Monday, October 8, 2018

Skating and Shakespeare

Phoebe has wanted to attend a Shakespeare play for years, but we could never make it happen. We finally found a play going on in town that seemed appropriate for kids and was real Shakespeare ~ not "The Complete Works of Shakespeare in One Hour" that I'd been finding. The Classic Theatre of San Antonio was featuring A Midsummer Night's Dream. Phillip was a theatre guy in high school, so Phoebe and I invited him to go along. :-) 

They had a little pre-show entertainment with the actors sort of mime-dancing in masks and cloaks, reminiscent of the Water Ballet in Revenge of the Sith. They would come up behind you and stare over your shoulder..... Or at your face. That part was a little unnerving, but watching them was oddly enjoyable. I got a couple of pictures before I read in the program that cameras were not allowed. Ooops. 

We all enjoyed it immensely! The Classic Theatre was a cute little theatre connected to a larger one. The tickets were reasonably priced. The acting was lively and well-done. We were close to the action. We will definitely be looking at more of what they have to offer. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream would not be my first Shakespeare choice, but I so enjoyed it! They included the "play inside the play" with Bottom and his crew. Phillip thought that part wasn't relevant to the main story and should have been left out. It did prolong the play, but I was glad they included it. I only found out recently that the "play within the play" was even a part of Midsummer Night by reading Bruce Coville's children's version to Harrison. By the way, Bruce Coville's versions are so excellent for introducing kids to Shakespeare.

Little, impish Puck was played by a lady who teaches high school. He was Phoebe's and my favorite. Phillip loved Helena (the love-jilted friend of Hermia); she included much body language and gestures with her speaking which made it easier to understand the meaning of her words. Shakespeare is fun- I'm enjoying him more and more each year- but he's still hard to understand. 

It was a long night - 2.5 hours of play with intermission and pre-show. The heel broke on my shoe on the way into the theatre and I had to limp along. But I definitely want to do more of this. 

Oh, and I never realized that this line is original to Shakespeare: 
"Though she be but little, she is fierce." 
Who knew!?

And then yesterday afternoon, we went skating. Phoebe has also been begging to do this for a while. Harrison still sticks to the wall and my hand, but he's much better than before. Phoebe hurt her bum, so didn't enjoy it as much as she could have. Liz gave a good go, but was mostly the Watcher of the Purse and Holder of the Bench. And I, who haven't been roller skating in years, got a pretty good workout on the floor. Fun stuff. I love skating too. Shakespeare and skating. You can't get much better than that. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

School Started.....

..... Therefore, no blogging. 

We're finishing up our 6th week (yay! I feel so ahead of the game this year!). I got to attend a local day conference (Schole Sisters Retreat) for homeschooling moms last Saturday. It was a big encouragement. 

I have days where I feel on top of it ~ like the kids are learning so much, and we're getting to everything we need to get to. And I have many days where I feel like this is all going to crash. The retreat and discussion and podcasts and books are all helpful in teaching me that we'll never "arrive." Educating, learning ~ these need to continually happen and in fresh ways. If I ever "arrived" it would be stale, not life-giving. 

But I do feel like this is starting out as a good year. Elizabeth is a junior. One more year at home with us! Jonathan will start high school next year. 

And the app is out! We released several weeks ago. We've gotten lots of feedback from users; I've given lots of feedback. :-) I'm loving it. The kids can check off their own work as they do it. It all turns green when the week's work is done. Progress bars show the week's progress as you go. Lots of opportunities to show progress! It makes one feel good. 

On to some random pictures that I'm going to post for posterity and family photo album purposes:

All of them together. 
Hiding because it's early morning and they don't feel ready for pictures. But they were all together on the couch and so I had to take a pic regardless. 

Elizabeth (I did her hair!) dressed up 50's style for a homeschool dance she went to with Adelynn and family. 

Alec is a kid that grew up next to my parents in Washington. He's in San Antonio at Lackland Air Force Base. His parents came down to visit him, so we all got together for lunch and some swimming at their hotel pool. He meets up with us at church and lunch and such. It's been fun to get to know them.

This sweet little girl loves to water my plants, clean the van (with wet wipes or whatever she can find), straighten up the art area in the garage..... 


Alec is taking a picture of the kids at Whataburger.

Visiting the "nice" mall. 
It has a Lego store and Disney store and Apple store. So I guess it is pretty nice.

Harrison is such a goof! 
Liz wouldn't let me post her goofy mall pics. Just picture her walking around knitting. The girl does have a knack for knitting. She's been doing paid projects for a knitting store in Maine. She's super good at it. 

The kids did this on their own! Photo booth pictures. So sweet!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Go Karts for Jon's 14th

He wanted plain vanilla cake with white fondant so everyone could sign his cake. You'll notice the signed ball cap he's wearing. He likes to get stuff signed, I guess. 

He's getting pretty tall, but he was still the short one of the group of friends he had over. Each one of them was taller than the last. 

And we found a Go Kart track in Boerne where the boys could race. For the first race, they tried to beat each other. Liam was the winner in that instance. But when we got inside and saw the results, we realized that quickest lap time was how they determined the winner. So the second time they raced, they just tried to beat each other's lap time. You don't have to do as much passing in that instance. 

