Saturday, May 9, 2015


It's Saturday.  Nothing too special going on.  Warren took the kids to go build flower pots for Mother's Day.  He was very impressed w/ Summer's hammering abilities.  I mean really shocked that she did so well.  Sofie...not so much.  Too distracted.  We know in the future she will need some type of focusing help.  As she ages, it will get worse. Keeping an eye for now as she is still so young and so little physically.  We don't like to start ours on meds early if we can at all help it.  However, she is all over the place lately.  Warren worked with her solely.  Reni assisted Nik.  He didn't need much help but she was there as back up.  They came home and then we all had lunch.  Warren, myself, Logan and Summer headed out to Lowes.  New in town so we made a pit stop at the peanut outlet and OMG!  We got to taste test a whole bunch of peanuts.  All sorts of flavors which was a lot of fun.  Yes, we bought some that were half off and got a tip that next week they have a dent sale and cans will be $1!  I think we're coming back. 

After the peanut outlet, we went onto Lowes.  New house, new toilet.  Joys of home ownership.  While there, of course I snagged some clearance trees/ shrubs.  We bought mulch which we've been meaning to get for some time.  It was hot and we were thirsty but had to wait till home.  Usually I keep water bottles in the van but we were out.  We were all bummed about that. 

Came home to a very, very hot house.  Our A/C broke yesterday.  Repairman coming on Tuesday.  Unloaded the trailer and we all decided to change our plans and break up shopping between today and tomorrow.  So, loaded everyone but Sofie and Max (only two that actually wanted to stay home) and went to Big Lots and Walmart.  Nothing special.  Checked out a new local shopping center and some new places there.  Really just an errand type of day while sweating at home.  Makes us appreciate A/C that much more. 

Tomorrow, Mother's Day, Warren has to go to work.  Kids have already made me a few things which was very sweet.  When he gets home from work, we'll go shopping a bit more and maybe check out some local parks.  Playing it all by ear tomorrow.  While he's at work, I think the kids and I will work on the yard some.  Why not be outside, same temp as inside now.  LOL.  Anyhow, non-eventful day which we like every once in awhile.  Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend as well.  More posts to come for sure. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Max's Drawings

While Max job hunts at our new place, he is doing some art work which he loves to do.  Currently, working on two commissioned pieces. Thought I'd share one of his drawings he was working on for our family.   It's our house.  He's not quite done with it but I thought it turned out great so far.

Picture of our home.  Looks beautiful!  Max puts a lot of detail into his drawings. 

Just from using a flash.  Figured I'd try it  both ways. 

The front section.  I know since he drew this he redid the lights on it.  He was a little miffed I was taking pictures before it's done.

He still was adding some things but most of it was done.  Not a bad drawing of it.  Frame worthy for sure.  Nice to have a drawing of our own home. 

Friends from Afar

One benefit I think to my kids being adopted is that they have been able to have friends from all over.  We've met at reunions, camps, campgrounds, orphanages, etc.  My kids have been able to stay in touch with some of them over the years.  Recently, one sent Reni a birthday present along with little gifts to share with the others.  Very sweet of Ana. 

Always fun to get an unsuspecting package in the mail.

Opening up and seeing what is inside.  Course, other sibs have to watch.

T-shirts are always a hit with my kids.  My Texas friends will love it.

IRina looking through some other items in the package.

Nik waiting to see if there is anything for him while Reni sorts some bracelets.

 Minecraft can only be for one person!  He was beyond pleased.

Reni read a sweet note from her friend enjoying every word.  Was super sweet.  

Nice to have friends from all over and unexpected surprises are an added bonus.

Punishment/ homeschool-- what's the difference

Some of my kids think some of the stuff I make them do for homeschool is punishment.  Sometimes, they are right!  The other day, we did some school work.  Then, did yard work.  Felt something on me.  Bojan and Alex were pelting pinecones at me.  So, I said fine, you like pinecones so much, each of you have a report to me by the end of the day on pinecones.  They did the reports!  And you know what, we ALL learned something new about pinecones.  First, our yard is full of pinecones.  We learned you can eat and drink in some form or fashion, pinecones.  So, we decided to experiment and make pine needle tea.

One of the things we discovered is you can make pine needle tea.  We figured why not.

 Had to make sure we got the green pine needles.  You know they are done seeping when the color fades from them.

Nik adding some lemon for a bit more flavor.

Reni taking her first sip.  All in all, wasn't bad.  Not too bitter.  Tasty.  Not a whole lot of flavor but we could do it in a pinch for sure.

They also discovered about pine nuts.  So, Alex was determined to cut one open to find them. Easier said than done.  He went through three knives. 

