Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Harvest Party-ers

For those of you who ignore the spectacle of October 31st: please put your stones away and feel free to skip this post entirely. For the rest of you, here are Polly, Tigger, & Sweet Pea all gussied up for the big Harvest Party at our church tonight. We had a blast and were quite inundated with candy as many of our regular Wednesday night crowd must have been out trick or treating. More for us, we say!

The Beautiful Fairy Princess Polly

We have not one picture where she's actually smiling sweetly. She loved her costume and the custom art work her daddy did on both of her cheeks, but she can't smile naturally in a picture to save her life.

Blues Clues Tigger

We're really mixing our characters here, aren't we?! I love this picture because she looks like she's seriously contemplating the tough issues. (Chocolate or fruity candy first?)

Sweet Pea Piggy

She consented to be dressed and fussed over, even though her mean old Mom won't let her have even a single piece of candy. Maybe Daddy will sneak her a taste...

After a supper at the place with the golden arches (yuck!) and the hour long Harvest Party at church, all three of our girls are sacked out now. Probably in sugar induced comas. Not really. We only let them eat one piece of candy. Prince Charming and I are having Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. 'Cause we just can't decide where to start on all that candy.

This...Yesterday in History

I didn't do any blogging yesterday. (And by the way, thanks for the new design, Honey!) But Happy Birthday to my Grandma, one day late!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Homeschool History Books

This year Polly and I are working through Susan Wise Bauer's The Story of the World, Volume 1 (Ancient Times). We plan to use Bauer's 4 year cycle, as laid out in The Well-Trained Mind, for our girls' History education.

The text book is supposed to be used as a "spine", reading the selections and supplementing with activities (from the appropriately named The Story of the World Activity Book) and other books, movies, etc. that go along with the chapter you read. These are some books about the Ancient World that we have used so far:

Unwrapping the Pharaohs by John Ashton & David Down (Master Books 2006). My dad owns this book and loaned it to us. We now want to buy our own copy. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If you are a Christian that believes in literal Creation (we do) you need this book! It has beautiful, glossy full-color photos, detailed maps, entertaining text, and, most important, a timeline that helps reconcile the Bible and archeology. Get this book!

The Atlas of Human History: Cradles of Civilizations by Renzo Rossi & Andrea Due (Simon & Schuster 1996). Lots of maps and artwork. This is not really a book you read but one you look at. We found this at our library.

The Egyptian Worldby Margaret Oliphant (Warwick Press 1989). Lots of maps, diagrams, and a well written text. We found this at our library.

The Ancient World of the Bible by Malcolm Day (Penguin Books 1994). Lots of maps, diagrams, pictures, and an entertaining text. Warning: some of the text is not necessarily correct. For example the very first section tells us that Adam and Eve were not allowed to eat of the Tree of Life or the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I don't know about you but that's not exactly what my Bible says. Still, I was pleased to find this at our public library and it is an informative book. If I ever see it at a thrift store or library sale I'll buy it.

Excavating the Past: Mesopotamia by Jane Shuter (Heinemann 2006). Informative text and some pictures / diagrams. A bit "dry" for not-quite-6-years-old Polly. Another we found at our library.

Eyewitness Ancient Egypt by George Hart (DK 2004). This is one of the extensive DK Eyewitness series. Tons of full color pictures. Almost too much information in one place. Warning: assumes evolution as fact and speaks about "early stone age people". I might buy this at a yard sale but otherwise we'll just get it from our library when we want to look at the pictures!

We've read a few more but I forgot to write down the titles. Polly especially enjoyed a story book called The Egyptian Cinderella. She loves Cinderella stories and I'm trying to read a variety from different cultures to her so she knows that the Disney one isn't the only one.

What are your favorite resources for teaching ancient history?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

WFMW - Baby Organization

We live in a small house. A really small house. If Tigger sneezes in the farthest corner of the back bedroom I say, "Bless you" from my comfy bed in my front bedroom. My spinet piano, an heirloom from Prince Charming's great-grandmother, is in my kitchen because that's the only place it would fit. It's nice to practice serenade the cook while fixing dinner.

Yes, our house is small and this presents some challenges. When Polly and Tigger were babies we had a beautiful Jenny Lind baby bed. We realized, back when we learned that Sweet Pea was on the way, that there would be no room for the crib. So as soon as Tigger moved into the big girl bed (built by her daddy) the crib was packed up and given back to my parents to wait for the next grandchild who needs it and who has space for it.

