pasta. Spoon any remaining sauce over the pasta. Pass extra cheese at the tables.

We are not really big fans of mushrooms, but I tried it anyway. We loved them. Ashlyn made Prego Sauce with her meatballs but hey she loved the meatballs. Jessie at 2 helpings of pasta and about three meatballs.

I am really loving trying all this new dishes and finding out that I really can make more than frozen lasgana.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

RainDrop Reflections

Well this week was uneventful. So writing this may really be pointless, but here we go anyway.
Monday was a quite school day. We started our summer schedule. We will be doing our bible time everyday. We are using Training Hearts and Teaching Minds, by Starr Meade.

Each day we will also be doing Math and Spelling as well as 20 minutes of silent reading. Then we will be working on current events, no more than about 10 minuets. Then each day we will do one lesson in History, Science, English, Reading, and Art/Music appreciation.

We are hoping that this can all be done with in 2 hours. Then the rest of the day is ours to have fun.

Our helper Mrs. T, twisted her ankle over the weekend so she needed a few days to rest it. Mrs. R was here to help with school and our chores.

I figured out on Friday that I was a whole week off in my head. I was thinking this was the first week of June. Thinking we would be camping again next weekend. Went all week thinking that. Finally on Friday all of a sudden I had this HUGE revelation. YOU ARE WRONG!!!! Wow imagine my surprise.

The RainDrops are finally getting old enough that they can stay home for a short while with Pooh Bear "in charge." So Friday Pooh and Snoopy stayed home for about an hour until Bo Ba Houng got home. Boo went to see her BFF and The Man of the House and I went to do some shopping. It ended up being a impromptu date night!

During the huge storms back in April, our grill was tossed around the back yard. The insurance payed for a new one as well as new bedding and mattress in Boo's bedroom. We went comparison shopping for grills. Then stopped to look at mattresses.

The Man of the House blew me away! Not only did we replace the mattress for Boo, he bought a new mattress set for us! A Temperpedic!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG I thought I was going to have to have oxygen or something. I will be sure to let you all know next week what I think of it. It will be delivered Tuesday night!

Scripture Sunday

  • Psalms 132:12

    12 If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mommy Moment

This weeks Mommy Moment is one of more frustrating moments. While working with Boo this week on Math, she decided 7-5 was 1. No matter what I told her how I explained she was convinced it was 1. Thing was after about the second time I explained I could see it in her eyes she knew I was right! Yet she just had to be right.

Boo can be so stubborn. We are trying to learn to channel that energy in to the right things to be stubborn about. Additionally that when Mom and Dad tell you something like 7-5=2 they might be right!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thankful Thursday- Best Friends

This week I am thankful for my 2 best friends. CM and I have been friends since the birth of our daughters over 13 years ago. For several years Pooh Bear that of CM, children as your siblings. She started to refer to CM as her "Fairy Godmother" and the name has stuck.
Seven years ago the family moved to Kansas City. Yes I still talk to CM at least 2-4 times a week. I know she will be there for me, not necessarily in person but always in prayer.

M&M and I met when we adopted Boo. Their family adopted Boo's biological brother. M&M and her husband became the "fairy godparents" (see it really did stick) to Boo. We now live just 25 minutes from each other. With 2 families of 5 kids, a working mom , and homeschooling mom, we do not see each other like we wish we could. But each year on our birthdays we go out, not anything fancy or a big party girl night just 2 friends going to the movie, or getting our nails done then a quite dinner.

