Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Savvy by Ingrid Law

Savvy is a coming of age story with a little bit different twist. When the members of the Beaumont family turn thirteen they receive their "savvy" - a supernatural gift or ability of some kind. Fourteen-year-old Fish has the ability to stir the wind and the rain into gale force winds while older brother Rocket causes electrical surges wherever he goes. (Sometimes this is a good thing, and sometimes not so much).

Mibs is the next sibling in line to turn thirteen and the book start on the eve of her birthday. The family is somewhat on pins and needles as the day approaches. You never know what someone's savvy is until it arrives - and with the case of Fish's weather disrupting abilities, the family was forces to relocate inland to keep him away from oceans and large bodies of water.

Unfortunately, on the eve of Mibs' big birthday, her father and the light of the family's life is seriously injured in a car crash. The book takes off as Mibs and her siblings try and find their way to the neighboring town without being notices or causing too much havoc on their way there ... all the while Mibs is discovering and trying to tame her savvy that shows up right on time.

This book is extremely creative. I love the idea behind this story and the fact that the abilities that the Beaumont family has are not the normal "superpowers" that one would expect of them (such as X-Men type abilities). They are all just a little bit on the quirky side, which add to their charm.

Savvy would be a great read-aloud for summer for older kids ... 9 and up, I'd say. There is one instance where Mibs' name is combined with a slang word that I wouldn't want my girls to hear (and I thought was unnecessary), but that could be completely avoided in a read-aloud. This book has screen play written all over it as well - I won't be surprised when I see this adventure coming to the local theater!
Savvy has been selected as a Newbery Honor book. Named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery, the Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekend Scrapping


Used: Bloom & Grow kit, designed by Ali Edwards, from Songbird Avenue. Proceeds from the sale of this kit (up through April 30) are donated to Autism Speaks. These tutorials from Ali's site walked me through making this layout.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Kindergarten in Our Home

Amy asked me for some details on our homeschooling plans for next year and I'm happy to oblige. We're getting so excited for this fall and I'm slowly gathering the materials I will need (or think I will need).

For this coming year, we have decided to enroll N1 in a two-day a week program with a local church. I will school with her on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and she will go to a very small kindergarten class (10-12 students) on Wednesday and Friday. I will be responsible for her Bible lessons, language arts and all that entails, and math; the school will handle social studies, science, and art. Of course, I am not limited in what I want to do at home to supplement their programs with extra activities or real-alouds that tie in and there will be some of that that I hope to do. Truthfully, I went back and forth for months on whether or not we should put N1 in this program - I could see definite pros and cons on both sides. We've decided to go ahead with it for this year, and then reevaluate after kindergarten.

With that said, I was working towards two plans - one if she went to school two days a week and one if she would be home. I'll list all my thoughts below and what I was considering in hopes that it might help someone else. :)

Bible

We're going to use the Catherine Vos Study Bible and read aloud from it. It looks to be the logical (and well recommended) next step up from the Jesus Storybook Bible which we have LOVED. We will do daily reading and I plan on getting a large wall size map of Biblical lands that we can mark on - locations, where individuals lived and their travels, etc. I've also purchased Draw and Learn the book of Proverbs. N1 is my artist and loves to draw and color - each lesson has a few verses that you discuss and then a prompt for something to draw or color. I plan on all the girls doing this together (at their own level) in the morning as part of our table time before the 2 and 3 year old will be "released" to some play time while N1 does other work.

Language Arts

N1 and I have been doing some language arts for about a year now so I will just continue on with what we have been doing. That includes continuing with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and Explode the Code workbooks. She is currently in EtC Book 1 so I am tentatively planning us to work up through books 2 and 2 1/2 for her kindergarten year. The only thing that I will add to this is A Reason for Handwriting. We'll wait and start spelling around 2nd grade, however, I do have the Doltch sight word lists that we work on sporadically.

Math

We'll be using Saxon K. :)

Social Studies

The school she is attending is going to be covering American History and Westward Expansion this next year. They do a four year classical history cycle and we are coming in on year 4. I had already been planning to do some American History with N1 over the next year so this will tie together nicely with read-alouds that I've been thinking on. Two resources that I will be turning to for read-aloud suggestions are Turning Back the Pages of Time (An American history library book list) and the American history lesson plans on Elizabeth Foss's Seredipity blog.

