Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Trip to the Zoo

Yesterday, we took another trip to the zoo with some friends. While I don't have any pictures of any actual animals, I do have a few of animal statues. I think they are life-sized, and it amazes me how big these animals are.

Honestly, I'm not sure what animal this one is, but I think the little monkey in the middle is awfully cute.

Do you think a real lion would let Sarah Beth climb on him like this?

Who's hiding behind that lion cub?


Silly boy!

Here's proof that Rachel went on this trip. Can you see her? Poor baby! She was so sweet about it all. I didn't realize she sat so low; next time, we may have to do something different so she can see out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Down on the Farm

Saturday we went to a farm nearby that has all kinds of fun things to do. It was nice to be able to enjoy this experience together as a family, even though poor Rachel was stuck in my Ergo the whole time.

They have these great four-wheelers that Sarah Beth had a blast pedaling around the track.

Daniel needed some help; he hasn't mastered pedaling yet, but he enjoyed being pushed around the track!

John tried out the giant hamster wheel! (I can't believe he let me take a picture!)

Two of our little chickens.

Feeding the kids -- goats, that is.

Do you think Sarah Beth had a good time?

I hope you have something similar around you because we sure had a lot of fun!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Book Review: The Moved-Outers

The Moved-Outers by Florence Crannell Means tells the fictional story of a Japanese family living on the Californian coast. After World War II breaks out with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Oharas along with all the Japanese in the area are relocated to internment camps. This story is about Sue (Sumiko) Ohara who is seventeen when the war starts. The story takes her from her nice suburban home to Santa Anita (which is a race track where the evacuees lived temporarily in horse stalls) to Amache (a more permanent camp in the desert of Colorado). Throughout this displacement, Sue struggles to come to terms with her love for her country and how she is treated by that country.

This period of time is a dark and disappointing one in our great nation's history. Men, women, children, and elderly were rounded and sent to interment camps based only on their ancestry. Yes, we Americans treated our evacuees much, MUCH better than the Nazis did theirs, but the injustice is enough to turn my stomach, and I hope yours, too. Why don't we hear more about this time? Because, as my high school history teach told us, the victors write the history books. But I digress.

I found this book very informative, as I didn't know much about this time period. Because it is written for children (it is a Newberry Honor book), it is a quick read, but the story is compelling. While I love my country, I am not naive enough to think that her history is all roses and flowers. I recommend this book to you if you are looking for some relatively light reading on one of our darker times.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Flashback Friday: Childhood Books

Did you like to read when you were a child? What were your favorite genres, books or series? Did you read books because of the author or because of the title/plot? Did you own many books? Did your school distribute the Scholastic book orders (or some other type)? Did you visit the library often? Was there a summer reading program when you were young, and did you participate? Do you have any particular memories of your school libraries? What were your favorites and least favorites among the classics (the ones high school English teachers assign!)? If you didn't like reading, do you like it more today than you did then?

I loved reading as a child, and I received this wonderful gift from both of my parents. I read everything I could get my hands on; it got to be fairly difficult finding new books at the little library we used because I had read so many of them already. There were authors that I really enjoyed, but I would also read things just because the title piqued my curiosity. Some of my favorites were The Black Stallion, White Fang, The Borrowers, and Watership Down.

I did not own many books, I guess, because I read too voraciously. What's the point of buying a child a book when she'll have it read by tomorrow and need another one? I would have bankrupted my parents! I did buy some via Scholastic Books, and I actually still have some of those.

There was a summer reading program at the local libraries, but I read too much to keep track of it all. Also, I have a lazy streak, and I just couldn't get my act together enough to write down the books I read.

In elementary school, our library was just a room in the high school building. I remember that it was scary having to return an overdue book because you had to walk through all of those big people! When it was my turn for high school, our school had grown enough to be able to afford a library building, and it was very nice. Unfortunately, I was too old for library classes then, but I did enjoy spending my study hall time there.

I did not enjoy most of the classics we had to read in high school. Honestly (and my mother agrees with me), it felt like they picked books out in order to make us not like to read anymore. During high school, I did not read much, and I really think this is why. The worst was Adam Bede. Ugh! As one of my friends pointed out, the author uses fifty pages to describe the walk to church. Ugh!! And the language was so obscure that one of the main characters got pregnant, had a baby, and killed it, and I totally missed all of that. (Of course, my naivete probably helped some, too.)

So, yes, I did enjoy reading as a child, and I still do!

To join the fun, head over here!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chubby Cheeks

Look at those chubby cheeks!

They just make me want to kiss them!

