Thursday, February 24, 2011

Breath of Fresh Air

Ausin has been learning about how the circulatory system in his sciece co-op. VERY COOL! Still left to do this year is a sheep pluck dissection and a rat dissection 

 This is a model of a vein with blood platelets, white blood cells and blood plasma. 

 This is what happens when you mix 'A' blood type with 'B' blood type

Abi has been learning about teeth in her science class. In her book, there are pictures of what kids would look like if they had adult teeth and vice versa. That was pretty funny to see. Nevertheless, Abi did learn that she has different kinds of teeth, each unique and necessary. Her project was to eat. A really tough task for her? NO WAY! She loved it! She ate crackers while focusing on how she bit it. Then she ate celery and recorded her answers for both, all while wearing her PJs!
 Professional taste tester!

Mark and I took advantage of PNO (Parent's Night Out) at the Church this month. It's a great deal, 3 hours of childcare for just $15. I say childcare, but it should really be child adventures! Austin and Abi always have an awesome time! They get to see many of their friends, play games, watch movies, and just be kids!
Me and Mark before our date

 Abi and Mark having a minute before date night

This past Saturday we took the dogs to the dog park. I'm not sure who was more excited, the dogs or the kids! This is such a fun family activity, literally for the WHOLE family! 
 Austin pumped up, and the dogs snotting all over the window!

 Abi finding a photo op with her girl, Peaches!

 I did say fun for the whole family! Austin climbed every tree he had time to between running with the dogs!

 Abi making use of the dog training equipment!

 The HUGE dog watching Bandit and Peaches is in the family too! Mark's dad and Wendy met us there with their 2 pups, Alex, (pictured, Great dane) and Cooper (Yorkie)


Spring is a comin'! We have taken advantage of it every day! We picked up kites to fly and seeds to plant! The kids and I both welcome the chance to soak up some sun.
 Austin flying his Transformers kite

Not only did we plant seeds in anticipation of spring, but also because Abi has been learning about what colonial life was like. Shehas been learning about maps and where the Colonies were located in accordance to water, trees, and plains. One of her activities along with this chapter was to plant seeds and draw pictures as they grow. Perfect timing because I have been planning for a while to plant a small vegetable garden in the backyard.

 All of these jiffy pots have a vegetable of some kind planted in it.

Abi embarked on a new (and exciting for me) adventure just yesterday. We stopped by Barnes and Noble to pick Austin up some books. Even though he regularly downloads books to read on my Nook, I can't keep up with him because he goes through them so quickly. I would never see my Nook again if it were up to him! Before we even arrived, Abi had decided that she "didn't want any stinking books"! So, I helped Austin browse through and find a few that he wanted. Before leaving, I picked up a couple Juni B. Jones books thinking that I would read them with Abi before bed every night. I think part of her disdain for reading comes from being bored with the books she has. She protested that I bought her books on the way to the car. When we reached the car, Austin anxiously dug through the bag to grab the book he was going to read on the way home. As Abi watched him, she said, "I want one of my books too". And so, this day is marked with big red hearts on my memory's calendar!! She read the book all the way home, and became so engulfed in what she read that we could hardly get her attention and we sprinted back and forth past her getting ready for baseball practice!!! She even giggled aloud as she read!
 Abi and Junie

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The BEST of Times

Austin thoroughly enjoyed dissecting the sheep's heart for his science co-op! That sounds kind of creepy when I put it like that, but he did! He was amazed learning about how the blood flows through a heart .He could hardly wait to get home to unwrap his half of the heart to show Abi all that he learned.
 GROSS, I know!
I love when they get along!!!

We soaked up the beautiful weather this weekend! Our extended small group (Bible with the Brewers 2point0 and the Domino-Benders) met up at Bear Creek Park for a picnic and family park day. Even though Mark busted Warren in the wrist with a baseball, and took out Connor while trying to catch the ball in kick ball, we still managed to all have a fun time!

Picnic it up! Mark, Travis, Brandy, Sarah, and Kathryn 

Justin, Kelly, Pacey, and Lizzie 


Terry and Warren 

 Princess Ally

 Cutie Pie Caleb


Lukey Duke 



Abi, Connor, Luke, and Austin 

My handsome boy!

I didn't get a picture of everyone...I took these and planned on taking more later, but sometimes I stink at getting pictures!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

In the Wind

I have never been so ready to throw something into the wind until now...I AM DONE WITH WINTER WEATHER!!! I sure hope the groundhog was right this year, and spring will be coming to visit sooner, rather than later. After our big 'snow' day, the weather has been nothing but a tease. It warms up just long enough for me to get my hopes up, but then gets cold again. Well, here in the Brewer house, we do what is necessary to entertain ourselves!

Monday was kind of chilly, but mostly windy. Austin had the great idea for Abi and him to make kites. He googled 'how to make a kite' on his computer and found step-by-step instructions with a supply list.

Austin and Abi flying their homemade kites

When I said we entertain ourselves in anyway possible, some probably never thought that a 'carrot crunching contest' would make the list of Go To Entertainment techniques...but it does!

Austin and Abi in their carrot crunchin' contest

While I write this, Austin is in his science co-op class in the process of dissecting a sheep's heart. He was so excited this morning before I dropped him off. He has REALLY enjoyed this co-op and looks forward to it every week. I'll update on how it went...

