Thursday, April 30, 2009

In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

My question this week is: What do you do to keep your kids busy during the summer? If you don't have kids, what's you favorite way to spend your free time?

For More Aloha Friday Fun Visit An Island Life

A Thousand Words Thursday

Cheaper Than Therapy

While blog-hopping, I have seen these posts before, but hadn't taken the time to find out what the meme was really about. Today I stopped by My Divine Chaos, who participates in A Thousand Words Thursday and I enjoyed her post. From there I visited Cheaper Than Therapy where Jen hosts the weekly meme. So now I get it. And I love it.

I'm a photo nut. I love capturing family memories on film (or more correctly these days, in pixels.) I snap a lot of shots. And every once in a while I get one that's just priceless. So, today I'm joining in. It's a little late in the day, I know. But, better late than never I always say.

From Jen about the meme: "Every Thursday I am going to post a picture that is powerful, that expresses emotion, and speaks volumes to me. Here's one that is worth a thousand words."

For more Thousand Words Thursday stop by Cheaper Than Therapy.

Parenting Advice

I thought this was a lovely post by Pamela over at PMKU and I wanted to share it here. It rings so true!

1. After you give birth be careful when you stand. You're insides will feel like they are going to fall out. This too shall pass.
2. At some point your child will hate you, cuss under their breath (possibly) and even wish they had different parents. Develop thick skin this too shall pass.
3. You're son will know everything at age 8 and your daughter will know everything at age 12. When they do leave your house with all their knowledge you have to begin to let go. You will morn their absence and they will change into people you don't know, until they become parents.
4. You have to have a grab bag of discipline tactics. You have to change it up a bit to keep them on their toes. They will at some point disappoint you even when they know better.
5. Beware of the grandparents! In their eyes your child will be a saint, no matter what. Their discipline days are over and they have nothing left but hugs and kisses. Get use to it because you will become chopped liver when they are around.
6. Are you ready to consider someone else before you no matter what? Are you ready to give up your "me" time? Are you ready for the avalanche of new finances? Are you ready to protect and serve like a cop? lol
7. Just make it through the first 3 months and you will start to feel human again. You might possibly get sleep, a shower and a change of clean clothes.
8. You are the single most important role model and everything you do and say has an impact. The saying of "Do as I say not as I do" NEVER works.
9. You will sound just like your parents so get ready to deal with it when some of those famous phrases come flying out of your mouth.
10. Prepare to call and apologize to your parents every single day or if you are really lucky and you were a "non trouble" kid then thank them every day.
11. You're going to mess up. Be ready to admit to your child when you are wrong. Admit it if you lie, it's best to put the truth out there.
12. They are going to lie to you. They just want to avoid trouble. Careful how you phrase your questions and you might be able to decrease those lies.
13. Always keep a level of respect between you. They should never be on your level and you shouldn't try to be their best friend. Friendly yes, but they don't need to know all of your adult problems. They can't handle it nor should they have to.

You can also visit Pamela at her site Happy Panda.

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Wordful Wednesday

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I haven't posted much about Bella lately, so I thought I'd use this week's WW as an opportunity for an update. For those of you who are new here, Bella is our great dane puppy. We got her in late January and she'll be 5 months old this Saturday.

She weighed around 14 pounds when we brought her home, and at her vet check last week she weighed in at 46 pounds. She's a sweet goofy girl with a lot of spunk. She has a feisty streak and loves to play, but is generally pretty calm unless instigated into play fighting by our oldest, which happens quite often! She happy to be a lap dog though and thinks she's just the right size for the job.

She enjoys sun bathing and lots of time outdoors. She walks pretty well on her leash and is house trained, aside from being a terrible counter surfer (read thief of all things edible). She's quite like a goat in that she'll eat most, sticks, pine needles, paper, veggie burgers, you name it. But, at least she doesn't eat socks like our other dane, Max did (Yes, literally ate them. Swallowed whole and digested to later be found in the yard).

She does have some serious separation anxiety issues though, and has recently gotten herself in a bit of trouble around here, eating garbage and getting stuck halfway out an open window. I guess it's a good thing she's so darn cute!

