Sunday, June 28, 2015

Greatest Selfie Ever

I stole this great photo from my Aunt's facebook post.  I love these people! In the foreground from L-R: Aunty Cynthia Lewis, Grandpa Tom Lauret. Back L-R: Uncle Everett Adelman, Aunty Edith Adelman, Grandma Leta Lauret

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Happy Father's Day on a Diet

 I married an amazing man.  He provides such a wonderful life for his family, not just by going to work and earning money, either.  One of my favorite things Steve does as a father is read to us each night.  Currently we are reading a classic book called Treasure Island, but some of my favorite books he has read to us are the Pippi Longstocking series, the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series, Little Britches, and The Witches, just to name a few.  He also likes to take the family on nature walks/ hikes and take in the beauty of nature.  He is a photographer by self-motivated and diligent study.  Here are a few of his recent casual photos from the past week-
Here's a strange bug that landed on Steve.  Look carefully and you'll see he's eating dinner.

An angry pet mudswallow who adopted our home as a nesting ground.

Butterfly on wildflowers taken on our hike in the Uintas.

Funky-cool tree we drove by in the mountains.

More pretty wiildflowers

The beaver pond on our hike.

Our backyard at sunset

Up the street from our home

The horses across the street

Cute foal

The girls making friends.
As a school teacher, Steve gets the summers off, and the time passes SO FAST!  We are always doing something fun to spend time together. :)
 It's a blessing to be able to just pick up and go exploring when we want to.
Bullock Reservoir
We are so blessed to have Steve in our lives.  He's a wonderful father and husband.  For Father's Day, Lily made several cards and was selling them to passerbys.  I bought a few of them to give to the fathers in our lives.  The one I got for Steve was had a pirate theme and a creative dialogue.

Steve is currently on a diet that he created. He's not eating meat, dairy , refined sugar/flours, processed foods, canola/vegetable oil, and. he will occasionally have an egg or some fish, and he's trying to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and legumes and whole grains. so the typical meat and potatoes Father's Day dinner wasn't going to cut it for Steve this year. I asked him what he like me to make and he said salmon and mashed potatoes (without dairy, mind you).

I did my best and we had a yummy meal. I made a packet out of aluminum foil in which I baked the salmon with sliced carrots, chopped baby bok choy, and onions all drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice (freshly squeezed, of course) and seasoned with salt, pepper, and thyme. It turned out delicious, except to Lily who said the salmon tasted like fish smells (hmmm... fancy that) and she doesn't like fish. For the mashed potatoes, I had to get a little creative to make it taste pretty decent without the use of milk, cream, or butter. I thinned the mash with some water, & I used a drizzle of olive oil and lots of salt, pepper, and a few herbs including garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, and I may have sprinkled in some others that I can't remember. They turned out to be tasty herby-garlic mashed potatoes. I also cut fresh pineapple cubes with some lime squeezed over the top, as well as an avocado and tomato salad.

I was pleasantly surprised that the cake I made actually tasted good, at least to him, and that's who I was trying to please. The cake was made with whole oat flour and coconut flour, with honey as the sweetener, and coconut oil as the fat. I used orange juice (freshly squeezed) instead of milk, and when it finished baking, I dusted it with a little more dry unsweetened coconut, and Amara decorated it with fresh raspberries. I also made a lovely raspberry-chia-honey sauce to go over it. I thought the cake tasted too much like coconut oil, but Steve said that it was perfect with the raspberries and sauce. Glad he liked it. 

It was a good Father's Day. We love you Steve!

Sunday, June 21, 2015


We've now homeschooled our children for 2 years.  I wanted to do a post to document what we have done, and things I recommend.  I get asked all the time what it is like to homeschool.  It's like being a parent and being their teacher.  It comes with all kinds of gratifying moments and that's what I'd like to share.  I'm in no way proclaiming that being a teacher is easy and not without it's struggles, that's for another post, I suppose.  :)

We have enrolled with MyTechHigh for 2 years- it's a program that connects your student to a charter school and you send in your weekly report of what you've done and your child gets public school credit.  I like that I still have the control over what I teach my kids, and the curriculum that we use, that way I can go at their pace and customize their learning to fit their interests and style of learning, plus we have a way to stay on track.

English Language Arts:
McGuffey readers
Loosely implemented Daily 5 method (which includes daily read to self, read to others, listen to reading, writing, word work/grammar/spelling)
4 square writing
First language lessons for the well-trained mind (grammar, writing, memorization)
Library story time
Librivox recordings at breakfast
Reading classics as a family (We've read Treasure Island, Little Britches, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books, Pippi Longstocking series, Ramona books, and others)
Reading Little House In The Big Woods and crafting with it
Core Knowledge Series
Draw Write Now
Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, summer writing camp

Saxon math
Timez Attack
Education City
Kahn Academy
Skip counting songs by Have Fun Teaching on YouTube 
Bedtime Math books (the kids love this one) by Laura Overdeck

Christian Liberty Nature Readers
Lap booking
Gardening, hiking, nature walks
Science reports for dad (he gives them an interesting topic in the morning, and they use the writing process and 4-square writing to report back to him in the evening)
Core Knowledge Series
Field trips

