Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just Stuff

We finished Huck Finn and then read a Geronimo Stilton book. That was our after dinner book. We had actually started it last Saturday while we were waiting for two new tires to get put on the van. I'll get to that in a minute. I have started taking a book with us when we go places. It keeps all of us occupied and out of trouble, for the most part. It's better than having everyone with their head stuck in a video game, or iPod, or whatever electronic piece of equipment we have. I had checked the GS book out from our local library and we hadn't started it yet. That presented the perfect opportunity. And we just carried it over to the after dinner book when Huck Finn ended. Geronimo Stilton books are so very cute. We also like to listen to them as books on CD. They read very quickly and keep everyone entertained.

I have decided that if I am going to do any extras in our school, then Monday is our day. After we are done with our core subjects, we are going to start learning Spanish. I have a great curriculum that I bought and it's time to start using it. We are going to start a little slow and do some review. My kids know a little bit, but not much past "How are you?" Monday is the only day we aren't busy with something else. If I don't just start, I never will. I think the kids are going to like it. We started with Spanish over the summer, but quit, because that's how I get sometimes. I also wanted to do some art, but the book I downloaded doesn't really show you how to start drawing. I got it for free from one of my homeschooling websites and thought it would make a good art curriculum. There's a website out there, I'm sure, I just need to look.

I want an external hard drive. I have so much on the computer that I really need to move. It slows it down and I could use more storage space. I've got stuff on the computer and on two flash drives. It just isn't enough. So if you're wondering what to get me for Christmas, there you go. I need more disk space. 500GB should do it. I have to go through periodically and figure out what we really need and what we don't. I delete and delete, but it just doesn't seem like enough. Off the computer entirely it needs to go.

The kids' dentist office is having a candy exchange. You turn in your candy and get a $1/pound and an entry into a drawing for one of two iPod nanos. I want one. The big girl got one for Christmas last year. I was so tempted to take it from her and give her mine. She would have hated me for the rest of her life, so I decided not to. I'm thinking about participating in that. What I might do instead, is have the kids make their own candy pizza at our next co-op. Or maybe our co-op Christmas party. I could be in so much trouble. But I could get rid of a ton of candy. We'll see how brave I am.

The baby has an opportunity to do some dancing with the company dance team from our dance school. To be in company you have to have taken, and be actively taking, ballet, tap, and jazz. You have to have multiple years of each and be at least 11. It is a lot of work and money and time. More than we have of either time or money. I think the baby will enjoy it. Her dance class is the highlight of her week. All the kids have the opportunity to be in a Christmas parade as well. We couldn't last year because of a conflict, but the kids love being in a parade. We usually help with the 4th of July float with our church. Loads of fun. I need to make up my mind tonight so I can have hubby drop off the forms.

That's what's going on here. Some little changes happening. Thanks for letting me empty the brain.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trunk or Treat

