Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sea World, Revisited . . .

Today we went back to Sea World. L decided to leave her baby in the hotel room, whew! But we couldn't get through the whole morning w/o drama. I gave them the choice of wearing costumes or not, L decided to wear hers (she'd brought her bride costume), A decided not to. I threw in a dress for L in case she changed her mind. As we were standing in line w/ millions of other people (more or less, probably quite abit less, I don't know that there was really THAT many people, but they were doing the fingerprint verification & it wasn't working well so the line moved VERY slowly . . . wiping off the fingerprint screen would have helped our line, I'm quite sure, I could SEE the fingerprint smudges on it, thinking that made it harder to read) she decided she was too hot & the dress itched and she needed it off NOW!! Mean mommy wasn't willing to get out of line to change her RIGHT then, nor was I ok w/ her changing in the midst of a moving line (sorry, I'm obviously in the minority (considering what many kids were wearing (or not wearing) in the splash park this afternoon) but IMO 4 yr olds are old enough to not remove their clothing in public (granted, we're still working on the fact that we don't answer the door in our uw at home, sigh . . .) SO, we stood in line w/ her screaming and me telling her repeatedly that as soon as we got thru the line she was welcome to change into her dress but if she continued to scream I would be taking her back to the car. Finally got through, and then she couldn't decide if she really wanted to change or not. Got to the point of dh handing me the car keys & me handing him the backpack (of snacks, etc) and dh & A starting to walk off before L *finally* decided she wanted her dress, and was done w/ the drama. After that, while the girls are both pretty tired, which always translates to being "touchier" the day went pretty well.

Gorgeous weather, sunny, breezy . . . GORGEOUS!!! Although I think we'll be stopping at Walmart on our way to Disney tomorrow to get a cap for dh & sun hats or caps for the girls (meant to bring the girls' sunhats and forgot, totally didn't think about a cap for dh) today was enough shows to not be TOO much sun exposure, but DW is more outside stuff . . .

More crowded at SW today than Monday (no shock there, considering the weather AND that today was Trick-or-treating) but really only noticeable at the gate, lines still weren't bad, and I don't think any show we went to was to the point of NO seating.

There was a Sesame Street (Count's Halloween Party or somesuch) show today that wasn't there Monday, the girls were very excited about that. The girls thought we needed to go back to EVERY show we'd seen Mon, but accepted it ok when I told them that they could each choose 2 shows (the 4 that made the cut were "the dog & cat show", Shamu, Oddeysse (sp? the circus/acrobatic show), and the Sesame St show). We STILL didn't get to see the live animals as much as I wanted to. Pretty much spent the morning doing the shows, though we did make it through the shark exhibit (VERY cool! The pictures do NOT do it justice! You walk through a tube like thing UNDER the shark tank, w/ sharks swimming along beside & above you!) and the horse barn (plus being lucky enough to be walking in the right place to have the horses pull the Budweiser wagon right by us! GORGEOUS animals!!!). Then we went to the car & ate a lunch we'd packed (very nice thing at Sea World, the season passes (at least the ones we have) include "priority" parking and unlike Sesame Place (where Priority Parking is as far away or farther than regular) Priority parking at SW is RIGHT OUTSIDE the gate!!!! Very convenient!!! NOT so convenient aspect of it, SW doesn't have a designated "re-entry" gate, so to get back in, despite having handstamps, we had to stand in line and wait for all the newly entering people to get their tickets/fingerprints checked! I was NOT amused, it cost us "close" seats at the Sesame St show!). After Sesame Street show, we spent the rest of the afternoon at the "kids" area. The girls had fun in the splash park, then we convinced them to try the shamu roller coaster by telling them it was like the "mine train" from DW, they LOVED it, we went 4 times in a row (little to no line) and the girls would've kept going if we'd let them (Mommy & Daddy had been jerked around enough. Separate lap bars are nice in that they're safer for the kids, but not so nice in that it means the end of the kid's lap bar was banging into my hip around each corner). Then we went to check out the "swirly fishies" which was a VERY low-key version of the teacups ride. And the girls could go on it w/o an adult, which they decided they wanted to do & were VERY proud of themselves. Again, no line, so they rode it twice, then L wasn't watching where she was going and bumped her head HARD on the gate or fence or something (I saw her do it, but couldn't tell what she hit), I gave her arnica and before I'd had time to even look for a bump she was ready to go ride again, so they went on it a 3rd time. THEN I got to look at it & she did have a good little bump there. But Daddy had agreed to take them on the flying fiddler (kiddie version of the gravity drop things that I won't touch w/ a 10 ft pole) so she wanted to do that too. While they were waiting in line for that she had to go potty, so I took her potty while dh & A went on the ride. Since the first aid station was right next to the bathroom, I convinced her to get ice to put on it while we were over there. She actually held the ice on it part of the time (first time either of them has ever let me put ice on a bump, I think). And between the ice & the arnica the swelling has gone down quite abit, there's still a little bump though. While she was going potty I did some quick "tests" to make sure her eyes were tracking & such, and she basically looked at me like I was nuts, "duh mommy, of COURSE I can do that/know that!" Then we went back & dh took both girls on the flying fiddler.

By then we were an hour from the special evening Shamu Show (Shamu Rocks, not one I'd recommend for my parents LOL) so we gave the girls the option of staying for it & they said they wanted to. A was complaining about being thirsty & we'd drunk all the water I'd brought in, so we decided to get the girls & I each a slushy (and water for dh) to eat while we waited for the shamu show. The girls, thankfully, chose to NOT sit in the splash zone this time (they were concerned as we carried our slushies to the stadium, that "Shamu might splash my slushy!" which helped them decide they wanted to sit up higher. Needless to say we didn't discourage that (we all got SOAKED at the mid-day Shamu show, I think they had "toned down" the splashing on Monday because of the rain, I'm quite sure they did more splashing today). So, we found seats, ate our slushies, and by then they'd started playing music to get people in the mood for the show, A alternated between dancing along & laying on the bench w/ her head on my lap, but L pretty much danced thru the whole show. I think in a certain sense, the girls (L anyway)could see the whales better from up high because they weren't focusing on "when will we get splashed". Anyway, like I said, not a show my parents would have enjoyed (VERY loud "our generation" music) but the girls seemed to really enjoy it despite being SO tired. . .

I thought they'd fall asleep on the ride back to the hotel (not very far, but w/ traffic & such . . .) but they didn't, and still insisted on their stories & such when we got back).

Tomorrow & Fri (we did get reservations for Fri night, same hotel, dh will talk to the front desk in the morning to find out if we can keep this room or will have to change rooms for Fri night) are both Disney. I'm hoping to convince the girls to choose 1 or 2 things, each to "repeat" and do all new things beyond that, we'll see how that goes . . .

Pictures are here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mickey World at Last!!!!

Despite still a 50% chance of rain today, and dh telling me repeatedly that the hurricane is coming our way, we decided that today was Mickey World Day! Only to get to the car and find that the battery was dead. I took kids and gear back to the room, dropped gear in the room then let the kids play in the "courtyard" of the hotel looking for lizards while dh called AAA. He came back and told me 90 min wait, we discussed me trying to take the kids to Disney via taxi or something but that sounded like a hassle and expensive and the kids were honestly having a blast playing in the courtyard so I told him we'd just wait, and then started praying hard for AAA to be quicker than anticipated. He called me from the parking lot maybe 10 minutes later to tell me they'd be here in a few minutes. So we might have waited 1/2 hour, if that. Got to Disney with L once again throwing a tantrum about her doll and everything else, again came very close to dropping dh & A off and me bringing L back to the hotel. And then once we got out of the car dh got tired of waiting for the tram and decided we weren't parked THAT far away, so we started walking, which resulted in another tantrum because L wanted to ride the tram. Despite the less than wonderful start, we had a great day. L got over herself once we were on the Ferry from parking to Magic Kingdom (let her choose between Ferry & Monorail). Didn't cover all of the Magic Kingdom, much less make it to any of the other parks, but we did alot.

Jungle Safari, where we were waiting in line inside during the first brief rain shower, Alladin's Carpet ride (essentially dumbo) TWICE because no wait & the girls loved it. Pirates of the Caribbean, the girls had a hard time (throughout) with the concept of the automated fake people. The fact that they were moving, "pretend", but not people dressed up was confusing to them, but they seemed to enjoy it. The short flume in PoC got A liking the idea of flumes (L liked that short one but once she saw the long one on splash mtn, she backed out), so dh took A on splash mtn while L & I watched (in the rain) for them to come down the long drop. Then abit of not total honesty, I asked if the girls wanted to go on the mine train & happened to not mention that it's a roller coaster of sorts. A saw it go by while we were in line & made some comment about "I don't know if L will like that, it's FAST" but not in L's hearing & she (A) was fine with it personally. We got up & got in & the announcer said something about it being the wildest ride in the west & "hold onto your children" so L took my arm & put it around her, when I asked what she was doing she said "he told you to hold onto me!" and then we were off, and she LOVED it!!! (both kids did). She wanted to go on it again, but I told her maybe another day since it was a 40 min wait & I suspected we wouldn't make it to everything they wanted to see. We also went on the Haunted Mansion, Dumbo, Snow White's Scary Adventure, Cinderella's Carousel & Goofy's Barnstormers (not long enough for the girls' tastes, thankyouverymuch!).

