Monday, November 30, 2009

The End?

Today is November 30th. Which means that I made it through NaBloPoMo without missing a day. It was a challenge some days thinking of something to post. Or just finding the time to post. But I did it. And I may win prizes. One year I won a $40 gift card to itunes. I'd take that again.

But just when I thought I was finished with daily posts, I got an email about December's NaBloPoMo theme. And even though it's not officially National Blog Posting Month, the same challenge applies for December. The theme is Mitzvah. Which I found out is a Jewish word used to express an act of kindness. So December's challenge is to give something to someone every day and then post about it. It can be anything you want to give, from a kind word to time to a present. Sounds interesting. And challenging. I think I might just try it.

So I guess I'll see you tomorrow.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Blessed Sunday

Yesterday morning, before 2/5 of our family was awake, Adam and I played 5 rounds of UNO Spin. It's UNO only with a plate sized spinner that comes into play with certain cards. It's really fun even though Adam beat me 3 games to 2. While we were playing, Adam, out of the blue said, "Mom, I've been trying to think who could have given us all those presents last year. I have a couple of ideas, but I'm not sure." He was remembering last Christmas Eve when we came home to our porch covered with bags of Christmas gifts for the whole family. Presents which included UNO Spin. There was a note, but no one had signed it. I'm sure it was someone (or a group of someones) from our church family who had done such a wonderful, kind thing for us knowing that we only had 1/2 a job supporting our family. It was a little overwhelming, this gift of kindness. Overwhelming to know that we have those who care for us enough that they would go out of their way to make our holiday happier. Overwhelming that God's love is so alive in those who did such a thing. Overwhelming to see my children experience such an act of goodness. I had just been thinking about all this earlier in the week and to have Adam mention it, remember it, be thinking about it a year later, was more evidence to me that what these loving sisters and brothers did was so much more than give us presents to unwrap Christmas morning. They gave us hope and joy and an example to follow. I hope that someday our family will be able to do such a thing for an other family in need. So today, I am remembering last year and our amazingly blessed Christmas. One that will be remembered always, by our whole family.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

'Tis the season

I did my best to focus on Thanksgiving this month so far. But now that it's over, other than the leftovers in the fridge, it's time to think about Christmas. I love Christmas, too. The lights and the cookies and the warm feelings. And the traditions. It's hectic and busy and full. But it's also happy and fun and filled with all kinds of goodness. So today I will change my blog background. And add a Christmas countdown clock. And make a list of things to do and things to make and events to attend.

And to help you get in a festive mood, too...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Say Cheese!

Our Thanksgiving was good. It started with the First Annual Family Cheese Off. There were 7 cheeseballs in the running. Here they are all set up pre-tasting.

This is Ada's chicken and cream cheese ball. Yummy!

Dad's smoked salmon and jalapeno cheese ball, pina colada cheese ball (served with graham crackers), and mom's ham and cheese ball.

And mine...Italian cheese, Colby jack, and cheddar and bacon (with some sliced cheddar for Aidan).

Although there was no official winner, dad's smoked salmon and jalapeno seemed to be a slight favorite. And really we all won because we all got to taste all of the yumminess.
The cheese was just a warm up for the main event. We had two turkeys, one roasted and one smoked, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, cream corn, green beans, sweet potato casserole, pea salad, bread, and pink stuff.* And for dessert there was pumpkin pie, carrot cake, custard pie, oatmeal cake, and s'mores brownies. Here are the birds right out of the oven...and smoker.

And the boys waiting patiently for dinner.

And the girls by the back door watching all the goings on outside.

It was a good day with good food and better company. And it was a good reminder of all the things we have to be thankful for.
*Pink stuff has been renamed "jabby" after Jules and Abby because it's pink and sweet. I knew the boys would come up with a more interesting name for it than pink stuff.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things I'm thankful for...

1. Salvation...and all that comes with it--peace, grace, forgiveness, joy, and my favorite these days, hope.
2. My husband...who loves me through it all.
3. firstborn who taught me how to be a mom.
4. Adam...who makes me laugh everyday.
5. Julianna...who warms my heart like no one else can.
6. Mom and Dad...who have made me who I am and who love me like parents should.
7. Ada, Adam, Aidan, and sister and her family who I absolutely adore.
8. My sister friends...who I wouldn't know what to do without.
9. An abundance of material blessings...everything I need to take care of my family.
10. Long the one I am in the midst of.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ho Ho Ho!

