Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Top 3 S & O moments

Without a doubt,favorite moments would include marshmallows. Campfires cannot exist without stuff to make the s'mores. Every kid likes them cooked different. Most like graham crackers, but I tasted them with saltines and YUM! Olivia likes all her "pieces" separate. Steph likes it big and messy.

Camping also always means flashlights and mosquitoes. Those crazy kids played a flashlight tag like game called "THE HILLSBOROUGH RIVER MONSTER" and it was LOUD! There was not a person or beast in the park that did not hear the game. We all have the itchy bumps to prove we lived amongst the blood sucking insects for five days. We are keeping the itch stick close by.

Riding bikes would have to be in the count as well. We camped on a great loop for the girls to ride. After two days, Olivia again decided she was ready for her training wheels to go. I wanted success without drama. She wanted to keep up with the others. Uncle Aaron saved the day. I am thinking about making him a cape, SUPERUNCLE. She is great at it! With practice she will just get better.

Monday, September 29, 2008

There's no place like home

We got home today after a great long weekend camping trip to Hillsborough River State Park. We were there in January, but it seemed like the first time. We went with a group of friends and squeezed every drip of life out of our hours there. Either we are all getting old, or we get our fill of each other in the daylight hours, because this was the first time we did not shuffle a deck of cards or burn the midnight oil. Actually, we all just had good books to read.

There are many great pics (thanks Ms. Anita and Sam)and stories to be told, so I will try and get them out this week.

Wait until you read about the story of "hunting armadillos". It makes me crack up just thinking about it.

Look how time flies with these two girls.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Most days it is so rewarding to homeschool and to share the fun with the girls. This week is short since we are taking off to camp, so we did some fun coop stuff and made it a week of studying apples. Estimating, life cycle of a seed,equal pieces, plus a review of geography due to our book dominated the teachings for the week. How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman is a sweet read.

I am doing all I can to teach these little girls things that will make life better for them. Today our lesson was making an apple pie. (we are in the cooking phase I guess) They endured all the other activities of the day and finally got to make the pie. It was so fun. Collecting the ingredients. Peeling the apples. Stirring in the goods. Waiting for it to cool. Eating it!

I have done all I can do. I feel like Pioneer woman, Laura Ingalls and all the women in our family would be proud of us today.

So what have I done wrong to elicit this kind of afternoon, I ask.

My oldest one has picked all of the high tall Y shaped grass and is picking off the black seeds and the green seed pods and storing them for a future math lesson for Olivia. Which has more? is the question she will ask.

Then she comes in, and is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO proud to show me her petri dish with one of the hundreds of large grasshoppers from our yard, quarantined. But the amazing part was she wanted me to SEE that even when you pull their heads off, they will still jump around and move. It is pretty cool, according to her. Oh my!

Yes, I think the lessons in girliness; sewing, cooking and making a nice bed will be lost on this hopeless girl of nature.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Nothing like waffles...

Another day another breakfast to make. Somedays it is just cereal and milk. Or peanut butter bread. Maybe yogurt and a breakfast bar. Rarely oatmeal (unlike the past seven years of my life on Mondays) because the girls are calling a boycott on oatmeal. Man! I had such high hopes for their love of a filling healthy bellyfull. At least once a week of eggs, but I am reminded that "Daddy makes the best eggs!", and so I bow to his chefness. So, I pulled out the not so quick breakfast and made some homemade waffles. Yes,friends the made from scratch kind. No bisquick. No shaker bottle. The flour, milk, egg, vanilla, kind of waffles. Oh, and a lot of love. That is what Stephanie said when she was basking in her waffle eating time.

"Thanks Mom, for making these fabulous waffles that had some love stirred in!"

It was worth it and now we have about 12 in the freezer for the next time. Yes, to most of you this does not seem like a blog-worthy moment, but if you could have heard the umms, and ahhhs and seen the sparkle in their eyes, you would be sharing the love too. Guess we wont be buying the "leggo my eggos" for a while.

Our weekend was fun. Igor the movie did not get but 1 1/2 stars from Steve, but he and the girls had fun. I went and painted a ceramic plate with all my sweet friends and then finished off the evening with some "bang bang shrimp" from BoneFish. Whew. I have been known to say that I love that dish. My girls get jealous. Crazy. It was a great girls night out!

