Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tags Galore!

We started and finished shopping for family members today. At least gifts from the kids to the family. Here are some pics of them making their tags, cutting them out, and writing names. We'll wrap sometime later this month, I think.

Gifts for Others, Part II

We all had a grand time last Saturday! I know, I know, it's Wednesday. I'm blogging now.

I took Isaac and Dearest took Ethan. Isaac took to shopping like a fish to water. Should I be worried? Isaac had great fun looking for gifts for Ethan. He picked up one item and declared it to be perfect. Then, he spotted another "perfect" gift. I gently reminded him that he could only pick one "perfect" gift. He debated between the two and put the first one down. We repeated this several times, until he found the perfect, perfect one.

Then, it was time to pick a gift for Dad. He picked one up and didn't change his mind. Not once! I had to laugh as I didn't coach him on what to get, but reminded him that he could only get one gift.

Dearest took Ethan and they had fun picking out a birthday gift for Isaac. Much of the same, except it seems Ethan wanted to get Isaac a pink something. Dearest did coach him a bit and persuade him to get a different colored thing. Can't wait to see what it is!

Dearest asked me later if I had coached for his gift. I laughed heartily and told him, "No." He had a great chuckle and told me he didn't coach either.

I can't wait for Isaac's birthday and Christmas!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Gifts for Others

Well, it's December 1st! The countdown begins to Isaac's birthday and Christmas. About this time of year, Isaac starts to mention things he would like for his birthday. Actually, it starts in January, but it intensifies in early December. Besides, it's crunch time, 4th and long, and NOW it matters.

Inevitably, at the birthday party, Ethan gets jealous and wants to take over Isaac's gifts, oh, about 2 seconds after the wrapping paper is pried off of the gift.
My Dearest has been talking to Ethan about this and is encouraging him to let Isaac enjoy his presents and his party. In addition to this, I think it would help if they actually got something for each other, instead of just receiving from us (& the bazillion relatives who bless us with gifts for them!) this year. Yeah, I know.... where have I been and why haven't we been doing this all along.... Okay, stop heckling, it starts this year!

I was inspired by Owlhaven's blog post about gift-giving in her family. I LOVE HER IDEA! So much so that we're doing it this year and we're starting with Ethan buying a birthday gift for Isaac. One of us is going tomorrow with Ethan so we'll see how it goes. Wish us well!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Marker? What Marker??

"What do you mean there's marker on my face? I wasn't anywhere near the markers!"

This is one of the times you just have to bite your lip and hope not to bust out laughing in front of the child so that they won't be encouraged to continue behaviour like this!

Apple Orchard Outing

Sad to say, our outing to the Apple Orchard was due to the fact that I didn't have any fall photos for my Club's 4 Fall Pages and I needed photos for my Club Member's sample pages- not to mention that I would have mine done as well. Here are the photos from the outing and I'll post finished layouts soon.

Is it snowing yet?

Someone is anxiously waiting for snow. Take a look at Isaac's clothing choices to go to the store yesterday (Tuesday, aka 15th Monday)! A light jacket, my Superbowl hat, and SNOWBOOTS!
Yes, I even let him go dressed like that.

Here's a closeup of the boots.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Isn't today Tuesday?!

Apparently this whole "Manic Monday" idea doesn't stop on Mondays. I thought today being Tuesday would be a bit of a better day. I don't know where the idea comes from, I feel like I've had 2 weeks of Mondays. At least I'm not reliving the same day over and over, although at times I feel like that's happening too. That, my friends, is a topic for another day.

I was on the phone with my sister this morning when I spied Isaac walk past my bedroom door into his room. I should clarify, he didn't just "walk." He was hunched over and had one of his hands tucked under his shirt. *sigh. So much for Tuesday.

When I asked him what he was doing he replied, "Nothing." He pulls his hand out from under his shirt and his little fist is filled with.... PEPPERONI!!! He scampered down the hallway and puts it away and comes back with a "grin."

You parents know "the grin" I mean. It's the grin that says, "I'm not obeying, but I really don't think you noticed!" Does he really think that I won't notice when he's hunched over, hiding a hand, and giving me "the grin?"

My sister heard my shrill "PEPPERONI!!" and just laughed and laughed and laughed. Is she laughing at my son's antics? Can she see what's going on here through the phone? Or is she laughing at my hopelessness as a parent? Why not all three?

Perhaps tomorrow will be a "not-Monday." Perhaps the rest of today will turn into a "not-Monday." I am still hopeful.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Kool-Aid, Cool-Mint, and Cool-Maid

Last Fall, we were discussing "coolant" - what it is, what it's function is in the car, why we need it, etc. After my Dearest and I said it, we heard it being repeated by our children.

