Here is an advent calendar I made. I hope you like it.
I will post VERY soon to update ya'll on what we are up to.
Ok so no camera, but lights and action have been happening a lot around here. My family and I decided to get involved in the local community theater this season. We were invited by my super sweet spanish Tutor Serena. We have been at the theater A LOT over the past two weeks and fairly regular the month and a half before that. The production that we are in is (drum roll please) Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka!! I can't even begin to tell you just how much fun I/we are having!!

As I said above everyone in my family are involved in the play in some way. My husband helps with ushering as needed, he is also in charge of making sure our oompas don't run wild back stage and is really a lot of work just imagine this poor man trying to keep 5, 10year old girls quiet back stage while all kinds of awesome stuff is happening on stage. ;) I am in the chorus and a crowd member ,I help out where ever I see a need or where ever I think I might be able to help ease someone elses stress. I am also the official “fatunstuffer” for Ze Mrs. Gloop. I also help out with makeup (for those who want help). My son L who gulp is getting far to close to 18 for my liking LOL is a set guy, it is his job (along with the other set people) to make sure scene changes happen with out any sound the amazing set people we have make it all look seamless and they are practically silent. My oldest daughter R is a fellow chorus member and she is the crowd scene also. (We participate in 6 songs). And safety girl aka coupon girl is an oompa lumpa. The oompa's are amazing and so are their outfits. The costumes were made by the director she also made the tails for the squirrels WOW let me tell you they are WOW!!

Last night were auditions for the upcoming Christmas play. We tried out for A Christmas Carol. We hope we get parts, but if we don't then we will just jump in where needed. I will keep you all posted on that. We are supposed to receive the cast list on or about Tuesday. WOOOHOOOO!! I wish everyone who tries/ed out all the best!! Break a leg everyone.

We recently joined a homeschool co-op. What a wonderful group they are. They have been very welcoming. The prices of the classes are AMAZING!! My children are taking art classes for 12 weeks for a buck a week each!! I know awesome right?? LOL The kids are also taking drive thru history wich is offered for get this, FREE!! It is awesome.

Our co-op will be subbitting a scarecrow for a contest. So, on monday we all got to gether to decide what kind of scarecrow we wanted to submit. We are making a mother reading to her child in her lap. They will be having them reading an encyclopedia and the child will be working on a slate. I think it will we awesome. I will not be able to stay on the day that they build it, so my contribution will be to make the heads for them to use on Monday. I can't wait to get to go tour the scarecrows and see them all.

I had a Mom's night out last month. It was a ton of fun. I am really excited to be getting out and meeting new people. I REALLY needed it.

Land R have joined the 4-h archery team!! They love it. L will also be joining the rife/shooting team. Safety girl is just not sure what club she would like to join. I will keep you posted on that as well. We are thinking that we will be raising rabbits for our livestock project.

That's about it for today!! Have a great day.
The weather here is Texas has been amazing this week. Well two weeks actually. I love that the days are filled with sunshine and brightly colored flowers in bloom or still budding. It just seems like the whole yard is alive. ;) Then there are the wonderful nights and occasionally days filled with deep rumbling of thunder. Oh and loud. I have live a great many places but, I have to say that I like the thunderstorms in Texas the best.
Now that the weather is becoming so wonderful we have begun doing some much needed yard work. I have great plans for my yard this year. We are also making plans for this years garden. I need to get a start on it since planting starts very soon here. We are thinking Tomatoes of course, lettuce, garlic, scallions ( I am a total addict), some herbs, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, watermelon, eggplant, carrots, that is what is on the diagram for now we have a few more slots so not sure what we are gonna fill it there. Oooooh, oooooh, squash yummy. Then on the other side of the yard we have two peach trees which are wonderful producers, we have a fig tree oh soooooo yummy,we also have a small patch of black berries that we want to expand, and we want to add blueberry bushes and strawberries.

This week for Sunday dinner we had the most amazing pork roast I have ever made. Oh man I let it cook for 4 wonderful smelling hours and boy was it worth it. It was so soft and juicy :::drooling::: just remembering it. Oh and the best part I got it on sale!! .88 cents a pound. I cooked the whole thing, but I saved ½ for another week.
Sunday menu:
Roast pork
Parsley buttered new potatoes
fresh green beans

I used some of the left overs from Sunday to make pork fried rice yesterday for a quick dinner along with some homemade miso soup.