Alex even put on the safe knife glove we have to cut them.  We are really did learn a lot about pine cones that week.

 Sofie doesn't care what she drinks.  As long as she is one of the big kids.

Then it was back to work.  Briefly touching on the layers of the earth since it was earth day.  Also did some plantings and yard work.  Irina was helping them this day.

Bojan giving Logan a hand on his work.  

So, some days you can turn a bad thing to a good thing.   Not every day but sometimes.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Strawberry Picking Time!

Living in a new area, we need to get our 'places' down again.  One of those, is a strawberry picking place.  We had our favorites before and needed to find one here as well.  So, asked the locals b/c how else are you going to know.  There is a place up north, close to VA that is the place to go. It is called The Christmas Place Farm.  We went on a very pleasant, cool day.  Opening day at that.  Not all the kids wanted to go and that was fine.

This was the first day.  It was SO nice out to go picking.  No messed up fields either.  Brand new, nothing picked over.  Everything was great!

Nik showing off one of his berries.

some of the older girls picking.  Sofie dragging her feet in the back ground b/c she decided she didn't want to pick.  She wanted to play on teh playground.

Nik with his bucket of berries.  This was clearly just the start of it.

They were all working hard.  Gave them the bigger buckets & myself.

And finally, this one got into it.  Though, the green berries were starting to take over so I took her bucket.  

We truly had a great time and it was just relaxing.  Afterwards, we headed to Big Lots and bought way too much stuff for the house.  Was needed though so can't complain.  This weekend, we are headed out shopping for summer time.  Kids need some clothes.  Also, Warren is takign younger ones to a Lowes Workshop.  He'll have no more fingers left if he helps Sofie.  LOL.  Her and a hammer will not mix well.  More posts to come.  Told you this is my time to catch up.

Homeschooling-- how's it going

Loaded question this one is.  Being honest.  During the move, we did nothing.  Not going to lie.  Nothing. Stuff was packed up, we were packing, unpacking, couldn't find stuff, etc.  Wasn't ideal.  However, this all allowed us to get the school stuff really, really organized, throw stuff out not needed and see what books we had/ didn't have.  We will be extending school this year through June as we really did have about a month off.  We usually follow the traditional school calender but have to extend ours due to the move and that is okay. 

Now, back in full swing.  Right now, mine are working on an English assignment I gave them and practicing their capitals & states.  Summer has forgotten, once again, her alphabet.  The connections in her brain are NOT there.  Remember, she is completely missing her corpus callosum and that connects the two hemispheres.  A real problem with learning and I am trying to work on it as her therapists were as well.  No more therapists so we are trying to figure it all out. 

I am trying to plan out what we are doing with everyone next year.  I do know we will do some online cirriculums for the first time ever.  Hope it works.  We want to take classes locally but don't believe there are any at the moment.  Though, the church we are now attending wants to start a homeschool co-op and I think that will open up many opportunities for us all. 

We are getting back into school and picking up where we left off.  Now, getting into US geography and ocean animals.  This week...sharks.

They did a lapbook on sharks and built a shark.  Plans are to go to the aquarium at some point in the future this summer.

Bojan and Nik working on the shark together.  Umm, this thing was way more work than you think.


Nik wanted Max in the picture.  Max obliged.  LOL.

Nik was rather proud of his shark.  It really was cute.

Shows the inside too which was nice.  We like hands on type of things here for learning.

I know we have a lot to catch up on for school but we're getting there bit by bit.  changing things up for next year to help ensure more success....I hope.  time will tell.  For now, finishing things up here.

Breakfast-- a little twist

Moving to our new home, we have done things a little differently here and there.  As always, we are trying to save money here and there.  Cut where we can.  Tried something new the other day.

 Powdered milk. Surprisingly, it tastes the same.  However, even more surprisingly is that the cost is the SAME as if we just buy milk by the gallon.  I calculated it all out.  Was very disappointed as was hoping it could have saved us.  So, since costs are the same, back to gallon milk w/ no savings.  Bummer.  But, nice to have in an emergency situation.  So, at least we now know.

Our patio on this house is right off the kitchen.  We love, love, love it!  It is shaded and just peaceful.  So, the other day, step outside for breakfast.  Why not?  Nice to get some fresh air in the morning.  Eating outside in the morning is definitely something we can get used to.  Last house, the backyard was completely in the sun.  This one is more shaded.  Thankful for that.  We are slowly filling the patio with flowers and container vegetables.  Yum.  Going to build a potato bin soon and see how it goes.  

