Tag Archives: Star Wars

{SQT} It’s All About The Walker Baby

So Kelly, what have you been up to during the last month?

Oh you know, just saving every box that came into our house so I could make a cardboard AT-ST Walker costume for Halloween. “Does the UPS man have a package for us today??? Kids, chase his truck and see if he’ll throw us a box!! Need. more. cardboard!!!”

1.

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Those legs lasted just long enough for this picture before quickly falling apart during pizza consumption. When I wasn’t duct taping, spraying or otherwise mutilating all our packaging materials for that, I was agonizing over how to make an Ahsoka Tano outfit that didn’t suck. Edie was happy, so I guess I succeeded.

2.

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Okay, now photo dump of the three costumes I didn’t make because, yo, did you see those top two??? (Tony is happy that I can finally think about educating our children again.)

3.

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Addie’s a pirate and she’s pretending to storm our deck. As we hosted three families and thirteen kids for trick or treating, I was wishing this house was a rum runner at one point.

4.

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Fulton wanted to be Thor, and I found his costume at Goodwill for $7. I made him a hammer from a frozen waffles box, and paper towel tube. He loved it. I love when kids are easy to please with such simple things. Things that aren’t elaborate Star Wars walkers.

5.

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Teddy was Iron Man, and when his mask was down, he’d remind you he was Tony Stark. I poured a glow stick onto the printed image of the arc reactor which is why his chest is ever so slightly glowing a sickly green. I was fully prepared to make an Iron Man suit ala this pin, but then I saw this for $10 at Target and, you know AT-ST, so I bought it.

6. With enough duct tape, safety pins, girls tights and scrap cardboard and fabric, it’s possible to make anything if you have the time. And if you have spare time, I don’t recommend making an AT-ST. It will consume you and then you’re left with this huge cardboard walker you can’t bear to throw away but you can’t leave sitting out because it’s the perfect wheelchair target. I’ve documented more of my costume madness here. And to everyone who asks me “How do you make time to do this??”, I wish you could see the layer of dust and debris that has settled around my house in the last month….and my children are now illiterate. Priorities!

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Someone’s scored a new playhouse loaded with cardboard weaponry! He’s got a sword in there with him too, just in case.

7. I think all my Instagram followers can breathe a sigh of relief that I won’t be posting daily, or hourly ,updates on the status of Byron’s costume. Especially since many had to turn to their husbands or older children to figure out what they were looking at.  To everyone, thank you for keeping you comments about my son’s robot/ TARDIS/ washing machine costume to yourselves. He had enough explaining to do on his trip around the neighborhood. Especially to one unimaginative lady who called him a ‘box head’.

While I continue to graze from the candy haul for my breakfast, swing back to Jen’s for the rest of the spooky seven takers.

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What’s for Dinner? It’s Quiche, Capish?

If I ever open a restaurant, it’s going to specialize in quiche and be called ‘Quiche Capish?’. Why? Because I make quiche that is rock me Amadeus good, no lie. Tony and I owned a bed a breakfast for a couple years and the one thing I learned to do, besides how to work myself into an early grave, was how to make a mean quiche. Like, so mean when you set it on the table it will punch you in the face if you don’t eat it fast enough. But I can’t be certain because it’s always eaten so quickly, even by my kids. For the first time, I’m sharing my secrets to successful quiche. (Quick, go pop in a movie for the kids, I’ll need your full attention.)

Click on me for the boring recipe part with a dump truck load of suggestions for endless tasty varieties.

So my big secret? Lots of eggs. I use a nine inch pie pan, with a typical shortening crust but I use at least six eggs, sometimes as many as eight if they’re small. Granted, we have chickens so I have a steady stream of farm fresh, free range eggs. So many in fact, that a quiche is a good way to use them up. With so many eggs, I use less than a cup of milk typically. This is unlike other recipes I’ve seen where it’s two eggs to almost two cups milk. Blech. Maybe that’s fine for quiche light weights, but not around here where I expect a quiche to fill up, and stick with, seven people.

