Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weekend Whoas (by Keeler)

Hi!  I am Keeler and my mommy takes lots of pictures so I can remember our special times.  Ill tell you about my weekend!

My parents finally put together the kitchen I got for Christmas.  
Brother and I played and baked mommy some muffins.

Kallahan can stand up all by himself!

 We went to the zoo with Jill, Cameron and Gavin

 We spent time with Daddy

Mommy says it's good to stop & smell the flowers, so I did! 

 I spent time with my cool little bro.

 We went on a walk to the park. 

 Had a picnic under a tree & ate my favorite, watermelon!! 

 Brother crashed in his stroller. 

Mommy told me about Memorial Day.  She said today we remember and thank those that have fought and are currently fighting for our freedom.  She said that we are so lucky to live in America, "The land of the free!"  We talked about freedom.  Freedom is being whatever I want to be, like a fireman!  
Happy Memorial Day!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Telling the Truth

Happy 30th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!
Thanks for telling the truth with your lives.

[Marriage is] mainly about telling the truth with our lives. It's about portraying something true about Jesus Christ and the way he relates to His people. It is about showing in real life the glory of the gospel.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Over And Over Again

He is faithful.
He is for me.
In Him, we are more than conquerors.

Over and over I repeat these things in my head.
It's one of the reasons I love to fill my day with music that reminds me of these things.
A life can look so perfect from the outside looking in.
But even the happiest have struggles and trials and mountains to climb.
We are all the same.
Only facing trials of varying intensity and flavour.

Over and over again.

Hope casts out all fear.
It is finished.
He has overcome.

He never fails.

And as I whisper into the ear of a babe so sweet
I love you.
I will always love you.
I just can't stop.
There's nothing you can do to make me stop loving you...
I think of Him.
In whose image I am made.
Who's child I am.
My mother love is but a drop of what His is.
As strongly and fiercely as I love,
It is imperfect and flawed in a million ways.

But His...

It is strong

Take comfort, believer
For you are His
Over and over again
Take comfort

*Thoughts inspired by this song:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Corduroy {BFIAR}

The past week started out with the most beautiful day!
We weren't about to waste it so I packed the girls up and headed to a lake near our home!
We decided to bring along our baby salamanders and release them.
I was afraid keeping them much longer would be their demise!
We found the perfect spot to say good bye and returned the nymphs back to the wild!

We continued on to the beach.
The morning there was pure bliss.
I totally should have brought their bathing suits but figured the water would be too cold.
Silly Mama!
I should have known!
By the end they were soaked, covered in sand and grinning from ear to ear!


The rest of the week was spent 'rowing' Corduroy by Don Freeman.

In the book, Corduroy the bear is purchased by a little girl who loves him despite his imperfection - a missing button.
She kindly sews one back on for him.
The girls delighted in the opportunity to get their hands on some buttons this week, too!
They adore looking through them and discovering pretty and unique ones!

They sorted them by color and counted them.


And tried their hand at 'sewing' with them!
I assembled these sewing hoops for them using embroidery hoops and onion bag netting.
Then they used yarn and plastic needles to sew buttons onto their hoop!


Another day, I set up a toy store just like the one Corduroy was in!
I lined up their stuffed animals, added price tags to them, set up a cash and pulled out our box of plastic (Canadian!) money!
At first, I was the cashier so they could see how to play the part of customer and cashier.
I even made them do something (like dance for me) to earn money once they ran out of cash!
Once they saw how 'toy store' was played, they took over and shopped and sold for much of the morning!

In Corduroy, Lisa, the little girl, is able to return to the store and purchase the bear with money she had saved in her piggy bank.
This lead a disscussion about money - how we earn it and what we should do with it.
This resulted in a craft in which the girls began making 3 banks each - spend, save and share.
We haven't quite completed them yet since we spent a lot of time discussing the 3 banks.
Spend is for money that you can use anytime.
(Such as at yard sales or candy shop.)
Save is for keeping money in until you have enough to purchase something specific.
(They are going to pick something specific and take a picture of it to add to this bank as a goal to save for.)
Share is for giving in the offering at church and to others in need.
( I used our sponser child as an example for them.)

Next, they assembled chore charts.
They recieve ten cents for each chore they do each day.
Their chores don't include things they are expected to do any way like put their dirty clothes in the laundry or clear their dishes from the table.
No, these chores are fun and exciting!
Like vacuuming or washing dishes!
My girls are pumped to not only get to do these awesome jobs but to get paid for them, too!
I'm not much of a chart mom so this system may not last long but it was the only way that I could think of for them to consistently earn money.
I think it is really important that they learn money sense from a young age and this is a fun way to begin!