The best part is that, when I do kiss those chubby cheeks, Rachel giggles!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What do You do All Day?

I had an interesting conversation with John last week. It started one evening with Daniel coming up to me, saying, "Rock-a-baby Song" (aka "Rock-a-bye Baby"). It's kind of a fun thing we do when I hold either Daniel or Sarah Beth and rock them in my arms like a little baby, singing the song. Incredulously John said, "I've never seen you do that before, but you have obviously done it a lot." As our conversation continued, I realized that John had the impression that I don't play with our children during the day when he is at work.

Now in John's defense, I have to say that I don't play with our children, the older ones anyway, much when he is home. When Daddy is home, they want to be with him and play with him. And I have to admit that I'm ready for some help and a little time off, so I encourage them all to play together. While they're playing, sometimes I will crochet or maybe even read a little bit. Through our times in the evenings, John got the impression that I do a lot of work around the house during the day, but I also crochet and read a lot while the children play. (Don't I wish I could find 15 minutes to pick up a book that has more than 10 pages in it?!)

When John came back downstairs after putting the children to bed that night, I said, "Let me tell you what I do all day." Of course, he already knew about most of the things that I do because the Sock Fairy doesn't really do our laundry, and he has seen me cook and clean. He just did not realize how much of my time I spend, not just dealing with our children, but playing with them as well.

Here's my challenge to you: Find out if your husband knows what all you do during the day when he isn't home. You may be surprised to find out the differences between what you do and what he thinks you do. Of course, you also may communicate better than we do, too, and this isn't an issue for you. I assumed John knew what I did all day; he assumed he knew what I did all day; and we were both wrong. You know what they say about assuming.

(In no way, am I trying to put down our husbands. Since they are not home most of the day, they just don't get to see what occurs when they aren't there. Weekends and evenings are different for the simple reason that they are home.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Review: A Christmas Prayer by Amy Parker, Illustrated by Marijan Ramljak

A Christmas Prayer, written Amy Parker and illustrated by Marijan Ramljak, is a delightful book about one child's prayer the night before Christmas. "So this, my Christmas prayer, is not for toys and dolls -- it's thanking You for Christmas gifts You've given to us all." The child goes on to thank God for different aspects of Christmas: the angel Gabriel, the animals, Mary, Joseph, and of course, Jesus Christ. The illustrations are beautifully done, almost as though a child drew them. This board book is perfect for younger children -- toddlers and preschoolers.

While this book does not actually tell the Christmas story, it reminds our children (and us) of the story in a charming way. And it reminds us (and our children) to be thankful for the little things, not just the big ones. I recommend this book as a wonderful addition to one's library of Christmas books.

While I want to thank Booksneeze for a copy of this book to review, my opinions are my own.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Finished Object Friday

Although this blanket is more a WIP (Work in Progress) than a FO (Finished Object), I thought I would share it with you anyway. I am crocheting this blanket for Daniel, and the picture doesn't really do it justice. I wasn't too sure about using purple which the pattern calls for, but I like it. The purple softens up the dark green and navy well. I think these colors are great for a little boy who is no longer a baby. Since I plan to crochet something for everyone in my family for Christmas this year, this blanket is for Daniel. Please don't tell him. Even though he has seen it!

For more FO's, head over to Fresh from the Chari Tree. To see the socks that I finished last week, go here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Shiny, Happy People

(If you look closely, you can see Rachel's tooth!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I'm Booking It

While I don't have nearly the amount of time I would like to read, I have managed to finish a couple of books lately. During our week at the beach, I was able to read more than usual which I really enjoyed!!

The first book I read was recommended by my mother, Hold up the Sky by Patricia Sprinkle. This book tells the story of four women in a small town who have fallen upon hard times: Billie's husband has just disappeared, Margaret's husband is divorcing her, Mamie just found out that she's dying, and Maria is an illegal alien. These women come together, even though they don't like each other, and help each other make the best of their circumstances. I really enjoyed this book. It is a Christian novel, but it is not "preachy" or "sappy," if you know what I mean.

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon is another book I read at the beach. This one tells the story of a small town Episcopalian priest, although it could be about any small town pastor. This book chronicles some of the adventures of Father Tim: how he gets a dog, how he becomes the caretaker of a young boy, and his budding romance with his next-door neighbor. I really enjoyed this book, too, and I look forward to reading the next one...when I find the time!

I have also recently read William F. Buckley by Jeremy Lott and The Boy who Changed the World by Andy Andrews and you can find those reviews here and here, respectively.

