Monday, May 31, 2010

Perspective

What comes to mind when you think about World War II? If you are like me, your first thoughts are about the Nazis and what they did to the Jews. But, as I am sure you know, there was a whole lot more to World War II than that.

I watched Miracle at Midnight this week, and I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of a book I read several years ago, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. Both this movie and this book tell the story of how the people of Denmark rescued almost all the Jews in their country from the horrors of the Nazis.

The next morning as I watched Fox News, they interviewed Andy Andrews who wrote The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances. That book is about a German soldier during World War II who washes ashore on the Gulf Coast from a German submarine, and apparently it is based on a true story. Did you know that Germany sent subs to the Gulf of Mexico to sink our ships? I didn't either. Our government did a pretty good job covering that up, didn't they? I haven't read this book yet, but I can't wait to get it through PaperBackSwap. It sounds very interesting and gives a much different story of World War II than I am used to. (If it's any good, I'll review it after I read it.)

As I thought about this post more, I realized that I had already read a book with a different perspective on World War II: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. (You can read my review of that book here.) And there is Things We Couldn't Say by Diet Eman which I recommend but have not reviewed here on my blog. (I read it before I started blogging.)

It's amazing how our perspective of something can be narrowed without our ever realizing it. We should strive to expand our knowledge when it is deficient, don't you think?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sarah Beth's Birthday Recap

Yesterday was Sarah Beth's fourth birthday, and I planned some things for us to do that I thought she would enjoy. This year was the first one that she really understood what was going on, and I wanted to make the most of it.

I wrapped her presents the day before her birthday, and I caught her doing this. (Please excuse the mess on the table; I'm sure that your kitchen table doesn't accumulate "stuff" during the day like mine does.)

First, we went to Build-a-Bear because Sarah Beth loves playing with her bears. She has a couple of dolls, but it is her bears that she dresses, feeds, etc.. Can you tell that she picked out the bear and her clothes all by herself? Can you tell that she loves pink? I forgot the camera, so I don't have any pictures of her at the store. She was so sweet wanting to get Daniel a bear, too. He wasn't at all interested, though, so I wasn't going to waste my money. I have been waiting to take Sarah Beth ever since the store opened up, so I was excited about going, too.

After we got home and ate lunch, I put Daniel and Rachel down for naps. Then we made strawberry cupcakes from Cupcakes! From the Cake Mix Doctor by Ann Byrn. (If you don't have a copy of one of her books, you need to get one!!) Can you tell that Sarah Beth enjoyed licking the beater?

Of course, then we needed to make the icing. What good are cupcakes without icing? Here she is cleaning the beater for me.

These cupcakes may not be pretty, but they sure do taste good! Since they have fresh strawberries in them, the icing is a little runny.

We ordered pizza for supper since that is one of her favorite meals. My father came over to eat with us, but my mother was out of town. I had bought some pink paper plates, cups, and napkins to use, and she was thrilled with that. Do you see the pink streamers on her chair? John and I put some up in a couple of places, and she thought that was wonderful! Does she look excited about finally getting to eat a cupcake?

And here it is!

After supper and cupcakes, Sarah Beth finally got to open her presents. Here she is playing the game she received with Grandaddy.

Sarah Beth loves Play Doh, so we just had to get her some more to play with. Play Doh ice cream, does it get any better than that?

I think Sarah Beth had a fun, fun day, and I hope that it generated some good memories for her. It really wasn't much trouble at all to arrange, and I'm so glad I made the effort.

In case you were wondering, Daniel had a much better day than he did last year on Sarah Beth's birthday.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sarah Beth's Fourth Birthday

Don't you wish you could get away with dressing like a four year old?

Today is Sarah Beth's fourth birthday. She is still a sweet, sweet girl and a wonderful big sister...as long as her siblings leave her things alone! She loves to help me, and when I ask her to get me something for Rachel, she says, "I will!" and runs to do it. As you can see from the picture above, she still loves to help me cook. I look forward to the time when she can really help, but right now I just enjoy the time with her in the kitchen.

