Wednesday, November 26, 2008

White meat or dark meat?

When you eat turkey, do you like white meat or dark meat the best? That's the question of the day! We're conducting a poll and want to know what your favorite is! You can leave a comment with your vote right here on Mommy's blog. Please note that Mommy checks all comments before they go on her blog -- she says it's called "moderating" -- and so you won't see your comment right away, but don't worry! She'll get it up as fast as she can.

We will be using this data in our Thanksgiving lapbooks -- and we'll even make a graph to show our results. Mommy will also post the results here next week. Now we know you're all busy getting ready for Thanksgiving (at least Mommy is), but we will be closing the polls on Sunday, November 30th! So hurry and get your vote in . . . after all, every vote counts!

Thanks for voting!
Lael and Jaden

Monday, November 24, 2008

Time for pumpkin pie . . . playdough!

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I decided to surprise my kids with some pumpkin pie that they can really get into -- pumpkin pie playdough! Here's the recipe - I got it from another homeschooling mom:

Pumpkin Pie Playdough
(Note: I doubled this recipe)

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
food coloring (6 drops red and 15 drops yellow) - I used orange paste food coloring because I had it in my cupboard

Combine the dry ingredients in a saucepan. Add the oil, water and food coloring and whisk until smooth. Stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, cook over medium heat until it forms a ball, about 3 to 4 minutes). My note: I look for the consistency of mashed potatoes when I'm making playdough, but I like my mashed potatoes thick. So if you're a soft potatoes fan, don't use that rule! You want the playdough to pull together and not be sticky to the touch.
Turn the dough onto the counter, let it cool slightly. . .
. . . then knead the dough until it has a smooth texture (about one minute). Store in a plastic container or ziploc bag.
Then let your kids loose to have fun! Rolling pins, cookie cutters, plastic silverware all make great accessories!
Lael made pumpkin pie snowmen . . . can you tell that we're waiting for snow here?!

Not only is this playdough a fun color, but it smells SOOO good . . . almost good enough to eat!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Personal Experience Meme

I've often seen memes on other blogs, and this is a really simple one, so I thought I’d try it! All you have to do is copy and paste this list of items and then highlight or bold (I put mine in bold and italics to make it easier to read) the ones that you have personally experienced! I saw this over on Candace's blog! If you put this on your blog, please leave me a comment so I can check it out!

1. Started your own blog - obviously
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band - does junior high concert band count?
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (from the beach)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset - I love them!
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain - and in the snow!
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
So there you have it . . . did you learn anything new about me?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Daddy's little helper!

Daddy told Jaden that he could help sweep the fallen leaves off our sidewalk onto the street for the street cleaner to take them away. (Now the street cleaner comes by our house at about 8:00 AM on Daddy's day off.)

So -- of course, Jaden was awake bright and EARLY on Monday morning and the first thing he said to me was, "Mommy, can you help me get dressed? I've got to go outside and help Daddy sweep the leaves!" (Mind you, at this point, Daddy is still in bed.) So we woke Daddy up and got both boys bundled up -- it was pretty chilly on Monday morning!

Here's Daddy's helper - all bundled up with rake in hand.
Both boys worked very hard! They cleared the sidewalk for our neighbors as well.
I think Jaden had a bit of a "mitten malfunction" or something.
Jaden had so much fun helping Daddy . . . although Daddy probably would have enjoyed it more if it had been a little later in the day (and slightly warmer outside)!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Our Thanksgiving school plans

Well, November is upon us and Thanksgiving is right around the corner! (We won't even TALK about how quickly it will be Christmas time!) Anyway, I thought I'd share some of the wonderful books that we will focus on this week. My plan is to focus on the Pilgrims this week and native Americans next week. We will wrap up our Thanksgiving unit on Thanksgiving week as we talk about the first Thanksgiving.

I really love these books about Pilgrim life and the Mayflower. They all are illustrated with photographs taken at Plimoth Plantation and on the Mayflower II, replicas of the original sites. I hope to one day take our children there for a "field trip', but for now, we'll have to content ourselves with the books.

Sarah Morton's Day talks about life for a Pilgrim girl.

Samuel Eaton's Day is the counterpart, sharing what life was like for a Pilgrim boy.

And On the Mayflower chronicles what the journey on the Mayflower was like from the perspective of a ship's apprentice and a young girl traveling without her parents.

