Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Finlaysons

We hope you all have a wonderful, blessed Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Dryer is Sick

We've had some sickness in our house this week and unfortunately I think the dryer is now under the weather too. You can tell by the photo that the dryer apparently threw up. I feel so bad for it. I hope it gets better soon.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Henry is 3!!!!

Henry actually turned three last Thursday, but we went out of town that night and didn't return till the following night.  Then we had General Conference all weekend.  So his party was tonight for Family Home Evening.  I wanted to try another Frozen Butter Cream Transfer, and since I have vowed "no more fondant cakes until I can get rid of this stupid tile countertop", this frosting-only technique was the perfect solution!

The Arthur cake....hand-piped top using FBCT technique

He's happy

Took him a few tries, but he got them blown out

He's actually trying to read the card!

He seems pretty pleased with this one.

And this one.

It's a pillow.  It's a pet.  It's a Pillow Pet!!
Can't believe my baby is three years old.  Now, if I can just convince him that the Terrible Two's are over...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chicken a la Death

Sad, sad news around the Finlayson homestead.

A couple of weeks ago, I walked out to the pasture to feed the chickens some leftover pancakes from breakfast.  I thought it was unusual that they weren't greeting me at the pasture gate as they normally do.  I went to open the gate when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement.  Not chicken movement, mind you.  Large animals movement.

Two big dogs were in the pasture, apparently with no way to get out.  My heart sank.  I looked around and saw piles of feathers everywhere (among other things, but I'll spare you the gory details).  I couldn't see any live chickens anywhere.  I yelled to the kids to go get Rick, and he went running for the BB gun....not that that would do any good now, but that's how we usually scare off stray dogs.

the lone survivor
One dog somehow got out, but the other hid in some downed, dead trees at the far side of the pasture.  We tried to find any survivors, and found only one.  Our rooster, missing feathers and toes and with various surface injuries, was hobbling around.  Poor guy.  All his girlfriends.  Gone.

Some of those chickens we had had since our very first batch of chicks five plus years ago.  Some of them, honestly, I will not miss.  They fly out of the pasture and mess up our garden.  But we had 10+ new chicks that we had recently acquired to replenish our now retired (no longer laying) chickens.

I felt so bad.  Not just because we lost them but because I had heard dogs barking earlier in the morning and should've checked outside then.  Maybe I could have saved some of them from this grisly fate.  I also felt sick that perhaps our lack of attention to the pasture fence perimeter could have been to blame.

So we decided that we would clear out some brush from around the fence and start trying to atone for our lack of care.  It's a big job, and is still not done
(we lost a lot of ornamental pears on that fence line
several years back and have yet to clear them away).  When we got to the area where Bad Dog #2 was hiding, I was ready to just smack that dog into next week.  But after careful observation I could see that she was terrified.
I started to forgive her.  She's a dog.  She found a way in.  She ate what she found.  She followed her instincts. I'm mad that this whole thing happened, but can I blame a dog for being a dog?

Now, if it had not been for the Valentine's Day massacre of '06 (we lost half our chickens through dog attack that time....and I cried like a baby) I would not have been prepared emotionally for what happened.  I was, and still am, deeply saddened by the loss of our ENTIRE flock except the rooster.  But it happens.  It's life.   No one cried.  We just dealt with it.  We were sad.  We made plans for a better coop/fence in the future.  But we dealt with it.  For us, this was an emotional loss and the loss of luxurious, home "grown" eggs.  I can only imagine how devastating this loss would have been to a pioneer.

We will rebuild.  If you don't rebuild, the dogs win.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is it May yet?

I guess since our summer was not a "real" summer (meaning, we had very little down time) I don't really feel like I got a break.  So after only one month of this school year, I'm ready for summer!!!!  Scary.  Not that I don't love homeschooling; it's just that I'm kind worn out already.  We did add some tennis and swimming and that is taking up 2 hours every day, Monday through Thursday.  But I'm finding that I just want to work outside, sew, craft, and read!!!  I guess I could and call it school if I was an unschooler.  Oh well.

It's probably the oncoming fall season that is making me feel this way too.  I love mild weather and whenever it starts to cool off a bit I start getting Fall Fever (same things happens in the spring....well, that's Spring Fever, but you get  my drift).  I just want to DO stuff all the time.

In the summer, I just want to lay around like a slug and wait for the heat and humidity to be done.  In the winter, I just want to curl up in a blanket or bake all the time.  But spring and fall are my DOing seasons.

I actually toyed with the idea of taking spring and fall off and doing school during the winter and summer.  In a perfect world (meaning, a world that I controlled completely...does that sound like world domination?) I would do it.  But my kids' friends have summer off and that would be hard.

But seriously, I want to play all spring and fall.  And be a hermit all summer and winter.  WHO'S WITH ME???

Saturday, August 27, 2011

First Week of School

Usually, moms who have their kids in public school are saying at the end of summer, "I can't wait for school to start!"  Moms who homeschool might say, "I'm not ready for school to start yet!"  But this year, I can honestly say I AM SO HAPPY THAT SCHOOL HAS STARTED!!!