Sunday was our Trunk or Treat at church. What a great time! We didn't really have much time to put it together, but it was wonderful.
We had at least 16 cars participating. That was our main worry. How can you have a trunk or Treat without trunks? You can't. We thought we would only have about 10. Cars started showing up and almost filled our parking lot. Loved it! We also had a bounce house/slide combo for the big kids and a bounce house/slide for the little kids. That way parents didn't have to worry about their little ones in with the big ones. The little one was actually from our preschool. It had been donated to them and they were gracious enough to share.
We gave out free sno cones and popcorn and juice boxes and bottled water. That's my hubby in the black tshirt. He was on sno cone duty and had a great time. He said it was better for him to be there, making kids happy, than chasing ours around making them miserable. Go hubby! That's our friend C behind him working the popcorn machine. Love that machine. It doesn't pop a bad batch, let me tell you what. Fantastic every time, and super easy to use. When you're done, you just wipe everything down with paper towels and call it good.
The top picture is Earline and Floyd, not their real names. They had great costumes. I wish I had gotten the full shot of them. Too funny! They were the best rednecks I had seen in a long time. Earline kept walking around saying, "This ain't Wal Mart! I wanted to go to Wal Mart!" We laughed so hard we had tears coming from our eyes. They had the best time playing off each other all night. We did, too, just watching them.
And what were my kids doing? Going around and around and around to every car at least fourteen times. At one point, the boy was literally dragging his bag around it had so much candy in it. The big girl recycled a witch costume she had from a few Halloweens ago. It was a little short, so I made her wear leggings under it. Much better, thank you. The boy was a soldier. We bought him a pair of camo pants to wear for the cooler weather, he already had a shirt, and we bought a play grenade and a hat, each just $1. The baby was a ballerina. She wore her recital costume. She got so many compliments. I thought it was great. Overall, we only spent about $15 on costumes since we had so much. We were given a belt for the boy that happens to be a camo pattern, so we will add that to his costume.
I did take some of the candy and recycle it. We got treat bags from the dollar store, for a dollar, and I filled them with some of our candy to give out at dance class for the boy and the baby. I didn't think about it until I was at the big girl's dance class, so they missed out this year. We have plans to TorT at a local grocery store chain on our way to our TorT destination. There is also a fall festival that we might stop at. That means even more candy. I think this year we are going to participate in a candy exchange at the kids' dentist. You get $1 for every pound of candy, up to five pounds. And for every pound you get an entry into a drawing for an iPod nano. That could be cool. And I don't have all that candy just tempting me.
I handed out popcorn and candy until I couldn't anymore. I ran out of candy. But I was also working two vehicles. Hubby brought his truck so we did candy out of the van and the truck. The big girl handed out candy for awhile for us, since we were busy elsewhere, but she got a break and got to hang out with her friends. I saw a bunch of them piled into the back of hubby's truck eating candy out of their bags. The boy saw a friend of his from K and 1st grade. They exchanged phone numbers. The baby ran around and ran around until she just almost dropped. They slept good and so did I.
The next couple of days I'll be hunting thrift stores for white sheets. I'm going to cut a bunch of holes in it and be Charlie Brown from "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown". We watched last night and the kids thought it was funny. That's kind of a tradition for us. We sit and watch when it comes on TV. Poor Charlie Brown with his bag of rocks. I always feel bad for him.
That's the skinny. It was a great event and is always my favorite. I like it better than our Christmas or Easter programs. Go figure. We need to start working on Christmas, but I'm waiting until November. It's only next week, but gives us some time to relax. I'm thinking a Santa's Workshop where kids can make their own toys or gifts. We'll see what happens.
Have a great day!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Candy,candy, candy

We had our Trunk or Treat last night and it was a blast! I had so much fun, and so did the kids. I'll do the full blog on that as soon as I can. I'm waiting to get permission to post a picture of two friends that had the best redneck costumes I have ever seen. They were way too funny. Here are the pictures of what my kids brought home. And we still get to Trick or Treat on Saturday. We are going to stop at a chain of grocery stores in our area before we head to our annual TorT destination. There are three stores between here and there. That should be enough candy to last us until next Halloween.

The kids want me to point out the eyeball in the middle of the candy pile.

Have a great day!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Huck Finn

We finished Huck Finn tonight. That was our family book, and has been for what seems like forever. It was quite a long book and had 43 chapters. I read this when I was in school, but I can't remember if it was high school or middle school. I do know that I don't remember the book being that hard to read. I figure we got the edited version in school. Hubby had suggested it and I said OK. I didn't remember the controversial subjects in it either, so I'm wondering what kind of impression it made then. Apparently not a favorable one.

It definitely led to some interesting topice I didn't think I would have to talk about with my 11, 8, and 5 year old. The baby doesn't understand most of it. I don't think she has any knowledge or understanding of what a slave is. I don't think she has the concept of slavery. The other two on the other hand, asked so many great, wise questions that I found myself having a hard time answering. I give Mark Twain props for that.

