Saturday, October 05, 2013

Conquering the Pie Crust

Pie crust and I have never gotten along. I can never get it right. Part of this is the fact that I am very picky about crust. It should be the best part of a pie if it is done right. I like it to be pretty, and flaky and thick, but not soggy. I have never been able to make it work out the way I want. Well, I ordered a bushel of peaches, and they were sitting in my pantry begging to be put in a pie, so I had to try and find a way to appease them and my crust-pickiness.

I did it. I found it. The perfect recipe that I can handle whilst still meeting all my criteria. This is not perfect, and I think I can do it better next time if I cut the strips thinner, but I am still happy with the way things worked out. I will be using this recipe again!

When I pulled it out of the oven, Sara saw it and said, "Mom! That ALMOST looks like a REAL pie!" Apparently I passed on my pickiness to my daughter. At least I was close...

The School Saga

Last year we made a very important decision concerning the schooling of our kids. After having some very negative experiences at our local school, we decided that we would not be sending our children there any longer. I won't go into all the details for the reasoning behind that position, but it was not made lightly.

After talking with Ross and going over all of our different options, I knelt down and told the Lord that I was putting the final result of this change in His hands. I informed Him that we knew we were not supposed to send our children to the school out here, so we had taken the time and effort to enroll the girls into the lotteries for three different charter schools, and two home school options that are hosted partially online. We told Him that we knew He would show us the right way to go, but that there was one school in particular we really wanted them to attend. If none of those lotteries worked out for us, I was prepared to home school my children.

Well, nothing worked out. The girls didn't get into any of the alternative schools we had tried for, so I made the preparations to home school. We began the process, and it was amazing. I loved it. The kids loved it. Everything worked out the way I had hoped.

There were days where things were harder than others, and there were really good days where I was still more than ready for Ross to get home so that I could get a breather from the kids, but all in all, it was a really wonderful experience. I was so grateful for the answer we had been given, and I loved not having to send my kids away every day.

Then things changed. I got an e-mail from the one school we had really been hoping for that said they had spots open for both of our girls. This is the lottery we had been the lowest on and had given up all hope of getting in to. They had started their school year two weeks before.

I was stunned. I was angry. I wanted so much to be confused, but I was not. I knew right away that this is what we were meant to do. We had our answer, and I was angry. I did not want to give up this amazing home schooling process we had started. I did not want to send my kids away. I did not want to take all this great time I had with them and trade it for carpooling every day. I didn't want to do it. I was selfish.

That being said, I did as I had been bid. I called Ross (on his birthday) to tell him the good news, and then I called my friend whose children are also in this school. After she stopped screaming for joy, she gave me the skinny on what I needed to buy for uniforms, and what to expect from this new situation.

I printed off the giant registration packet, took the girls to buy new clothes for their new school, and then sat in Chick Fil A filling out the paper work while the kids played in the play-place. Ross met me there and helped me rapidly finish so that we could get it all in on time for the kids to be able to go to school the next day. We made it.

I did not take this change very well. I did it. I followed the council of the Lord, but I stomped my foot and stuck out my tongue and told Him over and over how mean He had been to play such a nasty trick on me.

In the end, He is smarter than me, and things have worked out really wonderfully. The girls love their school and there have been some really great opportunities presented to them there. I had to be reminded that all of my reasons for not wanting to make this change were selfish in nature as they were focused on me and what I wanted and did not want. I am grateful that they were led to such a wonderful school with such amazing teachers. I am grateful for the mothers around me who have helped with car pools and service hours and making the transition as simple as possible.

Here are the pictures from their first day at their new school.
 Emma is in Mrs. Bennett's class. She loves her teacher and has a lot of new friends in her class. She is getting the help that she needs in math, and has been placed in an accelerated reading program.
 Sara is in Mrs. Thompson's class and has a friend from the ward in her class. I was most worried about her because of how shy she is, but Mrs. Thompson was wonderful about gently getting her acquainted with this new setting. Sara has been put in reading and math groups with the first graders, and loves it.

They both love all the fun specialties they get to be involved in like drama, art, Spanish, choir, and the fun new Space program.

 Just after I dropped the girls off for their first day, I went to a brunch with the ladies in my neighborhood. I had planned to bring all my kids, but instead went with the boys to get some much needed comfort and support while I missed them. The brunch went long enough that I had to run and pick Sara up from her first day and bring her back.

When we got back, my friend, Corrine (Miss Corky) had come. She knew how much I was struggling with this change, and she sat down with Sara and had a lovely talk about what a great decision this was and how she could help me when I missed her so much. She complimented Sara's cute uniform and just chatted with her about anything Sara wanted to talk about. I just love this woman and the friendship she has shown to not just me, but my children as well. She was one of Sara's preschool teachers last year, she is Emma's primary teacher this year, and she is one of Jack's preschool teachers this year.

