Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sledding at the Pond

I don't remember the last time we have had this much snow in December and the children are loving it. We live really close to a pond that has a wonderful walking trail and a great sledding hill. So after much begging (badgering) off we went.

Jay built a jump for the children. It is fun to see them progress in their bravery over the years and hear shouts of awesome as they crash and tumble at the bottom of the hill. Jay thinks he looks like the wrinklie Robert Redford, makes me want to watch The Horse Whisperer.

A with his birthday sled, using it as a house. The boy is all about anything that transforms, no uni-taskers here.

B is a great boy, at one point he actually scooted backward all the way down the hill.

K was so wonderful, she did not complain once about all the climbing sledding requires, amazing for a 3 year old.

K and Daddy prepare for take off.

More K and Daddy.

B sitting so compliantly on a blankie. He especially loves his hot pink boots worn by all the Garbarino children. I took him out to walk about the outdoors yesterday and he was so cute stomping around in his boots on the decks and patio. He has been walking full time for about a week and a half.

A has become such a good sport with sledding. I remember the days when he would rather cry than climb up the hill for another run--he is so much fun now.

Christmas Glimpses

I just wanted to share a few things we have been keeping busy with this season and give you a glimpse into our Christmas traditions old and new.

Many of you know that Jay and I are venturing into the gift basket business. This is one of our baskets I completed for a friend of Jay's as a gift. It is so satisfying to be able to present something so pretty, professional and enticing and it is not hard. All it takes is a few extra details, a little creativity and a few extra steps and you can give someone a wonderful home-baked gift.

This is our collection of Christmas books. I purchase one or two Christmas books each year. This year I purchased the Mike Huckabee book A Simple Christmas. The book is filled with fun stories from his Christmas celebrations and the lessons he has learned through them. I also bought Christmas In The Big Woods. During the month of December we usually try to do something Christmas related on most nights. A lot of times is is reading Christmas books from our collection or from the library, watching a Christmas show or looking at lights around the neighborhood.

Okay, how odd she would show a picture of her hutch but I was so pleased with how it turned out that I just had to share it. On our sidebar I have added some blogs I read that have inspired be to decorate and this is the outcome of that inspiration. Jay gave me the hutch when we moved into our house 7 1/2 years ago and he bought me the dishes several Christmases ago. The dishes are perfect for Christmas but I also use them throughout the year. Also on the shelf as a nod to me new thrifty ways you can see a white mini teapot from the thrift store and a glass creamer from a yard sale. I hope to add to this red and white collection as I thrift about.

Each Christmas we make a gingerbread nativity and this is this years version. We used black gumdrops for the sheeps' legs this year instead of black licorice and I like them better. Ayden made Mary, she is the gumdrop figure in the middle with the big yellow gumdrop, that is actually her hair. And Jay was inspired to hang the star over the stable by attaching it to our cabinet. He also imprinted the roof and walls before baking so that they would look like siding and shingles. Oatmeal was used for the flooring. This is always a fun project to get us working together and the children eating a ton of sweets.

Now onto the pictures of the actual people in the house--enjoy!

B eating a Christmas ornament cookie.

E getting ready to sprinkle on some sweetness to her Christmas cutouts.

K, the girl getting "bigger and bigger" baking with Jay.

Fellas baking together.

I hope you have enjoyed our mini tour of traditions old and new. Gotta go I think they are watching Charlie Brown's Christmas without me--again!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Education and Planning Links

Okay, so another apology is due. I did not realize that our education links were not working and it has been months since I added them and referred several people to them but nevertheless they are now fixed. I use all of these links when planning our lessons. It is super easy. I usually have a theme or 2 that I am working on and just simply look them up on these links, it is a great help to me and brings some fun creative ideas and tools to our education. Enjoy!

Thrifty Fix

Oh so sorry, I think the Thrifty Home Inspirations links are fixed, I set it up wrong and now come to find out all of my education links are not correct, I'll fix that later today--so sorry everyone--now get some tea and dream decorating dreams, on a dime of course.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thrifty Home Inspirations

I have recently been inspired by several blogs that use thrift store finds to beautify their homes and themselves. I have added a new gadget (Blogs For Thrifty Home Inspiration) on our sidebar so that everyone can enjoy the wonderful frugality and creativity of these women. In today's world where money is tight or non existent, these ladies offer wonderful inspiration for refreshing your wardrobe or home. I have been inspired to visit our local thrift store on the last 2 days of the month when everything is 50% off. I have found some linens, pillows, baskets, books and clothing. I hope to refresh our home with new wall decor using platters and plates. I also have my eyes out for a few furniture pieces that could be painted. These ladies have encouraged me to re-purpose and repaint what I have or what I find. I am having a great time treasure hunting and getting creative. I hope you to will be encouraged and inspired to create beauty in your homes and lives.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Birthday Celebration

K turned 3 and it was such a fun day to see her say over and over "it's my birthday!" And she really milked it, for about 3 days it was her birthday. In our house when it is you birthday you get to pick everything you eat and do for the day. Our day started with "cakes," translation crepes with syrup made by daddy. Then we had a tea party with a Cinderella cake in PINK!!!!! After a nap we headed to Reno for some errands and dinner at "grilled cheese macaroni" translation Macaroni Grill.