Ethan said, "Kool-Aid" (mind you, he's never had any, at least that I know of).

Isaac tried pronouncing it: "Cool-Mint."

Ethan, forgotting how he pronounced it, corrects his brother, "Isaac, it's 'Cool-Maid.' "

Ah, how very blessed we are, even when things seem to be falling apart.

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Psalms 127:3

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Get Your Groove On

I feel like I've found my groove. Generally, I'm not an extremely organized person. I need some sort of outside motivator to organize myself & household, sadly. Homeschooling has put us on a "schedule" of sorts which has helped our family function; immensely, dare I say. This concept of "menu-planning" I thought was for the birds! Well, I am alive and well to report that I now partake in this crazy concept. I've heard rumors that it makes lives so much easier. Consider the rumor confirmed! It's so much easier than scrambling around in a mad-dash at 4:30 every afternoon wondering, "What's easy, nutritious, thawed and can be consumed when my Dearest comes home from work in 1 hour?" To the delight (or is it dismay?) of my children, this erratic behavior has, for the most part, ceased.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The End of the Third Week

Ah, how awesome this is! We've completed our third week and things are going along just swimmingly! We've sped ahead in Phonics, Reading, & Math. Cursive seems to elude him a bit.

Sometimes Ethan says, "Mom? I think Homeschooling is boring..." I respond neutrally with, "Oh, really? Is cursive really that hard?" With all seriousness, he responds, "Yes, Mom. School would be better than homeschool." I can't help but point out, "Do you like being done with school by lunchtime? If you were in school, you'd still be there and cursive would still be there!" To which he says, "Oh, yeah! I forgot. I guess as long as I can be done with cursive soon." Precious moments, indeed.

Isaac is learning his phonics sounds. Due to his lost tooth, his pronunciation is somewhat creative on certain letters and sounds. Being at home has really helped with his pronunciation ~ he's able to watch my mouth form the sounds and he's better able to pronounce the sounds correctly. Yay!

Last Sunday, at church several people asked me how this homeschooling was going; knowing what my attitude was before I started, they were keen to know what my feelings were now that I was in the midst of it. Well, I can clearly say that it is the best decision we've ever made for our family! I know there are skeptics out there just lurking on my blog. I won't even say that homeschooling is for everyone, but it is for us. At least.... for now. :-)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What a first week!

Woohoo!!! We have successfully completed our first week of homeschooling!!! It was a little challenging, but we made it - Ethan is learning, Isaac is learning and we're all still sane! It may not always be like this, I know. Some days I will need to adopt the idea that "I'm homeschooling today." (Thanks to Sandy's friend in London, Ont -??? for that insight. I'm so sorry I forgot your name.)

If we can live through days like yesterday, I think we can make it! Friday was going to be a tough day, just because of our schedule. I was going to take a meal to my CTMH friend Nina, who had given birth to twins a week and a half ago. I also had a strange rash on the back of my leg and had a Dr's appt at 11:15 am. SO, we started the day with Bible, phonics, writing, and poetry at home, got packed up to go to the Dr's and finished math, reading and seatwork there. I predicted that the Dr's would be packed being Friday and all. After the Dr's we got home about 2 pm, started dinner (for us and for Nina's family), finished around 4:30 and went to the pharmacy to drop off the prescription, then drop off the meal, then head home. On our way home my phone rings - my Dearest wondering where we were. A full day, but schooling was completed! BTW, strange rash not diagnosed - if this cream clears it up, we won't know what caused it. Helpful, huh?

From my friend Mary:

Mary's Awesome Pork Dish

1/3 c flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Use flour mixture to dredge:
2 lbs pork loin, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
Sear pork in skillet, place into ungreased 9x13 pan.

2 T. butter
1 c chopped celery or onion (if you don't like onions, celery works well instead)

Add and boil:
1 garlic clove, minced
2 c applesauce
¼ c brown sugar
¼ c soy sauce
¼ c apple juice
½ tsp ground ginger

Pour mixture over pork into 9x13 pan. Bake @ 350* for 1 hour. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes or rice and your choice of veggie.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

And So It Begins...

Today was our first day of school! We started about 7:15 with breakfast and a devotion with the Bible verse Ethan is learning this week. We started "school" at about 7:45 and were pretty much done by about 11:30. In case you think we're slacking we had these subjects today: Bible, phonics (3 lessons), math (2 lessons), poetry, cursive writing, art (drawing/coloring), reading, and snacks & recess, which I'm told are absolutely necessary! Oh, Ethan also had some seatwork to complete.

So, just how much time are people wasting in school being told to turn around, face the front, line up for (x,y,z), stop talking, etc.??

Isaac had some playtime and we worked on a few worksheets as Ethan did his seatwork. We are waiting for his curriculum to arrive.

