Monday, August 17, 2015

August is Flying By . . .

My parents were here for most of last week, working on projects around here.

Dad figured out and fixed the smoke detector that would not stop beeping, and rather freaked me out when him messing with the wires in the smoke detector made the living room light blink on and off . . . he tells me he figured it out, I'm taking his word for it LOL.

Our big project for the week was to finish tearing off the shed on the back of the garage, Dad and I did a bunch of it during campmeeting in June, but didn't finish it. It's all gone (and now, this week's project is to start building stairs to the room over the garage, that could previously only be accessed by a ladder thanks to the original shed being in the way, hence the whole reason for this project).

Since I was helping Dad some, and Ashlyn's fully immersed in reading the Harry Potter books, I decided it could be an even more unschooly than usual week. Lexie was abit at loose ends, though she's reading the CS Lewis Space Trilogy, and apparently pondering something she wants to write, so she's been doing lots of talking to herself and telling me to go away when I ask who she's taking to, hee hee.

The Harry Potter books are definitely the biggest/most actual reading Ashlyn's ever done, preferring to listen to audiobooks than read herself, but I'm noticing that she pays a lot closer attention to details when reading, than I do. . . she's making connections as she goes, reading the books that I only realized in retrospect, and sometimes not even then. I've suggested to Lexie (whose, reading style is more like mine, read everything in sight, quickly, and just get the main idea)  that she might enjoy re-reading the Harry Potter books and notice connections she missed the first time through, because she didn't realize they were important.

Little Bit is thrilled to have Mama here to play with :)

Last week was the final week of the library reading program, so much reading happened to get those last tickets in. I'm thinking, in keeping with . . . I have 3 children, who do school in completely opposite ways . . . whereas Ashlyn HATED reading programs of any sort when she was younger . . . they stressed her out, big time! Little Bit definitely responds to the idea of getting something . . . Ashlyn wanted to learn to read because she couldn't stand knowing there was something she didn't know. . . Lexie wanted to learn to read because she wasn't about to let Ashlyn know something she didn't know . . . Little Bit doesn't care, BUT is putting the pieces together and likes "getting stuff" for reading . . . So I'm pondering a reading incentive chart of some sort for her . . . I'd just go with Pizza Hut's "Book It" except there aren't any eat-in Pizza Huts anywhere near us, just carry out, which doesn't work for Book It, so if, in addition to having to buy pizza for the rest of the family, I also have to drive out of the way to get to the restaurant it definitely becomes an expensive "free" pizza LOL.

So that was our week. . . nothing earth shattering, but we're keeping busy :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Wrapping Up the First Week of August

Another quiet week . . .

Ashlyn's excited to be harvesting cucumbers and a few tomatoes from her garden.

Little Bit got to hold our friends' new baby when we were over there this week. Soo sweet! Somehow, even though she's bigger, and older, than the twins were when she was born, I was more nervous having her hold the baby . . . maybe because she's my baby, she's not supposed to be that grown up yet (just don't tell her that, she doesn't like it, hee hee).

Lexie decided to read Harry Potter this summer and once she was addicted, she told Ashlyn she had to read them too so that we could watch the movies (I have a hard and fast "you can't watch the movie till you've read the book" rule). So last week Lexie finished the series and Ashlyn is now addicted as well. As a special "big kid treat", once Ashlyn had finished the first book, I borrowed the DVD from the library and we stayed up late to watch it  after Little Bit was asleep (because it would have been too scary for her). Needless to say, we had a slow start the next morning, but it was fun :)

We wrapped up our week with a visit from Mama and Papa, and grilling corn from my brother's garden, yum!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up!

Our summer continues to be quiet and uneventful, just the way I like it! Much to Little Bit's frustration, her sisters have been reading tons. That leaves her to her own devices. She loves drawing, and playing with her magna tiles, and stuffed animals, and playing outside. She found the aprons that our neighbor made for Lexie and Ashlyn when they were around her age, and had fun trying them on. Needless to say, they fit her perfectly, so now she has two new aprons.

Last week our neighbors were on vacation so the girls helped with making sure their puppy didn't feel too lonely while her family was gone. A mutual friend was house/dog-sitting but the girls happily went over when she was at work.

