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Monday, June 30, 2008

Great Homeschool Freebie!

If you've got girls (are you reading this, Leila?) and have wanted to find an entire 5 YEAR sewing curriculum (didn't know they even had that...), the Erksine's at Wholesome Childhood Homeschool Freebie of the Day have one. It's an e-book and it is completely FREE! I just downloaded it, so here's the link. This is a great handicrafts resource, and I might learn a little something as well.
Stitchery for Girls: Free E-book!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why I've Decided to Plant an Apple Orchard...

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, that's why! Oh, the day I have dreaded all year arrived yesterday. I awoke that morning, wiping the sleep from my eyes, stretched and thanked my Lord for another day. Then I realized what lay ahead, and I thought about taking that last bit back...
Yes, it's check-up day! First, I must confess that I've never been one to rush my kids off to the doctor. In fact, I don't like doctors appointments myself. I 'd rather chew off my own arm as to go. But, I feel I have done my children a disservice because they are petrified of the doctors office! I mean, padded wall petrified. Straight jacket petrified. Circus clown petrified! Jackson worse so than Lillie.
Poor Jack. He has refused to take the thermometer under the tongue the last couple of times he's had to go, and the alternative is none too pleasant. So, yesterday morning, we practiced using a thermometer. Now, that was sad. A good thirty minutes I spent sticking it in his mouth and just when I considered trying to round up a small sedative, he did it, without screaming! I was feeling pretty good. Left Chloe with Jody and, since she screams anytime you put her down, I thought I was going to have it easy compared to him.
The kids went bonkers in the waiting room, I suppose from nerves. And I had a stack of paperwork to fill out that made me mourn the loss of thousands of trees. Finally, the moment of truth.
Lillie did fine. Stepped on the scale, took the thermometer, smiled and told Jack he was acting like a big baby. And did my little guy take the thermometer calmly? Not really. He freaked out as usual. Well, so we got back to the little room and Lillie again did fine with her vitals. Jack's blood pressure was unusually high, for some odd reason, so they had to take it again later. Jack screamed everytime someone came near him. And when he wasn't screaming , he and Lillie were running bonkers around the exam room. Next, the nurse handed me two little hospital gowns.
Jack took a look at the gown, then the nurse, then me and asked, "Is this a dress?" "No, it's a gown, honey. You need to put it on." He looks at the gown, then the nurse, then me, "Uh, I'm not wearing a dress. I'm a boy, boys don't wear dresses." "Honey, it's a ... you know what , just put it on." He did, but he didn't like it. Kept on muttering about having to wear a dress.
Well, their doctor is male, so they calmed down considerably and Jack did okay, Lillie did fine.
"Well, they look good, Mrs. Davis. Now, it looks like Lillie needs a hemoglobin (that's fancy talk for stabbing your finger) and is due for 5 shots and looks like Jackson needs 3." Then he leaves and lets the sweet nurse do his evil bidding.
I swallow...hard. "Do you perhaps have any sedatives?" I ask the nurse as she comes in. She laughs. She doesn't get it. "NO...I'm serious. Do you?" She still thinks I'm kidding.
Lillie immediately melts down. Hunches down in a corner screaming "NO NO NO Don't do it! OH NO Please!" I smile at the nurse. I can since now the panic in her eyes. She has no idea.
I had to hold Lillie down on the table. She screamed and almost threw up because she gagged on her own spit. The nurse was flying through the shots. Jack was in the corner now, screaming and launching into full scale panic. I had to hold him down. He is ALOT stronger than I am. And I laid on top of him and covered his mouth, all while singing "Amazing Grace". When it was over, I looked up at the nurse, both of us sweating and flushed. "Bet you get this alot." I say. She looks at me and smiles a weak little smile. "No, not really." I wouldn't be surprised if that twenty something nurse slips into early retirement.
Before she left, she reviewed all the info she had gathered and said, "Lillie's getting at that age when taking care of her teeth is important. Have you taken her to the dentist yet?"
I smile. "What do you think?"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Some Great Dads I Know...

Since we observed Father's Day this week, I thought I would pay tribute to some nifty dads I have the privilage of knowing.

