Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cheese Fries with Friends/House Tour

Tammy and I have been friends since 1995 when we met each other working in a daycare in Stillwater. We have both since moved a couple of times but she still has some family in Stillwater so she comes to visit a few times a year.

Tammy and her girls got to come to her sister's house for Easter so the kids and I took a day to drive to Stillwater and share some cheese fries at Eskimo Joes. Of course, we had to do some shopping in Joe's Clothes afterward.

The drive to Stillwater was downpour after downpour almost the whole time.

Driving in the rain was worth it to get to have some cheese fries with friends.

Before leaving Stillwater, I took the kids on a driving tour of all the places Jimmy and I lived before moving to where we are now.

The grayish building on the right you see sitting there alone in the parking lot backed up to our first apartment after we were married. It was tiny apartment with one bedroom and bath and two very small closets. it was small but big enough for the two of us with such humble beginnings. That apartment complex has since been torn down to make room for more parking when the OSU football field was expanded.
After about five months, we had the opportunity to move to a bigger place which allowed us to have dogs. This house has since changed owners and they have added a whole bunch of "landscaping" in the front that was not there when we occupied the house. This house is what they used to call a "shotgun house." They say you could stand at the front door and shoot your gun all the way through to the back door without any obstructions.
Next, Jimmy and I moved to Kansas for about a year for a job opportunity that was more than we could imagine. Once that was over, we moved back to Stillwater so that we could take turns finishing school. We lived south of town and this house will always have some sad memories for us that I will not uncover here on the blog. The garage had a small apartment over it that the landlord rented out to a single student while we rented the house itself.
The next house was only a couple of blocks from the campus. Jimmy had graduated from OSU and was working 4-ten hour days in Tulsa and I was going to school so we wanted to be closer to campus. We thought it was safer but for those of you that know Stillwater, we lived right behind McDonald's on 6th Street and two doors down from The Barn. The only thing good that came from this house was that we found out we were pregnant with Hannah while living here.
Since we found out we were pregnant, we wanted to find something in a quieter location before the baby was born. I happened upon an ad for a house south of town towards Perkins on over 300 acres. Jimmy was in heaven before we even looked at it.

It was a sweet little 3-bedroom brick house with garage, huge kitchen and beautiful wood floors. The landlord was an elderly man and had a workshop on the property but kept to himself and was more than gracious when we would offer to do repair work for him. We will always have special memories because Hannah came home from the hospital to this house and had almost all of her first two years in this house.

Unfortunately, I could not get a good picture of this house because I would have had to drive up the driveway and I did not want to worry anybody that was home.
If we had had the opportunity to stay in that house we would still be there today but God had other plans for us. The landlord's daughter wanted to move home to be closer to her parents who were starting to fail in health. He had always told her that if she moved back, she could have the land and house. He came to us with a heavy heart with the news that we would have to move. We understood but it was not an easy move emotionally.

I was on the search again and found a house in the neighborhood behind the movie theater. Another three bedroom house that was bigger and had kids next door for Hannah to play with. The downfall to this house was we were not allowed dogs, even in the backyard so one went to my parent's house while the other two went to Jimmy's parent's house.

Hannah helped me plant flowers in the garden along the house, got her first swing set for her second birthday, moved to a big girl bed and swung a golf club for the first time all at this house.
This house was a good option for us but the landlord left a lot to be desired. I understand that the landlords have to have rules to keep their properties in good condition, especially in a college town but this one was way over the line more than once.

The next house was located north of Stillwater in Noble county and Morrison school district. It was another 3-bedroom but a bigger garage and yard plus the master bedroom had another room built with a hot tub. The biggest plus was that we were able to have pets outside again and we desperately missed having them with us.

This house was where Hannah got her cat, Boots, who saved her life when he ate a bug for her. Also, we experienced a miscarriage while living here but it was also where we lived when I graduated from college and Hannah had her third birthday party.

I wonder if the owners of this house has changed. It is definitely not been kept up as nice as when we lived there. I noticed a broken pane in the window, overgrown flower gardens and an old hot water heater piled up next to the garage. Jimmy said he wonders if the 70s orange counter tops were still in the house.
The last house we lived in in Stillwater was back in town east of the Best Western. We had nice neighbors and plenty of kids to play with and we were just a few blocks from where our church was meeting at the time.

This house had four bedrooms and two living areas so Hannah had a great playroom all to herself. While living here, my dad built her a playhouse for her fourth birthday, she was a yellow crayon for Halloween, Boots the cat was killed by a dog and we found out we were pregnant with Jordan.
I know what you are thinking. Yes, we moved a lot! I like change but now that we have four kids, more stuff, and live close to family, we are staying put where we are. If we make any changes it will be to add another bedroom and bathroom. Jimmy says he will not leave this house unless it is in a hearse.


Once a month, our homeschool coop has a Fun Class and Show-n-Share day. Moms take turns teaching something fun to the group. In April, Mrs. Martin talked to the kids about molecules and how they move when hot and cold and then ended the class with catapult making.

While Mrs. Martin was teaching, there was another group next door sharing about either a project or something special they brought from home. We also have very talented young men and women who dance hip hop to Christian music and they happily displayed their talent.

Philbrook Museum of Art Tour

Our homeschool coop went to the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa on a field trip. The museum broke us up into three different groups based on ages so I went with Harlee and Hallie Jo who were in the younger group.

We got to visit most of the lush garden area and even shared a story about butterflies while outside. I was amazed to find out that the museum grows vegetables on the museum grounds for use in their lunch menu. Now I look at vegetables in a whole new light.

