Thursday, February 28, 2013

Recipe: Quinoa Pilaf

I like quick meals, and even when I start with a recipe, I tend to modify it as I go. So Quinoa Pilaf is just my style. I don't remember where I first saw the "recipe", but, I just kind of got an "idea" from it, and then did my own thing.

Quinoa pilaf is never exactly the same, but I thought I'd share how I happened to make it last week, and some additional ideas.  One thing I love about quinoa is that it cooks more quickly than other "healthy" grains (like brown rice), and it's high in protein, which helps you feel full longer. So, I'm not going to give amounts, per se, but here's what you need:

uncooked quinoa (1 or 2 cups)
water or broth for cooking the quinoa
onion, chopped
any veggies that need using (celery, bell pepper, carrots, etc), chopped
canned corn and or frozen peas if you don't have enough other veggies
some type of legume (black beans, chick peas, kidney beans, lentils . . ), rinsed and drained
fresh or dry herbs or spices

Start by getting the quinoa cooking, follow the package directions. Cook in plain water, or, for more flavor, use vegetable broth (or, I suppose, chicken broth, but I'm vegetarian). While the quinoa cookes, start sauteeing the onions and other veggies. Once they are well cooked, add the canned veggies and beans (the above picture has canned corn, black-eyed peas, onions, and I don't remember what else . . .).  by this time, the quinoa is probably done, so stir it in. Add any herbs or spices. Taco seasoning, or italian seasoning or whatever strikes your fancy. Also, if I have fresh herbs, I add them. This one had some cilantro I had in the fridge. I add fresh herbs at the end so they just get "wilted". I also sometimes add scrambled eggs.

And that's it, just serve and eat! I made this for lunch, served Little Bit a small bowl of it (she tends to eat "snacks" all day, so only eats a little at mealtimes) and myself a not, huge serving, and by the time I ate that, here's what was left. Sassy and MiniMe had devoured the whole pan!

So there you have it, a great way to clean out the fridge, that's healthy, quick and easy, and at least MY kids devour it, what more can you ask for? :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Crew Review: Inspiring the American Dream


Inspiring the American Dream was created to help children learn about the American Dream. They were kind enough to send us a copy of their book, Abraham's Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream by Robert and Kathleen Basmadjian, to review.

PhotobucketThe basic story is about a boy named Abraham who is looking for a way to earn money to buy Christmas gifts for his family. Abraham Lincoln magically pops out of Abraham's smart phone and takes him on a journey through American history, meeting famous Americans who represent the American Dream.

Abraham's Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream, is available for $14.99.

I was excited about this review. We love books, we love American History, this sounded like a perfect fit.

So, it came, and the next day for history, I pulled it our as our read aloud.

The book begins by talking about "the American Dream" being important to Abraham's parents. At which point, the girls, interrupted me to ask "What's the American dream?", since the whole point of the book, as I understand it, is to help children learn about the American Dream, I assumed it would be defined in the book, so I told them to wait and find out. My bad, the book never defines the term, except in the glossary in the back of the book.  This is a big oversight, in my opinion,, but as long as you're aware of it, it is easily dealt with. Just make sure to have a discussion with the children, about what "the American Dream" is/means, before reading the book.

After reading the book, I asked Sassy and MiniMe what they thought of it. They found it "weird" that Abraham apparently never recognizes Abraham Lincoln, even after being told that his name is Abraham. Throughout the book, he is referred to as "the wise old man". On the other hand, Abraham DOES recognize Bill Gates and Martin Luther King Jr. MiniMe and Sassy's biggest complaint was that it doesn't tell the stories of the famous peoples' lives. There are short biographies (a paragraph each), in the back, but that's not enough for my detail-loving children, and the story itself doesn't even explain who some of the people are.

This book is designed for children age 7-12, so my girls, at age 9, almost 10, are pretty much smack, dab in the middle of the age range. I think it's a pretty accurate age range. Younger than 7, even with explanations, I don't think would "get it". Even at almost 10, my girls were "tearing apart" the story to some extent . . . by teen years, the story would be too "young" for them."