School has been going a little differently this week. Next week is our spring break so the kids are a bit excited and preoccupied with plans of what they are going to be doing next week. We also had our Spanish tutor come twice this week and that added to the mix. Then Safety girl who is now wanted to be called coupon girl (I'll explain in a min) asked me if she could make me a deal. So the deal was that she wanted to completely finish unpacking her room and clean it and get it all done so that she would not have to work on it during her spring break. So she did and WOW!! I am just so proud of the job she did. She had no help at all and she made that room look amazing. Now she wants to paint it so that it looks like a research lab. LOL. Today (Thursday) Art girl (my oldest daughter) asked if she could do the same and she is working on her room as we speak. On the other days this week the kids have each picked a subject and did the entire weeks work in one day. It was a nice change up for them. So this week has been strange but wonderful.

Ok I did tell you I would explain coupon girls new nick name oh and we have coupon lad. Art girl says that she is just not interested in helping. ;) That is ok she about to turn 12 and loose her mind for the next couple of years so, it is all good. I started playing the Coupon Game three weeks ago and I am having a blast. I LOVE going into the store and having the register ring up 135.00 and then I scan my card and my coupon and the bell begins you know that sound right?? when you at the register and a transaction is made it makes that little sound. Well, last week (only my second time ever of using coupons) I was at Kroger and the register said 135.00 then I handed my coupons and savings card over to the cashier and watched it go down, down,down. My final out of pocket cost was... ready?? 72.00 Yes folks that is 63.00 dollars in savings!! Woohhhooooo. Oh man I was just beaming when I left the store. I felt like I had really spent my money wisely. I also so the coupons for CVS and then I get what ever else I can not find any where else or what is the cheapest at Walmart last. My cabinets are just filling up. If any of you gentle readers are coupon guru's please let me know I would love to pick your brain. BBBWWWWAAAHHHHHAAAAA!!
I hope all of you are having wonderful weeks too.
Look for a new recipe VERY soon.
A great kid friendly recipe. Home made stuffed soft pretzels!!

This recipe is great. It is easy and kids love it and they love to help make this. The best part is you can use what ever you like to stuff them with. The first time I made this I used pizza fixings. I have also made taco flavor and ham and cheese. The possibilities are endless.
For this recipe we will make the pizza flavor since kids like pizza.
You will need:
one or more helpers. ;0
2 Tubes of pizza dough (I have also used homemade)
½ cup of pasta sauce (left over from the last time you made pizza)
1 small package of pepperoni (most of this will be consumed by your helper/s or your self)
1 small package of mozzarella cheese.
That is all you need for food.
two baking sheets or one that you will use twice.
A pizza cutter (don't have one use a knife or a pair of scissors dipped in flour)
a cutting board
a knife (if your helpers will be doing the cutting then have a pair of scissors for them)

See this is already shaping up to be super easy. ;) The first thing you do is let your helps “POP” the tubes of pizza dough open, while you turn the oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough out into a rectangle. Cut lengthwise in half with the pizza cutter then cut each half in half again make a total of 4 long strips. You will do this with each tube.

Now, you will have your helpers cut the pepperoni into small pieces. Now you are ready for assembly.
Onto each strip of dough spread some of the pizza sauce. I try to spread this pretty much down the middle leaving the sides clear so that they can be folded together later.

Once the sauce is on sprinkle with cheese. You will be surprised at just how much little it takes to make these. That is why using you left overs is awesome. Once you cheese is on sprinkle with pepperoni.

Now, come the only tricky part of the whole operation. Fold each strip over lengthwise to make long tubes. Now the fun part take the two ends and fold in towards the center and cross over to form a pretzel shape.