Crepes and a side of bacon for breakfast. Why do children always think the table top is an extension of their plate?

K opening presents and wearing one of her many new dresses.

Our menu: Honey Tea Sandwiches, Pumpkin Sandwiches with Orange Cream Cheese
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad
Raspberry White Chocolate Scones
Fresh Veggie Plate
Fresh Fall Apples
Jigglers (I forgot to serve)
Table Treats: Pink Jelly Bellies & Circus Animal Cookies
Tea: Peppermint, Apricot & Bengal Spice

Tea Party with friends. We invited 2 families, we all have 4 children, so it was a crowd at the tea table. Many of the fellas had never been to a tea party before but I think they were all happy with the food.

Opening a present from a friend--it was a very fancy nightgown, her first one.

K wanted a Cinderella cake and I thought "I'm gonna have to find something to put on the top of a regular cake because I don't want to have to carve one." We had a candle from a previous Cinderella fest and that is all she wanted on her PINK! cake.

K eating her PINK! Cinderella cake.

And did I mention the GIANT piece of chocolate cake everyone gets on their birthday at Macaroni Grill, with real hot fudge.

Daddy and K at "grilled cheese macaroni." Yes, she ordered macaroni and cheese followed by "i-cream."

I think is was a Happy Birthday for the sweetness.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Taylor's Creek

Whenever we go to South Shore a visit to Taylor's Creek is on the agenda. Taylor's Creek is a wonderful wildlife area especially in the fall when the salmon are spawning. I think this is the first time that we hit it just right--all the salmon were alive and only a few had started to die off. On our trip we also say lots of ducks and identified a new one that I cannot locate a picture or the name of but it had a mohawk on its head.

Th spawning salmon in the creek.

Me attempting to get a picture by the creek with my oh so lovely children.

The ducks are very busy eating the salmon eggs.

K enjoying herself running with the big kids.

We were able to get them to stop long enough to take a picture.

Spice Playdough

Perfect for the season. Now I have heard many complaints from moms about playdough messes but our children love it,we always get at least an hour of play-time out of it. This dough was a combination of my favorite recipe and one I found earlier this week. The smell is fabulous and the texture soft. When we cleaned up, I put the dough in the fridge until next time. ENJOY!

1 c. water
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 c. salt
1 Tbs. cream of tartar

Combine these ingredients in a saucepan and heat until warm.
Take the pan off the stove and add:

1 c. flour
1/4 c. cinnamon
1 Tbs. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger

Mix all together and then dump out and kneed until smooth.

My children love to get out placemats and all the playdough tools and create away. A made a dinosaur, E and K used cookie cutters and made Christmas ornaments out of cookie cutters to give to friends.

Blog update.

Praise the Lord that, that hideous background is gone--yahoo! I have put up a new background and added both my most read blogs and educational sites. Both areas offer a lot to our lessons and planning, so have a look around. I feel like I have gotten a little bit of stress and business off of my plate so I hope to post more regularly. The purpose of our blog is to keep family and friends, far and near, updated on what our family is enjoying together as well as provide a peek into our world of home education. Join with us as we share what God gives us to enjoy and learn.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Angora Lakes

Angora Lakes is near Fallen Leaf Lake in South Shore. It is a bit out of the way down a steep, high, one lane road but worth every bump and dip. A friend introduced this hike to us a few years back and it was another beautiful day for the children to explore, see wild life and climb rocks. In the summer time Angora Lakes has a small store and snack shop that you can purchase lunch and lemonade to eat by the lake--oh and you can rent row boats. The lake and its surrounding cabins and natural beauty make me think of made for t.v. summer camp movies. I love to be outdoors and it was a beautiful day.

A holding himself up between 2 boulders.

E and A on top of a boulder with the "must have" dragging, poking, walking, drawing and marking stick.

J and 2/3s of the gaggle on another big boulder.

This is us at the main lake where you can get a summertime snack and rent the rowboats.

Had to take this shot just to show that B was actually with us.

