Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Spring is in the air and is coarsing through our house and all of its inhabitants.  The hubby is talking of new landscaping ideas, I myself, am dreaming and planning of a garden, and, of course, the kiddos are relishing every moment outside.  The sun has come out to shine. and with it's anticipated appearances, my children have been clamoring to do the same.  It has been hard for me to enforce the "homework must be done before anything else" rule when they get home from school as it has been so nice out.  So, we have been modifying the rule a little bit and enjoying the great outside world.  I absolutely love watching my children play outside.  I love how the sunlight shines down on them -- how it turns their faces almost radiant and bounces off their hair as they run and play.  I love hearing their excited sqeals of joy and shouts to one another.  And lastly, I love the pure abandon that they run and play with -- carefree and wild.  It is in these moments and times where I have to catch my breath and thank God with all that I am for blessing me so abundantly.  My house may not be perfectly clean and my laundry is piled up, but I have the most beautfiul bouquet of dandelions on my table, picked especially for me by all three of my sweet kiddos.

Watering the new grass seeds turns into an impromptu
play time for the daddy and kiddos - much to the
delight of both!

Pure joy in motion

Is it surprising that he is the wettest one of them all?
No, not surprising at all!!!!!

Even the oldest got into the fun of the water!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

World Trip Anyone?

     Still dusting off from our Spring Break World Trip, the memories still fresh, I started remembering other world trips we have taken in the past.  I know I shared this quite a while ago on my facebook page, but I thought that maybe now, after our recent "travels" would be the perfect time to share it again in case anyone else would find it interesting.  First off, you have to know that we absolutely LOVE books at our house.  One of the first series of books that really captured my boys was "The Magic Tree House" series by Mary Pope Osbourne.  These are early reader chapter books about Jack and Annie, a brother and sister, who discover a tree house in the woods by their house.  When they climb up into it they discover it is full of books.  They then learn that if they point to a picture in one of the books and wish they were there the treehouse starts to spin and takes them there.  Each book is a different adventure in which they travel to a different place and time.  The books are filled with a mix of historical facts and fantasy -- perfect for blossoming imaginations!  These books were definitely favorites around our house for a long time.  I would even catch my kiddos playing Magic Tree House.  I am also fortunate that I have a great sister-in-law who, at this time introduced us to the Magic Tree House website which has many great things.  There are games, information on the books, the author, the illustrator, and my kiddos favorite ... the ability to print out your very own passport to adventure!  We have now done this a couple of times and had fun each time.  What you do is print out your passport and put it together.  And, because each book takes you to a different time and place there is a spot for a stamp for each book.  Now, this is what the teacher in me really appreciated...to get your stamp for each book you have to go online and answer about three multiple choice questions correctly.  When my boys were much younger this gave me an idea on what they were remembering and learning, and then when they were reading the books on their own I could see if they were comprehending what they were reading themselves.  It is just a lot of fun -- and they never saw it as "work" or a "test".  You can't beat that!!!!!!  Maybe you would like to take a trip in a Magic Tree House?  Here's the link ...


Some of the books and Ben's passport from last summer

A look at the inside and the stamps you can earn as you travel
with Jack and Annie in the Magic Tree House.  You just print
them out and glue them in.

