Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How to make your gift bag go from blah and boring to fun and fabulous! or "I've been watching too much HGTV, I think!"

The title probably says it all....some nights before bed I watch those shows on HGTV - home decorating, staging a house to sell, that sort of thing. I think it's seeping into my subconscious!

We were invited to a birthday party this past Saturday, but as you may have read, we were all still pretty sickly and noone wants a party guest with a drippy nose, and they surely don't want a whole family of them! So, we stayed home. However, the noses were better Sunday, and we did not forsake the gathering together of the saints to worship. As a result, we saw the birthday girl and were able to take her the gifts we had gotten.

Back to Saturday evening, I was tasked with the wrapping since we just didn't have a chance to do it before the children went to bed (they had wanted to help) and I was SOOO glad for the Wal-mart trip a few months ago when CKB and I had the foresight to get some extra gift bags to "keep on hand" so I wouldn't have to make a trip to the store just for gift wrapping stuff in the future! (every once in a while we're on the ball!).

So, we actually had the right size bags, colors that matched the gifts, no less, AND tissue paper. Hooray! As I was returning the tissue paper to the corner of the room where I found it...I spied some artificial flowers I had on hand from my Mother's Day project and thought hmmmm...those might look nice (I didn't have any ribbon handy)...so I spread out the stems and stuck the bunch of flowers in the top of the bag and wonder of wonder, they were the right colors as well to match everything else! I joked with my friend when the gifts had been given that the stars were aligned that day - joked - we laughed and I'm sure it'll probably never happen quite the same again, but for once, it was nice!


So...here are the gifts before......



and after....




Feel free to share any great tips you have been keeping to yourself!

Printable Map of Mesopotamia to Label

Today I needed a map of Mesopotamia for the children to label and had a time finding one that wasn't already labeled. In our studies in Tapestry of Grace, week 5, we're studying Mesopotamia and I can't for the life of me find my Map Aids CD which probably has a nice map just for this purpose readily available - so frustrating!

I finally found one that should serve our purposes. Now, to search and see if I can't find that Map CD!

If anyone else is in need of a map of Mesopotamia, you can find one here - there is a labeled and an unlabeled version - perfect for our needs!

http://www.wsu.edu/~wldciv/brians_syllabus/maps/maplabels1.html

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lakeside Collection - 18" dolls and Baby Dolls!


Last year the girls each got an 18" doll, not an American Girl doll, mind you, but the Our Generation brand from Target. They were pleased as punch and so was our pocketbook!

Today I noticed some 18" dolls available in the Lakeside Collection catalog even less expensive than the ones we purchased last year at Target (approx. $25-$29 if memory serves...which it usually doesn't, so check for yourself to be sure!). No, the girls don't need another doll this year, but I wanted to share the information in case there are others out there looking for a doll for their girls this Christmas :) The Lakeside Collection dolls run $16.95 before shipping.

Here's the link!

Lakeside Collection 18" dolls

Hope this helps someone!

And, if your little one isn't quite ready for the 18" dolls, these are too cute and made for the younger crowd! Only $8.95 for doll w/bag! Now, if only I got paid for doing endorsements! Ha ha :)



http://www.lakeside.com/details.asp?N=36&Nao=88&R=852115021BY24

Boys and Girls Jeans on Sale at Target this week - $7 a pair!


This is the sale I've been waiting for - the children wear jeans most of the time and they are regularly $9.99 a pair. They are on sale this week for $7 a pair - yay!

http://www.target.com/Girls-Circo-Denim-Jeans-Light/dp/B00182A81K/sr=1-2/qid=1222706766/ref=sr_1_2/601-6688974-6561720?ie=UTF8&index=target&rh=k%3Agirls%20jeans&page=1


Yesterday, I picked up an extra pair of the girls' current sizes for each of them as well as 2 pairs of black pants (they're also $7 and also are available in khaki and pink), and 4 pairs of the next size up for Miss E (well, actually 2 sizes up, I already had the next size up covered, but got one extra)...so, I think we picked up a total of 9 pairs for $63 instead of the $90 they would cost at regular prices. So glad to have picked up the paper yesterday and saw this sale! It's not often I see jeans on any type of clearance, so this is usually the best sale I see on them. I need to take a look at the ones Miss E is currently wearing to see if I need to get more of that size (which is the next size for Miss A) because they're starting to get to the age where they seem to wear out clothes and we can't pass everything down any more! I also need to see what Mr. E might need - I don't know why I didn't think about getting more for him in the next size as well! Looks like another trip to Target this week is on the horizon...

We stopped buying jeans at Wal-mart awhile ago because all they seemed to have were hip huggers - definitely not appropriate for young ladies.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Corduroy Inspired Quilt - as if I need any more projects!

I ran across this cute idea the other day and keep thinking about it....it's for a "Corduroy" inspired quilt - who knew - I've read that book MANY times and never thought of it myself, but this lady did.

