Sunday, February 24, 2008

Announcing a New Blog!

I'd like to invite you to visit a new blog that was recently started by my husband.

The blog is called "Biblical Computing" and deals with Applying Biblical Principles in the Internet Age.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have. I highly recommend starting with the Inaugural post and proceeding from there.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Mr. E's Birthday Fun!

Mr. E had a wonderful birthday. He started off the day opening up a card from his grandparents and a present from them as well - Rock'em Sock'em Robots! He thinks this is a pretty cool present and has been asking everyone to battle it out with him ever since!

Later in the day we celebrated with blueberry cake and blueberry ice cream, per Mr. E's request. He walked into the kitchen, saw his cake and exclaimed "Mama, you did it just how I wanted!" - Never mind that *I* didn't think it worked out as well as I'd envisioned, in Mr. E's eyes, the cake was perfection. That's all that mattered. The cake was perfect (and yummy too, I might add).

After cake and ice cream, Mr. E opened a few more goodies and was a very happy "Thomasey" boy. He's getting so big!

Oh yes, and did you know you can get just about anything from Crate & Barrel these days?

Who knew?! ;)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy Birthday to Mr. E!

Today is Mr. E's birthday - 4 years old - wow, where does the time go?! I can remember this day very clearly 4 years ago - CKB was working 2.5 hours away at that time and after I called him to let him know he needed to come home, he headed out immediately. By the time I got my bag packed (ahem, yes, it still needed to be done at that time), the girls ready to go and drove to the hospital (amidst construction on a bridge we had to cross) CKB arrived only 5 mn. after we did :) That was in the morning. That night, around 11 p.m., Mr. E was born - our first sweet little boy! I never knew how sweet a little boy could be - I pray he always retains some of that sweetness.

Now, for a trip down memory lane....

our newborn sweet!

3 months - Aggie in training ;)

6 months...our little man

1 year - our bluebonnet baby

2 year - Mr. Personality

3 year - getting so big already! Isn't he handsome? :)

4 years - to be continued....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today is CKB and my 8th anniversary!

Happy Anniversary honey!!!

me :)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Blog Note

Just a note - occasionally I get a little blog crazy and post more than once on a single day - so, in the interest of your not missing one exciting little word, please be sure to always scroll down and make sure you've seen all the posts! I wouldn't want any of you to miss anything...especially since there's a fun little contest like thing that is getting pushed down b/c I just had to do that movie post!

So...after you read, just keep scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, what do we do? we scroooooolllllll....

Movie Monday

I doubt I'll stick to only talking about movies on Mondays, but it just seemed like an appropriate title for THIS particular Monday.

Over the weekend we saw Samantha: An American Girl Holiday and CKB, the girls and I really liked it. It wasn't really Mr. E's thing I guess - he decided to play JumpStart Advantage instead :) (yes, sis, we found it at Target the other day and bought K and 1st - might have to get 2nd and 3rd for Miss E though so she might have a challenge!)

Anyway! We all enjoyed it - I've seen it and/or heard most of it about 4 times now and it's probably time to send it back to Blockbuster! In months past, we also have seen Felicity and Molly and while I would say Molly was my least favorite of the three, and Felicity and Samantha were about equal, the girls like all 3 "the same" :)

I would highly recommend checking them out!

In other movie news - we finally got the My Friends Tigger and Pooh Super Sleuth Christmas Movie (it's been on our Blockbuster Online list for ages...since before Christmas!)

I didn't care for it too much, but the children all watched it...and seemed to like it. That one didn't stay around long enough for 4 viewings. Aside from the fact that I don't care much for the new character, Darby, I mean, what was wrong with Christopher Robin anyway?? I just didn't think it was the greatest movie. You be the judge for yourself though :)

Well, that's about it for movies we've seen recently...more children's movies than anything...but I guess we have to get a few for them now and then, right? ;)

Pay it Forward

Well, I ran across this and thought it might be fun - here's the deal:

I was reading through some blogs today and saw this fun idea. It's called "Pay it Forward: Arts & Crafts Edition." It's pretty simple & easy to participate.

The rules are:

  • Anyone with a blog can join.