Now, don't worry about Sweet Pea, she doesn't sleep in a fruit crate. We have a very nice Pack 'n Play set up in our room. She naps in this, plays, safe from the loving grasp of her big sisters, and occasionally she even sleeps in it at night. Not often. Back when she was smaller, long long a few months ago, we used the bassinet and changing pad pieces, which suspend over the bed. Now that she's too big for those she's in the main bed part. Which leaves very little storage for her diapers, lotions, powders, etc. So I bought this from Bed, Bath, & Beyond (yes, I used a coupon):

It's meant to hang in kitchen cabinets but it hangs perfectly from the side of her bed. It doesn't take up much space. It holds diapers, a slim case of wipes, and various lotions and ointments (remember, Sweet Pea has sensitive skin). It works (wonderfully) for me! Check out Rocks in My Dryer for some of the best ideas floating around the Blogosphere today.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Back to our regularly

Home again, home again. Yes, we are back from our top secret getaway vacation. We had a wonderful time. However, as far as pictures are concerned, I don't have many to share yet. We had a camera problem (read: Prince Charming kept leaving it in the room) and are therefore at Lulu's mercy for most of the photo documentation. (Hint, hint!)

So, that picture of Sweet Pea passed out in her pack n play will have to do. It's what we all feel like now.

We're back to what passes for normal around here: grocery shopping, laundry, school work, laundry, cleaning the house, laundry, paying bills, laundry, sewing, laundry, work at church, laundry...

Did I mention laundry yet?

How is it that you can be gone for 6 days and you packed in three suitcases yet the laundry seems to consist of every. article. of. clothing. in the house? And beach towels. And sheets. And more towels. Add the sudden change of season (Guess what - It is now Fall and raining!) and the scramble for warmer clothing while the summer things are not yet put away... It's enough to make me crawl back into bed and under the covers. But I can't. The dryer is buzzing.

Just 82 loads to go. Or something like that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Sunday Morning Conversation

Last Sunday we were having a, shall we say, rough morning getting ready for church. In the midst of this Polly and I had the following conversation:

me, grouchy voice: "This has not been a good morning!"

Polly, cheerful voice: "No, it hasn't."

me, working on my attitude: "Still, it is the day the Lord has made and we should rejoice and be glad in it."

Polly, instant response: "Yep, even if we hate it."

Splish, Splash

Sorry for the unexplained absence folks. I had some vacationing that could not be put off. So here we are. Although, for top security reasons I will not define where "here" is I'll give you a clue or two:

- we've done a lot of splishing and splashing (lots of fun!)

- Polly and Tigger played putt-putt golf for the first time yesterday (definitely a hit)

- Sweet Pea's eaten her own weight in sand, or at least it seems like it!

I don't have pictures to share right now, but I will soon.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pooh Quiz

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

Did I ever tell you that my family discusses personality traits based on Winnie the Pooh? This quiz fits right in with that philosophy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Works for Me - Don't Ask

Here's a quick parenting tip, courtesy of John Rosemond: If you want your children to do something, don't ask.

Yes, it is as simple as that. If there is something your children need to do, don't ask.

Don't say: "Are you ready to pick up your toys?"
Say: "It's time to pick-up!"

Don't say: "Let's get ready to go, okay?"
Say: "We're leaving in 5 minutes, get ready!"

The exclamation point is my way of indicating that you are using a cheerful but firm voice here. I hear Mothers (and Dads!) all the time asking their children to do something. They may think they're giving commands but they end every sentence with the ubiquitous "Okay?" So an entire generation (including me) has become the equivalent of Parenting Valley Girls. If you must end a sentence with a question use something like, "Understand?" or in particularly dire circumstances the bad grammar but effective, "Got it?"

Here's a clue: going to bed, taking a bath, picking up toys, leaving a friend's house, sitting quietly in church, all these things are NOT "okay" with your child. They are not going to sign off on this course of action so Don't Ask!*

It works for me!

* Obligatory disclaimer: I'm not proposing we all become tyrants, steamrolling over our children and their wishes. Sometimes it's okay to ask, i.e. "Do you want the blue shirt or the red shirt?" or "Shall we go to the park or the zoo?" And if you actually use the word "shall" when speaking to your children, don't tell me, it will depress me too much.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Talk About Tuesday - Tae Kwon Do

Here's some news from our homefront: Polly has taken up a new extra-curricular activity: Tae Kwon Do (Korean Karate). She has watched her uncle (known 'round these parts as "Bear") in this sport for the past few years. So, last Tuesday she had her first lesson. These pictures are from her second lesson, last Thursday. This is Polly in her brand new uniform and belt.

Polly practicing her kicks. (Tigger better watch out...)
My baby being (gasp!) prepared to "Spar", otherwise known as punch and kick another human being while they punch & kick at you, on purpose, while your mother's heart is in her throat. That's Polly's uncle (my baby brother) Bear standing next to her.

Polly taking on her teacher.

At one point Polly, not being quite clear on the concept, started to run in circles around her teacher instead of actually sparring. It was cute and she had a gleeful smile on her face. But it was not strictly speaking, correct Tae Kwon Do behavior. Still, it shows smarts don't you think? Faced with someone more than double your size - RUN! I'm afraid that poor Polly gets her athletic skills from both her parents, which is to say, there are none between the two of us. Still, she's enjoying it and she's paying careful attention. If I can just get my heart to stay out of my throat, I may enjoy it, too.