More bits and pieces to come.  Playing catch up on this blog...a lot of catch up.  Today, my van is in the shop getting new tires, an alignment and inspection.  Our RV is also in the shop.  Don't know the cost of that one yet but are rather nervous.  Not going to be an easy fix unfortunately.  But, we keep our vehicles running for as long and as best we can.  This gave us a chance to go nowhere today and get things done.  Kids are doing an English assignment and practicing their state capitals.  they've been practicing the states on a map but we are introducing the capitals this week.  We built a shark from a kit yesterday.  Trying to find our groove here.  Thinking about how we want to do things next year.  More to come later.  Bit by bit, this blog will get caught up with happenings around here and also, some thoughts of what happens as the kids get older and their needs change. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Landscaping on a Budget

As you know, we are frugal.  Have to be with 13 kids.  No other way to put it.  Yet, I still want my yard to look like some one other than hillbillies live here.  And, I am a fan of flowers and trees.  Love a variety.  I don't like it looking cluttered but filled.  We have two acres so there is plenty of space to do things with in the yard.  We have big plans for our yard too.  For now, we must start small.  And cheap.  Let's not forget cheap people. 

Ahh, cheap labor.  We got this shrub for half off at Lowes b/c it had a few dead leaves.  IT is gorgeous!  We had these at our other home and they do well and look fantastic.  They get big.

Reni pulling out the honeysuckles that were taking over this beautiful rhododendron.  Really is spectacular.

Here are the purple flowers on it.  Breath taking while sitting on the patio.

Previous residents left us their bird feeder.  No reason to take it down, it is functioning.  That behind it covering the ground is periwinkle.  It is ground cover and spreads fast, as you can see.  Gets little purple flowers on it in the spring.  I love it and could never get it to grow at the last house and now it is all over here.

Previous residents also left this beautiful glass humming bird feeder.  Why not use it.  Free and works.  Can't beat that for frugal.

Max getting ready to dig holes.  Free labor.  A big bonus when landscaping on a budget.

I got these river birch trees for just $10 a piece at Lowes.  These will be great in about two years.  We had these before and they just require a lot of water.  They grow fairly high and will spread out.  Perfect addition to the front yard for just $10!

Been doing this a lot lately too.  Reusing plants in the yard in a different location.  Works wonders.

The impatients I planted.  They were on clearance but not as much as the trees.  Just a little.  But, these spread.  Even though annuals, they tend to come back yearly as they go to seed.

Rose bushes.  We have a lot of these and are leaving them be.

Our Iris'.  We simply moved them all to one section as this yard had some random ones throughout the front.

Love them.  We have this color, purple and yellow ones.

Now, these are my favorite and a splurge.  These are the wave petunias and will get very full, very high & are stunning.  I try to keep to one color theme or two.  Pinks and purples.  Love whites but they start to look dingy when they start dying.  Darker colors don't show that as much.

Quite proud of these containers.  Cost .50 a container!  Yep.  6 pack of petunias on their clearance rack for .50.  Side porch looking good for just $1.50.  Can't beat that one.

Rest of my petunias I planted in the front of the shrubs.  They will add color along the pathway to the side entrance.  So, go to the back of Lowes to their clearance section.  Also, use what you have in your own yard.  Sometimes, splitting plants is also cost saving. 

Manic Monday

Time to get back to regular blogging for me.  Really is.  Been a long, long few weeks but we are getting more settled now and into routine.  So blogging needs to be one of those routines.  Been doing great this week with it.  Keeping that up.

  • Tried a new church that the kids love
  • Vet came last week
  • Finally gave both dogs a bath
  • Need to buy dog bowls for them as they got broken in the move
  • Tried the farmer's market this weekend
  • Went strawberry picking
  •  Van needs four new tires, alignment & inspection...ouch!
  • Need to go to bank
  • Our previous water bill is completely messed up.  They are fixing it
  • Houseguest's adoption is taking forever!
  • Kids are going to bible studies and youth group this week
  • Need to check out sports for the fall
  • Need to find homeschool groups
  • Need to go to wholesale shop we learned about
  • Kids are beyond excited about going to Camp Cheerio
  • We are clearing out the last of our clutter
  • Need to pick up a playset we are being given. Between that one and the one we have, we can mesh them together and make it work for the kids
  • Got some awesome discount trees at Lowes this past weekend
  • Studying sharks this week
  • Deciding if we are going to the zoo this weekend or not
So, so much happening but figured I'd better get back into the groove.  Right now, Warren is rocking Little Guy as he is not sleeping tonight.  Hoping he goes down soon.  Much to share and hoping to do at least two posts a day.  Need to get back into blogging and share how our life truly is going.  FASD kids do not do so well with change  you know.  Though I will say, I have been impressed by how they have done thus far.  More to come.  Stay tuned.