Today feels like it was very successful - children learning , a sane Mom and we got lots of other errands done, as well! Praise be to God!

Monday, August 28, 2006

It's Almost Labor Day....

which in MI means that schools are gearing up to go back to school. Sad time of the year, eh? Due to some law passed, all (public) schools start after Labor Day. Here at our house, we start tomorrow! No, not private school nor charter school.

We are homeschooling Ethan this year! And we start tomorrow. Some thoughts that run through my head frequently are: "YIKES!!!!!! Yes, God is sovereign. God will lead us through all of this. Breathe. BREATHE!!! This is the best decision for our family. BREATHE!!"

We were planning on starting after Labor Day, however my sis and bro-in-law were planning on coming back from Ghana on the 6th. How can you disrupt a schedule if one doesn't exist? Moreover, how can you get back on track once disrupted? If I don't start tomorrow, I think it will be much harder to get back on track. Never mind the fact that they are now trying to extend their stay. :-)

Ethan is excited for school to start! I think he is excited to be able to work at his pace, which seems to be faster than the pace at school last year. According to his stardardized testing results, he's reading at a 3rd grade level, doing math at a 1st or 2nd grade level, and out-performing many children his age. From February until school ended, he started causing "trouble" -- getting up out of his seat, wandering, calling answers out in class, distracting other students -- because he was bored and already had a good grasp on what was being taught.

What about Isaac, you may ask? Well, the prevailing thought was that he would continue with pre-school at the school he attended last year; he doesn't meet the age cut-off to start Kindergarten this fall. Then, yesterday on the way home from church, a crazy thought occured: Why don't we homeschool him too? It would lessen the stress and drive time of racing across town to the preschool, set up "school" for Ethan and be much less running around that we would be doing, i.e. more time for school, learning, and reading. The tuition cost would equal 2 or 3 months of preschool. We plan on introducing him to a Kindergarten 4 curriculum and more advanced concepts, although he is having a hard time accepting the fact that Pluto is no longer a planet. When I asked him about homeschooling, he was so excited! He said, "Oh yes, I would like to be homeschooled!"

I plan to keep Scrapping and Stamping, along with monthly workshops, day-crops, and teaching classes. This will all keep me very busy!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

2 More Camping Layouts!

Marshmallows - Need We Say More?? It's funny to see my boys do the Korean Squat!

Here we are at our campground. Lots of fun!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Camping Picture Layouts.. Finally!

It's taken me this long to scrap the pics from our camping trip last month!

Dune pics -

Under the blue flap (top right) is a photo of Isaac crawling on all fours through the dunes and some journaling --

"The Dunes were so much fun! The boys got to the top and quickly became specks on the horizon. Ethan brought his car; Isaac crawled on all 4s...sometimes just for fun! It rained so heavily the night before the dunes became packed down & much easier to walk on... not as "beachy." What a great day! Fun was had by us all. :)"

Beach Pics -

We had so much fun at Lake Michigan! The quote is, "Something wonderful happens when the sky is a heavenly shade of blue." ~Frank Sinatra

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Mid-July: Camping Trip!

Now, I am a self-declared city-gal; I enjoy my air-conditioning, warm showers, privacy, sleeping on a mattress and most importantly, doors and windows! My Dearest broached the subject of (tent) camping this past winter/spring with fond memories of his camping days. These days were about 2 decades ago, mind you! I thought, "I should be an adventurous mom. I will try almost anything once." This dovetails along with my philosophy that I will do just about anything for my kids and put my own self-consciousness aside. Perhaps a better way to put it would be that my own selfconsciousness shouldn't be a reason for not doing something with my kids.

I had concerns about this new adventure, on which we were going to take our children. I was concerned about drunken people keeping us up all hours of the night (no real walls, remember?) and having a miserable time. I think my Dearest was stuck in we-are-going-camping-mode and found a lovely camp ground Stony Haven Campground.

Friday, August 04, 2006

July 1 -- Marriage...

Mawwage... That is the weason, we are gathewed togethah today. ~Princess Bride

Here's a layout of a friend's wedding. We didn't actually go to the wedding (due to distance & time) but these are pics and a poem written by the groom's mom in announcement form.

On a sidenote, it seems so much easier to scrapbook for others or the pages that belong in my "People We Love" album, rather than my own personal pages. I guess the key is organization and time! :-)

I'm home!

Since my birthday was during Convention week, I got to celebrate twice; once in SLC with my consultant friends (along with about 45 women who sang "Happy Birthday" to me in the hotel lobby!) and again at home with the 3 sweetest boys (whose singing may have been off, but was the sweetest sound)!