Santa visited our school yesterday. The kids all had the chance to get their pictures taken with he and Mrs. Claus. Now there are those "Santas" around who say they are the real thing, but are, in fact, just helping the real Santa out before the big day. Our Santa is the real thing. How do I know? Well, for one thing, I have dinner with him every week. And I have prayed with him. And heard his stories. So if the real Santa is the embodiment of love and generosity and fun, this one, the one I know, must be him.

After he and his lovely wife finished getting their picture taken with 100 children, they joined us for lunch. But first, he took the stage and declared that is elf, Elvin, in the North Pole, had just checked the good and naughty lists and informed him that everyone at CCS was on the good list. Cheers broke out all over the room. (Even though some of us teachers had our doubts.)

And after it was all said and done, he told me, that by organizing his visit, I had done a good thing. I loved hearing that because my whole purpose in this life is to do good things for God's children.

And besides that, who doesn't want to be on Santa's good list?!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Busy Day

Laundry, breakfast, kindergartners, placemats, Christmas trees, Thanksgiving stories, Santa and Mrs. Claus, turkey lunch, decoration clean up, downtown parking, gingerbread houses, Costco, visit with the parents, dinner for the family, movie with the boys, books with the baby.

Now I will rest.

Monday, November 23, 2009

More fun in the snow

Julianna loved her first time playing in the snow. Well, she loved to walk around in it, but never would pick any up.

And how cute is she in her snow clothes?!

Here's Josh after rolling down the hill.

Jules chased the boys down the hill. Only she stayed on her feet. She wasn't quite brave enough to roll down.

And then she'd turn around and come right back up the hill. Here she is getting up after falling down while coming up the hill.

Ben, the cat, liked the snow, too. He followed the kids around all over the yard and seemed to have as much fun as they did.

The year's first snowball fight. I got hit once. No one would take responsibility. (But I know that it was the tallest of these three boys.)

The snowball target...Ben.

He never got hit. (They weren't really trying to hit him.) And he took advantage of all the snowballs near him.

Yes, he was totally playing with the snowball. And because of this, he, too, got blamed for the snowball that hit me.

I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of snowy fun at our house.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blessed Sunday


...and this...

...and this.

This is why I'm blessed.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Craft Night"

We had "craft night" at church last night. Notice how I put it in quotes? Well that's because we call it craft night, but it often evolves into other things. Like last night it became movie night. We watched get ready for our outing to see New Moon tonight. I know, I know. We are a little older than your average Twilight fan, but it's just so fun. We can't resist. So tonight we will go and giggle and sigh and choose teams. (Team Jacob!) Then we will go home to our husbands and children and dirty dishes and laundry. But for 2 hours and 1 minute we will join the world of teenage girls and vampires and shape shifting wolves. And love every minute of it.

Now, back to crafting. This is what I bought at Michael's yesterday for $20.06. All these great Thanksgiving decorations and stuff for everyone to make cornucopias to take home. I know! What a deal.

Bunches of flowers for $.19 each.

A variety of cornucopias for $.59 to $.99 each.

This scarecrow for $.49.

A harvesty wreath for $.39.

3 little corn cobs for $.49.

And this sweet little welcome sign for $.39.

Here's my finished project. Cute, huh? Not bad for under $2.00.

All in all, it was a fun and slightly productive night. But mostly it was fun.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Field Trip Friday

So we were supposed to go on a field trip to the fire station today. And we did. But when we got there, the firefighters were on a call. So we played on the playground behind the fire station until we got too cold, and then went back to school with the plan to reschedule our fire station field trip. Hopefully on a warmer day. And a day when the firefighters are actually there.

In other news, I found Thanksgiving decorations at Michael's for 90% off. I got a whole basket full of stuff for $20.06! I'll post pictures soon.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things on our Thanksgiving menu...

1. turkey (pretty much your run of the mill turkey...except since mom makes it, it's extra good. And sometimes dad smokes one, too.)
2. mashed potatoes (again mom's recipe...with NO miracle whip)
3. gravy (my sister has perfected gravy...mmm gravy)
4. dressing (kind of like stuffing only baked in a casserole and cut into squares to serve)
5. corn (the corn, too, has been perfected by Ada over the years. It's cream style with cheese...and it is so delicious.)
6. pea salad (mine is made special without onions. Thanks, mom.)
7. sweet potatoes* (that yummy sweet potato casserole with pecan topping...I wish I had some right now.)
8. pink stuff* (1 can cherry pie filling, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1 can crushed pineapple, drained, and 1 16 oz. container of cool whip...easy and yummy)
9. bread (fresh baked at mom's Thanksgiving morning)
10. pumpkin pie* and various other desserts (cakes, pies, cookies, etc.)

Bonus: We are also having The First Annual F. Family Thanksgiving Cheese Off. We are all making cheese balls to see whose is the best. (But who really cares which is the best, we get to try all kinds of different cheese balls!)