If you are looking for a book to stand alone in teaching about the American Dream, I don't believe this does that. It doesn't explain things enough, at least for my inquisitive kids. However, if you're looking for a resource to use as a part of a "unit study" on the American Dream, this could be great. To use this book effectively, I would begin by talking to the kids about what the American Dream is, why it's important, what it entails . . .THEN we would read the book together. And once we'd read it, I would have biographies standing by ready to read and learn about the people we "met" in the book. After learning more about all the people mentioned, we would revisit the book and discuss more about how each of these people represent the American Dream.

To see what other crew members thought of this book, and how they used it, click here.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up: February 23

This week was a distinct improvement over last week.  On Sunday, our lovely friend, Denise was moving. Since Rodney was working and, with Little Bit in tow, I couldn't be much help with the actual moving, my contribution was to watch E & J so that their parents could both help with the move. I'm going to count the day a resounding success, since, when Penny arrived to pick the boys up, J's response was "I thought you were going to be spend a LONG time, moving Miss Denise" (the boys had been at our house for approx 5 hours, but I guess that wasn't a "long time" in J's world). And E begged his mom to let HIM stay, since HE didn't need a nap LOL.  The kids built with Legos and played with the balloon rockets, that Sassy & MiniMe made a few weeks ago. Little Bit of was putting stickers on a box (something she's been doing quite abit, since we unpacked a big stack of stickers, and there are plenty of boxes floating around). J wanted to "help", so I found another box, and another sheet of stickers and he settled in beside her on the steps, that's perhaps the "calmest" moment of the entire day, but isn't it cute :)  The CALM activity only lasted until the big girls suggested that the boxes would make great ROCKETS, and then proceeded to push the little ones around in said boxes for the next however long.

My only organized activity of the day was making cookies. Denise had mentioned that she'd gotten a new cookie jar to match her new kitchen, so I figured making cookies would be a nice gift for Miss Denise AND would keep all the kids calmly occupied for awhile. It worked wonderfully, and I think the kids all had fun with it.

The rest of the week was school, unpacking, renovations, same old, same old . . . :) I couldn't resist snapping this picture of Moccasin when he was sitting in the school room window while we were doing school. Silly cat, was acting like he wanted to get in the OTHER window, but couldn't because that cactus was in his way, so I had Sassy move the cactus to the other windowsill, so THEN he went and sat on that windowsill with the cactus. Whatever . . . 

My mom decided not to come up this week. She was concerned that Grandma would get the stomach bug that we'd all had, and didn't want her to be alone if she was sick. So, Dad came up by himself. Little Bit handled it pretty well, but it did mean I didn't get much unpacking done. It  also meant the girls did some of the cooking this week. MiniMe insisted her "baby" needed to be on her back while she cooked lunch.

Unpacking has renewed the girls' interest in board games. Somehow, when they sat in the cupboard at the old house, nobody ever noticed them, but pulling them out of the boxes and onto a shelf here, caught their attention, so we've been playing more board games. The older girls are enjoying Sorry, and are VERY proud to report that they have both beat Daddy at Stratego a couple times. He told them, before playing, that he was "the master", then taught them the game, and they both beat him, they are quite cocky about it LOL. Little Bit has been enjoying Candy Land (somehow in the packing and unpacking process, we ended up with our "antique" Candy Land (it was my dad's when he was a kid) on the shelf instead of the Dora version we got when Sassy and MiniMe were little. She explains that we have to be careful because it's an antique, so cute.  Her other new favorite is Wildcraft. We've had this game for a few years now, but had never played it much. The big girls noticed it, and wanted to play it because they recognized it as being by the same company as the Herb Fairies stories we've been loving. They are enjoying the game, but Little Bit is LOVING it, we play it at least once, most days. She loves to "get hurt" and check to see if her has the right herbs to fix whatever card she gets.

My dad is making good progress on the new shower. It's starting to look like a shower :) It's starting to really look like a shower. He has the walls up, and was able to start putting the plumbing stuff in before he left Friday. He still needs to finish the plumbing, drywall the wall he had to build, do the wiring and put in the switch for the exhaust fan that he put in the wall above the shower, and do all the "finishing work. So still lots to do, but it's starting to look more like a shower :)

He also has cut the boards for the bookshelves we're going to have instead of a banister on the stairs.

