Category Archives: Kids

Discovering Education – Field Trip to Jerome, Arizona

Watch us this week as we Discover Education in Jerome, Arizona and find something special on the dirt back road that we took. 

Discovering Education – Visiting Jerome, Arizona and traveling the back roads, Verde Valley, Jerome Historical Museum, Haunted Hamburger

 

www.DiscoveringEducation.us

 

KrisAndLarry.com, homeschooling, homeschoolers, krisandlarry

 

Be sure to like and follow our YouTube channel and visit our website, www.krisandlarry.com

Favorite time of the year AND Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies

Don’t get me wrong, I love summertime and spending it outside with my family and friends. I love the sound of the cicadas in the trees of Arizona. I love eating freshly picked watermelons from the garden and swimming in the pool with the kiddlings…

But my favorite time of the year is the fall when we start to can (applesauce is my favorite) and bake. Hoodies and apple pies!! Fires in the fire place. I love baking bread and biscuits. I love the smell of cookies coming out of the oven. (My waistline, however, doesn’t love that part! 😉 )

I love the approaching winter season when we celebrate the birth of our savior. 

Every day in the fall, I try something new in my kitchen. I attempt new cookies or bread. I love making dinner in the crockpot. I love creating new soups for my family. 

This morning in my area, we woke up to the first day of frost on our windshields. It was 34 degrees out when I got up at 3:30 for my classes to start. And our high today isn’t supposed to get over 55 degrees. It is a crockpot kind of day!

On the list for the week –

  • Chicken and Dumplings, Biscuits, Crockpot beef stroganoff, homemade noodles, and animal circus cookies.
  • We have beautiful purple cabbage coming out of the freeze dryer this morning and apple slices going in.
  • We plan on having a road trip if it doesn’t rain at the end of the week

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies

Peanut butter, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-1/4 cups flour

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

PREHEAT oven to 375°F.

COMBINE together butter and peanut butter until well blended. Add sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and soda. Beat until combined. Next, beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Add flour, oats and chocolate chips.

Drop on cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees

*This recipe doubles fantastically – We add 1 bag of chocolate chips to a doubled batch.

 

 

Cricut Explore Air 2 – Game Changer for our homeschool and other projects

I have always been a crafter, but most of that has gone the wayside with 7 kids in the house and working, homesteading, etc. And not wanting to scrapbook and see all of the memories of Breckin. That was way too hard in the beginning of the grieving process. Pictures are coming out, Albums are being put together and memories are being made. 

In my “past life” I taught scrapbooking classes for several different companies (when Griffen was a baby – so about 16 years ago). One flew me around the country several times a month for over a year to teach other consultants how to run their classes.

I have 40+ cricut cartridges and several machines in the top of the closet in the hall.  But, dragging them out of the hall closet, finding the right cartridge, the process was long and crazy. And it took over what ever table that I set it up on.



I needed to revisit my creative outlet and get going again. 

So this new Cricut is a game changer!!! I picked it up on Amazon (Link below) for about $300. Yes, I know….$$$

But since it’s arrival, I have made props for my classroom, the kids started their lapbook projects on the states for our homeschooling, I have our vacation t-shirts designed. I even loaded the VIPKid logo in and cut a few IRON-ON for my orange t-shirts!!! I have so many ideas for home designs and there are even some simplicity patterns that you can purchace and be able to cut with this. I have it on my printer shelf next to my laser printer. 

And the best part is that the design process is online. I can start a design, and then save and revisit it later. I don’t lose anything and since time to do “crafty” things in my house is limited, I am able to come back to projects and cut them out when I have time. 

 

PHONE APP!!!!!

AND There is a PHONE APP! So when I am sitting in the car, waiting for one of the kids in their many activities, I can design something and then cut it when I get home!!! 

 

You can use it with your current cricut cartridges AND/OR pay a monthly subscription plan (if you plan on using it) and get 50,000 graphics to be able to cut. You can also purchase PRE-DESIGNED PROJECTS! 

(YES, It cuts Vinyl, magnet, cardstock, leather, fabric, felt, paper, burlap, birch, denim. There is even a slot for pens to draw some of the parts of your projects – I haven’t even tried that one yet.) Here is a link to all of the materials that you can cut with it: https://help.cricut.com/help/cricut-explore-materials-settings

I am thinking wooden signs with vinyl cutouts for the kids’ animals for the fair next year!!!

