Friday, February 27, 2009

Must be a hereditary condition

Once upon a time there was a little blond-headed girl who wished and wished she could be a curly-haired blond little girl. So she asked and asked her mother to give her a permanent. Her mother had done this for her before, and the little girl oh-so-wanted to do it again.

The mother graciously agreed and spent an afternoon carefully rolling and papering and clipping and applying all sorts of chemicals and solutions to the little girl's head.

And sure enough, when it was all done, she had beautiful curls.

This made the little girl feel SO grown-up, that when it was time for her nightly bath, she decided to take a shower instead.

So the little girl stood under the water streaming down on top of her freshly permed hair. The water pounded and pounded and straighted out the entire top-half of those beautiful curls. And down the drain went the perm.

Mother and daughter did live happily ever after, in the long run. ;)

But there is more to the story.

This little girl grew up to have a little boy of her own.

One day the little boy got a cold. :(

So his mama gave him some medicine to help it go away. The medicine said not to eat or drink anything for at least 15 minutes.

Approximately 13 1/2 minutes after his medicine, the little boy came out of the bathroom. His mama asked him if he washed his hands with soap.

"Yes," the little boy said proudly, "and then I brushed my teeth!"

The mama smacked her forehead with her hand and knew that in a sewer somewhere, a long-lost permanent was laughing and dancing with a fresh batch of cold medicine.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Astronauts don't tell everything

I sat observing and listening, feeling very impressed as Dale rattled on and on to a grown-up family friend all he knew about space.

I had no idea he knew so much about gravity, and the lack of it, and the hot sun, and, and, and.... the information just kept spilling out.

The kind friend (who happens to be dad to a home-schooled family) winked at me while saying to Dale, "Wow! You must have a really great science teacher!"

"No," came Dale's immediate reply, "I read it in a book."

Next week's lesson: not blowing mom's cover. ;)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Making a pretty thingy

I mentioned in my previous post that we were going to a scrumptious store full of crafty & decorative things.

It was definitely all I had imagined it would be. ;)

In one of the aisles full of fun spring-timey things we found a fluttery-ribbony-hangy thing(y).
I thought it was festive and pretty, and both boys like touching it.
Mimi had the idea of making one instead of buying it. And since we WERE in a store full of craft supplies, we headed right over to pick out our ribbon.

This is how things went from there, and how you can make one of your own:

You will need at least 24 yards of ribbon. We chose 3 different colors. One solid color would also be pretty.

We used a clean empty plastic yogurt cup to anchor our ribbon to.
Cut off the bottom of the yogurt cup, leaving about a 3/8 inch lip. A craft knife works well.

Then cut out the middle of the bottom, to make a ring:

Now it's time for the ribbon.

For a ring the size of a yogurt cup you will need about 24 3ft lengths of ribbon.

After the ribbon is cut grab your partner and glue gun and start gluing.

Bring the tip of each ribbon through the hole and glue to what was the inside of the yogurt cup:

After every few ribbons, turn the ring over and glue the ribbons down to the top (which was its bottom before you cut it off and flipped it over) and the sides.
This was the tricky part to me. Getting the angle of the ribbons right on the underside so they hung nice and straight and covered the sides was harder than I had anticipated. It took some overlapping on the underside. I was glad the hot glue was forgiving enough that I could do some adjusting before it set.

After all the ribbons are glued on, cut a piece of ribbon for a hanger - the length will depend on where you plan to hang your new pretty. Anything from 6-12 inches would work nicely. Glue each end of the ribbon to an opposite side of the ring - on the outside, like the handles of a basket.

Now to finish it off (and hide the fact that my ribbon left big gaps of yogurt cup exposed) cut another length of ribbon to go around the outside edge of the ring. This also covers where you attached the hanger.

Once the glue is set (which doesn't take long with hot glue - yay!), hang up your new fluttery-ribbony-hangy-thing(y).
Since these pics were taken we moved ours outside under the awning. It is so pretty in the breeze!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Catching Up

We came home from the hospital on Thursday. (Alan is doing great)

Saw this on the way home:
What else can I say, really?

Went to get labs on Friday. Dale came too.

This is the mask Alan wears when we go to the hospital. He has a smaller, thinner one that he wears in other public places. (He doesn't wear one at home.)

Did some science Friday afternoon. Tried a different version of a 'make-your-own-mist' experiment. This one worked a little bit better. Still not very impressive.

But Dale had fun.