This week, I started noticing a "sewer" smell in the pantry. When I asked Dad about it, he said it was probably because the laundry sink that was in there wasn't being used and the water had dried up in the trap (since I didn't need a sink in the pantry, I'd set a bin with all the kids' snow stuff (boots, snowpants, etc) into the sink, to utilize the space until Dad had time to take it out. So I cleared that out, and Dad confirmed that was where the smell was coming from, so that became another project this week. Now I have more storage space in the pantry, and need to decide if I want to leave it as empty space (right now I have the folding chairs in that space) or put shelving there, or what.

Today in Sabbath School, Little Bit and J were being soo cute. Penny got most of the pictures, of them working together as "helpers" to pass things out (to Penny, MiniMe and Sassy, since there weren't any other kids), but I did snap a picture of them during the story time. Sassy was telling the story, and had them help her by putting up felts. It's cute to see them get more used to the programs and continue to interact with each other, so fun.

This afternoon, the girls were painting their nails, and decided they needed to paint Daddy's nails too. Being the awesome Daddy he is, he agreed. Little Bit painted his toenails, and then the big girls set to work on his fingernails. Sassy's birthday gift to MiniMe was a set of nail pens, and when they were painting their nails, she asked if she could give them to MiniMe now, instead of waiting till next month. So they were having fun with being able to draw details on their nails, and Daddy's.  

Isn't he a good Daddy? I love the glee on MiniMe's face while she's painting his nails LOL.

And that was our week.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Review: Respect Dare by Nina Roesner

In The Respect Dare, Nina Roesner suggests that, just as women want to be shown love by their husbands, men want to be shown respect by their wives. This book is a 40 day challenge to women to learn to show respect to their husbands, no matter what.

I am always looking for ways to build up our marriage, and to show love to my husband, so, since I was finishing up the devotional I'd been using, I thought I'd check this one out.

I'll admit, I didn't exactly use it as "directed" because of needing to get the review written, I chose to double up and read 2 challenges some days to get through the 40 days, in a shorter amount of time.  Still, I feel like I got a good "feel" for the intent of the book, and how it works.

Each day includes a text, some discussion of that, a real-life example of a woman struggling with, or overcoming, that day's issue, and then a challenge, and usually some journaling prompts.

As is going to be the case with anything of this sort, some of the challenges were more relevant to my marriage than others. One thing that did bother me, was that many, I'd even say most, days included a suggestion to ask your husband for feedback. This might be just what some men want/need, but not much annoys my husband more than being asked "touchy feely" questions, EVER, much less daily. Needless to say, since my goal wasn't to annoy him repeatedly all month, I skipped those suggestions :)

All in all, I think, if showing respect to your husband is an area you struggle with (which, in today's society, I think is quite common, and sometimes not even recognized as a "problem"), this is a good jumping off point. I would suggest that each challenge be taken as a "suggestion" and evaluated against what you know of your husband's likes/dislikes (such as me choosing not to ask him incessant questions, hee hee), but with that adaptation, this can be a great study for a woman to do individually, or as a group.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

What's for Breakfast?

The truly observant among my readers, might have noticed something new . . . I added a recipes tab at the top.  Way back, soon after I started this blog, I decided I didn't want to clutter it up with recipes, so I started a simple little separate blog for recipes. And I haven't really put any time into it. It's basically just a place that I keep track of some of my recipes (others are in Pinterest, or on my computer or on scraps of paper in a clip on my fridge), and if someone asks me for a recipe, I can send them a link.

Then, a couple weeks ago, a friend asked about recipes, and I sent her a link to something and she pointed out that I had no pictures, so she couldn't pin it. Hmmmmm . . . obviously I need to add pictures to my recipes. AND if someone's going to actually PIN my recipes, then I want them on my main blog, since those are the stats that matter. . . and hence . . . the recipe tab.  I will slowly be adding recipes, and even more slowly adding pictures (because I have to actually MAKE a recipe, in order to get a picture of it, and I'm not doing a whole ton of extra cooking right now).  When I add recipes from the old blog, I'll be dating them back when I first added them to the old blog, so they won't fill the current month with tons and tons of recipes, but I want to add in some of my newer favorites too, and to introduce the recipe tab, I thought I'd share one of our favorite breakfasts.


