Thursday, February 28, 2008

Leap Day



Want to have some froggy fun for leap day?

1. First check here to see what the fuss is all about and if any zoos or aquariums near you are participating in a Leap Day celebration to promote amphibian conservation. More info here. Don't give up too easily. Our zoo wasn't listed, but is having a special day - and we'll be there!

2.Watch videos, send e-cards, take quizzes, and otherwise have a blast learning about frogs at National Geographic Kids. Creature Features: Red-Eyed Tree Frog and Poison Dart Frogs, the story of the giant fossil frog Beelzebufo, Fantastic Frogs quiz game, and articles Freaky Frogs, The Weird World of Frogs, and from National Geographic, Pesticides, Parasite May Cause Frog Deformities.

3. Do some fun, informative worksheets from TimeforKids: Which is Which?(frogs and toads),Meet a Frog, and Disappearing Frogs. Kidzone has a printable beginner book and lots of other neat worksheets, and kiddyhouse has an informative page as well.

4. Make some frog treats. Family Fun has a bunch to choose from : chocolate toads, froggy cupcakes, or sherbert the frog. Somewhere I have a gummy frog on a lilypad cupcake recipe, but I can't find it. It's really cute.

5. Learn to draw a frog.

6. Learn about frogs at Frogwatch USA (just take any global warming info with a shaker full of salt :^). Or find a great selection of other units at teachersguide.
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9. Choose a craft: a fly-catching frog, a paper frog puppet, or a jolly jumper from Family Fun; a frog toilet paper roll craft or one of the others at DTLK, or these cute rock frogs from Martha Stewart.
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10. And find more game and party ideas here, here, and here.



Friday, February 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, George... and half my family!



Today is George Washington's birthday. It is also my Nanny's birthday (my paternal grandmother), my father-in-law's birthday, and my brother Titus' birthday. So, Titus requested a gluten-free chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. He, however, lives a few states away from me in northern Virginia, so I shipped 15 chocolate cupcakes, 2 gluten-free fudge brownies, and a few other things, including peanut butter and confectioner's sugar, and my gem of a sister is going to make the peanut butter cup frosting (the recipe was on the cake mix) for me. We're celebrating Dad's birthday on Saturday with a mahi mahi dinner. I found a really cool gift idea last night, and we're going to see if it can be found in town this afternoon. I'll show you later. And we'll give Nanny a birthday phone call sometime too.

As for George, we're about to read the story of the cherry tree, as well as his prayers at Valley Forge from The Children's Treasury of Virtues. And we're having these yummy cherry cheesecake cupcakes for dessert tonight.


graphic from www.historyimages.com

Need More Fiber?


This is really good stuff! I found it at my most recent sidewalk sale (the one where you fill a banana box for $6), so I don't know how expensive it is, but I do know that it is the best tasting high fiber cereal I've ever eaten. 11 grams of fiber in a 1 cup serving. Trust me, this cereal is yummy - this is no F*ber One. Of course, it does have more sugar...

Anyway, you can find complete nutritional info and where to find it near you at Kraft foods. Enjoy your fiber!

P.S. This is not gluten free.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

Craziness

Hey, everybody! Didn't mean to drop off the face of the earth with no warning. We've apparently suffered our third motherboard crash of the year. What are the odds?

I have lots of things to share, but don't know when I'll have the chance. I've been buried here with stuff and needing to rebalance, so the time offline has actually been a blessing. But I do miss you all and miss sharing life with you. So, I guess I'm saying that I'm not sure when or how often I'll be around right now, but I just wanted to pop in and let you know what's up.

