I was going through pictures this week and kind of had a revelation. I'm wondering how a child goes from this




and this


to this in just over a year?



(And now I'm sad and sulking wishing time would stop)



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Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday to "the man of the house" as the boys like to say.
It's not fair that you look better with age!


You try to embarrass your daughter, and she still thinks you're cool!



It's not a bad deal that your 13 year old daughter still likes to hang out with you either. 



I even like hanging out with you still! 



You are the only person I've ever known that has had their car salesman from over 13 years ago call every year to wish you a happy birthday.  People just like you! 



Happy Birthday, Eric! San thinks you're "the best dad he's ever had!".  We love you!!! 


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Four Monsters Pulled

Grant had four monster size adult teeth pulled today. He was a champ! Here he is in the waiting room reading. Calm. Cool. Collected. He's home now doing well working on eating as much ice cream as he can without a complaint.

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Xīn Nián Kuài Lè

Our Chinese New Year celebration was about non-existent.  I was hoping to head to some festivities over the weekend like we did last year, but it just didn't happen.  Bummer.  We have some decoration up in the school room and Jake has his wooden snake for Year of the Snake, but that's about it.  Better luck next year hopefully! 

However, I was enjoying looking at the Chinese New Year pictures over at THE BIG PICTURE.  Number 4, 23, and 30 make me want to jump on a plane and visit...just not during Chinese New Year.  Love Chinese people and the culture.  So unique. So well, Chinese.   

Hope everyone's Chinese New Year was filled with filled red envelopes!!! 

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Why Can't They Stay Little?

Little man wore his bobofed costume with helmet all day. Apparently he needs to sleep in it too. You never know when a Star Wars Battle will strike.

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There's an App for that!

I have seen many a blog with great apps listed for children's learning, but I thought I'd post just a few of ours.  My parents bought the kids ipad minis for Christmas this year. Love them! Perfect weight for me to hold actually. When my old one dies (it's one of the first so it's now an antique), I'm going for the mini!  We used my ipad a ton for learning so I was just as excited as they were to receive them. 

Since I don't speak Mandarin myself, Chinese Learning apps are a must. Gus on the Go is definitely one of our favorites.  




This is a great app to focus on getting those strokes down correctly and in the right order.  



We also use Chinese Number Trainer by  TRAINCHINESE  and a few other apps they have made.  

There are several free stories apps in Chinese as well. Little Snail  is one of them. There is a Red Hen story Jake likes. He switches the stories from Chinese to English to re-listen to them.  I used a few of them when he came home from China and he loved them.  


 Another helpful one is  Mandarin flash cards by baby Cortex and





I could do a whole post on the other apps we use for school.  But a few we like are Early Science Clever Bird.  This is a great app for a young learner like Jake.  



The little "quizzes" build on each lesson. They are interesting for Jake and explains things really well for a child of his age to understand.  We also use the Classical Conversations Cycle 3 app with both boys since Grant is learning US History this year. 

 They both have memorized the songs for the history dates and it has helped with a bit of Latin memory work as well as science and math.  

One app that has really helped us out is the Smarty Ears App R Intensive.  Some may remember that I was  trying every which way to get Grant a little speech therapy.  I finally decided something was better than nothing and tried this app. Glad I did. I can't believe how much he improved from using it. We practiced a least five times a week.  I realize I am by no means a speech therapist. But a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do! 



He is now in speech therapy once a week, but I was really surprised to see his progress from this summer's speech evaluation to this winter's evaluation.  Best $20 bucks I've spent in a long time. 
 Hoo-rah!   

Grant has a couple of Algebra apps he likes as well.  Of course, he always knows he can manage to squeeze out of few extra minutes before bed with the ole "I'm doing algebra. Hang on!" excuse.  I love that I can always find newer and better to keep them engaged and excited about learning.  My how times have changed since I was in school! 

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Check This Out

 Check this out:  Ever wonder why they filmed Twilight here in Oregon?  Check out our fog sans fog machine; a regular occurrence.  Throw in some huge pine trees and redwoods and you've got vampire love galore.   



Portland Children's Museum? A great place to play hooky......


and find your inner artist (that's a whole turkey you're lookin' at. But you knew that, right?). 


Check this out:  Ever wonder how big a giant squid's eyeball is?  These Steve Jenkin's books are pretty cool.  The Pioneer Woman Homeschool mentioned them and I knew they'd be a hit.  The one pictured is called Actual Size. Lots of interesting pictures to see. Grant has his hand pictured with the gorilla's hand! We also checked out his book Bones. I'd definitely recommend! 



Check this out: 
We've also stuck to our idea of limiting the amount we eat out.  It hasn't killed me yet, but only because I did another afternoon of cooking.  My calendar and my fridge is complete with meals.  Next month, however, I'm enlisting help from Ally and Eric.  It's honestly too much cutting, chopping, slicing, and dicing for me, and took my joints too long to recover. Eric has been making at least a meal or two over the weekend and thinks he's quite the chef.  Of course, if he's in the kitchen and I'm not, he's the best chef EVER!  Basically, I just started using some new recipes I've pinned off of pinterest with my old basics. If you'd like to see them and are on Pinterest, be my friend why don't ya! One big hit for lunches was the BBQ Cheddar pitas.  They are so easy to make and freeze a bunch at a time.  Ally likes taking them to school too.  



What else have we've been doing?  

Breaking Boards


Doctor's Appointments. (I'm trying to figure a way out of carpel tunnel surgery)


Learning to write our Chinese numbers


And watching our butterflies grow from this.......





to this! 

















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Butterflies 3; Betty 0

So far it looks like we have three butterflies alive and healthy. Two others look they are on their way out of their chrysalides tonight. Boys are happy. Lap booking is complete. Betty didn't traumatize them too much by playing with them!


(This pic only shows one butterfly. Since she was shy and her wings aren't open, she looks like a moth,  but is actually a Painted Lady Butterfly. 

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