AND we went to Storytime with Belle & got to sit on the FRONT ROW and then go to go get pictures taken with her afterwards. As we were leaving Belle, L told her "you're my favorite creature" and Belle said "awwww, thank you" which apparently made L's day. When asked later, what her favorite part of the day was, L said "Belle telling me thank you!"

A was disappointed in Ariel's Grotto, it wasn't what she was expecting (nothing more than a photo op w/ Ariel) though I never got out of her exactly what she was expecting. But we did get pictures with Ariel. We were running out of time, so the last chance at photo ops we had to choose between "princesses" and "pals" and L chose pals "since we already saw Belle & Ariel", the pals were Goofy, Donald & Pluto and the girls were quite happy with that. A quick stop for postcards for their collections, a few minutes on a small playground, and then we rode the train back to mainstreet, the monorail (A's choice) back to the parking lots, and the tram back to our car. Whew! Busy day!!! DH & I are both very sore! The girls are, I think, exhausted.

Tomorrow is Trick-or-Treating at Sea World, which I think will also be good because it's a smaller, more laid back park, we saw MOST things last time, so we can pretty much let the girls decide what things they want to see, might go out of the park at lunchtime & catch a nap for the girls as well, we'll see . . .

And then Thurs & Friday (if we can get hotel reservations for the extra night) will be at Disney again, I'd like to at least see Animal Kingdom since I've never been there & the girls are crazy enough about animals that I think they'll enjoy it. If we get to it, i think there is at least an Ariel show at MGM, a place to have pictures w/ the Beast at Epcot . . . so plenty to keep us busy, but we might also end up spending another full day at Magic Kingdom we'll just have to see. I think I won't mention the Ariel show & such unless it looks like we'll for sure have time for it . . .

Pictures are here

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sea World in the Rain

By this morning the forecast for today was 60% chance of rain pretty much all day. So we decided to go w/ Sea World where it wouldn't feel like we were "wasting a day" if we got tired of being wet and came home early. Girls were fine with this adjustment to the plans (although L & I almost dropped A & dh off and came back to the hotel when she threw a total tantrum because she wanted to bring her doll in. Finally after I explained that "the people that work there" wouldn't let her bring the doll in with her to everything, so we would have to leave the doll in the stroller and someone might steal it (yes, I know, we could have hidden doll under stuff in the stroller & the odds of someone stealing it would have been next to nil. DH would probably also point out that this is a not very professionally doll that I made so even less chance of someone other than L thinking it was worth taking, but we are NOT going to start lugging dolls into amusement parks, zoos, etc.) we then had to discuss who (of the girls numerous invisible friends) was going to stay in the car with all the babies (because it's not safe to leave a baby alone in the car!) Gosha (L's husband) is home taking care of her house. Nui & Sosa are home taking care of A's animals (for which we are very thankful, I'm not sure I could have handled dealing w/ her numerous animals on top of the FIVE dolls A brought along). DH suggested that Crystal could stay in the cars with the babies, but the girls were horrified, "Daddy, Crystal is coming with us! And she's ONLY 2!!!" . . . finally we determined that A's husband, Luke was along on the trip and would watch L's baby along w/ all A's babies in the car while we went into Sea World, sigh . . . after that drama, the day went smoothly.

We got some rain showers but nothing too horrible. I think the hardest rain came while we were sitting waiting for the sea lion & otter show and we were under a roof so we could just watch that rain.

The girls were absolutely enthralled w/ the Killer Whales & Dolphins (2 separate shows). The Sea Lion/Otter show was a pirate theme that freaked L out a little (& A too, but L more), but once we got to the "sword fight" she kind of heaved a sigh of relief & said "those are paper swords!" and then she was fine.

We got some pictures, but the camera battery died partway through the day. I'm recharging it now, and will then download the pictures and see if there's one worth adding to this post LOL. (edited to add, pictures are here)

There's a small section of "kiddie rides" that are very similar to some of the rides at Sesame Place so the girls enjoyed them, didn't want to ride the Shamu (kiddie) roller coaster. A seriously considered the (very tall) log flume type ride (not a log, but that's how I always think of those types of rides). It had a 42" height limit, so I'd told the girls that they could probably be able to go next year, but not this year. But dh pointed out that w/ shoes on, A was probably 42" (when he measured them recently L was 39.5" and A was 40.5") and she thought about going on it, but then decided she'd wait till she's a "little older". L was quite adament that she didn't want to go on it, so we at least didn't have any concerns of her wanting to go & being too short.

I guess that's about it. Girls' only answer to "what's your favorite thing today" is "everything" so I guess that's good. Plan is to try Disney tomorrow. Still a 50% chance of rain, but it's "scattered showers" so hopefully no worse than today anyway. And there's more indoor stuff at Disney (small world & such).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Book Review: Plain Secrets

The library got one of my holds, in just in time for me to read it on the trip down. I'd reserved it a few weeks ago and kind of forgotten about it, then in preparation for the trip, I reserved a bunch of videos for the kids, so when the library called several times saying some of my reserved books were in, I assumed they were all the videos, and was pleasantly surprised to get there last week and find Plain Secrets there along with the videos.

In a nutshell, the book is the observations of a man who lives near some of the Swartzentruber Amish (the most conservative sect) and who has become friends with an Amish family.

I found it to be interesting reading. . . I'm not sure, if I had to "rate" it, what I would rate it. It is the observations of one man who observed one family. Obviously he "observed" the entire community, but it was only the one family that agreed to talk to him more openly than the Amish generally will talk to "the English" and welcomed him more fully into their home than is typical of at least this sect. The author never says (or at least I didn't notice) what, if any, religion he belongs to. Obviously not Amish, but I'm not sure, and couldn't tell from the reading, if he's Christian or not. While the author's family & the Amish family represented in the book are friends, I still detect a certain negativity on the author's part toward the Amish beliefs. Some of it, I agree with. At least based on this author's perceptions, and it would certainly seem to be the case at least for this family, there seems to be little focus on a relationship with God. This surprised me, I assumed that an aspect of the "plain living" was to keep the focus on God, not "the world" and while they might agree with me if I were ask if this is why they are "plain", in reality, it seems to be more about keeping everyone "dependent" on the community/religion. There seems to be no focus on developing a close, personal relationship with Christ. It appears that the church members are not encouraged to study for themselves, and aren't necessarily given any Biblical basis (or basis of any sort) for WHY they do/don't do things.

In some ways the Amish, even this extremely conservative sect, aren't as "old fashioned" as I would have expected. Even this sect allows the use of gasoline engines to run a washing machine, well pump, etc. (but only if it's connected with a belt? I'm not mechanical enough to know exactly what that means, shrug) they can ride in a car if they need to go for medical care, or for a funeral, or it seems some other reason. They apparently can also ride a bus to go visit family who lives farther away. . .

I was amused by the author's observation/perception, that the women are "oppressed" for the following reasons (I don't have the book in front of me, so going from memory):
  • they're not allowed to wear bras (ummmm, I didn't know this was a privilege! In fact, I have to say I've been much more comfortable since reading this article and switching to almost exclusively wearing camisoles instead of bras)
  • They're not allowed to use tampons, and generally use homemade cloth pads for their menstrual needs. (now, I'll admit, since I've found the mooncup I'd hate to give it up, and no doubt, it would be considered taboo by the Amish as well but prior to that, I had converted completely to cloth pads and I don't think you could pay me enough to go back to paper menstrual products).
  • They cannot wear makeup (shrug, not a big deal to me, and especially since they live in relatively isolated communities where none of them wear makeup, definitely doesn't strike me as a big deal)
  • They cannot shave (ok really, are there women who LIKE shaving? Considering that Amish women never show any of the skin that "English" women typically shave, if the husbands don't care, why WOULD they shave? (and on another note, if they DID, who would know except, again, their husband?)
  • They are not allowed to smoke (apparently the men are allowed to smoke pipes or cigars but not cigarettes or chewing tobacco), not a big deal for me, who thinks nobody should smoke LOL.
So, while I don't dispute that the women are, at least in some instances, are abused, the majority of the reasons the author cites, strike me as not such a big deal.