First up is Jody. Gotta list him first. He's a great Dad. Why? Let me count the ways. Okay, I'm gonna have to take off my shoes to do that. Well, here's a couple. Even after being at school all day and mowing alot of nights, he spends the remaining time with us at home. He wrestles with Jack and Anna (until Anna screams and bursts into tears) and will buy them milkshakes to consume while riding in a vehicle. (Did I mention brave?). Love that guy!

To the left in this rather humorous picture is my own dad. Now, I don't think I need to explain why I think he's great. He's my dad. Period. But, I'll embellish a bit. He's the best dad and I am glad God looked down and decided that I needed to be born to Ed and Peggy Howell. He taught me to play guitar and will put gas in his lawnmower to take my kids on tractor rides even though he's waging his own personal war against Big Oil right now. Right on, Dad!
This is Jody's dad, my dad-in-law, Denver. Why's this guy so great? Glad you asked. He is one of my favorite preachers. When you get saved, there's always a special place in your heart for those men of God who weren't afraid to preach the truth. He's got standards and sticks to them and lives what he preaches. That means alot in these days. Plus, he lets me eat his ice cream on Sundays.
This is Pop. He's crossed over already, but he's my grandpa. A man of integrity who made a big impact on my life and the lives of everyone else he came in contact with. He let me and my sister drive his lawnmower by ourselves (brave, maybe not the smartest moment he had, but brave.), helped us build things in his shop, and told the best stories, hands down. (Some true, some, not so much). This is my Uncle Jim. He's swell. Love this guy! One of the hardest working and best daddy's I know. He used to take us to the airport and we'd ride the escalators all day and watch planes take off (that was before Bin Laden and purse-sized rocket launchers, you know). He made the list of great dads easily. This is my bro-in-law, Earnie. Looks pretty average, huh? What's so great about him? He lives in a house with 5 (going on 6) women (I probably should explain further as that didn't sound good.) Only one is his wife, the rest daughters. Amidst all that adversity, he's hardworking, loyal and still can carry on an intelligent conversation. Need I say anymore?
This is Jody's fraternal twin brother, Jason and his lovely wife Cassie. Jason and Cassie have a little girl named Olivia Grace and she is a DANDY! She's incredibly cute.

Jason is a dedicated and super great dad. He also would make the list of "Aggravating Brother-in-Laws I Have Known". Tied for first with this guy...This is Jody's oldest brother , Denny. Denny has two boys, Hunter and Tanner. He's also a great dad (duh, or he wouldn't have made the list).

The Word of God says in Psalms 127, "As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver ful of them: they shall not be ashamed, buy they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."

So, Happy Father's Day to all Dads!

Oh! Bee-Have!

We've been doing a unit study on honeybees and my aren't they interesting little critters! Lotsa stuff I didn't know...
We are making a lapbook that we got here. We've added and embellished to this lapbook template. I'll show pics when we're finished. So far we've learned that their are three kinds of bees in a hive and that the female bees do all the work (oh how nature mimics life :) The queen lays thousands of eggs a DAY (yikes!) And bees have neat gadgets the Creator built in like ultra-violet vision that allows them to see the amount of nectar in a flower! We've learned Bee anatomy...Three eyes on top of the head, two stomachs (one for digestion, one for storing nectar to make honey). Honeybees sting only when threatened and can only sting once, because once they've lost their stinger, they die from organ damage. We've studied the stages in the life cycle. Here's a neat video..

Today, we learned that bees bust moves (dance). It is incredibly interesting how worker bees scout out the flower situation and tell the other workers about it. Here's a professional video of this phenomena. AMAZING!!!
Now, here is an amateur video I made at the house of the kids demonstrating the two main dances of honeybees. NOTE: These are not intended to be a bit educational, but merely entertaining. Check out the round dance...

If you thought that one was even slightly funny, you better brace yourself. Ladies and Gents, the Waggle Dance as performed by Lillie.

I'm wiping tears. Not tears of being deeply moved, by the way. Tears from laughing so hard. Her Uncle Denny says she's got some moves. She certainly does. This is proof, though I think that rug she cut towards the end might scare a whole hive of bees off.

We're not quite done with our unit, so their will be more posts (though not nearly as exciting). Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Welcome to the Pond!