I had to change some of the language. I definitely do not remember the main word I had to change. When the book was written, and for many years after, and to some extent even today, the N word was prevalent and had a myriad of uses and meanings. The problem is that none of them are good. That opened up discussions that could have taken days to finish had I not finally called an end to it.

The story itself shuffled through a plethora of emotions. We would laugh out loud, be angry, shake our heads in disgust. It was a cute story about a very precocious boy, a slave who wasn't, and eventually Huck's best friend, Tom Sawyer. There were times we just could not believe some of the things that Huck did or said. A lie could roll off his tongue with ease. If he told the truth at any point we were more amazed than if he told a lie. He definitely had many grand adventures and met some interesting characters.

We very much enjoyed this book, for many different reasons. I will say that I think it was way too old for my kids. By the time I had finally made that decision, because I'm slow sometimes, we were too far into it to stop. If I had pulled the plug on it, the kids would have revolted. I decided to keep the peace and keep the discussions flowing. We return it tomorrow to the church library and pick out another book. This time, though, I will make sure that it is a little more appropriate for us. And Tom Sawyer is just going to have to wait several years before he gets dragged out.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 23, 2009


I forgot to post these cute guys. These are the fish we made at co-op a couple weeks ago. You take 2 CDs, and cute out a template for the fins and mouth. Glue the fins and mouth on one CD, then glue the other CD to the first one. Decorate the outside and add googly eyes. So very, very cute and easy.
Have a great day!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I've done some rearranging on my blog. Can you tell? I was getting a little bored with the plain Jane look. I added some gadgets, changed the format, and finally got to one of those websites that offers different backgrounds. I tried to match colors with the new backgrounds and think it looks really good. See what happens when I get bored? I also changed the other one, too. I hope you like it. I do.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Up, up and away: Pictures

I meant to post pictures, but forgot. Here they are, from the bottom to the top.
You hook a rubber band around the little lip at the bottom of the plane and pull the plane back, stretching the rubber band. You let go of the plane and off it goes. The kids are lined up and ready. To get all of them in the picture, I had to stand pretty far back. I felt like I was standing in front of a firing squad. We are missing one boy who didn't want to participate until he saw how much fun every one else had. I only got one plane flying, darn it, and it wasn't even one of the good ones. The kids got them to go pretty far. They did have a good time. So did I.
Have a great day!

Up, up and away

Today was co-op at our house. I really love our co-op, but you can read about that in different posts. It was our house today. We are doing the inventors lap book and loving it. The other moms have never done a lapbook and were a little intimidated when we started. It does get easier the more you do and I have been trying to encourage them to do some on their own. The one we are doing is huge and is actually three folders glued together. When you start big like that, it can throw you for a loop. I just tell them slow and steady wins the race. Today we talked about John Deere, Orville and Wilbur Wright, and Louis Braille.

John Deere didn't really take that long to talk about. It was pretty interesting to see how his company went from making 75 plows a year to 10,000 plows fourteen years later. The size and scope of the company today is quite intimidating. We talked about how the company has the trademark for the green color of his tractors. My friend C has a friend that has a riding John Deere for his yard. It has cruise control. I thought that was too funny. Our riding lawnmower has a headlight and a cup holder, but no cruise control. We also talked about what the different machines are for and how they work. I got some really interesting books at the library that had great information. That is a shameless plug for your local library system that needs lots of support during these economic times.

Orville and Wilbur Wright were pretty cool. We talked about their failures and their successes. We talked about how air travel has changed over the years and the highs and lows. We talked about planes and how cool they can be. I didn't realize that they started in Ohio. I had always heard Kitty Hawk and wondered why the Ohio state quarter says "First in Flight". Now we all know. They transported one of their planes to France and flew it for 2 hours at 110m. That was a record back then. Pretty cool stuff.