Now, to look at the crates of fabric I have sitting around and see what kind of inspiration they give me...then to actually do it...that's the key!

Here's a link so you can see what I'm going on about!

Corduroy Inspired Quilt

What do you think? Cute or not so sure about that?

I'm also considering just a patchwork quilt...baby cometh soon!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Domino Math Game for the Whole Family!


Last night was our Friday Family Fun Night, however, CKB wasn't home. One of the local PB churches was hosting their annual meeting and he headed over for evening services after he left work. The children and I are still sick and therefore stayed home...with our germs.

So...family fun night went something like this...

I made pizza again - Miss E commented that "Every time you make pizza, it looks more like the pizza from restaurants, Mama!" - gee, really? I guess I'm doing an o.k. job then! ;)

We had one pepperoni and one cheese with NO SAUCE!

Afterward, we had Blue Bell Vanilla Bean Ice Cream in fudge coated cones - yum!

Then, it was cleanup time - the children tidied up and then we began our game time.

I decided to pull out the dominoes and we played a few games I made up. I first pulled out up to double 6 and shuffled them and we began "Domino Math!" - who said you can't learn while you're having fun?

I shot a domino across the table at each of the children, one at a time and depending on who it was, they had a different problem to answer. Mr. A (2 years old) told me what color the dots were, Mr. E and Miss A (ages 4 and 6 respectively) added the two sides of the domino (in a few weeks, Miss A will subtract instead :) ) and Miss E (age 7) multiplied the two sides of her domino. We continued around the table until all the dominoes were gone from the pile...reshuffled and did this again, two more times adding in up to double 9 at some point, which made for harder problems and everyone did a fantastic job!

Then, we played chicken foot :) except I forgot you need up to the double 9's for this game and had given the 7's through 9's to Mr. A to play with while we were playing chickenfoot....oh well, I guess we played a modified game, it was still fun and next time I'll remember to use all the dominoes :)

So, that was our fun night - everyone enjoyed it, we reviewed some math facts and the children were in bed by 10...yawn. Then, bless them, they didn't get up 'til around 8 a.m. this morning.

Then, CKB got home and shared some exciting news....read the next post to find out what it was...it sure got my heart racing!

There's a Snake in my Garage!

Yes, a snake.

I could handle the mice (yes, we have mice in there too!) - they would run off when I stomped out into the garage, but a snake!

Last night when CKB came in late from a church meeting (the children and I were still too sick to go with him unfortunately), he opened the garage to put the recycling bin in there and as he approached the garage he saw a snake slither in...from around the base of the bush next to the front door, no less! Ack! He said that from what he could tell in the light coming from the garage door opener light, he didn't think it was poisonous...but it's a SNAKE! in my GARAGE! attached to the HOUSE!

Aieeee!

On the bright side, maybe it'll eat all the mice that keep coming in there, but I think I'd prefer the sticky trap method of getting rid of the mice over the snake slithering around in there any day!

Now, with alllll the boxes of stuff in there, we'll never know for sure if the snake has "left the building" or not...so, FOR NOW, the garage is OFFFFFFFF LIMITS for me and the children. Awww. It was my favorite place to hang out! ;) I'm kidding, but seriously....a snake!

You'd think we lived in the country or something! We're in a neighborhood, but not far from corn fields....hence, the mice. Now...a snake....I never thought a snake would come around....skunks maybe, but a snake....

Ok, I guess by now you can tell I'm not thrilled with this new development...at all.

Maybe it slithered back out in the night...will we ever know...for sure? Probably not until it's time to move. Guess who's NOT going to be out there touching any of those boxes?

Yep! ME!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

House Hunting

Well, for now we've decided that finding land in the proximity to CKB's potential work locations isn't going to happen, at least not the type of land and quantity that we ultimately want. So...we're house hunting. We've been out twice with the realtor and looked at about 10 homes. A few weren't what they appeared to be on paper. A few were in bad locations (right by a major road, alley coming out right by the house, next to a field zoned commercial...things like that). One had a seriously sloping backyard. Anyway, there will never be a perfect house, but close would be nice :)

Of the ones we've seen, we've narrowed it down to 1 that we like pretty well. The biggest detractor is the laundry room and pantry are combined in one room. We have that situation in our rental and I don't like it at all. The humidity in there is unreal - as you may well imagine with 6 (soon to be 7) people the washer and dryer run a LOT. Boxes of crackers and similar things that have been opened tend to get mushy with a lot of humidity. So...we have two tall bookcases in our small kitchen and store most pantry things there. The laundry room isn't big enough in our rental to really even have those shelves and call itself a pantry - we have too many laundry baskets for sorting!

Anyway...the combined laundry room/pantry in the house we like better than the others we've seen is a larger room, but I still have concerns about having the food in w/the laundry/humidity, etc. I don't know what would be involved in remodeling to change this situation so I hesitate on this house.

Too bad I don't know a home remodeler to ask about options!