Florida Gators won. Bucs won. High level of testosterone in my house...I love a winning football season.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bad Hair Day

The day usually begins with my lovely quiet children watching the clock until it suddenly becomes 8:00. Then,if noticed as they pass my door, that I have not arisen (from the dead), they either go and begin their playing or catch some morning t.v. Today was not one of those rare days.

I was up and at 'em before they were squirming and I had peeked into the room and noticed little Miss Olivia's morning look. WHOA!

I have come to the realization that I did not pay homage to the "Hair Gods" when she was in my womb and thus, this is her plight in life. It would not be so bad if hair was not so completely important to her. She is barely out of bed and the first thing she does is grab the brush. Today though, I distracted her. I was like a hunter on the prowl. I could not fool her. She has this look on her face because she understands that this could make it on the blog. BINGO! Pass go and get your $200.00!

But I just had to share with those who love and adore my child, this is what we deal with every day. We have tried every idea known to modern man to help out this hair issue.

I do have one last reserve idea. She needs a silky pillowcase for her princess locks to not be disturbed in her nightly slumber. Oh my! How could a kid of mine have such high hair standards. Not sure. And, how does this hair resemble dreds? I have no idea.

But I do know this beginning will not be the level of life in our household today. We have quizes to take, chores to be done, groceries to spend our investments on, and a weekend with our favorite hero just over the horizon.Yeah, he is the one in the KISS shirt. Did I really spend money on that shirt? I wonder how old he will be when he no longer wears it.

What a silver lining. It could be worse.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Oh I am trying to appreciate this time of the year with its colors of golden yellows and warm oranges, but heck, it is 90 degrees outside and my kids are still daily jumping in the pool. There is not a piece of decoration that welcomes Fall around here yet. This is because,we still could not survive without the A/C on and the lawn is still being mowed once a week, okay every other week.

The spiders have returned just in time for October's spookiness. Speaking of spookiness, has anyone else had the displeasure of having your nerves jump out of you because Universal has again decided to release an advertisement for Halloween Horror Nights that is completely unnecessary? I am not allowing the girls to even change channels for their morning shows because I don't want them having nightmares. I cannot watch the news without being exposed to the commerical. It is horrible. It is vile infact. I have sent them an email, I am not just whining on the blog. Back to the spiders, we have egg sacks everywhere on our porch from the brown widow spiders. Our resident banana spider is huge. It's body is as long as my index finger.

I am ready for soup (anyone have any great soup recipes, please email them to me)at least once a week and shorter days of sun. We are though, in full football mode around here; Gators on Saturday and Bucs on Sunday. Steve tries to gently plan our schedules around these events, and the poor guy has three of us who like football, but not love the game. He will be able to say he and his brother saw the Rays in their most winning season ever, but last night's game was a bust. Too many red shirts for this Florida man. Boston Red Sox fans outnumbered them five to one. He even boycotted the food that represented Boston. He was a serious fan last night.

Olivia is still deciding if she can even take time to learn about eagles, because they eat their meat RAW! They throw up the fur and bones of the mice! and their only redeeming quality is that they look pretty once they turn five. Oh my!

Stephanie struggles with my need as her teacher for all things written to be neat and spelled correctly. She thinks I am just being so demanding. UGH! I will say though, Steve and I decided September would be candy-ice-cream-gum free month, and it sure has been less stressful around here with the attitudes from sugar highs. I hope I got Uncle Jason in China all caught up on life here now, for this week anyway.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lowry Park Zoo

What a FUN day! Six girls and a whole bunch of wild animals provided a great study for Maddie and Olivia and their animal habitats. Olivia is learning about eagles and Maddie is learning about llamas. We had a terrific trainer give us an almost private session with the birds of prey. We saw more raw meat set aside for the flying birds than we cared to. At the end he brought out "Olivia" the three year old eagle who is new to the zoo and being trained. She still has her juvenile feathers so she is dark in color. We watched her train on a leash and in the end she got a large rat to eat. The girls did not seem to mind the messy snack. Yikes!
The new flume ride was the hit of the day. We all got SOAKED. No, I mean really soaked. And I had white shorts on. Not just once either. Twice for me and Oivia. Three times for Maddie and Samantha, oh the last one was a doozy. Eight times for Emma and Steph. We did go during a special time of the zoo, because there were babies everywhere. Our favorites were the pygmy hippo and the orangutan. Just look at that baby. It was a very fun time.What a cute bunch of girls. Happy Birthday Aunt Sam.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A different insight

Shelley said it best and I had to borrow her post. She knows so much more than I ever could.