For the rest of the morning, Piper was running around the house doing stuff and after each chore she would run to me with her hand out and excitedly yell, "MONEY!"
I gently explained that she wouldn't get the money until the end of the day.
Instead, she moves the corresponding chore sticker to her chart to show that she completed it!

Piper continued on with her nature journal this week entering forget-me-nots and crab apple blossoms.
She is quite diligent with this and enjoys finding the right crayon to match the flower's color.
I am learning a lot, too, since I am completely clueless about flower names.
Seriously - I had to Google what those pretty blue wild flowers were!

They week ended with a trip to Daddy's work!

He had taken our praying mantis eggs there and called to say they had hatched during the night!
I am so grateful it happened at his work becuase they escaped their little cage!
Thankfully, he had them in an aquarium in his classroom so they didn't get far!
We visited him at school to check out the new little hatchlings and I was pleasantly surprised -
I actually like these insects!
Normally, I won't go near any insects (on purpose) but for some reason praying manti don't gross me out at all!
I even held one willingly!
They're {almost} cute!
They girls wouldn't touch them but really enjoyed watcing them!
Once our garden is planted next week, we plan on releasing them as an organic form of pesticide!

And I wondered why I didn't find any time to blog this past week!
These posts always remind me of how much we actually do!
But are we ever having fun!

Down a bumpy road...

Nearly exactly two years ago I took these pictures of Keeler and our friend little Grace at the farm.  They are still some of my favorite pictures I have ever captured.  
I dug these out because this weekend my friend Kady & I plan on taking our kids out to the farm.  She has two of the cutest little girls & well, I have two of the cutest little cowboys (mommy might be partial) so we have high hopes that we will get some cute pictures.  We planned on doing this a few weeks ago but it ended up raining.  Keeler is so excited this is back on our weekend agenda.  He has been  asking about taking pictures with Kamber almost daily.  Who knows, they might not cooperate but at least we’ll have fun trying!
For Memorial Day weekend I have decided to stay in town and not go out of town as originally planned.  I just decided that I want to spend time with my little cowboys.  We have some things to do around the house and after the past few whirlwind weekends it’s going to be nice to relax and get caught up.  It’s not very often that we have time to just enjoy the moment.  
Here’s to wishing everyone a wonderful & safe Memorial Day.


It's time to honor and remember the heroes who fought for freedom and laid down their lives..  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

So Ready for Summer!

The theme of the day our life is: AVENGERS…


B and I went and saw The Avengers this past weekend.   Since I rarely stray from anything that doesn’t include romance, comedy, or Ryan Gosling, this was a big deal.  And, it was actually pretty good!  I wish I had date pics to share, but it’s pretty awkward to ask the waiter to maneuver my camera and give him a mini-lesson on shooting in manual.  Boo.  Next time. 

Summer is so close.  I can hardly wait.  We’re already trying to do summery things around these parts.  Like be artsy.  And stay up late(r).  And make popsicles.

001 002


In case you wondered, Becks informed me that the popsicles freeze like this…


It was an interpretive dance, that included shivering while doing a semi-body roll :)

* * * * * *

I just love the sun streaming in our living room in the morning.  I wish I could just bottle up all the happy.  Or all the laundry monster.  Whatever it is, I want to bottle it up.  Time is so fleeting. 


I have five more days with kids.  With a three-day Memorial Day weekend thrown in the middle. 

Then, it’s back to more artsy, 7am snapping turtle paintings for me.  With lots and lots of coffee.


Happy 8 Months!

Dear Kallahan - You are 8 months old!
You are such a little sweetheart & we just love you to pieces.
I think you are starting to like us pretty well too. When you want someone or something you rapidly flap your little arms and legs and even screech with delight . You are so bouncy. Your crazy hair is getting longer. Ashley tried to use some gel on it this weekend but no luck. It was even crazier! Your new nickname is Wild-man and it is pretty fitting It's hilarious when you make these grunting sounds..
In this past month you have become more aware of your surroundings and are a little less comfortable with unfamiliar people. That’s not to say you aren't still one of the happiest and friendliest little babies I have even seen. You adore your big brother. He thinks it’s pretty special to carry you - with supervision. Brother also does a good job at keeping us aware of everything you are doing since you are so mobile now. You are not crawling on all fours but boy you get around by worming and army crawling. Taking your 8 month picture was a chore - you were just too busy. I couldn’t believe my eyes last week when I looked over and you were making a good attempt at pulling yourself up. Let’s not try that for a while, okay? We’re not ready for you to start walking yet! You have slowed down on the teething and still only have two teeth but I am sure more are coming soon.
Since Mommy works it makes it hard to not see you all day. I can’t exactly describe the feeling that I get as I get closer to Granny’s house to pick you and brother up each day. But I get this warm feeling in my tummy full of excitement with an outpour love and I just can’t get there fast enough. When I see both your little faces and get sweet hugs it can make the hardest of days just vanish from my mind.  My cowboys are my world.
Love always,

Wherever I am, I have to create an atmosphere of peace and happiness for myself and for my family. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tyler's Dirty Thirty Party!

