Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mama doesn't always have the magic....

Both of my boys love to help with laundry.  I don't know if it is an early, manly attraction to conquer a machine bigger than them or just the fact that it plain looks fun.

am taking advantage of this interest and starting to train Dale to do a load from start to finish.  (More on this later).

I recently asked Dale to move a load from the washer to the dryer for me, which he did without complaint, and then asked if he could start another load.

This is one of those times it is worth the extra 'trouble' to say YES!  

I mean really... if my 5 year old wants to do laundry, who am I to stop him!!?

So I helped him start a load of whites, and I even poured in a little bleach for good measure.  I don't do this every time, and it looked like the socks could use an extra boost. 

After my nosing in to his laundry project I returned my attention to cooking supper. 

So when Dale asked if he should just pour the rest of what was in that hamper (one we use for 'lights') into the washer, I didn't think much before I said yes.

So.... I'm not sure if my biggest mistake was meddling with his load in the first place by putting in bleach, or if it was the not thinking before saying yes..... but it took just a few moments for me to realize there were some ummm... odds and ends
colored items in the bottom of that hamper.  

That are quickly soaking up bleachy water.  And they all belonged to me.

I gasped, I "oh no'd", and I began snatching clothes out of the washer.  (They all appear to have sustained no bleach damage, by the way.)

I also took care to help Dale realize this little mishap and resulting mini-outburst were NOT because of anything he did.

Way to go mom.... traumatize him from the laundry before he ever gets started good!  

Nah.... as long as he gets to tinker with that big machine another day, I think we'll be ok.

Somethin' ain't right...

... when the one less than 3 feet tall is sideways in your bed, leaving the two adults clinging to their respective edges of the mattress in their sleep.

Ahhh... the things we do for those afraid of thunder.  :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What's in Your Bookbasket?

1. Does anyone other than my husband and me think of the "what's in YOUR wallet?" commercial when you read that post title?  It gets us both every time... "What's in YOUR bookbasket!?"

2.  Yes, I know it has been a very, very long time since I have posted.  I promise (sort of) to have a 'real' post up again soon.

3.  Please forgive the gauzy 'romantic' (a.k.a. "BLURRY") look of the following photos.  I didn't know until AFTER they were loaded on the computer, and recognized the problem immediately.  A quick look at my camera lens confirmed it has been touched by little greasy fingers.  And I don't even need fingerprint technology to know who it was!  (Reminder to self: THIS is why I don't need to buy one of those 'nice' $500-700 cameras I've been wondering about!)

And now, our books for this week:

Got several books with stories / themes from China.  And dragons.  I forgot why.  
Mei Li, Thomas Handforth - A Caldecott winner.  Pictures and story excellent for exposure to traditional Chinese culture, plus fun, adventuresome story about a little girl.

Pebbles from a Broken Jar, Fables and Hero Stories from Old China, Frances Alexander - Very short fables (I mean that in a good way).  Nice variety from the traditional stories we know so well.

The Story About Ping, Marjorie Flack & Kurt Wiese - Is there really anything I need to say about Ping?  Every kid should be read this book. :)

We're Off to Catch a Dragon, Ester Huaser Laurence - Imaginative sing-song rhyme.

The Once-Upon-a-Time Dragon, Jack Kent - Cute, silly dragon story.

There's No Such Thing as a Dragon, Jack Kent - This was a fun story we both enjoyed.  Made me want a little dragon.  (Just kidding.)  (And what's up with Jack Kent and Dragons?)

Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like, Jay Williams - Very good story to include in any China / Dragon study.  ;)  Or just to read.  What struck me most was reading "illustrated by Mercer Mayer."  Really?  THE Mercer Mayer of the Little Critters?  Huh.  Wouldn't have guessed
that by looking at the pictures!

The Emperor and the Kite, Jane Yolen - Sweet story of bravery and loyalty and appreciating the littlest ones on our lives.  

Our last "China" find led to an interesting little side-study.  
The book was:

Lon Po Po, A Red-Riding Hood Story from China, Ed Young - Also a Caldecott winner. Fascinating twist on the familiar fairy tale.

That led to a search for other Red-Riding Hood stories, so we could compare them. (A great study idea I recommend and will repeat with another fairy-tale or other traditional story some day!)