Science

I hadn't truly decided on a plan for science beyond working on a nature journal with N1. I don't think there needs to be much more than that for Kindergarten. One resource that I love is Keeping a Nature Journal. Several others that I want to look at (but haven't had a chance because they aren't at my local library) are Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning : A Story for Mother Culture and Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children. If we were going to do anything beyond nature observation and journaling, I was considered putting some basic lessons together on our bodies. Books I was looking at (but haven't purchased) included: The Kingfisher First Human Body Encyclopedia (Kingfisher First Reference), Everybody Has a Body: Science from Head to Toe, and The Way We Work.

There! I'm such a novice at all this I hesitate to even say let me know if you have any questions. :) But, if you do, feel free. I'm working on some read-aloud lists that I want to try and work through this next year - both for fun and to tie in with her history so I'll share those as I have things pulled together.

Friday Felicities ::: April 24

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Things that make me happy....
  • My husband (in general) and the fact that he bought me some diet coke last night (to be specific) since I will be at home today waiting on the internet/phone man. :)

  • fresh ideas.

  • best friends that understand when you have to hang up on them because someone knocked over a cup of chocolate milk on carpet.

  • school supplies and books.

  • Psalm 91.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bloggy Book Review ::: Elisha's Bones

This book would make a great adventure/Indiana Jones-type read for the guy in your life! (Just a little reminder that Father's Day is coming up!) The search for the bones of Elisha, thought to have the power to bring the dead back to life, leads Professor Jack Hawthorne on quite a ride, and unburies some things he had thought were left to his past. This book was clever, clean, and full of twists and turns ... another great one to take to the beach or on your summer vacation. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. :)

ABOUT THE BOOK

Every year, professor of antiquities Jack Hawthorne looks forward to the winter break as a time to hide away from his responsibilities. Even if just for a week or two. But this year, his plans are derailed when he's offered almost a blank check from a man chasing a rumor.

Billionaire Gordon Reese thinks he knows where the bones of the prophet Elisha are--bones that in the Old Testament brought the dead back to life. The bones of the prophet once raised the dead to life... but they vanished from history in a whisper.

Bankrolled by a dying man of unlimited means, Hawthorne's hunt spans the globe and leads him into a deadly conspiracy older than the church itself. A born skeptic, Jack doesn't think much of the assignment but he could use the money, so he takes the first step on a chase for the legendary bones that will take him to the very ends of the earth.

But he's not alone. Joined with a fiery colleague, Esperanza Habilla, they soon discover clues to a shadowy organization whose long-held secrets have been protected . . . at all costs. And he soon discovers those sworn to keep the secret of the bones will do anything to protect them. As their lives are threatened again and again, the real race is to uncover the truth before those chasing them hunt them down.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Elisha's Bones, go HERE

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kids Pick ... from the library stack

I don't have much time to write this morning so I'm going to highlight a recent book from our library stack that I have read NUMEROUS times since we checked it out. :) It is The Story of Little Babaji by Helen Bannerman.

This is the retelling of Little Black Sambo, and old folk tale. From Wikipedia:

The Story of Little Black Sambo, a children's book by Helen Bannerman, a Scot who lived for 30 years in Madras in southern India, was first published in London in 1899. (An American edition of the book was illustrated by Florence White Williams.) In the tale, an Indian boy named Sambo prevails over a group of hungry tigers. The little boy has to give his colourful new clothes, shoes, and umbrella to four tigers so they will not eat him. Sambo recovers the clothes when the jealous, conceited tigers chase each other around a tree until they are reduced to a pool of delicious melted butter. The story was a children's favourite for half a century, but then became controversial due to the use of the word sambo, a racial slur in some countries.

My girls LOVED this story. Loved, loved, loved. I can't tell you how many times I read it to the 3yo. The story is fairly repetitious - as he meets four tigers in a row, the dialogue is very similiar with the the exception of a different article of clothing being mentioned/taken. I would read the descriptive parts of the book and N2 would read the words of both Babaji and the tigers ... "Please Mr. Tiger, don't eat me up!" Folk tales are some of my favorite to read with the girls because of the history and culture that are woven throughout; as in this case, the girls got a small flavor of Indian dress and speech.

For more Kids' Picks, head over to Five Minutes for Books!

