Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sniffum and Other Delights

We were in town 11 hours. 11 hours!

Our day began with co-op. The kids enjoyed class with the theme, "Backwards Day." It was one boy's birthday, so we sang "You to Birthday Happy." We learned how to say their names backwards, discussed palindromes, played "Backwards Charades," watched a mini movie, and I read the book "Little Pea." They also guessed how many pieces were in a LEGO set, and the guess furthest away won.

Here are a few of my favorite palindromes: "Straw Warts, Dumb Mud, Race Car. Mr Owl ate my metal worm. Todd erases a red dot. Was it a car or a cat I saw?"

For charades, I had the kids take turns coming up front and would hold a word above their heads. Everyone else had to act until the person guessed the word.

The neatest part was the mini movie. Greg and I videotaped Kylen doing various things throughout Saturday. We downloaded the footage onto the computer and used an editing software to polish it up and play it backwards. Then we added the song, "Muffins Spelled Backwards" and called it, "Kylen's Backwards Saturday." Highlights included him going up the slide and his cereal jumping from the bowl back up into the box. Haha! Afterwards, I gave the kids muffins (sniffum) as a snack. :-)

After co-op we ran lots of errands and searched several stores for a table to put on our front porch. The problem was every time we found one about the right size, it would be sold only as a set. We didn't want the chairs! We already have four lawn chairs! Just when I was ready to give up, I praise the Lord for bringing to mind one last place -- Linens & Things. They had one! Thank you, Lord!

Monday, April 28, 2008

More of Him

For the most part, I stay away from online forums, because I could easily spend all day on one. My husband stumbled across a Christianity forum on Amazon over a month ago, and he manages to be better than me about it, although he admits that sometimes he spends too much time there!

They get a full spectrum of people: every religion and denomination, atheist, too. The attitudes are just as diverse. Some are hostile and rude while others are genuinely seeking a calm, respectful exchange of dialogue. I think it has been good for Greg, because the challenges and questions have caused him to study scripture and research doctrines. He is much better equipped to give an answer of the hope that lies within.

Saturday he asked me to read one woman’s testimony. It was touching, and it paralleled his in many ways. She was answering a couple of questions one man had asked. This led me to read those two questions. I couldn’t help but be intrigued by a portion of one of them:

"I became quite disappointed in Christianity in the respect that the universe, as in the Bible, is only an afterthought in God's creation, with only one very unmeaningful and insignificant passage in Genesis about the universe and then nothing else. Then the whole rest of the Bible, and apparently God's, concerns with the myriad doings of various men and society. To me that was a shame, because the wonders of the universe are so very more beautiful and important to me than the concerns of men. I was astonished that God busied himself so much in the relatively mundane affairs and men, when there is an unimaginably vast and complex universe out there."

Ever know someone who loves nature but wants nothing to do with God? I find that to be sadly ironic. A relationship with Jesus enriches everything in our lives, including our enjoyment of his creation.

Back to the main point: I just couldn’t resist typing an answer, which Greg posted on my behalf. He told me it was well received for the most part. If you have been following my blog, you will understand the reference to decorating a son’s room. Hee-hee!

Man was the centerpiece of God’s creation. The universe and all its vast wonders were created in preparation for man.

It was the joy of a father decorating a room for his little boy.

It was the excitement of a master craftsman who worked hard on a playground and then brought his son to it.

“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof” (Gen. 2:19). That verse warms my heart. I can almost feel God’s anticipation and pleasure in seeing Adam name the animals. “Look, son! Look at all these animals I made! I can hardly wait to see what you will name them!” :)

This Great Carpenter filled His world with many extraordinary things, and then he put into man the ability to enjoy them. He scattered patterns, color, and texture throughout, and then He placed in man’s eye the ability to derive pleasure from what he would see. He filled the world with diverse flowers and gave us the ability to smell them. He made all kinds of food and gave us the ability to taste. He allowed us to take part in the creation of life…in the creation of our own kind and gave us the ability to enjoy the process of reproduction. He used His limitless creativity to make it all diverse and interesting…and then He gave man the desire to learn new things and discover.

