Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Madi is 11!!

Here are 11 things about Madi in honor of her 11th birthday...

1. Madi's birth was the best thing about the 3 years we lived back in CT, we had a great doctor who had just finished his residency, I labored in a hot tub, had a doula (and later became a doula), and Mike got to catch Madi.

2. She was the sweetest easiest baby. Jonathan had a lot of health issues during Madi's first year and she was so content to just nurse and be along for the ride (in the sling)...her Baptism even had to be postponed because Jonathan had a seizure that morning.

3. We moved to Florda when she was 9 months old and closed on our first Florida house on her first birthday.

4. When she was a toddler, Meme asked her where she got her pretty face and she replied, "at the 'lib-ary'".

5. She has a tender heart.

6. She has a great love for God and the Catholic Church, and she's a wiz at memorizing Bible verses.

7. She loves young children and already babysits. (she's babysitting right now)

8. She is everyone's best friend.

9. Madi loves life and everything she is involved in...Theatre, AWANA, CCD, Homeschool PE, mother-daughter bookclub, Catholic bookclub, being with friends, being with family, watching Dancing with the Stars and American Idol... everything.

10. She is a picky eater and after much debate (she has a hard time with minor decisions) we are having "breakfast" for her birthday dinner including sausage and cottage cheese pancakes.

11. I love her so much and am so proud of her. There is so much more to say about her. She is so good to Jake and best friends with Jonathan (most of the time)...she likes for Jonathan to be "older than she is" and have more opportunities-- in other words she enjoys being both the little sister and the big sister. She is a natural on stage, and one of my favorite things in the world is to watch her up there doing her thing!

Happy Birthday Madison Marie!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


For today Sunday night March 29...OBM's birthday

Outside my window...I can see a bright crescent moon.

I am thinking...about the Living Stations of the Cross that the youth group performed tonight (Jonathan did the lights).

I am thankful...that I found the last benedryl tablet in the house...I never consider myself to have allergies, but this time of year in FL I don't think anyone can breathe.

From the kitchen...I'm so excited to make two new recipes this week buffalo chicken chili and a spinach salad with beef strips, bleu cheese, and bread cubes.

From the learning rooms...WW2 is just about to begin.

I am creating...hmm not sure, we did get out the Easter decorations today, does that count?

I am wearing...jammies.

I am reading...My Enemy's Cradle, next on my list is New Moon.

I am hoping...to sleep good tonight.

I am hearing...the blinds clicking and Jonathan's radio.

Around the house...Jonathan swept and Madi mopped the kitchen floor while I finished reading our Catholic bookclub book to them (St Catherine Laboure).

One of my favorite things...any meal that involves buffalo chicken.

I am going...to Catholic bookclub in the morning.

A few plans for the rest of the week...typical busy schedule plus Madi turns 11 on Tuesday. Jake and I are going to see If you Give a Pig a Party on Thursday. Great old friends who live in Idaho and have never met Jake are coming for a visit on Sunday.

A picture thought... the kids who went to see The Hundred Dresses last week...it was a great play!!

International Day

International day was a huge hit! We got in the car and Jonathan immediately said "I can't wait to do that again next year!"

The girls in front of Hannah's Norway display...

The boys doing a word search...

At the end we got to sample some foods from the different countries. Everything I tried was really good. We made baked bananas, but they weren't the greatest, for one thing they were cooked about 4 hours before we got to eat them so they were a little brown. Here's my plate...

Here's Madi and her plate...mostly sweet things.

Here's Jake's plate and he didn't even end up eating that chocolate thing (he did go back for two more fortune cookies though).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

We are participating in an "International day" on Saturday. We picked Guatemala because we sponsor a little boy from there. Here are thirteen things we've learned about Guatemala...

1. Guatemala is the most populated country in Central America.

2. Most of the ancient Mayan civilization was in Guatemala.

3. Guatemala's currency is named after their national bird the quetzal.

4. During Holy Week Guatemalans make elaborate rugs out of colored sawdust and lay them on the ground, an Easter procession then walks over them.

5. It is a republic, their president is Alvaro Colom Caballeros.

6. 95% of Guatemalans are Christian-- 75% Roman Catholic and 20% Protestant.