A friend from church had her baby a week ago, Friday. The girls asked me multiple times a day when we could go visit the baby, and we were all more than happy to go over when they were ready for company.

Lexie, Ashlyn, and I each took a turn snuggling that newborn sweetness! Awww . . . there's nothing like it!

Little Bit is starting to read a tad. One afternoon she wanted to earn some "tokens" in the library reading program, so I pulled out some easy reading books I had from when the twins were her age. I was pretty sure she had a pretty good selection of sight words, despite never "learning to read" per se, and I was right. Between words she recognizes, and deductive reasoning from the pictures, she's definitely starting to read. Good thing I found a good sized stack of the easy books, because she likes to go through 10 at a time (that earns her 2 tokens at the library).

And some cute randomness. Ashlyn's cat, Moccasin has always had a thing for boxes, if we have any laying around, he's sure to find them and sleep on, or in them, but I had to laugh when I walked by and saw that he'd squished himself into this little box that I'd set by the basement door with some other stuff to go down to the basement. Silly cat.

Finally, don't forget to enter my giveaway for an awesome new video about Exodus!  Today's the last day!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Review and GIVEWAY!!! Patterns of Evidence Exodus

I don't do many reviews these days, but when I was given the opportunity to review a brand new DVD, Patterns of Evidence Exodus, I had to say yes.  

In this documentary, filmmaker, Timothy Mahoney researches whether there is archaeological evidence for the Biblical account in Exodus. A couple years ago when we were studying ancient history, Ashlyn, Lexie and I watched, read, and listened to a variety of resources, about ancient Egypt, including some discussing the revised chronology that helps to better align archaeological evidence with the Biblical account. So I was interested to see if this video added any new insights. 

Considering the number of other resources we had looked at on this topic, no, I can't say that this video actually provided us with new information, however, it did a very good job of summarizing the information that we had gleaned from other resources and presenting it in a visually easy, or at least easier, to understand way. 

Things we liked: 
The video includes interviews with archaeologists who do not believe there is evidence for the exodus. It interviewed both Jewish and Christian scholars, some of whom don't believe that Exodus describes a literal historic event. I really liked that it provided "both sides" so to speak, yes, all from a Judeo-Christian worldview, but the video clearly showed that there is not consensus. 

Things we didn't like:
I can't really think of anything. Obviously, the target audience of this documentary is Judeo-Christians who are interested in seeing how archaeology supports the Bible. The "conclusion" of the documentary is that yes, there is evidence for Exodus.

If you're interested in learning more about how archaeology, ancient history and the biblical accounts all line up, this DVD is a great resource!

It will be released on August 4 and can be purchased here


A blog featuring interviews and articles is available here.

Twitter: @PattofEvidence

And now, I have a copy of this DVD to GIVEAWAY to one of you!!! Please leave a comment on this blog post (not on facebook or twitter), if you are interested in winning this DVD. Make sure to include your e-mail address so that I can contact you. If I can't contact you, or don't hear back from the winner within 48 hours an alternate winner will be chosen. 

Giveaway ENDS on August 4, 2015 at 8pm EDT.

Please note the rules in the disclaimer below.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Wrapping Up 2 More Weeks

So apparently this summer is the summer of two week wrap-ups . . . no real reason . . . I can't even say we're so busy I haven't had time to write . . . maybe it's because we are having a nice quiet summer and there's not a whole lot to write about. I kinda like that.

The weather's been surprisingly wet and not swelteringly hot for July. I like that too.

Ashlyn's been doing lots of gardening. It's kind of doing "too well" the plants are so big they're crowding each other in the raised beds. But we enjoyed the beets that she dug up last week, yum! We're also enjoying the herbs from the herb beds, but sadly, the Japanese beetles seem to really like the basil. Sigh . . . this year is the first time in years that I've seen TONS of Japanese Beetles. Must say, I haven't missed them, UGH! Ashlyn quickly learned to hate them too.

Little Bit is my . . . includer. . . off and on for several years now, we've done "dates" to allow each of the girls to have one-on-one time with one of their parents. Little Bit loves the idea of getting to choose to go someplace special or fun, but inevitably she invites her sisters to come with her. Kind of defeating the whole reason the "dates" were set up. But it makes her happy, so whatever . . . This time, Little Bit chose to go to Oley Dairy. An ice cream shop that also has a petting zoo.