Louis Braille has just fascinated the boy. When we picked up our books at the library yesterday, the boy picked one about Louis Braille and read it cover to cover. The whole time he was reading I heard "Mama, did you know...", "Mama, guess what...". I loved every second of it. It kept him engaged and talking and sharing. I didn't know that Braille was blinded in an accident when he was three. He was playing with his dad's tools and actually blinded himself in one eye. He developed an infection that spread to the other eye and that was how he became blind. The boy was interested in the fact that he was a teacher. He didn't think blind people could be teachers. What a great discussion that opened up about disabilty and how blindness shouldn't hold you back from your dreams. We talked about different professions blind people have including doctors, lawyers, teachers, and all kinds of things.

Our activity after we finished our mini books was an airplane race. I found these little glider planes at the dollar store that the kids used. At first the kids were a little sceptical. They put the planes together and we took them outside to practice. They loved it. I let them practice for awhile and then we lined them up. We did two races and the winner of each got to pick a prize from the prize box. It was fun. The kids were happy they got to keep their planes. I told my kids to bring theirs tomorrow and when we meet hubby for lunch at the park, we can have our own races or just fly planes.

It was a great day. I ended up making pork chops, mashed potatoes, and broccoli for dinner. Hubby made it home in time to eat with us, so that was a bonus. We had wonderful friends to spend the day with. The weather was so nice, I even opened the windows for awhile. The kids played and played. Mine are exhausted and sleeping, thank goodness. I am not far behind.

Have a great day!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


is the longest day of the week. When we got home last night, my legs were so tired, they didn't know I had actually sat down. The boy said his were numb. And by the time hubby got home last night, the kids were crashed and snoring. They had only been in bed about twenty minutes.

Since we are no longer doing our afterschool program, I had the bright idea that it would be nice to rechedule the boy's dance class to Wednesday. The baby and I were already dancing that day, and it would be one less day driving to town. It actually has been a good idea, we just need to tweak a couple of things to make it better.

We still school in the morning, but we start a little earlier. It is so nice to get the work done and not worry about it. If I have to leave some for later, it's alright because we have a big chunk of time between the boy's class and the baby's. The only draw back to that is how tired the kids are at that point. It makes it hard to get and keep their attention. Yesterday, we had to do a little shopping and the baby laid down in the cart. She even went to sleep for a little bit. I laid our shopping bags down in the bottom of the cart and she laid on them like a pallet. I had to get socks for the girls and she used the packages like pillows. She looked so comfortable, I wanted to lay down and nap with her.

The good thing about our day, or really the great thing, is that we get to have lunch with hubby. I pack a lunch for me and the kids, like we are going to park day. Everybody has a water bottle and I take extra in case we drink all of ours. Hubby takes his own lunch just in case he can't meet us. If he can't meet us, he still has his lunch. We have met the last two weeks at different parks and were able to share a meal and really great company and conversation. By the time hubby is done with his lunch hour, it's time to pack up and head for the boy's class. I try to pack snacks for the time our last two classes.

When we get home, dinner is usually ready. I get it started in the crockpot and it's ready and smelling good when we get home. Last night was fajitas. It wasn't as good as the ones you get still sizzling on the cast iron skillet, but they were still good. The kids eyes actually rolled back in their kids it was so good. I didn't have everything to make the ones I wanted to, but after looking at a few recipes I decided to make my own. Tasty, tasty. I crockpot three days a week, and it has helped to have menu. It helps me be more accountable for our meals and our money.

It's a long day, but we enjoy it. We look forward to dancing and getting to see hubby. We go to the library and read books to each other. We get to spend time together, enjoying the company. Most of the time. There is still some tweaking we need to do to our day, but slow and steady wins the race.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Is that a word? Like Facebooking, only about food. Blogging is another new verb, but one close to my heart. My dad said I should take my blog and publish a book. You find me a publisher and an agent and I am there. The frustrated writer in me would love it. But, again, I digress.