Both of these ladies are like my sisters. We may disagree from time to time, but we are always there for each other. They are my sounding board when The Man of the House is not here. They support me, give advice, understand, cry with me, laugh with and at me. I love you both dearly!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

I found this recipe on and added the breading sicnce my family eats it better breaded. We loved it.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound boneless pork chops
2/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
orange zest
Bread crumbs

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Scramble the egg and pour in milk. Zest the orange in to the bread crumbs and season with your favorite spices. Dredge the chops in the egg and milk, then cover with crumbs. Repeat if desired. Cook pork chops until evenly brown on both sides; remove from skillet place in oven on cooling rack over a cookie sheet, on 275 to keep warm and crisp. Pour in orange juice, soy sauce and sugar. Boil for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of pan. In a small bowl, mix together water and cornstarch, and stir into sauce. Poor over the chops and serve.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

By the Stroke of a Pen

I am re-posting this from about 3 years ago. This is a response to a essay written against adoption. I was given the assignment for my Rhetorical Writing class. As an adoptive mother this hit very close to home. (I got an A I might add)

“Why do some governments persist in issuing adopted children with new birth certificates, which is a fabrication” (Robinson), reads the second sentence in the introduction, from Evelyn Burns Robinson’s rant against adoption. I have tried to stay fair in my naming of her feelings however she is very venomous and totally against adoption. Robinson compares adoption to slavery, as human beings bought and sold like cattle. She states that no matter the type of family history or dynamics, that children should be taken in by family members until the mother who in her mind is just having a hard time can once again take care of the child. “Women must stop taking other women’s children,” is her answer to the adoption quandary. Her idea is that babies are taken from someone who is financially insecure and placed with someone who can only offer the child more stuff. Robinson feels that the love of a birth mother can never be equaled by an adoptive parent. While her view is of that as a birthmother who is letting her remorse over her own decision cloud the so many wonderful experiences of birth mothers, adopted children and adoptive families. Adoption is and always has been a vital and important part of our society to give a child a forever family. The singular view of one birthmother who now regrets her decision to give up a child for adoption can not negate the needs of the many children in our world that are in need of a stable and loving home.

The comparison of adoption to slavery is for shock value. Slavery is a dark time in our nation’s and world’s history. Robinson says that slavery was there “because [we] wanted them {slaves] and society said that [we] could.” Expecting one human to do the jobs another feels is beneath them, at the threat of bodily harm or even loss of life is reprehensible. Many children in the world are left neglected, abused, starved, or treated as slaves of the birth parent who is supposed to love them and keep them safe. All children deserve a life free of such things and the opportunity to be children not the servant of the adult in their lives. Adoption gives these children the chance to have a home and parents who will love them unconditionally. Today we know and understand that all life is important and is not to be thrown away in any form. Adoption is quite the opposite of slavery. It is the opportunity for a child to learn and grow in a world that truly wants them and gives them the chance to become the person they are meant to be. Children are not bought and sold on the street corner or at the local auction with the live stock. Great care is taken in checking out prospective parents preparing them for the obsicales that may arise due to a child’s past or genetic history. Yes adoption is an expensive process but is not for profit of one or two individuals, but the cost of the process of making sure that the child is placed in the right place for their needs.

Robinson’s answer for adoption is to place children with family until the birth mother gets through her rough times. Once again this is a limited view. Consider the situation and family dynamics of a child who is placed for adoption though a state agency. The child is removed from a home where the mother is severely neglecting and abusing the child. In most cases this is not a first time situation, the parent learned this response from somewhere. The state agency’s first priority is family reunification and placing the child with suitable family members if at all possible. However if the parent learned such behaviors from their own parents then placing a child in the same environment with other family members is not a viable option. When grandparents are of an age they cannot take in children or sibling of the parents are not old enough or stable enough to take in children, where are these children to go. There is also every possibility that there is no family member willing to give up the life the currently have to parent this child. Agencies’ give birth families every opportunity to learn parenting skills that are needed. When this fails to happen a child cannot be left hanging in the system indefinitely a permant home must be found. Robinson alludes to huge numbers of children being given back the state agencies after being adopted by parents who decide they no longer want to parent these children. With the training and the entire medical and social history given to the adoptive parents this is rare.