While I'd heard of the practice of shunning, I guess I'd never really examined my feelings about it as thoroughly as this book made me, or perhaps, more accurately, since it was always presented in a work of fiction (book or tv), I'd subconciously refused to form an opinion based on potentially inaccurate portrayal (if I *had* thought that TV/books portray life accurately, the "Seventh-day Adventist" character on Gilmore Girls proved just how little TV writers bother to research something (the no eating meat is a big emphasis, but the only reason the mother gives for not allowing the daughter to go to a concert on Sat. afternoon is that it's "rock-n-roll" the Sabbath Keeping aspect is never brought up.). Anyway . . . again recognizing that this book is one man's observations, it really does appear that the Amish don't care about a person believing for the sake of believing, it's 100% about appearances. The Amish are decendants of the anabaptists, who were persecuted because they believed in adult baptism, and the Amish still follow this, however, a child, upon reaching adulthood, is basically given the choice of being baptized into the Amish church or being cut off 100% from all contact with their family, community, etc. This is something I can't quite fathom. I hope that my children grow up with a firm personal relationship with God. While I believe, that this will lead them to continue in the church they are being raised in, if they reach a point where they firmly believe that God is leading them in another direction, I will support that decision. What's more, if they reject God/religion, I will still love them and be there for them. It does absolutely NO good, IMO, to go through the motions of a religion without the relationship, this is what leads to legalism, a following of rules for the sake of following rules. I honestly never thought of the Amish as legalistic, prior to reading this book. I assumed them to be devout Christians who each developed a close relationship with God and, as a part of that relationship, they felt that God was asking them to remove themselves from the "evils" of modern life. After reading this book (and again, this may be a result of the author's perceptions) I got the feeling that very little emphasis is placed on any sort of relationship with God. It's all about rote rituals and doing what was done before them with no real understanding of any biblical basis for it.

We made it!

The girls did AWESOME!!!! We made both days' drives with NO stops except for gas!! Which meant we got to the hotel much earlier than planned each day, yesterday (we had no internet access at last night's hotel, btw. And let me go on the record that I would gladly drive to the next town (whatever it might be) before I would stay in the Florence, NC Comfort Inn again!!! We were in a separate building quite a ways from the lobby, there was no practical way to bring breakfast back to the room or even just for part of our family to go to breakfast and the rest of us to come later, yes we COULD have walked but seriously, w/ little kids and trying to hurry, and oh yeah, having to cross parking lots and . . . NOT convenient at all! we rushed around this morning to totally pack up & still make it to breakfast before it closed, which is another complaint EVERY other Choice Hotel I have EVER stayed in (& I'd venture to take that further to ANY hotel w/ free breakfast that I've ever stayed in on a weekend, or paid any attention to their weekend schedules) breakfast is open till 10am on weekends (9am is pretty standard during the week). Nope, this one closed at 9am on a Sunday morning!). But by far the biggest complaint, they advertised "free wireless internet" we wouldn't have stayed there otherwise, sad? perhaps, but we both do alot of our work stuff online & really, what else are we gonna do once they're asleep and we have to be quiet? So anyway, we get there, dh was taking a nap, so I started trying to get online. Now, my computer has Vista on it & I'm NOT a fan, so when I couldn't make it work, I blamed Vista. Once dh woke up, he played w/ it a little bit, also couldn't make it work, and then we left to go to McD for supper & to burn off kid energy. So, we got back to the room, and dh, also blaming Vista for me not being able to get online, tried with his computer, and couldn't get on. Called the front desk, come to find out, the wireless signal isn't strong enough to reach our room, we were welcome to bring our laptops to the lobby & be online there. Huh? I was SOOOO annoyed! Needless to say, going and sitting in the lobby isn't an option w/ kids. So, we just all had an early night last night.

So anyway, we'll be finding a different hotel to stay in on the return trip. Actually we probably would have anyway, since it seems apparent that we can go more than half way. Although obviously the girls might not be quite such good travelers on the return trip.

They did GREAT! I'd brought plenty of videos, and other things to keep them entertained (actually we didn't go through all the "suprise bags" either day, so we should have more than enough things to entertain them on the trip home). DH had been very skeptical of my suggestion that we bring sandwich stuff to eat in the car instead of taking time to stop & eat at lunch, but I figured it wasn't that big a deal to bring along some bread & egg salad and if we didn't eat it on the trip down we could have it for supper one night while we were down here. I also figured we might potentially eat lunch in the car & THEN stop at McD or BK and let the kids play (and get a little something for dh & I to snack on while they played), or just stop at a rest area and run them through a highly active version of Simon Says or something to burn off steam. As it was, no stopping was necessary. AND they didn't nap either day.

Now we're here, we actually gave the girls the option of going to Sea World this afternoon (since we have season passes for there, going for a few hours is an option, and we got here a little before 4:00, they're open to 8:00 so we could have been there for at least a couple hours) and they opted to swim here at the hotel instead. It IS a very nice outdoor pool, today is overcast, and cool enough that I'm enjoying sitting by the pool watching them, but not so cool that they'll freeze to death. And DH is happily catching up on the football he didn't get to listen to as much as he'd have liked on the way down (the DVD player in the car is set up with headphones so the girls could watch/listen on headphones while we listened to the radio or a CD, but they don't like the headphones long term, so after awhile they'd ask if they could "listen w/o the earphones" and poor daddy had to listen to Dora or Mary Poppins or whatever instead of the football game.

Oh, forecast was for rain the entire drive down, it was raining when we left home yesterday, but cleared off quickly and we had NO more rain yesterday and only a few scattered showers today. Forcast for the rest of the week has changed from thunderstorms to showers, so hopefully we'll have a good week and not get TOO wet LOL.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Just as I finished writing my earlier post, dh, who'd gone out on the front porch to make a phone call (better cell phone reception out there, I guess) stuck his head in the door & told me I needed to come out there. The girls had gone looking for him and found him, and I'm sure, got bored being on the porch while he was on the phone, so, when I went out there they were happily playing in the (VERY COLD) rain, in the dark. So, while they continued to play in the rain & puddles (they were already drenched, why spoil their fun?) I snapped a couple pictures, that can be seen here (at the bottom).

Needless to say, when they were done, we stripped them & took them straight up to a nice warm bath, then hot chocolate, and now they're theoretically going to sleep. Of course, this is VERY early for them to go to sleep, so chances are we'll be leaving for tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn, yawn . . . but an early start is at least theoretically a good thing (says the NOT morning person).

You look just the same . . .

I pulled out some old photo albums to show the girls pictures of when we went to Disney when I was a kid. The girls, loving to look at pictures, insisted on looking through the whole album, not just the couple pages of Disney pictures. Near the back was a picture of my friend, Angie & I walking down the aisle as 11th graders for graduation (not sure if this is just an SDA school thing, but the Juniors have to wear coordinating outfits and walk up and down the aisle all weekend as part of the graduation stuff, or at least they did 14 years ago, no idea what they do now). Anyway, since Angie & I go to the same church, have kids roughly the same age, and get together regularly, I pointed out the picture of "Miss Angie" to the girls. L's comment was "you guys look just the same" since we were wearing coordinating dresses, I assumed she was saying that A & I looked the same as each other, and made some comment to that affect, to which L said "no, you guys look the same as you do NOW!" Hmmm, pretty sure that's not an accurate statement (at least wrt me) but I guess I'll take it LOL.

And to make my kids' day, when DH & I went to Disneyland on our way home from our honeymoon, by some odd twist of fate, I took pictures during the parade & such of exactly 2 princesses, and they would be Ariel & Belle, the girls are very excited about this fact, I'm not sure I'll ever get my honeymoon picture album back from them LOL.

I think we're pretty much ready to go. As you can see, the "to do list" is about as done as it can be until the girls go to bed, then a couple quick things to do w/o them around, and then the last minute stuff in the morning & we're outta here!

Current forecast is for thunderstorms in FL next week, pray that they clear up, or at least are isolated enough to not keep us from going and having fun as planned. Conveniently I'm pretty sure the "must see" things for the girls are indoors (Ariel's grotto, where you get wet anyway, I think, and Storytime with Belle, so absolute worst case we only use one day of our Disney passes, and go do those two things and other indoor things (really, if you think about it, alot of the "classic" Disney is indoors, other than waiting in lines, which would hopefully be short in the rain, Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted House . . . and it's supposed to be in the 80's so it won't be bitterly cold if we get wet going from place to place) and then spend whatever non-raining time we can fit in at Sea World (where we have season passes so if we only go for an hour or two a day it doesn't matter) and if necessary, come home early. We shall see . . .

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sure, I meant to do that!