Last year, we started giving new responsibilities and taking away privileges. It worked well so we are continuing this year.
  • No more nursery at church. Our new church has a nursery for children up to the age of four. After that, children are expected to sit in the sanctuary.
  • I refuse to cut up Sarah Beth's muffins anymore. (She likes to eat them with a fork!)
  • Making the bed. It's time that I disciplined myself to discipline her to make her bed every morning.
  • Four year olds get to help fold clothes!
  • There are other chores, I'm sure, that will be added to make her an even more productive member of our family.
  • Sarah Beth is potty trained during the day; I cannot remember the last time she had an accident. However, she still wears Pull-ups at night, and we are going to try going diaper-free. If it is a complete disaster, we'll put the Pull-ups back on. It's not that big of a deal.
We're planning a very simple party with just our immediate family and my father. (My mother is out of town.) We have a couple of fun things planned today, though, and I hope to get some good pictures and share them with you later.

Rachel also turns four months old today. I think that's pretty neat: Sarah Beth turning four years old and Rachel turning four months old.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Up and Coming Goodies!


Here is my garden this week, and again, I am thrilled at its growth. It seems to be growing quite well in spite of (maybe because of) the extra fertilizer we added. The containers are not doing as well, and I think they need more fertilizer.

Several squash maturing nicely.

The green beans just need to get a little bit bigger.

The corn has a good ways to go. Sarah Beth wanted her picture taken with it, so she climbed up on the wall.

Friday, May 21, 2010

FO (Finished Object) Friday

I finished this baby blanket this week, and I'm pleased at how it turned out. More importantly, it was fun to work on. The picture isn't great, but I think you can see it well enough. Here is a close-up of one of the corners so you can see the detail a little better.

I'm not exactly sure what I plan to do with this blanket; it may sit in my closet with other finished blankets, waiting for a home. The yarn was fun to use: Naturally Caron Spa which has some bamboo in it. I just think that's kind of neat. I made a blanket for Rachel (the pink one) out of this same yarn, and I wish it were a little less expensive. Then I would use it more!

Disclaimer: I did receive a skein of this yarn free from Caron, but my opinion is my own. As a matter of fact, they don't even know I'm writing about it!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Last Flight of Atlantis


Did you know that the space shuttle Atlantis took off for the last time Friday? Did you know that Discovery and Endeavor will also fly their last missions this year? And did you know that we have no plan in place for any kind of ship to take us back into space? Does this concern you? When this year is over, the only way our country will have to get our astronauts into space will be by riding with the Russians. Does anyone really think that their space ships are as good as ours?

It saddens me to know that NASA is losing funding. I grew up watching Star Trek (yes, the old cheesy one with Captain Kirk), and I loved it. I still enjoy watching and reading science fiction.
The universe is unimaginably huge, and who knows what is out there? The pictures sent back from the Hubble telescope are breathtakingly beautiful. My imagination is piqued when I think of what might exist outside our solar system. The God who created us, also created the universe, and I think He would like for us to explore it.

I know there are private companies who are pursuing space flight, and I think that is a great thing. I don't really know if it is appropriate for our government to fund this research, but since they have in the past, it disappoints me that they are cutting NASA's budget. Do we need to explore space? No, I guess not. We don't need to explore in order to solve overpopulation since it is not a problem regardless of what the liberals say. And we are not destroying our planet. However, I do believe that the more we learn about our universe, the more we learn about God. And exploring space looks like so much FUN! (As for aliens, well, I explored that idea last year.)

What do you think? Does it make you sad that there will be no more shuttle flights after this year? Do you think we should continue our exploration of space? Do you think it should be funded entirely by the government or the private sector or a mixture of both? What do you really think about aliens?

Monday, May 17, 2010

How Does my Garden Grow?

I'm so glad you asked! I think my garden is growing terrifically, but you can judge for yourself.

In the way back is my container of beans. I put it back there in case the beans needed to climb the support structure back there. Up front in the containers are my cucumbers and squash. Inside the garden from left to right are cucumbers, beans (with squash behind the beans), and corn. The garden is doing really well, despite our misadventure.

Here are the beginnings of squash. Yea!!

Here are some bean flowers. I cannot wait for them to become beans!

Do you have a garden? How is your garden growing?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What are You Worth?

A new study from Salary.com has calculated that the average stay at home mom would earn $117, 867 if she were actually paid with money instead of hugs and kisses. The study also showed that we usually work over 90 hours a week.

Honestly, I am not sure what my time is worth. Oh, I know it's worth something, but I have no idea how to calculate it. As for the hours per week, well, that number sounds about right.