This is not how I pictured this year going, but I know there is a reason they are there. We are blessed.

Hair Cuts

 There is something about a haircut for a little boy that turns them into little men instantly.
 This haircut for Luke was especially traumatizing for me because underneath all of his red locks was a bunch of blonde hair. My red-head is no more, and I am still heart broken over it months later.
 Mr. Jack is handsome as ever.
 They are both growing up far too fast.

The Cure for Gross Microfiber

 I got some microfiber bar stools from a yard sale. They were a screaming deal ($2 a piece) and I had been looking for something like that for months, so I jumped on them. When I got them home, I realized just how grubby they were. I hit the internet to try and find some ideas for cleaning them. The one thing that finally had some success was on Pinterest. It said to use a white rag, and mix water and rubbing alcohol together. You take that mixture and douse the whole thing with it. I ended up putting a spray nozzle on the alcohol bottle for this. The bottle was half full, so I put water in the rest of it, and went to town. Between that and my generous dose of elbow grease, I got them looking A LOT better.

Incontrovertible Poof that BYU is the BEST

Any team that has the entire Marvel universe rooting for it has to be the best!

First Day with Miss Jenny

 Jack started preschool with Miss Jenny. He was SOO excited. He couldn't even look at me to take a picture because there was too much cool stuff to look at.
When I picked him up and asked him about his day, all he could tell me he learned was that Jayden was in his class and sat right by him. He has learned a little bit more since then, but we are very grateful for Mr. Jayden. He is a good kid, and they really do love each other. I love seeing my kids with such good friends.

There is a funny story about this day, though. I had slept in that day because I was recovering from a migraine the day before. I knew I could do that because I didn't have anywhere I had to be. Or so I thought.

I got on Facebook and saw some panicked posts from Jayden's mom who was frantically looking for someone who had a printer she could borrow because she forgot to grab the picture she had ordered when she was at the store the day before, and she HAD to have it for Jayden's All About Me paper for his first day of pre-school.

That is when I looked at the calendar and realized that yes, indeed, my boy was starting his first day of Preschool in 40 minutes, and I had let it completely slip my mind. Good job, Mom...

Fortunately, I had a picture already printed that I could use. I got the kids all up, and Jack was so excited about his surprise, that he was up and dressed in no time! We quickly filled out his All About Me page, and he got there in time to make it seem like I was totally on top of things the whole time. Not so much. I sure am grateful Jessica forgot that picture, because without her post, I would have totally spaced this important first for this special boy.

Heroes In a Half Shell

 For Ross's birthday, I let all the kids pick out some shirts for him. I had planned on grabbing one and signing Luke's name to it, but he found this one while I was helping Sara with something and was giddy about it. He recognized the design because he had one at home just like it. Ross loves it, and they like to match.
 They tried to get a picture with Leonardo, but he would have none of it.
 Boys are fun.

The Power of Poppy Pendle

 Emma checked out a book from the library about a witch who did not want to be a witch anymore because she just wanted to bake.
 The back of the book included some recipes, so we made some of them one Saturday when Ross was working overtime.
 The kids really liked them and Emma felt special following the recipe on her own. We took some to Ross when we were done and then went to play at the zoo.

Cats On Loan

 My friend Maria had need for a temporary housing situation for her friend's cat and her three kittens. Since we were doing a veterinary unit in home school, and because I love and excuse to love on some kitties, I jumped to volunteer.

This is Omen. Isn't she gorgeous?! We found her very fox-like. She was very affectionate, but she wasn't a big fan of Leo, so she and her babies had to stay in the basement while she was here.
 Bindi is the cute little nugget with the Bindi dot. The girls adored her. Miss Nova was the super fluffy girl on the right. She was the most advanced and the most fun to play with. Tux was the perfect gentlemen with perma-formal attire. He was my favorite.

They stayed for a couple of weeks before we returned them to their owner. It was fun and I think the kids learned a lot while they were here.

Grandma Jones's Birthday

 For my mom's birthday this year, we had a lovely bonfire in their back yard to roast marshmallows and make smores. It was wonderful to get to spend time with people we love so much. My camera kind of wandered a lot that night, so I have some really great shots, but I have no idea who took which ones.
 OK, so I know I took this one...

 Emma took this one because she thought it was funny I was sitting in one of the little kids' chairs so that I could get close enough to create marshmallow perfection.
 Selfie! So cute!

 Stud Boy!

 Heather brought that onesie for Luke from Canada. He loves it!

 Check out Emma's tongue! Major concentration happening there!

 At one point, Jack discovered the hose that was running on a slight trickle in case the fire needed some extinguishing. A Jones style water fight ensued to make the night complete.
 Even Grandpa couldn't stay safe.

Everyone went home tired and happy that night. I hope my mom enjoyed her day as much as we did.