We checked out a traditional Little Red Riding Hood story book, a board book (very tame version), and this fun jewel:

Little Red Cowboy Hat, Susan Lowell - The first time I heard this book it was read aloud by a teenage volunteer at a children's event at the library.  She was laughing, the kids were laughing, the librarians and parents stood in the back laughing.  A very funny book!

And then our miscellaneous for the week:

When Daddy Prays, Nikki Grimes - Sentimental book of poems about a little boy and his Daddy as the spiritual leader of the family.

Isabel's House of Butterflies, Tony Johnston - Story of a poor family in Mexico and their tree that is home to migrating monarch butterflies.  
Beautiful paintings illustrate every page.  I love how the ending is left open to the reader to decide.  Not sure how we ended up with a Mexican book amongst the China ones, lol!  I think our littlest patron pulled it from the shelf and I thought "why not?"  Glad that was the way it turned out.  :)

The Paper-Flower Tree, A Tale from Thailand, Jacqeline Ayer - A favorite of ours we've borrowed a few times.  Highly recommended!

Just Me and My Little Sister, Mercer Mayer - Purely coincidental we have this at the same time as the Mercer Mayer discovery above.  Really makes me wonder.  But how many "Mercer Mayers" can there be out there illustrating books?

Pet Show! , Ezra Jack Keats - Dale picked it; Dale has read it.  I have only skimmed.  Looks good.  :)

Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson - Another one of those "what can I say, really?"  kind of books.  A must-read if you haven't.  Both of my boys enjoy it.

The Scribble Monster, Jack Kent - Apparently we were on a Jack Kent kick this week.  What is it that is so appealing about those round-headed pictures?  This was definitely a fun book.

The Tale of Tom Kitten, Beatrix Potter.  I have been surprised to see how much Alan (not quite 2 1/2) has enjoyed this story!

Hedgehog Bakes a Cake, Maryann Macdonald - An easy reader Dale has picked out many times.  It includes a real recipe for Hedgehog's Yellow Cake.  And finally, for the first time we made it, which Dale loved.  I called him Hedgehog, which he did not love.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle.  Eric Carle.... 'nuff said.

Visit The Happy Housewife for more bookbasket posts, including hers: 13 books little boys enjoy!  :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Alms for the poor?

There are a few of us in my family that have an interesting habit, and in the case of my mom and sister, it is definitely a skill.  

And that is that we can burst into song when a certain word, phrase or expression reminds of one.  Like I said, Mom and Kristin are
good.  On the right day it can be like living in a musical.

Not that we go around singing all the time.  I'm just sayin'.  Sometimes it happens.

Are we the only ones that do this?  Surely some of you are reminded of song lyrics in your day-to-day life?

So anyway, today at lunch, filling water cups for the boys I launched into the chorus of a hymn we sang at church recently....

"Fill my cup Lord - I lift it up, Lord!"

Dale, who has learned by now that hymns, like poetry, are often full of symbolism and imagery, knew that line couldn't mean a literal CUP.  

So he asked....
"What does that mean?  That we are POOR?"

I suppose asking the Lord to fill our cup reminded him of some poor (literally) soul on a street corner with their tin cup!

I am happy to say he saw no hint of laughter in my face or my voice as I explained what was really meant by those words.  Because inside.... I was cracked. up.

I do have to admit that after explaining to him that the 'cup' is us or our spirits, and that God can satisfy us just like a drink of water satisfies our physical thirst, I started thinking that Dale was more right than I first realized...  without God filling us with His peace, joy and LIFE, we
are poor.

Fill My Cup, Lord

Like the woman at the well I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy;
And then I heard my Savior speaking:
"Draw from My well that never shall run dry."

Fill my cup, Lord -I lift it up, Lord!
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
Bread of heaven, feed me till i want no more - 
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!

There are millions in this world who are craving
The pleasures earthly things afford; 
But none can match the wondrous treasure
That I find in Jesus Christ, my Lord.

So, my brother, if the things this world gave you
Leave hungers that won't pass away,
My blessed Lord will come and save you,
If you kneel to Him and humbly pray:

Fill my cup, Lord - I lift it up, Lord!
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more - 
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Favorite Time of Day

Early in the morning when the thought "this is my favorite time of day" first popped up in my mind, I was certain that if I paid close enough attention throughout my day I would find other favorites.

I was wrong.

My best moments, it seems, are those just after waking up.

Greg is gone to work (or still sleeping soundly if it's the weekend) and I am alone with my thoughts and the day ahead of me.