We are on our way out the door this morning (so why am I sitting here doing THIS??) to get labs again and then be standing in line for the GRAND OPENING of one the best stores to ever exist.
A place where you can buy glassware and candles, fabric and flowers, scrapbooking and craft supplies. Oh my!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kids amaze me (especially mine!) :)

On several occasions lately I have noticed how much my boys absorb from the world around them. How much they learn without me teaching.

For over a year now, Dale has played a silly little travel game his Aunt Kristin taught him. And anything learned from your 20-something aunt (or uncle, as it was in my case) is immediately cool and novel and worth remembering for the rest of your child-hood, if not your life, right? ;)

Anyway, the game goes like this: every time you see a yellow vehicle you shout "yogurt!" I suppose the point is to see who can spot each one first. Either way, Dale loves it and keeps an eye out for yellow cars (and orange, too.... "jello!") every time we are driving.

Guess what has happened over the course of the last few months? ALAN has learned to play.

Which simply means he recognizes the color yellow and a name for it.

Hello! Wake-up call! Time to be sure we're throwing around the names of some other colors! Although I'm still not sure whether to just leave 'yellow' as 'yogurt'. :)

And then there is Dale.

In addition to his regular Scripture memory, I like to have him memorize a poem every now and then.

A couple of months ago he learned "I Never Saw a Moor" by Emily Dickinson.

In the meantime, we read "Walking Through Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost. I ended up memorizing it and either reading it or saying it aloud here and there fairly often. I even posted it on my blog

Recently Dale recited "I Never Saw a Moor" for me, and I couldn't remember if he had learned anything before that one, so I asked him if he knew any other poems.

Instead of answering, he just started in:
"Whose woods these are I think I know....."

He could say almost the whole poem - 16 lines! - without hesitation.

I guess it isn't that he could do it that impressed me so much, but that he did it without me 'helping' or even knowing he was learning.

What a huge reminder of how MUCH kids absorb what's around them, and how capable their minds are!

Thinking on these things has left me with 2 thoughts:

1 - I want to intentionally expose our boys to as much as I can. No, they won't learn it all, but the exposure itself will do so much!

2 - I want to be sooooo careful about.... what we .... expose our boys to! They've both proven in very handy reminders (a gentle nudging from God, maybe?) how much they absorb without us even trying.

Isn't the mind of a child a fascinating thing?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dirt & surprises

Greg's birthday is today.

Since he was off work yesterday for President's day we decided to spend that day as his birthday.

Guess how he spent a big chunk of the day?

Digging the start of a garden - and all for me! I thought that was awfully nice of him. :)
Dale helped. :)

Alan held a tool long enough to look like he helped. :)

Look at that smile while he works!

Little did any of us know that before the day was over this little boy would be admitted to the hospital - again!

He is feeling just fine, but had some lab results come back pretty 'off' (much to everyone's surprise), so here we are!

Good thing we celebrated the birthday yesterday. And to make it all a little better? We brought the rest of the birthday cake with us. :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

HOTM Friday Meme

Today's Heart of the Matter Friday meme is a video about why you love your spouse.

This is my first video meme and it was much harder than I thought it would be! The following was my 4th or 5th take.

It wasn't until AFTER I got it all loaded onto Blogger that I saw how dark it is, but it took so long to load I'm not doing it over! So, even though I look like someone in the witness protection program, this really is me and my contribution to today's meme! :)

To be more specific about our "silly little games" - we have played (among other things): Uno, Yahtzee, Battleship (but don't tell Dale!), Mad Libs, and, our current favorite, Hangman. A morbid little game, but fun. :)

Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours, and be sure to check out Heart of the Matter for more videos!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

To sleep, or not to sleep?

Every so often it becomes necessary for me to re-evaluate and decide what I value more - Sleep or Time Alone.

Lately I've been choosing Sleep, but I think I have returned to a point that Time Alone may win out.

Choosing Sleep means I get out of bed at the same time as the boys. Which means showering while they are up and awake and unsupervised around the house. Yes, there is the whole idea of night-time showers, and sometimes that is what I do. Sometimes, I don't get a shower at all!

Here's the thing: I really love my hot showers. They mean a few several minutes of peace and quiet and solitude. And, as a bonus, in the end you come out clean and smelling nice. Not a bad deal at all!

During this time, I can tolerate a little talking through the door, or fingers appearing underneath it. We are trying to train our boys not to hang out in front of a closed bathroom door. That's just rude and annoying. And semi-gross if you ask me. At the same time, a little exchange now and then is better than complete silence. Silence makes you wonder what they're into.