Ben's passport from last summer

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Break - The last days

     Ah,.....it is good to be back again!  I apologize for not posting in the last few days.  Let me assure you, it definitely was not because I did not want to.  The weekend definitely hit and the days flew by!  We finished up our world travels and returned back to our "normal life."  A good time was definitely had by all and it was sad to see my boys go back to school this morning.  Our last two stops brought lots of fun and, as always, some good food.  On Friday we headed to the beautiful country of Italy.  Each kiddo drew/colored an Italian flag (being it is three vertical rectangles of green, white, and red they all felt they could do that).  We looked up and practiced some italian words  (hello, how are you, goodbye, etc...).  This is where I wish I knew how to video or attatch a recording of some kind as it was slightly interesting.  We talked about the waterways and traveling by gondola.  Of course Sophie related this to the boat that Tangled (Rapunzel) rode in.  The two littles had fun acting this one out in the laundry basket.  We were blessed to be joined by friends for our Italian dinner of lasagna, french bread, and salad.  I apologize now for the lack of pictures from this day.  When I went to take some pictures I quickly learned that the camera needed charged.  Ach!  Originally, this stop was going to be our last, but with the next day (Saturday) being St. Patrick's Day how could we not make a stop in Ireland?  So on to Ireland we went!  Not really being prepared for this stop we did not partake of any authentic Irish meals.  We did however eat our share of green things.  I shared my VHS taped recording of "Riverdance" with them -- most of it anyway.  Happy to report that they all seemed to like it and think that it was "pretty cool."  I then got a treat by watching them Irish step dance.  Pure joy, I tell you!!  This would be where I would love to insert another video if I could, but I will just have to be happy to have it play on in my heart and in my memory.  Besides wearing our share of green (and even making a shamrock shirt for the girlie to wear) that pretty much much concludes our quick impromptu trip to Ireland.  As it is now all said and done, the kiddos are unanimous in their decision that they enjoyed each day, but their favorite was our day in the Carribean.  I enjoyed it all and am definitely looking forward to the summer days of having them all home and the adventures we will have.  After all, each day is an adventure!

My "Buggy" (Naterbug), smiling in his green AND his new specs

Ben, also sporting his green for the day

The girlie, playing in the sunshine


Found their first ladybug of the year

Always on the move!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Break - Day 4

There are many things that I believe you learn as a mom.  One being that you learn how to "read" your kids, another being that you learn to be flexible and go with the flow when needed.  Both of these "momskills" came into action today.  With different events taking place last night (the oldest going to the circus with a friend and the two littles and I going to church) it was a later night for us.  This was evident when they did not wake up until after 8:00 this morning (and yes, this is sleeping in for us!)  I noticed that even though they had gotten a good night's sleep they still seemed tired, sluggish, and were perfectly content to lay around.  Not quite the "up and at em' and ready to explore the outback of Australia" mode this momma was hoping and planning for.  Now this is where those "momskills" I mentioned earlier came into play.  I noticed the mode my kids were in and decided that a slight change of course was in order for our day to run more smoothly.  So...we swapped our tickets to Australia for tickets to the good ol' USA, for a day "at home"  I think Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" said it best when she said "There is no place like home"  This is just the stop that was needed today.  The kiddos stayed in their jammies longer, played the wii (which thrilled them), and when they did get dressed we enjoyed a picnic lunch of hot dogs and cheetos (can't get much more American than that) up in their treehouse.  After lunch we played for a while outside before coming in to get my girlie to nap.  And the kiddos played so well together!  There was no fussing or fighting.  It was just one of those magical times that I can't even fully describe, but I feel so blessed to have been witness to.  When we came in, my middle child, Nate asked if he could put Sophie to nap.  Yes, that is the kind of magical time I'm talking about today!  This delighted her, of course, as he is, I think, her most favorite person.  So then I hear him remind her to use the bathroom, and then the next thing I see they are laying in his bed snuggled together with books and he is reading by the light of a flashlight to her.  I hear him really getting into the story, and I hear her giggles and shouts of "Again, again!"  I don't know about you all, but it is these moments that melt a mama's heart.  I can't help but wonder if I would have missed such sweetness had I tried to press on with my own set plans for the day instead of taking note of the precious ones around me.  I may not get it right a lot of the time I admit, but I do feel like we did it right today!  I apologize that I don't have any world travels to share tonight.  I have to admit that I have felt nervous about such, but I hope that you all understand and will tune in tommorow as we plan on travelling on.  The kiddos were asking tonight "Where are we going to go tommorow?"  I think they are refreshed and ready!  Sometimes a day at home is just exactly what is needed.    