Social Studies
Story of the World
Field trips

Monday, June 15, 2015

Saints and Horses

The photo above is of my friend, Shiloh, helping Amara put a bridle on her horse, "Bay."  Steve bought horse lessons for the girls at our church youth service auction.  Mya is their teacher.  She is Shiloh's daughter, and Shiloh supervises and helps.  We bought 4 lessons that we intended on splitting between the 2 girls, but after the first lesson, Shiloh and Mya gave us the news that they would be giving 4 lessons to each of our girls.  The girls were elated and I felt so thankful to have such sweet saints in my life that bring joy to me and my family.
The lessons take place at Shiloh's house and we use their horses and tack and all.  Lily rides a white horse named, "Grey," and Amara rides "Bay."
They've learned how to behave around horses, how to saddle up, and they are learning how to drive them. They love every minute of their lessons.
Sadly, they only have one official lesson left, but on the upside, they will get to go riding on a trail, rather than just in the corral, with their teachers while I watch Shiloh's other cute kids. 
I've sure enjoyed watching them gain confidence on their horses, and it actually has planted a small seed of desire in me to give it a try myself.  I've never been a horse person or cared to ever go horseback riding, but I did go once when I was in college, when I was invited on a double date.  That was probably not the best ride I could've had.  For one, my horse was SO slow.  I mean, it would walk at least 20 feet behind everyone else's horses, so everyone was chatting away and enjoying the ride while I was all alone.  I must say the view from up there was beautiful, and we were in the picturesque Huntsville, Utah on comfortable summer evening while the sun was gently setting.  But other than that, it didn't make me a lover of horses and riding them.  When it was all over, I was so sore.  The next day was just pain.  My legs.  My knees.  My hips.  My sides and back!  My goodness!  So, that was my horse riding career, begun and done in a one hour ride.  But now, I'm not so sure.  My girls have so much fun that I just may want to give that a try again.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sun sets, burned potato chips, and more!

Knock knock, who's there? A sunset a sunset who? A sunset at night!

Hey! You! Yes you I have a riddle what tastes burnt and is really salty? A burned potato chip!

What is cute, And sticks it's feet in the air? A Tommy Aunty April picture!

Here is a photo collage of all three.

This was posted by Amara!

Memorial Day/ Goodbye Party for Joe and Missy

Aloha Oe, Aloha Oe, Until We Meet Again.
Joe with Jayden on his shoulders, Missy with the sunglasses with her hands on JJ's shoulders so he doesn't run away, Maizie up front pulling her hood off, and Malia smiling at her sweet baby brother
This family- I love them so.  They are now living in Hawaii, on a new adventure, and I'm sure it's paradise.  I prefer to say that they are on a nice summer trip or vacation, thus tricking my psyche into thinking I'll see them soon and often.  

They made a special trip up to visit us in the Spring, knowing that they would be going far, far away for a long, long time.  After I said goodbye to them from my house on that trip, I just couldn't let them go.  My insides ached.  I hadn't had enough time with them.  I had to see them at least once more before they made the big move, so I'm so very glad it worked out and that they made time to venture up the canyon on a somewhat stormy Memorial Day for a goodbye party.
 Dad and Deb made dutch oven chicken and rice in 2 gigantor dutch ovens.  Everyone else brought sides, drinks, and desserts.  You've heard me say this before, but to me there is nothing better in this life than family, food, and outdoors combined.  And my dad's cooking- what can I say- I miss it desperately.  I'd rather eat his food than a restaurant's any day because it's dang good and it feeds more than my belly, it feeds my soul.
 The sun was out for a few hours, then a cold breeze came through and brought rain later, but it didn't spoil our BBQ.
 The portions I ate probably amounted to an entire day's worth of food.  It all was so yummers and really difficult to stop eating.  Perhaps you've heard it said- "Hawaiians don't eat until they're full, they eat until they're tired."  Guess it was the Hawaiian coming out in me.
 I couldn't get enough of this next scene.  Babies feeding babies.  It's pure bliss to watch.
 Jayden was such a big helper feeding Tommy his rice.  And Tommy?  He was such a good cooperator and opening wide for each tiny grain.
 I love all these little faces.  SERIOUSLY LOVE!
 We had a nice fire going, so why not bust out the marshmallows?  The kids foraged for sticks and did a good job toasting/incinerating their puffs of pure sugar. 
 Maizie did an excellent job toasting.  I was surprised how she was so patient and didn't just set the mallow on fire like her brother liked to do.

 Tom even drove down for the day.  He wouldn't want to miss saying his goodbyes.

 Micah somehow corralled all the kids, not just his kids, ALL the kids, and set off on a nature hike where there were no trails.  I wanted to get in on that adventure, so I followed along.
 We were "trip-trapping" over to the troll's house.
 Soon we came to a fence, the edge of the property, and we saw where people were keeping bees.  I can't imagine a lovelier place to keep bees than there.
 Then, I asked for a picture, and it was Micah's idea for everyone to show their muscles!
 Our time with everyone was short, but well spent.
 These sweet girl cousins are going to be growing a lot before they see eachother, I just know it.  Before the BBQ was done, we forced Joe and Missy's family to pose for pictures.  :)

 Love you guys!
We will see you again soon.  Have a nice "trip!"