What do you think about these numbers? Do you think your work is worth $117,000? Do you work 90 hours a week?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Giveaway

No, I'm not having a giveaway, but Fishmama is giving away a kitchen scale over at Life as Mom. You should head over there and enter your name in the drawing. If I'm not going to win (the odds are against it, you know), maybe one of my blogging friends will!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cute Pictures (If I Do Say so Myself)

It has been a while since I posted any pictures of my children, so I thought today would be a good day to post some - especially because I have some cute ones to show you. (At least, I think they're cute.) Usually, I have pictures of Rachel, but today is mostly Sarah Beth and Daniel.

My little nerd ready to lecture.

Sarah Beth and Daniel received these hats at a birthday party last fall, and they still love to play with them.

Laundry baskets can be so much fun.


I like how they are looking at each other in this picture.

I cannot forget one of Rachel who is changing almost everyday. Look at that double chin; I love my babies to be nice and chubby!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Book Review: Isaac Newton


When I saw this book, I was excited to be able to read and review it. As you may or may not know, I am a little bit of a math and science nerd, and I enjoy reading biographies. This book fits both bills perfectly, and I could not wait to receive it.

Isaac Newton was a genius; some of the principles he came up with are still the best theories that have been posited. But Newton was a loner; he did not like to interact with others much, so he often had to be persuaded to publish his findings. He hated to deal with the controversy generated when other scientists did not agree with him. His interest in the natural world arose from his love for God; since God created the universe, to learn more about the universe was to learn more about God. Newton took copious notes of his observations and the books he read, and his notes on theology outnumbered his other notes by far.

I enjoyed reading this book; it is well-written and easily read. My main problem is that Newton's relationship with God is mentioned a few times but is not explored at all. As I recall, there is only one quote of his that deals with God, and I feel that there should be more considering his extensive notes on theology. I certainly would have liked to have read more of those types of quotes. Other than that, I recommend this book as an informative biography of Isaac Newton.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I review for BookSneeze

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

WIP Wednesday

I started working on this blanket this past weekend for our church's blanket ministry. I am using some leftover yarn that I was going to donate anyway, but I'm glad I was able to use it myself. I wanted to use yellow instead of white, but I like the way it has turned out (so far). What do you think? I really like the bright colors, and I think it will make a nice blanket for a little boy - as opposed to a baby which is who I usually crochet for. If the pattern looks familiar, the reason is that I used the same one for a blanket for Sarah Beth. If the yarn looks familiar, I used it for this bag.

Mrs. H plans to stop hosting WIP Wednesday and has graciously offered to let me take a turn. Would you be interested in participating? Since none of my readers crochet (that I know of), I would be glad to open WIP up to any kind of craft or really any project you might be working on. If you're interested, leave me a comment, and I will plan to make this a weekly post on my blog. If no one is interested, well, I'll just keep posting pictures occasionally of what I am working on.

Tuesday's Tip: Taking Advantage of Reward Programs

Do your favorite or necessary products have reward programs? Do you take advantage of them? Currently, there are three programs that I use, and I have received some nice "gifts" from them. (I say "gifts" because I had to buy many products in order to obtain these "gifts.")
  • Pampers Gifts to Grow -- I have to admit that we are diaper snobs; we only use Pampers diapers. That was a decision that we made when Sarah Beth was a baby after trying (and being disappointed with) several other brands. I have been able to procure some excellent coupons by saving those little stickers and inputting the codes: free boxes of Cheerios and free jumbo packs of diapers. (As I recall, I had to buy over forty jumbo packs of Pampers in order to qualify for a free one.) They also offer gift cards, and I have one (that I still need to use) for Blockbuster: two DVD rentals with two 20 ounce Cokes and a tub of popcorn. My best score, however, was a couple of weeks ago when I had enough points to garner three $10 gift certificates diapers.com. Whoohoo! More free diapers!!
  • Tropicana Juicy Rewards -- This is a relatively new program, but since I am also a little bit of an orange juice snob, I had to join. I have gotten a few nice things there: a couple of coupons for buy one, get one free orange juice; and buy one, get one free movie tickets.
  • Huggies Enjoy the Ride Rewards -- Since we only buy Huggies wipes occasionally (and never the diapers), I do not have many rewards, and I haven't redeemed any. However, I do see that they offer free packs of diapers, as well, if you have enough points.
What rewards programs do you participate in? Am I missing any? What kinds of things have you been able to obtain? Do you think it's even worth your time and effort?