Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Simple and Healthy Granola Bar Recipe

It has been a while since we've shared a favorite recipe.

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We are always on the look-out for easy, simple and healthy recipes that don't have any refined sugars. We usually bake with honey, and occasionally use agave, coconut sugar or xylitol with our treats.

We discovered a granola bar recipe that used almond butter, and tweaked it to our taste.

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It has been such a hit! Whenever we make a pan of it, they disappear within hours. They are so easy to make Little Miss can do them, and even Mei Mei can help:)

Although Mama does like to help with the hot oven part.

The girls can help with clean-up, too:)

The Mothership Adventures Simple Granola Bars

3/4 cups of honey
1 cup of crunchy peanut butter
3 cups of oats
1/2 cup of pecans (or other nuts)
1/2 cup of raisins

Heat honey and peanut butter on the stove on low heat until well mixed and soft. Pour mixture over oats, raisins and nuts and mix well. Grease a 9x9 pan, and bake 15 minutes in 350F. Cool and enjoy!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Homeschool Year 2015-2016

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This year we have four 11th graders and one 4th grader. Plus a sweet toddler, who is helping us get very creative with our homeschool hours:)

Our teens officially started classes on August 26th, but they really didn't get a summer break this year, at all. They spent most of their summer working on Biology from last year, and took a summer Algebra II class with Mr. D Math, which they are still working on. And on August 17th they started Pre-Calculus with Mr. D Math.

We had planned to continue Sonlight with them this year, as we really enjoyed our Sonlight curriculum (Core 100) last year, but instead God lead us to a new opportunity: the teens are taking free classes at a local college, earning credits for high school and for college with each class they take. The classes started on August 26th. We arrived in Florida on August 25th.

We had learned about dual enrollment in St. Pete, and had seriously considered it, but it hadn't been the right time.

I love watching how God puts all the puzzle pieces of our lives together as we pray for guidance. With the adoption of Mei Mei, we needed to do less traveling anyway, so the timing was right in enrolling our teens at a local college this year.

Three of our teens are taking the same English I class, and four business classes (two now, and two later in the fall). Mr D is also taking an online Weather and Climate class, and Missy is taking a Drawing class. They have a friend taking one of the business classes with them, and when school started they discovered they knew some of the students from youth group!

Mr T chose different classes, and has a quite the work load with his English, Macro Economics, Financial Accounting, Elementary Statistics, Western Civilization, and Anthropology classes. One of his professors is in our home fellowship group from church:)

This has been a challenging change in our teens' lives. They have had co-op classes, and online classes before with other teachers than mom, and deadlines to meet, but college classes are a bit more serious... There has been quite a bit of homework, and definitely learning of time management skills. And already at least one all-nighter for the boys.

I am hoping we are still finding our groove in this, too. It hasn't even been a month, yet.

But their work load is heavy enough, we have not been able to add anything else to their schedule. I had purchased Apologia Chemistry books, but we are not starting that yet. If we have to, we'll add a summer semester or even an additional year to our high school.

Even with all the challenges we are excited about this new change in our homeschool high school. Our teens have found their classes interesting (for the most part:), and financially it makes a lot of sense for us as our quadruplets get closer to graduating from high school...

We are very thankful for this opportunity, and keep praying for our teens in this new chapter in their lives.

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Little Miss started fourth grade about a week ago. Since mama and her do school together, we just needed to wait and get more settled after our move. Plus having come from China in August with a new toddler we were not ready for school. And there was the fact our school curriculum didn't arrive until September 10th:)

Little Miss is using Sonlight Core C with Math-U-See. On the computer she does Explode-the Code and daily math drills on xtramath.org. We also have Spelling-U-See and a handwriting book, but are not sure if those are keepers for us at this point. We really enjoy the books Sonlight picks, and enthusiastically dove into our school material.

There is a homeschool gymnastics class nearby we are considering for Little Miss, but we'll have to see if we can fit that into our schedule. Homeschooling her with a toddler takes a bit longer than it did last year, and Mr T has needed quite a few rides to school, since his schedule is different from the other teens.

Our new home is within a walking distance of a playground and a library, and within a short drive to the beach. Most likely Little Miss will be doing her schoolwork in creative places! She already has been doing some of the readings in the car as we've given rides to Mr T, but as she gets carsick fairly easily that probably isn't the greatest solution... :)

I am also researching making some busy bags for Mei Mei to keep her occupied during the home hours we do need to get school done. At least we have nap time as long as mama doesn't fall asleep beside Mei Mei:)

While we do have a full school year this year, I am thankful for the flexibility homeschooling gives us. We'll be able to work around the teens' schedule, and Mei Mei's needs, and still get our school done - even if it requires some extra creativity and scheduling.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

First Time at Ocean/Mei Mei merenrannalla!

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I had been waiting for this moment... Taking Mei Mei to the ocean for her first time ever. Finally, on Friday afternoon Little Miss and I packed up some beach toys, and drove the long distance of six minutes to the beach:)

Mei Mei comes from the province of Hubei in the middle of China, so we are pretty certain she had not been to the ocean, ever. We have missed many of her 'firsts' in her life, and really treasure each new experience we get to share with her.

Going to the beach for the first time is pretty special:)

I think she liked it!