When I first heard someone mention this, I kind of shuddered . . . I am NOT a fan of combining sweet and savory, so this didn't even sound remotely good. And my kids don't even LIKE onions (and hubby doesn't like anything remotely sweet, so he doesn't like apples OR cooked onions). But then the girls heard about the recipe, and wanted to try it. So we did. I have to admit, I haven't kept track of the original recipe, and we don't really measure any more, but here's how WE make Apples and Onions, one of our favorite breakfasts.

Several Apples, cut into 8 wedges, core removed, skin left on
1-2 onions, sliced
Sucanat (or brown sugar)

Melt a good layer of butter in a large skillet (I LOVE my cast iron skillets). Add sliced onions, and let them start cooking while you cut the apples. Onions should be soft  before adding apples. Arrange apple slices in a layer over onions. Sprinkle with Sucanat and cinnamon. Place a lid over the skillet while apples cook, stirring occasionally.  When apples are soft, it's done, dig in!

I'll be linking this to the Schoolhouse Review Blog Cruise, which will be posted here, next week.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up - February 18

Ugh, what a week!

The week started out great. On Sunday, we met friends at Reading Public Museum.  There's a Lego exhibit there right now that we thought the kids would enjoy. And they did. Though if our combined schedules had allowed for a week day that would have been less crowded. Still, it worked out well. The area was small enough, and had few enough exits, that I was comfortable letting the older girls go wherever, and since the building with regular Legos (that they would have enjoyed), was crowded enough that they weren't real into it, so they were happy to help watch the "little kids", which meant each of the "little kids" (my Little Bit, and my friend's two boys) could play where THEY wanted to, without having to take turns with siblings :-)  Little Bit's favorite was the big rubber blocks.  She spent most of her time there.
One of the things Little Bit did with the big rubber blocks, several times, was to build a "duck". Here's a picture she asked me to take of her with one of her "duck" creations. 
I didn't get a chance to take many pictures of the big girls, because they were off in other areas, but I did get a picture of MiniMe and Little Bit "jousting". Nothing like having big sister give you PERMISSION to hit you with a big foam stick, right? She was so funny with it. I love the look on her face in the close-up of her with the jousting stick too :) 

After we had enjoyed the Lego display or quite awhile, we headed out to the rest of the museum for the big girls' enjoyment. We had to move pretty quickly, since it was approaching naptime (AND we hadn't had lunch), but the girls seemed to enjoy it. I told them sometime when life settles down abit we'll see if Daddy can either watch Little Bit while I take them back to the museum, or he can take them while I stay home with Little Bit. I did snap a picture of them trying to figure out the origami interactive exhibit. We couldn't stay long enough for them to actually make something, but I liked how intense they both look, and how alike (I know, they're twins, but I hadn't realized they were wearing similar colors (on top, MiniMe was wearing a shirt & skirt, Sassy was wearing a dress) & each had a flower barrette until I looked at the picture LOL)

So, that was Sunday, GREAT day! Then the rest of the week happened, sigh . . . MiniMe came and woke me up around 4am to tell me that Little Bit was throwing up, UGH! So that was Monday.

Tuesday, Little Bit was feeling better. Wednesday my parents came up to continue helping us with the renovations, and during the night Wed night, it was my turn to catch the stomach bug, sigh . . . MiniMe joined me a couple hours later. On a positive note, since my mom was here, I had my first true "sick day" in years :) Since the girls' room is so far from the bathroom, once MiniMe threw up, she decided our bed looked more convenient (and Rodney was away on business), so she and I just pretty much slept all day, and Mom took care of Little Bit, and generally kept things running around here.

That afternoon, as we were starting to feel like we might live, Sassy's turn came. She'd been feeling "off" all day, but finally started throwing up mid-afternoon. The only "good" thing about that was, with the long incubation period (Mon morning to Thurs morning), I was concerned that if one or both of the big girls didn't have it on Thursday, with me, they might catch it FROM me, and be sick on Sunday, when we were committed to babysit for a friend, so she could help a mutual friend move. 

I had to laugh, it was VERY obvious when MiniMe started to feel better, she went from "sleeping" to finding my dad and "bombarding" him with all the questions she'd been storing up ALL day about the various projects he was working on around here :) 

Friday, I still had no energy, and Sassy was still recovering (not really eating much yet), but we were all on the mend . . . 