I made the tortillas & they seem to have come out ok, YAY! I used this recipe. I was going to do 50/50 ww and white flour, but ran out of ww, so it was probably more like 30/60. And I used coconut oil instead of shortening (healthier, and I had it on hand. I did some looking online to see if I needed shortening and found stuff that said that butter/margarine could be used instead of shortening in recipes & then the Spectrum site indicated that coconut oil could be used instead of butter (but conveniently never said specifically that it could be used instead of shortening, probably because they also sell a "healthy" shortening that I'm too cheap to buy) so I figured it was worth a try & it seemed to work ok.). Didn't get them especially round, which isn't too surprising, I could have played with it more when I was rolling them out if I'd really cared, but I didn't LOL. And as it turns out, they worked REALLY well they way I did them. For some reason, making a ball & then rolling them out tended to leave one side with a kind of "tail" where a middle section stuck out farther than the sides, you can kind of see it on the left side of the one in the frying pan in the picture above. Well, as it turns out, since I was using them to make burritos & folding in the one end (like restaurants generally do, so you can pick it up w/o everything falling out the bottom) that "tail" worked really well to fold up as the bottom. So yeah, I meant to make them that way. I made them all into bean burritos that are now in my freezer being frozen so I can toss them in a big ziplock and take them alone for supper one of the nights we're gone (yes we confirmed that we'd have a fridge in the room, I assume there will be a freezer in the fridge, worst case, we'll turn the whole thing into a freezer by turning the temp down and then use the ice chest w/ ice in it for the refrigerated stuff).

To Do Before We Leave

Because I'm feeling like I'll forget important stuff, still to do:

DONE: Pack Ice Chest
DONE: Phone charger & computer
DONE: Make sure all dishes are done
DONE: Throw gourds/pumpkins from nature table in compost before we go (after kids are in bed)
DONE: Set TV to not record kid shows while we're gone (after kids are in bed)
DONE: peel/slice a cucumber
DONE Set heat at a low, but above freezing temp, in case it gets really cold while we're gone
DONE: Water indoor plants
DONE Set LaRee's Candles to indicate we're closed next week
DONE Make egg salad
DONE Kids "suprise bags" for trip
DONE Swimsuits
DONE Do wipes/towels/rags load of laundry
DONE Kindermusik
DONE Chairs & co-op stuff to church/Angie
DONE - Make tortillas (or not, I think there are tortillas in the freezer I can use if I get lazy) and assemble burritos to freeze and take along for suppers
DONE Clean out minivan
DONE Costumes (? if the girls want to dress up for ToT'ing at Sea World)
DONE Backpack (in case we don't want to take the stroller into the parks)
DONE Help girls choose/pack their clothes
DONE Pack DH's & my clothes
DONE Pack Sea World Passes
DONE - Freeze water in jars to keep food cold on the trip down (they're in the freezer anyway)
DONE - Cut granola bars & pack (still too crumbly, must keep playing w/ recipe)
DONE - Determine if we have enough bread or need to throw another loaf in the bread machine (depends if the kids eat any between now & then) It will have to be enough, I'm out of flour and we might as well just buy bread as make bread w/ white flour (that I happen to have on hand for making playdoh LOL)
DONE: Pack non-refrig food
DONE: Cut cheese "sticks" to snack on
DONE camera, charger & usb cord
DONE: Print out DW ticket confirmation information
DONE Ship out candle order & co-op order
If at all possible, plant bulbs (not gonna happen, it's raining)
Figure out how to listen to answering machines messages remotely (nevermind, can't find book)

Not quite a lion and a lamb but . . .

I really needed to see some "good in the world" pictures today, and these are just TOO COOL! Isn't the world a wonderful place when we all just get along? :)

Health notes . . .

A link to this article was in my in box this morning. Now, on the one hand, I am a vegetarian! For a variety of reasons, including health & religion, and the fact that the thought of eating a dead animal grosses me out (& yes, logically I realize that eating an egg is just as gross or more so, but I grew up eating eggs, not meat LOL), and that's not going to change! For both environmental and health reasons (due to the contaminates in our world) I'd love to go vegan, but I'm also realistic enough to know that I'd never convince dh to eat vegan and (a) I'm too lazy to fix him a separate meal from the girls & I and (b) the girls and I both enjoy dairy products enough that if they're in the house we're going to eat them.

But on the other hand, the article, as long as not taken to the opposite extreme (why is it so hard for society to accept "all things in moderation" as a possible option?), supports what I've been trying to move toward for our family. Less processed foods, more whole foods, moderation in all things, avoid the chemical fillers that are so rampant in low fat, sugar free, etc. foods (low fat foods generally are higher in refined sugar, and yet so many people in an effort to be healthy/lose weight will eat a diet made up primarily of "low fat" processed foods and "sugar free" (but full of chemical sugar substitutes) foods, which seems rather counterproductive. Now, yes, we eat out, and when we eat out we are obviously eating preservatives, refined flour, refined sugar, etc. But at least at home if I can limit or eliminate these things, I feel that we're making a step in the right direction and approaching a more overall healthy lifestyle than if we're replacing fat with refined sugar &/or replacing sugar with potentially cancer-causing chemicals.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Whole Foods Trick-or-Treating

When the girls first realized that Halloween was approaching, and I explained that we'd be in FL over Halloween so wouldn't be home for Trick-or-Treating they seriously considered skipping "Mickey World" to stay home to ToT. I finally figured out that a big part of the draw was the candy so they decided if we could get some candy on our own, they would live w/o ToT for one year. But then we were at Whole Foods a couple weeks ago and I saw a sign that they were doing Trick-or-Treating at the store this Tuesday, so I figured hey, it would give them a chance to dress up (and the beauty of loving all things princess, they were perfectly happy to dig through the dress-up box and design their costumes from that, so no expense to buy new ones), and at least in theory would be healthier "treats". So, we went down yesterday afternoon. The Whole Foods we normally go to (and the one where the pictures were taken) had an interesting take on Trick-or-Treating. On a positive note, they were giving away ToT bags (that are, conveniently, great reusable grocery bags the rest of the year). But, while I envisioned most departments giving away things that were portable (ie. could go IN the ToT bags to eat later), there were only 2 things in the entire store that could go in the bag, toothpaste and a juice box. The rest of the departments had prepared food type stuff that had to be eaten right then. Which wasn't a problem per se. More odd to me, some of the food choices were far from typical children foods. The pumpkin ravioli salad was even too "gourmet" for my eat anything kids. And while my kids loved the pumpkin cheesecake, it didn't seem like something the average child would eat LOL. Anyway, after we ate supper, we decided we might as well hit the other Whole Foods in the area. Partially because rush hour was going to be horrible if we left for home then, partially to see if they did things the same way, partially to see if we could get more "loot". We got there near the end of the evening, so some stuff had run out, and they were selling the bags instead of giving them away, but it was much more what I was expecting, most places had a granola bar or fruit leather or something of the sort, or a food to eat right then but also a temp tatoo or crayons or something. So now we have a nice little selection of healthy(ish) snacks to take with us on our trip to Disney LOL.

And how sad is it that even the "natural" toothpaste they were handing out at Whole Foods was full of stuff I'd prefer my kids not put in their mouths. They were SO excited to have their own toothpaste tubes that I didn't have the heart to tell them I didn't want them using it (and in the grand scheme of life, one sample size tube won't kill them), but I'll admit I'm hoping they'll lose interest before the tube is empty and we can go back to brushing teeth with things I'm comfortable with.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Shaping up to be another laid back week . . .

The girls are in a phase of not being interested in structured activities at the moment. They're doing lots of involved imaginary games.

They had a pool party for their babies in the middle of the family room yesterday. Today A is potty training Jeanie (of course this would be the doll that was MY first doll. One would think that by age almost 32 she'd be potty trained, but I must not have been as dedicated a mommy).

We've been sort of counting down on a calendar to when we leave to Disney, and I've had the other planned stuff for this month on the calendar as well. Yesterday L was asking me what day tomorrow was (because she'd decided that "tomorrow" was her baby's birthday so she needed to know when her baby's birthday was). I told her Tues. and all of a sudden she got this excited "lightbulb dawning" look on her face & said "that's the day we go to Whole Foods to Trick-or-Treat!!!" Yup, she's right. That would be this afternoon. L's pretty stuck on being a ballerina, I'm not sure which ballerina costume she's planning to wear, the actual ballerina one or a "princess dress" that has a tulle skirt that she calls a ballerina dress. Kinda guessing it'll be the princess dress one. Suprisingly, yesterday A said she wasn't going to be Ariel because she's nervous about walking thru the store in the shoes. I pointed out that she could wear different shoes, but she didn't seem to like that idea. She said "there's a whole box of dress-up clothes, I'll find something" so guess we'll see what she comes up with.