Our picnic up in the treehouse

Playing outside

Nate reading to Sophie at naptime

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Break - Day 3

     We woke up to another beautiful spring day and another exciting location on our Spring Break travels.  Today's destination was the country of Africa.  Not wanting to miss out on the gorgeous weather here, we spent a great deal of the day outside.  We learned (via the resourceful internet) that a lot of African children make their own rag footballs to play with.  Following instructions, we took some rags that we had made from an old pillowcase and began knotting them and wrapping them around eachother.  In the end we had a nice sturdy ball to play catch with.  I think my sweet kiddos were surprised at how well it worked and how fun it was.  Resourcefulness wins!  We also read how many kids in South Africa and all over the country play soccer, but unlike kids here in the states, they kick and play with their barefeet.  My oldest, Ben, commented on how he thought that would really hurt and asked why they would do that.  This led to an amazing conversation about how the kids over there often do not have shoes and how many things we have that we simply take for granted.  Before I knew it my sweet children were looking at me and asking if we could send them their shoes that didn't fit anymore.  I never stop being humbled and amazed at the hearts of my children.  Not wanting to merely pacify them with a quick answer of "hmm...that is something to think about" we got on the internet again, this time finding a site entitled shoe4africa (which I personally would reccommend going to) which talks about this and so much more.  We now have a plan for our shoes that may not fit anymore but are of very good condition.  Our eyes (and hearts) have been openned on this journey.  To end our stay in Africa we took a tip from what we had read in my "Kid's Multicultural Cookbook - Food & Fun Around the World" and ate a tablecloth for dinner.  Right now you are rereading that wondering if you read it right, huh?  Yes, you did!  Let me explain...  We read how in Ethiopia families cover their tables with a big wheat pancake called injera, which they pour wot, or another spicy suce on and break off pieces and eat it.  We had our own version of this ourselves.  Since I know our chef very well, there were some adjustments made.  Our pancake was also made with wheat flour, but ours also had banana and chocolate chips in it (definitely made my kiddos feel at home since that is one of their favorites).  As our chef was definitely not as adept at making pancakes to cover the whole table we enjoyed one that was bigger than usual and placed it in the center of our table and let the kiddos break off pieces of it.  Definitely enjoyable and definitely good!  Definitely another good day of travelling fun behind us with more ahead!   

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Break - Day 2

Not a moment to rest on this vacation of ours!  After thoroughly enjoying our day in the Caribbean we were ready to embark on the next leg of our journeys - China!  Still experiencing terrific springtime weather wherever we go, we did spend quite a bit of the day playing outside.  After all, don't you think kids play outside in China too?  We also experienced some very fun "native" things during our day in China.  We got out our tangrams and made pictures.  We got out paint and paper and tried our hand at writing the Chinese symbols for the numbers 1 - 10.  This was particularly challenging for my oldest who is wee bit of a perfectionist and sometimes has the attitude that if he cannot do it well the first time then he would rather not do it at all.  Maybe it was in the spirit of travel, but I am very proud to report that he hung in there, and actually, had fun with it!  "Mom, my favorite to write is 9."    We read a couple of Chinese versions of stories that we know.  The first being "Lon Po Po - A Red - Riding Hood Story From China" by Ed Young.  The kiddos thought it was very interesting that instead of a girl who leaves to visit her grandmother as in the story we are familiar with, it is the mother who leaves her three daughters to go visit the grandmother.  The wolf then disguises himself and tries to trick the daughters into letting him in.  The second book we read was then "Yeh-Shen - A Cinderella Story from China"  also by Ed Young.  This, of course, was not as interesting as a tale with a wolf in it to my boys, but it did thrill my girlie.  The part that stuck out to her, of course, was the golden slipper Yeh-Shen wore (instead of the familiar glass slipper from our Cinderella story).  Yes, that would be my shoe-lovin' girl!  Not long after it was time to try a bit of the cuisine.  On the menu tonight -- Broccoli Beef Lo Mein.  I am very pleased to say that, for the most part, this too was a success and enjoyed by all.  My sweet little picky of course did not like the mushrooms, but did like the noodles and the meat.  I tell you, it was genius of the chef, pure genius, to make sure our entree's had those ingredients!  All in all, another great day of travel and memories.  The only complaint of today's travels was from my son Nate, our middle child, who was, after wearing his "tropical gear" and swimsuit yesterday, quite dissappointed that he had no "Chinese outfit" today.  I felt for him and tried to make him a make-shift kimono out of one of daddy's old shirts, but he declined.  My poor Naterbug!  He has always loved costumes and dressing up - I should have known that he would want to dress the part each day.  Even with this setback we all enjoyed our day, and now I am off to get some rest for our next destination tommorow!
fun with tangrams
Our paintings of Chinese letters (and Sophie's of a chocolate cookie)
Our books that we read

