Saturday, April 22, 2017

Frisco Roughriders

We attended the Frisco Roughriders baseball game this evening, and we had a blast!

Dr. Pepper Stadium is very charming, and we had fantastic seats on row 2, right by the Roughriders dugout.

Eager for the game to start

Parade of Mascots

Play ball!

We made the most of the all-you-can-eat chips and hot dogs that came with our tickets

Lucky enough to snag a game ball and have it signed

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Killing some new skills

Clay decided that today was the day he was going to tackle some of his life skills, and he has been killing it! First, he knocked out shoelace tying and got so good at that he eventually started saying, "Time me." He has been untying and retying his laces all afternoon and is so proud that no one will have to help him with his baseball cleats anymore.

Buoyed by the confidence that came with mastering that skill, he decided that, instead of putting back on the training wheel that had fallen off his bike, he'd just go ahead and take the other one off. We padded him up, but it was largely unnecessary. He got the hang of it right away and just took off. He is thrilled that it will be much easier to keep up with his brothers now!

My baby is really growing up, and I'm so very proud of him!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Kid's Day

Every year in CC, the kids learn about the orchestra and different composers, so when one of the moms from our group planned a field trip to Kid's Day at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, we jumped at the opportunity. On Kid's Day, the orchestra performs a shortened symphony to accommodate shorter attention spans. Additionally, the performance is interactive, and the kids are invited to share how each piece makes them feel, while learning about major keys, minor keys, tempo, pitch, etc. We all thoroughly enjoyed it!

After the performance, we headed over to Klyde Warren Park for a picnic and an afternoon of basking in the gorgeous weather. It was a fantastic day and so much fun!

All spiffed up for the performance

We loved the demonstration of the huge pipe organ!

The kids said they thought we had the best seats in the house 

Fun at Klyde Warren Park

Imitating Clay

Big fun in Big D

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Eric the Red

Today was our last day of CC for the year, and part of the festivities included the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders (Essentials students) presenting their big end-of-year research papers, which CC calls Faces of History. The assignment was to choose a real person from Medieval history, find at least three credible sources about that person from which to gather information, write a five-paragraph paper in the third person, and then turn the paper into a presentation, to be delivered in the first person and in costume. Finally, the kids were asked to provide a snack representative of the geographic region their characters were from to share at the reception that followed the presentations. Weston chose Eric the Red and worked for weeks completing the assignment, sometimes even during non-school hours--not because I required that of him, but because he was so excited about the project. He did a phenomenal job with the paper and the presentation, and we are so proud of him! (His paper follows the pictures, for those of you who might want to read it.)

All decked out before the presentation

Presenting before an audience of peers, parents, siblings, and other invited guests

The Man on Fire
Could history ever forget a discoverer with fiery hair and a fiery spirit? Will Eric the Red’s legacy be remembered? Like everyone, Eric, the son of a Viking chief, was deeply influenced by his family. Sadly, as an adult, he was unable to restrain his temper and was therefore forced to flee his country. Making the most of this less than ideal situation, Eric became an explorer.
Everybody is profoundly impacted by their families. Eric was no exception. When he was still a young boy, Eric’s family left Norway and traveled to Iceland because his dad had become an outlaw. In his early adulthood, Eric married Thorhild, who was the daughter of a different chief. Together they had four kids, one of whom became the famous explorer Leif Ericsson. Clearly, parents have an enormous effect on their children.
Like his father, Eric had a terrible temper, which turned him into an outlaw as well. Eric’s slaves stupidly started a landslide, which demolished a neighbor’s home. Retaliating, the neighbor slayed the thralls. When Eric found out, his anger overtook him, and he killed his neighbor. As a result of his horrible temper, he was banished from Iceland.
Taking advantage of what seemed like a tragic situation, Eric sailed west because he had not explored that part of the world before. Finally, after about three months of traveling, Eric landed on a distant land covered in ice. He named it Ericsholm, which means “Eric’s Home.” After a while, Eric had a noticeably nifty notion and changed the name to Greenland in order to draw more settlers. The name worked, and twenty-five other ships embarked upon the six month journey. Sadly, only fourteen arrived in Greenland. Since there was no wood in this new land, the Vikings had to hunt whales and seals so that they could trade the skins for the wood they needed. After a life of exploring, Eric eventually settled down in a town in Greenland he called Eric’s Fjord.
It is clear that Eric’s family had a great influence on him. Tragically, this may have led to him becoming an outlaw. On the bright side, Eric finally had an opportunity to become a proficient explorer. Though he faced many struggles early in his life, Eric the Red managed to overcome them all and is now remembered as the founder of Greenland. Importantly, this legacy of exploration carried over to his son, Leif, who discovered an entirely new continent. The world will not soon forget the adventurer with the fiery hair and equally fiery spirit.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Bread Winners

In recent months, we have been transitioning away from traditional breads and have been trying to take more of a gluten-free, sugar-free approach. My biggest issue with "fake" bread is usually the texture, as many recipes seem to come out way too dry or mushy in sort of a weird way or are so dense as to be impractical.

