Thursday, September 27, 2012

Growing up too fast!

 My sweet girl is 5.  I can't hardly believe how fast she is growing and the things she is saying...she sounds so grown up!  I was having a moment the other day when I was going through some of her baby clothes so I could send some to my best friend who is having a baby girl.  I almost cried.  I feel like I can hardly remember when she was a baby!  How did that happen!?  I know that if it happened with the first, it'll happen with all of them.  I'm so glad I have lots of pictures.  I love this girl so much!
 My I-Man.  Full of energy and is on the go all day long.  I'm not kidding!  It basically takes him about a minute to fall asleep at night.  He brings me so many wonderful, challenging moments.  But I can't even count how many kisses and "I Love You"s I get from this guy.  My days would not be the same without him : ).
 My sweet baby boy, affectionately known as "Sethy poo".  I really can't believe he's 6 months old's kind of making me panic.  I don't want him to grow so fast!'s part of life and I know I'm going to enjoy seeing him grow.  I'm really trying to soak in these days with him, though.
Our best family beach pic.  I kind of laugh to myself when I look at it because I had visions of taking one of those beautiful pictures of our family.  You know, the ones where the outfits are color coordinated and everyone is sitting or kneeling and smiling perfectly.  The first thing I gave up was the outfits.  We were struggling just to get out the door with everyone having clean clothes on.  Then we got out to the beach and the wind was blowing like crazy.  So I gave up having our hair look good.  Then I threw Isaac, who we can barely keep from running straight into the ocean, and Sophie, who won't look at the camera and always holds her arms out in a picture, in the mix.  I had to die to the fancy beach picture.  I can't say I would trade it for this one, though.  This picture is my family...craziness and all.  We'll have times when the kids are grown and they'll sit still for a picture....and we'll wish for these days.  So I'm going to embrace it...and love it...and be thankful for it.
It's going by too fast!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Remembering Joe's Mom

I really love this picture of Joe's mom, Nell Daniel.  I like that it has "Love, Nell" signed on it.  Kind of neat.  When I met her, she was further along in years and was beginning to have some health issues.  We learned shortly after we were married that she was struggling with Alzheimer's. When Joe's father passed away, it wasn't long until Mrs. Daniel was unable to stay at home for care and went to a nursing home.  I don't like Alzheimer's...what a terrible disease.  Joe and I would occassionally take the kids up to visit her and other friends we had at the nursing home.  Sophie would go up to "Granny" and give her hugs, kisses, and try to talk with her.  One thing I love about my Sophie girl is her sensitivity to the elderly and her willingness to talk to them, give them hugs, and bring a little joy into their lives. 
I've learned from others just how many lives Mrs. Daniel touched through her many years as a school teacher and as a wife to a pastor and Director of Missions for our county.  She and Joe's dad opened their home to family members that needed a place to stay and often ministered to those in need.  Joe was talking tonight about the fact that she and his dad were married when she was 27 (the same age I was when Joe and I got married).  The Daniel family was blessed with 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl, and pretty much adopted Joe's first cousin, Dan, as he lived with them for a while when he was growing up.  This is such a great example to me as I think about how often I think, "oh, I wouldn't have enough room to have someone come and stay with us" or "we need a bigger house to do that."  Both Mr. and Mrs. Daniel didn't let a smaller sized house and limited resources prevent them from opening their home and lives to others.  
I wish I could've know both Mr. and Mrs. Daniel better.  Their legacy is passed on to many others, including my husband who has followed in his father's footsteps to become a pastor.  I'm sure in the following days I'll learn more about Mrs. Daniel as we talk to friends and family members coming in for the funeral.  I hope to take what I learn so that I can tell our children about her when they are old enough to remember.
I also wanted to take a moment and say thank you to all of you who have been lifting our family up in your prayers and taking a moment to send us a card, facebook message, texts, and more to minister to us.  This has been an usually challenging year for us for many reasons.  All I can say is, the Lord has provided for us over and over again in the midst of it all, in so many detailed ways.  Even now I sense His supernatural peace in my life.  I feel so blessed for all of you who the Lord has put into our lives.  
Please continue to pray for us~Stacey 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A week studying the beach!