So that was our week (and to top things off, once my parents got home, they both got sick, though Dad's case was mild) too, ugh!).  NOT the most fun week we've ever had, but such is life.  Thankfully, Rodney didn't catch it from Little Bit, and was gone while the rest of us were sick, so I think he escaped this round.

I'll wrap up, with a cute picture of all 3 girls in their nightgowns ready to go upstairs to bed after their baths Friday night :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Homeschool Review: Flowering Baby


Flowering Baby is a fun curriculum for children age 0-5. It is designed to be started at any time, based on your child's age.

PhotobucketSince Little Bit is 3, I chose to review the Three to Four year old Curriculum. This curriculum is available for $38 from the Flowering Baby Store, you will also find information on that page about ordering it as a direct download. The Three to Four Curriculum is set up with the monthly curriculum guide, as well as a Themes Guide, that includes 24 short themes. The suggestion is that, at whatever point in the year you start, you begin with that calendar month of the curriculum and cycle through for the full 12 months. Additionally, you can choose 2 themes from the theme guide each month. There are recommendations for which themes to use with which month or you can mix it up according to your child's interests. If you would like to see a sample of a full month of this curriculum, you will find the link at the bottom of this page.

Since we received this in early January, we started at the beginning of the curriculum guide. Since we are also using a different preschool curriculum, I looked over the themes and chose a theme that would correlate with that curriculum as well. 

As soon as I began reading through the curriculum guide, I realized that some tweaking would be necessary for it to work in our family. Mainly, this was adapting for Little Bit's current level. It seemed beyond silly to me, to sit and count to 5 with Little Bit when she can count to 30 on her own, so we skipped that ;) Another necessary, on-the-fly tweaking was the fact that Little Bit tends to either not have any interest in sitting for a story, or wants the same story over and over and over and over and . . . you get the idea. At this age, I feel strongly that the best way to squelch the love for reading is to force it, so I got the recommended books from the library, but let her choose which ones we read, and then we did activities from that book on that day. 

One thing that I found confusing was the fact that, starting in January, the curriculum DOES build on itself . . . later in the curriculum, instead of counting to 5, you count to 10, for example. So I'm abit unclear on how that would work if you were to start in the middle. . . it doesn't make sense to me that you would count to 10 with the child when you started in June, but then the following January, drop back to just counting to 5. My recommendation would be, if you're starting anytime other than January, to look over the whole curriculum, use season-specific activities as recommended, but the basic counting and alphabet stuff, if you're using it (I also feel pretty strongly in not pushing academics at this age, so another option would be to skip these unless your child shows an interest).

There are some fun activities in this curriculum. All 3 girls were intrigued when I said we were going to make snowmen one day (when there wasn't any snow outside), and all three had a blast making styrofoam ball snowmen.

Little Bit's snowman is in the middle, it's abit . . . abstract, but she had great fun making it and could explain what each thing was. 

I think, if I'd followed the suggestions, verbatim, Little Bit would have found it frustrating and (her current favorite word) "boring". However, by knowing my child and picking and choosing the activities that made sense for her development, personality, and interests, we were able to enjoy some new books and ideas that we gleaned from the curriculum. I think, at this age, in most cases, you CAN just follow their interests, or not start anything formal yet. But, if you have a young child who is begging to "do school", and you don't have time, or inclination to have to hunt down books and activities on your own, this would be a good option to give you lots of age-appropriate ideas for books and activities.

Don't forget to check out what my fellow crew mates thought about this product, including the other ages, here.


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up - February 10

Another week of unpacking and such.  The garage is finally starting to look like I'm making progress, woo-hoo!!! I still have a LOT of boxes to go through, but at least it doesn't feel quite so gridlocked anymore . . . there's room to start sorting and stacking the things that do NOT need to come in the house, and that makes everything much more manageable. Now if it would just WARM UP abit, that would make sorting through those boxes so much nicer.

Despite the fact that I've been busy with unpacking, and we haven't done much of our normal school stuff, the girls are still learning . . .