Our history as an entire planet is full of adoption. Ancient cultures would take in the children of enemies and raise them as their own when they were found orphaned. It was not unheard of for an adult to be adopted by a family when his own family was killed. As the Mormons crossed the country on the way to the Great Salt Lake Valley entire families died. From time to time leaving one or more children without any family to care for them on the journey, other families stood up and took that child in to be raised as their own. Yes in most cases children were taken in by family members in the past however we have become a society who thinks only of ourselves now and many of these children would have not relatives to live with.

Robinson’s view is very narrow and tinted by her own feelings of sorrow and grief. She wants to put a stop to what she feels is the cause of her grief. It is a natural response but just proves that she has not dealt with the issues within herself. She is trying to project her own feeling on the whole world and villinazing a very necessary process because she cannot deal with the choices she either made or felt pressured to make.

Monday, May 23, 2011

RainDrop Refections

Well the past week has been slow and well not what we expected.

Monday was slow all we did was school and daily chores. Which was fine after a busy weekend. However Boo had a really bad day. She is so strong willed at times that it makes life challenging. Thing is it makes it challenging for her as well. She just can't give up even when she knows she is wrong. So she got herself in lots of trouble and grounded for 2 days. She lost everything TV, computer, even her art stuff. Now that ticked her off.

Tuesday, well Boo had another bad day but this time got herself under control a little bit faster. However she still had to miss her Girl Scout meeting. That was really sad because it was her first official meeting as a Junior Girl Scout and the last meeting of the school year.

Wednesday was pretty much the same just school. Everyone one was very productive that day. I was so proud of everyone. Snoopy had a great handwriting day with his spelling words. He had to show everyone. He even had me text a picture to Daddy!

The Man of the House has been doing a side project for another company. Things have been getting ready to go live. Of course with computers that means there must at least one major problem before that happens. He has worked late on it for the better part of the last 2 weeks. Monday he did not get home until after one in the morning. Tuesday it was after 8:30pm. He told me that night he was not feeling good. Wednesday he went to work and came home about 9pm, he was SICK by then, I knew it and he knew it.

Thursday The Man of the House stayed home and Pooh Bear got up feeling bad as well. Boo, Snoopy and I went upstairs to get school work going thinking Pooh would follow. Nope she didn't. By noon I was feeling crappy myself. We shut down school for the day. Knowing that we had Girl Scout Adventure Camp for the Cadet girls and up. We were taking the whole family, they camped down the way from the Girl Scouts. We needed to get the three us sicky ones better.

Friday was no better. The Man of the House come home at 2pm feeling worse than ever, and his cough was horrible. I was still trying to get things done to go camping. He had said that morning he would be staying home and to leave Snoopy with him. I was going to take all the girls with me. By the time he came in I had decided to wait until Saturday morning to try to go. I was still feeling really bad.

A rough round of storms were moving through the area, so the Girl Scouts decided to wait and go up Saturday morning too. By late evening The Man of the House had put his foot down and told me I was not to go with the Scouts. Neither one of us could afford to stay sick or get any sicker. He did not have to tell me twice. I was really sick cause I will camp with the Scouts no matter what. I have done it with a broken arm, bad knee, just a day after getting off crutches. I am a serious Scout camper.

The rest of the weekend was pretty much the same. I do not think I got out of bed for more than an hour at a time. Both The Man of the House and I were shut down. He watched TV on the living room floor dozing in and out. I was in the bed watching TV doing the same thing. Pooh Bear was on the couch on her computer most of the weekend. By Saturday evening she was mostly over it, but still moving slow.

Here it is Monday morning Pooh is doing good. The Man of the House is off to work, and sounds much better. I am moving, all be it slow, it is still moving. I am thanking God at this point we were the only 3 that have gotten sick.

We have a slow week again. Only one evening activity this week, a recital for Bo ba houng. One appointment for Pooh to see the dentist today, and we are done. Ready for a quite week of study and maybe a trip to the library towards the end of the week.

Monday's Book Review

Christina Dodd has written some where around 40 books. I just recently found her books. If I remember correctly I read Rules of Engagement first. I am unsure since I got it from the library, I have read it just not sure if it was the first.

