Summer Project Plans

Posted 06-25-2013 at 12:55 PM by whitneywalters

I wrote previously about our decision to home school the kids year round. I have spent the last couple weeks planing a bunch of fun summer activities to add into their school days. I do not want the summer to just be about book work.

One of the biggest plans for summer is the garden. We are doing a pretty small vegetable garden this year and making it a science project for the kids. They are going to be involved with all of the work. We have planted tomatoes, lettuce, pepper, pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, green beans and peas.

We also are doing  a lot of art this summer. My kids love to draw, color and paint. I had to go to hobby lobby to pick a couple things up so I went ahead and bought something for the kids to paint. I got Destiny a box to keep treasures in, bird houses for Alex and Kairi and piggy bank for Amelia ( which she painted with help from Grandma ). They had a blast painting their projects. Some of the other art projects I have planned are dinosaur eggs, side walk chalk and pet rocks.

Diaper Swapers

An Oven Free Summer

Posted 06-25-2013 at 12:51 PM by whitneywalters

I am looking at going oven free this summer. It can get pretty hot here in Iowa and my oven heats the house up like you would not believe. I do not like to bake anything over the summer because I do not making the house heat up and having the air conditioner work over time.

We went almost completely oven free last year. I think I used the oven twice a week instead of almost every day like I do in the winter. We did a lot of grilling and cold sandwiches last year. This year my plan is not to use the oven at all during the hot seasons. We will be grilling, using the stove top and crock pot instead.

I spent time finding crock pot versions of our favorite over meals, things like meatloaf, beef enchiladas and macaroni and cheese. I also went on my pinterest ( where I keep almost all my recipes ) and pinned a bunch of new crock pot recipes for us to try out. I have more then enough recipes to use only the crock pot the rest of the summer if I needed to.

I won’t have to use just the crock pot though. We love grilling in the summer. We usually grill

Day Out for Mom

Posted 06-24-2013 at 10:12 AM by whitneywalters

Being a mother of four young children it is pretty rare that I actually get to go anywhere on my own. It takes a lot of planning in advance to get days out organized for myself. There is a large farmer’s market on Saturdays  in a town nearby. I really love going there but honestly, I do not like taking all the kids. It is very busy, there are tons of people and the kids really do not enjoy being there. If I am lucky I can make it once or twice a year.

I always feel bad leaving Chris and the kids on the weekends. Since he works full time, I like spending his days off with him and my children. That said, I know that if I want any time to myself, I have to do things on the weekends. A lot of the places I likes to go are only open on Saturdays or I would simply not have enough time after he got home.

I told Chris that this year for Mother’s Day, all I really want is a day out at the farmer’s market without having to take all the kids.  I am taking my Mom and my sister and we are spending the day together, child free. Chris stayed home with the kids and I got my day out. We did not end up going on Mother’s Day weekend, my Mom was still recovering from surgery and she was not ready for all the walking we were going to do. We ended up going a week later and had a blast.

Sharing Responsibility

Posted 06-24-2013 at 09:35 AM by whitneywalters

My husband works full time and I am a stay at home mom. A lot of other stay at home moms I know have told me that they do a lot more around the house and with the kids then their husbands do. A couple of moms I know do all the house work and take care of the kids. I am glad that neither one is true in our house.

My husband and I share all our household and parenting responsibilities. There are a few things that one of us does more then the other. Like I do almost all the cooking, most of the laundry and almost all the schooling. Cooking is by choice, I am a good cook and can make almost anything, Chris’ kitchen skills are lacking. Laundry is simply because we mostly line dry and Chris works during the day so I need to get the washing done and out on the line early in order for it all to dry. Schooling is something else we do most of during Chris’ work hours. Chris does help with some of the schooling but I like to have the kid’s classes done before he is home so we have time for family activities.

Chris does most of the mowing, weed eating and minor house repairs. This is by his choice. He enjoys these things plus it is hard for me to mow or weed eat if he is not here. I will not let the kids be outside while these chores are being done and I will not leave them inside a lone either.

What About Me?

Posted 06-21-2013 at 09:29 AM by whitneywalters

Shortly before Easter I was sitting at the kitchen table on afternoon working on some new spring hair bows for my girls when my son came out to see what I was doing. He sat and talked to me for a little while and then he got a sad look on his face. I asked him what was wrong and sighed and said, ” Mommy, why do you make so much for stuff for the girls and not a lot of stuff for me”? It broke my heart.

He was right, I did not make a lot of stuff for him because I was not sure what I could make that he would like. I am still learning my sewing machine, I can knit but not brave enough to try a sweater or something for him. I have made things for him over the years though. I have done iron on transfer tshirts, painted ceramics for his room and others things. I do make a lot more for the girls since I make all their hair stuff.

I told him that I would find a project and make something just for him. He was pretty excited and could not wait to see what I was going to do. I went through my pinterest because I knew just the project I wanted to do. I was going to make him dinosaur socks. I went to work finding the right socks, which was a pain. I looked in every store I could think of and none of them had knee high socks for a boy. I was able to find girly prints at a few places but I am not think Alex wants to wear pink heart socks. I gave up looking locally and went on ebay. I found  small lot of new socks that were perfect. I picked up the felt at hobby lobby and I was set.

How To Make Ghee/Clarified Butter

Posted 06-21-2013 at 09:29 AM by Mel

My family has had some dairy sensitivities so we have eliminated diary from our diets for quite awhile now.  Since we are doing the GAPS intro diet I am hoping to heal some of the dairy sensitivities, but until then we have had to do without.  The biggest thing I miss about dairy is butter.  I love butter…..I love butter on everything….butter makes everything better!  For those of you who can tolerate dairy please eat some extra butter on my behalf tonight please!  :)

Anyway, since starting GAPS I have learned more about Ghee.  I had heard about it in the past, but figured it was still something I couldn’t tolerate.  This past weekend I made my first batch of Ghee.  Not only was it super easy to do, but it was so tasty!  My daughters are ecstatic to have “butter” again.  So far it seems like we are all tolerating it well!  Woohoo!

