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Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day tribute

In the great big world
beyond what my eye can see
There is an army of soldiers
fighting their lives for me.

Giving extraordinary sacrifices I cannot even imagine.

Right now.
This minute.
The world does not pause.

They left their families,
their home,
the life they knew.
And they cleave to their God with all their might.
That their life would serve great purpose
as they stand for their nation.
Doing what needs to be done.
Through the night.
In the dark.
The days pass,
one to the next
and they keep going.
They fight.

In an instant.

Another is taken down.
A life is ended.
A family is destroyed
in heartache and pain.

In an instant.

Life is never again the same.

For the one who fought so bravely,
who gave it all,
who gave it all for us,
for me,
for a nation of strangers he'll never meet,
I stand tall,
hand over heart
and humbly say
Because of you,
we live freely.

Because of you.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Summer surprise.

It started during Easter season. Those pre-filled baskets looked so much fun. But since we don't do Easter baskets, I thought it would be fun to get one on sale afterward and gift one to each of the kids on the first day of summer break.

But who knew that they take 'em straight off the shelf after Easter?? There were hardly any to pick from, and when it came to it, they just weren't quite what I wanted.

So I started collecting items myself--small items here and there, mostly from the Dollar Store and Pamida. Little items for fun summer play and simple half-way healthy snacks to go with it.


I got the idea to make it a treasure hunt TO the gift.

At first it was just going to be a map to follow.

But then

I thought it would be fun to make clues instead. And off I went with the idea!!  

I created three clues for each child's surprise. After our fun breakfast of blueberry pancakes this morning and before ANYTHING was cleaned up, we went outside for our adventure!

In logical order of where I placed things, I had Hannah start first, and she opened her envelope containing CLUE #1:
"In the ground we plant the seeds. Someday food for you and me. 
We mash, bake them, eat them raw, Just like Daddy, chomp the jaw."
 On the potato buckets!
Clue #2! 
"Yee-haw, let's go for a ride! It's time to go play outside!
But hang on tight, lest you'll fall. Enjoy the ride and have a ball!"

 Clue #3
"It is white but rhymes with RED. We park our toys when it's time for bed."
yes, Hannah is kissing her bucket

Now it's time for Carter's search!

Clue #1
"Open the box, it's a mess inside. But a place our toys can hide."

Clue #2
"It's black with wheels and just my size. With seats for four, we go for a ride!"

Clue #3
"We climb and slide and laugh and play. With TV outside today.
It's all pretend, it's all in fun. Playing out under the sun."
(Backstory:  the kids like to pretend they have a TV down by the swing set)

One more treasure to find!
Clue #1
"We gather here when it's time to eat. Not in the house but under the trees...

...Look high, look low, look all around. 
Don't be afraid to get on the ground."

Clue #2
"Soaring high I can see. The rush of wind I feel free.
But hanging from the branch above. Tis a toy I most love."

Final clue of the day!
"It's big and red and on a farm. It's a word that rhymes with YARN."

And inside each bucket? Here are the goods...
(not pictured because they were already blown up, are punching balloons!)

 The kids had so much fun with their treasure hunt! As did I! They were patient as they helped each other figure out the clues, Eli read some of them on his own, and they waited til the end to dive into their buckets. So so fun to celebrate this first day of summer break!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Public school vs. Homeschool...

... I choose both. 

Today was the kids' last day of school. We hosted a mini-party at lunch and celebrated with a kickoff to summer! 

I'm SUPER excited for all that we're going to do this summer, and all that we're NOT going to do as we just enjoy and play! 

But this week as we've come through a full year of official schooling, I'm feeling reflective on what I think about all this.

And I think, it was quite fantastic.

There was a lot I didn't do that I wanted to do. I wanted to help more in the classroom and go have lunch at the school with Eli (Kevin did, but not me), but with the younger two still at home it just didn't happen, and next year I do vow to make it more of a priority.

I did, however, make several attempts to make a connection with the teacher.  She was wonderful, I wanted her to know that we very much appreciate all she does for the kids, for our son, I wanted her to know that she has our support at home as we continue to encourage and work with Eli in his education, and I wanted to converse with her when we had concerns.