  • The first three people to leave a comment on this post will receive a handmade gift from me. Make sure you leave your email so I can contact you for your mailing address.

  • I will send your gift within 365 days.

  • In return, you have to pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

If you want to play, just be one of the first 3 people to comment, and go post the challenge on your own blog. Then sometime this year, a fun, handmade gift from me will appear in your mailbox.

I can't say what it'll be just yet, but hopefully you'll like it!

I'm not much into "trendy" stuff, I just thought this would be a fun thing to do!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hail amongst other things!

This morning CKB and I awoke to the sound of something hitting the roof of the house. We got up to look and sure enough it was hail! Most of the hail stones were about marble sized, but a few were a tad larger. Went back to bed, but alas, there wasn't time to get back to sleep as Mr. Baby took his cue from the thunder and hail and started to sing his morning song :) Before going in to get him, I took a quick peek out the front door to see if our van still had windshields - yes, thankfully, both vans are intact, just a couple of little paint specks missing on the hood, but it could've been like that before for all I know.

So, our day began amidst some Saturday morning cartoons (Tigger and Pooh, Mickey Mouse Club and Little Einsteins to name a few). After breakfast it was time to check on the sea monkeys...ah yes, the sea monkeys....well, if you recall from my earlier post, the first batch wasn't doing so well and CKB got a second tank w/new supplies inside - fast forward a day or so from then and all of a sudden tank #1 had not 1, but about 5 sea monkeys in it - Hmmm. So, tank #2 is off to a swimming start - ha ha - and now has quite a few little monkeys floating about. Then came Valentine's Day - CKB brought home flowers for each of the girls and gorgeous roses for me - what a great Daddy and husband :) Since boys don't usually get guessed it, Mr. E is now the proud owner of his own sea monkey tank - keeping up? That makes 3. After tank #3 was prepared and all set w/the water purifier, CKB brought out a little surprise for Miss A - her own tank as well (no sense waiting 'til her birthday in April when sea monkey fever has already hit the rest of the household - a hot pink tank, no less - and we got it all set up (on the same schedule as Mr. E's) - whew - added the egg/food mixture last night and if you're still keeping up, we now have 4 sea monkey tanks and they ALL have sea monkeys in the moment.

Here's the pink one in the package - and no, we will not be putting sea monkeys in the locket for Miss A to wear - how weird is that anyway?

Good thing these little sea monkey tanks aren't very pricey - now, hopefully these "pets" will be a lot less trouble than our first pet experience a few years ago when we decided to get 2 pet mice for the girls - after one of them bit CKB during a cage cleaning (and one of the 2 original mice died shortly after coming home) - we decided mice just weren't the best pets for us and gave them to some mice-friendly folks who already had a big cage w/a few other mice and were wanting more. So, if these sea monkeys survive and the children do a good job keeping up w/their feeding schedules, maybe, just maybe, we'll get a kitten in a few years - maybe :)

Aren't the little sea monkeys cute?
Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but sea monkeys do NOT look like the cute little cartoons - instead, look here for a nice closeup of what they really look like....eek!

On to other topics - the girls have discovered the fun of the Spirograph ...

and yesterday spent quite a while creating pictures with it and the stencil that came with it. I've had the box sitting on the shelf since before Christmas when I picked it up at Dollar General, but never got it out and showed them how to use it. I figured it was high time! They really like it and it reminds me of the one my sister (and I? can't remember whose it was, but anyway) had when we were kids. By the by, feel free to visit my sister at her new blog now, if you like. Tell her I sent you!