It was the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator longing for love and companionship, just as we long for it. He wanted someone He could talk to and spend time with. And he loved man, oh so very much! Still does! But he gave him a free will. He wanted man to love Him back on His own…and man had every reason to do that. Why shouldn’t we love our Creator Who made a beautiful universe for us? Why shouldn’t we adore the One who longs only for the things any father would long for from his child? Someone Who only wants to see us enjoy and appreciate His gifts next to His side. It wouldn’t even make sense not to love God.

Man wasn’t made **for** the universe, you see. It’s the other way around. Those of us who have a loving relationship with Him have all of eternity to enjoy His blessings. What God is really concerned about is that as many of us as possible will be able to do that. He’s working to save us from ourselves! There is no reason for God to devote large amounts of His Word on the planets and their inner workings. Think about this: Your son is about to experience a terrible death or a glorious life, and what are you going to write in your letter to him? Are you going to describe the details of how you built his dresser, or are you going to warn him about the agony of choosing the wrong path?

What is amazingly tragic is the way man has responded to God’s love and kindness. God was battered and abused long before Jesus came. He’s seen man look past Him to worship other parts of His creation – trees and planets, the sun and moon. He’s seen man call inanimate things gods. He’s watched in horror as man has inflicted pain and suffering on himself and others for the sake of imaginary gods. He’s seen man run after all manner of disgusting, harmful, unhealthy pursuits. And when He can’t stand to see these things any longer, after plenty of warning, He takes action, as He should.

For more of this meme, please click here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday Stirrings

I know what you’re thinking. That doesn’t look anything like orange roughy. Maybe yellow roughy, whatever that is, but certainly not orange rouphy. Be patient, my friend. Read down; an explanation will present itself forthright.

I got this recipe from Grandma, who got it from the grocery store. It was good when she made it, and it was good when we made it!

Easy Orange Roughy
2 lb orange roughy fillets

Rinse fish and toss in pot. Add enough 7-up to cover completely. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. Transfer fish to plate, add a pat of margarine and season sparingly (garlic salt with parsley and Johnny's are delicious), serve. Good with boiled red potatoes and peas.

Now for the bonus you’ve been waiting for! I was sorely tempted to make the dessert above its own Saturday Stirrings post, but I knew it would be cheating. “Thaw in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight. Open box and serve.” just doesn’t seem right when everyone else is going through the trouble of posting real homemade recipes.

I’ve always wanted to visit The Cheesecake Factory, due to its yummy reputation. We had our one opportunity while on vacation in California a few years back, but we were visiting family, and they preferred another place. When we made our trek to Costco recently, one of the free samples was lemon torte. I don’t usually care for lemon desserts, being a great lover of chocolate, but this was WONDERFUL! I hastily snatched up a box and was thrilled to discover it is made by none other than The Cheesecake Factory! OH HAPPY DAY! I can finally say I have eaten their food, even if it was in my own dining room! Although I can’t say it has decreased my desire to eat there any less. If they make lemons taste this good, what might they accomplish with chocolate?? "Lemoncello Cream Torte – Layers of moist vanilla cake filled with a light lemon mascarpone cream topped with streusel."

Look for more recipes at a blog near you,
For you shan’t regret it if you do!
Perhaps at some, they'll rhyme like me!
Dum diddy, dum diddy, Fiddle Dee dee!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Co-op Adventures

Yesterday's theme for my co-op class was Silly Putty! I bought 4 different kinds and had each child draw an egg randomly from a bag. I explained each type -- color changing, space sludge, glow-in-the-dark, and metallic.

While they played, I covered some history and properties of Silly Putty, went over all the fun things you can do with it, and we played a game called "Impressions." The game consisted of pressing an object into the putty and having the kids guess what it was by the impression left.

Overall, I think the class went well, but I would do a few things different next time. The color changing putty was stickier than the other kinds, making it difficult to remove from paper. It also wouldn't "copy" lead on paper the way putty usually does. At first I thought the variety of kinds would be fun, but several kids repeatedly requested to trade and over time this became annoying and disruptive.

I found lots of useful information at the official Silly Putty site.

Painting Adventures

Painting has been WAY more work than we ever imagined! First, we moved a bunch of Kylen's stuff into the living room where it remains to this day. Other stuff we moved to the center of the room. Then, Greg taped borders which always needed to be done first with each coat.