Some of you may be wondering what in the world Ghee is.  It is butter that has been clarified, which is why some refer to it as clarified butter.  It is great to cook with, serve on food, or use for just about anything you would normally use butter for.  You don’t have to refrigerate Ghee and because the milk proteins are removed in the clarifying process most people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate it just fine!

Making it is super easy and can be done at home with just butter, a saucepan, cheesecloth, and a jar to store it in.  Simple.

So Helpful

Posted 06-19-2013 at 03:01 PM by whitneywalters

My children love to help. I usually let them be involved in whatever project I am working on ( as long as it is something safe for them to help with ) but there are times that I wish they would not be so helpful.

I was cleaning out all my cupboards as part of spring cleaning. We do not have a lot of cupboard space in our kitchen. We have two smaller ones on a wall, one for cereal, crackers and things like that in and the other for spices and baking supplies.  Beneath that is a counter with a set four drawers for different cooking/cleaning utensils and then under those are two cupboards, one for pans and the other for canned goods. One the other wall we have another set of cupboards/counters. They hold all our dishes, tupperware, silverware and cleaning supplies. We have a pantry for food out in our entry way and that is all the storage space we have. You can see that the cupboards can become cluttered pretty easily.

I had gotten the dish cupboards reorganized and started on spice cupboard. My girls came out to investigate what I was doing and then wanted to be involved. Destiny decided the they could handle the can cupboard. I knew I would end up redoing it but I went ahead and let them organize their way.

They started by taking everything out and stacking them on the kitchen floor. I liked having the cans in a certain order and they did not end up that way. Destiny decided that all the big cans went on the bottom and everything else ended up on top. Nothing was put in a certain area, you had to dig to find anything you needed but she was pretty proud of her work.

Finding Delight In The Little Things

Posted 06-19-2013 at 02:42 PM by whitneywalters

If I had to pick the most important thing that having children has taught me, I would have to pick how they have taught me that delight is in the little things.

If you have ever sat and watched a child play outside then you know what I am talking about. The way they delight in every new discovery they make, how they find a yard full of dandelions is so beautiful and how a bug is the most fascinating thing in their day.

My two older daughters  love flowers. Destiny was beyond delighted when our whole yard was a dandelion field this spring. She went around picking her flowers, giving them to her sisters, making bouquets for me and wearing them in her hair. She did not care that they were just weeds, to her they were wonderful. She is also in awe of the blooms on our pear tree. I have gotten used to seeing them in the spring and really I had forgotten just how pretty the tree was. Destiny made sure to make a big deal out of it to remind me.

Kairi loves to go around the yard and pick all the little flowers she can find. Every time she find ones she will run to me and very excitedly show me her flower. Even if it looks just like the last one, she is still very excited about this new flower she picked. She is also a big ice cream fan, she likes ice cream more then anyone in the house. When we tell her we are going out for ice cream, she will jump up and down saying ice cream, ice cream.

My son is my bug hunter. He is fascinated with all the creepy crawlies he can find outside. He likes to catch them, look at them and let them go. He likes reading about them and then trying to find all the ones he has read about. One of his favorite things about summer is catching fireflies. He also loves being in the pool. 

Grossing Out Our Kids

Posted 06-18-2013 at 11:25 AM by whitneywalters

I saw a post going around facebook a while back about marriage. It was a picture of a married couple kissing and the kids were in the background covering their eyes and making a face. The caption said, “Be a great parent and gross out your kids.” I snickered, showed my husband and he laughed also. Then it started a conversation about how he never saw his parents act like that and really wish he would have.

Chris and I are very affectionate with each other and it does not matter who is around. My kids usually do not say anything about it since they are pretty used to it. There are times that our oldest will scrunch up his face or say EWWW. We will continue to be affectionate in front of the kids. We want them to look at our marriage and want that for themselves when they are older.

Growing up was the same for me. My parents were always very loving with each other. I knew when I was older I wanted a relationship like theirs. They showed us what a good marriage was.

Chris never saw his parents be affectionate with each other growing up. They slept in different rooms since he was a small child, he could count on one hand how many times he saw them kiss or hold hands. When he and I first became friends ( he was 18 and I was 14 ) it was a little shocking for him to see my parents together. He was not used to seeing people my parents age snuggling on the couch, holding hands while out and about and kissing. He never saw his parents act like that and the most his friend’s parents ever did was sneak a kiss once and awhile. He said he would never forget the day that he saw my Dad walk past my Mom and slap her on the butt. He thought my parents were a little strange and it made him uncomfortable. As time went one and he and I got closer he realized that my parents relationship was how a marriage should be and he grew to really like them. He told me shortly before we got engaged that he hoped our relationship would always be like that.

Temper Tantrum Queen

Posted 06-18-2013 at 11:21 AM by Krista

I have to wonder lately if I will survive round two of the terrible twos. Before I had kids I always claimed I didn’t believe in this period that caused most parents to shudder in mournful recognition. Kids are just kids, I used to say. You can’t label things. You notice I say I used to say.

Even with my oldest daughter I would shrug off my husband excusing temper tantrums and toddler meltdowns as the product of the “terrible twos.” This time around, however, I begin to wonder. My daughter is almost three, though so surely it couldn’t be terrible twos. Or maybe she’s a late bloomer. And if that’s the case, I fear for her third year!