Sassy looked over my shoulder as I was glancing at Pinterest, and saw this pin which, of course, led to "Mommy, do we have balloons? And string? And a straw? . . . conveniently I'd recently unpacked a package of balloons AND knew where I'd put them. There were some fast food restaurant straws in the glove box of my car, and I knit, therefore I pretty much ALWAYS can put my hands on some yarn.  That, some duct tape (thanks to Papa) and a couple chairs, and they were in business! The directions suggested a 6 ft piece of string. They very quickly determined that was WAY too short, and went with "as long as will fit in the house! So, with Sassy in the kitchen (left) and MiniMe right up against the front window in the living room, they had a BLAST with their balloon rockets! In fact, there's still a chair leaning against the wall with the yarn and balloon rockets still tied to it LOL.

I was pretty proud of myself for managing to "catch" the balloon in "flight" LOL.

We had a couple days that allowed for outdoor time, without anyone freezing to death. One afternoon all 3 girls, and my mom, spent quite awhile outside. It had warmed up some, but they discovered that there was still icy down along the edge of the creek, so my mom & Little Bit had great fun throwing snowballs at Sassy and MiniMe, who, of course, had great fun dodging said snowballs. 

Another day, Sassy and MiniMe spent quite awhile outside exploring along the creek all on their own. I tried to take a picture, but they were too far away LOL.

A favorite this week was playdoh. I got it out to keep Little Bit entertained one day, and the big girls wanted to join in. They all spent a good bit of time over the course of the week, playing with the playdoh.

As we shifted things in the garage, we found a box of craft stuff (that I packed before we moved from Maryland, and never got around to unpacking, how sad is that?), that had gotten wet when the heavy rain washed into the garage (we'd tried to put all plastic bins on the bottom, or put any cardboard boxes on 2x4s, but had missed that one). SO I had to unpack it. Thankfully, the way it was sitting, the wet part was mostly things in plastic bags, and a bunch of stickers, that seem fine, after drying them out in the oven w/ just the light on. BUT as I was trying to deal with it all, Little  Bit was antsy, so I grabbed a tub of foam shapes, and a stack of foam sheets and handed her a foam sheet, handful of foam shapes, and bottle of school glue. She has had a BLAST with that combination. I figure if the stuff's been sitting in storage for 5 years, it might as well get used. What surprised me more is how much time the big girls have spent also gluing foam shapes onto foam sheets. I did warn them that, while we could take PICTURES of any of their masterpieces that they wanted to "save" we were NOT going to save a whole stack of these foam shape pictures. So far they've been ok with that LOL.

The newspaper continues . . . this week they decided to type their articles directly into the computer, which would be easier if I could figure out where I packed THEIR computer (they hadn't used it in I-don't-know-how-long, so keeping track of it when packing wasn't a priority), as it is, they want to use mine, which is fine, in that I'm often unpacking, except that when I'm unpacking, it's helpful if they are interacting with Lina, sigh . . . But they're typing, and creative writing, and the spell-checker makes them more aware of their spelling . . . this afternoon I'm hoping to show them how to format the newspaper pages with different size type and spacing and such.

And now, we need to get ready to go to a Lego exhibit at a nearby museum :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Review: Humble Heart by Amy Meyer Allen

Humble Heart, by Amy Meyer Allen is a collection of 9 sweet, short, stories for children, each highlighting a different character trait or virtue.At the end of each story, there is a discussion question and a Bible verse to reinforce the lesson taught by the story. This book is scheduled to be released in March, 2013.

I'm always on the lookout for fun ways to reinforce good character for my children, so thought this looked like a good choice to review. A couple hours after the book arrived in the mail, Little Bit (3) was needing some "mommy time" (she is struggling with all the changes that have happened in our life recently), so I picked up the book and asked if she'd like me to read her a story. She generally has a pretty short attention span when it comes to books, so I figured we'd read one story, or maybe only part of one, but it would at least distract her from the fussiness. We read the WHOLE BOOK, at her request! Later that day she asked my mom to read it to her. Since then, she's asked her sisters, me again, Daddy . . . to read it to her. She has claimed it as HER book and she loves it!!!   What better endorsement is there?