Our first layer was this grey primer.
We kind of liked how the primer looked and actually thought about leaving the room that way!

We followed the primer with three coats of the Glidden Victorian Red. We had a little trouble with streaks, but for the most part we are happy with the end result. We are now in the process of removing tape and doing touch-ups.

The journey isn't over yet!

Baseball Adventures

Can I brag on my son for a moment? Greg and I can count on one hand the number of times we remember hitting a baseball EVER. We were forced to play that sport at school over and over, and it was sheer torture for us. We struck out nearly every time.

Greg started practicing baseball with Kylen last summer. They didn’t do it often. Just some hitting and catching sessions here and there. We decided to sign him up for baseball this summer, because we thought it would be good for him to have a well-rounded sports education.

They’ve had a few practices, and Kylen seemed to be doing well. Saturday was his first game, and he hit 3 out of four times at bat! Can you believe it?? At the end of the game he was named MVP and received a gift certificate for a sport’s store!! MVP!!! Imagine that! Our son named MVP in his first baseball game!!!! We are in utter shock.

Praise the Lord for small miracles such as this!

Monday, April 21, 2008

More of Him Monday

I have noticed lately that a very common problem for Christian homeschooling moms is the “Martha Stewart Syndrome.” We know that perfection in every area of our lives is entirely impossible and unrealistic. For one thing, we don’t have enough time to be everything and do everything. Yet we still try and end up feeling depressed and overwhelmed when we “fail” – when the house isn’t clean enough, the meals aren’t healthy enough, and our children still don’t know enough history. I am not immune to this dilemma.

How do we bring everything down to essentials?

I believe we are called simply to please God. Exactly how do we please God? By nurturing a close, personal, and loving relationship with Him. Such a relationship will naturally result in obedience and an eternal home in heaven. He said that we obey Him if we love Him (John 14:21). That’s because obedience follows love.

Our attention is not focused on getting to heaven. God does not want us to serve Him for a reward any more than we would want our children to obey us just for a reward. I enjoy my husband’s company and wish we could be together forever. In the same way, spending eternity with Jesus is a wonderful byproduct of our love for Him.

Our attention is not focused on ministry. What God longs for most is our love and adoration, not our service. Service will naturally flow from love. There were times I longed to do more but didn’t know how. Then, I found that when I drew closer to Jesus, I stopped worrying about it. Instead of looking for ministry opportunities, suddenly they came to me. I saw opportunities everywhere. In one of our Christmas cards I worded this experience something like, “Where there once was a small window I now see thousands of shining doors.” I didn’t worry about what to do, it just sort of flowed naturally to me. God would bring something to mind, and I’d do it!

Our attention is not focused on being good wives, daughters, mothers, sisters, grandparents, friends and mentors. Rather our eyes are fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, our precious Saviour, the One who died for us! Take our eyes off Him to look around, and we start to sink! If we have the kind of relationship with Him that He longs for and that we long for, everything else will fall into place.

I feel that what Christian Homeschooling moms need to focus on is their own personal relationship with Jesus. He needs to come first. Praying, reading His Word, talking to Him all day long, praising Him at every opportunity…

Recently I read on someone’s blog that she is working on being a Mary instead of a Martha. That’s exactly how I feel right now! Lately I’ve been distracted by many things and have not spent enough time on my personal relationship with Jesus. It has been weighing on me the last few days. Please pray for me as I work on this!

Click here for today's More of Him Monday posts.

The Art of Cleaning Cardboard Shakers

Some individuals have shown a keen interest in learning more about my cardboard shakers and how I clean them. After much thought and extensive planning, I have decided to create a special post complete with pictures on this fine art. Here are my amazing shakers, which can be purchased as a pair at the grocery store already filled and ready to go! You certainly don’t have that kind of benefit when purchasing run of the mill glass or ceramic ones. Notice the cheery decorative print on the outside!

It is very fortunate that interest has been expressed at a time when my shakers are in need of cleaning! See the little grains of pepper and salt stuck to the tops?
I simply remove and disassemble them, then rinse with water. Be right back!
The tops are drying. Letting them sit tipped at an angle will speed the drying process. There is science behind this, which I will not go into, but it is related to gravity pulling the water droplets downward. Lidless shakers should be kept in a safe place where they will not be easily knocked over. This could take a while…

Now the tops are completely dry! I have reassembled and placed them back on the shakers. When the shakers become empty, I simply refill them using the items below.