E so happy to get this close to a chipmunk.

The chipmunk having a snack and stocking up for the winter on our scraps.

Paige Meadows

This was our second visit to Paige Meadows this fall. It was such a fun and doable hike for the children that we had to go again in hopes of catching some fall color. This summer and fall we have gotten to rekindle our enjoyment of hiking. Jay and I both strap a child to our backs and the other 2 are always eager to run and explore the trail.

E and A sitting in an Aspen grove on a fallen tree.

Mommy and the fellas.

Daddy and 3 of the gaggle.

When E and A sat down like this I said "hurry, get the camera, that would be a cute picture," Jay obliged.

Daddy and K's self portrait--amazing they are both smiling.

"OO, what is that?" E and the roots of a fallen tree--they live for this kind of stuff.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reno Air Races

We had a family day at the Reno Air Races. It was a hot day filled with lots of vintage planes, a few stunt shows, Air Force transportation and free T-shirts.

Jay and the children got to see the inside of an Apache helicopter(seen here) and a extremely huge plane used to refill the planes in mid-air(sorry for my lack of plane name knowledge). It is always amazing to me when I see things like this-- these machines are really used to fight for our freedom. We are truly a blessed nation to have the military capabilities to protect ourselves with such machinery.

Ayden's favorite plane of the day--can you guess why? The teeth, that's right.

Can you guess why Emry liked this one? The red, white and blue? You guessed it!

And of course this one was neat because of the face.

It was a lot of planes and a lot of noise and unfortunately the children were done before Jay and I were. We went with a homeschool co-op in Reno and received free admission but Jay and I were wondering if we could leave the children at home next time and enjoy the races by ourselves. The noise of the jets scared Emry, the heat tired Ayden out, Kensley just went along with them and Brady was content but we had to leave early. Jay and I wanted to sit in the bleachers and watch the races and enjoy the Blue Angels practice show but it was not to be. It was a neat thing to experience but we will hold off until everyone is a little older.

Life Learning Center ~ off to a great start!

At Life Learning Center we offer a multi-aged curriculum, which is individualy tailored to each students developmental needs and personal interests. We offer a small student to teacher ratio, 4:1, to be exact, which enables exceptional one on one attention for hands on activities and christian character development. Students participate in daily Bible study & worship, story time, copywork, math, spelling and reading/phonics. Children also participate in weekly drawing practice, fine arts, music appreciation, geography and nature study/science. All subjects are taught in a home environment of safety, comfort and family.

So that is my professional sounding educational goals for the year, now for some cute first day of school photos and tidbits.

Yes, we actually do educate our older children but this shot of Brady and his cute little face and beautiful blue eyes was to cute to pass up. What does Brady do during Lessons? Nap of course, well for most of the time, but he does join us for circle time, crawling around squealing, clapping and pulling the hair of his sisters.

and our sweet KensKens. She to participates in circle time, dancing, singing, praying (and this girl can really pray, head bowed and all), and listening to jokes and stories. After circle she usually colors or does tot trays and sometimes watches a video(Miss. Pattycake is her favorite).

Emry Anne is in 2nd grade this year. She is growing in her reading skills and focusing this year on spelling and geography. She will be doing a continental world tour using picture books and hands on activities. Her favorite free-time activities are listening to books on tape and watching T.V. On the 1st day of school I asked the children a series of questions and took their pictures, here are some of E's answers: her favorite color is purple, her favorite people are, Hannah, mommy and daddy (yeah for us and hopefully we will always be on the list), her favorite things to eat are macaroni and ice cream, her favorite game is the egg and spoon race, she loves to wear dresses, she wants to learn how to cook and when she grows up she wants to go to tea parties.

Ayden is in Kindergarten this year. He is focusing on copywork and math with some practical life lessons and fine motor skills intermixed. This boy loves all things science so we will also be focusing on different science and nature topics such as dinosaurs, magnets, clouds and shells. Here are some of his first day of school answers: A's favorite color is orange, his favorite person is Hannah's brother Steven, he loves any book dealing with futuristic topics, his favorite foods are hot dogs & hamburgers, his favorite thing to do is build, he likes to wear sweat pants and watch future shows (AKA the science channel, do you see a theme here?), his favorite movie is Wall-E, he wants to learn about how things work, tickling makes him happy and when he grows up he wants to make inventions.

We have gotten off to a great start and I am so pleased with the children's efforts. I feel like I have hit the mark for each child's interests and needs because I can see their hearts enjoying the materials I present. Don't misunderstand me, each day presents with challenges, mine and theirs', but God is faithful in giving wisdom, patience and protection with a few glimpses of fruit for encouragement along the road.