I discovered this book last year . . . it's by Patricia Polacco, one of our favorite authors. This book talks about the Jewish holiday of Sukkoth, a celebration of the harvest and thanks to God for His provision.
And then there are the "fun" books -- books we will read as we cuddle up on the couch!
This book is great -- it teaches the chorus of the hymn "Count Your Blessings" and lists things to be thankful for in a style reminiscent of "One, Two Buckle My Shoe".
And this is our new favorite this year . . . so sweet! We've read it several times already!
A lot of what we do this month will be focusing on history -- learning about the Pilgrims and native Americans: what they ate and wore, where they lived and how they spent their time each day. For Bible time, we are working on memorizing Psalm 100 and making "Thankful Turkeys" where we will add tail feathers for each thing that we are thankful for. (I'll try to post a picture of that as we add to it.)
Most of all, I really want the next two months especially to be full of memories we make together. So often, the months of November and December are just a blur of one activity or project after another. I want to SLOW DOWN and savor each moment . . . each book we read, each activity we do, even the silly things my sweet children do. Childhood is so fleeting and they are growing up right before my eyes. I don't want to miss a moment of this precious time by being too busy to enjoy it.
So that's my plan . . . feel free to check in with me and ask me how I'm doing! ;)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hermit crab habitat renovations

Well, Poppy and Jason have officially been part of our family for one month (Happy Anniversary, guys!) To celebrate, we visited a pet store to pick up some accessories to make their home more fun! Then while Daddy took Lael to ballet class tonight, Jaden and I worked on our pets' home.

Here is my eager assistant, ready to begin!
We added new aquarium stones -- a much thicker layer so they can burrow down in the rocks if they want to (and isn't it a pretty color!). We also purchased the climbing apparatus, a deeper water dish and larger shells for them to move into as they grow.After we put the crabs back into their new home, both of them checked everything out . . . especially the corners (still trying to figure out what's so fascinating there).
Poppy is our climber! Here he is exploring the new climbing apparatus -- he's pretty daring, even hanging over the edge a bit!
Jason enjoyed hanging out at the new water dish. He also spent quite a bit of time rearranging everything we so carefully placed -- I guess he didn't think very highly of our layout design!
We learned a few interesting hermit crab tidbits today, including:
  • Hermit crabs enjoy periodic treats like coconut, popcorn and PEANUT BUTTER!
  • Hermit crabs like playing hide and seek -- and they need peace and quiet sometimes (not sure how much of that they get around here).
  • Some hermit crabs have been kept in homes as pets for over 20 YEARS (our kids will be out of college by then)!

    So that's our pet update . . . one month later, and the hermit crabs are surviving and thriving! (Whew!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day 2008

I have a jumble of thoughts this morning -- Election Day. I've been praying for today for weeks, and now it's here. My greatest comfort is knowing that God is sovereign; my trust is in Him and not in a political candidate.

I am, however, a one-issue voter -- and I'm not ashamed to say it! Now, before anyone leaves a not so nice comment about Christians who only focus on one issue, let me share a couple of my observations.

First of all, most people, no matter their religious convictions (or lack thereof), are one-issue voters in that there is one issue in particular that they are passionate about and that guides their political choices. That one issue may be the economy, foreign policy, the war in Iraq, the environment, abortion, the sanctity of marriage . . . and the list goes on.

Secondly, when it comes to your "one issue", it's very hard to understand why anyone would choose a position other than the one you hold on that issue.

And finally, what makes this election so unique is the number of pressing issues facing our next president. Who really is best suited to take the helm of our nation come January? I know who I am voting for, and here's why . . .

As I have prayed about this election, the Lord led me to a couple of Scriptures that confirmed my choice of candidate. The main one is in Proverbs 14:34, which says, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people." Another version reads, "Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people."

Our greatest need as a nation is not economic stability or victory in the war on terror. What we really need is the restoration of our great nation. We were founded as a nation under God. I realize that for those who don't believe in God, those words are grating, but it does not change their reality. Our pastor (who is also my husband) read a prayer from George Washington's prayer journal this past Sunday -- he was asking God to continue working in his life to help him to walk in personal holiness as he carried out the responsibilities before him.

The reality is that we deserve judgment as a nation because we have strayed so far from righteousness. But as I vote, I will be voting my one issue -- righteousness. Which candidates have shared that they take a stand for the value of human life, the sanctity of marriage and family? Does that mean I agree completely with any one candidate? No. My faith is not in a candidate or a political party, but I do take God at His Word that if we as a nation choose first to exalt righteousness and turn from sin, that He will hear from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land.

So, it's okay to be a "one-issue voter" -- but if you are a believer in God Almighty and Jesus His Son, remember to check your "one issue" against His "one issue". How does it measure up? But by all means, make sure you vote!


If you are thinking of not voting...
If you are thinking the line is too long...
If you are thinking you are too busy...
If you are thinking your one vote will not matter...


Just 300 years ago, you would have had no vote.You would have had no say.You were told what to do.You were controlled by someone thousands of miles away.You had no freedom.

Thankfully, a large group of men and women decided itdid not have to be this way. They made the sacrifice sowe could choose who we wanted, what we wanted, and have an influence over our country.

Regardless of party, regardless of political affiliation, let's join together today as Americans and do the #1 right our Constitution gave us...the right to vote.

I read this on a homeschool message board . . . and would add that as believers we have a responsibility to involve ourselves in this process and let our voice be heard!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Anybody thirsty?

Jaden set up a "water stand" today -- we didn't have any lemonade :)
Here he is, ready for business! Note the creative use of his laundry hamper . . .

The best part of this particular stand (in addition to the adorable stand owner)? He provided customers with coins from his own piggy bank to make their purchases! How generous!

He's just too cute!