To sew or not to sew

Back in early summer Stephanie began sewing lessons with our family friend and camping partner Mrs. Russ. She is the grandmother of Alma and Chloe, two of our greatest friends, and I taught with her for years. Stephanie is very comfortable around her and loves learning how to sew. It is in a room full of material, pins, needles and kid friendly machines.

We picked back up the lessons with the school year and Stephanie makes me so proud I could shout. See, she comes from a long line of seamstresses. Both of her great-grandmothers, grandmothers, and even myself have threaded more than our share of needles and ripped out a few seams in our time. It is something I am so thankful she is learning. My machine would not have produced such a love and interest. She would have tossed it out the window in frustration.

It is a joy to watch my little one with so much heritage of creativeness coarsing through her to thrive on her "projects". Somedays it is a mudpie with jewels, or a design made out of strings and beads. Other days it is a pillowcase or quilt. She is a fifth generation crafty girl.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

AAA and History Coop

She is very proud of herself.

Little lefty!

We used real fish to paint and press on our shirts.
They all turned out sooooo cute!

Friday was our first group school (co-op) of the new year. This year we have outgrown meeting in homes so we are meeting at a community building. It was quite successful. We have the morning session with the pre-schoolers to first grade. They are called the AAA (all about animals) co-op. This month they each studied something from the ocean habitat. Olivia had coral reefs. She really learned so much. I love her pipe-cleaner polyps. One day when her dad asked her to tell him what she had learned, it went something like this.

"Tell me about coral reefs"
"They only can live in shallow water where the sun can get in and reach."
"What else did you do today?"
"Well, I learned that if you let the sticker just touch the paper a little, it must stay right there, cause they're really sticky."
"yeah, but what about the reef?"
"Daaaad!, On the coral reef picture, the stickers stuck so good!"

Stephanie's History co-op played a game similar to LIFE(thanks Ms.Amy aka gamelady) but in Colonial times and waited for their afternoon session. They shared reports of people of interest, John Carver was Steph's choice. They also made a great scroll paper craft(good one Aunt Sam!) of the story of Roanoke, the lost colony. What a great group of kids we have.

They all made shirts for their feildtrips and ended the day with spending the night at a friends house. Stephanie got an extra biology lesson using plastic horses from Taylor. Steve and I are still chuckling over this one.

"hey, is your horse a stallion or a gelding?"-T
"I dont know"-S
"Look at it, does it look like a boy or are there just bumps?"-T
"It is just a horse."-S
"Do you know what a gelding is?"-T
"You know, that means he cannot make any more kids."-T
"Oh yeah, Oh yeah....well, I like this one cause it is brown."-S
Nice subject change there... Out of the mouth of babes....

Monday, September 8, 2008

Reasons to be a blogger

Bloggers not-so-anonymous

I love blogging. Posting, commenting, and reading about others. It has been a real positive for me and my family. We began the blog because of family members being so spread out over the country and world. It was to help our times when we were together to not be so "my-kid" centered conversation, because they would already have known what we had been up to. Like scrapbooking, it gave me a way to document our lives and to share it with others.

A negative to it I guess I could say is reading conversations in print just doesn't get the point across or the humor at times. I edit myself at times so feelings are not hurt and I have read some blogs that I sit back and question their intent. So, grace usually covers these situations.

I did search and find and wallowed in for days, blogs of adoptions and Down Syndrome blessed families. I still share in their lives and look forward for our addition someday. This was a big influence for me in the world of blogging.

I also must say my past exposure to the world of web-world and meeting and marrying my husband made it easy to go to Texas and meet so many friends that I had communicated with through blogs. It has been a source of encouragement and strength.

I am tagging a few friends to share their reasons.
Melissabecause a former roommate has a lot to say.
Stephaniebecause if I lived in Tenn. I bet we would share porch time.
Kaceybecause she has a jewel of a daughter and my girls are in love with Ella Grace.

1. Write about 5 specific ways blogging has affected you, either positively or negatively.
2. link back to the person who tagged you
3. link back to this parent post
4. tag a few friends or five, or none at all
5. post these rules— or just have fun breaking them

Thanks for letting me do my first tag.