This time I don't think we ever made it past the first couple pens because . . . BABY GOATS! To be fair, I think at various times all 3 girls DID walk around the rest of the pens, but rather quickly gravitated back to the baby goats because . . . they're babies, and they were friendly! The only challenge was keeping the big goats from butting them out of the way.

When we did walk around the rest of the pens, there was a turkey OUTSIDE the turkey pen. I asked Ashlyn to run inside and let them know that it was out. But they told her it's actually a WILD turkey that has been hanging around, trying to get in to their turkeys. How funny is that!

Otherwise, a pretty quiet couple of weeks. Little Bit rediscovered her magnatiles and has spent countless hours building "cages" for her plastic animals with the magnatiles.

The library reading program, though the prizes this year are . . . very disappointing (last year the raffle options included a science kit that had a microscope, etc. This year the raffle options are . . . not educational) Whereas last year the "token" prizes were lots of stickers and such that Little Bit, at least, enjoyed. This year everything is superhero themed. An "I like to read" sticker seems alot more, not only appropriate for a library, but also gender neutral/wide appeal than a spider man eraser. However . . . despite grumbling actual prizes, the girls are still having fun writing down the books we read.

So we're having a quiet, nice, unexciting summer . . . it's a good thing :)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Wrapping up the Last Two Weeks

I have no excuse for not posting last week. We weren't even that busy, just doing normal everyday stuff, but somehow it didn't happen, sigh . . . 

Then again, nothing much was happening so it wouldn't have been a very exciting blog post anyway LOL.

Ashlyn's been busy with her garden. If all the pepper and tomato plants survive, we'll be doing a LOT of canning and freezing LOL.

Our neighbor got some bamboo to use as stakes in her garden, and handed over the leafy tops to all the kids to build a "fort".  It took them 2 afternoons, but they got it built, and seemed to have fun doing it :) 

Corn came in at our local farm stand, so we've been happily eating corn every chance we get, yum!! The first day I brought home 13 ears (the farm stand sells it in  a "baker's dozen") and the girls told me I should have gotten more LOL.  That day the farmer also had some bananas he'd gotten from somewhere and wasn't sure what to do with, so we happily brought home a box full, chopped them up, and put 2 FULL gallon bagfuls in the freezer for "ice cream", yum!

Lexie's been reading the Bobsey Twins books to Little Bit (and Ashlyn's listening in). They think it's pretty fun that the twins in the books are 6 (Little Bit's age) and 12 (Lexie and Ashlyn's age) respectively. And that the description of 6 year old Flossie sounds an awful lot like Little Bit :)

A couple months ago I reserved the library's museum pass, which normally is available very quickly. For whatever reason there was a HUGE waiting list this time, so I FINALLY got it this week. We'd actually reserved it planning to go to an exhibit that was here in May, and is now gone, but since we had it, we decided to go ahead and go. They had a pretty cool art exhibit for kids that let the kids go "inside" the paintings in various ways. Little Bit had fun there for awhile.

Then Ashlyn suggested that we check out another temporary exhibit called "Maker Space" with no description as to what it was. Turns out it was citiblocks! With pictures of suggested things to build. Ashlyn decided to make the 200 block ship that was pictured, so we ended up being there a LONG time. Lexie was an awesome big sister and built with Little Bit, and built "houses" for Little Bit to use with her little animals, while we waited for Ashlyn to finish her ship.

It WAS pretty cool when it was finished!

We finished our week with Independence Day. We had potluck after church and the kids all had fun playing for awhile after that. Then that afternoon a friend texted and invited us over to cook out and do some fireworks so we went over there for the evening. We had a great time! Yummy food, lots of talking, and Little Bit got a turn at being the "big kid" since their kids are 4 & 2. The 2 year old really latched onto her and was dragging her around the yard showing her things. She's been saying for years that she wants a little brother, so she was more than happy to play the big sister. And then, to add to the fun, Mr. Jeff took them for rides in the wheelbarrow. If the delighted squeals and laughter was any indication it was the most fun ever! Once it got dark, we had more fun with sparklers and some firecrackers :) 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Wrapping up . . . Camp meeting

Whew! Campmeeting 2015 is over.