Still half enveloped in sleep I can enjoy the early sunlight seeping through the curtains, and imagine what the birds I hear are doing.

Or, the way things have been more often lately, I listen to the rain and the distant (or not-so-distant) rumbles of thunder.

On these peaceful mornings the boys are still asleep in their beds.  I know this by the silence from their room.  

I can lay quietly and say my "good mornings" to God, mentioning things that come to mind from the day before or the day ahead.

I can't completely label myself as a morning or not-morning person.  I love being awake and alone in the early mornings.  But I wake up
very slowly, which is why the alone thing is very good.

Things in this life are always changing so who knows how long those first wakeful moments of the day will be my favorite, but for now they can't be topped.

What is your favorite time of day?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What's in your bookbasket?

Our bookbasket is very full this week!

Our theme book for the week:
Miss Rumphius, Barbara Cooney

And to go with our theme (the ocean, more or less):
Mister Seahorse, Eric Carle - Eric Carle, what else can I say??  Big bright pictures, fun see-through pages, sweet story.
Animals and Where They Live, DK Publishers - Except for that whole 'evolution' thing, I (heart) DK! Thankfully, this book doesn't seem to have any references to the big E or the Big Bang or any of those other theories objectionable to our family.
Paddle-to-the-Sea, Holling Clancy Holling - I think this was recommended by another book-basket poster.  We are only a few chapters in, but I think Dale is going to like it.  I like it because it is different from your average story-book.  
Animals that Live in the Sea, National Geographic
The Turtle and the Island, Barbara Ker Wilson - A folk tale from New Guinea.  Imaginative story and great for explaining the beliefs of different cultures.
Pirate Pete, Kim Kennedy - Silly, simple story book.  Pure fluff, but fluff is fun and Dale liked it.  :)
One Lonely Seahorse, Saxton Freymann - One of those pictures-made-out-of-vegetables books.  Always fun to look at.
The Sea Monkey, Geraldine Kaye - Another 'beliefs of different cultures' book.  Be prepared to explain about others' belief in spirits (sea spirits in this case).  Other than that, it is a story centered around a trouble-causing monkey.
Animals of the Sea, Millicent E. Selsam
Grandma's Beach Surprise, Ilka List
Animals of the Seashore, Nature Close-ups
Octopus, Evelyn Shaw - Easy reader all about octopuses.  Dale and I took turns reading aloud, and as soon as we finished he turned right around and read it on his own, so it has his stamp of approval. 

Dale's free-reading:
Anna Help Ginger, Jan Wahl
Slip, The Story of a Little Fox, Phoebe Erickson
Come, Chucky, Come, Dorothea J. Snow

I love all 3 of the above stories, published in 1971, 1948, and 1952, respectively.  Older stories seem to follow different themes from so many of today's, and I like that.

Flat Stanley, Jeff Brown
Nate the Great and the Sticky Case, Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Boxcar Children Book 2,
Surprise Island, Gertrude Chandler Warner

Alan's books (2 1/2):
Counting Kisses, Karen Katz
Silly Sally, Audrey Wood
The Napping House, Audrey Wood
Big Fat Hen, Keith Baker

Silly Sally and The Napping House have both been a big hit with Alan.  I know this because he says, "Do it 'gain" after the last page of each of them.  (Same thing with Counting Kisses, for that matter.)  The thing is, the stories and pictures are so fun I don't mind reading them over and over!  Yay Audrey Wood!  :)

My book:
Hands of My Father, Myron Uhlberg
"A hearing boy, his deaf parents, and the language of love"
This story had me captivated from beginning to end, but I have always had a fascination and respect for sign language.

See what others are reading this week at
The Happy Housewife.

Edited to Add:
I thought I would add our no-go's for this week.  Not every book is going to be a winner, you know?

Hermit Crab, William M. Stephens - This is an excellent book, but just goes into a little too much detail on reproduction than I want to share with my 5 year old. 

Dolphin, Robert A. Morris - Again, the reproduction bit.

The Little Mermaid, Hans Christian Anderson - It was going good until the end got way to 'spiritual'.  With Dale being at an age that he is learning and beginning to grasp the Truth, I don't want to confuse matters.  Maybe we can revisit this one in a few years.

Visit with a Mermaid, Pierre Le-Tan - Weird, weird, weird.  Only to be read if you don't mind your little ones checking out the topless mermaid (and little girl) and seeing how fun it can be to wade into the ocean and run away with strangers.
Odd little book.

