Sunday, December 30, 2007


A few weeks ago I had to speak in church. I was given the topic of speaking on the Sermon on the Mount. This was a bit of a daunting task considering how packed full that sermon is.

I ended up speaking mainly about the idea of perfection. The last verse of the Mathew 5, after the Beattitudes and the verses about not hiding our light under a bushel and being a light set on a hill as well as a bunch of other topics, is the Scripture that reads "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." This is something I struggle with so felt it was something to study and understand better. I am not a perfectionist but I do know how far from perfect I am. I have a lot I can work on and improve.

While I was preparing and reading about perfection I came across a great quote by Neil A Maxwell.
"Our perfect Father does not expect us to be perfect children yet. He had only one such Child. Meanwhile, therefore, sometimes with smudges on our cheeks, dirt on our hands, and shoes untied, stammeringly but smilingly we present God with a dandelion – as if it were an orchid or a rose! If for now that dandelion is the best we have to offer, He receives it, knowing what we may later place on the alter. It is good to remember how young we are spiritually”

I love this image of presenting a dandelion. I receive a lot of dandelions from my children. I love it when I hear Ian say “I picked this for you because I love you”. Our efforts may seem like dandelions but I know that through are our efforts we show Heavenly father how much we love him and he accepts my dandelions because he knows that they are what I am capable of giving him at that time, just like I accept my children's tokens of love from them.

So as the new year approaches and I review what went well in the past year and what needs improvement. And as I make resolutions to make changes I need to remember that perfection is a process and that it is only through Christ my dandelion efforts can be made into Orchids.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

A few product reviews

Here it is Friday already. We have done little except play with all our new things since Christmas day. The kids just haven't gotten tired of anything yet. They play with these things over and over again sometimes for hours and hours. Here are a few of the toys that we have being enjoying the last few days. We are just enjoying our vacation time and doing nothing but play, play and play.

Sophie of course got her Tabby Cat Vmigo. She loved the dog Vmigo that she got for her birthday but she LOVES the cat. I have to agree with her. The cat is a bit more fun. I don't know why exactly maybe it is just the novelty of it but the graphics are better on this one for one thing. Maybe it is newer. I found the dog on ebay. It was new in the package but it might have been an older version. Anyway.. the cat gets played a lot!

I got Sophie a latch hook kit for Christmas and we attempted it yesterday. I used to do these when I was little and she is always asking me for projects so I thought this was one we could give a try.
It may be a little beyond her but she can do it. She just gets bored with it after only about 3 stitches. It is going to take a long time before this one gets done. But she really wants to make a pillow out of the puppy and kitten picture so maybe she will work on it a bit now and again.
This marble run was added to our box of blocks and the kids have enjoyed building all sorts of runs using the blocks that came with the set and all our old blocks as well. Thanks Grandma!
We haven't actually finished a game of River Roads and Rails yet but we give it a try each day and the kids love it. Henry just really wants to play a little too much and ruins the layout after awhile and we don't have the drive to start over again. But the kids keep getting it out when there is a lull in the action. They even taught Dad how to play it last night. He LOVED it and wanted to keep playing until the end of all the cards but as usual Henry got the better of us and "Monstered" the layout. So one day we will actually finish the game.

Because Henry loves to throw things he received this little hoop and ball to hang on his bedroom door. We have a bunch of hand made cloth balls as well. The boys love to just go in there and shoot baskets. They have figured out that the little tramp in their room is fun to bounce on to get a little higher for a better shot.
I don't know about this horse. Sophie seems to think it is always sick. She has had ear infections, a burst ear drum, a number of leg breaks and even a few belly aches from bad hay. This poor horse is always having to go to the vet for all sorts of check ups and medical interventions. She is languishing on a pillow bed with a blanket over her right now. She needs a good rest to get over her latest illness. Again... Grandma I think this one is a hit!
This wasn't actually a Christmas present. We returned an item and ended up getting this Playmobil castle set. Ian loves it and even got up early this morning so he could play with it again. He loves to play knights and has gotten out out old set of knights and has them storm the castle over and over again. Henry loves the catapult and has the little flames flying. This is the first Playmobil set we have ever had and we really like it. They are already planning the sets that they want next. Maybe this one was a mistake after all. It is going to receive hours and hours of play over the next little bit.

It hasn't been all play and nothing else. We have also been reading the new books we got for Christmas too.And we also made our weekly trip to the library and checked out a number of books as usual. Even when we don't "do school" we still end up taking home a bag full of books.