7. Guatemala means "the land of trees" in the Mayan Toltec language.

8. Guatemala was a Spanish colony for almost 300 years.

9. The official language of Guatemala is Spanish.

10. Soccer is a popular sport in Guatemala, Milton the little boy we sponsor likes soccer.

11. The national flag has a blue stripe on both sides to symbolize the country being between two oceans.

12. Chicken in pineapple (pollo en pina) is a popular Guatemalan dish.

13. Handwoven items are popular in Guatemala and all of Central America.

To participate in Thursday Thirteen go here.

Spring pictures

Sunday, March 22, 2009


For today Sunday night March 22

Outside my window...it is dark, cool and breezy, the blinds are going clack clack clack.

I am thinking...about another very full week coming up.

I am thankful for...my friends.

From the kitchen...homemade bread just came out of the oven and I'm doing this while I wait for it to cool, so I can then bag it and go to bed. Tonight my parents were here and we had turkey, mashed potatoes, golden green bean casserole, and broccoli from the garden. Tomorrow is left-overs (I'll be out), Tue- beef stew, Wed Guatemalan chicken and pineapple, Thur- refrigerator clean out that's as far as I've gotten so far.

From the learning rooms...we're coming up on the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression. We'll probably be doing most of our schoolwork in the car tomorrow on our way to and from seeing the play The Hundred Dresses. The Guatemala project is coming along pretty well. Jake did Make Way for Ducklings for Five in a Row last week and I think we're going to do Peter Rabbit this week. Jonathan started his last Singapore Math book last week.

I am creating...I'm getting much better with the bread...does that count?

I am wearing...jammies.

I am reading...still listening to Marley and Me on the playaway...it is long (maybe this guy is a slow reader). Jonathan and Madi and I are about half way through St Catherine Laboure. Jake and I have read The Little Engine that Could a few times this week and tonight he read half of it to me. We've also read a lot of Virginia Lee Burton recently.

I am hoping...for a smooth week.

I am hearing...Mike watching TV in the bedroom and the blinds still going clack clack clack.

Around the house...it's lived in, but not embarassing.

One of my favorite things...chocolate fondue.

I am going...to bed soon.

A few plans for the rest of the week...the play tomorrow and also Grease at a local high school later in the week, some kids from Theatre are in it. Typical school work, theatre, baseball, babysitting, etc... Madi begins a new art class on Friday, and we'll start the first of a few celebrations for her upcoming 11th birthday next week. Mike's going away for the weekend to play golf with some old friends. And of course the International Day where we can show case what we're supposed to be learning about Guatemala.

A picture thought...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Saturday Evening with the Winchesters...

...no that's not really our last name. I've always wondered if people who read this think that is our last name, it is not, nor is it the last name of anyone I've ever known. It is actually the model name of our house--and we HOMEschool...get it-- "Winchester Academy".

Anyway, I've had numerous thoughts today that would make good blog fodder, the most recent was that Jonathan and Mike and I were out working in our newly planted area and I came in the house to find Madi watching college basketball. She's really getting into this March Madness despite the fact that for the first day and a half she was calling it "the baseball tournament". Earlier today Jonathan asked Madi to "come outside and play", and her reply was "not now I'm watching basketball". Mike's response was that he couldn't be happier with the way the kids were turning out (that his 13 year old boy was still asking his sister to play outside and that his daughter was getting into college basketball). Where was Jake during all this? If you guessed holding two candles (thankfully unlit) and singing and dancing his heart out to "Be our Guest" in spite of the fact that that play was almost a month ago, you'd be correct.

This morning on the way to Jake's game I passed a house where a big, possibly hurt, bird was in the yard. I'm not certain but I think it was a juvenile bald eagle...I've been meaning to look for pictures online (we have tons of bald eagles around here and see them often and I've seen pictures of baby eagle...this kind of looked like a cross between the two, though almost full size). A man was in the yard with it and on the phone. On the way back from Little League a police car was there too, and when Madi and I went out a little while later some animal control people were there putting it into their truck. I wanted to stop and ask questions (that is what we homeschoolers do afterall) but there were too many cars behind me.

As I was watching Jake vacuum this afternoon (we've really stepped up the responsibilites around here...more on that another time), I was thinking about how much I love our life. I really think we live in the best place ever. Today for example we got a hand written note from our dentist inviting us to a charity event where he is playing the trombone...the event is to raise money for a mission trip. Interestingly enough Madi is signed up for an art class that begins on Friday. The art teacher is a homeschooled teenager who herself is raising money to go on a mission trip. Madi is paying for the class with the money she earns babysitting. Not a bad set up we've got around here wouldn't you say?!