What else...can you tell it's naptime for the wee ones and quiet times for the older children?
Ah...I want to introduce you to one of my new friends, her name is Marie Callender. You don't know her yet? Well, let me tell you, this gal sure can cook! And freeze, and box it up...and well, you get the point. In the interest of my sanity and making sure I eat something decent at lunch when I'm tired of PB&J, I've taken to picking up frozen meals for lunch - through trial and error (first TRYing the cheapest ones, then finding out I didn't care much for the rubbery chicken in some and tiny portions in others), I've found 2 brands that have consistently been winners in my book -
1st - Marie Callender's - the chicken is wonderful and actually tastes like chicken, not a rubbery little cube of who knows what - the alfredo sauce is GOOD, creamy, and wonderful. The 2 varieties I've had so far are: Fettucine with Chicken and Broccoli (pictured below) and (today) Grilled Chicken Alfredo Bake - yummmy. Now, the only bad thing I have to say about Marie is that her meals are a tad high on the lunchtime calorie chart for my liking - what, watching calories? - doesn't hurt to know what you're putting into your body! The 2 I've had were about 600 or so calories. But, they were YUMMY :)

Now, the second brand surprised me - I picked up some of these and didn't realize at first what they really were - they said "Smart Ones" and I really didn't care what they said, but what was inside the red box :) I tend to look for things w/alfredo/chicken/broccoli/fettucine/any pasta really in the title. Turns out these are Weight Watchers - who knew - and are pretty tasty. Again, the chicken tastes like real chicken - imagine that - here are a few I've tried so far that were definitely meals I'd purchase again:
Chicken Enchiladas Suiza (pictured)
Creamy Rigatoni w/Chicken & Broccoli
Fettucini Alfredo
Lasagna Florentine (pretty good, but would probably do better in the oven, rather than microwaving)

These run you about 400 calories - much better and still pretty tasty. Try some, you might like them!

So, for now, this is what I've been doing for lunch and it is nice to not even have to think about lunch too much - just go grab something from the freezer, microwave it and eat with the children instead of taking forever preparing something. For now, this works.

Making things, that's another post for another time!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Encourage them!

This morning I needed to run to the grocery store, a.k.a. Wal-mart, so seeing as CKB works from the house I was able to do so w/o taking all of the children this time. I took the boys with me and while I was gone the girls did their schoolwork, checking off each item on their list (and apparently Miss E took it upon herself to fill my shoes and stand at the dry erase board "teaching" Miss A her Tapestry for the day - oh how I wish I had a video of it! CKB witnessed a tad of it when he came to see who'd rang the doorbell - anyway, next time I have to make a store run I might leave the video camera on - sigh - I'm sure it was a sweet scene w/the girls. So, the boys and I got back around lunchtime and after we finished lunch the girls excitedly brought me some drawings they'd done while I was gone.

"Which do you like best?" Miss A asked as she held up 2 and Miss E held up 1
What does a mother say in such an instance?
I told them I liked them all, but my favorites were the one Miss E had one and one of the 2 that Miss A had done.
They then told me that they were going to "be rich!"
"Yes, we're going to open a little shop when we grow up to sell drawings!" - Miss A states in a VERY ANIMATED voice
"Sounds good!" I say

During their "quiet time" I still can see their excited little faces and think "well, why not?!" so I decide to put their drawings up for auction and see what happens. Now, nothing may come of it, but if it does, great. I asked the girls to title their masterpieces of the day and then put them up as a pair of original art on ebay. Miss E titled hers "The Countryside" and Miss A's is "Snowtime to Play" - so adorable, so sweet, so precious. I wish you could have seen their faces. Oh, the innocence of youth - if only we could hold onto it a little longer.

Well, all this to say that I highly recommend encouraging your children. Now, I have not told the girls about the ebay auction and I won't unless something comes of it, ie, someone does purchase their drawings. Regardless, I feel it extremely important that we, as parents, believe in our children, encourage their endeavors and support them all the way. Whether this be in the form of helping them with a lemonade stand, going with them to sell items for their schools if they're in public schools, freezing at a Girl Scout cookie stand, etc. These precious gifts are just that, precious and today it really struck me that I needed to really encourage them more in everything they do and strive to do!

Reminds me of Ruthie in "One Big Happy" as she endeavors to sell her artwork (although I'm not quite ready for them to sit out on the curb by themselves!)

Stay tuned for information about the book Miss E has been planning for a long time :) She is quite the little poetess!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Do you shelter your children?

Do you shelter your children? I hope so! God gave these wonderful blessings to us to watch over, protect and train up in the way that they should go. The following article hit my inbox today and I felt it worth sharing.