At first Mei Mei seemed cautious and was taking it all in, then ventured out following Little Miss' lead.

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Once she got over the feeling of sand in her feet she got to work, digging and playing with the sand.

(In one of the above photos Mei Mei is signing 'water', as she would gaze at the ocean.)

I'm so glad Mei Mei enjoyed the beach. Little Miss and I love going to the ocean. When we lived in St. Pete we'd often grab our school books, and do our work sitting on a blanket, listening to waves crash ashore, taking little breaks to get wet, pick up shells and play with sand.

I think we'll be able to do that here, too:)

Unfortunately we couldn't stay very long, thunder clouds were threatening, and we actually got rained on before we left. Which was ok. Little Miss has had a cold this week, and Mei Mei and I have been fighting it, too.

We'll go back. Soon....! And maybe one of these times we'll go swimming, too:)


Mei Mein ensimmäinen kerta merenrannalla! Hän oli varovainen ja mietteliäs ensin, mutta sitten seurasi Pikkuneidin esimerkkiä ja uskaltautui rannalle. Ja nautti! Hiekka pikkasen vaivasi varpaita, mutta pian uskalsi lähteä kävelemään paljain jaloin. Uimaan emme menneet tällä kertaa, mutta Mei Mei viittoi 'vesi' minulle (yhdessä kuvassa ylhäällä) ja osoitti merta.

Pian ukkospilvet ja sade päätti meidän rantareissun, mutta aiomme mennä pian uudestaan! Ehkäpä joku aamu koulukirjojen ja hiekkalelujen kanssa.

Oli ihana kokea tämä ensimmäinen kokemus Mei Mein kanssa!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Settling In/Kotiutumista

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In August we moved into our new rental. We are still settling in, and have work to do, but it is starting to feel like home, and we are finding good routines for our days.

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So many new things... Everything is new for Mei Mei, and there are a lot of changes for our whole family.

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It is as it should be.

Change can be hard (always has been for me!), but the growth that comes from stretching out of our comfort zones is so good. The benefits and blessings far outweigh any struggle.

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I mentioned some of our changes in this post and I am working on a homeschool update post, but briefly: transitioning to college classes, and transitioning to homeschooling with a new toddler have not been without their challenges... I'd say all of us have had to work on time management skills.

And at the same time - finding a balance and setting aside the to-do list, and discovering joy in the little moments.

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Our family is so blessed with the gift of seeing the world through the eyes of Mei Mei. She is so full of joy and excitement, and it is contagious!

Joy in the midst of changes - such a gift from God!


Olemme pian olleet kuukauden Floridassa, ja edelleen riittää töitä, että saisimme kodin valmiiksi. Mei Mein maailma on täysin muuttunut pienessä ajassa, mutta on meidän koko perheellä ollut paljon muutoksia viime aikoina. Muutokset eivät ole helppoja, mutta ne tuovat kasvua ja siunausta, jos ymmärrämme ja hyväksymme ne osaksi Taivaan Isän suurta suunnitelmaa.

Pikkuhiljaa alkaa löytyä uudet rutiinit, ja tasapainoa työn täytteisiin päiviin. Kirjoitan erikseen koulujutuista, mutta ihan helppo ei ole ollut teinien koulumuutokset, ja jopa Pikkuneidillä ja mamalla on ollut uutta tehdä koulujuttuja Mei Mein kanssa:)

Onnellisia olemme, että Mei Mei on ollut lahja meille Taivaan Isältä, hän tuo paljon iloa päiviimme!

Monday, September 14, 2015

August Maine Photos/Elokuun Mainen kuvia

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From New Hampshire we caravaned to our Maine camp. On the way north I stopped to get groceries, and picked easy and quick dinner items, like Panera's lobster bisque. I offered Mei Mei a spoonful of my bisque, and she loved it so much I didn't get any:) I'd say that was a perfect first meal in Maine for her!!

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I think Mei Mei loved our Maine camp as much as we all do. There was so much space for her to run around and push her baby in a stroller.

One night we gathered around a campfire by the lake with some of our friends and neighbors. Mei Mei didn't want to miss anything, so she woke up after going to sleep and joined us by the fire, too.

The lake water was still so cold! We had to go in, of course, but brrr!!!! Most of the time Mei Mei and mama sat on the dock and watched the big kids on the water trampoline.

Our beautiful Missy!

The girls and I attempted to go blueberry picking one evening, but either we were too early or too late, we found very few blueberries. No pie for us!

Even though our time at camp this summer was too so short, we treasured each moment. We had had our work visit there early in the summer, and this time spent a few days (the Captain had two days, the rest of us four days). We had planned to stay longer, but realized we needed to get to Florida asap.

So the kids and I packed up our car, cleaned our camp, and drove to southern Maine to visit Grandma and Grandpa (the Captain was already there), and to fill a trailer with furniture to bring to Florida.

You can read about our travel to Florida here.


Aikamme Mainessä tänä kesänä oli ihan liian lyhyt, mutta jokainen päivä siellä oli arvokas. New Hampshire-viikon jälkeen Kapteeni oli mökillämme kaksi päivää, me muut neljä päivää, sitten suuntasimme isovanhemmille, ja Floridaan. Tässä kuvia meidän ihanilta Mainen-päiviltämme!