Other Kids' Picks Posts:
~ Books by James Mayhew
~ Betsy-Tacy
~ Each Peach Pear Plum
~ The Great Blueness and Other Predicaments

Monday, April 20, 2009

This Week's Menu

I was telling my husband yesterday that we have managed to fly through our groceries this month! I'm not sure if the girls were on a growth spurt or what, but I definitely noticed that we didn't leave much in the way of leftovers after most meals and my pantry shelves and freezer selection is looking quite bare. As I've mentioned before, I try to do a big monthly grocery run (which won't be until this coming weekend or the first of next week) so I'm am trying to see what I can come up with with what I have. I'm mostly missing things for main dishes/dinner ... don't think I'll have any problem getting by with breakfast and lunch since that is mostly just me and the girls. As long as we have Cheerios and peanut butter, we're good. :)

Anyway, what I've come up with is:

Monday: honey lime chicken, green beans and crescent rolls
Tuesday: breakfast dinner instead of our normal Tuesday crockpot fare. I'll make biscuits in the morning, and then when we run in the house from dance class, I'll scramble some eggs and cook sausage links that I found in the freezer.
Wednesday: Awana night = quesadillas. Also, I'm having some friends over for a low-key homeschool meeting and I just happen to have all the ingredients in the house to make try out a scone recipe from a new cookbook I was sent to review. Will definitely share if it's any good!
Thursday: pizza meatloaf, broccoli, some other veggie (corn? peas? have some of both in the freezer)
Friday: pizza night
Saturday: oven baked fried fish and hushpuppies (thanks Meredith for the suggestion!) I found two bags of fish in the freezer so we'll use one and save the other.

That leaves me with just a few things that I will need to pick up at the store to get us through the week - all which I believe I can get at Aldi's. Yea! God was gracious to give me some menu inspiration when I was doing some planning this morning! :)

This post is cross linked with Menu Plan Monday and Make-Do Monday. :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

April, in a nutshell

A little something different for Monday... seen via Heather and Cheri's FB page:


Current Book(s): The Heart of Homeschooling by Christopher Klicka; a new Mary Higgins Clark my mom just dropped off at the house; and Isaiah.


Current Playlist: Karyn Henley for the girls ... every time we get in the car.


Current Shame Inducing Guilty Pleasure: trail mix of any kind. Salty + sweet.


Current Color(s): This bright-ish blue that I am seeing everywhere. I don't know what to even call the shade, but I love it.


Current Obsession: Cleaning out the stack of magazines underneath one of the tables!


Current Drink: Diet Coke, of course. :)


Current Food: Nothing is jumping out at me right at the moment. Although, I have been all about grits at breakfast lately.


Current Favorite Favorite: Binders ... for labeling, for organizing, for color-coding. Binders are my friends right now. :)


Current Wishlist: To continue working towards a good home maintenance routine. I've been on the ball the last couple weeks and it's helping ... now to continue!


Current Needs: Apples. We are out. And the girls look in the fridge every day to see if any more have magically appeared.


Current Triumph(s): See note above re: home upkeep. A small triumph, but one none-the-less. :)


Current Bane(s) of my Existence: Sugar. In almost all forms. I've been watching when I eat it lately and have decided that sugar makes me sleepy and crabby. Not a good combo. We are going to try "not speaking" for a week and see what happens.


Current Celebrity Crush: Not so much.


Current Indulgence: Did you see the part above about trail mix? Ties in with this one beautifully.


Current Mood: In need of coffee. And yes, that is a mood. :)


Current #1 Blessing: Girls that are sleeping better at night ... for the most part ... comparatively speaking.


Current Outfit: jammies!


Current Excitement: Have I mentioned that I'm planning and making lists for homeschooling for next year? So much fun. (And Amy, I will try and do a post when I get it all figured it out!)


Current Link(s): I'll share a favorite blog this morning ... one that I recently spent some time at being encouraged with littles and for some ideas with the girls: Preschoolers and Peace.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Felicities ::: April 17

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Things that make me happy...

  • a husband that seems to be doing great after unpleasant dental work yesterday!
  • Watching a few episodes of the X-Files with T last night after the girls went to bed. (Yes, I admit it. I loooooooved the X-Files when they were on.) :)
  • Planning and making lists for Kindergarten with N1 this fall. We are SO excited.
  • a 5 year old that is on her first big adventure with Grandpa to the Chattanooga Choo-Choo.
  • a day with just time with my two little munchkins ... and that WILL include lunch at McDs!
  • the fact that Snow White comes out on DVD this fall! (And yes, I have it pre-ordered!) :)
  • watching and listening to N1 read me her first book all by herself this week. Kindergarten is just around the corner.

