Archive - August 2013

A Month of Instagram: August ’13
Pinterest Win: Carpet Cleaner
Happy Birthday, Bip!
Cheesy Sausage Penne
A Day in the Life – Homeschooling
Meet Heather

A Month of Instagram: August ’13

Whew, a busy week to end a busy month.  We are back to school, but here is a look back at August through my iphone camera.


1. A good hair day.
2. Saying goodbye to our favorite soda shop.
3. First tomato
4.  Doesn’t it look yum?
5.  Asian store haul
6. Our Cat of the Month Club subscription is coming along nicely.
7.  Helping to bake a cake.
8.  Supervising the cooling cakes.
9. Scarf made by Nana.
10.  One of these things is not like the other.
11.  Opening birthday cards.
12.  He had a Man Cold and the rest of us were his servants.
13.  Escaping from nap time with my exercise ball.
14.  Something new for our shop – a double sided pendant.

Pinterest Win: Carpet Cleaner

pinterestwinFour children and three cats – you can bet that my carpet gets spots and stains.  And I have to tell  you, nothing skeeves me out more than a dirty, spotted carpet. So I needed something that was both cheap and effective and would help me keep the carpet looking fresh.  I went looking for a homemade carpet cleaner and I found a recipe that includes things I usually have in the house.  It is supposed to go in your carpet cleaning machine and we happen to have a big ol’ Bissel.  Perfect.  Here’s the link to the recipe: Homemade Carpet Cleaner

This area of our carpet gets a lot of spots.  Being right between the sofa and the ottoman, Pipsqueak spills his juice here on a regular basis.  It doesn’t even matter what he spills, it ends up leaving a spot.  Look, I even used arrows so you won’t miss the horror.  (It’s actually really hard to photograph carpet spots, by the way.)


So rather than leaving the carpet looking horrid until we get a professional in, we tried the homemade carpet cleaner with the Bissel.

Here is the same spot after being treated.CarpetAfter

I’d say it works well, don’t you?  Another one for the Pinterest Win file!



logo_125“For more than 90 years, the Order of the Arrow (OA) has recognized Scouts who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives.  This recognition provides encouragement for others to live these ideals as well.  Arrowmen are known for maintaining camping traditions and spirit, promoting year-round and long term resident camping, and providing cheerful service to others.  OA service, activities, adventures, and training for youth and adults are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich and help to extend Scouting to America’s youth. ”

Even though he needs to work on “cheerful service to others” at home, Boo was elected to become a member of the Order of the Arrow.  He attended the induction ceremony called “The Ordeal” last weekend.  During said Ordeal, he was to remain silent, was given small amounts of food and worked on camp improvement projects.  The very thought of the first two amused me to no end.  Boo was born screaming and he’s never been quiet since.  He even talks in his sleep!  He is the ultimate extrovert, preferring to spend time with anyone, talking on and on, to spending even the least bit time alone.

Of course, I teased him mercilessly in the weeks leading up to the Ordeal.

Secretly, I knew he could do it.

And he did.  He got home late Saturday night, exhausted but excited. (I didn’t even edit his red eyes so you could see just how tired he was!)


Way to go, Boo!  We’re proud of you!

Happy Birthday, Bip!

Ah, my little Bip.


He doesn’t get much air time on the blog, being neither the oldest nor the youngest boy.  But he is no less important to me.  He is so naturally funny, wonderfully loving,and affectionate. He is the first one in our family, to include me and Philip, to be scientifically minded.  He loves all things science and can remember what he learns in school with surprising accuracy.

He likes to play soccer and he even has taken up tap dancing!  A renaissance man in the making, I say!
BipGoalie(His first time playing goalie was the longest 20 minutes of my life!)

He was born at a time when our hearts were still in pieces over the loss of his big sister and we loved him even more for the joy that he brought us.


He turned 8 years old on Saturday.  He started the day with Pumpkin Girl helping him read his cards before they both headed off to their dance classes.


We had his traditional lunch at IHOP (free for joining their birthday club!) and then Philip took Bip and his best buddy to play miniature golf.


I love that he has a best friend.  They have known each other since they were babies, when we were stationed together in DC.  They were born just a few weeks apart, too.  And now his friend’s family has retired from the Air Force and has moved here with us.

Home again for his favorite dinner (Burgundy beef tips), cake and presents.


When you’re 8, it doesn’t get much better than Pokemon games and Nerf guns.


Happy Birthday,  Bip!

Cheesy Sausage Penne

lorri's dinerBrace yourselves.  This is one of my family’s all time favorite meals ever.  I make this for dinner and they rise up and call me blessed.   Seriously, this is one good meal.  Serve it with a salad and some crunchy garlic bread and it’ll be the closest thing to heaven that you can get. You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you?  Trust me on this.  You need to make this recipe. Disclaimer – this is not low on calories, by any means.  It’s totally worth it, anyway.