We have reduced our evenings out of the house to two. That is such a huge improvement over last year. Four days almost killed me. The kids would drag; I would drag. The days we didn't have to go anywhere were treasured and cherished. The longer we could stay in our pajamas was one more minute we were in heaven. The crockpot has been fantastic.

It has been interesting to say the least. I can definitely say I am out of my cooking rut. It seemed like we always had the same things over and over and over. It seemed like it because we were. We were all bored with dinner and every chance to go out was taken. We have had some really good things and some I will never make this again dishes. I have realized that a stew recipe is a stew recipe and there isn't much difference. I also do not like Lipton Soup Mixes of any kind in a crockpot. Live and learn.

I have a couple of different web sites that I go to for recipes. One is It is awesome. A woman crockpotted every day for a year. She has her recipes listed by type, what went right and wrong, what she would change, and a picture of all the ingedients. She was even on GMA this morning promoting the cookbook that she wrote. She has gluten free and vegetarian recipes. I have been looking at some of the vegetarian recipes and trying to decide which ones I want to try and which ones I think my family will eat.

You can also go to On their search feature type in crockpot or recipes. My friend sent me the link, but I'll be darned if I can remember it now. I also use that website for some of our homeschooling subjects to supplement info. It's pretty good and has a huge list of recipes. I'm going to try the one for crockpot tamales. I love tamales, and this recipe is super simple.

The couple of recipes I want to share are BBQ chicken and Taco Soup. The BBQ chicken is easy, easy, easy. I didn't use a recipe for this one, I just adapted the one I already use. Normally, I make my chicken in a pan on the stove. I took the basic principles and made it crockpot friendly.
You take chicken pieces, any that you like, and put them in a greased or oiled crockpot. Add one bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce. Fill the sauce bottle about 1/3 - 1/2 to the top with water and put the lid back on. Shake, and pour over the chicken. Set on low for 8-9 hours, or high for 5-6. The water keeps the sauce from getting super sticky. You can add veggies if you like them covered in BBQ sauce. You can use any pieces of chicken that you like. I used breasts because that's what I had. You could just as easily use a whole, cut up chicken. It was fall off the bone (literally) delicious. I would suggest you either use fresh or thawed completely chicken. If you use frozen, it adds too much water as the chicken thaws and leaves your sauce very runny. You could just as well use a pork loin and do pulled pork. Or any type of beef if that's what you prefer.

The Taco Soup looks funky, but tastes really good. It got eaten for three days at my house and there was none left. Here's what you do and what you need:

1 lb ground beef, cooked
1 16oz can corn
1 16oz can diced tomatoes
1 large can chili/red beans
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 packet taco seasoning
1 lb Velveeta, cubed

Dump contents of cans into crockpot. Add beef, cheese, and taco seasoning.Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until cheese melts. Add half a can of water if too thick. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread. DO NOT cook on high. The cheese will seperate. This can be done in as little as an hour.

I left out the beans. I don't like them and neither does anyone in my family. It was very thick and reminded me more of dip than soup, but it was super-d-delicious. Everybody loved it. I served it with Fritos and warmed, flour tortillas. As is, it would make a great dip for a large party. I used extra beef because my container holds more than 1 lb. I would say cook this on a day that you won't be gone more than a couple of hours because it does cook quick.

I have started stocking some things in my pantry and freezer. Diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and cream soups being the leaders. They come in very handy. If you have a recipe that calls for whole tomatoes, or stewed, or whatever and you don't have it, substitute the diced. I have started making my own chicken broth as well. It adds more flavor than a canned or boxed kind and I control the ingredients. That is huge since the US will soon be importing chickens from China, but that's my other blog.

I'll post some more about the wonders of the crockpot. I use it three days a week and have gotten better at following our menu. The kids look at the menu now instead of asking 14 times what's for dinner. They have gotten adventurous with dinner as well. They look, take a bite, and usually like it. On the nights we don't like it, cereal or sandwiches are a great substitute. I hope some of this helps my fellow busy families. Enjoy every bite. If you have recipes to share, please do. I'm always looking for good ones.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Update to Spankings

Hubby said I need to be careful about what I post. He doesn't want some dogooder reading this and calling the authorities because we spank our kids. Fine. Note to dogooder: Get a life. If you have nothing better to do than nit pick other people's lives, you need to get one yourself. That should do it.

