Thursday, December 6, 2012
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
For me, one of the hardest parts of sticking to a budget is overcoming boredom. I'm always home with the kids so even going out to Taco Bell can be a thrilling change of scenery. But we've been finding ways around our meal-time mundane by eating over our fire pit in the backyard. These meals aren't ever fancy, but they are certainly fun. And we always finish our campfire meals with S'mores, of course.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Monday, June 18, 2012
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Monday, June 4, 2012
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Friday, May 25, 2012
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Monday, May 21, 2012
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Now that I am on my third child, I feel I've learned a thing or two.
First off, too much t.v. really does rot their brains. Just try and get a kid to focus after a few days of vegging out.
Without water, sandboxes are just plain boring. Think about it. Would you want to play in the middle of a desert?
Babies cry for a reason. They're hungry or tired or they have gas or maybe they're just bored, but they don't just cry because they are babies.
"Sleep when the baby sleeps" is advice that only works for a mother of one.
Clean sheets are more important than matching sheets.
But over-used and dirty kitchens are superior to those that are underutilized and crystal clean.
It's a godly thing to give children gifts for no reason.
You don't have to yell to be heard.
Knickknacks are good for one reason and one reason only: providing your children opportunities to learn from breaking them.
The amount a child will enjoy a toy is directly proportional to what you spend (or don't spend) on it. Meaning that if it costs a fortune, they will use it once and then throw it down. If they found it on the ground, they will play with it all day.
Bible verses like "turn the other cheek" weren't just given for dealing with rude strangers and demanding bosses. They apply even more frequently to husbands and wives and parents and children.
And most importantly, cupcakes actually do taste better with sprinkles.
Friday, May 11, 2012
"Me do school, too?"
Avril asked for school so we started doing a few things together.
Let's Cut Paper and My Book of Coloring by Kumon.
No, we don't do this everyday! I don't even do school with her older sister every day at this point!
But we keep this little pile of books, scissors and crayons in the kitchen and when there's time and opportunity, I call her to the table and we pull them out.
I only takes about five to ten minutes, but Avril really loves it.
Monday, May 7, 2012
I've done a few hours worth of labor in the vegetable garden over the last few days, running outside as soon as the baby is fed or sleeping to do a little more here and there. I've tilled up the ground, added topsoil and compost, and planted a row of peas under the trellis you see in the photo above. And in that pot you can barely see behind the bag of soil, I mixed up the right proportions of sand and soil and planted carrot seeds.
As I've been working (and spending money on the garden), I've been confronting doubts about my ability to pull it all off. I've entertained fears that I might be doing all this for no reason because something might go wrong and I might not get a harvest after all.
But on my bed last night, as I was drifting in and out of sleep, a verse of Scripture came to my mind, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." -Galatians 6:9 All at once, that Scripture made more sense to me than ever before and I woke up just long enough to realize that it takes something like faith to work and plant and wait in hopes to reap a harvest later on.
And I didn't take the verse as a promise that my peas and carrots will come out fine, but I was encouraged by it. I decided that I'll keep working in hopes of having a harvest later this summer and before I fell back to sleep, I said a silent prayer of thanks to God, acknowledging that even as I lay on my bed at night, He instructs me. -Psalm 16:7
Sunday, May 6, 2012
I've been firming up plans for this summer, marking the calendar with things I'm going to do with the kids. Just like I (sort-of) plan their home school lessons for the year, I find it helpful to (sort-of) plan their vacations, too. I don't want to miss out on anything we could do together, but I also need to be realistic about what's even possible with our time and financial restraints. So I've found that it's best to think way ahead.
If I don't plan way ahead then I end up kicking myself because I forget to do something like plant the sunflower seeds in time to make the sunflower house I have wanted to make for at least two summers now. But, I happen to be on the ball this year and as you can see, the seeds have already been purchased. (I got the tall ones I need and shorter ones for decoration).
Along with plans to make a sunflower house, we'll be maintaining our vegetable garden, making Norah's fort in the backyard, reading for prizes, keeping track of the birds in our yard, going to a few places on Norah's list, playing wall ball (Seriously. I'm thinking about taking Norah to a park with a wall so she can learn this classic childhood game.), eating ice cream cones and taking lots of walks and riding bikes. I know all of that sounds very simple, but if I don't plan it, we'll end up watching PBSkids.org till noon and we'll miss the simple pleasures of the season.
