O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Psalms 43:3

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. D&C 88:118

The kids

The kids

Monday, January 27, 2014

Thermal Cooker Applesauce

I had about 10 pounds of last fall’s apples still in my garage, so I made some applesauce. Yum!

The first day I tried it in the thermal cooker, I did it as a topping for steal cut oats. Then I made a bit pot of applesauce the next day. Neither lasted longer than the day.

Roughly chop apples. I used Gala, Cameo, and Jonathan apples. Whatever you have works great. Add in some orange juice- for about 6 cups of apples, I used the juice of one large orange. I also used about 1/3 cup water. IMG_1014

Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. IMG_1016

Place on the stove with a lid and bring to a boil. Stir several times to bring the apples from the bottom to the top and insure that all the apples are nice and hot. Ordinarily in thermal cooking you cover the food in water or liquid and boil, but with applesauce, I didn’t cover it. I just made sure that it all got to boiling temperature. This means it had to cook on the stove longer than normal, but I didn’t cook it as long as I do to make applesauce. Place in the thermal cooker and let continue to cook for several hours. The apples were nice and tender. I could easily squish them with the back of a spoon. Delicious!IMG_1022

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sleeping Like a Baby

There is so much debate about sleep and babies. There is one school of thought that all babies must be placed on a strict eat, play, sleep schedule. They should not be rocked or held to sleep and never ever allowed to nurse to sleep. They should always sleep in their own beds and they need to just learn to self-soothe and are often left to cry it out. Then on the other side there is the belief that all babies should be held for all sleep and nursed whenever and definitely nursed to sleep etc. They should never cry it out. They will learn to self-soothe in time and snuggling them and rocking them will not ruin them and create bad sleep habits.

So, here I go tackling this one! After 5 kids who had different needs, I find myself a bit more in the middle, but still closer to the parent the baby to sleep camp than I once was. Little One has not been sleeping very well lately. He got sick a month ago and was up every half hour for several days and indeed did get into a bad sleep habit. Also, he has learned to walk. With all of my kids, I noticed that around the time of walking sleep got very disrupted at night and took some work to reteach them to sleep at night. I also noticed that many of them transitioned from snuggling and nursing to sleep to nursing and still being ready to go at about walking time. I adapted with all of them, but adapting with such a little one has been harder for me- he isn’t even a year yet!

First, a bit of background. When Tiger was a baby, a mom I respected said, “Spoiled is left on a a shelf to rot!” I must say, I agree with her there. Babies cannot be spoiled through holding and cuddling and care. I simply don’t believe that doing the very thing that seems to come natural to baby care is wrong. Babies naturally fall asleep nursing. There are chemicals in the milk that make them drowsy. Furthermore, for ages and ages, babies have slept near mama. This phobia of babies being dependent is bizarre to me. Anyway, I digress. Over the years, I have nursed and rocked all of my babies to varying degrees to sleep. I don’t regret one moment of that time. Nor do I believe that any of them developed bad sleep habits from it. The one thing that I did a bit differently though, was I watched my babies and changed things as necessary without believing that I needed to train my child to sleep and without allowing them to cry it out as babies (toddlers might fuss a bit, but not babies). Miss Butterfly wouldn’t settle down nursing. For many months, she needed to be put in her bed with a binkie and allowed to fall asleep. Once I recognized that, she was fine and happy. I rocked her other times, but not to sleep. All of my older children know how to put themselves to sleep. They all know how to go to bed without rocking or without nursing or some other “prop” as so many like call it. They all have a little bit different needs, but they all have good sleep habits.

So, here I am with my fifth. This little guy is just not sleeping. I have looked at allergies and I don’t believe it is an allergy. I do believe it is stemming from all the great and fast physical development he has undergone coupled with not sleeping when sick. A dear friend suggested I read the Baby Whisperer book as she said I needed to sleep train Little One. (BTW I hate that phrase). I told her I was not about to have him cry it out, I don’t believe that is the best way. Besides, in desperation one day, I did allow him to cry and boy did that make my problems even worse! She assured me that this method includes being with the child and mentoring the child to sleep rather than just leaving him to figure it out himself. Ok. I could give that a try. I did something similar when I night-weaned all the others using Dr. Gordon’s methods.