We did the first of the mechanical resists art lessons yesterday. I haven't pulled all the stickers off yet, but I THINK it did the same thing it did last time we tried something like this, and the paint soaks through the fabric enough that the defined shapes aren't going to be there. We shall see . . . perhaps it's because I use the absolute cheapest muslin, but I don't see a need to buy expensive fabric to let 4 yr olds paint on. I suspect that, if we do any additional "school" this week we'll do some of the nature stuff & we, or at least *I*, HAVE to do some of the cooking/baking to have snacks for our trip, so thinking we won't bother w/ the next to mechanical resists lessons.

Yesterday for circle time I introduced this week's memory verse for the first time. To which A looked at me like I was insane and said "how can a CHURCH pray?" reminded me that as advanced as their language and such are in many areas, they're still very concrete thinkers. Although she accepted it easily enough when I explained that it meant the people IN the church. Of course to add to the confusion, when we did the fingerplay that goes with the memory verse during bedtime stories last night, it of course uses a typical "church" motion (the same one in "here is a the church, here is the steeple") for that part of the verse, thereby reiterating that it's the building, not the people in it, sigh . . . I really wish the people who designed these lesson quarterlies had done abit more test marketing or SOMETHING to make things age appropriate in a way that the kids would be LEARNING. At least this week we have an actual Bible story for the lesson (Peter being rescued from prison by the Angel and going to the upper room). It's the first actual Bible story that's anywhere near age appropriate this month!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Grandma's Birthday

I think Grandma really enjoyed it. I was looking through the pictures to find one to use with this post and almost all the pictures of Grandma, she's talking. I think that's a good sign LOL.

We didn't go up until afternoon, we got there as they were finishing up opening presents, then we pretty much ate and visited. It was good to see relatives we don't get to see very often.

The girls napped on the way up, as planned. Since I generally have to wake them up after an hour or so of napping, and it's only about 45 min. up there, and they didn't fall asleep instantly, I was expecting to get there with them still asleep and then carry them in and let them wake up slowly on Papa's and my laps or somesuch. But apparently they had their own little alarm clocks set because as we pulled in the driveway they both woke up & went from asleep to wide awake instantly LOL.

My second cousin, Sarah is pregnant, due next month, and someone said something to L about Sarah's tummy being big because of the baby inside to which L replied, "My mommy's tummy was MUCH bigger when we were in it!" She has a point LOL.

DH & my brother were watching football while we were getting the meal ready, and the girls were with them. When the Redskins game was over, L came running out and told us that quite emphatically that "this is just TERRIBLE! The Redskins won! It's AWFUL!!!" Poor kid, her Daddy's got her brainwashed :( At least I had my dad and brother there to be happy for the redskins along with me, since my kids have betrayed me.

Mom, Darla & Jani had made a bunch of different cupcakes and arranged them on a tray around the number 90 made out of flowers. And then arranged some greenery & tealights around it and stuck birthday candles in some of the cupcakes and such. They didn't pay attention to how many candles they used, since obviously they weren't going to use 90, so they just put however many to make it look nice. Turns out they used 17, and Grandma pointed out that she was born in 1917, so the candles had more significance then planned :)

The girls also managed to rope several people into planting the stuffed beaver on the climbing wall (which makes sense if you've been to my parents' house, and probably doesn't if you haven't LOL. They have a loft that you climb a carpeted wall to get to, and Dad sticks a stuffed beaver into one of the high hand/foot holds and the girls see if they can climb up high enough to "rescue" it). Ashlyn will now rescue the beaver from the highest hole, Lexie still sticks w/ the next one down.

Pictures are here.

And while I was up there this weekend I got Dad's pictures from when we went to the zoo a few weeks ago, so those were added to this album.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Archive of Homeschooling 2007-2008

Week of 4/6/08
  • Memory Verse:[Jesus said] "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last." Mark 9:35
  • Circle: Rain (play in rain if/when it rains & is warm enough)
  • MOVING - help pack!
  • PARTIALLY DONE Art: Thank You Cards from Birthday
  • DONE Art: Birthday card for Adam
  • DONE Art: Birthday card for Megan

Week of 3/31/08
  • Memory Verse:[Jesus said] "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last." Mark 9:35
  • Circle: Rain (play in rain if/when it rains & is warm enough)
  • We're moving . . . Homeschool is on "spring break" until we get moved LOL

Week of 3/24/08
  • Memory Verse:Let us love one another for love comes from God. 1 John 4:7
  • Circle: Wind
  • DONE Nature (all week): Grain a day From Kindergarten Snack Book (incorporate into menu)
  • SKIPPED Nature: Have Grandma show girls how she grinds grain
  • DONE Book: Fairy Houses
  • SKIPPED Handwork: Build Fairy house
  • SKIPPED Handwork: Add water feature to fairy house
  • DONE Book: We're Going on a Bear Hunt
  • SKIPPED Handwork: Add decorations to fairy house
  • DONE Book: Pancakes, Pancakes
  • DONE Nature: Talk about history of mills

Week of 3/17/08
  • Memory Verse:I will accept nothing belonging to you. Gen 14:23
  • Circle: Wind
  • DONE Finish St Patricks Day Lapbook
  • Art: Decorate goody bags for Birthday party

Week of 3/10/08
  • Memory Verse:Lets not have any quarreling between you and me. Gen 13:8
  • Circle: Wind
  • Extra: Start St Patricks Day Lapbook (worked on it a bunch)
  • SKIP Nature: Re-fill shell candles we made before
  • DONE Nature: Collect shells from around the house, add some to nature table
  • DONE Nature: Start herbs/plants for container garden
  • DONE Book: Houses from the Sea
  • DONE Art: Examine various items, and talk about their texture (C&P pg25)
  • DONE Book: Seven Blind Mice
  • DONE Nature: Add natural sponge to girls' bath toys

Week of 3/3/08

  • Memory Verse:Worship the Lord with gladness. Ps 100:2
  • Circle: Wind
  • Nature: Update Nature table for early spring
  • Art: Getting in touch with your painting arm (Children & Painting pg 10)
  • Art: Developing a Brushstroke Vocabulary (C&P p12)
(Incorporate C&P pg10 & 12 into another art lesson, instead of doing them all separately)

These are the resources we used in the Sound Unit:
Week of 2/18/08
  • Memory Verse:I have set my rainbow in the clouds. It will be a sign. Gen 9:13
  • Circle: Whatever strikes our fancy each day LOL
  • Music: Carnival of Animals

Week of 2/11/08
  • Memory Verse:Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise. Ps 48:1
  • Circle: Valentines Day
  • DONE Book: The Dragons Are Singing Tonight
  • DONE Handwork: Use puppets to perform poems from Dragon book
  • DONE Art: Watercolor Pencils

Week of 2/4/08
  • Memory Verse: I will praise you forever for what you have done. Ps 52:9
  • Circle: Valentines Day
  • DONE Book: Three Billy Goats Gruff
  • SKIP Handwork: Make goats puppets and act out Three Billy Goats Gruff

Week of 1/28/08
  • Memory Verse: We will obey the voice of the Lord. Jer. 42:6
  • Circle: Winter & Snow
  • Kindermusik: Practice with mallets
  • Art: Wet into Wet Wash
  • Nature: Night time nature walk
  • Art: Watercolor Pencils
  • Handwork: Make goats puppets and act out Three Billy Goats Gruff
  • Art: Smooth & Rough
  • Book: Three Billy Goats Gruff
  • Art: Gather Supplies
  • Art: Other Textures
  • Archive of previous weeks

Week of 1/21/08
  • Memory Verse: The Lord is good and his love endures forever. Ps 100:5
  • Circle: Winter & Snow
  • Nature: Night time nature walk
  • Art: Clouds wash
  • Book: Three Billy Goats Gruff
  • Handwork: Make goats puppets and act out Three Billy Goats Gruff
  • SKIP Art: Wet into Wet Wash
  • DONE Finish Adam & Eve lapbook (L)
  • DONE Art: Graduated wash
  • DONE Handwork: Read "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" and make horse sound effects
  • SKIP Art: Watercolor flat wash
  • DONE Book/CD: Charlie Parker Played Be Bop
  • DONE Book: Owl Moon

Week of 1/14/08
  • Memory Verse: God blessed the seventh day and made it holy. Gen 2:3
  • Circle: Winter & Snow
  • Finish Adam & Eve lapbook - A did, L still has one more mini book
  • DONE Handwork: Gather "household" instruments and make music
  • SKIPPED (snow)Art: Kinder Konzert
  • DONE Nature: Listening Walk
  • DONE Book: Ty's One Man Band
  • DONE Nature: Winter Nature Table
  • DONE Art: Read Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin

Week of 1/7/08
Memory Verse: God said, "Let us make man in our image." Gen 1:26
Circle: select a variety of books we haven't read for awhile and move to homeschool basket for this week.
Adam & Eve lapbook

Week of 12/31/07
  • Memory Verse: God saw all that He had made and it was very good. Gen 1:31
  • Circle: select a variety of books we haven't read for awhile and move to homeschool basket for this week.
  • Reading: Continue working through "In the Beginning" (for A)
  • Reading: Continue working with Bob Books
  • SKIP Nature: Rainbows
  • Book/Cooking: Sun Bread

While there are still some odds & ends we're going to tie up with the Water in our World Unit, for the most part we are done, here are the resources we used for this unit:
Week of 12/24/07
Week of 12/17/07

Week of 12/10/07
  • Memory Work: Luke 2:1-7
  • Memory Verse: The angels . . . serve God and are sent to help. Heb 1:14
  • Circle: Christmas - Advent Calendar
  • Reading: Continue working through "In the Beginning"
  • Reading: Continue working with Bob Books
  • DONE Cooking: Banana Oatmeal Cookies
  • DONE Handwork: Make Pinecone Birdfeeders

Week of 12/3/07
  • Memory Work: Luke 2:1-7
  • Memory Verse: Let your word help me understand. Ps 119:169
  • Work through "In the Beginning" Workbook, and start working with Bob Books.