They all want to be first.

Harrison's (friend-Harrison, not brother-Harrison) results were not recorded the second race (faulty transponder or whatever), so we don't actually know if he would have beat Jonathan or not. But Jonathan was last in the first race and first in the last race. 

And being a Friday, and Boerne being far from home, we had lots of time in the van. Boys are so funny. 

Things googled on this trip: "How to Burp," "Clever Ways to Cover Farts in the Classroom." Much burp practice ensued. 

Discussions on this trip: What kind of vehicle they want to own when they grow up, Can they share a vehicle since they both want the same one, What kind of degree to get at college (or should they go to college). 

It's enlightening to have a group of youth in your van while you quietly drive. You learn a lot about them when they think you aren't listening. I feel like when I have a group of girls, they text each other more than talk, so I don't get as inside a look into their thought-lives. Maybe they realize I'm listening.....

Friday, July 27, 2018

Kids Summer Cooking

The three older kids each got to cook two meals for us this summer. 

Melty Monterey Jack Burgers by Jonathan

Elizabeth enlisted her friend to help her make Orange Cauliflower and Fried Rice. It's similar to Orange Chicken, but with cauliflower. Adelynn likes to make vegetarian dishes.  I've had several - her food is restaurant quality! She made a Zucchini Basil soup one time..... mhm, mhm. This was a winner for me. I tried later to make some more with leftover cauliflower, and it just didn't cut it. She's got a gift.

Liz' next meal was trying out her Cafe's Toasted Avocado Chicken and Cheese sandwich. Phillip likes to order this when we visit for lunch. Elizabeth hit it just right! Shredded chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, avocado, & mayo on Wheatberry bread and grilled like a grilled cheese sandwich. Liz did find out from this meal that she can't eat Avocado (ironic, since she loves her cafe and wouldn't have dreamed of trying an Avocado until she worked there). They hurt her stomach pretty badly. 

Jonathan wanted to try out Hello Fresh. He hears it advertised on a podcast he listens to. This was our first time trying out a meal delivery service. We got a good amount of savings using the podcast coupon code; otherwise we wouldn't have tried it. 

I have to say it was kind of pampering to get this box in the mail with everything you need for a meal and clear instructions on how to fix it. It was all very fresh and packaged so cutely (tiny little jars, ya'll!). Jonathan is not an experienced chef, so it took him longer to cook the meals (it was supposed to take half an hour and it took him about 50 minutes). But it was cooked well: he didn't over-cook or under-cook the meat. The flavors were well-mixed and developed, especially if you ate it as they recommended (I think I was the only one who ate the balsamic onions on the hamburger). 

You get to choose your meals from Hello Fresh and Jon chose Melty Monterey Jack Burgers with Red Onion Jam and Crispy Zucchini (top picture), and Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Creamy Lemon Tomato Linguine. We kept the recipe cards so we could make these again because we enjoyed all of it. I think the linguine was my favorite. 

I'm not getting paid to talk about Hello Fresh or anything, but we did get a good coupon with our meals. It's for a friend, so if anyone wants it, message me and I'll give you the code. It's $69.95 value (which covers the two meals per week option, I believe). They didn't offer meals for a family of 6, but the Family of 4 meals was plenty for us. We even had leftovers. Of course, my kids don't eat a ton.... Also, it's a weekly subscription, so if you don't want to pay for the next set of meals, you'll need to cancel your subscription, like, the day after you order your coupon-ed meals. You'll get the meals you just ordered at the reduced price, but won't get charged again until you un-pause your account. Just heads-up.... 
It's a lot of fun to try it out. It wouldn't at all be worth it for us to join this type of meal service ~ I can make meals a lot cheaper for our family. But it's super fun to try.

And Phoebe found her meals through a Taste of Home cookbook that my mom gave us a while back. She was hungry when she looked through it, so she had all kinds of pages dog-eared. It's a really simple book to cook from. The recipes aren't hard and the pictures are good; there's only one recipe per page. Perfect for beginners. Today she made Bacon and Egg Croissants (the recipe called for Bagels, but we all like croissants better) with peaches on the side.

Last week she made Colorful Pasta Salad and Barbecue Jack Chicken. 

Huhh. I just noticed that all the kids chose one meal that included Monterey Jack Cheese. 
Anyway, on the day of this meal, she was supposed to make lunch. I was stuck for 4 hours getting a vehicle taken care of and she was legitimately freaking out about how to cook these recipes. After some stilted communication (phones dying in the midst of texts and tears of frustration and Dad calling me so she would talk to me....), we finally settled that she could save that meal for supper and I could help her with whatever she needed help with. She had already made the pasta salad on her own though, so that was very good work.

Charlize came over to test Phoebe's cooking skills.

I don't often recommend cookbooks because there are usually only 2 recipes I ever want to use in any one cookbook..... But this one is really great for kids or beginner cooks. (Again, no affiliate links or anything.) I looked on Amazon and noticed there are several in this "series": crockpot meals and such. I often find new recipes through facebook or online, but I think handing a kid a book is helpful in this case. They have a limited, perceptible scope to choose from. 