But this morning.... well.... I think I've reached the end of the line for Sleep winning out over Time Alone. Because this morning, my Shower Time Alone was completely violated.

It went like this:

Several minutes of the space heater and steam from the shower had the bathroom nice and warm.

I was still on the early end of my shower routine, right between the shampoo and conditioner.

Dale stuck his head in the door. "Mama. I need to go to the bathroom."

Of course I granted entrance. I didn't want to deal with wet pants later!

Dale noted the steamed-up mirror and we had a quick discussion about the similarities of mist, fog, and steam. (We've been talking about mist and fog this week). Hey - homeschooling happens everywhere, right?

But my patience ran out pretty quick and when Alan joined us in the bathroom I shooed them both back to their play-dough.

This is where it all started to go downhill.

"But Mama. I'm pooping."

Aw, man.


Of course, there is no way Alan was going to leave when everyone else in the house was hanging out in the bathroom. And besides, Alan loves showers too.

Dale was feeling quite chatty. Me? Notsomuch.

He brought up a number of subjects, all of which were met with a "hurry up" or "finish up" from me.

Alan - the one who loves showers, remember? - opened the door to check in on me once. I was neither thankful or appreciative of his concern.

I was trapped! In my own shower! I coudln't even reach my towel.

At least I was there to monitor the singing-of-the-ABC's during Dale's hand washing.

But so much for peace, quiet, and solitude. I'm SO setting my alarm tonight.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

WFMW - Freezing meat

For frugality and other various other reasons I will often not use a whole package of meat for a meal, especially things that are packaged as individual pieces, like chicken and pork chops.

Instead, I pull out a few pieces and freeze them. This is great, as long as you don't end up with a freezer full of mystery meat!

I like to layer each piece between wax paper for easier thawing, making sure the wax paper covers the outside pieces as well, and then wrap the whole package in foil, sealed tightly all around. In case you haven't experienced it yourself, foil sticks to frozen meat. Not fun.

But here is the kicker: after wrapping your pre-left-overs, and before sticking them in the freezer, grab a sharpie or marks-a-lot and label that little puppy:

I like to be specific. Because once it enters my freezer I can be certain that is the last I will ever remember my encounter with that particular meat.

I love opening my freezer and having extra meat hidden back and ready to go!

Go to
Rocks In My Dryer for other WFMW tips.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Making, hiding, building, trying

Had us a nice little day here in the herd.

I would call it a rainy day at home except we went out this morning during the rainy part for Alan's labs, and the part we were at home was more soggy than rainy, but either way... we spent the majority of our day inside. This is how we filled it:

Found this idea from
No Time for Flashcards. Fun blog full of great ideas!

We aren't necessarily doing a letter of the day or week or anything, but Dale has been really into Valentine's day this year, so I couldn't pass up this Valentine-y activity that both boys could do!

Both boys spent a good bit of time in and out of the cardboard box. Mostly Alan. Those big ol' flaps can get frustrating when you want them to close up on you, but reaching out to pull one to you pushes another away!
We've had it for several weeks, but it is still fun (and still in one piece) so I can't bring myself to throw it out yet. :)

Something else that has been around a while but has found new life lately is our wooden blocks. Dale has built a lot with them the last few days - and I love that!

Alan has watched this video a lot lately, and I played it for him several times today:

Dale and I did a science experiment. He has been big into science lately. We are FIARing "Wee Gillis" this week. The story didn't seem to grab him today, so I jumped straight to the science in hopes of sparking his interest for the rest of the week. Great in theory, except our little experiment didn't work! Greg said it may have had to do something with the humidity, so maybe we'll try again another day.

And, in a rare "two art projects in one day" blitz, we made this:

I saw the idea for this "cereal box" heart garland at Plum Pudding and have been wanting to make it for several days. Dale did some tracing, I did all the cutting, and Dale did most of the gluing. I'm disappointed in the picture - this little garland is much cuter in person! Ours is made from a Welch's fruit snacks box. Lots of pinks and purples!

We're hoping to do some more Valentine's things this week, along with some more FIAR / Wee Gillis.

Do you have any favorite hands-on Valentine projects?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How do you eat YOUR oreo?

This picture shows pretty much how Alan felt from 7am Monday morning until around 10am Wednesday (yesterday).

Even though it appears to be a regular kid fever-virusy thing, it was enough for a kid like Alan to get landed in the hospital. We got to the hospital around bedtime Tuesday and are still there now.