I kind of fell apart on Valentine's Day. I think I had some kind of bug maybe. I don't really get sick, but I was sooo fatigued that I just couldn't get anything done. I asked Brian if we could just skip the whole Valentine's day thing (he found it rather amusing that I was so apologetic and bent out of shape about this, and explained to me that he was the guy and Valentine's Day is not about guys and he certainly didn't mind if all I wanted to do was get a monsterburger at Hardees and just skip it). But I felt like such a loser - I never even made valentines with my kids! I cried and was sure that it was one of the worst days of my life, but it managed to end well. Brian and I just chilled and watched an old season of 24 that we're catching up on (it was the kids' sleepover night at Gran's) while eating buffalo chicken and fresh pineapple. He'd already given me a beautiful double heart ring the day before(he can't stand to wait when he has a surprise), and he was sooo sweet(which is actually quite normal for him, but it's still nice). The next day I got all of my shopping done, despite having warmed up Brian's car with my keys and leaving them in there (my friend that I was supposed to be meeting for breakfast picked me up and my mother-in-law let me borrow her very cool KIA SVU.) I got a ton of fantastic Valentine stuff at half price and was able to make a great day-late party for my kids as I had promised them on my pathetic Valentine's Day.

Now I think that that might be the way to go every year (minus the small mental breakdown :^) We ended up having a highly decorated house with a steak and seafood dinner with miniature heart shaped cakes and Charlie Brown movie. Just a day late. And I'm really okay with that now. (You have no idea how big this is for me, friends. I like my holidays done right. And on the right day!)

So now I'm just trying to get everything in my home back together. And I still seem to be needing a lot more sleep than usual. Don't say it. I already took a pregnancy test.

But really, I don't know. I think maybe all of those five-hours-of -sleep-nights might be catching up with me all at once :^) Our last day of school should be Good Friday, which is only a little more than a month away. I wanted to be able to enjoy the best of Spring instead of fighting spring fever.

Either way, the weather is already turning to spring, and today I saw daffodils and redbuds in bloom and we went to a local college campus to play penny games in the fountains. My own daffodils are up six inches, my roses have new growth, and the azaleas are greening out. I really hope that we don't have another killer frost this spring.

I'll try to get pictures up sometime, but I'm making no promises. :^) Life is short and the children are only small once and I don't want to miss it. I have a little princess sleeping with her princess Barbie. And I want to savor every little thing, not be so distracted by other things. Even good things.

So there you have it. A glimpse into the craziness of my mind. Until next time...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Let's Win Some DVDs!

Click on this banner to enter Challies' newest giveaway and win 5 DVDs from Franklin Springs Media. I've been longing for these everytime I've seen them, and would LOOOOOVE to win them. If you enter the contest through this link, you give me another chance to win them and you get a chance too. So just do it, okay? Because I really want these DVDs, and if you don't, and you win, you can send them to me. So click the link, already.

February Giveaway Thanks! :^)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Why China? Why now?

I meant to post this with my Chinese New Year post. I was amazed at the commentators perspective of God's working and sovereignty even through the communist takeover. Of His pursing love for the Chinese people.

Celebrating Lincoln's Birthday


That would be tomorrow. Hurry, and assemble just a few things and have some fun!

  1. Have the kids make a Lincoln Log Cabin centerpiece for the tableDo copywork on this stationary - you could use one of his quotes.
  2. Make penny rubbings - or combine it with this poem for your copywork
  3. Like making cabins? Here's another one.
  4. And an Abraham Lincoln coloring page to color during story time
  5. Generate a Lincoln math puzzle.
  6. And read some books! This year we have: A. Lincoln and Me, Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books , Abe Lincoln Remembers, and Abe Lincoln and the Muddy Pig
  7. Had to add this one that I remembered clipping from a magazine. A little more effort, but sooo worth it: Martha Stewart's penny fashion!










For more links, Dawn just put up this post.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Chinese New Year (and other adventures in geography)


I almost didn't get this post up, and it's a little late, but hey, they celebrate for two weeks, so here it is. We were focusing on geography the last couple of weeks, reviewing continents, reading books about Canada and Mexico, and then about India and China, the two foreign countries that my children are most interested in. We honed in on Chinese New Year activites beginning on Wednesday, which is when the new year began in the U.S., and continuing on through today. Here are some of our activities for Chinese New Year:

Video:

Chinese New Year by Schlessinger Video Productions

Books:

D Is For Dancing Dragon: A China Alphabet-one of the favorites
Celebrating Chinese New Year
Daisy Comes Home- a typically stunning Jan Brett storybook
I Remember China (Why We Left)
Lao Lao of Dragon Mountain-the story highlights the art of paper cutting. It also has a parallel chinese text, and a breakdown of several Chinese characters that resulted in Ethan working very hard to replicate the character for dragon.

still to read -
You Wouldn't Want to Work on the Great Wall of China!: Defenses You'd Rather Not Build
The Great Wall Of China (Aladdin Picture Books)
Ms. Frizzle's Adventures Imperial China

Periodical:

Kids Of Courage: China Olympic Countdown or Crackdown, 1st Quarter 2008 issue(from Voice of the Martyrs)

Crafts:

Chinese New Year coloring page
Year of the Rat coloring page
Dragon Parade Puppet - these were such a big hit! They loved making them and playing with them.
Paper lanterns (also found here)- Ethan made several of these which we strung together on a paper chain to make a garland

More stuff:

We enjoyed Chinese takeout on Wednesday, trying a couple of new dishes.
Ethan wrote a silly dragon story on this handwriting paper. Here is a Great Wall lined page too.
What Is Chinese New Year? and more crafts from Kaboose.
Great links at Activity Village
Glimpses for Kids: Gladys Aylward - we actually read a bit of a longer story in Hero Tales earlier this year which the children enjoyed very much
And their Gran has been sharing the story of The Heavenly Man with them for the past few months.

I have to mention a few books on India that were particularly compelling:
Count Your Way Through India
In The Heart of the Village: The World of the Indian Banyan Tree - richly illustrated
Taj Mahal - beautiful love story behind this famous tomb


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Wow.

Don't you like reading posts that make you say that. Well, this one from Dr. Del Tackett, the president of Focus on the Family Institute (you would recognize him as the teacher on the Truth Project), is a beautiful Rockwell moment from the Colorado caucus he attended. Here's an excerpt:

"...It wasn’t a farmer, though. It wasn’t the calloused hands of a tall rancher that grabbed the back of the pew as this American stood to speak. She was barely five-feet tall. But she stood. And we all turned to look. She introduced herself as a Vietnamese Refugee who had taken a long road to come to this country and to eventually become one of her citizens. This was her first caucus and she told us that she was happy that we began by asking our God to bless us in this meeting. She thanked us for allowing her the privilege to become an American. But she was now standing in order to tell us something..."

Now go read the rest.

Dejected


Why on earth would she want to see a giraffe when she was just at a playground? (And who, I'd like to know, had the brilliant idea of putting a huge playground right outside the zoo????)

Anna's New Look




Our trip to the zoo on Tuesday was slightly delayed by an impromtu haircut, but it turned out okay. I've asked her to let me know when she wants a haircut before attempting it herself next time. :^)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Prayer Requests

Hello, friends! It's a sunny southern day with promises of temps in the low 70s this afternoon. We've emptied our piggy banks, rolled our coins, and the plan is: A ZOO PASS and a visit today!

The Lord is good, bless His name!

Will you pray with me now for a few things heavy on my heart?

  1. Most imminently, my Grandma is having a pacemaker put in today. She passed out yesterday (this happened about a year ago too), and they've determined that it's an electrical problem regulating blood flow (or something like that). This shouldn't be a big deal, but she is 82 and she is not a believer. Will you pray for her to recover well and more importantly that her God would open her heart to the gospel?
  2. Second, Brian is doing very badly. We've been through this before and still have no answers. He's coming home from work again today with no plans of going in tomorrow. It is amazing to me everyday he finds the strenth to go. Imagine the worst day of the flu with horrible body aches all over, and probably headache and some nausea too, and you have an idea of how he's been feeling most days. Since he has been getting progressively worse since Christmas, I don't know where we are headed. Pray for God's healing. Our experience with doctors in the past (and we've had lots) has never been positive, so we need lots of wisdom.
  3. Brian's coworker David has also been having weird health issues for about the same time and is curently in the hospital undergoing testing. His heart is enlarged.
  4. That leaves Marshay in their graphics office by herself, so I'm sure that she would also appreciate your prayers as she covers for both of them.
  5. And finally, remember to vote (if you're voting for Ron Paul, otherwise you have my permission to forget :^), and to pray for God to have mercy on us and on our children...