Don't worry about any tears or minor imperfections. If you don't have any great. If you do just blame your helpers!! ;) GIGGLE Do these steps for all 8 of your strips. Bake in the oven for about 15 mins.
You know I never really follow how long a recipe tells me to cook something. Every oven is different. Take mine for instance (please badump bump) I have to spin what 0ever I cook about halfway thru if it is a short cooking time and several times if it is a long cooking time. I have a hot spot the right back corner of my oven. My old oven cooked with efficiency. If a recipe said 12 mins mine was done in 8-10 and almost burning by 12. So use your nose and your knowledge of your oven. What you are looking for is a nice golden brown. I also lift the over lapping where the pretzel ends meet to make sure it is cooked.
When I serve this I add a salad or maybe some raw veggies with dip. It has been a hit each time I make it. I hope you all enjoy making it and eating it as much as we do.

What a wonderfilled week I have been having. How about you??
I have been attending the Heart of the Matter webinar. Nothing beats the mid year dull drums like other inspiring homeschoolers telling you that everything is ok!! ;) Speaking of other homeschoolers assuring you that everything is not only ok, but fabulous to boot I read a super encouraging e-book over the last few weeks. I got the book from The Old School House Magazine. This hefty e-book took me a little bit to read. Only because there where so many heartfelt wonderful stories that I just wanted to take my time with each and everyone. I often found my self saying oh if she (the author of a particular section) lived near by she would be a great mentor and/or friend to have. I truly enjoyed every page of this book. I am sure that you all are just dying to hear the name of it aren't you??
Well the name is: Help, Lord I am getting ready to start homeschooling my High Schooler. As many of you know I am already homeschooling a high schooler, but I have to tell you I certainly feel a lot more encouraged after reading this. ;) Have you ever noticed that when you has small children every homeschooler you knew had older children and now that you have older children every homeschooler has younger children. No?? It's just me then?? You know what I mean. LOL We have all has this feeling. I love that the internet does not make that seem so bad anymore. Here we have Friends at our finger tips 24/7. I really, really appreciate the internet. I have to tell you that I was happy that in the book not every child got a perfect score on their SAT's and graduated at 16 some did, but most are just like us. I know we all are raising genious' they are just genious' of there own particular subjects or intersts. By saying they are like us I mean that the book does leave you with the dreaded compare yourself to anouther family syndrom. Just about every homeschooler at some point has done this. This book never makes you feel that way it makes you feel encouraged and great and it gives you a sence of I CAN SO DO THIS!! Some go to college some don't some had struggle after struggle and they still made it and have smiles on their faces. I hope if you are looking for some highschool encouragement or a highschool homeschool pick me up you will consider this book.

I know it is already Wednesday and I have not told you about our Sunday dinner menu. Oh what a slacker I am. LOL and giggle to boot.
Our menu this week was:
Honey Brown sugar Ham (cooked in the crock pot)
Mashed potatoes with country gravy (have you ever noticed that the potatoes taste better when the kids peel them??)
Biscuits and hot buttered Corn.
It was all so delicious.
The ham was big enough to provide us with ham and scalloped potatoes on Monday and tonight I made Ham fritatta I will even have some left to freeze for homemade hot pockets.

You know this has been a pretty action packed week we also had our first lessons with our new Spanish tutor. Senorita Serena is very sweet. We stared with our alphabet and our numbers to 20, and colors. We also learned how to introduce ourselves and ask others their names. Then as payment we provide lunch and she and her first baby hang out for a while. This really is a heaven sent deal. I will keep you posted on our Spanish progress. I also have a cool recipe for stuffed soft pretzels to share in the next couple of days. Before I go I wanted to share our pictures of our snowy Texas yard. You can see our snowman Bob the janitor. My kids come up with some really great ones. I am posting the first snow we had at the top of the page and the snow we has yesterday below. Enjoy!!