Once again one of the things I love about Ms. Dodd's books is that many are interlinked by characters. Rules of Engagement is part of the Governess Brides series.

Danger in a Red Dress is based on the illegitimate sons of millionaire, of the Fortune Hunter series. The characters are well developed and easy to get to know. Ms. Dodd gives you just enough information to keep you guessing on what the out come of the suspense part of the book will be.

The romance seems to be building just under the surface then in a matter of pages you see a huge change. The rest of the book keeps you guessing on when and if the romance will come back.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Scripture Sunday

  • 4 Nephi 1:11

    11 And they were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Mommy Moments

While sewing on Boo's stuff onto her new Junior vest, I guess I had too much coffee and was in too big of a hurry. I must admit I did a pretty crummy job. When she saw it she said
"Gee Mom even Zebu (her bff) could even do a better job then you!" At least it was on the vest for bridging. I can take it off and do it again when I have more time and less coffee!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for the opportunity I have to home school my children. This is the end of our first full year with our little RainDrops at home. It was a year of adjusting and decompression from school. But all in all we are enjoying our time together.

If the day goes awry we just take stock, either change attitudes or start over tomorrow. With a year of surgeries and doctor appointments I have not worried about missing to much school. School either goes with us or we make it up tomorrow.

I have to the time to work on character and spiritual development. Public school introduces our children to situations and topics they are not spiritually ready to handle. And many times we do not know that the situations have occurred until it is too late. Homeschooling we have the ability to to guide our children through these situations as they are happening.

And of course there are the days that if you want to you can do school in your PJs and no body really knows or cares!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Snoopy has some of the worst handwriting. We have been working really hard to improve it. When he did his spelling words yesterday I ask him to write with his best handwriting. He was so proud of how well he did. He showed everyone in the house. Then wanted me to take a picture and send it to Daddy. I am super proud of him!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Expanding the Family

Then The Man of the House and I first got married I told him 2 things up front. Just something I knew in my heart of hearts. We will adopt a child and we will have teenagers other than our own in our home. He gave this strange look like I had lost my mind and said "okay sure." I knew what he was really thinking but that was okay I knew I was right. After 5 years of marriage we started to foster with CPS. After about two and a half years we ended up adopting our little Boo. I told him "well I guess I was right on that one." He just smiled and nodded.

This past summer a friend told us about hosting foreign exchange students. My sister and her family have hosted in the past and really enjoyed their experience. We have not had the room or the ability to host until now. After talking about the opportunity with each other and the kids, we thought we would start the process and look into it.

The Man of the House and I looked at this opportunity the same way we did fostering. Once we know that the kids are coming they are ours. They are part of our family and we love them the same as our own kids. We joke and laugh and cry with them the same as we do our kids. They ARE our kids.
Once we decided this was what we were being called to do, we had our interview, filled out the papers and were picking our student with in a week. And we were so blessed with our new Koren daughter. Ba bo houng, joined our family in August of 2010. She came to us ready to try just about any new adventure. She fit is so well with our family.

Her only real bump along the way was finding school a bit more challenging than she expected as far as her English skills were concerned. Yet she has succeeded with great pride and accomplishment. Each time she brings me progress reports and report cards I just look at her, laugh and say "well I am going to have to ground you AGAIN. You are not studying enough. Your grades are all 97 and above!" I think her lowest grade has been a 90 and that was in her English class. Well duh English is not her first language. If it were literature and essay writing in Koren she would be fine.

Ba bo houng is an accomplished piano player. She joined the jazz band at school and has had so much fun with all they do. She has been to Florida and preformed at Disney. They spent the whole week there enjoying Disney and they preformed a total of 3 times.
Thaly joined up in January. My Brazilian daughter was another blessing. She is shy but once you get to know her she is funny, sweet, and so much fun. She is interested in fashion. She is always wanting to go shopping. She can shop me into the ground! But I must admit she always goes for the sale racks. She will look at everything more than once and find the best deal.