Anyway, please pray for us as we search for a home that will work for us! We would LIKE to get moved and settled in before baby comes in January...that would be great. We moved when Mr. A was 8 weeks last time and it was pretty hard. I'd rather get it done before this time around!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Milk in the fish tank

Yes, unfortunately you read that right. This morning in my sickly stupor, I was sitting on the couch w/some of the children watching something...I honestly don't recall what it was...then I heard it...the call of the wild! No, not really, it was the call of Miss A declaring: "MR. A JUST POURED MY CUP OF MILK IN THE FISH TANK!!!!!"

What?!?

I ran in to check, head pounding from the quick movement, and saw that this was indeed the truth. These poor fish! I immediately called CKB as he has been the one taking care of the fish tank cleaning all along and asked him what he wanted me to do...he calmly suggested adding a few gallons of clean water (it was a little low already) and then removing a few gallons. He asked if I knew how to use the siphon we have and I confessed that I did not, but would see what I could figure out. I didn't figure it out - after a few moments, I decided it'd be easier to just dip the gallon jug in and take water out that way. So, after about 1/2 hr. the fish were in their new "home" of milky water. I don't know what else to do at this point. Removing them completely into brand new water would potentially shock them and be their end. It's been many hours and they're still swimming around in there (when we can catch a glimpse of them through the murky water, that is). Will they make it through this? I don't know...I'll keep y'all updated.

I searched the internet for "Milk in fish tank" and other variations to no avail. Are we seriously the first people to have had something like this happen? I can't believe that! But then....who knows!

If you have had this experience, I'd be thrilled to hear how it worked out for you and what you did in the aftermath.

I feel bad for these poor fish - they're hearty though to still be alive - maybe they like milk? Maybe they're really "catfish"? Ha ha. Ok, no, they're comet goldfish, but anyway, I'm tired and sickly and thought that was a little funny.

I'll be going now!

**Update - CKB is home and has done another round of water changes and things are looking better - I can see the fish now without getting right up to the glass...Thanks Mr. Sea Monkey Geek for your suggestion to continue doing water changes every hour or so!

** Day 2 the fish are in nice clear water again - all those water changes did the trick - great job, CKB!

Marble (or in our case, Ball) Painting!

I ran across this fun idea over at http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2008/03/mixed-bag-of-fun.html
and decided to give it a whirl or a shake or...well, you'll see.

I would like to say I have step by step pictures, but trying to do this with 4 children and not having 4 containers that I wanted to potentially toss because the paint didn't wash out, I will have to say I don't because I was too busy washing the plastic box we used each time to take step by step pics! But, you can see step by step over at http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2008/03/mixed-bag-of-fun.html if you really need them!

Step 1 - decide you want to deal with paint that day :)
Step 2 - gather materials (Paint, marble or small ball depending on age of child and what you're comfortable with, box or bowl - with lid is a bonus if your child is young and wants to really shake shake shake the box/bowl!)
Step 3 - Cut paper to fit in bottom of box/bowl
Step 4 - Add a few globs of paint - whatever color(s) your child prefers (I had one who just wanted blue, one who wanted red and yellow, one who wanted blue and black and one who kept pointing to every single bottle of paint we had and, well, you can guess which one of the pictures was his! And probably which child it was, too!)
Step 5 - drop ball/marble into box and ROLLLLL it all around until your child is happy with the result
Step 6 - remove said ball/marble and carefully remove paper and allow to dry

VOILA! You have a beautiful marble (ball) painting! I decided to frame the children's art and put it on the wall - I finally got them into the frame yesterday and put them on the wall - what do you think?



Top left (Mr. E), Top right (Mr. A)
Bottom left (Miss A), Bottom right (Miss E)

If you have a moving box on hand and want to do this on a larger scale, I say GO FOR IT and you'll have some unique wrapping paper to use this Christmas!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm blessed to have children who share!

They share everything with me...their crayons, their drawings, their games, their hugs and kisses and their illnesses sometimes...I've sneezed so many times today I've lost count! Is it possible for once that I'm going to have the illness worse than they are? Usually I don't get sick when they do or it's very mild...sigh...anyone know how to buy stock in Kleenex? At least overall I feel ok, just keep having to run for the tissue box...might have to buy more lotion for my dried out hands from all the washing today!



Happy Fall Y'all! We'll try to NOT share these goodies w/y'all :)

*I wrote this yesterday afternoon and didn't post it - my throat is now nice and sore, I won't go into other details, but suffice it to say I think I have a lovely sinus infection brewing - yay me! I am a stubborn one and refuse to take anything, even Tylenol unless I'm completely miserable, while I'm pregnant. Yes, yes, I know, they have a list of "approved medicines", but why take a chance with this precious life that God has given us? Anyway, not to sound like a martyr or anything, but simply to say that that's my stance on it. Now, to go lie on the couch and rest - today might be a movie day for the kiddos - it's pretty rare that I'm the one who's sick and they're all well!