We are enjoying our vacation time but I am actually looking forward to getting back to our normal schedule. Days seem to go on forever for me when we don't have school to do. I also seem to get a lot less done. The kids want me to play with them more so I get even less time to read my book or do what I need to do. So maybe we will get back to the books next week with a light bit of school work to ease us back into it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our Christmas

Here is Henry under the Christmas Tree. Is he looking at the presents?
Is he trying to find his gifts? No...

He is pulling out Grandma's Cat that hides whenever my kids come over. That big wall of presents that surrounded the tree looked like it might keep the little guys away but not the determined Henry.
The patient cat actually sat and let Henry pet her.
She even let Sophie hold her for a bit.

Christmas Morning came at last! Sophie was thrilled that her wish was granted and she got her Vmigo cat.
Henry loved his new Guitar.
Here is Ian using his new Bob the builder measuring tape to measure logs out in the field. His pockets were stuffed with all his new Bob tools.
Bonfires are becoming a tradition. Every time we head up to Grandpa's house he prepares a few big piles of dried branches so all the men can get outside and play at being pyros.
Henry was especially helpful in loading the wheelbarrow with the logs for the fireplace.
Here is Ian in his cowboy attire. He is almost always in this get-up. He loves his cowboy boots and vest. They look more normal at Grandpa's house then at our house in the city.
We all had a great time hanging out with Aunts, Uncles, cousins and the cows. They loved feeding the cows some corn and hearing them Moo.
The neighbors horse also go a little of the corn.

We certainly had a great time and had a very good Christmas. Hope yours was as well!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Traffic School

Well I finally finished Traffic School today. And I did it all in the comfort of my home. I couldn't believe I was able to do Traffic School online. I have actually been completing the course for about a month now. I could do it little by little as long as I finished it before the deadline. Finally last night I finished the last 2 sections. My favorite ones too. Driving under the influence has always been trouble for me. When I was 15 trying to pass the written driving test these are the questions I always messed up on. I had to retake the test twice if I remember right. I just hate having to memorize a bunch of numbers. I don't really care if a person's BAC is 0.08% or 0.1%. I know it will never apply to me since I don't drink at all. But I guess the reminder to not drive when taking medications was a useful or at least somewhat applicable. And the warning signs to look for when driving so you can avoid Drunk Drivers will come in handy. But mostly I have learned to more observant while driving. I now never answer my cell phone while driving. That is what got me into trouble this time, anyway.

Hurray! One more thing on my list is now complete. This has been hanging over my head since August. And the deadline was only 3 weeks away so it was time to finish it! I actually enjoyed being able to do it at home. I did have to go and take a test at the UPS store, of all places, where they made sure it was actually me taking the test. Much nicer then having to sit through a full day of boring lecture like the last time I had to do Traffic School.

So now I need to be very good and come to a complete stop at every stop sign so I don't ever have to take Traffic School again.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Wrapping up the Presents

Last night I broke out all the wrapping paper and dug out all the presents I have been stashing around and wrapped presents. I was surprised at how many little gifts I have collected over the last little bit. Once everything is wrapped it looks like a lot more than they did when scrunched up corners of drawers and closets. But I am feeling a little guilty.

Sophie has been asking Santa to bring her a Vmigo Cat to go along with the Vmigo Dog. Henry doesn't ask for anything thank goodness, but Ian has been asking for Bob the Builder guys and a shed to put them in. His friend has this little Bob the builder set that he really wants. I have never seen this particular item in the store and when I asked where the friend got it. They couldn't remember it had been a few years since they bought it. So I checked Ebay to see if it was there. I have looked and looked at every Bob the builder Auction for months. And it has never turned up. So Santa isn't able to fulfill this wish. Yet Ian is so sure it will be here on Christmas Morning. Yes he is getting gifts but they are things I have thought he would enjoy and not what he is asking for. Hopefully he will be happy with the other things I have picked out for him. I would hate for him to feel deprived when he sees that Sophie gets what she asked for yet he doesn't.

At least everything is wrapped and ready to go.

That is a good feeling!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Baking, Listening and Watching

This week we have been getting a bit of rain and I have been doing a lot of baking. (I am actually out of flour and will have to raid my food storage if I don't get to the grocery soon.) And since I have been in the kitchen I have put music or stories on the CD player for the kids to listen to while they play with blocks, legos or little knights. I love it when Sophie starts to sing along with the Christmas songs or when Ian tells me when it is time to change disks for the story. It means they are actually listening. As we drive we also listen to the many CDs of stories and songs that I have burned and often the kids ask to take it inside to finish. So we have been filled with stories. When we aren't listening to them we are reading them.