Now that summer is officially here, and even otherwise, I make great effort to further the kids' learning. To push them even more when I see areas in which they already excel. I want to encourage creativity, open conversation, and just teach them about the things around them when they're still young and think everything is exciting and fascinating.  It's fun to learn with them, to see them grow, and give them hands-on opportunities for discovery.


I wouldn't want to do it all the time. Like all allll the time. Homeschooling sounds sooo exhausting to me.  Any time you're with the same people/person all the day long every day, it's exhausting. Doesn't matter how much you love them, it's tiring.

So for our family, for this moment in time, we have a wonderful balance. Having time for errands with only one child, hosting social events with other women, meeting for picnics and play dates at the park, helping a friend with a project,  helping run the Moms group in town, and managing the house.

As for faith, it has not been challenged by schooling in this way. We are putting it into practice every day, as we meet new people we wouldn't normally have crossed paths with, sharing kindness and generosity and forgiveness, and {hopefully} shining like stars!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Summer {Bucket List}

Here's our summer checklist! 5 days!!   =) 

1. plant something.
2. lay outside and watch the stars come out.
3. set up a lemonade stand.
4. fill a small baby pool with homemade bubble solution and use hoola hoops to make giant bubbles
5. make your own kite.
6. catch lightning bugs.
7. make your own ice cream flavor.
8. bake a pizza in the sun.
9. go to the zoo.
10. discover a new park.
11. create an obstacle course in your yard.
12. start a new read-aloud book series.
13. set up a "car wash" for your bikes.
14. create your own board game.
15. go on a camera adventure and make your own ABC photo book.
16. paint a box.
17. pick some fresh fruit.
18. press some flowers.
19. make a dandelion crown.
20. write a story and draw pictures to go with it.
21. briefly study different artists and imitate their style
22. set up the baby pool and slip n slide or sprinkler and host a pool party
23. learn about different countries and have fun sampling new foods from around the world
24. count the money in your piggy bank
25. go geocaching

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Normally I'm primarily a New Testament reader.  But lately I've been spending a lot of time in the Psalms. I've read them all before, but now new things are popping out to me. And it's been so refreshing. Not dwelling on the character I'm trying to be, or what I'm "supposed to be" as a Christian, but simply focusing on WHO GOD IS. And just that. Soaking in the glory of HIM.

And this morning I wrote up this little something... I've been working on it the last couple days and finally finished today.

I pledge allegiance to my God, the creator and Lord of all, and to His will and not my own, one Savior eternal, with forgiveness and redemption for all.

Allegiance: loyalty or devotion to some person, group, cause, or the like.

Loyalty, devotion to GOD. Surrendering my will and standing up to His. And committing my life to Him. Daily.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I love this holiday, and I don't want it to die out! And even if no one else does it any more, I want to share this day with my children and let them be involved in the fun of blessing others on an otherwise ordinary day! Nothing like surprising your friends and neighbors with a simple treat and a note!  
These seriously are simple. Just party-size plastic cups. Hole punch on the sides to hook the pipe cleaner through and twist the ends. We filled them with popcorn and sprinkled on a few jelly beans (did you know you can get Starburst flavor bag of only the pinks and reds? yumm!) and just a few M&Ms. Tape on a short note and cover with that snazzy Press n Seal wrap (LOOOVE that stuff! No more Saran wrap for me ever!)

Here are the poems that I wrote to include for each of our people groups. It's all basically the same but tweaked a little differently each time:
For: the kids' friends. This was signed by all the kids.
For: MY friends. Signed by just me.

For: Eli's school teachers. From just him.
For: Hannah's preschool teachers. From just Hannah.
This was GOING to be for general people like Eli's bus drivers, but I ended up not being able to include them because I didn't want to send Eli off with TOO many things to juggle on his own!

 I would've loved to give some to everyone in each of the kids' classes, but it's just too many, and there's no way to make it surprise on their doorstep anyway. So the teachers alone are fine enough.

Anyway, here are some simple ideas for you so hopefully you can participate too next time!!  =) What are your May Day traditions or memories??