I have taken a page from my friend, D. She has noticed that the behavior of her children, specifically between two of them, which is part my problem, is not the best. She and her husband prayed about it, asking for guidance, because they were at the end of their rope. What they came up with will help my kids, so I am borrowing parts of it. Here goes with the discipline plan.

For the first offense, the child, whichever one it happens to be, will have to right a bible verse relating to the correct behavior. The number of times will depend on the child. The big girl loves to write, so the number of times would have to be a lot for her to get tired of writing. The boy can't stand to even have a pencil in his hand so he will have to write them fewer for him to be punished. The baby, well we'll just have to see.

If it is a personality conflict, if one is picking on or irritating the other, not only will they have to write the bible verse, but they will have to also help whoever they are irritating, without snarking about it. If they snark, they must write the verses again, and then model it. Again, minus the snarking. They must serve with loving hearts and open minds.

If it is a fighting issue, verbal because they know what happens when it gets physical, they will have to write the bible verse and not speak for a predetermined amount of time. They may not speak or use sign language, but be totally quiet. They will also have all electronic equipment revoked until future notice. They will not be able to pick a TV show to watch.

Do not think for one second that spankings have been revoked. If these measures do not produce appropriate behavior, they will be spanked. Appropriate behavior includes not fighting with or irritating each other just because, listening and doing because it's the right thing to do, and doing what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it with no back talking. There will also be a discussion about why they are behaving the way they are. If there is an issue we need to discuss, we will. I like the fact that my kids will talk to me about anything. I try to listen, not always easy for me. I would rather offer solutions than leave it to someone else. But I am trying to get better myself.

Have a great day!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Whoop That Tail

When I first became a parent, I swore there were things that my parents had done or said that I was not going to. When reality sets in, I realized that I was doing and saying exactly what had been done to me. This is not a post against my parents. You do what you know until you know better. I have always said that the reason the big girl loved to go to school and dance was to get away from me. People may not believe it, but I think it's true, and you can't convince me otherwise, so don't even try.

For quite awhile, our discipline was spanking. I don't mean a little tap. Sometimes it was a tap. Mostly, it was a good swat. I took a page from my childhood. If it didn't hurt, it wasn't hard enough. My poor big girl got the message that she had to perfect or else. I wonder to this day how she turned out to be so good when I was such a horrible mother.

When hubby was working out of town, I was all alone with my kids. My sister called me almost every day to check on me and make sure I was OK. I needed that. My mom called almost as often. It was fantastic to have the support. I sure wasn't getting it here. My SIL, who did not agree with our decision for hubby to work out of town, dropped me like a hot rock. I was no longer worthy of being her friend. She rarely called and when she did it was for me to comfort her about something. I would ask my MIL if she would watch the kids for a couple of hours and I would get huffed at. You know, that big deep heavy sigh that says "I don't want to, but I know I better". At that point, my response would be, "No, thanks. I'll figure something else out." Guilt would set in, I guess, and she would call and offer to keep the kids. I'd rather you kissed my butt, but no thank you to that, too. I am as stubborn as the day is long.

The point of all this rambling which seems more suited to my other blog is this: when hubby was away, I realized that I could break that cycle. My kids were kids and they were going to do those things that kids do. Duh. It was at that point that I stopped spanking. Not all together, but not for every offense. I started to take away privileges instead. Time out actually worked for us. The only problem was, and still is, that my kids are so good in time out that I forget they are there.

I started to notice a change in my kids when I started to be less uptight. My kids actually did listen to what I was saying. They would do what I said and what I asked. It's amazing what please and thank you can accomplish. In turn, they started using it more without being prompted. We actually started to have a home filled with love and respect and hugs and kisses.