Also, the children seem to be over this and it only lasted 24 hrs. for them - yay!

Cherish Them!

A friend that I am ashamed to say I haven't kept up with as well as I should over the past few years surprised me with a wonderful showing of her love for me and my family this past week. She sent a package filled with goodies not only for our new baby, but something for each of the other children as well!

I won't embarrass her by calling her name, she knows who she is, but I will say that this was just such an incredibly thoughtful thing to do and we so appreciate it! The children were thrilled with the Legos, Drawing Pads and markers/crayons, Princess game and more. The Legos were an instant hit and were enjoyed by all, even the big kid ;)



After they were played with for awhile (the package arrived on Friday which is when we have "Family Fun Night" and play games and whatnot), the girls and I played a round of "Pretty Pretty Princess". It's a game of chance, not skill, and one they can play easily on their own, which is always nice when I can't sit down to play a game with them. The first round, I won, so I sat the next 2 rounds out in hopes that they would each win. I believe Miss E won both, but Miss A wasn't too upset since she was having fun playing dress-up all the while. The game has plastic jewelry and a crown along with a black ring. The object is to have one of each piece of jewelry and the crown, but NOT the black ring. We had a good conversation and reminder lesson about vanity during the course of the game and then they just had fun dressing up. I can see the girls putting on dress-up clothes BEFORE they get the game out next time!



So, just a reminder to everyone, cherish the friends you have! I often think "hmm, maybe I should send so and so a card or flowers "just because" or some small gift just to let them know I'm thinking about them when time and/or miles have separated us and more and more, I am thankful to say, I'm trying to take the time to do it and am so glad when I do. To all my dear friends, please know how much I cherish every one of you!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hooray!

The highest fever found tonight before bedtime was...... 99.0! Yay!

Lord willing, there won't be any ups and downs with this and everyone is on the mend. Yay for short illnesses and SO thankful this wasn't a stomach bug after all.

Miss A still says her throat is hurting...everyone else seems ok.
Mr. E said "I believe I'm still ill" at dinner tonight (he wasn't thrilled w/my choice of dinner - oh well!).

Thank you for all your prayers - I am praying for everyone's continued healing and a solid night's sleep for all!

'night!

Choose Your Own Adventure Books - remember those?

While at the local Half Price Books store recently we found 1 Choose Your Own Adventure book on the shelves. I asked a girl working there and was told they have a bunch sometimes and other times there aren't any to be found. I remember reading these when I was younger and thought the girls might enjoy them. So, we brought home the one we found and commenced reading it together at bedtime. (Of course, Miss E had already read through it about 5 times by then on her own!). My goal was to try to start getting Miss A more interested in chapter books and I think it's working! She has been asking for me to read it with them each night lately to see what'll happen in each of the different scenarios. Yay! Now, to get her to read a similar size book on her own - I'll have to look for more of these!

Miss E reads anything we let her read and her favorite books are the "Little House" series. Another favorite with the 3 older children is the "I Spy" series. Mr. E and Miss A were sitting on the couch a few days ago looking through one of those and trying to find all the hidden objects.

We found a treasury of "Curious George" stories at Half Price Books that same day and the boys and I have been reading a story out of it each night lately. It's interesting because the stories are different from the PBS shows. Professor Wiseman is a man in the stories, but a woman on the PBS shows. Why did they change that? A lot of things that happen to George in the books are in the PBS shows, but the circumstances surrounding the incidences are changed for the PBS shows. Again, the stories in the book seem fine and engaging - so why change them? Regardless, thus far we have enjoyed the stories and the children also enjoy the PBS show.
Mr. E also enjoys train stories, of course.

So, what are your little ones reading these days? It's always fun to discover a new book that we haven't been exposed to yet!

One new series I just found out about is mentioned at this blog:

http://www.unplugyourkids.com/2008/09/11/chapter-books-suitable-for-extra-young-readers-book-review-part-1/


I plan to look into these for Miss A!

and possibly these:




Sunday, September 21, 2008

Something's Going On

The whole crew seems to have come down with some sort of sinus infection/viral bug/something. Sore throats abound and restless sleep thus far tonight. Sigh. I don't like to be sick myself and I sure don't like to see any of them sick. I guess I should've known it was coming when Miss A came in and woke me up last night to tell me her throat was hurting. Ugh. I thought Mr. E was going to get sick tonight, but he didn't....as of right now anyway. I pray it's not a stomach bug - those are the worst.

Please pray for my little ones to be better soon. Miss A has the worst of it w/fever at the moment, and Miss E seems to be feeling the best. The boys are having trouble sleeping. They're all different, in every way!

Good night. Hope everyone gets some sleep...and that I do too which would mean the children are sleeping well.