So off to the library I went to pick up the book. I read through the section on teaching a 10 month old to sleep and jumped in with two feet. Our sleep issues had gotten rather silly- put baby in carrier. Cover head and rock standing up to get to sleep for naps! Upon putting down, hope and pray that baby will not wake and make you start over again. Nope- that isn’t going to work. I have to say that in some ways the book really angered me. I can’t stand the idea that a “prop” of nursing or rocking is a blanket bad thing. Furthermore, I can’t quite reconcile the part about introducing a lovey to baby to snuggle to sleep but a mama is not ok to have for comfort? How is that logical? (BTW, none of my kids have ever established a blankie or favorite comfort object- I was always it). I believe for Little One it has been great for him to snuggle and have me, but that at this time as he is growing his needs are changing.  I need to teach him to unwind and not be so distracted by the incredible world and go to sleep!

So, in an effort to not throw the baby out with the bathwater, I tried to ignore the parts I think are ridiculous and started in with the pick up put down, comfort, and quietly talk to sleep. Little One did it. He fell asleep after battling for 4 hours without too much fussing. Mostly whining, standing up with a grin, and then playing with his toes. Bedtime took an hour and a half but in the middle of night, he went right back to sleep several times. Hurray. Naps are still taking up to an hour to settle, but he is doing better and better without crying it out! I am so happy that he is settling down and sleeping better at night too. photo

I just wish someone would publish a book that said, “Love your babies and snuggle them all they want and need, but when their needs change, here are some ways to parent them to sleep.” Why must books make moms feel guilty or bad for doing what their instincts tell them to do? I really find that the Baby Whisperer saying that nursing to sleep or cuddling to sleep or rocking to sleep is “accidental parenting”".” Um, nope. I did it on purpose. I didn’t do it just to be lazy. Babies are only little once. Eventually they grow up. Take what works and leave the rest was also taught to me by the same mama who told me that spoiled was left on a shelf. Thank you to the Baby Whisperer for helping me get Little One to sleep, but I will leave the rest. I think it is junk. And if I happen to nurse him and he falls asleep- so be it. I will snuggle my sleeping baby and enjoy it. He is active enough as it is and rarely lets me snuggle him anymore since he is too busy exploring the world.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Tree of Learning

Today, we used a lesson from Latter-day Learning. It is one of the foundational lessons. I have been browsing their curriculum for quite a while and I am very intrigued by it. It has so many great aspects. I just wish it were finished so we could start with a different year since only Year 1 is available so far.

Today’s lesson was on how all learning stems from a common point- Theology. Elder Parely P. Pratt said, “Theology is the science of all other sciences… the very foundation from which they [all other sciences] emanate…” (Key to the Science of Theology)

We made our own learning tree to illustrate thisIMG_1043IMG_1048IMG_1050

After we added all our branches, we added the fruit- the results of all the sciences. These fruits (literature, art, music) can be found and related to all the other subjects. We named a few of them as we drew fruit off of different branches. IMG_1051

The final results!


Monday, January 20, 2014

Make It Monday- Tired Mama Surprise

This edition of Make it Monday is a very special recipe that only babies and toddlers know how to cook up.


No Naps

Wake Every Hour for 6 days straight all night

Smile when it is morning.

Mix it all together and refuse to sleep more than 10 minutes all day, wake all night to check the progress. As the sun peeks out of the clouds, smile broadly. Your Tired Mama Surprise is perfect! You are guaranteed a bleary-eyed mama who will just barely get by on basics and won’t remember anything extra. Congratulations!

Sweet Little One was sick a couple of weeks ago and got into a really bad rhythm of zero sleep. As a result, all extras were dumped in favor of catching 5 minutes of sleep if possible. Don’t worry, Make it Monday will return next week with Thermal Cooker Applesauce. It is delicious.

Friday, January 17, 2014

I am going to be scarce…

It is January and most homeschoolers I know see January as a doldrums month- a month where it is grey and cold outside and it is hard to feel motivated to plan exciting things. It seems like Christmas wasn’t long enough and the cold and dark won’t go away… by the end of January life seems to return to normal though.

This year, January has given me barely any breathing room to feel the January slump. First, someone’s bright idea was to start co-op the first Friday after New Year’s. Woops. That was a bad idea. Several people were still out of town and several of the coordinators didn’t even realize that co-op was starting on the 3rd until the day or two before! <Raising hand> Yup, I was one of them.