Friday, September 5, 2008

End of the Spear

End of The Spear
In 2005 Steve Saint wrote a book about his father and four of his missionary friends who were killed fifty years ago when they tried to witness and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Waodani tribe deep in the heart of the jungles of Ecuador in South America. Fifty years after the tragic deaths of the five missionary men. Steve Saint's parents, Nate and Marj moved to Equador, near the Amazon River basin, when Marj was pregnant with Steve. They were Christian missionairies from the United States, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the native people who lived there.

Near Quito, the villiage where Steve was born, lived a tribe of the Waodani Indians. The fierceness of this tribe was legendary. They killed each other with their spears to the point the tribe was almost extinct. Nate would fly his small yellow airplane over the jungles along the Amazon River searching for the Waodanis. Once he spotted where they lived he started dropping supplies down from the airplane in a small bucket. He was hoping that this would let the people know that he was a friend. One day the Waodanis put a bird in the basket as a gift for the missionaries. This bird became Steve's pet.
an excerpt from Just for Kids magazine

There is so much more to this movie, and I will not give away the incredible life altering ending to the movie, but if you are looking for a movie, this would be one to watch. It is not appropriate for the squeamish, and my two daughters did not watch it, because of the killing.

I would love for them to one day see it, and to see how God's ways are above man's, even when it seems like God has turned His face.

It was a priviledge for me to watch this movie tonight and I will not soon forget it. I love the rekindling of a servant's heart. I love the heartstrings of mine that have been pulled because of my past experiences in South America. I love how I know my love for the things of God are taking root in my children. I love His gentle ways He draws us near and yet I love the "in your face" way He gets our attention too.

Carve out some time to watch this movie.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Colonial Life

Hardtack! What kind of appealing name is that for something you would eat? Well, according to most books I have found, this is the food of choice when traveling across the Atlantic in the 1600's. So we made some today to take with us to our group class. It is made of flour, salt, baking powder and water. It was fun, but no one is really excited about eating it. Olivia is excited because she loves Slim Jims and considers that dried beef which they also ate. In her imagination, she could survive; but we who know her, know the truth. There were not enough hair products back then, or denim readily available.

Yes, we are studying history and learning the ways of the world if we lived back then.

Don't get too excited we are not giving up electricity or spices or daily bathing. We are just learning about it. Stephanie gave me quite the laugh today when I read over her list of topics comparing today's world with colonial times. Here are a few-

making clothes from sheeps wool OR buying it at Wal*Mart (she included the star)
using herbs and water to cure illness OR Dr. Thomas
punishment for broken laws by hanging OR spanking, timeouts and hot sauce
attending meetinghouse on Sunday OR going to church at church

Another funny she said today...
" Mom, do you know what they did back in Colonial times when wives spoke back to their husbands?"
"No" (even though I have read the book and did know)
"Well, they dunked the wife into the lake."
"Mom, if you lived back then, you would be wet all the time!"

Okay, so we all laughed. Hmm...talking back... I better work on that. You know that whole "begat in your own image" thing.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Speak the truth

Here is a glimpse of our third grader busy with school this year. Along with learning about God, this year we are focusing on speaking the Word of God. Be encouraged today.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

So after a weekend of rain and clouds due to Hurricane Gustav, we played then, therefore, we work now. Afterall it is called Labor Day. Loads of laundry for me, a little cleaning and 24 hour run of FOX news to keep track of all that Shep and Geraldo have to tell me about the levees. After this coverage, we will be able to get our degrees in engineering...It is so hard to NOT watch. We celebrated New Orleans with a batch of the infamous Cafe du Monde's beignets. So good.

Steve is cutting the jungle aka our backyard. It has caused the girls and I quite a fright lately, because we do not know what lurks in the grasses. He is a good man. Having his zen (ipod) to listen to, makes it agreeable. I have some good steaks defrosting to reward him later for his day of Laboring.

As for the girls. They decided that the day could only be celebrated with a proper morning concert. And what is a concert without proper attire? They were just so darn cute, I could not resist the pics. Gotta love them! Is it 2008 or am I dreaming of the 70's? Disco queen.

Oh to be a kid!

These girlies know how to have fun!

Ooh so lovely!

It makes a mother proud.

Who knew soap foam was so much fun!?