I knew we were going on a beach vacation so what better topic to study at school than the beach?!  I had some good beach themed books here at our house, so I just decided to use those.  I think my favorite was was the book "On the Beach" that was made by Usborne books.  It's informative, has fun flaps for the kids to lift, and the text is not too long but covers a lot of details.  I think this week we're going to look at some of the shells I collected and compare them to what the book says. 

 On our first day talking about the beach, we did this short math activity.  I saw these pictures available to print...for free! this great blog site.  There are links to the cutest math and language printouts that were perfect for PreK/Kindergarten.  I was so excited about finding this.
 I printed these on my computer and just slid them into some page protectors I had.  We were able to count (Isaac) and add (Sophie) with goldfish crackers.  Then we were able to write the appropriate numbers with white board markers in the boxes.  When you want to do a new one, they just wipe right off!  I'm really enjoying page protectors.  Much easier than laminating.
 I saw this cute idea to make paper aquariums on Pinterest.  The link didn't really work, so I just looked at the picture and came up with my own method.  We had some styrofoam plates, so I cut the middle out of one and the left the other one alone.  I let the kids paint the inside of the bottom plate and the bottom side of the cut-out plate.  Then we glued beads, some yellow wooden stars I had from long ago craft projects, some shiny pipe cleaners for seaweed, some sequins for fish bubbles, and then I cut out different pieces from some scrapbook paper I had to make the fish.  Then I taped some plastic wrap to the cut-out plate and then taped it onto the bottom plate that had all the cute stuff on it.  I hope that makes sense! 
 Here's the finished product!  I thought they turned out cute!
 We also tried this other project where you mix paint and shaving cream.  You're supposed to dip your cut out seahorse in it and when it dries it should give it a swirly look.  Well, the kids wanted to paint them.  So I said, "sure, why not?"  But we used styrofoam plates and they didn't do so well.  I ended up throwing them away because the shaving cream kind of got crispy feeling and with the paint mixed with it...well, let's just say there were little paint drops on the floor.  Thankfully they wiped up!  : )
 But it was still a fun craft!  I love the colors!
Here's a link to another great blog site (is it called a blog site? You know what I mean, right?).  It is a great beach unit with lots of great book and activity ideas.  This was such a fun week for us.  Then last week we went to the beach for a field trip...I mean, vacation : ).  I think we still have some activities left that we didn't finish, so we may do the beach for one more week.  There are more activities than I realized...and all of them a lot of fun.
It's hard to believe that it's fall...and we just got back from a nice, warm week at the beach!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Over the Edge...a review

As you can newest novel to review is Over The Edge by Mary Connealy.
*I received this book free from Bethany House to give an unbiased book review*

Over the Edge is the third novel in the Kincaid Brides series.  Although, I have found that these books focus more on the lives of the Kincaid brothers than their brides.  This is the story of the wild-eyed, thrill seeking Seth Kincaid, who is a little on the crazy side.  His brush with death as a child, then fighting in the Civil War and being injured, have caused Seth to have bouts of memory loss, nightmares, and unusual desires to follow anything wild and dangerous.  His most recent case of memory loss has caused him to leave his wife.  She's not too pleased with the situation and is determined to try to find him...or at least find his brothers to let them know the situation.  Callie is a Texas whirlwind and tough as nails.  She and Seth reunite as she's fighting off stage coach robbers.  When she threatens to shoot him, too, the sparks ignite.  The question is, will Seth remember the life he had with Callie?  As they reunite with the rest of the Kincaid clan, there is more than just Seth's wild ways they have to worry about.  The adventure continues as the Kincaids fight their their minds as well as reality.