    04'14'09

Happy Friday. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mother's Day Giveaway @ Five Minutes for Books

Five Minutes for Books has a great Mother's Day book giveaway in process and you won't want to miss it!

Recipe by Request ::: Honey Chicken and Made-Up Mexi-StirFry

Honey Chicken
(Recipe from Kristen at Once Upon a Time)
  • Place 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the crock pot and add 1-2 cups of water, not quite covering the chicken.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Cook on "High" for 3 hours.
  • Drain water.
  • Remove chicken and cut into cubes.
  • Place cubed chicken back into the crock pot.
  • Combine the following and pour over chicken:
    - 2/3 cup melted butter
    - 2/3 cup honey
    - 4 Tablespoons prepared mustard
    - 2 teaspoons salt
  • Turn crock pot on low and cook 1 additional hour.
  • Serve over white rice and accompanied by steamed mixed vegetables and homemade bread.

Any my mexi-stir fry I made the other night ... delicious and totally made up. If I remember right this is what I did:

  • cooked several diced chicken breasts in olive oil until cooked through, sprinkling liberally with taco seasoning throughout the cooking process until they looked like they had enough seasoning. :)
  • added to the cooked chicken/olive oil: diced potatoes (I used red potatoes because it's what I had on hand), black beans (homemade from the freezer), frozen corn, and diced green pepper.
  • covered the pan with a lid and let simmer and cook until the potatoes could be broken apart easily with a fork. Maybe 15-20 minutes?? Check and stir every so often just to make sure that it isn't sticking, but there will probably be enough water/moisture if you use frozen veggies/beans like I did.
  • Serve!

We ate it wrapped up in a flour tortilla with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese, but I also ate just a little bit on my place by itself (since E stole my tortilla!) and it was so yummy with a little bit of ranch dressing drizzled across it. We were out of sour cream or I probably would have used that first ... salsa would have added a nice kick (and will to my leftovers) but that would have made it too spicy for my munchkins.

Anyway, totally cheap and easy and quick! And I must give a tip to Mer because she is the one that inspired me to make stirfry for dinner last night. :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Secret by Beverly Lewis

Beverly Lewis is once again written a book set in the Amish countryside. Filled with descriptions of serene, rural landscapes, you are taken inside the workings of an Amish family working their farm and keeping their life simple. In one sense, this book is extremely similar to other books by Ms. Lewis. She has a good pattern that works here and it is an enjoyable book to read! However, there are some differences. One of the most prominent (and I don't think I'm spoiling anything by sharing it) is that the main character Grace does not seem intent on leaving her Amish roots, as many of Ms. Lewis' other books seem to be dealing with some sort of coming-of-age rebellion.
Another well-written book that I would recommend as these characters ponder family secrets and their relationship with the Lord. And can I just say one other thing that I love about these books ... all the Amish cooking! :) After reading them, I feel inspired to spend a day canning and baking pies!
In the seemingly ordinary Amish home of Grace Byler, secrets abound. Why does her mother weep in the night? Why does her father refuse to admit something is dreadfully wrong? Then, in one startling moment, everything Grace assumed she knew is shattered.

Her mother's disappearance leaves Grace reeling and unable to keep her betrothal promise to her long-time beau. Left to pick up the pieces of her life, Grace questions all she has been taught about love, family, and commitment.

Heather Nelson is an English grad student, stunned by a doctor's diagnosis. Surely fate would not allow her father to lose his only daughter after the death of his wife a few years before. In denial and telling no one she is terminally ill, Heather travels to Lancaster County-- the last place she and her mother had visited together.

Will Heather find healing for body and spirit? As the lives of four wounded souls begin to weave together like an Amish patchwork quilt, they each discover missing pieces of their life puzzles--and glimpse the merciful and loving hand of God.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Secret, go HERE

Easter Then & Now

2008 Easter













Ages: N1(4), N2 (2), E (10 mo)

2009 Easter













Ages: N1 (5 1/2); N2 (3); E (2 in two weeks!)

And just for fun ... one from way back. :)














(I was probably 4th or 5th grade and rockin' the Dorothy Hamill haircut.) :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pretzel by H.A. Rey ::: Children's Classics Post

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I know I've mentioned it, but we are big H.A. Rey fans at our house. When N2 turned 3 in January, I ordered two more H.A. Rey books for her that I had never heard of before. I have enough faith in a Rey book that I ordered them sight unseen!

