Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Zoo Crew

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Last week we took the family to the zoo and met with some of my college friends who live about the same distance from the zoo - just in the opposite direction. While it was fun seeing the animals, it was a much needed visit with some great friends. And it makes me wonder why in the world we didn't do it sooner.

Meet Hope and Brady. :)


We held off telling the kids about the trip until we knew the weather was going to cooperate with us. They woke up ever.so.excited, shoved breakfast in their mouths, and buckled up. And about 10 minutes on the road started asking if we were almost at the zoo.

Makes me as the parent ask, "How much longer? No really. I want to know. Because if I have to answer this question one more time..."

Our crew was thrilled to see Samuel and Charys...and they were thrilled to see our four as well. It was so sweet watching them all hold hands, call out to each other to wait up, and just enjoy being together too.


There were so many animals to see, pretend to be, keep the children away from and climbing into their habitats... there were the lions, tigers, pandas, elephants, and such.

It was more fun trying to keep the kids away from the zebras.

Who were mating.

Sooooo not ready to go there yet with the kids (yeah...no pictures of that one).
Despite the fact that there were animals - large animals to see - an elephant for example, this is what Kaleb was more interested in. Construction. Go figure.


Or just freedom from the stroller.


We had lunch together and played a little more...


and remembered to take pictures together this time!



A Quick Interruption...

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Contrary to how it may appear, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.

But it has been a crazy week. Little sleep. Lots of fun (and not fun).

Many posts are swimming around in my head...they just haven't made it to the computer yet. I will be back. Soon. Soon. Soon. :)


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Catching Flies

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We seem to be having some attitude problems in our house. On both sides of the fence, mind you. I know it just isn't the kids...but it's easier to pretend it is, isn't it?

After someone needed an attitude adjustment the other day I was trying to make a point. Screaming for someone to give you something is generally not the best way to get what you want. Perhaps speaking kindly??

Since the kids love the Berenstein Bears I tried reminding the child in question about a saying Mama Bear mentions to the cubs.

So I started it out to her: "You catch more flies with ______, than vinegar."

To which Zachary quickly piped up: "A FLYSWATTER!!

Well, yes, a flyswatter probably would work even better....not quite the point I was going for, but we all did get a good laugh together. :)


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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I've been making our bread for almost a year and half now (yes, from scratch). Our family loves it, but lately it's been in a funk of sorts. I ran out of dough enhancer (fyi: Kitchen Resource Dough Enhancer is the BEST!!) and had to switch to a different type and it has definitely made a difference. The bread has been more crumbly. Texture is weird. I thought that I had lost my "touch" if you will and was starting to get a little frustrated with it all.
So today I did an experiment of sorts. Trying to figure out if I could make it work well without the enhancer. More kneading? Less kneading? I think I've figured out something in the interim, but some of the loaves were just to funny not to take pictures of and post. It still isn't right, but I my dad just got me a bag of different enhancer to try, so we'll see if that works any better. But...

This is what way too much kneading can do to a loaf of bread.
The UGLY.


Still too much kneading.
The BAD.


Much better!
The GOOD.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Chinese Word for "No"

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We purchased some lovely language CD's from Chick-Fil-A recently (did you know you don't have to buy the kid's meals to buy their toys? How cool is that?). They currently have four language cd's for kids to listen to: Italian, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese. We picked up all four and popped in the Chinese cd for the kids to listen to.

Pretty typical language cd. The English word is dictated. The translation is given. And then there is plenty of time for the kids to repeat what they heard.

We drove. The kids repeated what they heard. And we about had milkshake coming out our noses when we heard the Chinese word for "no" and then the three little parrots in the backseats repeating it.

"Bu Shi"

As in book without the "k" and shi - umm...as in ship, without the "p".

Nice.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Maybe if you squeeze it REAL hard...

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Today we wrapped up standardized testing for Laurianna to officially complete her school year. Since we used the Iowa, I was able to also be the test administer, and it was rather fun to really watch her thought process during the testing time.

My favorite testing moment came when she was asked which food item came from a plant, and she then had to choose between a picture of bread, milk, and something else. She chose milk and I heard her mutter, "Well, milkweed is a plant."

Then she got a panicked look on her face, erased it and said, "But wheat is a plant. And bread is made from wheat." And then she just laughed and laughed about milkweed.

Our summer-time might focus around a few science concepts I'm thinking.

Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday.


Vote for ME!!

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Last week I entered a contest at Confessions of an Apron Queen to win a $50 gift certificate to Rick Rack Attack for an apron. I submitted a slogan and now I'm one of the semi-finalists.

But I need your votes!!

(How's that for shamelessly begging??)

You can follow THIS LINK to vote for me... My slogan?

"Forget diamonds, aprons are a girl's best friend!"