This year's exhaustion (for me) was different than normal. My mom got to experience my normal exhaustion of managing the kids' schedules, keeping Little Bit entertained while her sisters are off "having fun" but there's nothing for her age group. . . Figuring how how to have lunch ready as soon as meetings are over (though thankfully this year the big girls didn't want to do all the available afternoon activities and were able to arrange things so that the earliest time slot after lunch was free, meaning they didn't have to inhale their lunch, so Mom didn't have to figure out and have lunch ready the second they got back from morning meeting (seeings as how SHE was also just getting back from taking Little Bit to morning meeting).  . .

So, while Mom was handling all that, Dad and I spent our days at my house tearing a shed off the back of the garage (and doing other projects when the rain prevented us from working on that.  It was definitely more physical work than I'm used to, and more time spent out in the heat than I'm used to, but we got a lot done and I suppose it was good for me. . . re-reminded me why, when I was a kid and my mom would give my brother and me choices on which chores we were going to do each day (during summer vacation), I always chose the indoor ones! I don't do heat well. . .

But now to back up a little bit. Sunday schedule at campmeeting is different from the rest of the week. There are no meetings for the kids (except evening meeting for the bigger kids). So we decided to spend Sunday visiting a National Park instead. Hopewell Furnace was one of the early Junior Rangers the big girls earned and has always held the place of "favorite Junior Ranger" in their hearts. Little Bit was too little when we did it though, and there was a new Passport stamp there that Dad wanted. So we headed back there.  It's still a favorite. In addition to the "scavenger hunt" that Little Bit did to earn her Junior Ranger (and that the big girls remember so fondly from our first visit), they now also have a more challenging page for older kids, so the big girls got to earn another Junior Ranger there, doing different things from the first time. The girls were disappointed that the horses were too hot to come over to fence and say hi, but otherwise it was a great visit and confirmed that it's still one of our favorite National Parks :)

While I wasn't at camp meeting much, I did go up in the evenings for supper and got to hear about the girls' week. The big girls still love all the things they've always loved, though this year cemented in their minds, their feeling from 2 years ago, that Primary (age 7-9) is the most fun tent. Apparently the songs are better, the pastors give out candy, and . . . I don't remember what other reasons the girls gave for missing being in that tent. Their continued love for Primary has Little Bit anxiously looking forward to getting to go to that tent next year.

Little Bit didn't have very fond memories of her own class from 2 years ago, so we weren't sure how things would go this year. But apparently being one of the oldest instead of one of the youngest in the class (for ages 4-6) makes a big difference. Not only did she happily go to her meetings, but by part way through the week she didn't even need/want my mom to come with her (making that whole "have meals ready" thing easier . . . at least this way Mom could prep the food during meeting, then go pick Little Bit up, and then just do finishing touches while the kids all waited).

There was quite a bit of rain during camp meeting this year. I can't imagine how miserable it would have been to stay in a tent, but the motorhome made it not much of an issue for us. One evening though, it had just started to rain when Lexie and Ashlyn were ready to leave for their meeting. They decided they could walk in the rain rather than be driven to meeting by grown ups (oh the indignity!) so they set out. I wasn't paying much attention to what was going on outside, Little Bit was soundly beating her daddy and me at Sorry, when the gentle rain switched to downpour and I glanced out the window to see the trees surrounding the motorhome whipping every which way. Eek! I texted the girls to make sure they'd gotten safely to meeting before the sky opened up. Ashlyn replied that they had, and soon after getting to the tent, the leaders had moved them all to the basement of the girls' dorm (camp meeting is held on the campus of a boarding school). Whew! Rodney and I waited for the storm to pass and then headed home for the night. Later we found out that soon after they got all the kids moved out of the tents and into the dorms, the Primary tent collapsed. Thankfully nobody was hurt and they were able to get it set back up in time for the next morning's meeting.

We finished off our week, and camp meeting, with a church potluck picnic. The kids all had great fun playing on the playground before and after lunch. It was overcast, but didn't rain till we were packing everything up to go home anyway, so all worked out nicely.