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Pretzel is the story of a daschund. And unusual daschund. A very loooooooooong daschund. Actually, he was the longest daschund in the world! For the most part his great length was an asset to him - when he was one, he won a blue ribbon at a dog show and was admired by all the other dogs.

However. :)

The little dog across the street, Greta, did not like Pretzel. And Pretzel really liked Greta. Her thoughts on the matter: "I don't care for long dogs." The rest of the story details how Pretzel tries to impress Greta ... and of course, he wins her affections in the end, but I'll leave the "how" to your discovery. :)

As with all the H.A. Rey books, my girls have delighted in Pretzel. I don't think they have ever seen a real daschund, so they enjoy the appearance and antics of this unusual looking dog. The artwork is sweet and very colorful, as with all Rey books and I think it's worth a look if you can find it!

For more children's classics of the canine variety, head over to Five Minutes for Books!

Related reviews:
The Journey that Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret & H.A. Rey
Katy No-Pocket

Other Children's Classic Reviews:
A.A. Milne
Beatrix Potter (specifically, the Tale of Jemima Puddleduck)
Make Way for Ducklings
The Little House

Monday, April 13, 2009

This Week's Menu

It's been a while since I've posted a weekly menu. I've typically been planning by the month but this week is getting a little shake-up since the Mr. is getting a couple wisdom teeth taken out Thursday afternoon. Apparently the teeth are playing hard-to-get and his jaws will be out of commission for a couple days. So, the revised plan for the week:

Monday: a Mexi-stirfry that I will be making up as I go! (In my head, it sounds yummy; we'll see how it translates to the plate). :)
Tuesday: honey chicken in the crockpot, green beans
Wednesday: quesadillas for the girls (Awana night), probably a fun dinner/snack for Travis after he gets home from Awana since it will be the last meal...
Thursday: pizza for the girls, ice cream for T (or something else smushy). :) Sounds like it will also be a good plan to move movie night to Thursday while Daddy will probably want to lay around.
Friday: mac & cheese all round.
Saturday: taco rice skillet (taco-seasoned meat simmer in tomato sauce with rice, served over lettuce and topped with misc. toppings).

Happy Monday. We've been enjoying beautiful weather (including an afternoon shower) and are looking forward to this post-Easter week!

A Love to Last Forever

I was recently sent a copy of A Love to Last Forever by Tracie Peterson (and Bethany House graciously threw in book 1 - A Promise to Believe In - since I hadn't read it either). What fun books! I know I have been on a streak of reviewing Christian suspense/mystery books, so this was a fun and welcome change of pace, and reminded me of what I used to read more.

These stories center around the three Gallatin sisters and their lives in Gallatin County, Montana. The area is untamed and unsettled and dangers abound, but the three sisters have their eyes set on God and trust him as they try to survive without their father.

Book One tells the story of Gwen, a young widow who mistakenly thinks that she is the reason that bad things keep happening to her family. Book Two turns to the middle sister, Beth, and she struggles to separate what real love looks like from the fictional (even Christian) love stories that we read ... I can relate to that problem from my single days! Book Three will be released in June and I'll be looking for an opportunity to review that one. :)

If you are looking for some fun summer reading, I can definitely steer you to this series by Tracie Peterson. What wonderful books for some light reading while you are on a road trip or parked at the beach!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Misplacing God

I recently had a chance to review a copy of Joanne Heim's new book Misplacing God. The book is a very practical look at how to fit time with God in our daily schedule. We mommies have so many demands on our time, but Joanne gives us a gentle nudge to make sure that time with God is a priority ... our first priority ... as well. Every woman is different, so what that quiet time looks like will vary from person to person. Joanne gives suggestions based on what she does, as well as other women who are in different ages and stages of life.

I know, for me, my day always goes so much better if I take time in the morning to spend with God. Typically, I try and work on my Bible study, and the amount of time I get to work depends on my munchkins (or how many times they were up during the night). Little or much, that time is so precious for me ... as I've become more accustomed to this habit, I now find myself disappointed when don't get up in time for one reason or another.

