Random Fall Days

Every year at this time I seem to be jealous of my midwest friends donning sweaters and jeans.  Not this year!  These cool fall days have me smiling!  (Cool by southern California standards, anyway…)  Here are some random photos of our week!

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Sisters painting each others’ nails for the first time.  Sister bonding… I love it!  (Daniel and I may or may not have taken a nap shortly after these pictures were taken!)

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We went to the grocery store with a long list… I did NOT want to go.  But, it turns out they were having a grand re-opening and the kids got balloons and painted faces.   Happy kids = happy Mommy.

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Candles on a rainy day…

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The first hot chocolate of the season…

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And, we tried a new recipe; pumpkin snickerdoodles.  Snickerdoodles make me miss my friend Katie like crazy!  These were yummy; (but not as yummy as my friends’).

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A new recipe for the little ones… pumpkin play dough.  This will be a new fall tradition.  It is so simple!  Canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and corn starch until the consistency turns into play dough.  Your hands don’t get all salty, and it is even edible for the littles!  Not-to-mention, it smells awesome!

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And, it was suppose to be a spring garden… we thought the green beans were long done, but suddenly they are back with a vengeance!  Lucky chickens… we have been letting them enjoy this round.

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Did you know…

Did you know…

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…that Dollar Tree now sells washi tape?  Obviously some of you know that because they were running low.  I can’t wait to see what more they have when they restock!

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…that sleeping kittens next to sleeping kids are even more adorable?

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…that I went for my first stroller walk since knee surgery?  (And I need to be doing a lot more, or else stop eating so many sweets!)

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…that these two remind me so much of each other?

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…that our kitty caught his first lizard? (Sorry for the graphic picture!)

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…that this little one will be 4 in just one week?  How is that possible?

Happy weekend!

Halloween School 2013

One of my favorite parts about homeschooling is hosting special days with friends.  Today we got to do “Halloween School” with some of our dearest!

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Planning has been in the works for the last month.  Not a lot of work, but just a little searching of Pinterest and gathering of ideas and materials.  Then last night I gathered everything I needed  so we could quickly move from one activity to another.  This is what I plan to do from now on… everything went so smoothly!

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Our first activity was “bones.”  I made snack bones from pretzels, marshmallows, and melted white chocolate.  While they snacked on those, we read the story of God bringing the bones to life in Ezekiel.  Then they did a little skeleton craft with q-tips while I read some bone fun facts.

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Next up was the spider shoot.  I drew various size spiders with dry erase markers on our french door.  Each spider had a different point value.  Each kid got 6 shots, then added up their score.

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This next activity was my favorite, and one that used all Dollar Tree materials!  We made colorful, friendly monsters.

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This would also be a fun craft to go with the new Monsters University movie.  (Wait a minute, we haven’t seen it yet, so I probably shouldn’t be recommending it… but we did like the first one!)

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These two, again… they had the most fun sword fighting with their pipe cleaners.

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Snack: caramel apple bites.  I probably shouldn’t have given caramel to this boy, because he got upset whenever I tried to put an apple on the end of his toothpick!

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Next, the little ones played on their own while the big kids played “roll a pumpkin,” and the moms made lunch.  This is always a favorite game!

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Lunch:  mummy dogs, orange pinwheels, and orange soda!  (First orange soda ever for my kids.)

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Our last activity came after lunch: homemade fall-scented paints.  They are so easy to make, lots of fun, and even a little yummy!  Just mix 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 cups water on the stove until they thicken.  Then add food coloring and spices for scents.

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They are now watching a movie as I am trying to stay awake!  Perhaps it’s time for another monster cookie and a nap!


Ok, ok… so my boy did need a little haircut.  But, I loved his little surfer look.  I say loved because after physical therapy yesterday, I came home and found this:


Different kid, right?  I was in shock — my husband actually cut his hair!  And, he didn’t do a bad job.  But, he says it’s not a bowl cut.  Hmmm… I’d have to disagree.  And, I need some help.  (You can side with him, if you’d like!)  Is this a bowl cut?  Here’s another couple photos to help you decide:

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Bowl cut?