*These are the things I am taking.

What is a must have at your Thanksgiving Feast?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today I am thankful for...

obedient children
finished projects
grace from above
kindergarten works of art

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why I love teaching kindergarten

Students randomly bring me gifts like pictures they've drawn or papers they've practiced their letters on...or like today, a Reese's peanut butter cup.

Kindergartners do things like come to the garbage can by my desk to throw things away and tell me what it is they are throwing today when one little girl came to empty out her pocket of "old bacon." (I didn't look. I just took her word for it.)

Kindergartners laugh a lot. Sometimes when things aren't even really that funny. And they appreciate my attempt at silly voices at storytime.

They say things like upsharpen (for sharpen), upside down 6 (for 9), stuffed up animal (for stuffed animal), and "My foot hurts. Maybe if I get a drink it will feel better."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Where in the world...

The boys are studying world geography in school this year. One of the projects they are doing is to collect post cards from as many places as they can. The cards are then placed on the wall in the hall outside their classroom with a string connecting them to a map showing where they are from. They would love it if they received a post card from my faithful readers. Even if you live in Idaho. Or are traveling over the holidays. If you would like to make the boys happy and help in their education you can send the cards to:

Josh and Adam
c/o Coeur d'Alene Christian School
6439 N. 4th Street
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83815

Thanks so much.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blessed Sunday

We have a ministry at church called "Secret Sisters." Every few months the ladies who want to participate fill out an information sheet and we exchange them and encourage the sister whose name we receive. We can give notes or gifts at church or send cards in the mail. But the most important part is that we pray for that sister. And we have a sister who is praying us. So right now I have a secret sister that I have been encouraging and I have a sister who has been encouraging me.

Today I had in my church mailbox, a card that was so sweet. My dear sister, whoever she is, wrote this, "You are an awesome mom! You have a beautiful family and God blessed them with a beautiful mother." How wonderful is that? I don't know who she is, but that simple statement means the world to me. What a blessing to have a Christian family. And what a blessing to have such a loving sister in Christ.

In a few weeks we will have our "reveal" and I will find out who she is. I can't wait to thank her for all she's done for me the last few months. She has been an amazing secret sister and she, and her prayers, have been a real blessing.

P.S. I also have a not-so-secret-sister who I adore and who has also been encouraging me over the last several months. So that makes me double blessed, I guess. :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thrift Stores and a Craft Fair

This morning I headed into town (by myself) to return some movies. (Up which is sooo good, and Wolverine, which is also good.*) Since I was going, I decided to run some other errands, too. I dropped off the movies, then went to a children's used clothing store and traded in some baby stuff for a pink long-sleeved shirt, the cutest pink corduroy dress ever, and a cute little tea set for Jules. A good trade, I think. Then I stopped by the post office to get the mail, stopped at the feed and farm to get fresh bedding for the dog and cats, and headed downtown to do some thrift store shopping.

So here's what I discovered. I don't like thrift store shopping. I don't like shopping in general, so when I'm looking for something, I want to go and get it and be done. I was looking for boots for the kids, tea cups and pots for my new collection**, and craft supplies for Christmas projects. After going to 4 stores, I found nothing. No boots, no cute little tea cups, no fabric or ribbon. (There were of course all of those things at at least one of the stores, but not the right size or cuteness or color.)

After that, my sister and mom called and asked me if I wanted to go to a craft fair with them. I was already going to call them to see if they wanted to go with me, so I met them there. We walked through all the booths looking at all the handmade goods. Some people are so talented. We saw some really beautiful things. I even took a few notes about things I want to try. I once again bought nothing, but had fun anyway.

Then, since I had no luck finding boots earlier, I went back into town to Payless Shoes since they are having their buy one-get one sale. Guess what? No boots for the boys. Not even in the men's section. They did have cute little brown and pink boots for Jules--for $35! Umm, no. So I went to Target to the boot aisle, found the boots that were on sale, found the kid's sizes, and was done. That's how I like to shop. (It would have taken even less time, but there was a family in the aisle trying on every kind of boots they had...twice.)

Then I went to Albertson's for the deal of the one pie (for $6.39) and get another pie and two boxes of Breyer's ice cream free. I know! What a deal!

Now I'm home. And gladly so. I need to finish my chores (that I didn't do since I shopped all day) and then I want to make a cup of Earl Grey tea and read. On second thought, I can do my chores tomorrow.