One area that I want to work on is my prayer time. This is an area that I've struggled with all my life and after reading Joanne's book, I think I make it too hard for myself. Especially on this Easter weekend, it's easy to remember that God has been so gracious to me. He sent His Son as our sacrifice and because of that I have a relationship with Him. However, on Monday, after the Easter celebrations and services have ended, I tend to forget that God is still there with that invitation to join Him, to commune with Him. To come to Him with my worship, my confession, my praise and my petitions. What a wonderful reminder Easter is of this great truth ... I want my quiet time to be that daily reminder of the privilege and pleasure it is to spend time with Him.

Anyway, if you are looking for a book to encourage you in your quiet time or maybe to give you some suggestions if you are wanting to try something different, I suggest picking up a copy of
Misplacing God. I have thoroughly enjoyed my copy and I'll look forward to thumbing back through my copy when I need encouragement from another mom who is walking this walk with me. :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

10 on the 10th ::: April Edition

Happy 10th day of April and a wonderful Good Friday to all. Since the 10th falls on a Friday, and I like to participate in Friday Felicities, I thought I would do a combination of the two - listing ten things that make me happy on this day. For those that have never heard of Friday Felicities, I'd first like to share a bit about them if that's okay. :) At the very beginning of my foray into the bloggy world, I met a wonderful woman named Natalie. Her life was mostly ordinary and sometimes downright tough, but she had (as we all do) an extra-ordinary God. Over time she started a little meme. Our mission, if we chose to accept it was to list things that made us happy. That's it. Natalie passed away two years ago this June from cancer but there are several of us that keep the Friday Felicities tradition in her memory (and because it's good, tangible reminder of my many blessings!)

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So, without further delay, 10 things that make me happy.

1. God's great plan of salvation and His grace lavished on one such as me.
2. My husband and girls. They are so fun to be around and I am thankful for the opportunity to take care of them.
3. A new purse. Totally not a need, but a want that makes me very excited for spring. Especially since I scored it on a killer sale.
4. Dunkin' Donuts coffee brewed at home. My favorite.
5. Making things out of paper. I love to make cards, scrapbook and cover notebooks & journals. Playing with paper makes me VERY happy. :)
6. Playing and being outside with the girls in the backyard. This has been a long, cold winter and we are surely enjoying the sunshine!
7. Good popcorn. With butter salt. My favorite evening snack.
8. Listening to the girls talk to each other.
9. Psalm 52:8-9. If you don't know this one, scroll all the way to the bottom of the blog page to read it. My favorite.
10. Diet Coke and a good book. :)

For more 10 on the 10th, head over to Meredith's! (For more info on Friday Felicities, they are hosted by Becky.) Have a wonderful Easter weekend and I'll see you on Monday. :)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Our Easter and Spring Reading

Our Easter/Spring book basket

I thought I would share a picture of our Easter and Spring book basket with you today. Thanks to a great idea from Janna, I put together a basket of Easter books and spring "friends" for the girls so everything is in a centralized spot. (I do this with our Christmas books, but hadn't thought to do it with other seasons.) Because of our last name, (which you can figure out if you have gotten an email from me), we have been give lots of sheep-themed animals which I love. Those friends have all been gathered and placed in the basket with our books; they have gotten lots of love and attention after placing them in a fresh place!

Here are some of the books that we have been reading over the last several weeks. As you will see, some are specifically spring titles and some are specifically about Easter. Also, some are ours and some are the libraries, but I have found several titles that I want to add to our shelves.

Spring Books:

Easter Books:

Strep throat has sidelined us for the past few days (we ended up going to the dr. yesterday for the diagnosis and antibiotics) so we are planning on starting our Easter lapbook today. Thankfully we have had lots of great read-aloud books to get us through this week of being housebound!

For more great ideas and posts on reading aloud to your children, head over to Hope is the Word for Read Aloud Thursday. And for support and encouragement to read aloud to your children in general, visit Jennifer's Read Together post!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Yesterday

After the super-duper fun Monday, we woke on Tuesday to this:


A sick little N1. :( She felt horrible all day long - took 3 naps and was in bed by 6:30 p.m. after being unable to keep anything down all day and running a fever. We're up in the air as to whether or not we'll go into the dr. today. She was up this morning at 6:30 and seems much perkier, but she is still running a decent fever. Poor girl - it takes a lot to stop her energy and this knocked her out yesterday.



Then, this is what I discovered when I went to clean my crockpot after dinner! The whole bottom had cracked clean through and separated in the base! The tragedy! I hadn't even noticed because I used one of these bags to cook our dinner in and when I went to take it out, I noticed the break. Thankfully, I do have another liner for my crockpot - it's a divided one which works just fine for my family size. It's a little small for when I feed my extended family, but we'll make do.