One of the Stories the kids have really enjoyed listening to recently is The Story of Jesus from Kiddie Records Weekly. They had it listed in February of 2006 but I downloaded it and added it to a CD with other Christmas Stories and songs I downloaded from this sight. My kids love to listen to these stories but especially this story. We have heard it many times during the last few days.

I have also put the Audio book of Princess Academy on and we have been listening to it as well. I am enjoying this one. Sophie isn't totally interested since it has Princess in the title. She has turned her mind against it. She is so anti princess it is funny. But she did actually request to watch Sleeping Beauty the other day because the music is by Tchaikovski of course. But the boys loved seeing the knights and this movie is what sparked the little knights coming out of the closet.

One morning I just didn't feel like getting going so we all curled up in my bed and watched Holiday Inn a Holiday tradition in my house. I thought the kids need to be reaquainted with Fred Astaire. The boys loved the dancing (especially when Fred dances with the fire crackers) and Sophie recognized many of the songs. I love it that my kids will watch these old black and white movies. We actually have quite a few of them in our our DVD collection and I love them, so they can't get away from them.

Cold rainy weather certainly makes for cozy story and movie times! This is one of my favorite parts of this time of the year. And with the baking I have done we have had warm bread and Cinnamon rolls and such to enjoy along with our story times.

Monday, December 17, 2007

It couldn't have been worse!

I had an errand to run this afternoon. I had 12 pictures I needed to laminate, so I thought I should get them done today. After Henry's nap I got the kids into the car and drove over to the teacher supply/ Learning store where there is a laminating machine which I can use for cheep. We arrived there and found that there was a teacher there laminating about a thousand pages of work for her class. So we waited. I figured it couldn't be that long and this is a really cool store to look through. So we wandered around a little.

My kids got more and more excited by all the fun toys, paints, tools and everything in this store. Ian is yelling to Sophie over the aisles to come and see what he found. Henry has found a bunch of balls and starts throwing them around. I get them picked up and I tell Ian that he can't yell like that in the store. They then find a pretend microphone and start yelling into it something that sounds like an attempt at singing. I should have just left then, knowing that my kids were getting more and more amped up. But no... I really need some things laminated and I don't want to have to come back.

After looking through all the craft supplies and paints, the teacher is finally done with the laminator. I go to laminate my things and another teacher steps in first. She has a little placemat project her class did and so 30 placemats have to go through the laminator. Again I wait. Really should have left here. But no... I stay.... Finally it is my turn.

I do 4 of my 12 pages that need laminating and the laminating plastic has run out and the rolls have to be replaced. I wait while they change this. I show my kids the musical instruments which were near the laminator. Mistake! Bad idea to show my kids drums of any kind. And they had a gong there with of course had to be gonged over and over again. Evidently the guy changing the rolls was a new guy and didn't know what he was doing because it was taking a really long time. Finally he says he is done.

I put the rest of my pages through and he then tells me that something is wrong. The new guy evidently put the roll on upside down so the sticky side wasn't down. So..... I then had to cut out all 6 pages from the laminate and then peal the upside down plastic off and then run them through again. The whole time trying to keep my 3 very active children from gonging that gong too many times, hitting each other with rain sticks, or Henry throwing more balls. (They must have had balls everywhere in that store.) I didn't succeed in keeping my kids under control. While I cut out the pages, Ian, when running around the corner of one of the aisles, banged his forehead on the edge of one of the shelves and gashed his head. He is one of those kids that holds his breath so he started turning purple and collapsed on the floor. I of course am used to this so don't freak out but the lady behind the service desk sure did. She had me sit him down while she got an ice pack. Then she had me fill out an incident report and a waiver for medical attention.

So finally my pages are laminated and I have signed the papers. I stand in the line to check out behind 6 people who no doubt are totally annoyed by me and my lovely children. When I get up to the desk finally they tell me that they aren't going to charge me for the laminating because of the mistake that the guy made. Thank You! But couldn't you have told me that before I waited in line with my sobbing boy with the goose egg on his forehead, the little wild man who wriggles and squirms until you have to put him down only to pick him up a few seconds later to keep him from throwing yet another object, and Sophie who can't stop giggling at it all or provoking Henry even more.

I can't think of any shopping/errand experience that has gone worse. I was in that store for almost 2 hours to laminate 12 pages.

I think I need a laminator for Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

School on Saturday?

This afternoon we took a field trip. There is a museum near by that has all sorts of Egyptian artifacts and even some real mummies. I decided this would be the perfect end to our study of Egypt since we are leaving Egypt this week with the Israelites.