Are you still here, or are you going to vote? Huh?? :)



Monday, May 19, 2008

The Little Bug is Moving...

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A few weeks ago I posted that Kaleb (not quite 18 months) still wasn't walking.

That has most definitely changed.

It still never ceases to amaze me, despite the fact that he is our fourth, how QUICKLY it all comes together in their little minds once they start doing it.

Totter. Totter. RUN!!!! Watching him wobble around the house. Going longer and longer spurts between stopping. Bending down to pick something up he dropped and then continuing. Pivoting. And then they just don't stop. Because a new level of freedom has now been attained.


We went to the children's museum on Friday and he found a golf club and some golf balls and went walking around for quite some time - ever so proud of himself. And how those chubby little hands managed to hold two golf balls, I'll never understand.


If the older kids are doing something - he has to also (which understandably can get a little frustrating for them). But he is ever so cute pretending that he knows what he is doing.


He also loved the tractor and once he found that, it was impossible to get him off. Literally. I would take him off, bring him to the train table, turn around....and he was back on the tractor.


This weekend he had a chance to play in the sandbox. All that spelled was F-U-N! (and sand in all the tiny crevices of his little body). But fun mostly. This little face says it all.




Thursday, May 15, 2008

Playing with Friends

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Our kids were so excited to have Charis and Selah come over and play (and cried and cried when they left to go home). They weren't here quite an hour, but our kids managed to squeeze in every bit possible before they did leave.

Laughing and giggling.


Taking pictures of Mommy.


Dressing up and dancing.


Twirling.


Just having fun!




Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Not-so-Amazing Results

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I admit it. I got suckered in.

I saw a great commercial for a seemingly unbelievable stain remover. And what mother with four children who seem to attract colorful staining residue wouldn't jump on what appears to be an amazing product? Promising amazing results!


The video showed stains disappearing right before people's eyes - before the clothes were even washed. Count me in!

Think I'm joking? I seriously loaded the kids up into the van, carted them around Target, found the product in question and bought it.

And sprayed every stain in sight last week.

Out of all of the items I sprayed with it - not a single one removed the stain. Not ONE!!! One was mildly reduced, but considering the multitude of blots, drips, drops, and such, it was a pitiful offering. So tonight, all the previously treated items are all being re-treated with something that will hopefully do major backtracking for me.
Note: Just to be fair, I had "published" this post earlier and then thought I should try it again - and sadly got the same results.

Why would I switch from what I currently use (and seems to work immensely and amazingly better than what I thought)? I just got suckered in. See what advertising can do? It just looked so good.


Praying for Your Kids as a Daily "Chore"

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I found a great idea recently that I have "latched" onto recently - and since it's working, why not share it?

Finding uninterrupted prayer time for my family and things in general can be rather difficult. I know, I could get up earlier, but I usually am up pretty early in the morning, but along with that - so are our kids. And thus goes the quiet solitude and "mommy time." Having large blocks of time to pray just isn't happening at this stage of life right now.

But - life goes on. And there ARE things in the house that need to be done every single day. Like feeding my children. Doing laundry. Cleaning something. So, I have given those everyday mundane chores an added bonus. They are now attached to someone in my house and while I am completing that task/chore I pray for that specific person. When I am doing laundry - little Miss McKenna is being prayed for. Washing dishes and loading the dishwasher? Kaleb. Do you get the idea?

My mind is usually going anyway, so this gives me a definite focus for my thoughts - and I am accomplishing a little more in my prayer life.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Scary Things

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Sunday nights are "movie" night in our house. Popcorn. Everyone curled up (or strapped in) somewhere to watch a fun movie together. Maybe it will be Bambi (for the 10th time) or something else.

At lunch Sunday we were asking the kids if they wanted to watch Ratatouille that night. Does this little face bring fear into your heart?



Zachary immediately got upset and said he didn't want to watch it.

"I don't like the short man. And the lady with the umbrella. She tries to shoot the mouse. And it's scary."

Okay. I suppose I can understand that (despite the fact that he is into making Duplo guns and shooting things on a daily basis...). So, I tried another movie suggestion...as a joke. Because if a little rat movie is scary, surely these two characters will put fear into your heart...



The answer to the question?

"YEAH!!! Monsters! Monsters! Let's watch that!"

Go figure.


Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cranford on PBS Masterpiece

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Have you been watching the series "Cranford" on Masterpiece Theatre? If you loved the Jane Austen series they ran, you will love this series too! If you've missed any of the episodes they've shown, PBS has the first two episodes available online if you follow this link to Masterpiece.

Cranford is a based on a book by Elizabeth Gaskell, who also wrote some other great books: North and South (not the one you are thinking of) and Wives and Daughters. Both of those have also been made into mini-series thanks to PBS. I've seen North and South and it was amazing!! If you loved the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice, you'll definitely want to see it.