So back to the yard work...we have the windy-est and weedy-est backyard around. Using the knowledge I've gained from educating my kids I've put two and two together and concluded that these two things are connected. I think all of the weeds blow into our back yard from their little white dandelion-like tufts. Partly I wouldn't mind leaving the weeds, but Mike disagrees. If they were really dandelions I might insist (I really like dandelions...I like the smell of skunk too--seriously), but they are stinging nettles and all kinds of big yucky things, that incidently are in some places the only green things in what is supposed to be a manicured-sod-Florida backyard. Sadly, even as I was pulling the weeds though the white tufts were flying away to plant themselves somewhere else. I've concluded that trying to pull weeds in my yard is like shoveling snow when it is still snowing (or cleaning the house when you have kids).

I made the best biscuits this morning. They are actually "double-duty" biscuits because they were great for breakfast and they're going to be even better with strawberries and and whipped cream on top! Someday I'll put the recipe on here...right now I'm heading to the hot tub and then right for the strawberry shortcake. How's that for a night with the Winchesters??

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

For you Thursday Thirteeners...I'm sticking with last week's picture, I like it better than this week's. For everyone else...here are 13 things I've been meaning to blog about and haven't made the time...

1. Space Shuttle Discovery taken with my phone

2. Jake, Madi, and Hannah after Beauty and the Beast

3. Jonathan taking apart the set after Beauty and the Beast...he loves the behind the scenes stuff

Yes, that's Jake's little head right near the power drill...yikes, I just noticed that!

4-8 The kids on a recent hike

9. I love these brooms that look like they are dumping the flowers out of their buckets...I want that in our yard!

10. The kids with Pinocchio from our "end of our passes" trip to Disney

11. Madi as a "flapper" from the "roaring 20's"

12. The jello Madi made ( a dessert that became popular in the 20's with the availability of refrigeration...it was around as early as the 1800's, but people couldn't make it because they didn't have refrigerators)

13. Our broccoli

To participate in Thursday Thirteen go here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Day Book

To participate go here.For today Monday March 16.

Outside my window...It is just starting to get light outside...it'll be another sunny day.

I am thinking...about filling out my bracket for the NCAA tournament, the beautiful space shuttle launch, and how I'm missing Mike...I hate when he's away.

I am thankful for...my parents...we spent the night at their house last night...we are heading home in a little while.

From the kitchen...we had my favorite pizza and greek salad with my parents last night, tonight will be something simple, I haven't made a meal plan yet for this week.

From the learning rooms...I had decided Jake will do Five in a Row next year, and now I'm leaning towards doing less of what he's been doing (My Father's world first grade) and starting that now, he is so smart and not a good cooperator, but I'm thinking making it a little more fun at this point wouldn't hurt. Jonathan and Madi are still in the "roaring 20's"... I took a great picture of Madi as a "flapper" last night...using stuff that belonged to my grandmother (Mugga) and her mother (Gramma Kitty...who passed away when I was in third grade). We're also trying to quickly work through our latest science book (Human Body), lots of math, and writing club will start Thursday.

I am creating...Madi and I made Sari hot pink playdough and a Winnie the Pooh and Tigger purse for her birthday...does that count?

I am wearing...jammies.

I am reading...actually I am listening to Marley and Me on a "playaway" digital audio device from the library...it's very cool. I also borrowed two books from OBM that I plan to read this week.

I am hoping...for a good week!

I am hearing...the kids watching Pet Star with Mario Lopez.(we are palnning a "new regime" at our house including no "screen time" until all responsibilities are done...but we're at my parents so they are catching a break)

Around the house...We had Sari and Mr OBM's party at our house on Saturday (31 kids)...and it is pretty clean.

One of my favorite things...my parents' outside shower.

I am going... to take an outside shower when I finish this.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Implimenting our "new regime", babysitting today instead of tomorrow and then a visit with some old friends, St Patrick's Day tomorrow--PE, the park, Theatre, Little league practice and Mike home tomorrow night, prety typical rest of the week--running like maniacs and trying to squeeze in some schooling along the way. I think the weekend is pretty calm though...I hope.

A picture thought... My father and "bracketology"...