If needed, the exterior of the cardboard containers themselves may be cleaned by gently wiping with a damp cloth.

I hope this post has contributed greatly to your knowledge of the world and its intricate workings. Please share with friends and family! Make sure they all leave comments, and remember: A clean cardboard shaker is a happy cardboard shaker!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday Stirrings

Over here in Antarctica Washington, we’re still enjoying comfort foods and crock pot meals. They go well with the snow, which is forecast for this weekend. Here is one of my top five favorites when I'm hungry for slow cooking fare. I like to serve it over rice with frozen peas on the side.

Spicy and Tender Crock Pot Pork Chops
5-6 thick or 10-16 thin center-cut pork loin chops, about 2 lbs
3-6 tbsp oil
1 med. onion, diced
1 med. green pepper, diced
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
7-8 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp vinegar
3 tsp salt
3-4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Brown chops in oil in skillet. Transfer to slow cooker; discard oil. Add remaining ingredients to cooker.

Cover. Cook on Low 8-10 hours or high 4-5 hours.

There is a celebrity in our midst. You can learn more about her ties to Brad Pitt and get some great recipes here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thursday Thirteen: Hauling in a Geo

You can’t really appreciate this list unless you’ve survived several years with a compact car. We loved our wonderful, reliable, little Geo, but it wasn’t designed for hauling large items!

13 Things We Carried In Our Compact Geo Prizm

  1. kid’s basketball hoop (in the backseat for 1800 miles),
  2. full-size basketball hoop (pictured above)
  3. full-size desk
  4. full-size entertainment center
  5. two 6-foot bookshelves
  6. items from many Costco trips
  7. one little kid squished between to large adults in the backseat
  8. moving boxes stacked to the roof, bulging from the trunk and overflowing into the front
  9. one plastic toddler fire engine bed
  10. Hubby’s long legs cramped by the steering wheel
  11. approximately 12 helium filled balloons for a graduation party – all in the main compartment as we couldn’t get them to fit in the trunk
  12. assorted building materials, including lumber
  13. a trunk full of large, flat rocks for a path
You’re wondering how we did all of this? For the furniture, separate trips, unassembled in it’s box. Even then, we were making good use of bungee cords and stuff was extending way out the back!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Recent Adventures

We had a lovely, busy weekend! Greg finally finished painting Kylen’s room, and we had the nicest weather since last fall – t-shirt weather! I got to visit a tea shop, we did some weeding and raking, and cleaned the front windows.

Monday we went to co-op as usual. This week my class theme was LEGOs! I dumped the contents of a large container all along the table. The kids enjoyed building stuff during class. We also played several little games:

Guessing Game
Bring a small LEGO kit and have all the kids guess how many are in it. Closest guess wins the kit.

Sky High Challenge
Put one brick in the middle. Going around the table, each child adds one piece from their pile to the top of the growing tower to see how high they can make it before it tips.

Have all the kids gather the same of several pieces. See who can connect all of them together the fastest. When they have finished, see who can take them apart the fastest.

Guess the Color
Write all their names on the board. Have them each pick a LEGO. Then, randomly draw one without looking. Each child who picked the same color gets a point. Winner gets to draw the next brick. If no one picks the same color, the one who drew gets a point and draws again.

At the end of class I handed out LEGO fruit snacks.

After co-op we did some shopping. This included going to a furniture store! We picked out and ordered a bed and dresser for Kylen’s room. I can’t believe it’s going to take a month for them to arrive! Oh well. It will give us plenty of time to organize some of his stuff and clean his carpet.

We will be finishing Kylen’s A Beka math curriculum this week, and English is close behind. I’m excited to spend time on other subjects such as history, science, and art. It will be a refreshing change!

Now, I really need to turn my attention to the house. It’s a disaster!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday Stirrings

Variations of this can be found all over Latin America. We have made this one and love it!
Serves 8 – 10

Leche Asada (Flan)
1 can of sweetened, condensed milk (14 oz)
1 can of evaporated milk (not tiniest size)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 eggs, beaten

Mix the condensed milk, evaporated milk, 1/2 cup of sugar, vanilla, and eggs. In a saucepan heat 1/2 cup sugar over med-high, stirring constantly until it becomes syrupy and slightly tan.