*I like Ryan Reynolds and was looking forward to seeing him in Wolverine. Someone really should have warned me that he was the bad guy.
**I was inspired by Marci's sweet tea cup collection. I have two already. One I bought for myself last week and a beautiful one my sister bought for me yesterdy. (Both were purchased at thrift stores, by the way.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Show and Tell

D--"This is my ship. My mom got it for me. That's all. I'm done." (It was a Transformer ship. I asked.)

M--stuffed bunny named Emily that "likes to play with things what she likes to do." M. pretends that she eats real carrots. She likes to play with toys, she buckles herself in her seat belt, "she eats Smarties so she's a smarty pants," she stomps her feet when someone doesn't pay attention, she loves sleeping with M. and going to a sleepover at someone else's house. (Quite a talented stuffed bunny, don't you think?"

M--doll that M. got from Target after school yesterday. "She can stand up and she can change hair, but I left her hair at my home." (She does in fact have hair right now. I'm not sure how she changes hair.)

P--sunglasses from home that are very special and P. got "from" her birthday (Prime example of finding something in a backpack when actual show and tell is forgotten.)

I--monkey and cheetah (as pictured above) Littlest Pet Shop toys. "They have a house and they live together. I have another house but I didn't want to bring it. And I have a car but I didn't want to bring it. And I have a pool and a mat and a towel that I brought with." (Wow. The economy hasn't affected Pet Shop toys--2 houses and a pool.)

M--a tiny baby that uncle B. bought for her and "I love them and they have little bows in their hair and I love them." (I think she loves them.)

K--a "music thingy" that K. had at his old house. "I don't know what it's called but it makes music like this." (Umm, it's a triangle.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things I look forward to in Heaven...

1. seeing the face of God
2. saying thank you to him
3. meeting family members that I wasn't able to meet in this life
4. asking Mrs. Noah her side of the story
5. not having to worry...about anything
6. being able to see myself and others the way God intended
7. no more heartache or tears
8. hearing the angels sing
9. walking hand in hand with Jesus
10. an eternity of pure joy

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


What I did on my day off...

watched the Today show
watched Ice Age 3 with the family
did a load of laundry
went through my craft stuff to see what I had for Christmas projects
snuggled with the kids
made lunch including making a cheese ball to put in the fridge to chill
played with Jules
took a nap when she did
got up and ate some of the yummy cheese ball
watched an episode of The Mentalist

...and that's just before dinner.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two For Tuesday

For the past few months, we have been hosting our Lifegroup (small group Bible study) at our house. I love hosting for a few reasons. First, it's convenient for the kids. The boys can finish their homework if they need to or play in their room if they don't want to sit in on the study. And I have all of Julianna's toys and books to occupy her and can put her in bed at her regular bedtime. Secondly, knowing we are having company insures that the house is clean. It's great to start out the week with a clean house. And thirdly, I like having people in our home. We don't do it often enough since we live out of town and sometimes feel like it's a burden for people to drive so far. But all of our group lives within a few miles of us, so it's not an inconvenience for them. Lately I have really appreciated the members of our small group. We are the youngest members of the group by at least 15 years (the oldest member of our group is 85). We are the only ones with kids still at home. In fact, all the other members of the group are grandparents. But we have this bond that isn't found anywhere else. They all love our family and we love them. I know without a doubt that I could call on any one of them for anything and they would do all they could to help. How wonderful is that? We meet every Monday night to eat together and study God's Word together and pray together. And because of that time spent together, we know and appreciate each other.

Last night we were discussing prayer and what prayer means to us as Christians. We read several scriptures and two of them happened to be two of my favorites. I'd like to share them with you.

Ephesians 3:14-21
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present you requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Break It Down

Last night we were practicing saying words with Julianna. We'd say a word, then she'd say the word...or at least her version of the word. But when we tried to get her to say Julianna, she'd say "mommy" every time. "Say Julianna." "Mommy." After a few times, Arrty slowly said, "Say Ju," trying to break it down into syllables for her. She looked right at him and said, "Mo." We laughed so hard. She totally got him. She was ready for his little syllable game. And she won.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Blessed Sunday

Blessed Sunday is hard sometimes because 1.) I am so blessed that I can't decide what to write about and 2.) I want to write about the same wonderful blessings every husband, kids, family, and friends. So I think today I will just write about how truly blessed I am. I live in a time and place that is comfortable. I have a roof over my head and running water and electricity and a car to drive to grocery stores filled with food. I lack none of the necessities that many people throughout the world live without every day. And I share it with people I love and who love me. Wonderful people who fill my life with laughter and happiness. People who make me a better person just for knowing them. And all this is wrapped up in the amazing grace and love of God. The greatest blessing of all. Is my life perfect? No. But it doesn't have to be. And I wouldn't want it to be. But my life is blessed. Blessed to overflowing.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Tea Party

Julianna and I went to a tea party today.