Sunday dinner it seems is being lost. I for one will not stand for this. Maddy and I have been watching Leave it to Beaver in the evenings along with the Munsters on our Netflix Roku. The Roku for those of you who do not know, the Roku is a wonderful device. We were blessed with it as a family gift from my parents. The Roku enables you to access your Netflix instant watch list on your T.V. I love getting to sit on the couch and pick something to watch with the kids or as a family. Best of all no cable bill or satellite bill. We also get to watch without commercials and the selection (for us) is great. Now there are shows and channels that we do miss on TV but, in those cases we just go to the website or and tada!! there they are. My daughter and I watched the She-Ra series, My hubby and I watched the Eureka series, I watch Psych you get the picture. OK that was a brain wandering. ;) Back to Sunday dinner, watching the beav made me think about Sunday dinner we used to have a Sunday dinner every Sunday but, it just was not feasible for a while. Well, now we are back at it. I love Sunday dinner not the food part of it don't get me wrong I like that part, but what I really like is the idelic old fashioned wash up, get dressed up, use your best manners, have wonder filled conversations, using the good glasses, setting a proper table you know the types of things that it seems people don't know about these days.
I can remember trying to be a June Cleaverish clone when I was younger. oh boy did that backfire. I was trying to be someone/thing that I am not and I was miserable. Which made my hubby miserable not to mention me but, now I am older (goodness I am getting older) and wiser I have figured out a sorta formula if you will of how much essence of June to add and it makes me a happy person. Goodness my mind is a wondering today isn't it??
We decided to begin our Sunday dinners on Valentines day. I sorta made that theme of our dinner. Our menu was not particularly special or gourmet, but we really enjoyed it.

Our Menu:
Roasted Chicken with a middle eastern dry rub
Oven roasted New Potatoes and baby carrots
Piping hot homemade sesame rolls
Blushing applesauce
Cranberry juice
Chocolate dipped strawberries (some with sprinkles)

We had a great time. No elbows on the table was wonderful and we had polite conversations.
We all really enjoyed getting dressed up. The girls asked me to put a bun in their hair. They picked out nice dresses and I gave them a spritz of perfume. Marisa also was able to change her earrings (which got just got pierced for Christmas) to these gorgeous blue teardrop earrings that my Mother got her. I got to wear a nice dress and put on some lipstick and of course perfume and I put my hair up. Lukas got dressed up in a very nice pearl button shirt he looked very smart and my hubby appeared in a nice dress shirt and pants. I have to say we clean up purdy nice. ;)
I have been trying to use Sundays to do some preparations for the week this week I made cookies. I love having something for company to nibble on when they drop in for a visit.
This week I made peanut butter cookies (pb cookies are my weakness oh boy do I like them I would go so far as to say they are my Scooby snacks you know like when they get Scooby to do stuff he is to scared to do lol). I also made chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. So yummy.
So what is your Sunday dinner tradition?? Do you have one?? What do you make or have??
Oh I almost forgot to mention that I got just about everything on sale!! The above meal came out to $3.00 a person including dessert and juice. I feel pretty darn good about that.
Safety girls new found hobby is taking pictures so,she is the photographer who took the pictures of our Sunday dinner above.
Haven't we all wanted our own theme music?? No?? It's just me them huh?? Well I have thought about this and I would want mine to be funny and quirky. I want one that would make people smile kinda like the song The Candy Man Can from Charlie and Chocolate factory the original one with Gene Wilder. Not that song in particular, but one that makes you feel happy or smile or give you fond memories. If you had a theme song what would it be?? Would you want something more super heroish?? Or maybe you would be more like a peaceful Enya song anyway you get the picture. I for one thing it would be great. I will let you know as soon as I remember the song that my family said that need to have as mine. I love that I can't remember what it was. See, I need a funny and quirky song. ;)

I know it has been quite a while since I have posted to my blog. With all the stress of the past 8 months and many, many times not having anything nice to say about what was going on I decided that the old saying “if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all” was the better path to travel. That is mind I know that most of you are not used to checking my blog for posts so I am looking forward to hearing from you all again. I really love your comments and feedback on my posts. ;)

Now that you have rediscovered me and I know that you have if you are reading this LOL, let me give you a little catch up on whats been happening with the family and I.

Some of you will remember that my brother in-law and my niece and nephew came to stay with us for a “few weeks” till they got settled into their own place back in June of 2009. Well on February 2010 they moved into their new home!! It was a rough 8 months to say the least. All buried hatchets aside, I am so VERY happy to announce that we have our home back and that our family unit is functioning like the well oiled machine that we are!! You know I really never appreciated just how wonderful it is to be able to pee with the door unlocked or open a crack or to be able to go from the bathroom to the bedroom in a towel cus you forgot some article of clothing when you took a shower. I cherish it I really, really do.