Friday, May 4, 2012
Thursday, May 3, 2012
We found this tricycle at the thrift store for $5 last night! I had been praying about and looking for a used tricycle for the past two weeks, ever since I realized that the new bicycle we purchased for Avril for her birthday was a bit too heavy for her legs to push at her size. At first, I thought that if we practiced with her bike enough, she'd get stronger and be able to handle it, but after a while it became clear that her little legs and body need another winter of growth before they could handle a bike that size. I realized I had spent as much money as we had to spend on a bike.. on a bike that was too big and so I was stuck. What could I do?
I was afraid Avril wouldn't have anything to ride on or even have a stroller to ride in (now that her baby sister is here) till she was big enough to handle that bike the next summer. Would she just have to toddle behind us all summer long while I pushed the baby in the stroller and her big sister Norah rode her bike way ahead?
I had been looking on Craigslist and I saw these Kettler tricycles. I knew that they were going for over $100 used (way too much for us to spend). So when I walked into the thrift store and saw one of them by the entrance last night, I went over to it directly. I checked the tag and I could hardly believe the price. It was so affordable, it would have been wrong not to buy it! We put Avril on it to see how well she would do pushing it and she rode forward with real ease. At that, our whole family broke into cheers right in the store. We had all seen just how hard it had been for her to get any forward motion on her bike and we were all sad over her bike-predicament.
I give God the glory for these kinds of coincidences in my life. He's a good father to me and to my children. In perfect time, Avril has a bike just her size and she's ridden it all around our streets with ease twice today already.
We always participate in our library's summer reading program, but we never win any of the awesome prizes. Apart from the bag of free goodies we get for signing up for the program in the first place, we have never seen any reward for so many hours and hours of reading and diligently keeping track of it all. So we've decided to create our own summer reading program this year with rewards we agree upon as we go. The grand prize for 100 hours of reading will be a trip to Coco Key. And I'm taking Norah to Toys R' Us to get some ideas for the smaller prizes that she'll get along the way for 10, 25, 50 and 75 hours of reading. To keep track of Norah's hours, I used clip art to make the sheet of clocks you can see in the photo above. I can print it over and over again till we get to one hundred hours. Under my close supervision, I will let Norah color in the amount of minutes she reads till she fills up one hour on a clock and then goes on to the next. We think this custom reading program of ours will be lots of fun. Norah wants to start counting her minutes and getting credit for her reading right away and I think I'll let her.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
We're trying to get back into the swing of things with home school, so Norah has been doing just the basics everyday: Reading (Sonlight's Readers 4-5), Writing (Zaner-Bloser 2C) and Arithmetic (Math-U-See's Beta). But we are getting so far ahead in those three subjects at this point, I think we'll take another three subjects like Spelling, Science and History and do those for a week or two, till we can get back to the point where we can do every subject in one day again.
Norah always begs to do reading first, but we save it till the end because Norah will often get so into a book she won't want to stop after just one chapter. Like yesterday with Henry and Ribsy, she read the entire book in only a few hours. So she started the new book (and may well finish), Encyclopedia Brown, today.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Monday, April 30, 2012
Dan Foster, Dwayne's oldest friend, came to visit with his wife Breeze and their kids yesterday. He and Dwayne posed with their newest babies in the picture above. This picture will mean alot to both our families. There is a celebrated photo of the two of these men laying next to each other as infants in a crib, so this picture (and all the others) are always compared to that one and that always makes everyone smile.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Now that we have seen the deer poop (scat), we're going to look for signs and tracks of deer as well. We'll keep you posted if we find any.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Aunt Kathy, Aunt Martha, Karen, David and their kids came to visit while Dwayne's mom and dad are here. (The Foster family was Dwayne's second family growing up). They brought a delicious cookie-cake for Adele, new toy blocks and Phillies t-shirts for the whole family... including one that will fit the baby! The big girls went ahead and put their new shirts on and posed for a picture.