It took hubby awhile to get accustomed to it. When he would come home, he was so happy to see his family that he started to mellow. He also took cues from our new behavior and became less uptight about things. We would get compliments on our kids. We still do. We have great kids. We are very good at follow through. If we say to one, or all, of the kids, that something is going to happen because of a certain behavior, it happens. Whether it's time out, taking a privilege away, or a spanking, the kids know it will happen. I have seen too many parents say they are going to do something, then it doesn't happen. Get real and respect yourself and your kids. You are not doing them any favors.

It seems that our kids are starting to take advantage of our limited spanking. It seems that the taking away of privileges and time out are not as effective as they used to be. The kids freely hand over their electronic toys and don't complain about no TV. They stand in time out with no complaints. Great. There have been some attitude problems lately. The boy and the big girl have been making excuses for not getting school work done and don't seem to be bothered by the consequences. The baby has started to mess and play when she shouldn't be and is not responding to the normal.

Tonight the decision was taken out of their hands. We have reinstated spanking as a main means of punishment. For those that comment, this is not up for debate. I'm not asking you to agree or support our decision. I am just informing you. The big girl and the boy got them for not completing school work that should have been done. The baby got it for not listening. Three times she got told to get toothpaste on her toothbrush and she played instead. It feels like they are starting to take advantage and we will not have that. We still have great kids. We are just tired of having to repeat ourselves with nothing to show for it but frustration.

If you see us and the kids are getting a swat, turn the other way if you don't want to see it. If you see us and the kids are very well behaved, it's probably because they know a swat is coming. Or just because they are really good kids. We'll see how things go over the next couple of weeks and reevaluate things. Maybe this won't last long. I hope not.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Confirmation, In Pictures

This was a cross that floats in the lake just off shore. It was beautiful lit up at night, and even more so as the sun comes up. It was nice to just sit on the dock and listen for His words.

This was a great activity in team work. The big girl was the first to be lifted by the team and moved through the hole in the wall. She could not touch any part of the opening or they would have to start all over. She wasn't going to participate, but she over came her fear and did it anyway. She ended up loving it and being quite instrumental in getting the rest of the kids through the hole.

All of the kids started on a large wooden platform and had to swing on the rope to get to another platform. They did it, but were not so happy to see the facilitator change their landing pad to a much smaller platform. They all had to swing again. The big girl was the last one to go and she made it. It took them several tries to get all of the kids on the other side to the smaller platform, but they accomplished their goal.
There were a two more activities that the kids had to do together, but these had the most interesting pictures. They learned that with support from God and their community of faith, they could accomplish many goals and could strive for more. It was so awesome to see these kids working together to solve their problems. We were all so proud of them.
Have a great day!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Confirmation, in the United Methodist church, is a two fold process. It is a process in which young people learn about the church, it's history, and John Wesley. He was the founder of the movement that later formed the UM church. It is also a time to draw closer to Jesus and decide if you want to follow His ways, His teachings, His example of a God filled life. While there is teaching about the church that occurs, the most important part of the entire process is the drawing closer to God and embracing Him, while being embraced by Him, the church, the community, mentors and parents. The big girl participated this year and I am so very proud of her. I was honored to be asked to facilitate the classes that occured before the retreat. I learned so much and was ecstatic to pass that on to others.

The classes themselves took place at our church and consisted of the confirmands (we had 5 participating this year), their mentors, and their parents. We talked about the holy times and events that the church recognizes like Easter, Lent, Advent, and Christmas. Each of these times represents an important spiritual time frame, not just a holiday or day off of work.

The retreat is a time for the confirmands to seek Jesus, to be pulled closer to His side, to be loved by Him. We arrived Friday night and got settled. We were joined by three girls from our Associate Pastor's husband's church. He is also a pastor. We welcomed the addition to our group and hope to support them on the day of their confirmation. After a leader's meeting, we met for worship, small group time and then to bed. The big girl and one of the boys were the only ones to stay overnight out of the confirmands. I stayed as well as our Associate Pastor, heretofore referred to as PC. That's what we call her.