OK so what have we been up to?? At the end of August we began the new school year full of excitement and wonder. I also added two rather difficult students to my classroom with hopes of change and dreams of them getting into the groove and falling into line.

In September we were off and running. One of the coolest fun activities I got for the kids (OK it was really for me, but don't tell any one) was an eraser making kit!! It was so much fun. There was plenty of clay for everyone our kit came with 8 colors and there were 6 of us making erasers so we cut each color into equal parts so everyone would have some of each color. There was lot of trading as the boys did not want any of the pink color and gladly traded for other colors. With my pieces of color I was able to make a turtle, a starfish, a flower, a yin yang, and a couple that were just fun creations. Then we just baked them in the oven for about 5-7 mins for small ones and 10-12 for larger ones. It could not have been simpler. The kit was about 10 dollars at Walmart. I am still using my erasers. I also loved that no one has argued about who's eraser is who's at all this year. Gotta love that.

I also started implementing Charlotte Mason into my curriculum this year. I can not tell you how much I love it. We are also using the workbox method loosely, but we use the schedules and a lot of the methods. We could not be happier and holy moly does work get done quick around here.

October was almost unbearable in it's stress level so in all honesty October was a big blur. So nothing to report on October. ;) We did begin to have a reprieve from the stress as two of my students began public school and I was free to run my school as I always had. It is wonderful.

November was our Anniversary this make year 15. Wow!! I am so happy with the man God found me and put in my path then hit me with a steam truck till I figured out he was the one God had intended for me. LOL For our anniversary Julie “took” us out to dinner. We went to this very charming little place in Tyler called The Basil Tia Cafe. Oh it was so yummy.

In December we began planning for our trip to RI. This was the first time my girls had ever been to RI and it was also the first time they could remember flying. We did find ourselves with mixed emotions about going on vacation and leaving our pets and home in the care of others. I am happy to report that almost everything went off without a hitch. The house was trashed when we got back it took us a week to get it all cleaned and back to normal. We were also heartbroken to find out the our foster bird Stormy had passed away. We had a lovely funeral for him. Back to the vacation. While in RI we did tons of stuff we went to the Boston museum of Science!! It was amazing. One of the best things that came of that trip was for only 5 that is right 5 dollars more we were able to obtain a family pass to a ton of museums all across the U.S (many right here in driving distance from our house). Or so we thought it was going to be 5 dollars more it turns out that the extra exhibits that we choose to attend had made the bill more, but with the family pass there were a bunch of discounts and it actually saved money. Yes folks we got a ton more stuff and paid a fair chunk less!! Yippee for frugality. ;) The museum was so big that were not able to see the whole thing. Honestly we just did not have time to see the whole thing and oh man almost every exhibit had interactive stuff to do. You could make a vacation just going to that museum. We went to the New England aquarium. What a wonderful afternoon that was. It is really a wonderful place. The center of the aquarium is a giant circular tank. Each floor wraps around the tank and on the outer walls are tank after tank of awesomeness. Of course the sushi jokes were running rampant. The kids played in the snow every chance they got!! We had a lot of fun slinging snow. There was a wonderful huge family Christmas dinner. Lot's a family I had not seen in a long time. I loved it. Lukas got to go to the Naval War Museum in Newport RI. He is still talking about how much fun he had there. One of the highlights of our trip was to go to my Aunt Claudette's art studio!! She is amazing she teaches art to her students or so she says what she actually does is inspire you to express your self in art. She is so much more than a teacher of art she gives you an understanding of a technique then she pulls out your imagination to make it your own and to make something truly from your heart. We loved every min we were in her studio.

January we returned home like I said it above. We had a lot going on in January. We got our house ready for us again. That meant switching rooms so everyone had their own rooms again and writing up new chore charts and getting new schedules in working order. Then there was the sad afternoon of my sister in-law's day of passing anniversary. Then was my father in laws birthday cake number 1. Then was my nieces birthday cake number 2. Then of course my Lukas turned 17 and we had cake number 3 and a Chinese food buffet.

If you want to know what has been going on if February keep check my blog cus I will be posting again VERY soon.