UPDATE: After midnight, there weren't any more wakings...at least if there were, I didn't hear them! No, seriously, I'm very thankful to say that everyone was able to sleep through the night after that. Yay! I'm a wee bit tired this morning, but Lord willing will get to lay down this afternoon during naptime/quiet time. Mr. A and Mr. E are "sniffly" this morning, but no temps...right now. Miss E is acting quite normal and doesn't seem to be sniffling at all, she may not have gotten this bug like the others even though she had a low grade temp. last night. Miss A is still in bed and I plan to let her sleep as late as she can today so her body can rest and heal from this sickness. I think she's been hit the hardest with it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Math U See Milestone!

Miss A has her addition facts memorized AND is reading the clock like a pro!

Yay, Miss A!

She has moved on in Alpha and is now beginning work on subtraction. Now, to work on making sure she's memorizing these as we go!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Punch some paper!

Yes, paper!

Here's the whole story....


Our favorite babysitter was here last week and brought with her a "punch" that makes little envelope templates. And, when I say "little", I mean little.



The girls were enchanted with this and had a little pile of envelopes on their desks when I returned home. I asked our sitter where she'd found the nifty little punch and she said "Big Lots" and that she'd just gotten it recently. Hmmmmm.

So, yes, you guessed it, we headed to Big Lots to see if we could find a punch for the girls. A new hobby, yay! We left Big Lots without the envelope punch as none were to be found, but instead with some even smaller punches in a variety of shapes. The girls have been punchin' ever since. I sat down w/each of them and gave them a few ideas on how they could make cards using the punches and that was all they needed - every day I hear "may I use the punches?" from each of them, Mr. E too (we found some cool boy punches with a train, car, helicopter and airplane).



I found the large punch for the tiny envelope a few days later when I ran to Michael's to take care of a promise I'd made Mr. E (he'd noticed my Bible has a ribbon in it to mark my place...but his Bible didn't. I told him we could make one for his Bible...that was about 3 weeks ago...I kept forgetting to get some black ribbon! So, when I remembered it last Sat. evening, right at bedtime, mind you, CKB said "GO" and he put everyone to bed so I could fulfill my promise to our little guy who wanted his Bible to be like Mama and Daddy's :) Thanks for putting everyone to bed that night CKB! It meant so much to Mr. E when he saw the ribbon bookmark in his Bible Sunday morning!). So...while at Michael's getting black ribbon, I looked at their scrapbooking supplies and found a punch for envelopes - yay - there was only one left though and it was a bit pricey so I left it there. The next day there was a coupon for 50% off one item in the Sunday ad....yes, you guessed it, we stopped by Michael's on the way home that afternoon and thankfully the one envelope punch was still there! :)

Here are a few examples of their handiwork thus far. (the one in the middle was an "example" I made for them just to get them started on making cards)



Mom note: The vacuum DOES pick up all these little gems off the carpet easily. You need to know this because they WILL get everywhere! (the pieces they punch out, not the envelopes!)





Below is what the envelope looks like when first punched - the punch is great for the girls because it crimps the folds for them - makes lining things up much easier for them!

Mr. A learns the alphabet and has fun doing it!

With school time for the older children comes a need to have something to occupy Mr. A, resident 2 year old. Going to play in his room or the den with the toys in either place only keeps him occupied for so long, not to mention being the youngest of 4, he's used to having someone to play with!

Therefore, Mr. A's official studies began recently with a "formal" introduction to the alphabet. By that, I mean that he already knows quite a few letters by sight, but we are now methodically going through each letter and making sure he knows it before moving on to a new letter. He has his own "desk" and gets to use all the fun school stuff that everyone else is using. Mr. A is a happy little man!

He knows "A" cold, so we proceeded to "B" the other day. He originally said "O" when I showed it to him :) I think he was seeing the "holes" in the capital "B" at first. By the end of the day after some reinforcement and a few activities he has "B" down pat as well. We will review and then move on to a new letter as he shows mastery of each and by the end of the "school year" he should know them all....or by Christmas...who knows!

Here is his letter wall where we display each letter that he colors, paints, etc.


Here is a recent project for the letter "B" - Brown Beans! He really enjoyed gluing on the beans and later I found one stuck to the BACK of his shirttail when we were at Miss E's piano lesson! Eeek! Not sure how I missed that or how that happened in the first place! Ah well....



Today we decorated butterflies to reinforce "B" one more time before moving on to "C" and the whole crew got in on the fun - here are their Beady Butterflies! Aren't they BeeeeUTeeFull? ;)


Miss A's


Miss E's


Mr. A's


and Mr. E's

Macaroni Grill bread knockoff recipe - yum


(pictured above - all that was left of the 2 loaves I made!)

This past Sunday we had a wonderful day - we talked with the children about creation and they asked some questions and CKB answered while we drove. It was a gorgeous day with a breeze and cooler temperatures. We headed off to Macaroni Grill for lunch - it's been a LONG time since we have enjoyed a meal there and we thought we'd give them a try. The Sunday afternoon crowd wasn't too bad and we only had to wait about 10-15 mn. before being seated. The children enjoyed drawing on the paper tablecloth while we waited for our lunch to be delivered.