Pour the caramel in a glass baking dish (8x8x2 or similar) and pour the milk mixture on top. Place the dish with the milk mixture inside a larger glass dish. Fill the larger pan with hot water to come halfway up the sides of the inner baking dish. Cover everything with aluminium foil.

Cook in a 400-degree oven for 45 minutes or until the custard is completely cooked. (In Spanish this method of cooking is called baño maría.) Serve slightly chilled.

You can also make this flan in individual 8-ounce ramekins, in which case the baking time would be reduced by about 10 minutes.

Hungry? Visit DeeDee!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursday 13: Painting Positive

Painting Kylen's room has turned into a WAY bigger job than we ever could have imagined. We had scarcely begun applying primer before I thought of The Glad Game in Pollyanna. We were in desperate need of a little entertainment and humor. This did the trick . . . for about five minutes.

13 Reasons To Be Glad While Painting

  1. We will never need to paint this room again (hopefully).
  2. We could be using a toothbrush instead of a paintbrush.
  3. We could be doing this for a living.
  4. We’re saving lots of money by doing it ourselves.
  5. Painting 300 square feet is better than painting 301 square feet.
  6. At least there aren’t borders all the way around every single edge.
  7. Kylen has video games to keep him entertained.
  8. I have blogging to keep me entertained.
  9. Greg has the paint and paintbrush to keep him entertained.
  10. All the ugly marks on the white walls are getting covered up.
  11. We are spending quality time together during hours of mundane work.
  12. It’s exciting waiting to find out whether or not our tape leaked.
  13. When we’re finished, it’s going to look awesome!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Food Adventures

Last week I ordered pizza one night, because Pizza Hut was having a special on stuffed crust, Greg’s favorite. Here's what I saw when he brought his plate to the table:
Notice anything odd about his pieces? Hee-hee! This is the opposite of the more common problem of eating everything except the crust. His reasoning was that the cheese stuffed edges aren’t as good when they cool off. I don’t care much for Pizza Hut, but I have to admit their stuffed crust is pretty yummy. I’m happy to assure you all that he was a good boy, and finished off the rest of his crustless pieces during his second helping.

This week, he ordered a delicious seafood dish at the Italian restaurant I mentioned in my previous post. It consisted mostly of fettuccini noodles in a white sauce with clams and baby prawns, but there was also something we’ve never seen before. They closely resembled baby squids or octopuses with all the tentacles still attached. My loving, considerate husband discreetly hid them under his ever growing pile of discarded clam shells in an effort to save me from getting grossed out.

At some point, we swapped plates so we could sample each other’s meals, and I got a closer view of his “clam shells.” The two castaways caught my eye and piqued my curiosity. Normally I’m pickier than Greg, but for some bizarre, unknown reason the thought of eating those didn’t disgust me. I cut one in half and devoured it in two bites. I can still feel the sensation of all the little legs squishing around in my mouth as I chewed! I neither liked nor disliked it. Just found it interesting. Actually, I find it most interesting that I’m still not grossed out by it.

Somehow, a stray leg found its way in the to-go box. Today, Kylen was polishing off the leftovers as part of his lunch and managed to avoid it, not being too sure what it was and probably not wanting to know. When I explained where it came from, he actually shivered. LOL! Now, I want to go back and order that dish so I can show him how brave and tough his mother is!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Monday Adventures

We had another wonderful, busy Monday! Praise the Lord; my class went great! Our theme was “Things Are Not As They Seem” in honor of April Fool’s Day. The students entered the room to find that I had grown a mustache over the week, among other odd happenings. A rock through the window, a can of paint lying on it’s side with its yellow contents spilling out, an egg I was all too eager to drop on someone’s head…Yes, these were all gags! I handed out pet fake ants, google eyes glasses, bright funny hats, and mustaches for them to keep. We tried on silly masks, I read the children’s book “Duck Soup,” and performed a bit of “magic.”