The big day was Saturday. We all met for breakfast then worship. The pastor conducting the worship services was amazing. She related so well to the youth. We had kids from all over the state and several groups that were local. After worship, we met for another small group time. Then it was off to the pool, then lunch. After lunch, we met with some of the other groups and were taken to an obstacle course. This was not an average obstacle course. It was designed to make the kids work together and support each other. They had to do each obstacle together, listening while sometimes not talking. They were incredible with their teamwork and ingenuity and we were so impressed by them.

We had some free time after that. The big girl went with a friend and some parents to a local Christian book store while hubby and I decided to follow the Path of Silence. It wasn't very silent since there was also a father/daughter camp going on. The girls were all 8 and under, many of them under. Silence isn't part of their vocabulary. But it was fun to watch some overly indulgent fathers try to harness the spirit and energy of their rambunctious daughters. Hubby and I laughed at most of them.

We met for small group after that, then dinner and worship. There was cookie time at 10. The camp director hosted that event. The kids were playing four square and the camp director, Joel, proceeded to school them all and win. The kids thought they were so good, but they got played and decimated by a 35 year old man. Take that, you whipper snappers. It was funny and the parents and chaperones were very impressed and inspired.

Breakfast in the morning, then worship and time to go. I got to meet the parents of the three girls that had joined our group and I made sure to tell them how good their girls had been. It was an experience that has left me not ready to share about the details. That will come later when I have a chance to process all of it. For now, you will have to settle for the frame, and the structure will be built soon. I will also post some pictures of the big girl very much out of her comfort zone, striving to be better, to do things that scared her, taking a leap of faith. All of that needs to be processed before we share.

Thank you to those of you who prayed for her and for us. I am so thankful for the support, and so is she. Look for pictures and details maybe tomorrow.

Have a great day!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Braggin' Again

My last post was bragging about the boy. So now I need to brag on the baby. Maybe my next post will be about the big girl. Who knows? On with the talkin'.

The baby has been working on her addition. She is five and should technically be a kindergartener. What I have found typically happens in a homeschool family, the younger ones get the benefit of the older kids' education. Last school year, the boy and the big girl started the baby on addition with no prompting or help from me. They didn't want my help. Fine, you independent little beasties. It didn't happen as much during the summer, so I figured we would start at the beginning when we started this school year. Apparently, that was my bad.

The baby didn't want to start over. She wanted to continue from where she left off. So we did. She has been using some worksheets I have gotten off the internet and some that were in a math book that has been handed down. She is loving it. She won't let me help her, but she will sit with me when I grade it. We review the numbers and I have her read the number sentence to me. Repetition, repetition, repetition. She feels like a big girl.

I have some wooden manipulative blocks that the boy used. I showed her how to use them and sometimes she gets them out and makes up addition problems. Wow! Today was flashcard day and she drags her manipulatives out to use if she needed them. The flashcards have problems on both sides. We have only been doing one side of the cards, but today she was ready for a challenge. We did both sides of the cards.

She only needed the blocks for a few of the problems. We even did a few that added 10 to another number. I pulled out two sticks of tens and showed her how to use them. One time was all it took. Good grief! At one point I hear her whisper, "I know that's 10, so 11, 12, 13. The answer is 13." Yes, the answer was 13. She liked the 10 stick so much she used it for problems that didn't have 10 in them. She even used it correctly for problems with 11 in it.

My 5 year old is a math genius. Well, in my eyes she is. All I need is her doing algebra by the time she's 8. Maybe she and the boy can do algebra together and I'll only need to buy one curriculum. I have a feeling she may outgrow me. I don't like that feeling. I do like my kids being smart, though. I am going to take one step at a time, and just try to enjoy the journey.

Have a great day!