First we chose our tea cups.

I chose this cute Holly Hobby cup because it reminded me
of Jules when she picks up our cat, Ben. And because it's Holly Hobby.

Here's Julianna with her little pink cup.

And here she is trying to get the camera.

And here's mom, Ada, and Abby. How cute are Abby's tights?!

And our lovely hostess, Marci.

And Jules and Abby playing.

It was a really nice girl's day. I look forward to many more Thanksgiving teas. Thanks for a great day, Marci.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Let's Talk

Today is parent/teacher conference day. I don't mind it since there aren't any major things to discuss about any of my students. The worst part is when parents come in and we talk for 3 1/2 minutes and then we're done. I always feel bad that they came all the way to school on their kid's day off for that. But I guess it's better than taking up the whole 20 minutes talking about how their kid is the only one I hope is sick on art day.

While preparing for my conferences I started to think about what I would like parents to know about teachers. Here are a few of them.

  • *We love your kids. We want what's best for them just like you do.
  • We work hard. Yes, we have holidays off and are off during the summer, but for those 10 months that we teach, we spend way more hours working than just the 7 we spend with students each day. And even during the summer we often look for new ideas and plan for the coming year.
  • We really, really appreciate being appreciated. A card, a gift, even a kind word will make our day.
  • We have tons of unmatched coffee mugs and Christmas ornaments that say "World's Best Teacher" and candles. If you're going to give a teacher a gift, be creative. (And if you can't be creative, we love gift cards.)
  • We like parent support. If my parents spend time reading to their children or practicing flashcards, it encourages me to do more, too.
  • We love being teachers. It's a job that you can't do if you don't love it. We don't love every minute of every day, but we love teaching.
  • We don't like it when parents are absent from their children's education. We want to see you at events and in the school. We want you to read the notes we send home. We want you to sign and send back notes and permission slips without having to remind you.
  • We know what we're doing. All certified teachers have taken tons of classes about how to teach your kids. And have spent hours and hours and hours with kids. We are experts.
  • We learn as much as we teach. I can't even begin to tell you how much my students have taught me over the years about school and kids and life.
  • We have stories. Every teacher has a story about "that kid" and "that class" and "that time that the class pet got out and did that funny/scary/weird/gross thing." Ask us. We love to tell our stories.

So, if you are a parent who has a child who has a teacher or will have a teacher, those are a few things they may want you to know. And if you are a teacher, please feel free to add your own things to my list.

*By saying "we," I mean me and maybe teachers in general. Of course all these things may not fit every teacher. Some teachers actually collect unmatched coffee mugs.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

10 Things Thursday

10 things that already made me smile this morning...

1. not waking up until 7:00
2. waking up to Julianna's sweet voice saying "mama"
3. a longish, hot shower
4. three little smiling faces waving and blowing kisses to me as I pulled out of the driveway
5. the 25 minute drive into town all by myself
6. being called Sweetpea by the McDonald's drive through lady
7. diet coke for breakfast
8. thinking about spending the afternoon with my family
9. teacher work's almost like a day off from work
10. Kathy walking into my classroom with freshly baked turtle brownies

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Check Up

We took Julianna in for her 15 month check up today. (Yes, I'm fully aware that she is 17 months old. I'm a little late.) Here are the highlights.

  • The new doctor's office that we went to has a beautiful office and the people are really nice.
  • Julianna is finally over 20 pounds. She is 20 pounds and 10 ounces.
  • She is 30 inches tall.
  • She was really, really mad when she got her shots. Not just, "Ouch! That hurts and I'm mad!" But, "I totally know what you just let them do to me and I'm mad!"
  • She is absolutely healthy...and adorable.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

In keeping with the spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to give a big, huge thanks for...

this mini Jason Mraz...

...and this cute sheriff...

...and the most adorable little candy corn I've ever laid eyes on.

How cute are they?!?!

Before Trunk or Treat even began, Julianna talked me into giving her a mini Crunch bar. How could I resist this face?

It took us awhile to get around to all the trunks, because as we walked around to "trunk or treat," Little Miss Candy Corn had to stop and dance whenever anyone was playing music.

And see her basket for candy? She would not let me carry it even though it was probably heavier than her by the time she got done.

Here is our trunk all decorated like a pumpkin patch for the Trunk or Treaters.

Basket of pumpkins and gourds.

Basket of popcorn.

And the most important basket of all.

It was a really fun night. We had tons of kids from the community join us and enjoy dinner, games and treating. And I was so glad to see so many of our church members come and decorate their trunks for this fun event. I'm already looking forward to next year!