But, never one to give up easily, I have continued to try recipes from the vast selection offered by the Internet and have finally found some winners, with true bread-like texture. I wanted to share them here 1). so they will be easy for me to find in the future, and 2). because some of you may also want to try them out of dietary necessity or plain and simple curiosity.

Blender Bread Recipe--This is a really flavorful bread and is perfect for toast or for sandwiches or other use cases that require slices of bread.

2-Minute Flourless English Muffin--This one is a single-serve recipe, but it's quick and delicious. I have only had it toasted for breakfast, but I imagine it would also work well as sandwich bread.

Carrot Quinoa Muffins--A great make-ahead breakfast or snack option, if you want something that's easy to grab on your way out the door in the morning. The recipe, as it appears on the website, calls for brown sugar and whole wheat flour. I used gluten-free flour and coconut sugar, and I substituted whatever unsweetened, non-dairy milk I had on hand (probably either soy or almond, but could have been coconut), plus a bit of lemon juice, for the buttermilk.

Healthy Banana Bread--I've made this a couple of times now, and it goes very quickly. Everyone genuinely loves it, and no one seems bothered by the fact that it's healthy. Again, I substituted gluten-free flour, and I used organic agave syrup in place of honey or maple syrup, just because I happened to have it. The last time we made it, we added in chopped almonds, and it was fantastic!                  

If you have come across any non-bread bread recipes that you love, please share them so I can continue to build up my repertoire.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Making room for what's important

At 2:22 AM, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for our immediate area, siting funnel clouds in a nearby town, heading our direction at 45 miles per hour. Shortly thereafter, tornado sirens began wailing throughout our little city. My first thought, as I fought through the sleepy fog, was that some horrible accident must have occurred and the hospital near our house was experiencing a higher than normal volume of ambulance traffic. A couple of moments later, I realized it was the severe weather warning, but I thought it must be a mistake because it wasn't even raining. At almost the same instant that thought entered my mind, the rain started, and I sat bolt upright and grabbed my phone to check the weather. Jeff asked me what was wrong, and, as we both realized we already knew the answer, we jumped out of bed and hit the lights. One flickering of the electricity was all it took for us to start collecting sleepy children from the other bedrooms.

This house lacks a true safe room, so we made the split-second decision to put everyone in the master closet, following the tornado rules we've memorized as long-time Texas residents. I began literally throwing shoes and other clutter out of the relatively small space, in order to make room for my people. It was then that I realized I just have too much stuff.

I have been trying to live a minimalistic lifestyle ever since we got rid of everything and headed off on our RTW trip. But, suddenly, my stuff was getting in the way of my people, and it just seemed like too much. I was wondering how it even all got there and how I hadn't noticed it piling up before. But I hadn't noticed it before because it hadn't interfered with the safety of my family, and I had just been lazily letting it accumulate.

This morning, I woke up bound and determined to make room in my closet--and my life--for what's truly important. I'm not saying I'm happy we all had to gather in the closet in the middle of the night or that I want a repeat performance, though I'm ready for it if it's forced upon me. What I can tell you is that everything that's important to me was in my closet last night, and it darn sure wasn't my shoes!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Sports

If you're wondering where I've been lately, your best guess would have been some sort of field where sports are played or enroute between the various fields. The practice schedule has been a little brutal, with two kids practicing in different locations on Monday evenings, one kid practicing on Tuesday evenings, two kids practicing at different locations on Wednesday evenings (plus, my not-to-be-missed yoga class in yet a third location), a practice on Friday afternoon, a practice on Saturday morning, and two practices in different locations on Sunday afternoons. And, this last week, we threw in a couple of make-up riding lessons, a pep rally, and an academic contest, just to keep things interesting.

On Saturday, Weston had his first football game of the new season, which his team won in a big way. Weston played half the game on defense and the other half on offense and was just as happy as he could be the entire time.

Weston is one of the captains for his team this season--
a responsibility he takes very seriously

Blocking like a boss

Shortly after Weston's game was over, Clay played his first baseball game of the season. He hit twice off the pitcher and didn't have to use the tee at all, so he was pretty proud of himself. Weston and I didn't get to attend the game, as we had to go to Denton for the PSIA contest, but Dad made sure we got lots of picture updates.


Headed for home

Getting a little help from coach with the catcher's gear

On Monday evening, Max finally got in his first game as well. He was one of a few boys who got a hit and one of even fewer who put points on the board, both of which he was very proud of, even though his team didn't get the win.

The big hit

Coming home

I'm proud of all the kids, and I love to see them doing what they love--even if it means I spend almost as much time in my car running between various fields all over town as I do at home.