All that to say, it looks like we don't have to have a big party to have an excited day around here!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Egg Coloring Success

Yesterday we enjoyed another fun egg coloring party with our friends and claimed it a success! I think our grand total of guests was 21 kids and six moms (not counting the 4 in our family) so it was very busy as you can imagine. Since Easter was later this year, I had hoped this would be an outside activity ... yesterday's freezing temps changed that plan and we all crowded into our family room for a big time.

04'06'09

Green and yellow theme. The little Easter tag/name place cards are from here.

04'06'09b

E was sooooo excited to have a few of her little friends over to play ... these munchkins didn't color eggs yet E still needed three different shirts while her friends were over. Hmmm.

04'06'09c

The boy table. :)

04'06'09d

The girl table. :)

04'06'09f

Trouble. :) E with another of her little friends.

04'06'09h

04'06'09k

Studious concentration.

04'06'09l

N2 is showing me her robin's egg blue eggs that she just colored ... as well as her robin's egg blue hands. :)

04'06'09m

Friends. :)

Thanks for stopping by to look at our egg coloring pictures - you got the less messy tour of the day! :) Have a wonderful Tuesday.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook ::: April 6

Outside my Window ... dark, rainy and cold. After several days of beautiful 70 degree weather it seems as though winter is back for a bit.

I am thinking
... that I was up WAY to early this morning. We won't discuss the time, but I woke early and my mind would not stop running. It will be an early bedtime tonight for sure.

I am thankful for ... reconnecting with a dear college friend this weekend (through the magic that is Facebook). This is one of those friends that I grieved losing touch with and thought of most often.

In the learning room ... a spring and Easter book list and lost of talking about the changes that come with spring. This week we are also going to put together a Resurrection lapbook and talk much of the Easter story.


From the kitchen ...

Monday
: chicken caesar pasta salad
Tuesday: cp bacon and cheese chicken, salad
Wednesday: quesadillas
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: pizza night
Saturday: cheeseburger joes, salad, potatoes of some kind

I am creating ... nothing but I have the itch to! :) Actually, that's not entirely true. I made several dozen cupcakes last night (and early this morning) in anticipation of our egg coloring party we will having later this morning. However, I do have some scrapbook-y type things running through my head and I may work on those some later today during resttime if time (and energy) permit.

I am going ... to color Easter eggs today! Well, the girls are with much supervision with several little friends, and I am thrilled that some of my mommy buddies are coming over to tackle this spring project with me.

I am wearing
... sleep t-shirt and sweat pants.

I am reading
... I finished The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey this weekend - just as good as the first book. Right now I'm reading a book by Tracie Petersen and am going to pick up Sabbath Keeping to start for a non-fiction read. I also just finished Misplacing God by Joanne Heim and plan on posting a review of that this week.

I am hoping ... for a good week to get some planning on paper (I think I say that in some form every week). I need to be thinking about a little one's upcoming 2nd birthday as well as brainstorm some ideas for my four other family members. It's birthday season on my side of the family and we have 4 between April 23 - May 14 (with Mother's Day thrown in there).

I am hearing
... Silence. I am up well before anyone else is stirring.

Around the house ... this past weekend included lots of clothes sorting, storing and stashing as we switched out N2's and E's winter things for spring. (Just in time for today's cold snap). Up next is pulling all of the items that N1 has outgrown to save back for the next girl, but I think I will wait and start that project in a few days.

One of my favorite things
... coffee. :)

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week ...
this week is our Spring Break from most of our activities so no dance, Bible study or Awana this week. Instead, like I mentioned, we're having friends over to eat lunch and color Easter eggs and on Thursday, we're going to go have a lunch/playdate with another family. Travis has a few extra rehearsals for church to prepare for Easter music and honestly ... that means that once the girls go to bed on Thursday night, I can get out my scrapbook stuff and play and not feel like I am neglecting him. :) I'm still working on my 365 project and want to get some of that organized this week and update my 365 album on Flickr. I'll post a link when I've gotten it all caught up. :)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you ...

Happy little Easter egg hunters at the church egg hunt on Saturday. :) E is third from the left, holding a little pink bag.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

One Hour

This evening I had an unexpected hour alone at home. Travis ran an errand and what started out as one girl going with him turned in to three because the other two were afraid that they would miss out if they were left at home. :) So, there I was. Home. Alone.