Currently, I am reading Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas and The Moved-Outers by Florence Means. I plan to review both books when I finish them. Also, I started listening to Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll during my morning walks, and that makes them go so much more quickly.

By the way, if you have any suggestions for finding an extra half hour during the day for some light reading, please let me know!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Review: William F. Buckley by Jeremy Lott

As the inferred by the title, this book is a biography about William F. Buckley and his rise to fame (or infamy). Buckley started his conservative career while at Yale when he saw how liberal the professors were. From there, he ran for mayor of New York City...and lost. He also started the magazine National Review and the television show Firing Line. Through these media, Buckley was able to get his message out, the message of conservatism. While many people had conservative leanings, there was no organization to it. Buckley gave them this.

This little book is a good beginning point for those interested in Buckley, but it is almost too short. With constraints placed on the length of the book, it often seems choppy as if the author tried to tell too much in too little space. I was glad to be able to read something about a man who had such an impact on our country, and I would recommend this book.

I want to thank Booksneeze for the ability to read and review this book; however, my opinions are my own.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My Garden...Replanted

One of the benefits we have down here in the hot South with our long summers is that we get to grow two crops in our gardens. After my first planting stopped producing, I pulled everything out and replanted it. This time I planted more Roma beans (basically green beans without strings) and some beans that look like black-eyed peas but are pink. I'm not sure what they are (Marva, do you know?) because my mother just gave me a few to grow. I'm also not sure how to fix them, but I'll figure that out when I've actually got some to eat.

This is the left side of my garden where the Roma beans are planted.

This is the right side where the other beans are planted. I also planted some cucumbers in the far right this week. They just haven't come up yet.

That is also one of the benefits of having a very small garden: it's easy to replant!

Friday, September 10, 2010

FO (Finished Object) Friday

Did you know that you can crochet socks? Like me, you probably never really thought about it. Well, one day I saw a pattern for crocheted socks, and I thought it would be neat to make some. That was a couple of years ago, but I finally got around to making some socks...for me! It was my crochet project at the beach. What do you think? They are probably too thick (and too colorful!) to fit inside shoes, but I think they will be great for wearing around the house, if I can make the soles a little less slippery. I really don't want to be slipping and sliding around on our hardwood floors. I have heard that you can use something like Puffy Paint to make socks "stickier" on the floor, and I plan to try that. Do you have any other suggestions?

I also made these as a kind of template for socks for Sarah Beth. We'll see how that works!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Random Dozen

I came across this post this morning. I thought it looked like fun, so I'm joining in.
1. Describe the best sandwich in the world, according to you.
I'm not a big sandwich eater, so I cannot describe the best one in the world. But I do like a toasted ham sandwich that's still warm.

2. Which inspires you more: a good conversation, a song, a book or movie?
Definitely a book would inspire me the most, but I also enjoy a good conversation. I hate to admit it, but music just doesn't inspire me, although I like listening to it. As for movies, well, there just aren't very many good ones.

3. What is your favorite board game?
I guess I would have to say Scrabble. John and I used to play a lot, but that was b.c. (before children).

4. As you grow older, are you more or less patient with small children?
I definitely am more patient with children now that I'm older because I have my own. I understand them better.

5. Name one item you never let yourself run out of.
I try very hard not to run out of anything because then you have to pay full price. *Gasp* I would have to say, though, that the most important thing for me not to run out of is orange juice. I have to have a glass of it every morning, and I'm not talking about a juice glass. A big, tall one.

6. Do you agree with Tennyson's assertion, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?"

7. Name one national treasure or monument that you have visited.
I have seen so many. My parents took us to D.C. once, and then my ninth grade class took another trip there, so I have seen a lot of the ones there. I have also been to Gettysburg and the Atlanta Cyclorama. I think the Cyclorama is my favorite because we would tour it when visiting my Granny. I think my dad and my uncles would get bored and take all of the cousins just to have something to do.

8. Which is more painful, to be disappointed in someone else or to be disappointed in yourself?
While it hurts to be disappointed by someone else, there is nothing you can do about it. I hate it when I disappoint someone else because I know that I could have, should have done better.

9. What makes your kitchen uniquely yours?
Not much. Oh, I do have a trivet that looks exactly like my pony, the one that I bred for my children. We don't have her anymore because we sold her and our other horses when we sold our farm. I have a couple of pictures, and that's about it.

10. Are you a crafty person?
Yes, I guess I am. I love to crochet!

11. What is your favorite traditional picnic or bbq (cookout) food?
I hate to admit it, but I like hot dogs.

12. Name one leisurely activity you enjoyed over Labor Day Weekend.
John took both Daniel and Sarah Beth fishing Monday morning which left me home with Rachel. I didn't know what to do with myself, only having one child to take care of, and she took a nice, long nap.