I'd forgotten how good their bread is! Mr. A liked it so much that he practically ate a whole loaf on his own! A few days ago I ran a few searches online and found a knockoff recipe for Macaroni Grill's yummy bread and yesterday seemed like a good day to try it out. So I did.

Here's the recipe link:
http://www.recipezaar.com/64446

I have to say, it turned out very well! I don't know that it's exactly the same, without a side by side comparison, but it was pretty close! The children, all except Mr. A (go figure) asked for more after their first piece and there wasn't much left of the two loaves the recipe made.

I encourage you to try the recipe at your earliest convenience! The only "oddball" ingredient that I had to pick up at the store was rosemary (I didn't get fresh, but just a small container from the spice aisle and it worked just fine).

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pink! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and....

In the Target ad, I noticed a lot of pink items and wondered what it was all about...isn't October Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Yes. Apparently they are starting early with their advertising of "pink items" they have available for sale.
As a side note, I personally would recommend if you want to donate to research, you do just that, that way all the money goes to the research and not just a tiny percentage. Just my 2 cents.

So, it seems everything starts early these days, they even have Christmas decorations out already - ugh! Too soon for that, but it seems to happen every year lately.

I thought I'd turn the blog pink for awhile not only for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (coming up in October), but because....

Well, I'll let you guess....

And, while you're guessing, here's a link to the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month website.

http://nbcam.org/index.cfm

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike Evacuees

Since I don't have everyone's email addresses, I'll post here and on another list or two - If any of our church friends from the Houston area or other areas down South need a place to evacuate to - you are welcome to come and stay with us (if you can stand a crazy house full of little ones!). Just get in touch.

CAB and CKB

Miss E and Miss A play piano and Mr. A sings "Nothing But the Blood" - sort of :)

Well, it's a musical afternoon here. Miss E just finished her piano practice for the day. Her lesson was yesterday and due to a student being on vacation this week, Miss E got a little bit longer of a lesson than usual. Thanks Mrs. C!

As a result, she has a few more pieces to practice this week and today it took 32 mn. for her practice. She was surprised when I told her how long she'd practiced - she said it didn't seem that long! I told her she must have been enjoying herself :)

Here are a few of her new pieces -

First you'll hear one that may sound familiar: "Ode to Joy"
Second, her first piece with a dotted half note - "Hey Mr. Half Note Dot"
Third, a song about my favorite furry creatures - "Song About Cats"
Lastly, a good song to start our days - "School Bell is Ringing" (not that we have a school bell...just me hollering that it's time to start our schoolwork!) :)

video

Enjoy! Oh, and Melissa, do you recognize Miss E's "skirt"? ;)



A few days ago I tried, without a terrible amount of success to record Mr. A singing his favorite song these days - "Nothing But the Blood"

He was preoccupied with my mp3 player and every time the lights went off on the screen he would stop singing and tell me it was off. I had to push a button to get the screen to light back up (hence the clicking noises you'll hear). When he's singing it on his own he usually loops through the chorus a few times - it's so sweet to hear him - he gets loud, then whispers, then loud again - whatever strikes him at the time. It's a blessing to listen to his little voice singing the songs of Zion. In one of the attempts, he doesn't want to sing anymore and his siblings decide to get in on the recording and start singing - you then can hear Mr. A shushing them :) Yes, complete w/his little finger up to his lips while doing so. Sorry, no picture of that to share!

Enjoy! Sing along if you like (and can figure out where he is in the song!) (and ignore me on the recordings - I was just trying to encourage him along!)

"Nothing But the Blood"

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
O precious is the flow, That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus. video

Just when I thought I was done for the day, Miss A asked that I record her and put it on the blog :) She has pretty much taught herself since Miss E began lessons - looks like we might have two taking lessons next year!

Here she plays "The Shepherd's Flute" and then plays it a second time and sings the words. She follows up with "Wind in the Trees" and then a second run with the words.

video

Patriot Day - September 11


In case you hadn't realized...today is Patriot Day.



Below is from: http://www.state.gov/coalition/cr/rm/2002/13287.htm

Patriot Day, 2002
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

On this first observance of Patriot Day, we remember and honor those who perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. We will not forget the events of that terrible morning nor will we forget how Americans responded in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in the skies over Pennsylvania -- with heroism and selflessness; with compassion and courage; and with prayer and hope. We will always remember our collective obligation to ensure that justice is done, that freedom prevails, and that the principles upon which our Nation was founded endure.

Inspired by the heroic sacrifices of our firefighters, rescue and law enforcement personnel, military service members, and other citizens, our Nation found unity, focus, and strength. We found healing in the national outpouring of compassion for those lost, as tens of millions of Americans participated in moments of silence, candlelight vigils, and religious services. From the tragedy of September 11 emerged a stronger Nation, renewed by a spirit of national pride and a true love of country.