 

Oh, WHY did I not do this sooner!?!? So here is the link, my friends!!! GAME CHANGER for your crafting needs!!!






Welcome to 2016!

IMG_20160105_103640Welcome to 2016! And Happy 12th day of Christmas!! 

This year on our homestead, we are working really hard to get self sustaining and be able to offer more animals, produce and eggs to our friends.  It has been a great year! We have pressed the “easy” button and made life simpler which is this busy mama’s long term hope for the family. (And by simpler, I do not mean easier, but rather slowing down the CRAZY and drinking iced tea on my porch, watching chickens peck the ground and kids playing outside.)

What are our goals for our homestead this year? We know that most of these won’t happen this year… but we are all hopeful.  

  • add tilapia to our aquaponics system (right now, we have just goldfish in there.)
  • add an additional aquaponics system
  • Add a solar system to the aquaponics system(s)
  • build another greenhouse
  • build a smoke house
  • add 5 more raised garden beds to our garden
  • build additional quail house to house at least 150 more quail
  • purchase a second cabinet incubator for all of the eggs that we have been hatching
  • publish 2 more books
  • plant and tend our garden 
  • not go to the grocery store from May until October (and we are well on out way! I just got a call that our 1/2 steer will be ready to pick up in mid February from the butcher. Our pigs will be going to butcher in March too. My freezers will be FULL!)
  • learn to make sour cream and purchase a cheese press to make cheddar
  • raise turkeys to sell (we have 80 eggs in the incubator right now.)
  • raise coturnix quail to eat weekly for our family
  • Continue to homeschool our amazing kids (minus Shelby who is in college and is being joined by Larry in college this spring to get an additional degree)
  • continue to offer our home as a foster family for kids who need us
  • BE A FAMILY! BE TOGETHER! SHARE OUR LOVE!

HAPPY 2016!! 

Happy Birthday SHELBY!!!

I am so very proud of my SHELBY! Shelby, you have accomplished so much! You are an an amazing woman, growing daily into the person that I knew that you would become. You are a hard worker and that shows by working full-time and college full-time. All of the kids in the house look up to you. I honestly can not believe how fast time flies.

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!happybirthdayshelby

Happy 2-year anniversary GOTCHA DAY!

 



HAPPY GOTCHA DAY!!!!


WE.ARE.A.FAMILY!
  
2 years ago today, my little boys moved into my home through Arizona Foster care. At the time, we did know the path that we were going to end up.  And had no idea that these were going to be our children at the time.

They were blue from top to bottom from bruises and lash marks, had broken noses and cracked other bones. They were severely under weight and have both put on OVER 20 POUNDS in the last 2 years. They are both now right where their weights need to be!!

I feel that I need to continue telling others our story of our little boys and of Larry and I. It is not an easy job to be a foster family or as a family who decided to adopt older children who are in foster care (when I say older, I mean any child in the system over 2 because they start to have memories of their past at that point). We have our ups and downs. Thank GOD that the ups out-number the downs 10-fold.

Breckin and Trystan were 6 and 4 years old. They came from a transient family who was just passing through this area again (settling for only a few months at any location.)  They arrived at 11pm on July 10, 2012. They got here and inhaled an entire bag of “GoldFish” crackers and 1/2 of a gallon of milk.

I will not sugar coat how difficult a journey it has been for them because that wouldn’t be fair to them or to anyone reading who is interested in foster care and adoption through foster care. Each child is so different with their biofamilies and backgrounds. I don’t wish what my boys went through to be brought down on my worse enemy. We work on behavioral issues EVERY DAY! And although sometimes Larry and I don’t see it getting any easier with them, I know the progress that we made so far. I remember several of my friends bringing clothes over to my home to help us get ready for them and the tears in their eyes after seeing how bruised they were.

Both boys were feral. They were dirty and showering was a new concept. Simple things like forks and napkins were like talking Greek to them. There was no concept of living in a home or owning anything. It is almost as if I need the general person to see them as little “Tarzan” children. They arrived in nothing but a pair of sweatpants each and were filthy from top to bottom. As a matter of fact, we didn’t know that Trystan was blond until the 3 rinse on his hair!

The anniversary of our adoption was in May. And our journey continues. Their bio-dad was on the run last year for over 6 months last year and was finally caught and sentenced this last March.