Friday, May 9, 2008

There are days...

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...today being one of them, when I think that this might be the best option for our family:

Why you might ask? Zachary decided to put his newly-honed cutting skills to "good" use today and wandered off with the scissors. And later we discovered how he thought they should be used.

On the girl's Leapsters.

Yeah. They were thrilled.

This afternoon perhaps I should watch "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" again to discover new ways to stay ahead of my son. With my sanity intact.


In Honor of Mother's Day

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This video cracks me up every time I watch it. Probably because it reminds me all too much of my brothers and any similar attempt they might make.

video



Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What's Your Motive?

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Over the last few days I've been going through a book and some "testing" of sorts for helping determine your spiritual gifts...of which I am still in process answering questions. Answering the various questions has stirred up various things in me - some good and some ... well, some that are wandering away on legs of their own.

While I know what some of my "giftings" are, I began to grow a little frustrated through it all. Angry even. Since life has grown more and more busy having four kids I feel that I've had to pull back from quite a bit of the things that I enjoy in church. While part of me knows that it's just for a season, I miss being involved. I miss singing on worship team. Being a part of things. And feeling "alive" in a sense when I am part of those things that relate to my giftings.

I am in no way slighting those things that I am involved in right now - four things ages 7 and under. But in all honesty, sometimes it can be hard being a mom. Feeling tired. Frustrated and wondering if you are making progress. Unable to keep up with sometimes just the smallest thing. Forgetting simple things.

Wanting to really push into God, but having a multitude of distractions.

With so many thoughts swirling through my head today and growing more increasingly frustrated, I finally had a few minutes to sit down after Rick came home and picked up the book "How to Be a God Chaser and a Kid Chaser" by the Tenneys. And I just love how God knows how to reach me and loves to speak to me right where I am.

I opened up to where I left off (ahem) months ago - to the chapter on "when duty and desire disagree." In this chapter, Stacey Campbell talks about her life with 5 kids and her desire to seek more of God. She talks about a passage in Revelation chapter 6 as she studied martyrdom. The Lord spoke clearly to her, "It is enough to me that you die daily" revealing to her that God takes as much pleasure in our daily sacrifices as He does in one great act of service.

There are opportunities to seek God in every activity of life. Colossians 3:17 says "Whatever you do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God." Stacey continues "It is your motive, not your action, that God most cares about. Each of us has different callings and talents - our assignment is simply to be faithful in what He has given us. The heavenly Father does not love you or me for what we do. He loves us simply for who we are."

And I am ever so glad He loves me for who I am and where I am. I needed a gentle reminder from Him and love that today He spoke to me in such a clear way - just when I needed it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Just Hanging

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I'm still here. But just enjoying spring. Planting in the garden. And making sure my son doesn't hang himself.

Literally.

He made a necklace at church the other day. Went outside to play yesterday morning wearing it. And then the trash guys came. Zachary, being his happy little social self, decided that he needed to go greet them. Since our fence has latches on the inside and the outside - and also a padlock so that little people can't escape, Zachary did what he does best. Climbed to escape.

In the process, his necklace got stuck on the fence picket and he was literally hanging off the fence post screaming. Mind you, he was facing the fence, so it wasn't wrapped around the front of his neck. Just holding him up by the back of his head and under his ears. His little feet kicking the fence as he attempted to release himself. Hands grabbing, trying to pull himself up and get unstuck.

And what do you suppose the trash men were doing during this time? They just watched the entire thing. They saw him hanging there before I did and just stood and watched from the street.

We apparently need to be nicer to our trash guys.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Ever So Refreshing

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The air is beginning to warm up a little more each day. There is a nice little breeze flowing through the house. Warm enough to comfortably wear those capris and start planting all the annuals and vegetables without worrying about a frost.

And definitely warm enough to check out the mint barrel and cut the first mint of the season and enjoy a glass of mint tea.

Apple Mint



Chocolate Mint



Even though we've had a glass or two over the winter from some frozen mint, there is nothing like the first official glass of the season.



Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mostly Strange

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Why is it that a vehicle can be annoyingly choosy as to who it "acts up" to? Can you explain that to me?

Our van has been acting a little strange most of the time. Enough that I generally desire to stay clear of the interstate and have no desire to go on any extended road trips with it. And by most I mean it does it everyday when I drive it, yet somehow seems to recover each time we take it to our mechanic.

Call me a little over-anxious if you will, but to me fun is not spelled "sitting-on-the-side-of-the-road-waiting-for-a-tow-truck-while-18-wheeled-instruments-of-death-go-flying-by".

Not that I desire to dish out thousands of dollars (hundreds would be much nicer, thank you very much) to have something fixed, but I don't want somethng going wrong at a most inopportune time - which would be most times since I'm never in the van by myself. There are those four little bugs hanging out in the backseats.

 

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