Please share any requests that you have. I appreciate your prayers and am privileged to remember you in my prayers as well.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Superbowl for kids

I originally posted this last year, and thought I'd put it back up.

  1. Chocolatey Football Bites from Kraft Kitchens
  2. Football coloring pages from DLTK
  3. Football games online at the NFL kids site
  4. Superbowl countdown at the official superbowl website.
  5. Devotional at Annie's Superbowl page.
  6. Make-your-own quarterback action figure at Funorama
  7. Superbowl Scavenger Hunt from Illuminations
  8. Cream cheese and chili dip from Hormel

Of Deals and Discouragement...and Hope

The Lord poured out blessings in my shopping this week.

It began on Thursday night when we passed by Steve and Barry's, a store I'd never noticed (it was near the mall, and I avoid the mall) to find that everything in the store was on sale for $8.95! I got a great denim jacket, a pair of pants, and camouflage pants for Ethan.
On Friday, I was reading Money Saving Mom, and realized that a reader she linked to lived near me. She mentioned a store that I shop at, and said that they had a sidewalk sale every few weeks where you could fill a banana box with groceries for $6. I had no idea. I go there once or twice a month for meat and produce deals.
Then, without my having mentioned all of this, Brian came home from a friend's house Friday night telling me about the same sale, and that they were having one tomorrow! Well, I'm not as dense as I look, so I picked up on the fact that I'd better plan to be there bright and early. Here is what I got for just $12 (two banana boxes):

This stash includes 13 boxes of organic cereal and granola, most of which are gluten free, 5 bags of gluten free pancake mix (those are about $4.50 a piece usually), gluten free bread mix, 3 cartons of chai tea base, 4 boxes of oatmeal, and a ton more.

I'd seen a yard sale on the way to the grocery store, so I stopped on the way back. Here's what I found:



For the past two summers, my children have begged me to get an ice cream maker. This one had only been used once or twice and had the instructions. The stoneware set was unused. The four lighthouse ornaments have price tags on them of $7.99 each, Don't you think the backpacks' cute? Ethan's been wanting a snake like that for a long time, I 've been picking up Magnetix and any other building sets wherever I find them, and this is how I have a large video library that my family and friends enjoy. Total cost? $13.

I was on a roll and decided that this was definitely the day to hit the thrift store that is only open on Thursday and Saturday mornings. They only take cash, and I walked in their door with $8 left in my pocket...to find a sign saying that it was $5/bag day for clothes and shoes. Unreal. Here's what $5 bought:


Ethan needed the most, and certainly got the most with four pairs of pants, 5 shirts, and a sweater, some for now, and some for next year. The rest is girl clothes, with the exception of the cute shoes. They're mine. I've been kind of a mess in the shoe department this year. I rarely spend more than $15 on a pair of shoes, and virtually never buy more than a pair or two a season. I'd found a pair of brown flats this fall, but my black shoes were a couple of years old, so these are perfect. Especially for my jeans that are a bit too long. :^)

Back on the homefront, Brian's been miserable for weeks. A lot of pain and extreme fatigue. He did so well in November, but that's long gone. It gets discouraging, not knowing what makes him go from better to awful again. Today was a rough day for him, and for the children that want to play with him, and for a wife that feels helpless and in the dark as to why this is happening to our lives.

But all I have to do is look at what He just provided for us today, and see the little details God brought together for me to be in all these places at just the right times, and it's obvious that He is in control of and "working together" things so small that we sometimes miss Him. I think that we often feel Him far away when He is, indeed, very near.

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,because His compassions fail
not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “ The LORD is my
portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The LORD is good to those who
wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and
wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

This is where I'm at tonight. Clinging to the goodness of God.

God is good all the time.