Can You Shelter a Child TOO Much?
By Gena Suarez

Do you "shelter" your children?

We're finding that's a bad word in some circles. Something is creeping into the church (and even the homeschooling community), and it isn't biblical. It is an "anti-sheltering campaign" of sorts, and it's full of holes. Think about it. What does it mean to shelter? Protect. Defend. Guard. Preserve. Watch over. Shield. Safeguard. Hmmmm, so far so good, right? Sure, until "pop psychology" comes in and tells us we should allow our children to taste a little of the world in order to understand it or pray for it - that we should not "over-shelter" them. Nonsense.

What's the opposite of shelter? Expose. Endanger. We parents are called to be like our Father in Heaven. He is the greatest "Shelterer" there ever was, and it is us He shelters - or watches over; protecting us, preserving us, shielding us. Praise Him for this! Glory to God who knows how to parent (shelter) us perfectly. May we as parents follow this model - His model. Let's continue to shelter (love) our children as He loves us. Dismiss the garbage that crawls in; don't buy it. We're promised there will be false teachers, liars in the church (and there are many). I want to keep my eyes focused on Christ, come what may.

Parents: Keep sheltering them. You are bringing them up in the love and admonition of the Lord, not in the latest "homeschool philosophy." God's word trumps any speaker! It dwarfs any author! May you be blessed as you continue to walk in obedience of His word.

Lord, thank you for sheltering me. Please never stop. "Over-shelter" if You will (if there is such a thing). Fine with me!

Over-protect, over-defend, over-guard me; please do! I'll take it all, Lord. Keep me tight to Your side. I'm safe in that place. There, I can breathe and thrive. It's where I live.

For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. - Psalms 61:3

Action point: Do you need to repent to someone today for looking down on (judging) them? Have you been a thorn in another parent's side over this issue? Who have you scolded or cryptically "spoken to" about their "overbearance" in regards to their own children? It might be time to humbly pick up the phone or shoot off an email.

Parents who strongly shelter their children are to be praised, not made to feel inadequate or odd. That's the world lying to us, there. And this world is not our home. - Paul & Gena

Paul and Gena Suarez
Publishers, Owners

Monday, February 11, 2008

They're ALIVE!

Well, they were....are...sort of.

What, you may ask?

Why, sea monkeys, of course!

Miss E got a little sea monkey kit for Christmas from Mr. E and we followed the instructions last week and ended up with 5, maybe 6 little sea monkeys. After their first tiny feeding, a few days later we have 1 sea monkey. Hmmmm...ok. The packages inside the little tank seemed damp from the get-go so we think that is probably the problem - the poor little sea monkeys probably died an untimely death before we even brought the package home.

So...tonight we picked up another package at the store and we're giving it a second go. The lone sea monkey continues alone in tank #1 and now tank #2 is in the water purification stage. We'll see what a few days.

Friday, February 8, 2008

What's wrong with this picture?

I recently received a catalog and this item caught my attention - now......this ranks up there w/the vinyl enclosures that come with some strollers these days - Who would think putting their child in a bag and covering their head is a good idea?!?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Pasta anyone? Easy Creamy Pasta Sauce

Tried a new recipe tonight after my original plan for dinner fizzled - what on earth did they do in the "old days" before the Internet existed? I flipped open the laptop, googled "easy creamy pasta sauce" and VOILA! (and it was mmmm, mmm, gooood!)

Try it, you might like it ;)

(I poured it over some ziti (rigate, per the box) noodles and it was YUMMMMY!)

4 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. dried basil
In a small saucepan, melt butter in oil. Add garlic, cheese, and basil, stirring to blend over medium-low heat. Stir in cream.

Makes about 1 cup of sauce that can be tossed on your favorite pasta.

For a variation, try adding a can of chicken noodle soup along with your cooked pasta when sauce is done. Heat and serve.

One thing I noticed is that it never said how much oil to use, I just added about 1/4 cup maybe? (I didn't measure it :) )

Also, no cloves of garlic on hand so I used the minced garlic in a jar and put about 3 tsp. or was it tblsp. - hmmm - perhaps "season to taste" would be a good guide :) I like garlic so I probably put a good bit!

