Monday, September 29, 2008

It's That Time Again!

We had a great first day of co-op! Kylen is taking PE, my class, and Jonathan Parks Adventures in which the kids listen to an episode while doing related activities. As a wonderful bonus, my sister-in-law joined, so now Kylen gets to see some of his cousins every Monday. Woo-hoo! (Hey, I enjoy seeing 'em, too! I have always felt blessed to really like my sister-in-law and brother-in-law.)

Today's theme was "Button Games." I found all of these in a book called, "Button, Button, Who's got the Button: 101 Button Games," which I purchased along with a box of buttons as a set. You can also find bags of mixed buttons at craft stores and add any laying around the house. I even got some from my grandma!

Whose Button
I sent my assistant out of the room and asked the children to pick their favorite button. (They were also told they would get to keep it.) After placing their buttons in the middle of the table, my assistant came in and had to guess who picked each one. I thought it was interesting that her own two children were a couple of the last ones she figured out! Kids can be so unpredictable!

Button Personality
Since this was our first class, I used this game to get to know the students a little bit. We went around the table and each child told us why he picked that button.

Memory Button
I walked around the room showing each of the children a bunch of buttons on a tray. There was a variety of colors, shapes, etc. Then I covered it up and asked several questions to test their memory: How many buttons were there? What colors were they? What shapes do you remember seeing?

Biggest Best and Most Beautiful
I described buttons in the box until a student guessed correctly which one I was talking about. Each button was made to sound wonderful: "This button is the best one in the box because it is very large and has the most lovely shade of blue . . . " I also went around the table and allowed each child to try being the describer, although a couple of the older ones declined.

Button, Button, Who’s got the Button?
The kids stood in a circle facing inward. All of them held one hand open behind their backs, open hand and palm up. My assistant walked around placing or pretending to place a button in each hand. The idea is to trick them as to whether they have a button, since the button is so light and small. Unfortunately, this game didn't work. The children would need to not move their hands at all so as not to feel if a button is there. I think they were too young to do that, and they guessed correctly nearly every time.

Other than the last game and some noise problems, class went well! I'm already looking forward to next week!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Brisingr -- Fantasy Book Review

In a past post I mentioned that I was looking forward to reading Brisingr, the latest installment in a fantasy series called the Inheritance Cycle. I had thought the first two books were fairly clean other than a few objectionable words and some graphic violence. I also had high expectations of this author, because he was homeschooled. In his first two books the characters’ heathen, fictional beliefs were laid out in a rather matter-of-fact sort of way. I wasn’t quite sure of the author’s worldview and was hoping that either he would keep the spiritual stuff at that inactive level or bring things around to a Christian worldview, albeit in a symbolic manner. Unfortunately, he explored religion much more extensively in this book and drew all the wrong conclusions.

I had to wonder if the author, Christopher Paolini, is currently on some sort of personal journey in which he is struggling with the truth about God. My husband went through a similar time when he was in college, even bordering on atheism at one point. Paolini seems to be saying that all religions, even pagan, are basically worshipping the same god. One character has a very moving spiritual experience in which she finds much needed peace by drawing comfort from her idols. A main character rushes marriage so as not to have a child out of wedlock, and no one condemns him for fornication. Later in the book someone mentions that two people who really love each other are basically married. Scripture is very clear on this point, and Paolini’s stand is extremely disappointing at a time when our culture increasingly embraces cohabitation. We certainly don’t need another children’s author on the wrong side of the marriage fence.

As I got further into this book, I became more uncomfortable. I have learned to listen to my conscience, and it seemed to be nagging me. By the time I was two-thirds of the way through, I was ready to quit. I ended up skimming the rest just to see the outcome, but in retrospect, I wish I had not read the book at all. I am disgusted with the entire experience, angry with myself, and irritated with the author. I asked Jesus to forgive me for not listening sooner and have decided that unless I hear the author has undergone a major transformation in his beliefs, I will not read the last book when it comes out.

It is possible that the first two novels would be more objectionable to me if I read them today, as I am sure that I have grown spiritually over the past few years since reading them. But I am certain that this third book made a definite and intentional swipe against the Christian worldview, no doubt reflecting the author's own personal walk down a broad, wide path leading to destruction.

Saturday Stirrings

'Tis the season for sneaking zucchini onto porches! Mom's preferred method was baking, and unfortunately that one never appealed to me. In fact, I was quite repulsed by the mushy texture. I enjoy it stir fried, in bread, and my favorite: fritters or pancakes, as some call them.

Serve as an appetizer or side dish. You can substitute yellow squash or use a mixture of both. Dip them in ranch dressing, if you like!