We'd like to introduce you to the newest additions to our garden pond...teeny turtles! Two of them to be exact. I'm telling you, I ought to have my own nature show on Public Television with all the stuff that goes on around here. The kingbird babies are still in eggs being sat on, a couple weeks back, a lizard ran into my living room and I had to corner it and chase it out, and now turtles in the pond. What a great learning opportunity for the kids. They were fascinated and Lillie actually knew they were reptiles. I expected her to say a fish because they were in water, but I guess I ought to learn to raise my expectations of her... Since there are two, Lillie and Jack each adopted one. Lillie named hers Maybelle (that is what she wanted us to name Chloe before she was born) and Jack named his Toot. Here's a picture of Toot. Maybelle has crawled underneath a rock and I can't get a good pic of her. I'll post when I can get one.

Jody and my dad worked on a project last week, I told dad I'd post the pics of the finished product after I woodburned it. It's an altar and it turned out rather nice.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Birds are Back in Town...

Several posts ago, I wrote about the eastern kingbird that had built a nest and laid eggs under the roof on the corner of our back porch. They are eye level and very easy to see. Well, from the day they hatched, me and the kids watched them grow and change. I knew the day would come that all three of them wouldn't be able to fit in that tiny nest any longer and would be gone. I was just hoping to catch them in the moment, but I missed it. One morning, I walked out and they were gone. I couldn 't help but feel a little sad that they were gone and I wondered if they would come back to my yard. Well, Saturday, the mother (affectionately called "little mamma") was sitting on the bird stand in the backyard. I know it was her, I remember her well. She looked like she put on a few pounds and I was totally relating to her. Then the thought occured to me to watch her and see where she went. Yep, you guessed it... straight back to that nest. She has laid more eggs and is in the process of sitting on them, as she only flies off if I come out the back door. So, my feathered friends are back and I look forward to watching this new batch of babies grow up and , sadly, fly off. It was just a reminder of how great our Creator is. How everything has a cycle and a process. Just like the day we welcome a new child into the world and all the happiness and emotions it brings, one day, they grow up and get their own wings, flying off to start their own lives. Everyday Jesus gives us is special. I believe if I just keep that foremost in my mind, it might make me a little better mother, wife, christian, sister, friend, daughter etc...

Okay, enough sappiness. Here is a bad video shot through the screen of my backporch. These are pics of the first batch of kiddos from the kingbird.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I Just Love...

Pictures taken through windows.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

We're Back....

It seems like forever since the fateful day spyware took my computer away. If I had nothing else to do, I might write a poem. Yes, after having to rough it for almost 2 1/2 weeks, we finally scraped together the resources and purchased a new computer. We figured that we could buy a newer computer for the same price , if not cheaper, than having ours fixed and upgraded. So, now all is back to normal (why are you laughing?) Okay, lots of stuff, real quick like.
Here are my pictures from Jack and Chloe's birthday party. Chloe turned 1 and Jack is three.
This is Chloe's Bee Hive Cake.

Jack's John Deere Cake

Jack about to blow it...

Chloe havin' her cake and eatin' it too.

Lillie Anna with the remains of cake...

Sophia with her new haircut (courtesy of a tub of petroleum jelly)

Tanner just wishing I'd let him eat his cake in peace.My sister made a great point. She has four kids and 1 on the way. I have two nephews and one neice on Jody's side, plus my three. When we have a birthday, it's insta party. We don't have to worry about inviting any children...we couldn't afford to feed anymore. I love big families!!!!

Jackson was under a quite a load of stress. He got so many things with wheels, he about stroked out. Afterwards, he couldn't even play with them because being selfish is exhausting. You could see him keeping mental tabs on all his toys.

The remainder of this post will consist of some photos that have been stuck on my digital camera that are just screaming to get out.

Have you ever seen those classified ads looking for people to stuff envelopes and make millions? Notice the heels...very professional. Important Life Skill: You should always dress for the job you want.

When Chloe eats... it is a total body experience. Whether it's pizza rolls...

Or Oreos...

Torn Paper Collages...

The kids are afraid of thunder, so I tell them, when they're afraid...pray. Jack stayed in humble prayer for half the morning.
Some nifty black and white numbers...

This week's lesson from our Nature Reader was on elephants. Here we are with our foam elephant puppets. Cut a shape like an elephant's head from craft foam. Glue on some google eyes and tusks, cut a hole the size of your finger to put your "trunk" through. If you don't mind getting wet, you could stick a medicine dropper through the hole, let the kiddos load it up and have a water fight.

Chloe ticklin' the ivory.....

Jack thinkin' outside the box.

Have a great day!