We are a people dedicated to the triumph of freedom and democracy over evil and tyranny. The heroic stories of the first responders who gave their all to save others strengthened our resolve. And our Armed Forces have pursued the war against terrorism in Afghanistan and else-where with valor and skill. Together with our coalition partners, they have achieved success.

Americans also have fought back against terror by choosing to overcome evil with good. By loving their neighbors as they would like to be loved, countless citizens have answered the call to help others. They have contributed to relief efforts, improved homeland security in their communities, and volunteered their time to aid those in need. This spirit of service continues to grow as thousands have joined the newly established USA Freedom Corps, committing themselves to changing America one heart at a time through the momentum of millions of acts of decency and kindness.

Those whom we lost last September 11 will forever hold a cherished place in our hearts and in the history of our Nation. As we mark the first anniversary of that tragic day, we remember their sacrifice; and we commit ourselves to honoring their memory by pursuing peace and justice in the world and security at home. By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), the Congress has authorized and requested the President to designate September 11 of each year as "Patriot Day."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2002, as Patriot Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services and candlelight vigils. I also call upon the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well as appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff on Patriot Day. Further, I encourage all Americans to display the flag at half-staff from their homes on that day and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. eastern daylight time, or another appropriate commemorative time, to honor the innocent victims who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-seventh.

GEORGE W. BUSH

Another link:
http://www.army.mil/patriotday/2008/

http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=5237

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The least common denominator - Age or Ability?

Read this article and then we'll talk....

http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=74772

Ok, so why does this not surprise me?

I suppose spelling has been a pet peeve of mine for a long, long time. I can remember correcting other folks' spelling for years when asked to proofread something - spelling errors just seem to jump off the page at me. CKB can attest to this :)

My favorite comment at the end of the article:

"Must we always pander to the least intelligent and laziest?" asked another.

Isn't that the truth?

How often have you run across this in your life? Your children are always segregated by age, not ability. How often are children in public schools getting in trouble because they're bored? If properly challenged they might not be the "troublemakers" that they are labeled as being.

We are so blessed to homeschool our children. I don't have to limit Miss E to adding and subtracting just because she's 7. She has gone through a course in Addition/Subtraction and did beautifully and is working through a level that covers multiplication and fractions, perimeter and area. She is flying through it as well without hesitation - mastering the new concepts along the way and asking for more. How wonderful!

If she was in a public school, she would no doubt be BORED. She's also studying Botany, Spanish, Grammar for Grade 2 among other things.

Mr. E is 4. He is working through a Grade 1 level math book and not slowing down in the slightest. If he was stuck in a preschool with a bunch of other 4 year olds, I wonder what they would be "learning" - anything? He knows his colors, letters, shapes, has been reading for over a year now...I wonder...and please don't trot out the old cliche of socialization - he has 3 wonderful playmates that all get along well and learn from each other every moment of every day.

The same is true of Miss A and even Mr. A who talks so well and already, at 2, knows many of his colors and letters.

My point being - I am soooo tired of folks thinking that age is everything in young children - how about looking to their abilities for a change and challenging them? It is good for them! How about letting the parents decide if their children are ready for a new level of learning based on their experience (and expertise) with their children, not what age they are? If you have children, you know as well as I do that a newly turned 3 year old is MUCH different than a 3, almost 4 year old, however if the child is 3 at a certain date in the year, they must be with the other 3 year olds, and so on. Then, what of the older 3s? They're limited by what the younger 3s can handle. It's a shame.

I have to say, again, I am so thankful for the blessing that comes from teaching my own children and being able to customize their learning to what they're ready for, not what someone else THINKS they might be ready for based on their age at a particular time.

Monday, September 8, 2008

What's a person have to do? First day at co-op, too.

I guess y'all are needing something on a lighter note - all the politics scaring everyone off? Oh well :)

Seriously though - I see TONS of folks come through the blog and noone stops to comment - boo hoo - I will say how cool it is to see people from all sorts of interesting countries have visited - now, if only I could find out how they found the blog and what keeps them coming back - THAT would be interesting (hint hint y'all).

Anyway! We've been BUSY - our co-op started Friday - a.k.a. Enrichment Classes - I am in the toddler class with Mr. A to start off the day - I will admit to tears welling up as I watched my elder 3 walk away to their classes - boo hoo - but I managed to keep any tears from escaping for the sake of my little guy who picks up on everything!

We had assembly and then 2nd hour I was with my big guy, Mr. E for a class about books. He told me later that that was his favorite class b/c I was with him - awwwwww. Who knew boys could be SO sweet! (ME!!!)

3rd hour I was back in the toddler class with my baby, I mean, my toddler, Mr. A - he was so glad to see me, as was I, him! It was hard to leave him to go work w/Mr. E's class. We had a good time playing and reading books, then prepped all the children for lunch and headed out to meet the other moms w/their children and then I found all of my crew and we sat down for a picnic lunch on the gym floor - that might be my last lunch on the floor - owwweee, not as comfy as this 5 mo. pregnant lady thought it would be :) Next time, we'll see. After a relaxing lunch, allbeit uncomfortable, we headed off to 4th hour - I was with the girls this time (due to their ages, they are in the same class each hour) - GYM - hmm, I'm glad to be w/the girls, but what on earth am *I* going to be doing in GYM class in my "condition"??? Well, we played a modified baseball game of sorts and I fielded some, but I will confess to being WORN OUT when we got home later.