This magic trick wowed me when I was a kid, and it wowed my students today! You need a partner to pull it off. Agree on a signal ahead of time in secret. Ours was to scratch our cheek. One of you leaves the room. You can even have someone stand guard to make sure those in the room can’t be heard. Everyone agrees on an item to be “it.” Once the item is decided upon, the person is summoned back in. Their partner begins asking a series of questions, “Is it Billy’s shirt? Is it that book on the table? Is it the clock?” When the partner is about to pick the real item she gives the signal to tip the other person off. In this way you can guess correctly every time. We also switched places and had her leave the room while I stayed and then asked the questions and did the signal. The kids were begging to know how we did it!

After co-op, Greg and I ran a ton of errands while Kylen played at a friend’s house. We ate dinner at a very good Italian restaurant in Post Falls called Mangia. Ever been there, Karla? They make their own pasta from scratch. Mmmmmm!

As for painting Kylen’s room, we still have one more coat which Greg is planning to do tonight. What a big job this has been! I'll post pics when it's finished!

Monday, April 7, 2008

More of Him

I didn't think I would do a post for today, but here I am with insomnia! So . . . I decided to join in More of Him Monday! Karla’s post inspired me! Scripture speaks!

I'm still reading Jeremiah, and one of the lessons that stood out recently was about God's people going through trials. Jeremiah was faithful to warn the Israelites of what would happen if they didn’t repent of their evil ways. For that he was thrown into prison. It says in chapter 38 that they cast him in a dungeon, lowering him down with ropes. “And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.”

I know just how he must have felt. Sometimes it feels like I’m sinking in the mire, like I’m needlessly being tried when I know I am doing what’s right. However, he didn’t remain down there. It wasn’t long before they pulled him out and let him stay in the court of the prison, where he was able to “witness” to the king. He still wasn’t roaming free, but his situation was improved. That was where he remained until Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon, who showed great kindness to Jeremiah. Amazingly, he was told that he could come to Babylon and be well cared for or go anywhere he liked in all the land of his people. Perhaps he would have been killed if he had been free! What an interesting turn of events in this prophet’s life!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday Stirrings

I love this stuff. What more can I say?

Hamburger Stroganoff

1 onion, minced
1 lb ground beef or ground turkey (we use beef)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons flour
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms (cut large slices in half)
2 tablespoons catsup
1/2-1 cup sour cream

parsley or chives or dill (we use parsley)

Serves 2 to 4

Brown ground beef with onion until beef is no longer pink and onion is clear; add garlic and mushrooms; saute about 2 minutes.

Drain excess fat. Add soup and remaining ingredients except sour cream and herbs. Simmer uncovered 15 minutes.

Stir in sour cream and parsley, chives or dill. Serve with rice or noodles.

Browse for more awesome recipes here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Teaching at Co-op

First off, you need to know I'm pregnant. Now that we got that out of the way, this is the story. We have our son in a co-op, and there always seems to be a shortage of classes for his age group. When there were several gaping holes in the schedule for this last trimester, I figured it was time to be brave and teach one of his classes. Now I've taught there before, but not kids this young when they are unpredictable, sometimes unruly, and do weird things like spontaneous crying over trivial matters.

Wouldn't you know it, the week after I volunteered two more classes suddenly popped up at the same time. What are the chances? Had I known that, I would have put it off. Except that it was all part of God’s plan.

Anyway, I was a little apprehensive…OK, I was terrified. I sought some degree of comfort by asking for a co-teacher to plan half of the classes (and provide moral support, of course). Surely I could come up with material for 4, one hour sessions . I decided to teach what I enjoy most – something just for fun. I even called the class that: "Just For Fun." Then I began brainstorming and ended up with more ideas than I could fit in one trimester! My co-teacher decided not to do co-op, and I became the main teacher. We had our first class yesterday, and it went great! This is some of the most fun I’ve ever had! I’m already starting to plan a similar class for next year!

We played a fun game that I highly recommend for all ages and thought I’d share. You buy two identical puzzles with 60 to 100 pieces. Get something colorful and interesting. Split your group into two teams and have them race to see which side can complete their puzzle first. If you are feeling generous, you can even have a drawing at the end to give one (or both) of the puzzles away. (I’m keeping mine so I can do this again in the future.) That first sentence was April Fool's. Did I get you?