Meaningful Monday

I feel like I need to start off with a little disclaimer.  Reading this post, you may think we are always helping others and learning scripture and raising our kids just perfectly.  And, while I’d love for that to be true, it just isn’t.  In the past, I have tried to be intentional about these things, and it hasn’t worked.  Making “Meaningful Monday” the priority of our school day on Mondays this year has been a huge improvement.  Now we are getting better at these things — but there is always room for more growth.  I mean, we are just selfish creatures, aren’t we?  So that is my disclaimer.

That being said, what is Meaningful Monday?  Simply put, it is a day set aside to bless and be blessed.  There are 3 main components.  1.  We learn a scripture verse together.  Sometimes this begins with an object lesson.  More on that in a minute.  But, it always has a complete scripture reading, lots of questions, and then we write one or more of the verses we read in our Scripture art journals  2.  I bless my children with a special note and joke as I send them off to piano.  (I started this last year, and it was such a huge hit I had to continue!  There are SO many fun printable lunch jokes out there!)  3.  We do something special for someone else.  We have made care packages, brought eggs to neighbors, done lots of baking for friends, written letters to friends and family, brought meals to families, and most recently began shopping for our Operation Christmas Child boxes.  Again, I don’t say these things to brag… I have been wanting to be intentional about these things in for so long, but it just hasn’t worked very well until now.  And even now it is sometimes a challenge — but I really want my kids to be “others-focused,” and I am hoping this will help.

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For this lesson, we read Ephesians 6 — putting on the full armor of God.   First, the kids stuck their hand in a bowl of water full of pepper.  The pepper stuck all over their hands.  After washing their hands, they covered them in soap and again stuck them in a bowl of water and pepper.  This time the pepper “ran away.”  I asked them what the pepper represented, and they immediately said sin.  Right on!  The soap was, of course, the armor.  After a long discussion, we got to our art journals.  I found this lesson on Pinterest.

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We have done all sorts of different things in our art journals.  Since the armor of God verses were so long, (Eph 6:13 – 17), I actually had printed them out for the girls the night before.  They cut and glued using fun scissors and construction paper as a background.  They also cut out some of the armor pieces.

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For this verse, they used colored pencils and stencils for the world and sun.  Then they used felt-tip pens for writing the verse, and traced the letters to emphasize “light.”

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Self-explanatory — the fruits of the spirit!

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For Romans 8:28, I used an awesome object lesson from Darcy.  I then drew pictures of all the ingredients we used to make our chocolate chip cookies, and made copies of it for each of the girls.  They cut them out, and put certain words from our verse into them.  Check out Darcy’s awesomeness here.

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Here we used stamps.  You may notice none of the scripture references are on the pages.  I have them write them on the page before so that they can use these to study and practice with, as well.

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This was a favorite — washi tape trees, and hand-drawn as well as stamped birds!

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This one didn’t turn out so well, but we used white crayons to write “whatever” and then painted over them.  (The verse is continued on the next page.)

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This verse also took two pages!

And, that is a glimpse into our Mondays.  Somehow, taking the focus off of ourselves helps start our week off right.  These are not all the journal pages we’ve done this year, but most of them.  We go through them at the beginning of each day, very quickly, just so we remember all the verses.  Again, I have been so bad about this in the past.  We learned SO many verses last year and the year before, but then never reviewed them.  This is helping me be accountable, as well!  🙂


This was not what I intended to blog about tonight… but I have a few messes to clean-up, so it will have to do!  (Perhaps I can share about our “Meaningful Monday” tomorrow!)

owie 1 owie 2Little dude loves to make messes — not toys-all-over kind of messes, but mucky, sticky, sensory messes.  The baking soda and vinegar play the other day?  Heaven for this little boy.  Pictured above is his mixture of cat food, water, and soap.   I caught him just before the litter box scoop made it into his food bowl.  It is usually dog food, water, and whatever else he can find.  I think tomorrow I will just give him a bunch of yucky stuff and containers, keep him in just a diaper, and send him outside.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Above this picture you can see him pointing to his first scraped knee.  I am sure it won’t be his last.  I ask him about it all the time, because I love hearing his voice get all sad as he points to it and tries to tell the story of falling in the street.  Precious.

Ok, off to clean — Good night!

