Colorado Trip-Fourteen

FourteenAndrea turned fourteen while we were on vacation. She enjoyed picking out a turtle cake recipe from Grandma’s cookbook for her birthday cake. We hung around the house and enjoyed being together for her special day.

Andrea’s new favorite birthday cake recipe is so easy, we memorized the recipe after making it the first time. Be warned, it is extremely rich 🙂

Use a German Chocolate Cake mix–you will not need the coconut or nuts– and instead of following box directions, add 3/4 cup melted butter, 3 eggs and 2/3 cup of evaporated milk. Pour 1/2 of the batter in a 13 x 9 inch greased pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove and cool slightly. In a double boiler, melt 14 oz caramels with 1/3 c evaporated milk. Pour melted caramel evenly over cooling cake. Sprinkle with 1 cup pecans and 1 cup chocolate chips. Pour remaining batter on top and bake for an additional 20 minutes. When cooled sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.


One penny for each of the 1000 original books we started with.
One penny for each of the 1000 original books we started with.

Two years ago in September, we signed Megan up to read “1000 books before kindergarten”. As much as we read, we thought it would be easy. Soon after starting though, we discovered it was too easy. One of the kids decided we should read 1000 unique books.

We all liked that idea and that became our goal. I researched “classic” books from the 1940’s on and found lots of wonderful books we have never read before. The children looked for their favorite books from when they were younger and we read those.  Megan sat and listened to chapter books that the older ones were reading. We looked for books from our favorite authors. We found wordless books again.  We discovered many new books that we want for our library.

On Friday, Megan took her record sheet to the library for the last time.  We had read and recorded 1111 unique books in less than two years.  She was so excited that she ran ahead of everyone to get her last sticker and then her certificate. She earned a book we never read before.  Then, Daddy took her out to buy ice cream to celebrate!

It is really was not too hard to read that many books.  It sounds like a lot and remembering to record the books is a pain.  If you read one book to your child every day it will take less than 3 years.  You can read duplicates. You can read your favorites and discover new ones.  If you have older kids, read to them too.  While the older ones did not listen to EVERY book Megan snuggled and read, they did listen to 75% or more of the books because they wanted too.

Certificate of Completion
Certificate of Completion

I would challenge you to change two things with the program.  A paper certificate and a new book is nice.  But make the reward bigger and better.  Go out for ice cream–Megan’s absolute favorite treat–or for dinner.  Then, keep reading out loud to your family.  Don’t stop at picture books.  Find books that are excellent and read out loud a lot!

Here is a PDF of the 1000 Different Books that we read.


RelaxingWe have been slowly starting up our school year.  Adrian had a science class at the park that Mark had volunteered to help with.

After class, Audrey wanted to release the rest of her butterflies.  Mark was relaxing and enjoying the sun, so Audrey borrowed Mark’s forehead as a take off spot for one of her butterflies.

Audrey Ruth

AudreyAudrey has been having a lot of fun working with her butterflies this year.  She wants to be a lepidopterist when she grows up, but she knows so much about Monarchs already.  She raises other butterflies too, but this year she is focusing just on the Monarch.

She is out most days looking for eggs and caterpillars.  It is a lot of work feeding all her “pets” and cleaning their cages two or three times a day.  She enjoys it and rarely complains.  Adrian and Megan are her students and it is fun watching them try to help her.

It will be interesting to see where this hobby leads her.