One Big Adventure
An opportunity to log in some of the thoughts and activities of our homeschooling family of eight. We love books and good food and aspire to a Christ-centered, multi-generational, agrarian life.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hannah is 15

On the 18th, Hannah, our second born, turned 15. I am not feeling any older than I already was, thank you.

One of our family traditions is food for birthdays. Hannah started out asking for something simple. I think she was trying to make it easy on us, which was very thoughtful of her. But, we wanted to bless after some encouragement and a little arm-twisting, she came up with this menu.

Hor's deurves: stuffed potato skins (home-made from skins in the freezer saved from roast garlic mashed potatoes), fried eggplant, mozzarella cheese sticks (saved the the freezer from last Christmas Eve), marinara sauce, our favorite (and easy) hot artichoke dip with sour dough bread (from the discount bread rack at Wal-mart) and stuffed mushrooms.

To drink: grape juice in wine glasses.

and a tablecloth to wipe the chin.
Another favorite: Nona salad--my mom's recipe. (Leaf and romaine lettuce, tomato, avocado (only California Haas will do), sunflower seeds (roasted and salted are best), olive oil, salad or tarragon vinegar, garlic salt and pepper).

The main course: Shrimp Scampi and Asparagus

The birthday dessert: Chocolate torte

James loves candles and Hannah very sweetly suggested we re-light them so he could have a whole turn himself.

The birthday girl serves up.

Friday, September 26, 2008

56 weeks to go

Yesterday, James, Hannah and I drove to Atlanta to see James' oncologist and GI doctor. While we always prefer to be home, it was a good drive and a good day.

First, we saw Dr. Keller and the clinic folks. Since this was just a visit and James had no procedure, he was a busy little guy and all his fans and followers were thrilled to see his shining personality sauntering around the hallways. They're always excited about hair, since so many of the children there are without--or it's quite short.

Dr. Keller said he had just counted this morning and James has 56 weeks of treatment left. That means he's finished 74 of 130 weeks. We all hope we are on the downhill side!

We talked about James pull-through surgery--that's what they call it when they put the intestines all back together again. Dr. Keller wants us to wait until chemo is all done to make sure chemo doesn't hinder James healing. That is fine. It is nice to think about the timing.

Dr. Keller couldn't get over how great James looks--he's come a long way since we first met.

After James' scheduled appointment, we went over to the hospital side to see a couple of our favorite nurses.

Then we saw James' GI doctor--who also thought James looked great!--and talked a little more about James' pull-through surgery. Those 56 weeks could go by before we know it--they certainly have before!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

James' ears

On Monday, James had a minor surgical procedure to insert tubes into he ears.

He has never had an ear infection, but his new ENT doctor said he had fluid behind his ears and that is never a good thing for someone with hearing loss.

As James' pediatrician said at his pre-op exam last week, "There really isn't any minor surgery." Of course that has to do with anesthesia. James is always considered a special case because of his Down syndrome. He has never had any unusual trouble with anesthesia, for which we are grateful.

Even with so-called minor procedures, we lose at least three days. One for all the pre-op appointments, a day for the surgery--because getting up early and going under anesthesia will wipe out a boy, his sister and his mom..and make a boy really needy--and another day for the post-op/follow-up stuff.

I'm not complaining. I'm just saying.

Today, James is pretty much back to normal. I think he is already hearing just a tad better. Next week we go for followup appointments and hopefully for new hearing aid molds and a hearing test.

Monday, September 22, 2008

War movies

In an earlier post, I mentioned that we like to watch Hopalong Cassidy.
The children are also fond of some of the olderwar movies too. Like Sergeant York and some of the Errol Flynn movies.
Can you tell?

I love that little boy...and his brother and sisters too!
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fried eggplant

Our eggplant in the garden have been incredibly productive this year. It's a good thing we like eggplant!

In preparation for Hannah's birthday celebration, we made fried eggplant.

Eggplant in the garden basket. This is a Japanese eggplant. I had wanted to get seeds for the bigger Italian eggplant, but they weren't available when I needed them. In the end, we were glad for the smaller just takes more.

Slice 1/2" thick.

Dip in milk, then in a mixture of flour, salt and pepper.

Dip in egg, then seasoned breadcrumbs. We made ours.

Fry in oil. Drain on paper towel. Salt, if desired. Serve on a platter with Marinara Sauce and pretend you are at the Olive Garden--only it's better and cheaper! :*)

We will freeze some to have on hand for 'special meals' as an appetizer.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Homeschool blessings

Carrie and I have a running game we play with her school work.

It is simple stuff. Practical and innocent. It is a kindergarten curriculum created by Rod and Staff, the Mennonite publisher. There are no modern cartoon characters, but plenty of things Carrie sees everyday.

Like chickens.

I am glad there is such a sweet curriculum I can use when my children are small. But my favorite part is the love notes we write on each page.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Katie's first bread braid

Last week, Katie was looking for something special to make for Sunday morning breakfast. It tasted just as good as it looks! She decided though that the next time, she would do some sort of wash to make it shiny and more golden.

Friday, September 5, 2008

YOYO* lunch

When we plan on a YOYO meal, it means You're On Your Own. Usually YOYOs are for Sunday night. I make popcorn and if anyone is hungrier than that, they either band together and make something or they look for leftovers or something easy.

Last week at lunch time, cooked rice, steamed veggies and shredded cheese were all set up, real purty. James must have decided we weren't serving fast enough, so he did his own version of YOYO!

What a boy!
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Lookout Hoppy!, 2

We figured out that no one, including us, could see the Hoppy pictures... so here they are again.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Noah's Ark

We are really enjoying our new history curriculum. Each four week unit ends with individual or small group projects to explore the knowledge gained from the unit or to deepen knowledge in a particular area.

Katie and Owen are working together to build a model of Noah's ark.

Below is 'Noah' perched on Katie's finger:

They are building all of this to scale. One-quarter inch per cubit. Noah is six feet tall. You can see Noah standing on the table in front of the ark below. Kind of puts some things in perspective. Nothing like the nursery wall 'arks' :*)...

I think they are planning to add a few more details to demonstrate perspective.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

A long time ago, when I was still single, I went to a little concert at a church. I think the folks who sang were Steve and Annie Chapman and their two children. But I am not sure.

The most memorable part of the evening for me was when Annie told the story of growing up on a dairy farm. I don't remember all the story actually. What I do remember is her telling about how her dad kept them all very busy. She said that on Labor Day every year her dad would celebrate by cleaning out and scrubbing and whitewashing EVERYTHING on the farm. He thought that to celebrate Labor Day they should LABOR!

Today to celebrate Labor Day, we worked around the homestead here. Catching up on things we haven't had time for since we started back to the academic part of school and Vern started back to work. Vern and Owen did some extra outside things--grading, cleaning up the line so we can, hopefully, think more about fencing, burning piles of brush. The girls and I did some extra inside things.

We didn't get everything scrubbed and whitewashed.

What did you do for Labor Day?