Zakkai’s Birthday, Oliver Baby and Colds!


Our sweet Oliver Baby (otherwise known as Putty Tat, Pussy Cat, Olivee, Baby and more:) has just been the most amazing addition to our family! He is just so wonderful:)


His eyes have changed from so blue to a beautiful green-blue aqua color. His face especially and the other points of his body have darkened so much over the past month and he is just so beautiful!


And ornery, as you can tell! He got his head stuck in this tissue box the other day:) He is an attacker of bare legs and anything that moves, a fierce killer of stuffed animals, and an automatic purr box as soon as we come near him. He sleeps above my head every single night and wakes me up with a nibble on my face to let me know he is ready to eat!


He gets tucked in by the kids for most of his naps! He leads a pretty cushy life, no pun intended!


And he also has Ben wrapped around his furry little paw:) Here he is taking a little snooze in daddy’s arms:) Softy!


We’ve had a cold virus going through our house. It started with Z on Monday. He went through a brand new box of tissues in one morning and was miserable with a low-grade fever by evening. He shared his germs with Eliana and Samuel, who came down with it Wed and were miserable by Thursday. Eliana followed me everywhere, even falling asleep on the stool watching me cook lunch!


These were her eyes all day… Ben and I have been chugging Emergen-C like addicts and I’ve been making smoothies with all sorts of sickness-fighting things and I was able to stave it off long enough to celebrate Z’s birthday this weekend! (and then I succumbed. sigh.)


Now to the best part!! On Saturday, Mr Z turned NINE!! It is an off-party year and when asked how he would like to celebrate, he said with going out to breakfast! He inhaled a large chocolate pancake with a whipped cream face and then blushed endearingly when the wait staff came out clapping loudly, singing him happy birthday and bringing him a breakfast bowl of ice cream:) A great way to start the day!


When we got home, his present from us and my mom and stepdad was waiting on the doorstep. He couldn’t wait to tear into it! Look how excited he was when he saw it…


An electric drum set!! He can plug his new headphones into it and program beats. It’s very cool and he loves it! We spent the rest of the day outside at the park with bikes! It was seriously February and 68 degrees outside. (what a weird winter!) It was so nice to be out in fresh air after being cooped up with sick kids and tissues all week.


We came home and let the birthday boy feast on one of his favs~spaghetti! This kid has adored spaghetti since he was old enough to say “p’sketti!” And then we put a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream on a brownie, lit a candle and sang to him. And then he sai, “Can I ask you a question? Was I cute when I was born? ‘Cause I saw a picture and I was a little….weird looking.” (fyi, most babies are weird looking when they were born 5 minutes ago!) We told him that parents are made to think their babies are adorable as soon as they arrive (which of course, made me get all misty-eyed) and we regaled him with Baby Zakkai stories and told him how special he is to us.

Oh my Mr Z,

How can you be NINE???? Why aren’t you still my fat little 3 year old who came with me everywhere and made us laugh hourly with your ridiculous questions and observations?! Why aren’t you 5 and making us breathe a sigh of relief that you were not throwing as many outrageous tantrums? Or telling me as we walked home from taking Samuel to school that you were going to grow up and live next door to me with your 9 children and mow my lawn and come visit me every day?

Now you are nine and I can’t quite grasp that you are growing up. You are still outrageous and ridiculous and have the most imaginative imagination I have ever seen. Or heard. And most people who meet you would probably agree! You have made the coolest Lego inventions ever and I really expect you to invent something someday.

At the moment you say you might want to be a mechanic and fix cars and you and Samuel have great plans to open a healthy candy shop called Dots, that also sells meat and cheese:) I hope you do it and I will come and be your biggest customer!

Your hair still sticks straight out from your forehead, as it did when you were a baby and I adore it! I wish your front teeth would never come back so you wouldn’t lose that adorable tooth-less lisp you have. You are so smart, so loving, so bossy, so earnest and innocent and you are so adored. I hope and pray you will continue to gain confidence and see yourself for the wonderful amazing boy you are. A gift to our family.

I love you my Z-man,





Welcome to YellowApplePie! Why am I switching from my old blog ( ?? For a few reasons! One, that blog was started when I only had boys and now Little Miss is part of the crew! Two, it was at a completely different point in my life and was intended only for updating family since we lived far away and things have changed a lot now. My focus, priorities, my journey.

Why yellow? Because yellow is my favorite color! It has been since I was about 3 years old. It represents sunshine, joy, peace and brightness. And sometimes I really need a little yellow in my life!

Why apple pie? Because my family makes a rockin’ good apple pie and maybe that’s why my husband married me, I can’t really say;) It represents my favorite season, cooking from scratch, family….so many things I love!