I can't remember the last time that I was by myself in the house. Seriously. I'm sure it's happened before, but it's probably been at least since N2 was born ... so three years ago? Wow. And, because I know you are all dying to know. This is what I did as soon as the car pulled out of the driveway:
  • checked my email.
  • picked up all the toys in our big family room. All of them.
  • did a little birthday surfing on Amazon.com for one soon-to-be-2-year-old, without little faces looking at the toys with me.
  • vacuumed the big family room without the aforementioned toys on the floor.
  • threw away a few things that the girls will never ever miss.
  • took a shower with very hot water.

How's that? I'm sure if I had known the hour was coming up, I probably would have made better use of my time, or actually planned on just sitting in my chair with a cup of coffee (or a diet coke that no one would be asking for sips from) and reading, but I did the best I could with what I had. What do you do when you are home alone? Or, are you like me and it's a complete rarity? :)

Read Together 2009

I am so excited to be participating in Jennifer's Read Together project for April. We did this two years ago with wonderful results - I was at the VERY end stages of my pregnancy with E and had no energy. What a great reminder this was to take opportunities to rest and turn them into reading moments with my two girls.

Right now, we have a good read-aloud system for breakfast and lunch. At breakfast, while munchkins are eating, I read aloud one story from the Jesus Storybook Bible. At lunch, we try and get through one chapter of our current chapter book read-aloud. Right now, we're working our way through The Secret Garden. I'll be honest and say that, of late, this read-aloud time has not been without difficulty. E is getting more vocal and so we are doing more sit-and-listen training while we do our reading ... thus, sometimes we don't get as much read as we would like. I'm planning on continuing this time because we all love it.

What I am going to try to do additionally: especially at lunchtime, our read-aloud seems to whet our appitites for more booktime. And, as that is right before our resttime, what I want to try and fold into our schedule a time of reading with just my big girls (5 & 3). I'll go ahead and put E down for her nap time at 1-ish and then read with the big girls for another 1/2 hour. I would like to eventually get us to an hour of reading aloud together before their rest time (they don't nap anymore) but realize that will take some time to work up to. Not to leave E (23 months) out, I want to try and have a little reading time with just her before she goes down for her nap, training her to sit still for longer times of reading. (My oldest was like E - very uninterested in sitting still for reading until she was about two and then all of a sudden it clicked and now she can't get enough of it!)

As far as a book list ... I'll probably post some in a separate post. We're reading lots of books on Spring and Easter right now and as I mentioned before, our chapter read-aloud is The Secret Garden. I'm not sure if we'll finish that in April (it's moving slower for us than past read-alouds) so I'm not sure what is up next after that! :)

Happy reading! And for more Read Together posts, click over to our host Jennifer at Snapshot!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A Bloggy Book Tour ::: The Real Enemy

Another well-written suspense that I have recently enjoyed! This story centers around forgiveness and the bitterness that we tend to hang on to when we have been wronged. How, when we don't let go of that bitterness and turn it over to God, it festers and ferments inside us ... and healing cannot take place until we clean it all out and let the Father do His work within us. Wonderful reminders about how the Lord repeatedly forgives us woven througout this books - and a great mystery that needs to be solved as well!

Brill Jessup just became the first female police chief in Sophie Trace, Tennessee, and is riding on the credentials of a stellar eighteen-year career on the Memphis police force. She may be a pro at finding clues, but she tends to ignore the obvious in her personal life. And she would rather work than deal with the bitterness she feels about her husband Kurt's infidelity. Kurt, is weighed down by her unrelenting anger as he struggles to let God redeem the stupidest mistake he ever made. He is genuinely contrite and making every effort to show his commitment to Brill. But she hides behind her badge and her bitterness, deciding that moving her family away from Memphis is the only change she needs to make. So why can't Brill get over this anger?

Before she ever has time to unpack her boxes, people start disappearing. Lots of them. Seven people in seven days To complicate matters, a local legend has many residents believing that the cause is unearthly─tied to the “red shadows,” or spirits of the departed Cherokee who once inhabited the land.

While Brill draws on all of her experience and instinct to solve the case, she must confront an enemy that threatens everything she holds dear─one that cannot be stopped with a badge and a gun. She is forced to confront the real enemy.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Real Enemy, go HERE.