More Boys - Last Week of June

What did the boys do while I was at Convention??

Well... the boys had lots of outdoor fun! Enjoy these pics from that week, last week of June.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I am so excited about going to Convention. It's Close To My Heart's National Convention for their Independent Consultants, of which I am one. It is about a week long - June 26th until June 29th, with my birthday in there too! Not to mention the extra day for flying to & from Utah.

All this to say, I won't be updating the blog this up-coming week... unless my dear hubby decides to do something awesome with the boys and feels a compelling need to share with the world. Most likely, he'll wait to show me pics and I'll do it when I return. Funnily enough, I tend to be the more tech-savvy person in our marriage. I know I don't update often, but... just had to share I'm going to Utah!

Have a blessed week!! .. and for those of you scrappin' or stampin', create something! :-)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Happy Birthday, Ethan!!

We celebrated his birthday early, though this posting is late! He had a party with friends from school. He hasn't had a party with friends since he turned 1! It was nice to have his friends over & VERY entertaining, both for the children & for the adults! :-) We had a nice turnout from the total of 13 kids in his class.

Here is his cake - he requested homemade banana with this specific picture on it. Ethan drew out his design & Brian decorated it.

Here he is waiting for his friends to come!

Jonathon, Ethan & Daniela listen to ...

Gram-Gram talk about toys she had when she was young.
Alisha is on the other side of her.

Here are Kristen, Isaac, & Brian enjoying hot dogs, strawberries,blueberries, & chips; menu picked by Ethan.

Jonathon waiting patiently as Ethan looks outside wondering, "Is it time to go play games yet?!"


Isaac, Daniela, Alisha & Kristen enjoying time on the "big toy" as it
is called at our house. Seeing all of them on it now makes me
realize just how fast the kids are growing up and
the "big toy" isn't so big anymore!

Jonathon & Ethan playing in the "turtle-that-once-held-sand-but-held-water-and water-balloons-for-the-party." Is that a long name or what!

Will the boys or girls win? How fast can they fill a 2 L bottle with
water from a sponge? Do 6 year olds know how to cooperate and follow
directions? Not so much! They did have fun and
enjoyed getting their feet inadvertantly wet!

Let's try some more!!

Okay, enough of that -- I forgot to take pics of the water-balloon toss,
or should I say, all-out water-ballon fight! Soooooo.....

Let's move onto cake!

Here are Jessiann, Ethan, & Daniela sitting next to
Ethan. Candles lit, blown-out, sitting happily, and waiting for cake & ice cream!

A little sugar never hurt anyone! See what kind of smile some sugar does? Of course those that know me know this "sugar-thing" is a rare occurance in our house! The Sugar-Nazi let up for his birthday. ;-)

After presents were opened, they gathered around for a group photo. Top row, from left to right: Jessiann, Daniela, Alisha, & Kristen. Bottom row, from left to right: Jonathon, Ethan, Brandon.

Happy Birthday, Ethan!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Let's play catch-up: Man in Brown!

Dance Praise finally did arrive.
Below is a pic of myself & my sister when I was first introduced to it. Ah, happy memories!

Below is my Dad & Sister, with her husband watching.

Let's play catch-up: Ethan's Last Day of School!

Well, it's actually been awhile since his last day of school and unfortunately, no pics yet! I'm sending the cds, Amy, I swear! He ended school on June 1st and boy, is he happy to be out! He's been enjoying playing in the sun, drawing, playing inside with cars, sleeping in (he's finally learned how, I think!), reading, playing school - teaching Isaac about weather & science (oddly enough), eating just about non-stop, and playing some more in the sun! I'm really enjoying having Ethan at home. :-)

Let's play catch-up: Great-Grandma's 90th Birthday Party!

Here is my grandma with her friends, waiting for their food. :-)

Below is my sister Jennifer with Grandma.

Here are Brian and Isaac.

Here are Clint & Jennifer.

Here are Brian, Ethan & Isaac, before eating dinner.

Here is a dinner picture -- my boys with various uses for chopsticks: Brian can eat (very well) with them, Isaac tries using just one at a time, and Ethan is trying to ... stick as many as he can into his mouth! I am talking to Terri, a close friend of our family, and apparently something with my hands or wrist. :-)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Last Day of Pre-School!

Today was the last day of preschool for Isaac. YAY! Here he is before we left the house.

Above is Isaac (& most of the class) saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Below they are counting by tens - with motions!

Below is the Phonics Alphabet - "y" for yarn.

How many planets are there? "NINE!" they shouted. Below is Isaac with his friend Noah.

The park we were at had the most fabulous playscape! Here he is on the climbing wall.

He learned so much this year in preschool: God, the alphabet, planets, inventors, presidents, sign language, plants & animals ....