She went along to help with the equipment when the band went to Disney. She had a great time. Thaly has decided to stay one more semester, however we have already picked our our kiddos for next year. We can only have 2 at a time. She can't stay with us! I am so bummed. She will be living close with in 5-7 minutes but still not with us, so sad!

Next year we will host a girl and a boy. It will be interesting to have a boy. My snoopy is just 7 so a teen boy is a new experience. Our boy is from Norway and is 16. He enjoys football, of course that is soccer here in the US. He is defiantly wants to play here, but he is also looking forward to trying American rules football.

Our girl is from Thailand. She is 15, She enjoys taking pictures and spending time with friends. The really cool part is she is a Girl Guide in Thailand. She really is looking forward to continuing her Scouting experience in the US.

We are looking forward to next year.

Friday Mommy Moments

We are coming down to the departure date for our first exchange student. Sharon has been such a blessing to our family. She has come in and been ready for any new experience.

Sharon came to me the yesterday morning and told me she has spoken with her parents and they gave permission to stay for a little longer.

At least one of my kids loves me!

Tasty Tuesday

We had meatloaf last night one of Dad's favorite dinners. Homemade garlic mashed potatoes, salad, steamed corn and green beans, with rolls.

Daddy's favorite Meatloaf

1.5 pounds of ground beef
handful of breadcrumbs
one egg
1 tbs of capers
1/4 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese
fresh sage
fresh rosemary
fresh thyme
one small chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of ketchup
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in large bowl, except ketchup. Once everything is well mixed add 3/4 cup of ketchup. Then drizzle remaining ketchup on the top. Place in 450 degree oven until cooked all the way through.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday's Book Review

I am making a deal with Pooh Bear. She and I are going to start reading more classics. As a homeschooling mom, I must admit that my reading list is not very extensive when it comes to the classics. Do not get me wrong I love to read, but what I read is more romance and mystery, written by contemporary authors. Pooh has gotten in the the vampire love stories. (I admit, I am a total Twilight mom and that is what has gotten her interested.)

I have decided to undertake the challenge of reading more classics. (No, War and Peace is not on the top of the list.) We are going to start out slow. Pooh has read Dracula. I encouraged it as a way to show her how the genre started. I gave her the illustrated children's classic book, knowing it was below her level, hoping she would feel accomplishment of reading it. She was not at all interested she told me, yet spent 2 days straight every spare minute reading the book and finished it. She still proclaimed she did not like it. Who knows what goes through the mind of a 13 year old girl.

Mondays I plan to post a book review of something we have either read for our school lessons or something I have read. My goal is to read a classic and post my thoughts on it once a month.

I am going to start with one of my favorite authors, Julie Garwood. I read The Gift, when I was 16 and fell in love with her writing style. I have not lost my enchantment with her writing. I love to read stories about Victorian England and the Highlands of Scotland. When Ms. Garwood moved on to the old west with For the Roses. I was unsure but fell in love with them as well. When she went to contemporary, with Heartbreaker I was unsure once again. Again she hit a home run!

One of the things I love is that her characters from her Victorian era and Highlands era are the ancestors of the contemporary characters. Several of her books are linked by the characters of a family. As you meet the families of the characters they become the main characters in the next book. From that you still get to see how the first characters are still developing. Kind of gives you the feel that you are reading their continuing story.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I am hoping to start adding new readers to my blog. Maybe some who do not know us personally. So I thought I should take a few minutes and tell you who we are.

The RainDrop family was established in 1993.

First off I am Croppermom. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, Girl Scout leader, my kids teacher, and most of all a daughter of my Heavenly Father. When we are not doing school work, Girl Scouts, doctor's appointments, or running teenagers to their events, I love to read. I have not had an opportunity, or time in a GREAT while to scrapbook, but I love to take pictures for the future when I do have time again.

My knight in shining armor and the love of my life is known as the Man of the House. He is a wonderful provider and an awesome Dad. He is the IT director for a concrete construction company. He loves to read and play on the computer.