For more Random Dozens, go here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Review: The Boy who Changed the World by Andy Andrews, Illustrated by Philip Hurst

The Boy who Changed the World by Andy Andrews actually tells the story of four boys who collectively change the world. Together, Norman Borlaug, Henry Wallace, George Washington Carver, and Moses Carver made a difference in our world by producing "super seeds" that are able to feed the hungry people in the world. Norman Borlaug developed these "super seeds" when Vice President Henry Wallace assigns him this task. Wallace was mentored by George Washington Carver who was adopted and raised by Moses Carver. The point of this book is to show children that their actions have consequences, sometimes great and good ones. In effect, this book encourages children to change the world. While I think this book is geared toward older children (ages 6-10), my older two children (2 1/2 and 4) enjoy this book immensely.

Most of my family enjoyed this book; I did, and my older children did. However, my husband and my mother think it is too long. The message was presented in a clear and interesting manner, and my four year old loves to have me read it to her. The illustrations are great! They are fun to look at, and my children enjoy pointing out the butterflies on every page. While the message is not a strong, spiritual one, it does encourage children to do what they can to make a difference in others' lives. I recommend this book to anyone who would like their children to consider what they might do to change the world. (I also find the message encouraging for adults!)

While I want to thank BookSneeze for sending me a copy of this book to review, my opinions are my own.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Week at the Beach

We spent last week at Fripp Island, and we had a lovely vacation. I drove over Friday afternoon with all three children, and John followed us that evening when he got off work. I was a little nervous about traveling with all three children all by myself, but they could not have been any better.

We stayed in a nice house which was not on the beach, but it did have a little canal behind it. John had a good time crabbing from the dock, although he was not able to catch enough to feed all of us. He just supplemented what he was able to catch with more crabs (and shrimp) from a store up the road.

Here are the crabs John caught and bought. You can't tell from the picture, but yes, they are still alive.

Here are the crabs after they were cooked.

Here are John and my mother eating crabs. My mom came up for a couple of days, and we enjoyed having her. I'm too lazy to eat crabs: too much work for too little profit. It's messy, messy work picking crab meat, so we ate out on the dock. Very nice!

Speaking of food, my goodness! We ate too much, but it sure was good! John wanted me to take Cookie Dough Cupcakes, and I like to take oatmeal raisin cookies. I think those are becoming staples at the beach. I have been watching what I eat in order to lose the baby weight, and I have been doing great. While at the beach, I continued watching: watching my food go from my plate to my mouth! One night, we even had ice cream for supper.

Isn't Daniel's ice cream goatee cute?

Of course, we spent some time at the beach. Daniel enjoyed playing in the water while Sarah Beth searched for shells.

The resort also has a really nice pool for children. The water is about eighteen inches deep, so children can almost swim in it, but it's not too deep for them to feel comfortable.

The pool has a great slide, too.

Rachel just hung out in her float. Several people wished they had a set-up like hers!

My mother and I joked that we know what Rachel will look like when she is a little, old lady. I wish I could be around to compare pictures!

As you other mothers know, vacations aren't as relaxing for us as they tend to be for our husbands. Our work continues away from home: meals still need to be prepared, laundry needs to be done, and the floor needs to be swept (unless you want a pile of crumbs an inch deep under the table -- yuck!). However, I was able to find some time to read and crochet which made this trip a vacation for me. I hope to review those books and show you what I crocheted later this week.

Where have you gone on vacation this year? What makes it a vacation for you?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Did You Miss Me?

We just got back from a week at the beach. We had a great time while we were gone, but it's good to be home. I hope to write about our week soon and post some more pictures along with it.

Did you miss me?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rascal-y Rachel

Last week, I met some friends at a park near our houses. Since Rachel was stuck in the stroller while Daniel and Sarah Beth ran around and played, I thought I would try her in a swing. I'm not sure that she enjoyed it so much; rather she is just a very contented baby. She definitely didn't hate it, though, and occasionally I got a little smile like this one.

Rachel is rolling over and over and over and get the idea. She rolls all over our living room, and I love watching her. I don't remember Sarah Beth or Daniel rolling like this, but maybe they did. I looked up the other day to see her stuck like this. I have no idea how she got in that position - between the television stand and the piano.

After I rescued her (and moved her away from this area), look where I found her next.


By the way, can you think of a better description for Rachel than rascal-y? I've got Silly Sarah Beth and Daniel's Doings, so I need more alliteration.