We've had such a busy, crazy summer it has really thrown me for a loop.  We've really not had much time to enjoy the summer at a leisurely pace.  And I've had very little, next to no time to get this year's school ready.  I spent all last week frantically working up our routines and plans for the year.  I finally got nearly everything done.  I worked on a few new things, but mostly we are following our 4 year rotation with only small changes.

This year Audrey is 10th grade, Austin is 7th, Thomas is 5th, Emma is 4th and Henry is the King of Preschool Chaos!  Here's what we're studying this year:

  • Pearl of Great Price and The Old Testament
  • Chemistry (Audrey has her own outside-the-home class on this, the rest of us are studying it together)
  • Ancient History
  • Foundations in English (Literary periods, special literary forms, writing skills; we'll also study Literature that connects to what we're studying in history)
  • Geography (we have made this a part of our yearly routine, studying countries from different regions of the globe....this year we're at The Americas, we'll also obviously study geography as part of our ancient history)
  • The Arts (continuing in flute, violin, piano, guitar, and whatever instrument Thomas picks!; art skills and great artists)
  • Writing (we're putting a special emphasis on this for this year, doing writing exercises above our usual English work)
  • Math, Grammar, Spelling
  • Latin and Greek word roots
  • Latin (as a foreign language)
  • Tennis (Audrey and Austin)
  • Swimming (all the kids except Henry)
Audrey will also be studying:
  • Spanish
  • Home Economics
This week has gone pretty well.  I always experiment with slightly new ways of ordering our homeschool days and weeks.  This year I'm setting Thursday as mostly an activity/project day and Friday as Field Trip day.  Field trips are something that have gotten away from me over the last couple of years.  I really want to get back into those.  If you know of any cool places to go, let me know!  I've had to make a few tweaks, but overall it's been a successful routine.  (I tend toward routines rather than rigid schedules....I find I start to become a slave to the clock when I schedule each minute.)

Here are some photos from this week.  I always say I'm going to take pics on the first day of homeschool, but I'm always so excited and busy that first day, I always forget!

Audrey hard at work on math

Austin practicing piano

Austin in a new favorite reading spot on the stairs

Thomas doing math on the couch
Austin preferred to play with the trees.
Our field trip to the Fossil Museum....yeah, thanks Aurora Fossil Museum for telling me on the phone that very morning that you would be open till 12 noon.  10:30am is not 12noon.  Just sayin.
Audrey, not really interested in digging.
Thomas enjoyed it though

And Emma.
They were the only ones willing to get dirty.
Well, except Henry.

Austin and Audrey did make themselves useful "holding up" this sign.

Half of our finds.  Not a lot of luck at the digging pit today.

My advice....if you call the Fossil Museum to see what their hours are that day, make sure you state the obvious to them:  "I am asking you this information because I am coming today.  Obviously.  So please be open."  Then repeat.

Thomas got his Webelos badge this week, too.
Since our emphasis this year is on art, we started working with pastels and charcoals this week.
Audrey with her works of art.

Austin's "art" he trying to tell me something?

Thomas with some still life and abstract designs.

Emma with 2 still life drawings.

And mine.

And that's what our fingers looked like after!
So that was our first week.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Thomas is 11!!!

Thomas turned 11 on Saturday, but with family out of town, we decided to wait until tonight to celebrate.  He asked for this Reese's Cup Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake and I was happy to oblige.  The recipe will be up in a couple of weeks on my recipe blog, Mormon Mavens.
The finished cake....that frosting is SUBLIME!!!

Oooohhhhh....pretty candles.....

How to Train Your Dragon, book 2....and Despicable Me....SCORE!!!
Oh, and he also received a letter from Hogwart's.  You know, once you turn 11 you can go to wizarding school.  Dumbledore (Audrey) wrote it himself and sealed it with real wax.  I hear it was delivered by an owl, but I can't confirm that.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Recipe Blog

Gotta put a quick plug in for the recipe blog I started with a bunch of great ladies.  It's called Mormon Mavens in the Kitchen.  We just started a couple of weeks ago, but we are starting to build up a nice collection of recipes.  Go check it out.  Parts of the blog are still under construction, so pardon our dust!

Adventures in the Mountains!!

Beautiful, beautiful Aspen Grove!  Here are some pics from our latest adventures.
At the campfire show.....score on the free BYU basketball and football!

Aspen Follies....Finlaysons in our bright green family reunion shirts.

Aspen Follies....Lots of families competing.

Aspen Follies.....Melanie in action.

Aspen Follies....Danny, Jake, and Emma poking up through the tarp.

Aspen Follies.....and Thomas too!

Aspen Follies....that is one big beach ball.

Aspen Follies.....the human treadmill.

Aspen Follies....preparing for the next game.

Austin waiting to climb.

Austin climbing the log.

Getting ready for the rock wall.


Almost there.


On the high ropes course (I'm using my zoom lens here).

Doesn't he look so nonchalant? 

CW = Cat Woman.  Okay.

Austin waiting to repel down.

Introducing.....the reason I have no stills of Austin repelling!  Thomas was up next on the climbing tower so I ran over there while Rick taped Austin's repel. 

Emma's turn.

Look at that flexibility.  She did NOT get that from me.

And then suddenly, she climbed horizontally!!!!  What a woman!!  Also, the trees grow horizontally in that particular area.

To the top!

"Hey, I climbed that!"