My husband, Tyler, turned the big 3-0 this weekend!  I wanted to do something special for him but he was insistent that we not do anything too big.  We just had a house party and included his family and a few of our closest friends.  We had a wonderful time and a lot of good food.  
Thank goodness the Smith family came up on Friday evening to help with all the party preparations.   Another perk of them coming up was I got to love on this little princess the entire weekend.  
 Brynlee is an absolute angel and my boys loved having her around.  I can’t get over this picture of baby Kal with her.  His new nickname is “Wildman” – can you figure out why?    

Party Time!!
 Tyler's mom was so great with helping me gather pictures of Tyler's life.  Everyone enjoyed looking over the snapshots and reminiscing.  He was such a cute kid and now such a handsome man.    
I am so lucky that this man is my husband & the father of my little cowboys!  I don't think I tell him enough how much I love him & how much we appreciate all that he does for us.  I love you Tyler! 
Photo overload:
Tiffany did it again!  She made this darling and oh so yummy cake.  
Ashley made Tyler this awesome "30 beer cake!"   It was so cute!  


Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, 
love gives us a fairytale.  – unknown.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Salamanders, Food Chains and Flowers

This week we took a break from our scheduled learning.
Instead we dabbled in various things that came our way.
Although I certainly don't think I could school my kids like this all the time ( I need a schedule and a plan! ), I quite enjoy every so often takng a week and filling it with learning about things they are curious about or taking advantage of opportunities that everyday life provides.
This week was filled with lots of talk about salamanders since our eggs hatched, food chains and flowers!

First, of all, we read this book: The Salamander Room by Ann Mazer.
It's about a little boy who finds a salamander and his ideas about building a habitat for it in his room.
It lead to many good discussions about caring for our own salamanders!

We learned that salamanders are carnivorous.
Piper was none too happy about this!
She is not pleased with the idea of animals eating other animals especially if the eaten creature is an ant.
That girl of mine LOVES ants!
So when we found some tiny ants to feed to our baby salamanders a lot of discussion ensued about food chains and the necessity of them.
We watched "The Magic School Bus Gets Eaten"....


And then came up with our own food chain involving the ants and salamander nymphs.
Initially, I drew the pictures as Piper came up with answers of what eats what.
(For the record, I doubt ants live on a diet of bread, nor do bears commonly eat cats but it's what she came up with and since it is possible, we went with it!)
Next, I asked Pipe to draw her own food chain.
She drew an ant.
Then she drew herself.
"This is an ant and this is me. I love ants!"
I'm not so sure that lesson was overly successful!
But she did draw a pretty great picture and so I congratulated her on that and we moved on!

Taitum learned blue this week.

This provided a good chance to talk about how flowers 'drink' water and how it is necessary for them to grow.


As another color blue activity we bought some water beads.
The girls had such a grea time with this and Taitum especially enjoyed it, asking to play with them several times a day!

If you've never tried these with your kids, you should!
You can find them in the flower section at Walmart.
(Also, they are non toxic.)
You simply fill a container with water and pour the tiny beads in.
The girls played with them for a while at this stage and could already see them increasing in size!
Piper enjoyed trying to grab as many as she could and then counting to see how many were in her hand.

By the next day, they were quite a bit larger!
I gave the girls some tools to use for pouring and scooping and they went to town!
By the end of it there was quite the puddle on my kitchen floor but it was well worth it for all the fun they had!

Near the end of the week the sun had decided to join us so we did some 'school time' outdoors.
The girls are always excited for school but when I announce that it's going to happen outside, they are over the moon!

We started our nature journals this week, too.
This is something I've been wanting to start with them for a while now but never got around to.
I think it will be part of our summer school plan.
(Which isn't as mean as it sounds! Haha! I'll explain more later!)
Here are pictures of the girls drawing pictures of the violets they found on one of our walks.
With Piper, I also write the name of the flower under her picture and then she copies it.

With Taitum, I am mainly focusing on her being able to identify what color the flower is and find the corresponding crayon!

That was our week!
Next week we are planning on 'rowing' Corduroy!