For more Wordful Wednesday visit Seven Clown Circus. And if you'd rather go wordless, stop by 5 Minutes for Mom!

Cinco de Mayo

Monday, April 27, 2009

It has been hot here the past few days. In the 90s. The kids have been loving bouncing around in their blow up pool and dashing through the sprinkler. I have been enjoying all the sunshine and watching my garden begin to sprout. It feels like summer. We even turned on the AC after the indoor temps reached the mid-eighties and the dog was panting non-stop. I generally do not like turning on the AC until late May or June, but it was hot and steamy. Miserable really. So I relented.

Anyway, the point of all this babbling was that it feels like summer. And I can't wait for summer! I love the BBQing, swimming, evening strolls, lightning bugs, and late sunsets. I am ready for it all (minus the mosquitoes). And, what better way to celebrate than to dig in to some Cinco de Mayo festivities? Will you be celebrating with a fiesta?

I'll admit that this holiday has been mostly a commercial one, but there are some opportunities for some interesting lessons here (of course, homeschoolers say that about everything, right?) Why not create a festive atmosphere and explore history, geography, and culture? Make your own pinata. Try your hand at home made tortillas. Create some crafty decorations and celebrate in style.

Find some fun lesson plans here.
Cinco de Mayo menu plans here.
Coloring pages here.
More about Mexico here.

Then, once you've worn the kids out. Invite some friends over and whip up a batch of these babies! Be sure to pop on over to Twitter Moms for their Mamarita party too.

Fabulous Margaritas for Mama
1 1/2 cup Jose Cuervo Especial tequila
1/2 c Grand Marnier
1 can frozen limeade concentrate (or lemon)
juice of one lemon
juice of one of lime
one egg white (Trust me, it's good! But if you are really too scared, you can omit it)
ice to fill the blender (if you don't want them totally frozen use 1/3 water and 2/3 ice)
sugar to taste
Blend and enjoy. Don't forget the salt rim!

Quotable Sunday

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Welcome to this edition of Quotable Sunday. Since we have spent the better part of the last several days enjoying the glorious weather outside, gardening, walking, and playing, I decided this weekend's quotes should be about nature. I hope you have had a beautiful weekend! Enjoy.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
Anais Nin

"And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything."
William Shakespeare

"Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher."
William Wordsworth

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books."
John Lubbock

"Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature."

Gerard De Nerval

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul."

John Muir

"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair."
Kahlil Gibran

"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads."
Henry David Thoreau

"I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty."

Georgia O'Keeffe

"I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens."

Isaac Bashevis Singer

For more Quotable Sunday visit A Daily Dose of Toni:

Aloha Friday

Thursday, April 23, 2009

In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link below. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

My question is: If you could relive one day of your life what would it be?

For More Aloha Friday Fun Visit An Island Life

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Happy Birthday Mr. Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was born APRIL 23, 1564.

His 37 plays impacted world literature.

He married Ann Hathaway, had three children, moved to London, and became shareholding director of Globe Theater, writing such classics as Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

In King Henry VIII, 1613, act III, scene ii, line 456, Shakespeare wrote:
"Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my king, he would not in mine age have left me naked to mine enemies."

In Othello, 1604, act I, scene i, line 108, Shakespeare wrote:
"You are one of those that will not serve God if the devil bid you."

Four years before the Pilgrims landed in America at Plymouth Rock, Shakespeare died on this same day, APRIL 23, in 1616.
In his Will, Shakespeare wrote:
"I commend my soul into the hands of God, my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ, my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting."

Carved on his tomb in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-on-Avon, England, is:
"Good Friend For Jesus Sake Forbeare, To Digg The Dust Enclosed Heare.
Blese Be Ye Man Spares Thes Stones, And Curst Be He Moves My Bones."