Here is a replica of King Tut's mummy case.

Here is Sophie standing like a mummy in front of a bunch of little amulets and figures of mummies.

There was also a tomb that you could tour. The long halls were dark and only lit with "torches". And when you get to the last room there is a big stone sarcophagus. The walls were all carved or painted. This was the best picture we took since it was pretty dark and we couldn't use a flash. Here is the weighing of the heart ceremony. Sophie was able to explain the picture to her Dad so it was a good review.
Here is Ian looking at a real mummy. They also displayed the x-rays that were taken of the different mummies that were shown. We were amazed at all the different animal mummies that were included in the exhibit. We saw cat, crocodile, ibis, and even a baboon mummy.

There was also a lot of little models of some of the different egyptian temples and buildings.
This is what Sophie and I were looking at.

There was also a section on Assyria and Babylon.
Here is a model of the Tower of Babel

And a little review here too. Hammurabi's code written on this replica of the Stele

There was also a lovely egyptian garden outside. The kids loved actually getting to see papyrus up close.

The kids loved visiting the gift shop and wanted to touch everything. We ended up going home with this fun book.

As we were leaving Sophie was all smiles and said this was a very fun field trip. She thought about it for a minute and then said "wait... we did school on Saturday". We just smiled and said "Yes, we did!"

Friday, December 14, 2007

Did we accomplish much this week?

School this week went about as it usually does even though the kids were a bit under the weather. Sophie was actually excited to do history this week. We read the Story of the World chapter about Moses and the Exodus. She loved that it was a story she already knew. We also read a few children's books about the Exodus which were great go alongs.

We also listened to a bit more Tchaikovsky music and read a children's book that tells the story of Swan Lake. Sophie enjoyed also reading a bit more about Ballet and has decided that she really wants to take dance classes. That same day in the mail we recieved the Community Center's schedule of classes and they have a dance class that will be perfect for her. She has mentioned dance class a few times recently and then reading about ballet has only strengthened the draw so we will see how it goes. The class doesn't start until mid January so we will see if we still have the desire when the time comes.

Sophie got very excited when I brought The Cat in numberland home from the library last week so each day she has read one chapter aloud to me. We finished it today since it is only 5 chapters. Some of the math was beyond her but she still enjoyed it. We also went through a number of math exercises each day and Sophie isn't fighting it anymore. She also has figured out how to use the abacus which is helpful. She doesn't get as frustrated.

Ian decided he too needed to do some math so he broke out a dot to dot book and worked through a few of those this week. He also got out his preschool workbook and traced some letters. He is starting to want to do things along with us which is a good thing. Before he was content to just play with his trucks and trains while we read and worked on things. He almost always joins us for Science reading and activities but he wanted to join in on the other subjects as well. I am going to have to plan more for him in the future. In January I will get back to Rowing books which will be good for him.

I can't say we actively did any science or even language arts this week. Sophie does read aloud to me each day but really hates it when I ask her to do copy work. I am going to have to be more creative and find ways to fit in more writing without calling it writing.

We also went to a house building party. The kids had a great time building gram cracker houses and decorating them with candy. I know for a fact they ate way more than they put on their houses.A bunch of kids plus a lot of candy is sure to be a hit!

And as for me. Because I am always learning new things I might as well share what I am studying too. I bought a book called Keeping a Nature Journal a few weeks ago on Ebay. I finally got around to really looking at it this week. Nature journaling is something I want Sophie to start doing since we will be studying plants in the Spring. So I actually broke out one of my old sketch books and practiced some drawing. I haven't taken my book outside yet. When we go to the park I am too busy keeping my kids from running off or falling off of stuff. I don't get a chance to sit down. Taking the time to sketch is a little out of the question at the moment. But I did open up some field guides and attempt to draw a bird. Sophie brought me a horse book and asked me to draw some of them also. Here is what I was able to do.

Then of course Ian asked me to draw Bob. Not the greatest but it is an attempt.
I haven't drawn a whole lot in years. It is good to sketch again. I have never been that good but hopefully I will improve with practice.

I am still practicing the piano almost everyday. I can actually play a few Christmas songs and Sophie sings along so I must be getting better since she actually recognizes what I am playing.

At the library I picked up Shannon Hales River Secrets and Princess Academy. I haven't started them yet. I have been busy reading the nature journaling book but they are my next pleasure reads.

That is about it for us this week. We have been really busy. The days seem to fly by. But not fast enough for Sophie who keeps telling me how many days are left until Christmas.