House Projects

Ah, yes… house projects.  “Will we ever be done?” my husband asks.  The answer is probably not — because there is always something more to do.   And, with kids “helping…” it could take a while!  (Personally, I quite like these projects, so I am ok with always having one more!)  Yesterday we conquered a very small project.  I have had the pictures and things for this wall across from our bed for many months on our floor waiting to be hung.  I just needed my husband to help me hang them.  He is so good at it.  He has also been super busy trying to finish the new chicken coop before the rainy season.  And so, my pictures sat…

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Lest you think this shot was just for fun, let me assure you that Malachi really did hammer in this nail all by himself.  I have said this many times before, but I will say it again… I love how my husband always finds ways to have the kids help.  They have learned so much and done so much more than I ever had at their age.

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This cradle has been in our room since Allison was a baby.  It is a gift form my uncle, who designed, carved, and painted it all by hand.  It is UH-MAZING!  I absolutely love it.  But alas, we have no more babies.   Soon it will house some house plants.  Until then, it is a boat for my kids to rock out in…

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And, this is the finished wall…

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Won’t it look good when I get some plants in that cradle?  Yes, finishing little projects can feel so good.  I already told you how special that cradle is.  Let me point out a few other special items… See the quilt on the white chair?  My aunt Kathy sewed it for me when I lived in my first apartment.  And that little rocking chair?  Hand painted for me when I was 4 by my grandma.  It is Norwegian rose malling, which you can’t see in this picture, but which makes it even more special — a little piece of my heritage!  And, the giant wood piece on the wall — I believe I blogged about it when I made it, though I can’t seem to find that post.  It was an old bench out by our swimming pool when we moved into this house.  My husband sanded it down, and I painted it and added an orange magnet board which is now covered in pictures.  There is just one more thing that needs to be done in this room — my night stand.  I found one I love, but it is very expensive.  So, I bought some legs off of E-bay, and it is now on my husband’s honey-do list.  Just as soon as that coop gets done… Anyway, I will be back with a full room tour then!

Good/ Not Good


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This sweet cat is so good to the girls.  Every night I take him off one of their beds and bring him downstairs just to ensure he doesn’t wake them early in the morning.  But, they love going to bed cuddled-up with him, and he even lets them tuck him in!  Good cat.

Not Good:

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I thought I would try a new veggie…. Chinese celery.  I had no idea how to cook it, (and my Chinese husband was working, so I couldn’t ask him.)   I decided  I couldn’t go wrong with a little fresh garlic, salt, and pepper stir-fried.  Turns out Chinese celery tastes a lot like regular celery, only it is much thinner.  I really don’t think the leaves were meant to be eaten, however — they were super bitter.  My oldest actually ate all her veggies.  (Good girl!)  I couldn’t finish mine.  I would say, not good.

Thai Breakfast

I just love it when God blesses our school time, even though I am totally unprepared!  This morning, we mixed things up a bit with school.  After our “Work on it Wednesday” writing assignments, we dove into our geography.  We usually do geography in the afternoon when Malachi is napping, but decided to do it early since I would be tutoring a friend’s daughter all afternoon.  My husband blessed me by taking the two little ones on a long bike ride to see horses and play at the park.  My only mistake was sending the camera with him, but oh well…

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So, blessing number 1: We just arrived in Thailand, (for our geography curriculum), and I just so happened to randomly buy some Thai tea a few weeks ago.  “Let’s make tea,” I suggest!  Meanwhile, the girls are busy reading me our fun facts from Thailand.

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It turns out one of the breakfast favorites in Thailand is toast with sweetened condensed milk.  Since we had just opened a can for our Thai tea and the girls were wanting a morning snack, we decided to have toast with our tea.  But wait, it gets better…

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Just last night I pinned THIS idea to my kids board.  Yes, painting toast with milk!  Only we decided to do it “Thai style,” and used sweetened condensed milk.

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Since my camera was off with the little ones, I had to wait until they returned to take the pictures.  But, I am glad I did — they had a lot of fun with it, as well!

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Super fun for toddlers; this was the longest my dude has ever lasted on a painting craft!

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Apparently, the kids thought the toast was extra sweet and yummy.  I am so thankful for “Godincidences,” like pinning a craft the night before I needed it and randomly buying Thai tea!  I think we will have to end this trip with a real trip to our local Thai diner!