Acknowledgement to, P.O. Box 20163, St. Louis, MO 63123, 1-888-USA-WORD, 314-487-4395

For more about Shakespeare visit:
Shakespeare Resource Center
Shakespeare Kids (my fave)
This Day In History


Just for fun and to combat mommy-brain, from which I frequently suffer, I thought I'd post this game my dear hubbie sent me. See if you can figure out how it works. This could even be a fun math exercise for older kids.

Leave a comment and let me know if you picked up on the trick...and if you've ever regifted ;P. Good luck!

Do You Compost?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Are you planning a garden this summer or have you already gotten one started? We planted a veggie garden Easter weekend and are anxiously awaiting a crisp summer salad! Gardening is a fun way to spend time together as a family engaged in a long term project. Kids love to get dirty, and learn so much from tending a garden and watching their hard work come to fruition. Whether you plan a big plot full of a variety of produce, or a small container herb garden, working on it together with your kids will bring you both great joy.

My reputation for having a black thumb precedes me (my husband will certainly attest to this- two things always end up black in my care, plants and bread). But I am determined this year to taste the fruits of my labor!

We started planning a few months ago and began composting all of our biodegradable waste. I bought a tall bin with a lid that has holes in it and placed it out back near our kitchen door for easy access. I lined it with a trash bag to keep the juices from oozing all over. I throw in whatever is compostable as I cook or clean up the kitchen. A better idea would probably be to put a wooden crate out back or even just heap the stuff in a pile in the corner of the yard (forgoing the plastic bag), but most days I'm too busy to pee, let alone run back and forth across the yard with our trash. So, I did what would work for us (yes, sometimes I'm more brown than green, but I'm trying). Anyway, we mixed in all this muck when we tilled the garden and we're expecting sweet rewards (coffee grounds are supposed to be fab for growing tasty tomatoes).

Here's a pick of our newly planted garden, I saw our first sprouts today!

If you'd like to learn more about composting, check out these sites:
How to Compost

Wordful Wednesday

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yesterday we had our first thunderstorm of the season. I love thunderstorms and have fond memories of sitting out on our screened porch one summer, when Aiden was one and we were but a small family of 3 (plus 165 lb great dane, Max), watching the storms roll by, and waiting for the rainbow to appear. Aiden would sit in his daddy's lap and Max would sit in mine. Ah, good times. Too bad we had to move and leave the screened porch behind.

Anyway, yesterday was quite exciting as it was Bella's first thunderstorm and the first one Jackson could remember. Bella was a very brave guard dog and barked all the thunder away. Jackson clung to me for dear life. After all the fun was over, hubbie left for school. He called about 5 minutes later to say he'd seen the biggest rainbow just down the street. Of course we had to go investigate.

When we returned home, Aiden jumped out of the van and began splashing in puddles. One thing led to another and soon little man was in on the action. Princess Bryn chose to watch from a safe distance. Mom had lots of fun washing clothses and scrubbing tubs last night. Here's a slide show of the splashin' good time and the aftermath.

For more Wordful Wednesday visit Angie's 7 Clown Circus. For Wordless Wednesday fun visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

If you are participating Link Up and show me some luv!

What's the Scoop on Ice Cream Headaches?

I came across this article from Highlights Kids and thought it was too cool not to share (eh hem, no pun intended). A young ice cream-loving girl ( girl after my own heart!) wondered what causes ice cream headaches. After doing a little digging and finding little research on the subject, she set out to find the answer. Her journey started with the school science fair and ended up in a medical journal and on the evening news! Read the full story here.

So, now that you know the secret to headache free sundaes, go grab yourself a scoop, or three ;)

Great Deals on Books

Monday, April 20, 2009

I am a book lover. We collect books around here like we collect dust. We can't seem to walk by a bookstore without making a purchase and have been known to frequent library book sales. Once, I even brought home a laundry basket full of books that I found dumped at the recycling center (perfectly good used books, can you believe it?!) Anyway, if you love books like I do then you probably love bargains too. All those book shelves can get expensive! Here's a deal I found from

"Get ready for the great outdoors and take advantage of this limited time sale!

Browse through over 600 titles ranging from bird-watching to travel & recreation guides to horse training.