Ben's sheet of Chinese letters


Our dinner - Broccoli Beef Lo Mein
Sophie, in her "Chinese Princess Dress"
(And yes, Purple Bunny IS making these
travels with us)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Break - Day 1

Ben, getting ready to eat dinner (jerk chicken was finishing up on the grill)

Nate and Sophie "We're just so happy momma"

Laying out on the Carribean beach
Warmer days, budding plants, robin's chirping, and the sounds of children playing outside can only mean one thing ... Spring is on it's way!  Another sign would be that my boys get to be home with me for this whole week as it is their Spring Break!  I totally love having them home!  In the spirit of Spring Break I decided it would be fun to travel around the world.  Stopping each day in a different country, learning about that country, doing some fun activities and crafts related to that country, and having an "authentic" dining experience from that country.  We will see how the dining experiences go with my little picky eater -- that, in itself, could be an experience!  And so we started our travels today.  This morning found us in the Caribbean.  My kids definitely got into character.  My oldest (Ben, age 8) made me laugh so hard as we did have to run a few errands this morning.  We needed to pick up a few necessary ingredients at the grocery store and get to the library.  Well, this mama also wanted to stop by the fabric store since it was close to the library.  When I made mention of this Ben spoke out that he did not think there were fabric stores in the Carribean (which translated, means he did not want to stop there).  Poor boy!  Our time in the Carribean definitely kicked in once we got home.  The sun had come out and it had warmed up.  The kiddos put on their "tropical outfits" that I had found (Hawaiian print shirts and shorts for my boys, and a "tropical" sundress for my girlie, and beads and lei's to further their ensembles)  We played outside and enjoyed the sunshine.  Then we all (daddy included) enjoyed our dinner of jerk chicken, saffron rice, pineapple, and a tropical fruit smoothie.  I wasn't sure how it would go over, but the jerk chicken was a hit -- even my picky ate all of hers!  To conclude our night in the Carribean we layed out our beach towels, the kids got on their swimsuits (which they were delighted to do) and layed out in the living room for a little snack (bananas and oranges) and movie time.  They went to bed happy and eager for our next adventure tommorow.  I love their excitement and their ability to, along with me, totally throw themselves into this trip of ours.  Their giggles of joy at getting to wear their swimsuits and lay out on their towels, their non-stop chatter at supper as they fill daddy in on the day's events, and the sunshine shining down on them making them positively radiant will stay embedded in my memories of our trip to the Carribean and this day.  How blessed I am to have them as my travelling companions, not only for our Spring Break travels, but as I travel through the even more exciting journeys of motherhood  Stay tuned for news from our next stop.     

Saturday, March 10, 2012

This blog has been on my mind now for soooooo long!  Not really sure of what I am doing, but excited to be doing it.  I simply want a way to keep and preserve the goings on around me because, with my three precious little ones, it is always changing and there is always something new and many things that are interesting.  I might think I can remember them all, but I can't, and so I start this blog in an effort to do so.