Add to that, our love of learning age classes run on a 6 week rotation. As a result of the way the schedule shook out this year, instead of taking two terms to plan, rehearse, and perform a play, we are doing it in 6 weeks! Granted, I did insist on 2 hours per class instead of the usual 1 hour class. So, I am directing our co-op school play. I have an amazing assistant director, set designer, prop manager, stagehands, music director, and parent assistants to help me pull this off, and excited kids, but we did bite off quite a bit. The next 4 weeks will have my brain swimming with lines, blocking, set and prop adjustments, lighting and sound thoughts- oh yeah, I forgot to spend some time searching for royalty free sound files for sound effects this week. Add that to this week’s list!- back to the blog…

Then there is sweet Little One. He is WALKING! At 9.5 months he began walking and on his 10 month birthday he figured out how to stand up without holding onto something. Silly boy tries to run across the room and frequently trips and sprawls. He keeps falling into the drawers and bookshelves. Poor little guy has several bruises and a knot on his forehead from his adventures in walking. He is so busy and constantly ripping things off shelves and out of cabinets. Good thing I have put toys in bins with snapping lids!

Last but most definitely not least, I am in the process of doing a major house purge. I am putting toys in a cabinet in bins and creating a schedule of accessible time and routines with the children to help keep my house more orderly and free of clutter. This cabinets make me smile every time I open them! Puzzles, dress-ups, yarn, art supplies, all contained!photophoto

Add in regular learning time with the girls while Little One is refusing to take a nap, leaves me with a minimal amount of time to update the blog. I will do my best. In the meantime, I was unpacking the produce box the other day and Little One decided to attempt a snack… with only 2 teeth on the bottom, he didn’t make much progress!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Patterned Tape Art

I am not very creative with things that are designed for a purpose. For example, if you give me a crayon, I will color with it. I wouldn’t think to melt it down a canvas to create a piece of art as I have seen others do. I just don’t generally have that abstract thinking when it comes to art projects. Butterfly on the other hand has limitless imagination. “I am rarely bored because if I am, all I have to do is daydream and daydreaming is the funnest thing in the world to do!”

So, today’s Make it Monday is brought to you by Butterfly. She received patterned tape for Christmas. I figured they would use the tape like stickers or something… nope. Instead, Butterfly promptly began making pictures out of patterned tape.scan0002 scan0003scan0005scan0004

She then taught Pumpkin Pie to do the same.scan0001

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Great School Day

Yesterday morning while we ate breakfast, we talked about our day today. Tiger mentioned that all his friends at church were jealous that his classes didn’t start until Wednesday but he felt envious that they go to t return to school on Monday. I love that he loves to learn so much and doesn’t dread to go back to school. I feel sad for those who do. After family work, we had our devotional. We read a chapter of scriptures and discussed them. Pumpkin Pie is growing so much in her reading abilities. Today she was able to follow along while Tiger read his verses. It was the first time where she was able to follow along. We read poetry and then I sent Tiger off to do his work. He read from Do Hard Things and also from Treasure Island before doing some math. photoButterfly practiced piano while I did math with Pumpkin Pie and Strawberry. I also read some stories with the girls. Butterfly returned to do some history and math work. Then we wrote thank you letters and the girls made pictures with patterned tape.


I am amazed at Butterfly’s creativity. She used several different tapes to make a swan. While the girls wrote their thank you letters, I cleaned my desk off and wrote my thank you letters too.  photo

After lunch, we watched the old Fiddler on the Roof movie and discussed it. Then the kids played Setters of Catan, had dinner and stories and went to bed. It was a great day.

Things to Share

I am creating list of poetry and stories I want to share during our devotional time and I came across this poem in The Moral Compass by William Bennett. It was published in 1831. I think this will be a good one to memorize.

The Little Fish That Would Not Do As It Was Bid

by Jane Taylor

Dear mother, said a little Fish,
Pray, is not that a fly?
I’m very hungry, and I wish
You’d let me go and try.

Sweet innocent, the mother cried,
And started from her nook,
That horrid fly is put to hide
The sharpness of the hook!

Now, as I’ve heard, this little Trout
Was young and foolish too,
And so he thought he’d venture out,
To see if it were true.

And round about the hook he played,
With many a longing look,
And, Dear me, to himself he said
I’m sure, that’s not a hook.

I can but give one little pluck:
Let’s see; and so I will.
So on he went, and lo, it stuck
Quite through his little gill.