Week of 11/26/07
  • Memory Work: Luke 2:1-7
  • Memory Verse: Encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thess. 5:11
  • Circle: Christmas (sing a carol, look at meaning behind a tradition, work on Nativity lapbook
  • DONE Book: Snowballs
  • DONE Cooking: Make tea, watch water change color as it steeps.

Week of 11/19/07
  • Memory Work: Luke 2:1-7
  • Memory Verse: Do what is right. 2 Cor. 8:21
  • DONE Circle Time: Thanksgiving
  • DONE Book: Snowflake Bentley
  • DONE Book: Blueberry Garden
  • DONE Art: Aluminum foil sculpture
  • DONE Book: Little Cloud
  • DONE Cooking: Thanksgiving Dinner Prep
  • SKIP Handwork: Paint mugs/bowls
  • SKIP Extra: Thanksgiving Lapbook
  • SKIP Nature: Paint pots for container gardening
Week of 11/12/07
Memory Work: Luke 2:1-7
Memory Verse: Come and stay at my house. Acts 16:15
Circle Time: Thanksgiving
Book: The Popcorn Shop
DONE: Handwork: Do a Water Project from Earth, Fire, Water & Air (boat)
DONE Art:: Pots & Pans art
DONE Book Crossings
SKIP Nature: Go to railroad museum to see steam locamotive (?)
DONE Cooking: Make pasta, add oil to water to watch it swirl
DONE Cooking: Make popcorn in a kettle with a glass lid to watch it pop

Week of 11/5/07
  • Memory Work: Luke 2:1-7
  • Memory Verse: The Lord has sent me so that you can see again. Acts 9:17
  • Circle Time: Thanksgiving
  • DONE Nature: Read "A Drop of Water" & fingerplay
  • DONE Nature: Re-do nature table with water/beach theme
  • DONE Nature: Walk along stream, imagine following to sea
  • DONE Handwork: Make Seashore Candles
  • DONE Books: The Seashore Book
  • DONE Other: Plant bulbs

Week of 10/29/07

Sea World, Disney World, Travel . . .

Resources used for "Sun, Moon and Shadows"

Week of 10/22/07
  • Circle: Pumpkin songs & fingerplays
  • Memory Verse: The church kept on praying to God for him. Acts 12:5
  • DONE Cooking: Homemade Tortillas/Burritos
  • DONE Cooking: Granola Bars
  • DONE Extras: Whole Foods Trick-or-Treating
  • DONE (as much as we're going to do) Art:: Mechanical Resists
  • SKIP Handwork: Seasonal Tree from More Magic Wool
  • SKIP Nature: Apple printing

Week of 10/15/07
  • Circle: Pumpkin songs & fingerplays
  • Memory Verse: God does not show favoritism Acts 10:34
  • DONE Nature: Star Gazing
  • DONE Cooking: Carve a pumpkin
  • DONE Cooking: Sourdough bread
  • DONE Other: Visit Pumpkin Patch/Corn Maze
  • SKIP Play: plant "magic" pumpkin seeds
  • SKIP Play: Hide small pumpkins in yard and let kids find them

Grandma's birthday weekend, part 1

My grandma turns 90 today (Sunday). Mom and her siblings decided since Grandma's not a fan of having a fuss made, the thing she'd like the most was to have her family around her, so mom's brother and sister came, 2 of my cousins were able to come, and in the end they were able to figure out for Grandma's sister and her husband to come (one of their grandsons is friends with our pastor so he volunteered to drive them up here to visit Uncle Bruce's brother (who lives in MD) and our family, while he visits Q), and one of my mom's cousins is coming up today (she lives in MD too, so can come up for the day). So, it's kind of a weekend of togetherness more than a specific party, which is totally Grandma's kind of thing anyway.

So, we went up for church yesterday and spent the day there. The girls did great, considering there were quite a few people they didn't know, although mom's brother & his wife were here a couple months ago so I think they at least sort of remembered them. Mom's sister & her husband and son (cousin Dennis) come up a few times a year, so the girls were excited to see them again. A especially is buddy buddy with Cousin Dennis (and while of course single, 20-something Cousin Dennis pretends to find it annoying, I think he enjoys it. As I told his sister, Jani (who's here this weekend but I don't think had met the girls prior to this, if so it was when they were still babies) he keeps coming back so he must not dislike it TOO much LOL. But generally if A wasn't running around I could find her snuggled up on Cousin Dennis's lap.

Mom said at lunchtime L was saying something about there being SO MANY people and mom told her there were more coming (Grandma's sister & Jani's husband didn't get there till yesterday afternoon, plus mom's cousin that's coming today) and L said "Oh, NO! Tell me you're joking!!!"

A told me on our way home last night, and again this morning that "at MY birthday, no grown-up talking is allowed!!" I asked if the mommies could talk while the kids played, but she's not even sure she's going to allow that LOL.

The original plan was that I'd take the girls up for most of the day today as well (dh is working), but since they were stressed by all the people I decided we'll wait and just go up this afternoon.

In other news, the girls have decreed the sourdough bread to be too sour (and I had to laugh, for dinner yesterday they had rhubarb pie for dessert (mom humored those of us who are very much NOT fans of rhubarb (or in my case, pie in general) and made brownies too) the girls had brownies and ice cream but then I guess A was asking mom what she was eating or something, so mom gave her a bite of the pie, A wasn't impressed, she said it tasted like sourdough LOL) so I don't know . . . I couldn't even get dh to try it, sigh . . . so if I'm the only one who will eat it, there's not much point in making it, we'll see . . .

Friday, October 19, 2007

Weekly Wrap-up

Quiet week, as already mentioned.

We baked the sourdough bread this afternoon (it had to raise 24 hours), apparently the directions forgot to mention greasing the bread pans, I wondered about it when I was putting it in the pans, but thought maybe you weren't supposed to because of letting it sit in the pans for 24 hours to raise, shrug. Anyway . . . bread smells good, just didn't come out of the pans real well. I'm letting it cool some and then I'll taste it, if it tastes good, we'll try it again but grease the pans LOL.

Kindermusik went well, the class keeps growing. The girls had fun. Class was early today because the electric company was going to be turning the electricity off in the church during our normal class time, which meant the girls were "starving" when class was over so we went to Taco Bell for lunch. Miss L (their Kindermusik teacher) and her 2 girls got there as we were finishing eating, so we stayed and chatted with them while they ate.

Last night at bedtime I pulled out the stargazing cards and showed the girls the various constellations on the ceiling of their room. They had great fun with it, and asked if we could do it again another night. If we ever have a nice uncloudy night, we'll go outside and try to find the stars out there too, but lately it's been cloudy anytime I remember to check.

Oh and I meant to post earlier in the week and forgot. When we go to the farm to get milk each week the girls go over and visit the calves while I unload the empty jars and load the milk. We ended up with an extra SS lesson quarterly this time around so it never made it in the house, I just slid it in the seat pocket with other books and such for the girls to read while we're driving. So, last week L happened to be "reading" the quarterly when we got to the farm. She told me she was going to "tell the cows about Jesus" and took the quarterly with her. I have no idea what she said, but the whole time I was getting milk she was holding the quarterly up so the calves could "see it" and talking away. So, we get there this week and she told me she was going to tell them more about Jesus. Last year for either Christmas or birthday the girls got small church hymnals. They love to hold the hymnal and "sing along" in church but they want to hold it themselves and it's heavy, so the smaller ones work better. ANYWAY they call them their "Bibles", and L's was still in the car from last week, so she took that with her and again was talking away to the calves the whole time. When she got back in the car she told me that she taught the cows that "God does not show favoritism" (this week's memory verse).

