Mar 31, 2009

Copied from a Friend's Post

Nothing like this ever happens to me.
This is too cute not to share.
I got this from a Friend's post.
Thanks, HO!!

An older,tired-looking dog wandered into my yard; I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of.
He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head;he then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep.
An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.
The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour.
This continued off and on for several weeks.
Curious I pinned a note to his collar:
"I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap."
The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar:
"He lives in a home with 6 children, 2 under the age of 3 - he's trying to catch up on his sleep. Can I come with him tomorrow?"

Mar 30, 2009

Of all the jobs for me to choose...

Of all the jobs I COULD have chosen, I chose to be a mother.
I made that choice when I was young. :)
As kids we listened to a wonderful cassette tape (yep, back in the day before CDs) called "I'm a Mormon". On this tape was a song I sang and sang and sang.
Here are the lyrics:

When I grow up, I want to be a mother and have a family:
one little, two little, three little babies of my own.
Of all the jobs for me, I’ll choose no other.
I’ll have a family. four little, five little, six little blessings of my own.
And I will love them all day long
and give them cookies and milk and yellow balloons,
And cuddle them when things go wrong,
and read them stories and sing them pretty tunes.
(Janeen Brady, “I Want to Be a Mother,” in Beloved Songs [1987], 10–13)

It is a lovely song and I want my kids to hear it.
I want my daughter to want to be a mother.
I want my boys to marry girls who want to be mothers.
Being a mom limits any career choice, but it is the most rewarding career I can think of.

Is being a mom easy?
ha - not on your life!

In fact, today I shed many a tear.
President Monson said (talking to young men), "Men, take care not to make women weep, for God counts their tears." I like to think that our tears are counted whether we cry because of a young man (or old man) or because we are frazzled by our children. Elder Wirthlin also said, "the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude."

After Greg got home (thankfully he came home early!) I went into the bathroom, turned on the bathroom fan, sat down and cried again. I thought of the quote by Elder George Q. Cannon (1827–1901) found in the February 2009 Ensign:
“The Saints should always remember that God sees not as man sees; that he does not willingly afflict his children, and that if he requires them to endure present privation and trial, it is that they may escape greater tribulations which would otherwise inevitably overtake them. If He deprives them of any present blessing, it is that he may bestow upon them greater and more glorious ones by-and-by."
So I was trying to figure out what greater tribulation I was "escaping" by going through my day today. I was really praying to know how to handle this trial. I was tying to live "Come What May and Love It", but I was tired and I wanted to be done. I felt as though I was literally running in circles to chase Liv and the boys and I thought of Moses who really did run in circles . . . for 40 years! Oh, man - I could NOT do this for 40 years. Thankfully, I don't think I will have to. :)
I was waiting to be "fortified in my distress."
I am not sure if this is exactly what my trial is for, but the I had the thought . . . I am keeping my boys home with me for now to prevent some rough teenage years.
That is a trial I should be glad to experience. lol.
My night didn't suddenly improve. I was exhausted and, in fact, I was ready to cancel Family Home Evening.
That is, until I thought that FHE is a small sacrifice to help build my eternal family.
It is a small sacrifice to show my children how much I really do love them.
It is a small sacrifice to strengthen our family unit.
So . . . we had FHE - and it turned out NOT to be a sacrifice after all. :)
We made a General Conference Day Menu!
We plan to make this a holiday-like celebration.
We voted, and we're having:
Rotisserie Chicken
(anyone wanna come over?) :)
Calvin also suggested a snack buffet for time between conference: Ginger snaps, sugar cookies and brownies.
During conference we will play a little game that I found in March's Ensign:
The Sorensens set out a bowl of small treats for each session. Next to the bowl, they place objects that represent key words for that session. Each time the children hear one of those words spoken from the pulpit, they can help themselves to one treat. Sister Sorensen notes: “It’s surprising to see how much young children can and do listen. Their enthusiasm is priceless as you hear them say, ‘Mommy, he said temples!’”
We also played a super fun game called DON'T EAT PETE (Thanks a ton, KB)!
We had such a good time!
I will go to bed sleepy but satisfied that our day ended on a very positive note.
You can get a free DVD Called "Family First" here. It explains how setting one evening a week aside for family activities can strengthen family relationships.

Mar 29, 2009

Master Lego Builders

For a field trip this past week, the boys went to the Lego Store to help build an 8-foot R2-D2!
Greg took them and said it was packed with families and their kids (I guess we weren't the only homeschoolers who took advantage of the early start time).
Each table had different colored blocks and the kids were asked to put together a large "brick" of legos for the final design. A man will come later and assemeble all of the "bricks" into the 8-foot R2.
Below you see the mini-design.