Our little RainDrops are growing in stature and in number.

Pooh Bear or Bit as her daddy calls her is 13, going on 30, as the the old adage goes. She loves to read, and science is her favorite subject, along with art and art appreciation. She is looking forward to taking classes on baby sitting and first aid.

Boo is almost 10 and a real tom boy at heart. She loves monkeys and despises pink. She loves to draw, and paint, even on things that are going to get her in trouble. She believes she can improve anything with paint.

Snoopy is 8 and pure boy! He is loud and rough. He is a mom's boy at heart though. He is turning in to his dad's mini me. He loves to play computers and has his daddy's ease at school subjects. School seems to come easy to him.

Our number are growing as we are a host family with Pacific Intercultural Exchange. Yes even homeschooolers can host students.

This past August we welcomed Ba bo houng (her nick name from school last year) to our family. She is from South Korea. She turned Sweet 16 while living with us! She loves Hello Kitty and wants to be a surgeon when she grows up. Ba bo houng will be leaving us in July. It will be a sad day, but we are thanking God and her family for giving us one more month!

Thaly came from Brazil in January. She fit right in with our growing family. We are so excited that she will be able to do one more semester here in the USA. We are terribly sad that the decision was made after we had already picked our two kids for next year. We are not allowed to have 3! I swear she will find sleeping while hanging from a nail real comfortable.

Next fall we will have a young lady who is 15 from Thailand.

As well as a young man from Norway
As soon as I know their nickname I will introduce them formally!

I will blog soon about our experience of being a host family. Let me just say this much. It is so very worth it!

Bridging Creek Side Girl Scouts

After a busy day we had a wonderful evening of fellowship and celebration as our girls bridged from one program level to the next. It is so hard to believe that I no longer have a Brownie. Just before the Brownies bridged they welcomed to bridging Daisies to Brownies.

Boo was so proud as she walked across the bridge. She never likes to be the center of attention in large crowds. But there was a hint of a smile. Boo and her fellow new Junior Girl Scouts are ready to move up and take more responsibilities while learning new skills.

I was the master of ceremonies at today's event as well as a proud mommy. Not only did Boo bridge but our Exchange Students bridged as well. Ba bo houng bridged to Ambassadors and Thaly bridged to adult Girl Scouts. I was a beaming mother. Dad got roped into taking pictures as the official photographer, so the photos of me actually bridging the big girls will have to wait.

This evening brought back many fond memories for me as I was a Girl Scout myself. I love being a leader and giving the girls the opportunities to learn and grow that I had.

Scripture Sunday

Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. (Proverbs 1:8)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Changing Gears

After a solid year of homeschooling, all three RainDrops, we have finally hit somewhat of a stride. There has been a huge learning curve for us all. But we are beginning to see the light on how to run our days.

We have had many changes in our family besides homeschooling, including surgeries, illness,doctor appointments, new helpers for Ashlyn and Aaron, and OF COURSE our family grew with the addition of two teenage exchange students. With all of this comes a family with growing pains.

We are not taking an official summer break this year. We will be swimming, playing and resting. However school will continue in full force. We will continue with the "3 Rs." The major change will come by what curriculum we use. We have used LifePac from AlphaOmega this year for Jessie and Aaron and Ashlyn has used Bob Jones. I have learned I and my kids are not fans of LifePac. I am finding that we are not reading enough literature with them.

There for we will be switching homeschool philosophies. We will use Bob Jones for math, language, and reading. However we will be using a Charlotte Mason approach for history, science, literature, and the arts.

Silly Saturday

Aaron doing his Booty Shake Dance makes me laugh!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Friday Mommy Moments

We are coming down to the departure date for our first exchange student. Ba bo houng has been such a blessing to our family. She has come in and been ready for any new experience.

Ba bo houng came to me the yesterday morning and told me she has spoken with her parents and they gave permission to stay for a little longer.

