Friday, January 30, 2009

Ah, the joys...

I was in the mood for chocolate this evening, and wondered outloud about having a bowl of Phish Food (Ben and Jerry's chocolate/marshmallow/fudge mix). Lily, Mango, and Monkey immediately started making faces and "oh yuck" noises, thinking I was going to be happily eating a pile of fish flakes. So I made them a deal, that if I ate a big spoonful of "fish food", that they would have to sing Mary Had A Little Lamb while walking in a circle. They waited with much anticipation while I went out to the freezer to get the container, and then groaned when they realized what I was actually going to eat was a big spoonful of yummy chocolate ice cream, and not icky, smelly flakes. Above is a picture of them fulfilling their end of the bet!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Twenty Five Random Things About Me

This is going around on Facebook, and I thought it looked like a fun thing to add to the blogging world as well. If I know you, and you have a blog, consider yourself tagged!

Twenty Five Random Things About Me

1)Other than my faith, the most important thing my parents taught me was that you go when someone you love needs help - even if it costs you.
2)I love Disney World, China, and the Philippines, but my favorite place is really right here at home.
3)My Kindle is my favorite device, and I would easily give up any other piece of electronic equipment in our house before parting with it.
4)As a child, I dreamed of having a large family - even larger than the one I have.
5) I have absolutely no interest in traveling to Europe, but would love to return to both China and the Philippines someday.
6)Other than being a mom, my all time favorite job was counseling at Camp Shamineau. I made some great friends there.
7) We are getting ready to host our 6th exchange student from Japan. Yoshimi, Natsumi, Yuji, Sachika, Nobuyuki, and now Sae. We love and miss them all!
8)My grandma has been gone for over three years and I still miss her very, very much.
9)When I was in the sixth grade, I wanted to grow up to train the killer whales at Sea World.
10) I'd love to write and publish a novel someday.
11) The only reason I really like the Vikings is because they are from Minnesota and wear purple.
12)My favorite author is Dee Henderson, and I own at least one copy of every book she wrote.
13) I believe that with God, all things are truly possible.
14)Just over seventeen years ago, I married my best friend and the love of my life.
15)I've had 4 dogs in my my life, only remember three, but Tippy was my favorite.
16)I have never even met some of my dearest friends. I know them only through e-mail and likely wouldn't recognize most of them if I passed them on the street.
17) I am discovering that even the book of Leviticus can be interesting if you have a good teacher.
18) Nothing is better than hearing one of my kids truly laugh from their belly.
19) I love to watch The Bachelor, and tell the contestants how stupid they are being.
20) The three people in history I'd most like to meet are Noah, Moses, and Abraham Lincoln.
21) Some of my favorite things to eat are the chicken alfredo at Olive Garden, the passionfruit/green tea smoothie from Caribou Coffee, and the chicken wild rice soup from the Vanilla Bean in Two Harbors, but I would never eat them together.
22) I am very blessed to have the parents that I did, and that as a child, I never once had to worry about them not staying together.
23) In high school, my favorite subject was math. My least favorite subject was history/social studies, but now I wished I had paid more attention.
24) My husband and I were in the church nursery together as babies.
25) I've skinny-dipped exactly once - with my girl cousins, when I was sixteen.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Meeting Marilyn

Last Sunday, we had a guest speaker named Marilyn Laszlo. She is a 75 year old dynamo, who was a missionary to Papua-New Guinea with Wycliffe Bible Translators. You have to love lifetime missionaries because they've learned what's really important in life, and have absolutely no qualms about speaking the truth. However, I don't know that I've ever heard one quite as delightful to listen to as Marilyn. She shared many humorous, serious, and inspiring stories about her life with the Sepik Iwam tribe, and how she had the privilege of learning their previously unwritten language, and eventually translated the entire New Testament into this language. Her story is truly incredible. She is one of those people who when you meet them, you feel like you are standing on holy ground, because of how God has chosen to use this one willing life. I encourage you to take some time and listen to her messages from that morning. There is some overlap of stories between the first and second services, (and neither is short!), but I can promise you will not be sorry you spent the time listening.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Good-bye Salt and Pepper

No, this isn't about bidding farewell to the common spices sitting on your kitchen table. It's about Random's pet gerbils.
Every mom is familiar with how their kids call them...and all kids have a way of saying "Mom", that means "Come right now, I need you." Just after lunch, I heard that type of call from Random. Salt, one of his beloved gerbils, was obviously very, very ill and huddled in the bottom of her cage. We talked for a few moments about what he thought would be the best and kindest thing to do, and he choose to have both of the gerbils put to sleep today. Salt was obviously not going to live much longer, and none of us had the heart to watch her suffer or to put her out of her misery ourselves. Gerbils do not like to live alone and do not accept new cagemates, so we decided that it was kindest for the elderly Pepper to be put to sleep today as well. So it is a bit of a sad day here for Random.

Living a Little Cheaper

It's been so cold out these past few days, we've been spending alot of time at home. That means we've all had more time to curl up with a book, use the Wii Fit, watch movies (Thank you, Netflix!), and surf the web. With the new year now here, we've also had some time (and incentive) to once again look at our budget, and try to see where we can save some money in this uncertain economy. One of the websites we've discovered is called Ebates. Ebates, in a nutshell, is an on-line shopping and rebate center. You create and log into your account, click on the on-line store you wish to shop at (and there are thousands), and simply shop. A few times a year, Ebates will issue you a rebate check or even credit your paypal account, if you'd prefer. The amount of rebate varies from store to store, but they are able to give this money back to you by simply splitting the commission they recieve from the store you shopped at. It's free (you can even get a $10 gift card for joining), and has been endorsed by Consumer Reports, so if you are a frequent on-line shopper, be sure to check it out.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monkey's Picture

Monkey has worked so hard on this picture this afternoon. This is what he says about it, "Random is on the top of it (on the top bunk), me and Ooh-ooh (the monkey he is holding), and there's you and Dad right there. And a star and moon." Very cute. He is so proud!