The summer cook-off was a success! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ice Cream Outings and the Witte Museum

Elizabeth has been asking to go there. It's near the Witte Museum, which I wanted to visit, so we made an afternoon of it. 

This is very much hipster ice cream. 

You choose your popsicle flavor, what you want it dipped in, the drizzle and the dash (a little dusting of something at the end). I got an Orangesicle, but the flavor was a tart tangerine flavor instead of the mild orange flavor I was expecting. I enjoyed it; I'm just not sure I'd get it again. The kids got varying degrees of chocolate and caramel. Elizabeth got a peach one, I believe. All of them were delicious! 

This is a treat place, so we won't go here very often. But I would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for something different and fun. 

A cicada on the wall to the entrance of the Witte.

The Witte is free on Tuesdays from 3-8. They've added quite a bit to it since we last went ~ a cool dinosaur exhibit ~ we didn't pay to see that, but there were lots of dinosaur-ish things spilling out into the museum thoroughfare. There's also a new "Habitats of Texas"-type room. I loved this one because  I got to see the names of some birds that I've been wondering about. Also, George Strait narrated a part of the exhibit. 

Phoebe's mustache pick

Phoebe and Jon voted on the most epic mustaches in this room full of pictures of..... cattle owners from the area? I actually couldn't figure out who these guys were, but there was a room covered in pictures of men with epic mustaches. 

Jonathan's mustache pick

Jonathan playing the Relax game.

There's an area of the Witte that explores all things Human Body: exercise areas, x-ray room, etc. The kids love this game ~ two people put a band around their head; the most relaxed person moves this ball down toward the competitor. Once the ball reaches the competitor, you've won! Jonathan was really good at it. I tried it with Phoebe and we were both keeping the ball pretty neutral. I finally lifted my head and tried to stress myself out to see what would happen, and it took longer than I thought it would for Phoebe to win that way, so I'm wondering if the game's not a little rigged. Or I'm no good at stressing myself out.

Guess what Liz did at the museum? Yes. She sat there and knitted almost the whole time. 
We're such nerdy homeschoolers. 

And in honor of National Ice Cream day, Emily's at Cibolo was giving out free ice cream yesterday, so we participated in the yumminess. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Adieu to the Raft

 For each of the past six years, building a raft has been a project Elizabeth has accomplished with gusto. Collecting materials (water bottles, milk jugs, large juice bottles, duct tape), taping it all together, improving each year, begging for me to take her to water..... deep water, not puddles of water.

I think this is the year we say goodbye. She's 16. She's driving now. We've enjoyed the outings immensely, but we're ready to say goodbye to rafts. 

Today we went to Boerne City Park Lake. It makes for a fun summer day outing for those who like a picnic or bbq by the water. The park is super crowded over holidays, I've gathered, but pleasantly dotted with gatherings on regular summer days. 

I didn't get a picture of Liz on the raft, oddly enough. She traveled across an arm of the lake to the other side for her last voyage. She brought back a rock in commemoration. 

Harrison had a market going. The kids were into rocks, so he gathered a bunch together. Then rocks went out of style, so he gathered sticks to "sell."

A couple of Travis kids went with us. 

And when we were leaving, we asked some boys if they wanted a falling-apart raft and they were very down for it. 

Goodbye, raft. 
A season of life has passed.....

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Malaquite Beach 2018

Pelicans flying low.

We made another trip to Malaquite Beach with the Travis family this year. It was a week ago and we are still paying for the lack of application of sunscreen. I should say the mis-application of sunscreen, because we did apply it. Just not often or well enough. Despite our crispy burns, we had an awesome time and will plan for another year. 

Emily and Harrison.

The waves were high and powerful for Gulf Coast waves. They were so loud that if you stared off into the waves, you could imagine you were alone because you couldn't hear all the people behind you. The sky was large. The sand was smooth..... I believe a piece of secluded beach would make an ideal vacation spot for me. I would also like a walking-distance crab-shack that serves homemade clam chowder.

 There were quite a few people at the beach and a bathroom/shower/visitor center area. And a jeep of park rangers (?) or some kind of people who looked liked they'd be helpful in a crisis. It calmed the fears a bit when our older kids went further than I'd probably be able to go to save them from ocean depths. 

Moon Jelly and Man o' War

We found several man o' wars on the beach. Thankfully no one was stung. The visitor center has antidotes for the sting, but I just read one lady's account of being stung and it does not sound fun! Jellyfish on the beach are pretty to look at, regardless.

Sandcastles and digging holes and being buried.

It was too wet and sandy to get many pictures past the first half hour of arrival. Liz' friend Adelyn was able to come with us. Phoebe stayed home because she was still getting over being sick from camp. She actually relished a full day at home with no siblings or peers around. 

I had time last week to write a post about the beach, but I felt so bummed that I hadn't done a better job keeping the kids sunscreened up, that I didn't feel I could say anything about the beach until we had healed. And I'm very thankful we are on the way. I prayed for God's mercy! 

We will make better plans for next year.