And as he faint and fainter grew,
With hollow voice he cried,
Dear mother, if I’d minded you,
I need not now have died.


fish hook in water_b&w

Monday, January 6, 2014

Make It Monday- Roasted Veggie Enchiladas

One thing my dad’s family did for Christmas Eve was make Enchiladas and Feijoada for dinner. This year, I resurrected the Enchiladas for Christmas Eve dinner and they were delicious! For Make-It Monday, I am sharing my recipe. I hope you like it. Quantities below are for 6-8 enchiladas. I made quite a bit more than this by increasing the potatoes, mushrooms, and sauce quantities. I also didn’t use the whole container of ricotta. I made 28.

1 onion, roughly chopped
1/2 red bell pepper and 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 red potatoes cubed
1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small head broccoli, roughly chopped
1 small head cauliflower, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
6-8 corn tortillas (8 inches), warmed
1.5 cups enchilada sauce (I use both red and green sauce- Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde watered down works wonderfully in a pinch. I loved the Sweet Creek sauces we used.)
1 small container whole milk ricotta
shredded cheese (I used a mix of raw cheddar and goat milk cheddar)
chili powder

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop the veggies into small uniform pieces, about 1/4-1/2 inch. Things that cook faster like broccoli and cauliflower can be a little larger than the things that cook slowly like potatoes and sweet potatoes. Toss in a bowl with some olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet in a thin layer in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until tender and some of the edges are beginning to brown. Stir a couple of times during the roasting to prevent burning and to evenly roast.

Here are my chopped veggies in 2 pans ready to mix.

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After roasting, season with chili powder and adjust the salt and pepper. Cool while setting up your assembly line for the enchiladas. Turn down oven to 350. December 2013 482

Warm the tortillas before assembly. I use the stove to heat both sides of the tortilla. They could alternately be wrapped in foil and heated with the veggies until warmed through.

Prepare your baking dish with several tablespoons of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan. Spread a teaspoonful of enchilada sauce on the tortilla and spread it around. Add a small teaspoon of ricotta cheese and spread on one side of the tortilla. Spoon in some roasted veggies and sprinkle with a tiny amount of cheese. December 2013 471Roll and place in the baking dish seam side down. It really helps if the seam is placed in such a way that the tortilla wants to unroll towards the other rolls. Note the enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan.  December 2013 472

After filling all the tortillas, pour enchilada sauce on top. Sprinkle a little cheese on top to. These enchiladas are ready for the oven. December 2013 475

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted. These are out of the oven.

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Serve warm with Spanish rice and salad.

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Other bloggers are participating in Make-It Monday. Feel free to link at Kathy’s Cluttered Mind.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Sweet Moment- Sister Care

Butterfly was sick yesterday. Many times, when Pumpkin Pie has been sick, Butterfly has sat by her and nursed her, read her stories, fetched her water, or just kept her company. Yesterday, when I was not available, Pumpkin Pie jumped in and returned the favor, taking care of her big sister. Today, Butterfly was feeling a little better, but still was lying on the couch unable to go to church. When Pumpkin Pie came down dressed in a dress and sweater and needed her sash tied, Butterfly called her over and sat up. She explained that the dress and sweater used to be hers and she knew how to fix it so it looked best. She then began to fuss over Pumpkin Pie, fixing her collar, straightening the shoulders, tying the sash, and making her sister presentable. It was the sweetest thing to watch her still serving Pumpkin Pie even though she felt rotten and was on the couch. I am grateful I got to watch the tender moment between sisters who love each other and take care of one another. My only regret was that a camera was not handy!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Vacation? in Review

Growing up I remember looking forward to vacations. We counted the days until there was no school and we could play. My children have a very different perspective of vacation. Yes, our schedule is different, but really, we still spend time learning. The company B works for takes the week between Christmas and New Years off instead of taking a bunch of one day holidays during the year. As a result, we always have him home for about 10 days around Christmas and love it.

We played lots of Legos.

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We went to a flight museum. In the cockpit of a fighter jet…

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Little One helped Tiger build a robot while Pumpkin Pie and Butterfly went to a planetarium show and Strawberry hung out with me.

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We played many games of Dominion and we ate good food.

Ready for enchiladas Christmas Eve.December 2013 484

Ready for fondue New Year’s Eve.December 2013 604

We also spent time reading A Christmas Carol and holding a sick baby.

Today, Butterfly and Tiger worked on memorizing poetry and lines for their audition at co-op tomorrow and Butterfly worked on making a Chinese lantern with the help of B.