If you haven't read the other books in the Kincaid brides series, you might want to before you pick up Over the Edge.  I, personally, have not read the first book in the series, Out of Control, but I did read In Too Deep, the second book.  I was able to pick up on most of the story in the second book, but Over the Edge picks up pretty soon after the last ends.  So you need a little background. 
I've liked most of Mary Connealy's books for the following reasons:
Strong female characters...she writes them tough, sassy, and fighting bad guys with a baby strapped to their backs.  There's something in me that loves that.  Even the soft, sensitive females who aren't as sassy are still strong deep down.  She even has some stubborn ones.  Those I don't love as much, but it does give her stories some flavor.  Over the Edge has a little bit of all these female character types.
Strong male characters....I've found that especially true in these books.  These brothers all have issues...real life issues.  You see them struggle and try to overcome their past so they can be the men they need to be.  They're loyal, manly, tough, and in Seth's case, even a little crazy.  But in this novel I loved the way Seth's craziness is described.  It's like you can feel what he's feeling, and *slight spoiler warning* you almost give a mental "yay!" when he's able to come to grips with the things he's struggled with.  It's a very satisfying ending to this trilogy.  It seems all the Kincaid boys come to grips with their issues in this novel and even though it doesn't change who they are, they use what they've learned about themselves to become better men.
The bad guys.....Mary knows how to write some pretty rough bad guys.  There have been times when I've been reading some of her books and thought...whoa, now there's a bad dude.  Even the female bad guys are written very well...and evil.  But I like that you really are concerned about these bad guys crossing your good guys...because there's going to be some serious conflict resolution that has to take place.  Probably involving a fight or a shoot out of some sort.  And that makes me want to read more.
Humor.....This book has a nice dose of the sarcastic humor that Mary Connealy is known for.  I love it.  I laugh as I'm reading and the characters come alive.  There's something about a witty one-liner that makes me want more.  Over the Edge is no exception.  

As you can probably tell, Over the Edge is definitely a book I would recommend! Check out the book trailer:

Happy reading! : )

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Traveling the World with Toot and Puddle

This book is so cute!  I love the illustrations and the text is just right for my kids.  Just today Sophie said, "Goodnight, Toot.  Goodnight, Puddle." : )  Just out of the blue.  As you can see, it's written by Holly Hobbie...and I looked her up and that's her real name.  For some reason I have a deep down love for her work because for one of my birthdays when I was a little girl my mom spent hours making me a Holly Hobbie birthday cake.  Ah, the memories.
 Back to the book.  In the story, Toot is adventurous.  He likes to travel and do things around the world.  Puddle likes to stay home at Woodcock Pocket.  While Toot sees the world and sends Puddle postcards from different locations, Puddle has his own adventures at home, such as ice skating and pancakes with fresh maple syrup.  Yesterday we read the book and took turns putting stickers on our laminated world map.
 I thought it would be fun to send postcards to some of our missionary friends in different parts of the world.  I had printed a postcard template on some cardstock a long time ago and just held on to them (I got them off the martha stewart website).  I cut them out and let the kids decorate the blank sides with stickers.  I guess that's ok with the post office since they let us mail them : ).  I let Sophie help me write parts of the letters (handwriting practice, right?! : )).
 Here we are at the post office.
Some other activities we've done are on the National Geographic Kids website.  I was able to print some coloring pages and an adventure log that has some neat things the kids can write when they take an adventure.  There are also some Toot and Puddle videos and games on there.  I had some trouble viewing the videos, but it may be an issue with my computer.  The games were cute.  One shows different instruments, food, and other things that kids do in other countries.
I also found a lesson plan that's called, "Let's Take a Trip!"  It describes what to do for the lesson and has some free printables that include "plane tickets" you can personalize, some warm climate clothing and cool climate clothing and suitcases.  It's really cute.  I would suggest pre-cutting some of the pieces for little kids.  We didn't finish cutting everything out today, but we did finish the suitcases.  I'll probably go back and cut some things out for them.
The Nick Jr. website also has the fun Toot and Puddle games and a few other activities.  If you have that channel on your tv, I've heard that the Toot and Puddle show comes on.  You can find some Toot and Puddle videos on YouTube as well.
There are so many activities you could do with this book!  We would love to skype with some friends in other parts of the world.  I also wanted to cook some recipes from some different countries for the kids to try...we haven't gotten to that yet.  But, who knows?  We might could go eat Chinese food tomorrow?!  : )  If we had an Indian restaurant, that would be fun, too, because Toot visits India.
We are going to try and have school tomorrow and finish up.  There are other Toot and Puddle books but this is the only one I've read.  I hope you enjoy!