Zucchini Fritters
5 tb bisquick or pancake mix
1/2 c parmesan cheese
1/4 ts salt
1/8 ts pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 tb butter
2 c zucchini, grated (one medium zuc) and drained if very runny

Blend first four ingredients. Add eggs. Mix zucchini into batter. Grease hot pan or griddle with butter. Pour batter into pan and fry 3 minutes on each side. Serve warm. Makes 8 to 10 fritters.

Now hop on over to Carol's place for a delicious-sounding recipe called Monkey Bread!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tea With A Twist

Summer begins to wane, so I have reinstated our cool weather tradition of making all of us a cup of hot tea in the evenings. I was excited to try something new from the stockpile accumulated over the last several months. Tonight it was Lipton Herbal "Ginger Twist": not bad but a little too overpowering for my taste.

A few months back, I bought flavored coffee creamer to drink straight. Oh yes, I know that sounds horribly wrong, but it's not illegal (yet). I have a liking for rich, unhealthy, artery-clogging things. Plus, I have delicious memories of when Mom used to let us kids have a small taste as she was pouring it into her coffee. When we see the tiny, cute containers at restaurants or hotels, we allow Kylen to drink one as a special treat.

I thought, "Why not buy a whole bottle and enjoy it in small amounts now and then?" Greg has become rather fond of the stuff and will purchase two or three bottles at a time. That's how we came to have International Delight Coffee Creamer: Limited Edition Pumpkin Pie Spice even though no one here drinks coffee.

Long story short, I tried adding it to my ginger tea, and it was perfectly delicious! I'm trying to come up with a good name. Any ideas?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Meet Baby Isaiah!

Kylen's new cousin was born last Friday, September 12th! We got to see him at the hospital before my sister, Wakena, and her husband headed home with their newly expanded family.

Does he look like snakes and snails and puppy dog tails to you? Naaaaaaaa.
His big brother Elijah has no idea how much life is about to change!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Fair

This is the first year we went to the fair on two different days. Thursday we did rides and visited buildings; Sunday we saw the demolition derby. Double the fun!

Greg shamelessly ordered his favorite cube of fatty fries not once, not twice, but four times! Of course, he needed help eating them! (We thought so, anyway!)

Farrah’s Choice was the deep fried Twinkie, which she only bought twice. Then again, she didn’t share much.

Kylen's choice, you ask? He liked nearly everything, although he was leaning toward the vanilla and strawberry swirl ice cream cone by the end.

This one has been a favorite of Kylen’s in the past. For some reason it was more intense this time around as you can see by his expression!

The mirrors are always great! Isn't this picture hilarious??

Before we left home our first day, Kylen was sure that we were going to run into his beloved Uncle Ryan. It has happened previous years, and he just knew it would happen again. I tried to lower his expectations lest he be disappointed. I mean, what are the chances of us picking the same day when the fair runs for ten? Ah, the faith of a child! Sure enough, we saw Ryan and my cousin Ted at the rides. (Incidentally, we seem to run into Ted's family every year there, too!) Kylen would have gladly taken him over for the day, but since he was doing stuff with Ted, I let them do just a few together before the two young men went on their merry way.

My boys would be bored silly if I dawdled, but we managed to breeze through my favorites: photography, art, vegetables, quilts, and a few animals. Yes, we got to see the baby piglets, gigantic pumpkins and bee hives! Greg and Kylen spent a fair amount of time at the Super Science Company working on mind puzzles.

The flowers are always a must, but we were a little shaken by this insect. It looks like a bee but not the ones we’ve seen outside the house! I wonder what kind it is?

I was impressed by this lady’s scratchboard art, which was very detailed. There were some neat 3-D paintings and several entries by a gentleman who creates objects out of toothpicks. I wish we hadn’t forgotten the camera that day. His work was amazing! Life sized weapons, a ship, even a miniature house with details right down to pots with removable lids! Each object completely crafted from thousands of toothpicks, many of which had been painstakingly dyed to add color.

Deborah’s Jump Rope Academy did some astounding things! One boy was a state champion and quite the performer. He spent most of his time low on the floor switching effortlessly between spinning, crouching, push-ups and flips all while jumping rope! You can see him sitting in the back while the boy in front does tricks.

I always like to see Mutton Bustin’ if we get the chance. Children ride sheep like bucking broncos! My two brothers won back when they were just little tikes around 6 and 7. Here’s one kid just beginning his wild ride.

Kylen wanted to see the Great American Duck Races. It was kinda cute, but probably not something I’d do again. Unless Kylen is brave enough to be one of the volunteers next time!