Anything and everything to do with nature and the outdoors can be found in this vast collection!

And until this sale ends, every title is reduced by an additional 25% off our already low discounted prices.

Do not delay, sale ends April 23rd!
Look for the ladybug! Nature and Outdoors Sale"

Some titles that peaked my interest are:

100 Years of Wildlife, by BBC Books for $7.49
1001 Ways You Can Save the Planet, by Joanna Yarrow for $2.99
An Intimate Look at the Night Sky, by Chet Raymo for $3.74

Look Up!

MORNING METEORS: Earth is entering a stream of dusty debris from Comet Thatcher, source of the annual Lyrid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the shower to peak during the dark hours before dawn on Wednesday, April 22nd, when observers should count 10 to 20 meteors per hour: more information.

Got clouds? No problem. If you can't see the shower, you can listen to it on Space Weather Radio. We are streaming live signals from the Air Force Space Surveillance Radar in Texas. Whenever a meteor passes overhead--ping!--there is an echo. The Lyrids should produce a surge of activity on April 22nd.

For more info click here or here.

Our Gardening Project

Earth Day Fun and Online Learning Activities

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ecokids is a great way to explore environmental issues and play games that will get your kids thinking about all things green. You do need to register, for free, to use the site, but it's great for all teachers, parents and kids. You'll find fun quick facts, homework helps, games and activities, contests and a blog where kids can submit their own post for publication. Teachers and homeschool parents will find lesson plans, printables and resource list for books and teaching tools.

“EcoKids web site... is an interactive environmental web site for children, their families, and educators in Canada and around the world. It offers topical information about the environment through interactive, fun, educational games and activities that utilize participants’ willingness to learn.”

This is a fun site perfect for putting together Earth Day lessons, but also one you'll want to visit again and again!

Quotable Sunday

Welcome to my first edition of Quotable Sunday! A fun meme created by Toni at A Daily Dose of Toni. I love quotes. When you come across a phrase, a lyric, a speech of particular meaning to you, it sticks with you. It can become like a personal mantra.

Here are my quotes for the week:

"They say that we are better educated than our parents' generation. What they mean is that we go to school longer. They are not the same thing."
Douglas Yates

"It is little short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not already completely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry…. I believe that one could even deprive a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness if one could force it with a whip to eat continuously whether it were hungry or not…"
Albert Einstein (1879-1955) U.S. physicist

"The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher."

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) American author, editor and printer.

For more Quotable Sunday visit Toni's blog!

Preschool Curriculum Giveaway

Saturday, April 18, 2009

If you have a preschooler at home, stop by An Island Life this week for a chance to win a one year curriculum.

Whether you homeschool or just looking to supplement your preschooler’s education, Itty-Bitty Bookworm is the perfect curriculum for you.


The Itty-Bitty Bookworm is committed to excellence and devoted to the basic tenet that quality education can be enjoyable, too! Our program is specifically designed for children ages 18 months - 5 years of age, and tailored to meet the unique needs of in-home preschools, family child-care centers, child development centers and home-schooling families.

The great thing is that this program starts as early as 18 months and goes all the way up to 5 year olds. The lessons are contained on a CD that does all the planning for you. It’s easy, organized, and very user friendly.

The curriculum is broken down into months with specific lesson plans in regards to letters, numbers, colors, and shapes. There are also monthly book recommendations that your family will probably find very interesting and educational. In addition, Itty-Bitty Bookworm also has Bible Story Units that can be used as a Christian education supplement to your current curriculum.

What a great way to start your preschooler off in the right direction! Stop by Itty-Bitty Bookworm today to find out more!


Spring Has Sprung

Friday, April 17, 2009

We found some sure signs in our own yard. I captured them with my brand spankin' new camera. Pretty, huh?

Ok, so that last one's not so pretty. That was a day after dh so kindly washed it too. My head hurts just looking at it! We also spotted a bunny, who was too fast for my shutter finger, and a robin's egg shell, which my dear destructive 7 year old just had to step on to hear it crunch. So you'll have to use your imagination for those.
What signs have you spotted?


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