Greg said that the boys were "very into it". They hardly looked up until their block was done.

They even got a Master Lego Builder Certificate. It was cute and a great way to practice those fine motor skills. :)

Mar 26, 2009

Blanket Time

Just an update on blanket time . . . still good.
The boys love to do it with Liv.
Once the blanket is out, she keeps it out.
She will usually only sit for 5 minutes at a time, but it is still 5 minutes of uninterupted time to work the boys. I guess she is leraning self-discipline. :)

Also, along the lines of self-discipline, we are reading "The Call of the Wild" (kid's version), and recently discussed how Buck developed self-discipline. We defined self-discipline and I left wondering if they grasped any of our talk.
Tonight Calvin said, "Mom, if a homeschooled kid knows that he shouldn't play Wii or watch TV in the morning before school starts asks his brother to play with him and that brother doesn't do it, is that self-discipline?"
lol. It took me a minute to understand what he was saying . . . but I realized that he did understand what we had talked about.
Another character-building moment for our family. :)

Homeschool: Our Brain Hats

First, I thought I would post a picture of our little game of RED ROVER! Yeah! We played Red Rover in our family room one cold evening. It was way too funny.
Okay, so part of our study on the human body, we studied the mind and made our very own "Brain Hats". Please, oh - please don't pay attention to the fact that our brain hats are on . . . BACKWARDS! Ack!
As part of our study, we looked up some scriptures that told us what we should do with our minds.
Here is what we decided to copy down:
"The Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind"
"seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith"
There is so much more to study about the mind in the scriptures. It is so much fun. We may have to go back and do this section again and get more insight on the next go around. :)

Mar 25, 2009

Postage increase

I saw this in the paper the other day but forgot to post about it.
In case you haven't heard (which I am sure you already have), postage rates will go up in May.
44 cents for first class.

Mar 18, 2009

Pinewood Derby!

Adding some last minute weights with Dad. Good thing we brought the super glue and quarters.

He had a firetruck car!! How cool is that?
He placed 6th place, but won "Best in Show".
Now, on to district we go. :)

As promied to my family - - here are the pinewood derby photos.

Mar 17, 2009

The Duggar Family

Okay, I have to admit that I am fascinated by this family.

Dunno why, but I am.

I am obviously not the only one - these people have a whole TV series about their family.

Anyway, for those of you who don't know about them . . . they are an Arkansas family with 18 children (two sets of twins) and they homeschool each child.

I recently read their book, "20 and Counting".

It was a fast read and I really enjoyed it (I am now the resident expert on this family. ha ha!).

They have some neat ideas that I just might use in my own family of . . . ahem . . . 5. :) A far cry from 20, but it is still a family. lol

One of these ideas is "Blanket Time".
  • Basically, the mother needed a way to keep her babies/toddlers occupied in one place for a time. Either while she sewed, or worked with older children, or attended a baby shower, etc.
  • She starts training her children by spreading a blanket on the floor and excitedly calling for the child/ren to come for "blanket time".
  • She talks about how much fun it will be to have blanket time and really acts enthused.
  • She has the child sit down and she pulls out a special toy for the child to play with. The toy only comes out during blanket time.
  • The child is expected to sit on the blanket with the toy. If the child gets up, the mom gently encourages the child back to the blanket.
  • She starts training the child for 5 minutes at a time. Gradually, she adds more time.
  • She amazed her friends at a baby shower when her toddler/babies sat on her blanket for half an hour without getting up!

I tried this with Liv today. It was a HUGE success (day one, let's see how day two goes). She loved it. I stayed with her the whole time. It turns out that I even enjoyed blanket time with her. She loved her boundaries of the blanket. Even after the timer went off we stayed on the blanket and sang songs with finger plays (the eensy weensy spider and things like that). She has never seen me do those before and kept asking me to do it again. It was really fun.
Also, while she sat, I scooted a little way from her and looked through some school books. The goal is to teach her SELF-DISCIPLINE while I am working with something else (but still staying close to her).
When I was all done with blanket time, I tried to put the blanket away. She would have nothing to do with it. She wouldn't let me fold the blanket up. She wanted to stay!
She even brought the blanket into the computer room while I checked email.

My special toys?
Welllll, first I used puzzles. She loves them anyway.
Then in the computer room I gave her ...(gulp)... money. Money and a piggy bank. She doesn't put money into her mouth, so I don't worry. She had a ball putting coins into the bank and it kept her on the blanket for about 8 minutes! Yay!