So I combined some of my favorite things into a whimsical name and voila:) I am hoping to start a new blogging journey here and I hope you’ll come along!





100th Day of Homeschooling!

I have been wanting to do a homeschooling post for awhile, as we get asked often how it’s going and today seems perfect since it’s the 100th day!! (okay, I started this post yesterday~Monday so…now it was yesterday!)

We are celebrating because it is a big accomplishment for all of us! We had smoothies and baked oatmeal this morning with “100” in berries on top:) We are doing little fun activities like filling out “100th Day Newspapers” and an estimation/actual sheet on activities done in 100 seconds. The kids are having fun!

Whenever people ask me how it’s going, I have to think about it for a minute because it’s hard to know what to say or what not to say. And I tend to babble a bit, afraid I am boring people! Homeschooling is going well overall. I don’t always feel that way because just like most other people, we have good days and bad days.

It’s been a big learning curve for us, figuring out how to work with each other in a small space five days a week! The kids can get snippy with each other and I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that I can get snippy, too. Our days tend to go better when we start with a devotional and a little prayer:) We have to work hard on being respectful and NOT complaining!

How do we keep order?

Our four rules posted on the wall are:
1. NO complaining
2. Do your best work
3. Have a good attitude
4. Be respectful

Short and sweet! If they do not follow the rules, the consequences are:
1. You must leave the school room (it is a privilege to be in here!) and you will lose 5 points (we start with 100 points on Mondays)  and possibly gain an extra chore for the day.
2. Write 30+ times an apology for the offense. Lose 10+ points.
3. Lose extracurricular activity and/or privilege. Lose 30 points.

We haven’t gotten to number 3 yet, thankfully! They rarely have to do number 2 (that’s considered a bad day!) and they really hate to lose points. If they get below 85 by Friday, they are not allowed to have dessert that night or watch a movie/play a game with the family. If they end the week above 100, they get rewards!
What do they study?

Instead of investing in an already made up curriculum (which can cost up to $1,000 per child!), I did a ton of research and picked from several different things. Some are free and some I bought used on ebay. The biggest chunk of money I spent was on a new set of math books. The good part is that they will last for several years!

I am always looking for more things to add to our curriculum to make it more fun or to go more in depth. We get a LOT of books from the library! As in, we always have at least 30 or more checked out at a time. The library is an amazing resource! We even do their languages through a program at the library. Cool!

If you have any interest in knowing specifically what they study, I am more than happy to share. I just figured it would bore you!

Do we like homeschooling?

It was a huge adjustment for us. I knew it would be (because I was told it would be!) but that is different from experiencing it:) Samuel had the hardest time but finally around November, he told me he liked homeschooling. Zakkai has trouble focusing (which wasn’t a surprise!) so we have tried to do a few things to help, such as diffusing some calming oils in the schoolroom and he got a portable CD player and good headphones for Christmas so he plays classical music to block out his siblings, which helps a lot! I also separate them when I can:)

I like homeschooling most days. I love that they don’t have homework and we don’t have to spend our afternoons battling with kids cranky from a whole day at school, hungry, tired, etc. We are done when we are done! I like the extra time with them (mostly) and the extra opportunity to be able to instill the values we want to in them, without constantly having to undo the damage caused at school. And believe me, there was damage! I really like organizing all of our work and doing research for it. I love the people we have been able to connect with this year and all the support from other homeschooling families!

What is tough is constantly trying to guard our schedule and often being made to feel like I am this mean old mom who forces who kids to work instead of having fun. I do take this seriously and I have a responsibility to make sure their work gets done and they are learning a lot! I also get very frustrated when the boys mess around and pick fights and have trouble concentrating. It makes the days soooooo much longer! I also feel frustrated with myself often, wondering if I am doing the best I can and feeling the pressure to juggle all three of them, in three different levels of school. Exhausting!

What about Eliana?

Eliana, I have to admit, has had it easy this year. It has been so challenging to just get the boys going that she has had several days where I don’t make her do anything. I always feel guilty but it is what it is and I am trying to have some grace for myself!

She has workbooks she has been working through, Pre-K and Kindergarten and she loves doing several pages a day in those. She has flashcards with sight words on them that we go through and I try to do a letter of the week with words to practice writing and an art craft! Unfortunately, it’s a little slower than I was aiming for:)

 She also participates in our Road Trip USA history curriculum and loves learning the states/capitals and coloring a sheet for each state. She knows some of her stuff better than the boys! She also listens in on Spanish most of the time and recently I got her a special book to work on her reading and she loves our reading lessons! I will be working hard to develop a curriculum for her kindergarten year next year and really incorporate her into the school day more. I will definitely need some prayers for wisdom for that because it can be overwhelming!!

All in all, things are going well and we are all learning and growing together. Please feel free to ask any questions you have!!