She's also, at various times when we've been driving around, been "reading" the stories from the quarterly and despite the fact that it often seems like they're not listening when I read them the lesson story, she's been able to quote the stories pretty much word for word LOL.

ETA: I just tried the bread, YUM! Finally a whole wheat sourdough that TASTES like sour dough! We'll see what dh and the girls think, but in my mind it's a keeper, now just keep fingers crossed that greasing the pan is all that's needed to get the bread to come OUT of the pans LOL.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pumpkin Carving

As you can see from this week's list, we're having a week of lost of not-on-the-list activities. The girls have been doing lots of imaginative play, which I figure is much more important at this age than making a seasonal tree or figuring out fabric painting with mechanical resists (afterall, I've survived to the age of 32 without doing either of those things LOL). We've also been thoroughly enjoying our wonderful not too hot, not too cold fall weather (finally!). Today the girls carved their pumpkins, I should have taken pictures when I had them lit this evening, maybe I can remember tomorrow night. But they are quite proud of them. They had quite the struggle tonight deciding if they wanted to blow the candles out themselves when we came inside (well after dusk had turned to dark) or leave them for Daddy to see when he comes home, with the reminder that he may not get home until they're in bed. I think the final decision was 50/50, A's is blown out, L's is still lit (but I honestly can't swear to it, must remember to check after their in bed LOL).

We also made the sourdough bread today. It has to rise for 24 hours, so we won't get to bake it until tomorrow but we got the fun of digging our hands into sticky bread dough today.

A is very into "making books" right now. She draws a bunch of pictures and then staples them together. She's also coming up with various ways to "make puppets" which generally require large quantities of tape and staples, so this afternoon we made a shopping run to re-stock on tape and staples LOL. We also got some bulbs that we're going to plant. Not too suprisingly, they chose pink & purple tulips, guess who chose which LOL.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pumpkin Patch

We went to Summer's Pumpkin Patch today. The girls had a BLAST!!!

Pictures are here.

Things I learned:
  • We don't like the corn maze at Summer's farm. If we want to do a corn maze in the future, it's worth the money to go to Crumland Farm where we actually have a chance of completing the maze correctly and relatively quickly. The Summer's one they give you a list of clues but there are numerous turns that do NOT have a clue telling you where to go. We never found clue #3 (even when he'd warned me that one was "hard" and told me it's general location) and finally stumbled back on the correct path at clue #8, and even then it took some "self-made short cuts" to get to the end). I would guess the only way the girls will even consider a corn maze next year is if I assure them that the Crumland one is different, they were not impressed with this one LOL.
  • The fact that they're open during the week when it's not very busy is AWESOME! No waiting in line for the slides, pumkin pillow, etc.
  • Four year olds, no matter how many times they're reminded, do NOT fully comprehend the concept of "choose a pumkin YOU can carry".
  • When I have no other option, I'm capable of carrying 3 large-ish (8-9 lbs each) pumpkins at once.
  • Apparently I looked quite awkward doing so, people were literally "jumping" to help me. But honestly, I had them. And the girls felt quite proud of themselves when I gave L the "job" of carrying my keys and pushing the unlock button when we got to the car and A the "job" of opening the back hatch of the minivan (which I knew she could do, otherwise I would have had her open a sliding door and set them down there).
So, yes, the girls had great fun, picked their own pumpkins out. We're now going to try a "pumpkin rolling" game with them, probably tomorrow, and then we'll try carving them into jack-o-lanterns. It occurs to me that I'm not sure *I* have ever carved a pumpkin, I'm thinking the last time I was involved in the pumpkin carving process I was still a young enough kid that I drew the face & mom or dad cut it out, so we shall see how it goes . . . Thanks to tv and such, the girls specified the whole, put a light in the jack-o-lantern aspect of things so I can't get buy w/ just having them paint faces on their pumpkins LOL.

They didn't have "long enough" there, so I promised them that if we can figure out another day that we aren't doing other things between now and the end of the month, keeping in mind that we're going to Disney at the end of the month so sometime I have to get ready for that too, we'll go back. It was seriously EMPTY and the weather today was gorgeous so it must just always be that empty during the week. And the girls would have happily spent MUCH longer playing in the corn pit a "pit" made of hay bales and filled w/ shelled corn, so kind of a ball pit/sand box kind of thing, and on the slides, and on the moon bounce thingy, and there was a BIG sand box that they didn't even get in because of lack of time, so I think we'll definitely get our money's worth out of a second day if I can find the time. I'd say slightly more "kid stuff to do" at Summer's than at Crumland (keeping in mind that I'm comparing this to last year's Crumland, we didn't make it there this year since it's only open on weekends and I wasn't willing to go when the temps were still in the 90's) and the lack of crowds during the week is a huge draw, plus the hayride to the pumpkin patch, I think Crumland does that, or at least a hayride for the sake of a hayride, but it's an extra charge so we haven't done it. But like I said, I'm not likely to attempt the Summer's corn maze anytime soon, and based on my memory of the Crumland corn maze (from at least 2 yrs ago) it's do-able, so we may have to go back there next year for the corn maze.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up

I think the girls had fun this weekend. As I mentioned briefly in my other post, we went to the zoo yesterday. The weather couldn't have been better, cool enough to not be too hot, warm enough to not be too cold. The girls had great fun dragging Mama & Papa around to see everything. When I told them yesterday morning that we were going to the zoo with Mama & Papa, they asked which one. When I told them it was the one with the lilypads, they got SO excited! L was talking about the "rides" and there is a carousel and some other small carnival type rides there that you have to pay extra for and last time we let them go on a couple of those so I assumed that's at least partially what she was talking about, so I started to explain that we probably wouldn't spend the money to go on the carousel and such this time to which she replied "Mom, I'm not talking about THOSE rides, I'm talking about the fun ones" LOL!

Anyway, they seemed to enjoy themselves. We got to see a Harris Hawk and Screech Owl up close, that was cool.

Today we ran errands and fed the ducks.

Waldorf Dolls

For awhile now I've been meaning to make waldorf dolls for the girls using this pattern. I finally just sat down and did it. L had told me she wanted a "wiggly baby" (the fisher price doll that's been her favorite for the last year and a half has a bean bag body) so I figured using millet for the body would weight it and make it more "wiggly". So, I made L's first. I increased the pattern size by 141% (one of the standard increase percentages on my copier and I was too lazy to figure out how to do custom percents). My only complaint about the pattern is that it makes the head too long & skinny (when dh saw the doll he asked if I'd been trying to make a "banana baby"). I left it without a face or hair and left it where she'd find it when she woke up in the morning. She liked it, but decided it needed a face and hair, so we went shopping for "hair". I was planning to use fabric markers and draw on the faces, but when we were shopping A said she wanted her baby to have green eyes and fabric marker green is too "real green" for eyes, so I figured I'd just use embroidery floss for both of them. As far as hair, L was insistent on pink hair. When I pointed out that babies don't have pink hair, she said "Mom, she's a doll, she can have whatever color hair I want her to have!" alrighty then, pink hair it is! A chose a nice dark brown for her baby's hair but I forgot to get the matching thread that day so initially made her baby a handkerchief bonnet (since the embroidery floss face means there are knots and such on the back of her head) and she hasn't been willing to "give her baby up" for me to add the hair yet. I also tried to make the head more round on A's baby, though it's still not as round as I would have liked.

They certainly aren't perfectly made, I was just figuring out my sewing machine, the faces are abit crooked, I'm still not sure how you're supposed to sew the hair on. . . but the girls seem happy with them and that's what counts.

Oh, the millet body, I stuffed the arms and legs with wool roving, then I made a muslin "bag" roughly the size of the doll's torso and filled that bag with millet (after putting it inside the doll body) and stitched it closed, then stuffed wool around it in the body. Seemed to work pretty well. I was afraid the millet might leak out if it was just loose in the body, plus I wasn't sure it would work right to have millet in the arms and legs (the millet filled doll I've seen online is just a "bag body" she doesn't have legs, you can't change her clothes, etc) so I came up with this approach.

Scary time

Yesterday afternoon my parents, the girls, and I were coming back from the zoo. We were in the middle lane of 3 lanes (or maybe there are 4 lanes there, but there was one lane on the left of us either way) when we heard brakes squealing in the left lane right behind us, we looked back to see a jeep go off the road, up the embankment, fly up into the air (seemed really high, but I'm horrible at estimating distance so I won't try), in the air it went on over the embankment & down the other side, landed on the entrance ramp onto the southbound lanes and then "bounce" on into the median between the entrance ramp & 29S. There was another car on the entrance ramp that the jeep came close to landing on, but to my knowledge no other cars were affected (physically, it certainly shook us up, and I'm sure many others as well). I didn't see the jeep land on the entrance ramp to see "how" it landed, but based on how it was falling, it would have landed on either the top (I do think it was a hardtop jeep, but still . . .) or on it's "nose". We couldn't really stop because of how the roads are there, the ambulances and such probably could have gotten there sooner than we could by the time we looped around. And none of us have any medical training to help anyway. I did call 911 and it rang forever and when she answered it was with the question "911, are you calling about 29 and 40" so obviously lots of us were calling, which I assumed to be the case, but I figured better too many calls than none.