I don't always do it, but this week I read/scanned all our books before Dale could read them.  I ended up pulling these four before Dale could get to them.  
Which brings me to a question... do you censor what your kids read?  
Until what age?  
I like knowing what is going into that growing brain of his!

Monday, May 4, 2009

New Shoes!

I am happy to announce that after wearing the same pair of tennis shoes for at least 18 months, Alan finally has a need for a new pair.

The fact that his feet have fit into those shoes for so long has been a  kind of growth meter for us. (That, and wearing the same jeans and pajamas for two winters, but who's counting, right?  I don't know.... you'd think he had been 'sick' or something.)

So, if Alan's feet have grown enough to need new shoes, that must mean.... He's Growing!!  :)

And all that good news aside, I think these are the
cutest little boy shoes I have seen in a long time!  
Alan was quite taken with them as well.  He wasn't with us for the shopping, and when presented with his new shoes he wanted to put them on right then, and even wanted to keep them on for his nap.  

That boys loves his new shoes!
(And we couldn't be happier for him.)  :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

An Award!

Getting blog awards is always fun and flattering.  Thank you so much Mom to Five for this one!  :)

Here are the 'rules':

1. Link to the person who gave you the award
Mom to Five Kids @ My Life & Homeschooling

2. List 7 things you love.

  1. Hot showers
  2. CBD Homeschool Catalog
  3. Good Food
  4. Hobby Lobby
  5. My church
  6. My family
  7. My Savior
3.List 7 blogs you love and let these people know that you've given them this award.

Simple Journeys

Okay, so I'm four blogs short.  That always happens to me with these awards!  I decided to go the literal route with "creative" bloggers, and list not just blogs that are creative, but bloggers that create things.  :)

Simple Journeys is my Mom's blog, where she shows some of her artwork.  I love seeing what she creates, and I am lucky that I get to see her creations in person... to hold and touch them!

Smockity is great fun to read, but she also makes super cute aprons... and sells them!  Check out her sidebar if you are interested.  :)

Heart of Mommy has recently started an Etsy site where she sells adorable dresses she makes.  If you have little girls and like dressing them up you should see what she has at her site!  

Thanks again, Mom2Five for passing this award on to me - I really appreciate it!  :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Garden Update

I am really pleased with this week's update, since everything is growing great!
However, I am
embarrassed to show the following pictures... our garden is a muddy, weed-filled mess!

Never-the-less... here goes....

The corn:
We have 21 plants (I think), with one half planted a couple of weeks after the first set.  Except for the fire ants taking over the area surrounding one on the end, there are no problems!

The Lettuce:
I'm so glad the weather is staying mild and giving our lettuce a chance to make it.  I planted it a little late.  Other than being loaded with weeds, it seems to be doing well.  
I started to photo-shop them out, but I thought that would be cheating.  :) 
And since I plan on attacking them with my hoe and my pincher grasp as soon as the
garden mud dries out enough to set foot in, I thought, "why remove them twice?"  

The tomatoes:
Our tomatoes have done fabulously since setting them out a couple of weeks ago.  I'm so happy!
And it looks like it is time to remove the cut-worm-prevention-cups from most of them.

The Marigolds:
Planted these around the tomatoes to ward off bugs.  Looks like it may be working!  :)

The Cayenne Peppers:
These 2 pepper plants were a gift from my Dad, and it looks like they will be the first thing edible to come out of the garden.  I don't know.... it could be a race between them and the lettuce.

The Bell Peppers:
My 6 bell pepper plants are growing like gang-busters, but something is after them.  Apparently they are too far from the marigolds!  (I'm kidding.  I think.)  Any help here would be appreciated.  I love my bell pepper plants.

Oops!  I forgot to take a picture of the eggplant!  I put out 6, but I think only 4 are going to make it.  Not sure what happened to the other two.  They were small to begin with, so it may have been the heavy rains.  Or it could be whatever is after my bell peppers, since they are neighbors in the garden.

Also not pictured this week (because there is nothing but mud to take a picture of at this point), I planted cucumber, squash,
zucchini, and - just for fun - pole beans at the beginning of this week.

My only hope is that the 2-3 inches of rain after that hasn't hurt them!

We also set out some petunias for the pots on the front porch and I'm going to try begonias in a very moist shady area we haven't had much luck with before.

To see how and what others are growing, check in with:

The Peterson Clan


Heart of the Matter's Friday Meme