At the end of our tour, our group got to make butterflies in one of the museum's classrooms. There was so much to see that I plan on going back by myself and then another time with the kids.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Celebration

I finally got to have time with Harlee. I took her to a local library who was celebrating Laura Ingalls Wilder. The party was originally supposed to be in February but our two huge snowstorms made it impossible so they rescheduled for April.

Harlee had found the prairie clothes Hannah had worn back in Kindergarten in the dress-up box so I insisted she wear them. She happily obliged and was giddy with excitement to hear lots of compliments on her outfit and her braids which look a lot like Laura's.

During the celebration, the librarian read two books and one was even interpreted in sign language. While the books were being read, the kids took turns shaking a jar of cream to make butter. Two ladies demonstrated how to prepare wool for spinning and then how they used their spinning wheels to make the wool usable for sewing.

Harlee also got to make a paper "quilt square", a button necklace and a yarn doll. All these things are reminiscence of items found the Little House books. We even got to try some gingerbread and lemonade.

Homeschool Moms Retreat

While the boys were away playing at Nascar, I got to join other moms in my homeschool coop for a retreat. I was on the committee just so I could make sure that I did not miss this annual event.

We found some great things for the goodie bags including a book with four novels at Mardel's for $.99/each. Each mom brought some yummy food because you can not have a retreat without food.

We also instructed each mom to bring a collection of their favorite things to share with another mom in the group. We played a little get to know you game which in turn helped us decide who got to open their gift first, second, third and so on.

I had to leave after the gift exchange because Chubbles was sick and I had left Legs in charge. I had heard stories of the fun games and stories shared after I left the retreat. Next year, I think we need to do a retreat away from home to really relax.

First Baseball of the Season

Lil Man is playing competitive baseball this year on an eight and under coach pitch team. Most of these boys are playing together for the fourth year in a row. They are called OK Pokes which is a name easy for our family to cheer to victory.

Our first game was April 5th and we won 16-0. In other league play, we have lost one, tied one and then won all of our other games. In tournament play, we have placed 2nd in one and 1st in another. It is likely we will be heading to state and possibly a local worlds tournament.

New Playground

Back in the fall I saw an advertisement from someone in our homeschooling community. They wanted to sell their play structure. I have been keeping my eye out for a good deal. My dad can buy all the parts and build it himself but I was trying to save money and work. This ad was perfect, my parents liked it and so off my men went to get it and haul it home.

The playground has a ladder and a climbing wall to get up to the fort with a portico on one side. It also has three swings. My dad got a slide, a rope ladder and a glider swing from his neighbor for free so we have installed the slide and will add more extensions later to accommodate. I also want to make the area under the fort a sandbox. My kids have not had the opportunity to experience a lot of playing in sand because all the local parks have a foam type covering under their playgrounds.

Originally the playground started out on the east side of the house but after getting the septic aeration system fixed, we found the sprinkler sprayed on the playground so we moved it to the northeast side of the house. It does not get as much shade but it is drier more often in the new location.

Legs was at church or babysitting one evening and the other three took advantage of the beautiful weather to play and I was able to catch some of their fun.

My Men and Their Toys

Jimmy and Jordan got tickets to the Texas Motor Speedway for Christmas. They have been anxiously waiting for April to get here so they could go watch their favorite drivers, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. My dad and cousin went as well. Except for some very windy conditions, they had a great time and are starting to plan a trip to Kansas City next.

Review: Download N Go - Chocolate Challenge

The kids and I just finished up a very yummy unit study. Who doesn't like chocolate? We are all big eaters of the sweet treat and this unit was just screaming at us to try it.

Chocolate Challenge is another great Download N Go unit from Amanda Bennett. I love that with each unit we have used, it is NOT the same as the others. Yes, we read books and do some similar activities but each unit has its own unique feature. This time we got to study about a different chocolatier each day and then had a chocolate tasting party to end the fun. This was even a unit my oldest, who is thirteen, wanted to participate in.

We started off the week looking at the history of chocolate, what country produces it and what kind of plant it comes from. We took the time to compare temperatures between countries and do some fun math with M&Ms.

On the second day, we studied more science and dove deeper into the production of chocolate. We also used our geography skills and studied the surrounding areas of where most chocolate is grown. We finished off this day using Hershey Kisses to practice math.

We found out more about four different kinds of chocolate on the third day. Yummy! The chocolatier for day 3 was one I had not thought of in that aspect. It may have to do with the fact that I hear his name mostly once a year around a holiday. The Hershey kisses were back as we practiced some subtracting today.

Day 4 was my favorite because we got to study about my favorite chocolatier, Ghirardelli. This guy has got the art of making wonderful chocolate down to an art. The kids were most excited that we were using bigger pieces of chocolate to study multiplication and fractions.

The last day continued our fun study of geography and chocolatiers and ended with a wonderful tasting party where we made graphs, weighed & measured chocolate, baked some yummy treats and finally sat down to watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

When you buy this unit, you will be able to instantly download and get started right away with all the yummy fun. Your students will have the opportunity to see videos, make graphs, study maps, play a game or two, use a time line and of course put all the information together into a lapbook.

Don't forget, Amanda Bennett includes links for more information, a suggested book list for each day of the week and even extra activities that you might fun to do with your family after completing the unit.

Please visit the Download N Go site to find out what others are saying about this unit. Download and Go is also have a great sale right now so don't forget to check that out.

*Disclaimer: I received this unit for free in exchanged for my honest opinion.