We now have a relationship with their bio-mom who was not in the picture when all of this was going on. We email at least twice a month with videos and photos and scripture to help her on her journey in Christ as she heals like they need to. We praise God that she is on a different path!

We are thankful to try a non-medicated approach to their behaviors. Breckin’s nightmare have finally stopped after 20 months and with the help of essential oils. The side-effects of the meds on Breckin were not worth taking the medication to begin with.

We do still have to lock the refrigerator and the the pantry because food tends to disappear if I don’t. We still have to turn an alarm on their door at night to prevent sneaking out. And OOOHHH the adventures that we have had with potting in their room, or tearing up toys, clothes or even their curtains. Breckin still at times doesn’t understand what a family is for and will hit himself as if his brain hurts and Trystan who will be homeschooled this year due to his food allergies (unfortunately from being a meth baby), he still tries to eat gluten any chance he gets.  But those issues are immensely small compared to the progress that we have seen.

Learning how to bathe on their own, and eat with a fork. Saying please and thank you, progressing in school and enjoying children’s church and learn about Christ. Trystan is READING!!!  We have finally started to eat slower so we don’t inhale foods quite as bad. The favorite times that I do have is when I hear the name MOMMY from one of them and the I LOVE YOUs that I do get and the cuddles and hugs. Some progress this summer: Each of them have had their tennis shoes last more that 4 weeks… we are going on 14 weeks!!! YEAH! They LOVE their family and each other. Breckin LOVES Shelby and always wants to do things with her.

We have become a family. They are my children. On most occasions, I refer to Trystan and Rowan as my twins (because they are only 3 weeks apart in age) and they are now a true brother and sister. Breckin is starting to play with others regularily and can sit through a whole board game now!!!

WE.ARE.A.FAMILY! I will never give up on them and I hope that they know this! I LOVE YOU BOTH!

I am so thankful that I GOTCHA in my family!

Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid . . .  for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. – Deuteronomy 31:6

 

Point Reward System for chores

I am serious when I say that I believe in NOT giving out allowance for everyday household chores. As a mom, I don’t get paid in money for washing the floor or folding laundry… why should my kids earn money for keeping their rooms clean or brushing their teeth? These are every day items that are required to run a household (I know that I will have those who disagree with me, however I want to show your something else that we have implemented with out clan before you scold and cuss me out for being a bad mom!!)

Having one child who doesn’t understand the concept of money anyway and thinks that you can go to the store and ALWAYS buy him a toy while we are there, we have made out own store at home with items that I have picked up on sale racks, dollar sections of Target, Walgreens sale aisle, etc. We call it Mommy’s Treasure Box Store.

Here’s the Breakdown for our family

Point Reward System for chores and extras

(I found everything that I used on sale or at yard sales – DO NOT overspend on these items… I budget this very closely and take $20 cash out and can only use that $$$.)

I started by making POINTS – I used the pre-made sheets of business cards and ran them through my printer with 1 Point, 2 Points, 5 points and 10 points on them. I then took with the kids and stamped on each card.

I keep these in my desk. As children complete normal chores, I give out these points. If I have to ask more than once for something, then, they don’t earn anything. We don’t ever take away points… If my kiddlings do something extra, without asking, they will earn extra points. And we give them for good behavior (especially with my Autistic son, Berlyn.)

At the end of the week, our family store opens up. I spend less than $20 every paycheck on items for the store. The kids get 30 minutes to shop and purchase items with their points. I purchase little things at the dollar store, Target Dollar section, sale rack at Walgreens, etc and also print up (on the same business cards) rewards that they can buy as well.

Everything in the point basket is priced at 5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 points… and then there is a movie theater card that is 500 points.  Included in the basket are school supplies (decorative pencils, notepads, stickers) toys, games, candy, dolls, bubbles, color books, cooler TEEN stuff for Shelby, etc.

 

I store everything in a basket that I picked up at a yardsale for $1! I store it up out of reach of kiddlings. If they have 50 points and spend 35, then they have 15 that carry over to the next week. They store their points in an envelope on their chore clipboard in the hallway. Here is the link to the Chore Clipboards that we made: http://krisandlarry.com/2010/07/03/chore-charts-on-our-wall/

 

My kids LIKE to help out around the house. They make it a point to remind me when they do extra things just so that they can earn points.

 

Point Reward System for chores