What do *I* think of it? It's very simple character lessons, I had thought it might be something to get my 9 year olds thinking too, but they're too old for it. It's great for a 3 yr old though (and probably up through age 6 or 7). The artwork is cute, the stories are simple, but cute. I like having the Bible text to go with each story, I may wait until it's not Little Bit's "favorite" and then re-visit it, using one story, and the Bible verse, each day as a short "Bible time" for her. Probably my only complaint is that the paper seems thinner than most of our children's books. I'm worried about the pages getting torn, especially since we're reading it so often.  Still, I'd recommend this for anyone looking for a cute children's book that will help young children learn about thoughtfulness, humility, etc.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as a member of the Tyndale Blog Network, in exchange for writing a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and my daughter's.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up - February 4

Actually I think this a a 2 week wrap-up again, sigh . . . when I grow up, I wanna be organized . . .

Our life continues to revolve around unpacking, getting settled, and all the fun surprises and frustrations of a new (old) house!

The first week we were here, my Dad cracked a rib trying to install the stove. He didn't completely stop working on our many projects, but had to be selective, and it's slowed things down. Thankfully, he's feeling better, or at least says he is, I keep worrying that he's doing too much/too fast, but he doesn't like it when I try to do the heavy lifting instead of him.

The second week, we discovered that the hot water heater needed to be replaced. I'm beyond frustrated that the inspector, that we paid a LOT of money to, didn't catch this! He told us stupid, obvious stuff, like the fact that there's not a railing on the stairs. Yup, I saw that, I'm good with that! (Dad will be building bookshelves where the railing would go, when he has time, until then, we just repeatedly remind Little Bit to be careful), but then didn't catch that the control thingy for the hot water heater was bare wires, held against the contact point by insulation!!!! SCARY!!!! Dad discovered it when I asked him to turn down the hot water heater a tad. He came up and told us we were 100% without hot water until we could get a new one. So that became the priority project. THEN once we got the new one, and Dad started to take out the old one, he FURTHER discovered that it was wired with too small wiring. ANOTHER thing the inspector SHOULD have noticed!! So that slowed things down even more.

Last weekend we celebrated a belated Christmas with Rodney's mom. Little Bit was excited to get her first Legos, though I think her favorite part were the tiny tools (hammer, drill, etc) that came with the set she got. The big girls can't wait for warm weather so they can try out their slackline!

Last week, we didn't have any unpleasant surprises, so that's something . . . We went to IKEA and determined that the bed we were hoping would work for the girls' room, wouldn't work (IKEA mattresses are shorter than normal mattresses, so buying an IKEA bed to work with existing mattresses doesn't work, sigh . . . ), but I did get a chair for the living room that fits in the space better than the oversized recliner we had there (the recliner is currently a very cushy cat bed in the basement LOL), a bookcase for the living room, and lots of the small things that IKEA is so wonderful for.  It warmed up briefly last week and POURED rain. I guess we can be thankful that we didn't get all that as snow, we'd have been snowed in until March! But soo much rain coming soo fast and hard on top of a thawing top layer of ground and a still frozen, underneath, meant lots of flooding. We'd anticipated, and planned for some water in the basement, and it came through pretty much like I expected it to. We had everything up, or in plastic tubs, so it was inconvenient, but not a big deal. We hadn't expected water to pour down the driveway into the garage, but again, just as a precaution, we had most everything either up or plastic bins on the bottom layer. More amusing, the bridge across the creek in the back yard washed downstream a ways. The girls were pretty fascinated by that. Since it was a rather scary little bridge, and there's no real NEED to cross the creek, it's not a big deal. Sometime when life slows down, helping to build a new bridge will be a great project for the girls.

As we settle in, we're figuring things out. When my parents were here on Friday evening, we decided not to try to all sit around the table for Shabbat. So we left the table folded down and just lit the candles on it, then everyone sat around the living room, like we typically do during the week. While we'll probably try to eat around the table most weeks, when it's just us, I did like the way the candles looked on the folded down table.

The big girls have invented their own school project for the time being. They decided to start a newspaper. It is only delivered to this house, but they "sold" subscriptions to all of us (at 2 cents per month). Now they are learning typing, creative writing, spelling and grammar (Word helps with the spelling and grammar, since it marks things that it thinks are wrong LOL), time management, etc. . . 
Mama and Little Bit made cookies last week. As you can see, Little Bit has a very interesting cookie-making outfit. Actually that's her most-worn outfit (unless we're leaving the house) lately, silly kid.  . 

So that's what we've been up to around here.