Cheesy Sausage Penne

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Cheesy Sausage Penne


  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • 1 package (1 pound) uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese


  1. In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream and onions.
  3. In a greased shallow 3-qt. baking dish, layer half of the pasta and sausage mixture. Dollop with half the cream cheese mixture; sprinkle with half the cheddar cheese. Repeat layers.
  4. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.

A Day in the Life – Homeschooling

The public schools around here are starting back next week.  We’re taking one more week off before getting back to things around here.  I’ve been planning all summer, printing out class materials, making copies and just generally  making sure we will be ready.  I’m trying very hard not to think about Boo being in 9th grade.  A high schooler.  Lord, help us all.

I took these pictures of a typical day in our homeschool a while ago.  I was going to link up to someone else’s blog series, but I never really got around to it.  But since Back to School is in the air, I’ll go ahead and share them now.

First off, we start our day fairly late.  I am not a morning person at all. My kids get up, get dressed, eat and take care of their chores while I’m trying to wake up. We officially start our day at 9 AM.  And doesn’t Boo look thrilled?


We begin with what the kids have dubbed “couch work” or “soft work”.  We are still using Sonlight as our main curriculum and I have combined Boo and Pumpkin Girl so that they are doing the same core work.  Couch work includes anything that involves sitting on the couch while I read aloud.  We follow Sonlight’s Bible reading schedule, then history, poems, science and end with the read aloud novel that usually ties in with history.


Pumpkin Girl listens best when her hands are busy, so she likes to work on loom knitting projects while I read.


Meanwhile, Pipsqueak plays in the room with us or with Bip in another room.  On a good day it isn’t a problem.  Sometimes though, he does become a distraction and we have to send him away with varying degrees of wailing and carrying-on.

Before releasing Boo and Pumpkin to work independently, we do spelling.  We use Sequential Spelling which doesn’t take too long and doesn’t require that they spend extra time studying spelling lists.  Pumpkin is a natural speller and Boo is not.  She tries to get all her words right everyday and he tries not to yell out in anguish more than 5 times a day.  It works for us.


The school day is so much more enjoyable when Pipsqueak cooperates.


Then it is Bip’s turn. He is not a fan of reading, so we start with that, just to get it out of the way.  After a tortuous 10 minutes of him reading aloud we are both edgy and frustrated.  I would like to jump right into history, but Bip is my budding Evil Scientist, so we go with science first.  That puts him in a better mood and makes him more receptive of his history lesson.  We end with a read aloud novel, which at his age does not necessarily match his history.


Thursdays are science experiment days.  Boo and Pumpkin do their experiments together, without my help.  They usually do them while I’m doing couch work with Bip.  They are a hoot to watch.  Pumpkin Girl does all the real work and orders Boo around, making him go get the supplies and read the directions.  Then she explains to him why the experiment did or did not work.  He is happy to be the errand boy and gleefully writes down the answers that Pumpkin provides him.  Occasionally I remind him that Pumpkin Girl will not be going to college with him and he’ll be expected to do his own work.



Bip and I do his experiments together.  When I took these pictures, we were doing experiments with magnets.  We successfully got one magnet to float above the other with the use of a little tape.  We were having so much fun that all the other kids joined in, too. Even Pipsqueak enjoyed playing with the magnets.




PipsqueakMagnetsWith the exception of spelling, the kids are on their own for seat work, or as they call it, “hard work.” They have various language arts, religion, logic, math and geography lessons that they work through on their own time, usually after lunch.  Ideally I correct their work once a week.  Realistically, it happens when it happens.


I am done with my portion of the school day around lunch time.  The big kids usually work for an hour or two after.  They like to gripe about how l-o-n-g school takes until I remind them that they are done before their friends have even left school and they still need to come home and do homework.

How about you?  When do your children start school, home, public, private or what have you?  Are you ready?












Meet Heather

I’ve met a number of people over the years through blogging and various parenting and homeschooling forums.  It’s pretty cool, getting to know people who are hundreds of miles away, all from the comfort of my home.  Today I’d like to introduce you to someone pretty special whom I met through my blog.


This is Heather (and her daughter Lily). She and I are approximately the same age.  Doesn’t she have the most beautiful eyes?  And her hair!  I love her hair!  It’s so spiky and fun. And the color is just gorgeous, too.  She is far braver than I am, letting her true color show.

But her hair doesn’t even begin to tell you how brave she is.

Heather And Family

Heather and I both had babies in August of 2005. When our babies were three months old, Heather and her family got some of the most devastating news one can ever imagine.  I could wax on about Heather, but I think I’d like you to just watch this video.  It’s only a few minutes long. Don’t worry, it has a happy ending, so please do me a favor and watch.  Just click the link, I’ll wait here…

Heather’s Story

Heather is using her video to bring awareness to this rare cancer. She also hopes to inspire others to cling to hope and to fight through whatever challenges that life may bring.  I think we all could use this reminder.  I, for one, am glad that Heather is here to do the reminding.

Rock on, Heather.  Keep fighting the good fight!

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