If anyone else tries this, let me know how it works.


This is random and more for my own journaling purposes than anything else:

I learned how to knit last year in an effort to make scarves for the boys.

I didn't learn how to keep my lines straigh, though.

Hence this lopsided start to a scarf.

I promptly decided to buy my scarves rather than make them.

At any rate, I can now say that I am a knitter. lol.

Maybe I'll make a baby blanket for Liv's dolls. :)

Homeschool: Bodies, The Exhibition

We went to see the Bodies Exhibition last month!
It was really, really neat.
The Cardiovascular exhibit was the most amazing part!
If you get the chance to go, DO!
There were some sections that could be "iff-ey" for kids, but we let our kids see it all. We walked ahead just to be sure it was all okay, though.
We marveled at how awesome the body is.
We talked about things in a very "matter-of-fact" way and it went over nicely.
If you can go, google discount codes. We used the code "SUPERTIX" and got 15% off.
You can't take strollers.
You can't take photos.
But, it was worth the trip.
I learned that the muscles in our hands (the muscles that control our fingers) are actually in our arm. They are connected to our fingers by tendons! If we had those muscles in our hands, our hands would be quite a bit larger than they are! What an awesome design! How can anyone doubt that there is a divine origin on the design of our bodies??

Our Money Management for kids

I really want my kids to learn money management.

Not just, how to pay tithing, and save the rest - but real "investment, saving, spending" practices.
I have NO idea where I found this idea (I have tried to find the website but cannot), but I tweaked it to serve our family. I thought I would share this idea in case anyone else can benefit from it.
I love it - it works and my Calvin LOVES it. Josh is still a bit young to start, but very soon he will begin.......

We want our children to be self-reliant
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another
Romans 13:8
(hopefully we can teach our kids to stay out of debt)

Here is what we did:
  1. We determined the amount of money Calvin would put towards tithing, savings (wealth), and fun. Some could add "education" to that.

  2. We made some cute and colorful envelope labels for Calvin.

  3. We bought a pencil pouch for extra tithing slips and envelopes (this makes it so much easier to access when we need them).

  4. We have a bakset to hold everything that we need to pay allowance.
Here is what we do:

  1. Each week our children get $2 allowance (they are thrilled with the amount).
  2. We pay them with a dollar bill and a mixture of coins (most often it is 2 quarters and 5 dimes).
  3. I pull out our "allowance basket" (see photo below)
  4. We pay tithing first (10% - math skills!!)
  5. Calvin then figures out how much money he puts into his "Wealth" envelope (30%)
  6. He then makes sure he has the right amount for his "Fun" envelope (60%)
  7. We put the right money into the right envelope.
  8. If we are near Sunday, we will fill out the tithing slip (which is already in our "money basket") and we are ready for church. The boys are learning to fill out the tithing forms by themselves. It is so fun to see them donate to other items on that form. I always ask if there is anything else they would like to donate to and let them decide.
  9. Calvin has set the "Wealth" envelope limit at $10. When he reaches $10 he wants to take it all to the bank. (Uncle Matt will need to teach him a lesson about earning interest. Interest is a great servant but a terrible master).
  10. Josh just puts all but 10% into his wallet. He is a good saver. Calvin . . . not so much. Calvin's "fun" envelope is not as bulky as it could be. lol.
  11. We put the "money basket" away until the boys need their envelopes to go shopping . . . or until next allowance day.

I think I will start incoporating this idea this week:
· Saturday job auctions. Give your children the chance to earn extra cash by doing jobs beyond their expected chores. Award jobs to the lowest bidder as part of a "Saturday Job Auction."

Mar 3, 2009

Snow Day

Georgian's blogs are all abuzz about our ONE snow day here. It was very pretty. These photos are in no order - just cute snapshots of what we played with.
The morning after the snowfall, we played in the backyard for a while again. We somehow forgot about our FRONT yard. There was a whole lotta untouched snow out front. The boys totally went wild out front - it is flat there and much more fun. That black dot in the distance is Josh, by the way. Calvin chose to go "snow diving". He would plop down face down in the snow and just lay there. What a kid.
My camera died after that or I would have more photos of that fun.

I THINK Liv is under there!

G's boots going to his truck.

The beginning of the snow fort - it got bigger.

There's my little girl!!

Josh and his Harry Potter scarf!

Calvin dressed himself. I love the soccer shorts over his pants - nice touch.

Liv anxious to go oustide.

V-Day cookies.