And just like a quiche is a good way to use up eggs, it’s good for using up anything else that’s lying around your fridge. I’ve made mexican inspired quiche with leftover chili or taco meat, cheddar and salsa thrown in. Or, like tonight, I used peperoni, pizza blend cheese, fresh diced tomato and some leftover tomato sauce with mushrooms. We also had leftover KFC  I combined with cheddar and brocolli.

Plus, quiche freezes well, so make a few in disposable pie pans, wrap in foil and pull out next time the thought of cooking from scratch makes your head explode.

In a nutshell, start with lots of these;

 

One way or another, get yourself a crust. (Frozen will work but a homemade crust is always better. I still use a recipe from the classic BHG cookbook.)

 

Combine the two and bake until the center isn’t jiggly. It’s very scientific. Years of experimenting  have taught me the quiche will be done in one hour…give or take 15 minutes.

 

That’s plently of time to clean up the mess. …or pour a glass of wine if you haven’t already.

Once the quiche stops jiggling, set the table and prepare to enjoy a feast! And if you’re like my family, your children will select the ‘Cantina Band’ track on the Star Wars CD and break into a quiche fueled dance frenzy.

I think Edie said she was playing a violin with her tummy.

Of course that left Tony and I free to sit back and enjoy a nice meal together.

This is Tony’s “happy to be home from work” face.

 

Obviously, just another day in paradise here folks. Now, take what you’ve learned and go make some quiche, capish?

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Filed under Food, Humor, Photography

Summer Ramblings Of The Blah, Blah, Blah Variety

Did you ever have that feeling on a Monday night that your week was shaping up to be one of the longest yet one of the fastest weeks in you life? Like you would feel all 168 hours of it in the marrow of your bones, yet you would see and remember none of it as it zipped by at lightning speed?

It’s the kind of day that two glasses of wine at dinner does nothing to relax and an iced coffee at 6:30 p.m. does nothing to invigorate.

But I can’t complain, because, ignoring the 5 hours I logged behind the wheel yesterday, I think my fatigue is related to all things rather stellar. And honestly, any time I need a pick me up I just glance at the new clock I bought for our kitchen. I’m going to devote an entire post to ‘the clock’ at a future date, but let me entice you by saying, on a scale of one to ten it’s ninja awesome. Like, a ninja tossing chocolate-covered bacon throwing stars right into my mouth awesome.

We’re also enjoying another influx of out-of-town family visitors. The kids are in their glory between the break from school and the amount of new people in the house who take a genuine interest in all the things I can no longer pretend to understand/ appreciate. I am so tired of being lectured on Star Wars characters or the rules for their homemade basement carnival games. Finally there is fresh blood willing to listen to the character differences between episodes and the finer points of Byron’s game called “I’m Starving” which to me, looks like a big mouth hacked out of cardboard propped against an old shelf, but apparently, is on par with Dungeons and Dragons in strategy.

I’m also at the apex of school planning. You know that giddy, delicious feeling when you open all the new boxes of curriculum, stoke the glossy covers, inhale the scent of fresh paper,  then scream at the kids to stop playing with the packing peanuts. Cracking open the crisp binding on a new workbook makes me stroke my knuckles and cackle with delight. In the works is a trip to the dollar store to pick up school supplies which we’re all pretty stoked about. Plus, I have the added excitement of pimping out a new school room. It’s small, but I’ve got a whole cabinet packed to the ceiling with books and three used school desks ordered off of ebay. (Aw yeah, some old school bling in da house!)  I cannot wait to push each child’s desk into its own corner and let them work beyond arms length of one another for a change. Tony thinks it’s not going to go as smoothly as I imagine. I keep putting my fingers in my ears and singing “La,la,la,la, la, independent work spaces are the answer,la, la, la, la now cook your own dinner.”