Greg has an obsession with night shots. This picture taken as we were leaving isn't a bad way to end a great day!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oreo Fudgees

In my previous post someone asked about Fudgees. I was thinking of just adding a link to some site talking about them. However, a quick search on yahoo proved futile. Not a single Fudgee mention to be had. I went to Oreo's site and looked at all their products. Shockingly, no mention of Fudgees! Then I noticed yahoo had included "oreo fudge" in their search and gave the option of only looking for "oreo fudgee." Lo and behold, the second link provided was e-bay. Lol! They really do sell everything!

These cookies have maybe been around for a couple of months. I think they are far better than regular Oreos, and they have humorous sayings printed on them as a fun little bonus!

PS: Picture courtesy of e-bay seller. :-)

Thankful Thursday Thirteen

I haven't participated in a meme for ages! How about two in one? Thursday Thirteen and Thankful Thursday:

  1. Life. Another week of borrowed time. Every second, every day a gift from God.
  2. Love. Hubby cooked dinner the past few nights, and Sonshine has been saying how thankful he is to have me for a mom. I am so blessed!
  3. Liberty. In the greatest nation on Earth, where I have the privilege to vote. I have am grateful McCain chose a conservative VP and that there has been no repeat of the September 11th terrorist attack that stunned our country.
  4. Nice weather. Especially today. Look outside. Isn’t it lovely? I think so.
  5. The Spokane Fair. It will run through Sunday. For me, nostalgia at its best.
  6. Bloggers who love Jesus. You know who you are! Thank you for posting words of wisdom and encouragement recently!
  7. My happy, comfy home. Thank you, Lord, for the butterfly magnet from the Christian store. I love it!
  8. My bible. Profound words read a few days ago: Freely ye have received, freely give. Matt. 10:8b I want to give more: more love, more money and time, more of myself to others. He gave everything for me. Can I do that? Lord, let me hold back nothing.
  9. Fudgees. If you haven’t tried ‘em and like chocolate, then you need to get to the store pronto! I might be addicted.
  10. The joy I get from art. Thank you, Jesus, for this gift. Lately, I've been itching for a creative project and finding renewed delight in the handiwork of others.
  11. The internet and e-mail. Not sure how anyone functions without them. I had fun e-mailing my sweet cousin this week! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MELODY!!!!
  12. This beautiful world. We went for a drive Sunday and saw a couple of parks I’d never visited. We really need to do that more often!
  13. Music. I am listening to Christian radio on the net as I type this. It’s a great way to get around static and bad reception.
    For more Thankful Thursday posts, please visit Sting My Heart.

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008

    After the rain...

    . . . the rainbow! Life is SOOOOO good!!

    It's been some time since I've done a post about what we've been up to! So I thought I'd give a little summary. :-)

    My father is home and doing well. Praise God! Thank you to all who prayed! My sister is supposed to have her labor induced today, so Kylen might have a new cousin by this time tomorrow! AND . . . We are over our colds and feeling great!

    The Lord gave us a wonderful summer, the best ever! We decided to skip our annual vacation and opted to enjoy weekend outings. What a trip! I am leaving summer feeling like we really savored the season for the first time in our ten years of marriage. Our excursions included visits to several local parks, rafting down the river, jet skiing at a lake, visiting a museum, hiking on a trail, rock climbing on a mountain top, and visiting several new restaurants. Of course, there was a little shopping in there. We also went to two family weddings and will go to a third this Saturday.

    I decided to homeschool year round, so that our schedule can be more relaxed. This has worked well for our family, since Kylen is an only child and would get extremely bored during summer. We were able to finish last year's science, start history, and will soon finish an art software curriculum. I read him fairy tales and had him do some writing, as well.

    In a week or two, we will begin having a heavier schedule again with math, English, and cursive writing. We will also resume attending co-op one day/week at the end of the month. I will be teaching my "Just for Fun" class with all new themes, and I am SOOOOOOO excited about it! I'll be doing weekly blog posts with details about each class like I did last trimester. Greg has been very busy working on a program to make co-op registration automated. He will also be teaching a computer class.

    Our garden was fantastic, record-setting! (That's not saying much considering it was only our third or fourth year.) Almost everything germinated! We have harvested strawberries, peas, dill, beans, yellow squash, potatoes, onions, and cucumbers. Blackberries, carrots, and cantaloupe are yet to come.

    And now I am getting ready to eat a very late breakfast with Sonshine, followed by homeschooling, blog visiting, maybe some housework and computer stuff. Toodles!