All in all we had a good day - Mr. A was unhappy during the times I was away from him, especially the last hour (2nd hour was snacktime and I think that helped distract him), and Mr. E was sad b/c his last class they told him they were going outside to play ball and then didn't b/c it was too hot or something, but overall a good, tiring, day.

In the Spring, I don't believe we'll be rejoining the co-op due to baby being born in January, so I'll probably try to add in some more "fun" stuff for the children during that time and I recently found a fun blog that will no doubt provide some inspiration - if you haven't already visited from the link on the sidebar, you might want to now:

http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/


The children were all very excited to share w/their Daddy about their day - I collapsed on the couch when we got home for a little while to rest :) Later, we had homemade pizza for dinner and Family Fun Night commenced.

Hope y'all had a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Math U See Alpha Addition and Miss A

Well, we started Alpha with Miss A awhile back, but getting her addition facts down pat has been a challenge. The past 2 weeks we've been drilling them while alternating with getting her clock skills down better (motivation - her little brother was able to read the clock and she wasn't - gasp!).

I am happy to say that today Miss A only missed 2 of her addition facts when we went through a set of flash cards to test her. Yay! I think we see the light at the end of the tunnel! If she continues in this fashion and gets those last two down then we should be able to move on to subtraction starting next Monday!

Yay, Miss A!

Oh, and she wants everyone to know that she got 2 gold stars this week (stickers) :)

I found a cute little game for addition that I'm going to let Miss A and Mr E play later - the site looks like it has a lot of gems to explore. Have fun!

http://www.softschools.com/math/games/fishing_add.jsp

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More Election Stuff...BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE KNOWLEDGE YOU HAVE

Well, I'm sure as we roll along toward Election Day, the "news" will continue to focus on the candidates in this year's election.

I'm sure by now you know that McCain has selected Sarah Palin as his VP. There has already been much in the news about her and her family. Not too surprising. All in all, from what I've read, I like a lot of what she stands for. I feel for her, being even more in the spotlight and especially her family, but then she had to expect some of it.

Obama continues to condemn himself to the world - the latest little gem he uttered that has come to my attention came from a campaign stop in PA:

referring to his daughters, ages 9 and 6 at present:

"I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby," Obama said.

Lovely, eh?
You can read the whole article here.

And, by the way, if you're not already registered to vote...what are you waiting for?

Someone sent me an email a few days ago lauding the fact that women should vote - yes, they should. EVERYONE should. Can you imagine the reactions of our forefathers to the state of the country as it stands today? Horror would probably be putting it lightly.

PREPARE yourself. ARM yourself with information. THINK about your decision and how it will affect this country. BE RESPONSIBLE for the information you have. If you are made aware of something, you are RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT KNOWLEDGE. You can't ignore something you know about. If you do, shame on you.

If you know that McDonald's supports the homosexual agenda, pouring money into their causes - and you are horrified at the thought - do you still go there just because it's convenient? Well, do you?

If you know Obama supports abortion and it seems would even drive his own daughter's to get one if "they made a mistake" so they wouldn't be "punished with a baby" - and you care about preserving the sanctity of life and strive to follow after God - do you vote for him telling yourself, it's just one of the issues?

Those are just 2 examples...there are so many more.

Well?

THINK ABOUT IT.

Getting

D
O
W
N

off my soapbox...

for now :)

Math Blaster Game



Well, I was looking for a math game to help reinforce the math facts the children are learning and had noticed Math Blaster at the stores a few times. Long ago, in a house far away, as a child we had a Math Blaster game that I remembered being fun and that did just what I wanted, asked math questions, I answered them and was rewarded with little rockets shooting into the "sky" or some such entertainment. So, I finally decided to get the new version and give it a try.

It arrived last week and I excitedly installed it - remembering days gone by - filled with nostalgia...it didn't last long. The game has changed tremendously - not only have the graphics been "updated" (see image above...the first little image is probably what it looked like when I was playing it in the '80s), but the game is hard to maneuver within and it was somewhat torturous to play. I tried it for a little while and finally stepped away from the computer in disgust over the $30 I'd spent on it.

I may let the children try it - maybe they're more coordinated than I am w/the arrow keys and how the game is set up to utilize them...we'll see. For now though I will issue a hearty THUMBS DOWN on this game. I wish I could just get a copy of the old version - from the '80s...ahem...or some such time frame from my youth.



Anyone know of any other math games we might look into? Right now I have 2 children working on addition facts, one about to start subtraction and one working in multiplication.

Back to the oldies, but goodies...flash cards :)