Friday, February 15, 2013

Fun Times in Utah

I have one week left here in Utah.  The time has gone by fast.  I'll be sad to leave but excited to get back home.  We have done so much over the past few weeks. 

Girls Weekend in Las Vegas:

 Mom, Amy and I went to Las Vegas for a well needed weekend get away.  We didn't get many pictures of this weekend because we were having too much fun.  We ate at Cheesecake Factory, shopped, shopped and shopped some more, laughed until we cried, and played games.  

Amy, Justin, and Haddie's visit:
Amy, Justin and Haddie came up for a weekend.  The kids has tons of fun playing with Haddie.  Haddie kept waking up early wanting to play with the kids, too.  Tyler followed her around for the first few days taking many, many pictures and videos of just her.  So we've got pictures and videos of her walking and her eating and her sitting and her climbing the stairs.  Its a good things she's so cute! 


Amy and I went to Les Mis while she was here.  I loved the movie!  Bawled through the end of it.  Les Mis is one of my favorite stories and plays.  It has so many wonderful messages about love, forgiveness, justice and mercy.   

Dad and Mom took us out for ice cream at Yogurt Land.  Fantastic place.  A lot like Sweet CeCe's but more choices in yogurt flavors.  It was very yummy!  Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Glitter Pit:

Out in the desert near St. George there is an area full of glittery rocks called gypsum.  I wish I could really show how much they sparkled and how many of them there were.  They literally covered the ground!

 The kids collected so many rocks that their bags split.  Hannah took her coat off and used it as a makeshift bag.  We eventually had to limit their choices to 4.  There was no way I was shipping 30 pounds of rock back home. 

 Star Wars Canyon:

Dad discovered by accident this canyon.  He named it Star Wars canyon because it reminded him so much of the this:

 While we were hiking through it I could definitely see the similarities.  It is a narrow slot canyon that has been worn away over the years by water.  We could see evidence of the many layers that have been worn away over time.

Mud from a previous rain.  It dried in paper thin sheets that you could pick up if you were really careful.
Layers deposited over time by water.  There are 3 distinct layers here.

That's Amy sitting in the "Giant's Amphitheater." She's sitting on this very large step on the wall of the canyon.  There were several more steps farther up.

Hannah rock climbing!

Tyler digging for gold.  Unfortunately all he found was the top of a large rock.

We didn't go all the way through.  Once you get to a certain spot you have to climb over these 10 feet high boulders to get to the next level down.  Not too safe with three younger kids in the group.

If you look carefully you can see the huge boulders we would have had to climb over.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The weekend o' fun!

Thursday we went and did some sight seeing.  We went and toured the St. George tabernacle.  We learned that the windows were shipped from the Atlantic Coast around the tip of South America to California where they were then carried by wagon load to St. George.  Out of the several thousand panes of glass none were broken in transit or installation.  We learned that Mitt Romney's great-great-great grandfather, Miles Romney, designed and built the spiral staircase.  It was remarkable because it has no center support and is only connected on the top and the bottom of the staircase.  We learned how they had to lower the balcony 5 feet and used 200 men to do it.  (If you want to know more about that story you'll have to ask me.  Its too complicated to type up.)  We also toured the St. George Temple Visitors Center.  The kids were excited to be able to touch the Temple wall as well. 
This Friday and Saturday while Mom and I were in Las Vegas for a well needed girls weekend with my sister, Dad/Grandpa spent the weekend with the kids.  After coming back and hearing about all the events of their weekend I believe they had more fun than we did.

They started the weekend off with a trip to the library where they checked out Swiss Family Robinson movie.  Tyler had recently read it and wanted to see the movie.  Then for lunch they went to Chuck-O-Rama with Great Grandma and Grandpa.  The kids enjoyed their visit and all the food.  Hannah ended the dinner with a 8 inch tall bowl of ice cream covered in sprinkles and strawberry and the other two had root beer floats.

Later that day they went swimming at the local rec center for a few hours.  Then came home for dinner and a movie night.

Saturday the girls put together a Mickey Mouse puzzle and Tyler and Grandpa put together a wooden covered wagon. 

 They cooked hot dogs over a fire for lunch with Great Grandma and Grandpa.  Tyler was proud that he got to cook Great Grandma's hot dog.  They then spent the evening with a babysitter while Grandpa had some church meetings.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Red Cliffs Reserve

Note:  I'm going to try and use this as somewhat of a journal so I can remember all the stuff we do here in St. George.  Feel free to skip any and all parts you want.

Wednesday, the kids and I flew to visit my parents in St. George, UT.  We will be here until February.  The flight was uneventful and the kids were well behaved.  

Thursday, I let the kids get settled in and then we got down to business with school.  After 3 late nights they were quite the grumps but I felt we needed to start with some structure and not let the day descend into chaos.  

Friday, Mom and I went to Las Vegas to help my sister with her little one who had been in the hospital with RSV all week. Thankfully she was doing much better and was her cute and adorable self.  I enjoyed being able to play with her and get to know her some more.  It was nice to be able to sit and chat with my sister, too.  We returned home on Saturday.

