Thursday, April 23, 2009

I earned a penny today

After supper tonight, Chester did the dishes (what a man), while I sat out front, pretending to weed the flower beds, and watching the kids play. After a while, Bennet grew tired of simply riding his bike, and came up to me.

"If you go tell Dad that I'm almost ready to play football with him, then I'll give you a penny on your birthday!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth day gardening

Chester's really good at starting our garden in February. Here it is now.

It's pretty much taken over the living room, but is impressively healthy. Pretty soon they'll be hardened off, and get to move outside permanently. Then I'll have more involvement with keeping them alive (watered) and weeded.

My favorite are these miniature "pistau basil" plants. They're full grown and in bloom at less than 4 inches tall. We put a whole plant in a pot of soup. They're wonderfully tasty!

Outside, we planted peas. We've also started to move some of the inside plants out. We'll see how they do.

Our rhubarb is wild, it doesn't know when to quit. Wish some of the others would go that nuts (like the asparagus, for example).

And, our PEACH TREE IS BLOOMING!!!! We might get fruit from it this year!!!! (See it on the left?)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Creativity trumps stubbornness

We took an after-supper bike ride last week on a beautiful evening. Chester had promised Bennet that we'd "go see the horses" (a bit over a mile away, on a dirt road). So we all got ready to go - Lisel and Jo in the trailer (since their Lisel's bike doesn't go fast enough for a family ride, and Jo is still on a trike). But Matt, being his usual stubborn self, was determined to ride his own bike.

I volunteered to just take him around the block while Dad took the others. Chester, though, had a better solution that didn't require a long drawn-out fight. He merely strapped Matt's bike into the bike trailer seat belt. The girls generally don't use the seat belts anyway, they had already perched themselves on the top. (This may look dangerous, but at the pace we travel on bike, it's a lot safer than, say, their playing in our treehouse). Matt was pretty mad at first, thinking that he'd "lost" a battle. But once we were riding, boy did he ever have fun.

First nature walk of the season

Wow, it's been so fun to go outside now that the weather is nice!

Our first "school" nature walk focused mostly on noticing buds on trees, and the color yellow (which is Matt's favorite -- he loves to say "lellow!" Not many of my pictures of buds turned out terrific, but the "lellow" shots were okay :)

A lilac bud.

"Look mom! Lellow!"

"Mom, I picked you some flowers!"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pearls before Breakfast

Do you take the time to recognize beauty? What would the results be if someone actually conducted an experiment to see?

I just read this amazing, amazing article. It's long. It's worth your reading it.

I'm going to read it again later. But I had to pass it on to you.

I'll be thinking about it for a good while.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Made it Myself Monday: Easter kid crafts

With all the heavy posts lately (dare I even call it lately, when it was probably a month ago? Maybe I should say, "with all the heavy thinking I've been doing lately, that will at some point turn into posts that may even be thought-through....") -- I thought I'd just post a quick couple of pictures of our Easter crafts. We had a blast doing them, and I need a bit of something from the lighter side right now.

We stayed home from church on palm Sunday -- I had just returned from a business trip (at 4:00 am!) to very very sick kids. The kids were not only way too sick to go to church, we were just wiped out in general. (Poor Chester had sick kids by himself while I was gone -- what a hero!) The kids don't mind staying home, because they get to do extra cool crafts when they have a whole Sunday morning at home with Mom and Dad. Dad does the lesson, and Mom scrambles to find an appropriate, somewhat related craft.

On Palm Sunday, Chester chose to do a lesson on "Jesus is the good shepherd". He told a story illustrating the differences between a good shepherd and a bad shepherd, then read a short passage from John on Jesus being The Good Shepherd. Naturally, I thought of making sheep for a craft. So we took an old CD, covered it with white felt, added a black face, legs and tail, and some cotton wool and called it a sheep. Of course, the kids then proceeded to decide they wanted different animals than just sheep. So here's what we made. They ended up surprisingly cute. (We added a pink tongue to the yellow dog after taking this picture, he looked much better with it until Matt ripped his eyes off).

On Easter, I had the lesson for the preschool class at our church. They're a rowdy group that likes to make things, and it didn't take me long to settle on making "eggimals" (from Family Fun magazine). I thought it would go well with a "new creatures in Christ" theme, and tied it in with the resurrection by noting that if Christ hadn't risen from the dead, He couldn't give us new life.

So we gave our Easter eggs "new life" as other animals. It didn't go super smoothly (mostly due to the glue setting up more slowly than I had hoped), but they were popular anyway. Here's a smattering of a few animals (we made about 18 as a class of 10 kids). Shown is a green dog, a purple and red skunk, a blue dog, a pink pig and a yellow dog. There were also cats in the mix -- which looked about like the skunk with a more dog-like tail and no white stripe. Once the glue set up, they're really quite sturdy, and the kids like to play with them. I was surprised that the skunk was by far the most desirable animal for the preschool SS class!