But that is not as bad as it sounds. Of course we would rather be home, but when you have spent as much time as we have (and some have spent much more) in a place like this, it quickly loses it's intimidating sadness.

This place has a special place in our hearts. It always will. We have gone through some of our most difficult times here. We have also seen some of God's greatest work in our lives.

Each time we come here we are reminded of these things, and happy to see the caring people that are on this journey with us, most of them from the beginning over two years ago.

Not only does coming here bring back memories, it is also a wonderful place for people watching.

Yesterday I made the long walk to the car and listened to people as I passed them by.

Two casually dressed (as in - sweats and ponytails) women were talking in a hallway. They hugged as I passed, one saying to the other, "I'm sure we'll see you again - we'll be here a while."

Hmmm... looks to me like two moms of patients just formed a new friendship.

A man in a suit stood at a busy hallway intersection on his cell-phone. "Okay, I'm here. Which set of elevators do I go to to find you?"

Yes - the elevators they are many, and navigating around here takes a little while to learn.

Finally, I got onto an elevator with a family of four: mom, dad, preschooler, and baby covered up in an infant seat. They didn't speak English, but do you know what I learned? Whining can be understood in any language.

Preschooler whined something - probably about not ready to go home, or wanting to go to get french fries, or... or... or... we can all just imagine. We've all heard it before.

Mom replied in a patient explanation. Preschooler whined again. Dad spoke firmly and whining was over.

Ahh.... parenting in any language.

Yeah... in a hard-to-explain sort of way, I love coming here. And while we will always prefer home, and we don't want to see Alan sick, and it is hard to have our lives interrupted and our families separated..... the fact that this isn't just any old hospital makes it all a little better. Because this isn't just any old hospital. In it's own special way, it is almost like home. :)

And Alan? Oh he's feeling much better. In fact, by supper time last night, THIS is what we had:

Mmmm... cookie lickin' good!

Obviously, Oreos make everything better.

And by this morning... well... you know things are better when the dino is wearing the band-aids, and the patient is not.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Gathering at the Well.... thoughts on Titus 2

Gathering At the Well

The Monday discussion At the Well today is to share our thoughts on Titus 2:2-5. How we see it playing out in our own life, our areas of strengths and weaknesses, and any goals we may have in relation to this scripture.

This is interesting timing for me, because lately I have come to believe more than ever that everything we are taught and asked to do in the Bible is to teach us more about God, our relationship with Him, and/or our eternity with him.

So while I take the instructions in Titus 2 literally, I also want to use the lessons in them to learn more about my Heavenly Father and my relationship with him.

The past two years have taught me the practicality of this mindset as well. Because of health issues with our youngest, life has often been interrupted for days or weeks at a time, and always with very little or no advanced warning.

When my greatest desire is to be at home, well.... keeping my home, and loving on my children, and living a quiet little life, and then that quiet little life gets interrupted, then I am frustrated.

When I focus too much on home-making and home-schooling and I don't accomplish all I think I need too, then I am frustrated.

But when my greatest desire is to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and mind, and to keep his commandments (
Matthew 22:35-37, and Ecclesiastes 12:13), that can be done anywhere. In any circumstances.

Don't get me wrong - I am not discounting the instructions given to women in Titus 2. In fact, being the best wife, mother, and homemaker I can be is one of my deepest desires. But what I am learning is to not hold myself to certain physical standards, and instead keep an eternal perspective. To see what my relationships with my husband and children can teach me about my Heavenly Father and his love for me, and my love for him.

That is my goal.

That and cleaner floors, of course. ;)

Be sure to visit
At the Well for thoughts and encouragement!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Fun tag!

My mom (Lisa @ Simple Journeys) has passed on this fun and simple little tag.

You are supposed to go to your computer's picture files, find the 6th folder, then the 6th picture in that folder, and display it on your blog.

Here is what I found:
This is Dale in September 2004, a week after his 1st birthday. He had received a box of clothes in the mail as a gift, and we were looking through it all.

I love looking at the details on a picture that is several years old.
In this pic:
- At the far left edge is a chair we no longer have. Sold it (and it's mate) in a yard sale this past summer.

- My old cell phone is on the piano.

- As is a Willow Tree figurine that lost her head in 2008. But I took it to Paw Paw (who can fix ANYthing) and she is all better now.

Isn't my little Dale a cutie?

And now, the second part of this tag is to pass it on to 6 (of course) other bloggers.

I would love to see the 6th picture from:





Sam ( Sam - I know you are a little busy right now, but there was no way I could leave you out of a photo tag!!) :)