Also, today I am doing an online seminar through Bob Jones University on how to teach phonics. I am very excited to learn some new ideas, because we all know how challenging my little Abi can be! I am quite please with the reading and phonics workbook that she us currently using. Yesterday she learned the hard and soft 'th' sound. Holding two fingers over your throat and feeling for vibrations while you say the word can help you determine if the 'th' sound in the word is hard or soft. Very neat, I did not learn that in school.

On another bitter-sweet note, our small group is meeting in our split group for the first time this evening. This has been tough for me because I love all of the people in our group. These people that I have grown to know as family, it's hard to let them go. Knowing that things are not going to be the same is a struggle for me. I know that we are supposed to grow groups and multiply, but it is hard to not be connected the same way. I fear that we will grow apart. It's like when I left for basic training...I knew there were big and exciting things ahead, but I also knew that things would change with my family. And they did. I do not think that distance makes the heart grow fonder...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Day to Remember

Ten years ago today, Mark and I started dating. I love Mark with all my heart. I never imagined that I could love another person as much as I love him. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with him and can't wait to see what adventures this life will bring!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Snowmaggedon I suspected, we had no snow. (Though, I admit I was a little hopeful.) This is the "snowmaggedon" that Houston received:

Sure, it was a bit chilly...but look at that sky!!!!

After the icicles melted and the sun peeked through

For chilly weather, I had to make one of my favorite meals...Broccoli soup (a play off of Panera Bread's recipe). It is SSSSOOOO yummy!!!! Great for cold days!
 the after-roux ingredients


1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half (Fat free works great!)
2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 pound fresh broccoli
1 cup carrots, julienned (save time and buy matchstix carrots)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar (2% works great)

Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve

This Saturday. the day after 'Snowmaggedon', Abi had Sofie over for the day. They had so much fun playing tigers and Barbies (which I never thought Abi would do because she is quite the tomboy). The girls helped me make Brandy some birthday cupcakes that were also VERY YUMMY!!! 
 Sofie and Abi

 Two days after 'Snowmaggedon' it was about 70 degrees outside, perfect for a front yard baseball game. Mark and some of the neighbor kids played a good game.

Abi, though not much of a ball player, soaked up the sunshine too...dancing around the backyard!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Powerless and Getting Power Back

One of my new favorite peeps, Sarah, allowed us to celebrate her being cancer free. I have been blessed to watch her on her journey, and even more blessed that I have made a good friend (hear that Sarah, you're a keeper)!! As most cool people do, we celebrated with food. Not just any plain jane everyday chow, but a french cuisine. I made beignets de courgette or in Texan, zucchini fritters.
 this goop doesn't look so tasty....

not sure all the oil will help either... 

Yet, it didn't turn out so bad!!! 

The spread complete with cheeses galore and chocolate fondue

 Party peeps, Warren and Justin

What a cutie pa-toot-y, sweet Pacey

In action, Sarah, Kathryn, Brent, Mark and Jessica

The Best Small group EVER!!! 
After Sarah's party, we headed to the 'after party' with Brandy at St Lukes. Brandy is awaiting a heart transplant. She was in the hospital to be monitored after a rough couple of days. I am once again blessed to have an awesome friend like Brandy. Please be praying for Brandy as she waits on the HT list, she has been restricted to her bed and instructed to be like a statue, I mean not to do ANYTHING...she needs all the prayers she can get!!!

Brandy, Kathryn, Sarah, Dani, and me

Last week, Abi had another science project. The chapter was about force- pushing and pulling. Her experiment was using magnets to see which items a magnet would use force to pull it to itself. I collected several small items in the kitchen, had her right down each item, and then tell weather or not she thought the magnet would pick the item up.

 two regular fridge magnets, and 6 items (3 metal & 3 plastic)

keeping her record 

cooooool beans...

She must have played with the magnets for the rest of the day, trying to pick up everything she could!

This morning I woke up to a phone call from Mark and a the blinking numbers on my alarm clock. The power was out at Coastal Flange. Mark wanted to know if we had power at home. Thus began my powerless day.

I turned on the news and then googled 'power outages in Houston'. I clicked on the link for Public Utility Commission of Texas only to find that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas ordered rolling blackouts for the state of Texas. This was my first experience of rolling blackout that I can remember. About every hour and half, they shut your power off for anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes (or longer). In Texas, we aren't used to cold weather. I consider 50* to be too cold. It has been below freezing today. So, to say that we were a little cold is and understatement. I consider myself lucky to have a gas burning fireplace. Though, honestly, I thought if we needed it here in Houston, it would be seldom. Today we used it almost all day. The kids actually spent their entire school day laying in front of the warmth...sometimes the only warm place in the house.
Superb students...working without Little House on the Prairie 


 What kind of mother would I be if I let them go without hot cocoa on this freezing day?!

While I cooked a nice big pot of turkey chili and cornbread, the kids used the stuffing that Bandit pulled out of his toy to practice their snowballing abilities should they need them come Friday when it is supposed to snow. I'm holding my breath on the snow, in past experiences it is just the weatherman getting excited to report some thing other than HOT. It is looking like it really might snow... so in preparation:

Throwing the stuffing up and dancing under it as it falls to the ground 

Making mini snowballs while we watch a show together

The power outages did cease around noon, but there is a big possibility that they could return tonight and tomorrow. Stay tuned for SNOW in HOUSTON pics (if the snow ever makes it!)