Winter Weather Woes

There are winter weather advisories all over the place tonight, and our evening activities have all been cancelled. Snow is falling, the wind is blowing, and the temperatures are dropping....but you have to admit that it does look beautiful out there!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Co-op Fun!

Today was our first day back to "Friday Classes" - the homeschool co-op group at our church. It is a great group of families, and in addition to the classes, we do alot of chatting, laughing, and encouraging each week.
The older students are currently learning about film-making, and are in a literature group that is currently reading Redwall. Don't they look like they are having fun???? They are playing an improv game called "Party Quirks" (right? One of you correct me if I'm wrong!) to get them loosened up for their film-making class.
The younger students are studying Minnesota history, and have their own literature group working it's way through the Little House on the Prairie series. Here they are learning to play Mexican train while waiting for the older kids to finish up.
Each week we also do a service project for the church by going through the holders on all of the chairbacks, making sure the pencils are sharp, and that they have all of the items they are supposed too. With so many kids, it doesn't take us very long at all.

And when we're through, we head off to everyone's favorite part of the day - lunch! Sometimes we order pizza in, and other days we go out, but we always have a wonderful time together. And I'm pretty sure that between the six of us moms, we could solve just about any family life problem that there is!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Nails and Ears

Tonight was a momentous night for the young ladies in our family. Grandma joined us, and we all went for a special "Girl's Night Out". Lily had an appointment for a manicure at the local cosmetology school. Her hands are now softer and lovelier than ever, and she picked out a beautiful bright pink nail polish that she was able to bring home when they were through.

Lily sat very patiently while her nails were being done, and learned all sorts of things about being in cosmetology school.

Mango got her ears pierced. She picked out shiny, "faux diamond" earrings, and waited excitedly in the piercing chair...

Still excited......
If you look closely, you can see her new, little earring. If you look even closer, you can see a few tears in her eyes. She held Mom's hand, and bravely sat for the second ear to be done. After a hug, and a few more moments, her lovely smile returned, and she is very proud of her newly decorated ears.

Afterwards, we went out to eat at one of the girl's favorite places, and now are all safely back home for the night.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Ups of Social Networking

We have never allowed our kids to have a Myspace or Facebook page. We've always felt that these social networking sites weren't super safe and certainly not necessary. Then yesterday, I listened to a podcast on my new purple Ipod by a well-known parenting expert who gave us plenty to think about. He said that it is our job to train our children in every aspect of their life...and that these networking sites are a definite part of the teenaged world. It is their gathering place, much like the malls used to be for those a generation or so back. If we do not teach our teens how to use them to navigate this part of their world, who will? It was this expert's recommendation, that you allow your teen access to these sites around the same age that you would allow them to start dating, and that you sit down together and each of you create an account. Have your teen "invite" you to be their friend, and you will be able to see their site, and have a special and new glimpse into their world.

So then I got started thinking -how often do I wish for a networking site? Not one of the regular, just-to-meet-new-people ones -I have plenty of friends - but sometimes wouldn't it be nice just to be able to "talk" with someone who actually owns the product you're thinking of buying? Especially when it's something expensive or something that you'll have for awhile, and want to know if it's worth it. Or what about when DH's new cell phone touch screen cracked even when it was treated gently and carried in a custom case? It was hard to find out if this was a common occurence, and even harder to warn other people to think twice before buying this model. There is a new website out there that is attempting to do these things and more. Acobay is still in it's beta-stages, but there is already plenty of information there. Simply go to the website, type in what product you are interested in, and read what actual owners have to say about it. You can create an account and write up your own reviews on the gadgets you own, and if you are into social networking, Acobay will even connect you with people who own some of the same things that you do. This seems like a great way to get find out about many different gadgets, and to get your questions answered.

Mango's Story

One of Mango's assignments today was to write a story. What she wrote is too precious to not be recorded and published somewhere, so here it is (edited only for psuedonyms).
"Once there was 2 children who needed a family. There names were Mango and Monkey. They were waiting to be adopted by a wonderful family. The family was waiting to get two wonderful children. When Mango and Monkey found out they were geting a family one of our brothers let Monkey play with the camra. When Mia found out I was geting a family she took my lion."
The rather amusing sidenote to this story is that Mia (and her sister), who once shared a room with Mango when she lived at CSC, were later adopted by a great family who have become good friends of ours, and the girls are all still able to see each other and spend time together (though Mia does not steal her lion anymore!) Isn't it cool how God works things out?????

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to Real Life

After a wonderful two week Christmas break, we are getting back into our normal routine. The kids are back to their school work, and our usual flurry of activities also restarts this week. Here are a few pictures of our morning.

Random pondering George Washington's World. Don't you wish you got to go to school like this?
Lily and Mango pondering the wonderful life of plants. Random, what are you doing in this picture??????

Monkey working hard on a special drawing - notice the monkeys in his arm. Random, aren't you supposed to be working????
Oh wait....what is going on here? Seely, was learning about poetry meters really that boring?

Ah, that's slightly better. Random...really...did you have to get in every picture?????

Aren't my children ham's?