Summer is slipping through our fingers like so many melted creamcicles, but we’re licking off each drip and savoring every moment. I should be ready for September, and all its looming responsibilities, despite the distractions. Namely a playdate bonanza. Two weeks, plus all the families I’ve been meaning to schedule stuff with all summer, equals exhaustion! Yay for procrastination! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to kill myself in order to full-fill all my half-hearted promises. I can’t wait. And I know Tony is pumped for two weeks of   last-minute dinner attempts scraped together from food-like substances currently trapped at the bottom of our freezer.

I would call this a summer to remember, if I thought I would have any brain cells left by the end of August.

How are you wrapping up your summer and easing into school?

 

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Filed under Homeschooling, Humor

The Force Of Homeschooling And My Dark Side

When I started homeschooling I knew “Seton” families and “Calvert” families and unschooling families. I assumed that once you found a curriculum, or method, you liked, your course was set for your duration as a homeschooling family.

I watched as my oldest blossomed at an early age under the Catholic Heritage Curricula reading program, and then the Abeka Math program. My goal was to start my son, with a late October birthday, one year behind my oldest daughter, with a late September birthday. I’ll admit, my underlying motivation was to see Byron receive his First Holy Communion the year after Addie. I just couldn’t see making him wait two years, when *I* was sure he would be ready.

Perhaps Addie just set the bar to high, or maybe I expected too much of Byron but after keeping pace for a year or so he started struggling. By this point he was enrolled in CCD one year behind Addie, but his reading skills were not as strong as hers. The CHC reading program that worked so well with Addie was torture for Byron. Addie cruised through her second grade CCD year, and seemed to memorize each answer the moment she completed reading it from the catechism. So long as I  sat and reviewed her work with her, she learned and retained information easily. Once her First Holy Communion was under her belt, I turned my attention to Byron, hoping the same practice and drill would elicit the same well versed responses.

We began Byron’s second grade year still trying to work with CHC and throwing in any supplementary material I thought could help. While he was making steady progress in all his subjects, he was not “where I thought he should be.” And unfortunately, not where some other people thought he should be either. Thankfully, Byron was spared any labels, and the comments that were uttered did not leave any lasting impression. “How’s Byron’s reading? What are you doing for him? You need to make him read more.” I was more stung and hurt than him. After bragging about my “prodigy” daughter, I found myself sticking up for my son, who I finally accepted, might not be made in the image of his sister.

We approached May and I fretted over his prayers and I lost sleep worrying about his interview with the parish priest. My anxiety would sometimes manifest as anger and of course Byron suffered as a result. He became convinced he couldn’t do it, and he couldn’t understand why the answers he needed to memorize didn’t stick in his mind.

However, in the end, he did pass his interview and he did receive the sacrament of First Holy Communion in a smashing white suit. We crossed the finish line but at such a cost. It was a shot between the eyes for me; my unrealistic goals and expectations could ruin my job as a homeschooling mom, make it 10 times harder all around and drive all the joy of learning from my child.

I wish I could say, I found the perfect curriculum for Byron after that and things got better. Heavens knows I’ve looked, and tried and bent over backwards to accommodate his unique learning style, but some days, it’s still a struggle. I decided against keeping him one grade below his sister and instead gave him a workload two grade levels behind, which is where his birthday would have placed him in the local public school anyway. I never told him. I just slowed down our progress in some areas and replaced a book or two and it’s been a huge improvement for us both. Most noticeably, he’s finally learned to love reading. Thankfully, years of slow gains did not drive him from the printed word.

While outside comments quieted down, I still struggled with my own feelings of inadequacy; as if the differences in learning exhibited by my children were completely related to me and not them.  Could he have learned with that program if I was a better teacher? Am I failing to give him the specialized attention he really needs? What if there is a perfect curriculum out there for him and I haven’t found it yet?

And then today, Byron went and did something amazing.