At least one of my kids loves me!

Thankful Thursday

Each Thursday I will be posting things I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my family. Both my immediate family and the extended family who supports us. Without any of them I would not have the full life I have.

I have had the chance to be mother to 10 beautiful children. I have given birth to, fostered, and hosted them. They are not all still physically with me but each has touched my life in a way they will never be able to understand. Next year we will add 2 more to that list and I am excited to come to know them.

My three children that are my forever babies, are my light and my life. All I do I do for them. They will not understand what that means today but one day I pray they will. One day when they are grown and have families of their own I pray they will look back on their childhood and say "Mom did all she could for us and we are better for it"

My husband is my best friend, my lover and my soul mate. He understands me when I do not understand myself. He loves me and our children unconditionally, without holding anything back.

Top 10 Reason's We Homeschool

10. Family time
9. My kids have different learning styles
8. There are no minimum or maxim number of hours or days we must or must not have school
7. There is more to learning than just textbooks
6. If we do not understand a topic we keep working on it until we do
5. If we find a topic is too hard we can put it off for awhile until we have learned other lessons
that will make that topic easier to understand
4. Life is learning experience
3. The spirit must also be taught
2. As parents we choose the lesson and they way they are taught
1. We can teach character and spiritual lessons at any time during the day

Wordless Wednesday

Mother's Day

Mother's Day weekend has come and gone. This year I wanted the family to unplug from the world, and enjoy real family time. So we went camping. As a family we enjoy camping, most of the time. Of course Dad usually goes just because the rest of us enjoy it (his idea of camping is a 3 star instead of a 5 star.) We went with another family who we are good friends with.

We also took our new occasional brother, Toje, with us.

He and Aaron are now best friends. They enjoyed have boy time together. They both need to time to be rough and tumble boys. They ran, wrestled, and make fart jokes, what could be more boy.

We visited Lake Whitney Texas State Park. We enjoy tent camping but this time we stayed in shelters. The adults got the shelters and the kids had tents.....well that was the plan anyway.

The tent we planned on for the boys was missing the poles. So we had to go with our back up plan. It was a small pink tent. Johnny Lovesdogs (10) did not want to sleep in a PINK tent so he went with this parents in their shelter. Well that left Aaron and Toje in the pink tent by themselves. Well they were unsure of sleeping there by themselves so guess who slept with mom and dad?!

Our sites were right on the lake. It was very windy but being that close to the lake made it that much worse. The wind and lack of rain in the area made it necessary for the park to be under a burn ban. That kind of made meal planning difficult. With the use of a propane stove and the Weber grill we managed. Friday night we were allowed a small fire in the fire ring. Dinner worked well for foil packs.

At least we got our roasted peeps in along with the s'mores.

The wind was so strong the first night that the girls who slept in our new tent got very little sleep. They said it was so load with the tent's rain fly flapping around. The following night Ashlyn and Jesse joined the two little boys in the shelter with us.

We were within an hour and a half of Dinosaur Valley State Park. So we spent Saturday afternoon exploring the river where the tracks can can be seen. With my bad knees it was kind of scary to see me walking on the algae covered rocks.

However I was determined to enjoy what the rest of the family did. After crossing the rock bridge and coming back though I opted to stay one the bank, and watch them enjoy themselves. Stephen got in the river with them and before long they were a half mile down the river. I was great to watch him and 7 kids ranging in age from 17 down to 8. He had so much fun right a long with them.

We got back to Lake Whitney so late but still made dinner and ate at the park. The kids roasted hot dogs over the coals in the Weber grill, since the rangers decided that the wind was too high for any type of open fire. We roasted the corn in the grill and cooked the baked potatoes in the dutch oven on the propane stove. We then made chocolate cake in the dutch oven with the coals from the grill. Then the steaks were pan fried on the propane stove.

It was a new experience to camp without the staple of a campfire, but it was fun to try new wasy of cooking outdoors. Our family bonded and enjoyed the fellowship of our friends.