Anyway, pray for those people, it would take a direct miracle for them to have not been seriously injured, if not killed. And we are just SOOOO thankful that nobody else was injured, including us. Just a slightly different angle and they very well could have rear ended us OR landed on top of us (if they had "spun" different in the air and made more of a complete circle).

None of us saw what happened to "cause" it, seems like speed had to be a factor for the jeep to have gotten that much air, but I don't know what happened beyond that. I was looking online to see if there was any information on it, but not that I can find.

Friday, October 12, 2007

This week's wrap up

Ok, so if I'm going to post weekly, I should at least do it the first week I've set up the blog huh?

Let's see . . . since this is the first wrap-up, I'll go into abit of detail about what we're doing on an on-going basis as well.

This fall I got the Read an Learn Bible to use for our devotions that are a part of circle time. So far I've been very happy with it. It's gives short summary type stories of the major Bible stories in order, with pictures. Language is simple, stories are a nice length. Definitely worth getting IMO (now that our church SS lessons aren't chronological, if they were I would probably use the lesson stories for our devotion time, adding other versions of the story some days to "mix things up").

I also am on a yahoo group where people generally post ideas for seasonal "circle time" activities, so since our curriculum doesn't give us much for circle time, I've been using those ideas. The whole month of September we did an apple theme with lots of fun apple songs and finger plays and such. This month I decided to split things up so last week and this week we did leaves and next week & the following we'll do pumpkins.

Art this week was weaving. We didn't go into as much detail as the curriculum called for, but L especially really got into it. Up until yesterday morning their "looms" (foam board with straight pins) were on the floor in a corner of the room and L would sit down several times a day to weave. A not as often, or as long, as L, but she did seem to enjoy it as well. We picked the looms up yesterday because younger friends were coming over, I need to put them back out where the girls can get to them and see if they continue working on them.

Nature, we gathered fallen leaves and tried to "laminate" them but I think I didn't understand the directions or something, the girls had great fun doing it though, and I don't think will ever even notice that we never had a "finished product" to show for it LOL. I've been wanting to do the pinecone birdfeeder that we didn't get around to doing last winter, but that meant finding pinecones, one day this week while the girls were napping, I ran through the mcdonalds drive thru (their 99cent sweet tea is a very bad thing, if it was even $1.50 I'd probably skip it based on price, and if it was "fake' tasting sweet tea I'd skip it based on that, but it's real sweet tea for less than $1, how can I resist?) and then parked in the nice shaded corner of their parking lot and as I sat there I noticed that most of the trees providing that shade were evergreens and there were pinecones all over the ground under them. So when L woke up I handed her a bag and sent her out to gather pine cones, and when A woke up, I sent her out to help. We now have PLENTY of pine cones, and the girls had a BLAST. At one point when L was out there by herself, she came back and told me "even when I go 'way in', God and Jesus are there with me." (this was a grouping of maybe 7 trees, so "way in" is relative, they were always in my sight, but the branches were low enough to make them feel more isolated, I think). And to highlight our crazy weather, Monday they were wearing swimsuits and playing in water, Thursday they were wearing sweatshirts and shivering while they collected their pine cones.

Cooking/Baking not much this week, I was going to make an apple cookie recipe from the Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book but when I went to make it, I realized that the apple juice concentrate I had in the freezer was a bigger than normal can (I think) and since the recipe didn't specify the size I was leary of using it. So, it occurred to me that I'd gotten a banana bread mix from Frontier last month when it was on sale, so since this month's order is going in as soon as I collect payment, now was a good time to make the mix and see if it was so amazing that I wanted more. So, we made it instead (the cookies had called for mashed bananas, so I'd gotten bananas for that, so used them for this instead). Something weird happened with the baking time (oven was turned off for awhile, not sure if it wasn't turned on at all until I noticed, or if it was turned on and then when I asked a friend to turn off the stove for the beans I was soaking she turned off the oven too?) and so part of it was too doughy, but more importantly, the banana bread has NO flavor. It smells delicious, lots of yummy spices (ginger & such) but there's no taste! So, despite it not turning out like it's supposed to, it told me what I needed to know LOL.

Housework, L is SO funny, she seriously loves to clean bathrooms! "Can we clean the bathroom again today mommy?" and so very disappointed at bedtime on the day I'd told her we were going to and then we never got around to it. "Ooooooh noooooo Mommy, we forgot to clean the bathrooms today, you PROMISED!" Very strange child LOL. Seriously though, I think it's because I hand her a damp rag and turn her lose cleaning the sink/counter and as far as she knows I don't "fix" it at all, just let her do her thing, so she likes the "do it myself" aspect of it. A, especially, is doing better about picking up after herself. The scissors have been in hiding for quite awhile because I was so done with the perpetual paper mess under their table and this week A asked to use the scissors again. I told her we'd try it, but that she needed to pick up ALL the paper scraps and put them in the recycling as soon as she was done. Awhile later when she was playing in the family room I reminded her and she came and picked them up with no problem, and then cleaned it up again later in the week when asked as well.

We've been doing "site words" and the girls are starting to get them, little by little. Although they "know" them better on the specific sticky on the wall then if I write them randomly somewhere else. No hurry here, but they're wanting to learn to read so I figured this was a nice easy start.

Kindermusik - this was our second week. The "Young Child" class is much less play oriented than the 3-4 yr old class they took a couple years ago. They're doing fine with it, but a child who didn't truly enjoy music already, I think would struggle. They're back to wanting me in the room, right with them. The first class I stayed with them the whole time. Today I told them I would stay in the room but wanted to sit on the "mommy chairs" (off to the side), they weren't thrilled with it, but were ok with it until a new kid (and new mommy) came in, then they needed me right with them again, sigh . . . babysteps . . . I really think once the newness of it wears off it's going to be a non-issue, it's such a small class (5 kids total, 1 is the teacher's dd who they know from SS, and another is a little boy who is very shy (so not likely to get in their faces at all) and was in Kindermusik with them before, the other girl was new today, she may "warm up" over time, but for the moment is also very shy), it's in THEIR SS room at the church, so they know, and are comfortable in, the room, they will babble away to Miss L (the teacher) non-stop outside of the formal "class" so no fears of her.

And speaking of music, L has decided that the Ikea step stool we have (that has raised "bumps" for traction on it) is her "piano" she happily "plays" the bumps as keys for long stretches LOL.

Playdates: We finally made it to our friends' A&J's house on a warm enough day to try out the big inflatable water slide they got at the beginning of the summer. L didn't like the way the splash at the bottom gave her a wedgie, so she spent more time sitting at the top or climbing up & down the ladder, but they all seemed to have fun regardless. Can I just say that weather warm enough for water play in mid Oct is insane!

My friend Kim brought her kids by for a little while on Wed. when she came to get the milk I'd picked up for her. My girls ADORE, her dd, Hannah, and H doesn't seem to mind that they're younger than her. So, they were thrilled, as always to get to play with Hannah and Yeva. And Kim and I always enjoy some time to visit :)

Our friend, M came for her last day of "school" with us on Thursday. Her mom, K, & I had talked this summer and agreed that M would come 3 days a week to do school with us (K was considering using the same curriculum, so I suggested that it was redundant for us to both be buying all these books and such when they only live 5 minutes away). But things kept coming up that K couldn't come over, and didn't want to drop M off, so they were only coming 1-2 days a week, and this week when they came K said she just has too much else going on, so she doesn't want to have to try to fit it in any more. I need to tell the girls that M won't be joining them for school anymore, they'll be sad, they were so excited that she was having school with us, and she was really starting to understand the routine of it and enjoy it, so we'll miss her. But we had fun on Thursday, gathering leaves and drawing pictures and such. Whenever we're around someone with younger kids (Kim's got Sage who's 1, and M's little brother, J will be 2 in Jan . . . ) I'm reminded of how much my girls would enjoy a younger sibling. I'm amazed that the 2 kids who fight like crazy if I hand them one box of crayons and tell them to share it with each other, will happily "supervise" J as he "colors" with them, and have no problem in that context handing him one box of crayons while they share the other, and if he grabs from their box as well, they pleasantly explain that he has his own and they need these so they can draw . . . why then do we have the fights when it's just the 2 of them? And yes, I realize they wouldn't always share so willingly with a younger sibling either, but I do think they enjoy the "big sister" type role and would thrive if placed in that role.