While we were in Las Vegas, Dad and the kids went to the library, several parks and out to eat twice.  Tyler even got to play with some little boys his age down the street.  They are loving their time with their Grandpa.  

Sunday was church.  Karena was very apprehensive about attending a different church.  I assured her that she would enjoy it and even make some friends she could play with while we are here.  All the kids did great in their Primary classes and Karena came out feeling much less stressed.  Tyler was actually shocked that the boys he played with on Friday were in his class at church!

Since Monday was a holiday we took the opportunity to go on a family hike.  Dad took the kids and I to Red Cliffs Reserve.  It is this mild hike that goes in between two sets of mountains into a canyon.  We could not have asked for better weather.  It was a little chilly in the shade but gorgeous in the sun.  The kids had fun climbing the different mounds of rocks.  I had several heart attacks watching Tyler scramble up and down them and get so close to the edge. 


We ended up hiking next to a stream that due to all the shade was frozen over in many spots.  The ice was thick enough that grown men could walk across and not break through!  It had frozen into these amazing crystals.  I tried to get some shots of it.  Dad nor I had ever seen ice form like that in a river or stream.

Near the beginning of the hike we saw this fallen down Cottonwood tree that looked like an elephant head and trunk.  The head was even hollow so the kids could play inside.

Here are several other pictures I got during our walk.  The scenery was truly amazing!

The girls were pretending to be the animals that left the 3 claw marks down the rock.  Tyler is just being cool!

Karena peering through a hole she had just climbed up.

Kids standing on top of the rock that had the hole Karena was peeking through.

The end of the hike.  We could have gone farther but it was a little too difficult with kids.  The little notches above the man's head in the middle act like a ladder you have to climb to get to the next portion of the hike.  There were people rappelling off the mountain cliff on the right.

The evil, creepy looking tree walking back to the trail head.  It looks even creepier in black and white.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

 This Mother's Day was fantastic!!  John and the kids all did a good job to make it really special.  It got started on Saturday when John got me some beautiful flowers.  Almost 2 weeks later they have just started to get brown and wilted. 

As with most things in our family most of Mother's Day revolved around food.  John made all the food that day.  He often (as in most of the time) takes over the meal preparation on Sunday.  This time though I was NOT allowed to help out in any way.  I tried but he kept kicking me out of the kitchen.  He made scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast with yummy muffins I bought at Sam's.  After breakfast I opened my presents and cards.  The kids all made me the cutest cards.  The kids got me a gift card to Kohl's and John bought me a a GPS.  I had asked for one for a future purchase (b-day, Christmas) so this was completely unexpected and very appreciated.  I have since used it a lot.  John even test drove it before he gave it to me.  He is now jealous of my GPS. 

For dinner John grilled steaks, made me a yummy and beautiful veggie salad (see below) a fruit salad, and roasted red potatoes.  Everything was perfection.

 The family right before dinner.

Karena had gone to Sam's with John on Saturday and decided she wanted to buy me a dessert.  At first she looked at the cakes (too expensive) and then settled on pie.  This particular pie was delicious and very interesting.  It was four fruit pies in one - cherry, peach, blueberry and apple.  They had each fruit in one quarter of the pie.  I tried a yummy combination of peach and cherry. 

I am very grateful for my wonderful family.  I love them all!  Thanks for making this Mother's Day very special.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

School Plans: 2012-2013

It has been my intention the past year and a half to focus on a more classical approach to our homeschool in regards to history and literature.  The classical method focuses on teaching history in chronological order.  By the time a student would graduate from HS they would have made at least 3 passes through each age in history.  This year was to be the medieval times.  I also wanted to make it a point to study language arts using real literature.  So here were my requirements in no particular order of importance:

1 - Must be about medieval times.
2 - Must use real books to teach the subject.  I HATE textbooks.  Ask my mom.  She'll tell you.
2 - At least for history, it must be able to be used by all 3 kids at the same time.  I wasn't going to teach the same subject 2 or 3 times a day.
3 - I must be able to afford it.
4 - I have to feel good and excited about it.
5 - It had to have a daily plan.  I have learned that having just a list of books and activities does not help me.  I need structure and organization.

I found some that fit 2 - maybe 3 of those items.  I was frustrated.  I was getting ready to settle for something I didn't like and was too expensive.  I couldn't find anything else.

BUT then a few weeks back I was reading a blog post featuring a homeschool curriculum review for Trail Guide to Learning: Paths of Exploration.  It was one I remembered looking at several years ago when I first started this journey.  But the kids were too young then so I filed it away for the future.  Apparently I filed it away too well and never thought about it again.


I looked at it. It included not only history and literature but science, grammar, spelling, and geography all rolled into one amazing curriculum!  The only problem - it focuses on American history.  But after looking at it for several days I felt really good about it and really excited about it.  I decided to chuck the classical idea.  I have super high hopes for this year.  All three kids will learn side by side as we study Christopher Columbus, Jamestown, the Pilgrims, Lewis and Clark and Daniel Boone.  The only thing I have to add is cursive for the girls, some phonics for Tyler and math for everyone.  

Best part: I found it used and it was even cheaper!!!