Catch up on what's going on with more fellow bloggers at Lara's place, at the very first Talk About Tuesday.

Monday, October 8, 2007

What's Going on at our House

What's going on at our house right this minute?

- I'm playing working on the computer. I grocery shopped today and it just sucked the life right out of me. Didn't I formerly have more energy than this? So I'm 26 now and my energy is gone forever. I'll just have to adapt, I guess.

- Prince Charming is mowing the lawn. It's in the upper 80's today, October though it may be.

- Sweet Pea is eating things off the floor crawling around.

- Tigger is running around and asking when we can "go some-ere". It's boring here at home, you see.

- Polly is sitting in the living room singing the poem "Ooey Gooey". The tune is her own even if the words aren't. Bet you wish you could hear it. My gratitude to my husband for teaching her this poem knows no bounds. She throws in a refrain of "Fuzzy Wuzzy" and "Purple Cow" just for variety every four verses or so. I'm so proud.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Frugal Fridays - Preparing for Sickness

I know all you black belt tightwads (and I mean that in the nicest way) have already thought of this, but just in case it has slipped your notice I'll make this public service announcement:

Winter is coming. I know you're dismayed by my observation. But consider with me: when is the best time to prepare for winter, now or with six inches of snow & ice on the ground? Obviously, the time is now.

My preparations for winter right now are focused more on health issues, since our household is still fighting off our first serious fall colds/illness. Preparing for the inevitable sickness means checking your medicine cabinet (oh, free tip: don't keep medicine in the bathroom - it's too hot. I keep mine in a Rubbermaid container away from extreme temperatures).

- Dispose of anything past its expiration date.
- Dispose of anything that didn't work for your family.
- Make a list of what you'll need for the next few months. My list looks something like this:

- Acetaminophen - Adult, Children's (chewable) & Infant (liquid)
- Ibuprofen - Adult & Children's
- Benadryl or other antihistamine - Adult & Children's
- Decongestant
- Combination Cold/Sinus medicine - Adult
- Combination Cold/Flu medicine - Adult, Children's, & Infant
- Vick's Vapo-rub (or store brand)
- Medicine for our vaporizer
- Saline for stuffy noses
- Medicine of choice for upset tummies - Adult & Children's
- Cough drops

I didn't have to buy all of these items but we were missing several important things from our "fighting sickness arsenal". I'm sure I've left a few things off the list, as well. My Rubbermaid also holds our (many) band-aids, hydrocortisone, digital thermometers (one for baby, one for everyone else), cotton balls, antiseptic pads, and a few other essentials.

This seems like a lengthy list but by watching for sales and coupons I can buy these items before we need them. Let's face it, everyone gets sick at some point. I'd rather spend the money now, in a purposeful way than send Prince Charming out in the middle of the night for some Sudafed at extreme expense. Not that that's ever happened.

Check out Biblical Womanhood for many wonderful frugal tips.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

WFMW - Toddler troubles

O.k, folks, in honor of Works for me Wednesday "Backwards Day" I've got a few questions for you:

- Any suggestions on handling a strong-willed just turned 3 year old? After my posts of last week we have had some positive breakthroughs but I'd like some more ideas. What works for you?

- Any suggestions on potty-training the aforementioned just turned 3 year old? She's completely trained (during the day) for whatever you want to call the function of her kidneys and bladder. But she is set against ever, ever completing what our grandparents call "moving the bowels". Sorry, I know it's TMI, but I'm at my wit's end here. She wears big girl under-roos all day long and she's proud of that, but concerning the, ahem, other function, she just won't...go. Please, please help us!

- Any pointers on eczema? Sweet Pea has it on her face. The medicine the doctor gave us seems to help but I'm just wondering if there's anything else I could be doing. Sweet Pea seems to have pretty sensitive skin so general ideas about that would be good, too.

Okay, that was pitiful enough. In happier news the infamous "boppy" (Tigger's pacifier) is gone for good. After a rough bedtime last Friday and nap time last Saturday, in which ultimatums were handed down, battles were fought, tears were shed (mine and hers!) and hugs were given, it's gone and she's happy about being a big girl. The Lord has been good. And it really is a good thing because I was beginning to think one of us was going to spend the rest of her life in her room.

Check out Rocks in My Dryer so you can spread the wisdom around. The bloggers of the world need you.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Tigger-ific Birthday

Here are a few pictures from Tigger's birthday. Tigger had a great time, although she was positively sedate compared to Polly, who knows what birthdays are and how they ought to be celebrated: to the max! Tigger's beautiful cake made by a good friend of ours
Tigger enjoying her pre-cake meal.
Sweet Pea with a friend - Sweet Pea enjoyed all the attention, too! Aunts and sisters are for helping you open your numerous gifts. Sisters are also for "helping" you play with your numerous gifts.