I don't know about that last instruction regarding a "variation" - that doesn't sound so great to me, but hey, you might like it!

Happy cooking!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ramblings on a Wednesday afternoon

Talked to my mom today and found out they had some pretty intense storms in their area of TN last night - tornado activity not too far away from them destroyed part of the mall I used to go to as a child - scary stuff! Praise God that my parents and brother and his family next door were all safe. All my years growing up in TN we would get thunderstorms w/tornado warnings, watches and so on, but never any actual tornadoes - then after I moved away there now have been 2 (at least) times that they actually touched down in/near my parents' home. I've told CKB we used to see those warnings flash across the screen at night and didn't pay them much least I don't remember thinking too much about them, but then I was a child and w/o a care in the world :)

We've been reading in Genesis again for our Tapestry readings and today we read again about Lot and Lot's wife - the children's eyes were big when we read about Lot's wife being turned to a pillar of salt. They remembered that detail very clearly from the last time we read that passage. Lot's house being compassed about by the wicked men of Sodom also made a big impression. We'll move on to talk about Isaac more later today when we pick up with a little more of our readings - reading Genesis 11-50 in a week is a lot for our "lower/upper grammar" aged bunch!

While we're doing school updates - Miss E is progressing well through her math-u-see Beta book (good thing I ordered Gamma to have on hand for when she finishes Beta!) - Miss A continues to progress through Alpha at a good pace and Mr. E is chugging through the Primer and doing fantastically - he's got the hang of skip counting and is doing great w/the addition facts he's worked through thus far. Everyone's doing well w/their handwriting and we plan to start an actual grammar curriculum very soon. We're working on some other things as well and as always they really enjoy any craft time!

Tomorrow night the girls will be helping make unleaven bread again - this is also part of our Tapestry work for this week (and it doesn't hurt that they all like to eat it!)

In movie news, we came across a movie recently and decided to give it a go - the movie is called "Caddie Woodlawn" - The exciting adventures of an 11-year-old tomboy growing up in the Wisconsin frontier of the 1860s. Based on the children's book.

The movie stars Emily Schulman who you may know from the "Christy" series or various appearances in TV as a child actor - namely a show called "Small Wonder" or some such where she played the child next door to a family w/a robot girl - I vaguely recall seeing this at least once. Anyway, Caddie Woodlawn turned out to be a nice little movie (the children liked it too) - we recommend it! Now, to get the book and see if it'd be ok for our little bookworms!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Birthday Fun

Well, we had a very nice day yesterday - Miss E requested pancakes for breakfast (no problem!) - for lunch she wanted an apple w/peanut butter and some pretzel goldfish (ok) - and for dinner she asked if we could have lasagna (sure thing!) - then the cake and ice cream as requested were strawberry (she decided a tiny bit of frosting would be ok after I gave her a little taste - can't decorate w/o *some* frosting!).

After our yummy treat, Miss E opened some presents and then was off to play!

Happy 7th Birthday to our little Miss!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Miss E!

Today is our first little ones' birthday - she is 7 years old! Where does the time go?! Seems such a short time since we brought our first blessing home from the hospital. She was such a good baby and continues to be a wonderful blessing in our lives. Take a moment to see how she's changed through the years...ah...memories.....

Miss E at 3 mos. (happened to have this one scanned in)

1 year picture is in a box somewhere, sigh, we didn't have a digital camera at that point so I don't have it "handy" (it was the last picture we had taken by a studio as well, all the photographers ever did was make her cry, so around her 2 year bday, CKB bought me a digital camera and from here on out, we only frequented our Family Photo Studio where I took the pics - ahem - so we'll skip ahead....)

2 years old

3 years old

4 years old (this is not the actual shot we used for her 4 year pic, but I can't seem to find it right now! One of these days I'll get my files organized better!)

5 years old

6 years old

7 year picture is pending time and availability of subject ;) I'll be sure to post it when we find time to take it! (hopefully this will be sometime before she turns 8!)

Now, it's time for me to bake her cake - she has requested a strawberry cake w/NO FROSTING - imagine that! :) We'll see how it turns out...stay tuned :)