Recently, he’s taken a keen interest in everything Star Wars. We’ve checked out all the books from the local library on the series, and he’s read them all multiple time, asking for help with all the difficult words. He watched all but ‘Revenge of the Sith’ numerous times (while under the care of grandma-totally not my doing) and drawn detailed movie scenes, character portraits  and built 3-D models from cardboard. But today, as he quizzed his uncle on obscure Star Wars trivia and answered every question, in detail, that was asked of him, I finally realized his complete potential.

He can memorize dates, facts  and misc. information. He can watch or read a story, pick out the main characters, plot, setting and summarize the story in chronological order. He can discuss all these things, with an adult, with conciseness and clarity, using complete sentences  while maintaining eye contact and good posture, without fidgeting.  Yes, it’s Star Wars, not Shakespeare, Roman History or Algebra but it shows what’s possible when his passion is ignited.

He’s taking the skills we’re trying to teach him and applying them to what he loves and learning as much about it as possible. Isn’t that the goal of homeschooling, especially a classical education? To give our children the tools to learn whatever they want? To form them into knowledgable, well-rounded adults, capable of seeking out information beyond the status quo? Today, at age eight, it’s Star Wars. Tomorrow it may be art history, biology or theology. Whatever he picks, he will be prepared to tackle it. Finally, I can see that and not worry about the little things.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect curriculum or magic formula for all children. Each child will have their own strengths and weakness that will force you out of your comfort zone. But just when you think, it isn’t enough, they surprise you, and if you’ve put their needs first, they will grow into the educated people you prayed they’d become.  It’s been a learning journey for us both. Someday I hope Byron will understand how much he has taught me.

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Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real …does not do my week justice

Since our last installment, our family celebrated a joyous Easter Sunday before everything rapidly descended into chaos. Thankfully, we did manage ten minutes of visiting with friends on Monday before both my husband and oldest son sprained their ankles in unrelated incidents. But I’ve been unable to give them much sympathy as the baby came down with a stomach bug and nasty fever shortly thereafter.  Plus, everyone is heavily under the influence of Easter candy. Gotta love grandparents who give each child, even the 18 month old, three pounds of candy…yes, three pounds each. But true to my word, I managed to get the camera out.

So now without further ado….

{pretty}

It was so windy on Easter I couldn’t take many nice pictures outside given the sombreros the girls selected to wear with their new dresses. This was the best shot of the bunch because they’re smiling, looking at the camera and there’s no chicken trying to sneak her way in.

 

 

 

 

 

{happy}

 

 

 

 

This picture just represents me getting psyched for tonight’s Catholic homeschool moms social. All the box wine, baked goods and birth stories you can handle! WOOT! My husband knows not to wait up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

{funny}

 

 

When I think of Good Friday, I naturally think of AT-ATs. Or at least my son did, so when he brought me an empty cardboard box and said he wanted to make an AT-AT, I whipped this up. Those are not actual Star Wars action figures. My husband has original 1970′s Star Wars figures but he’s stopped letting the kids play with them since they lost Yoda a few months back. Now it’s up to some generic GI Joes to defeat the Empire. And this whole episode just proves, once again, kids don’t need fancy toys to be happy; just a mama willing to concoct crazy stuff from cardboard.

 

 

 

 

 

{real}

 

 

This is real air freshener-incense! My Greek orthodox friend always hooks me up with the best smelling stuff. I try to remember to use it a few times a month despite the exaggerated gasping and wheezing and dramatic fainting on the floor that inevitably results from its use. (“Mama I can’t breath with all the smoke. Won’t this set off the alarm? But I had to smell this stuff on Sunday!”)

 

 

 

And in case you’re wondering, no, I have not tried out the tire swing yet.  Maybe next week. Until then, check out the rest of {p,h,f,r} at Like Mother, Like Daughter.

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Filed under Catholic, Photography, Pretty Happy Funny Real