Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Costumes

So, I was fussed at by one grandma for not having the pics up here so I figured the others would want to see the kiddos in costume too. :)
Ronni was a sailor. She found out that sailors get the pirates when the pirates take things that aren't theirs. Her response was, "Ooooh, I'm going to get Kaden!!" (A little friend of hers who was going dressed as a pirate.) haha!! I thought it was hilarious. Collin is a ninja and for those of you who don't know, he just became a second level yellow belt Tiny Tiger in his TaeKwonDo class so it was fitting. And, yes, his shoes are on the wrong feet. I didn't notice until later though. Sorry!! :)
So, Saturday night we went to the church Halloween party and then went trunk or treating. After that we went to a friend's house for a party. Woot!! We were a bit worn by Saturday night. Then tomorrow for Halloween we are going to cook a traditional harvest feast and the kids are going to wear their costumes all day. It'll be fun. Then Tuesday, we're going to hit up the candy at Wal-mart for their after Halloween candy sales. YAY!!! :)

Oh!! Afterthought that I came back to add. Why did Ronni choose the sailor costume? She was trying to decide between this one and super girl and she finally chose this one b/c the skirt came down to her knees. She has been the modesty police and the supergirl costume wasn't immodest. The skirt came just below the knee but Ronni decided that this one would be better. LOL! I thought it was cute. ;)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Our reward system...

People have asked me for details recently so I thought I'd repost this from one of my other blogs here. :)  We've been using this system since April 2010 and LOVE it!! :)

Okay... my kids earn "Daddy Dollars" or "Mommy Money" by completing tasks/chores/school, good behavior or whatever I want the kids to do. Then they get to go to the "Mommy Mart" to spend the 'money'. It can be small toys/candy/tv time/computer time/family walks/game night/movie night/out for icecream...etc. Whatever you can think of that your kids would enjoy. You go to this site to print out the money.
Here's our money (it's me b/c dh wouldn't pose for a pic, I didn't have a good one of him and he didn't want it on there anyways -- the bum!! haha! )

  • Here's the chart that I made. I used a manilla folder and folded it so that it was a tri-fold (lapbook style:).
    This is the inside ---

    Here is the outside. This is where the kids' money that they've earned goes --

    Here's a close up of jobs and rewards -- remember, my kids are 5 and 3 so I thought the pictures would be useful. 5 yo can read some words but I thought this would be more helpful for him.I do need to update this chore chart though. They actually do more chores now that they are older. :)

  • Originally, the kids only earned, I didn't take any away. However, they lose "Mommy Money" now if they disobey or fight.

    Another thing we did to get the kids to start cleaning their room on their own (we don't do it anymore b/c they can do it all by themselves) is I set the timer for 10 minutes. Then I told the kids they had to clean their room before the timer ran out. If they succeeded before the 10 minutes ran out then they got 10 little chocolate chips (any very small candy would work). If they ran out of time then I started taking away a chocolate chip for every minute they went over. So if they cleaned their room in 13 minutes they would only get 7 chocolate chips. But.... it went the other way too so my kids tried to beat the clock. For every minute under they got an additional chocolate chip. So, if they finished in 7 minutes they got 13 chocolate chips. See why we went with small candies?? hehe!! We only used this method for a month or so and they haven't used it for a long time now but it worked beautifully! LOVED IT!!

    What sort of reward methods do you use with your children?

    Friday, October 28, 2011

    Becoming Equal Partners

    I totally loved this article called Crossing Thresholds and Becoming Equal Partners. Last night I was supposed to talk about it at a meeting but we ran out of time so I have all this information that I felt like sharing. I will use a lot of quotes from the article too. It starts off like this:

    His house key is in the lock. He’s home from work and about to step inside. In the kitchen, real life is scattered all around. The baby is crying. The three-year-old just poured milk—not in a glass but all over the counter. The seven-year-old needs some daddy attention. And dinner isn’t ready.
    With a deadline at work tomorrow, a head buzzing from rush-hour traffic, and a Church meeting tonight, he’s hoping she will greet him with some relief.
    Hearing him come in, she is glad a relief party has arrived! But when she sees his face fall as he looks around, she defends herself: “Look—I work all day too. I’ve been with these kids nonstop, and I really need a break. Will you please fix this macaroni and cheese and help with the kids?”
    In the heat of her request, his hope evaporates into exasperation, and he is about to react.
    At this crossroads of their busy day, these two have some choices. Will they use this moment to practice being the kind of companion each has covenanted to become? Or will each one default to past conditioning—familial and cultural? Certain attitudes and ideas have crept into the very air they breathe, challenging them as they try to work with each other rather than against each other.

    I loved this part b/c it just sounds so familiar. So often poor Paul comes home to chaos and I always feel that he should be my relief but he's just as tired as I am from work. Sometimes I have trouble remembering that he's had a rough day too so I LOVED this reminder. :)

    The article goes on to discuss that perhaps the wife in this scenario was raised in a family where the mother was dependent and taught "girl power" and such. Well, in our situation that is SO true. I mean, I was raised by a single mother so, yeah, females can do anything. GIRL POWER!! hahaha!! Luckily for me, Paul was not raised in a home stereotypical of the 50s. His mom was pretty independent as well but she always has a clean home and seems to have everything together. She is amazing. I'm not quite there yet, but it's something that I strive for.

    The article moves on to talk about how couples should not be independent nor dependent of each other but interdependent. Here's another quote:

    “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”... states that fathers “are to preside” and “to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families,” while mothers “are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” Fathers and mothers are to “help one another” fulfill these duties as “equal partners.”... the restored gospel teaches the eternal idea that husbands and wives are interdependent with each other. They are equal. They are partners.
     I love that! Interdependent... what a great word and one I hadn't thought of. When I was talking about this with Paul he reminded me of a marriage class we took before we were married. They talked about how couples should be like letters.... You have 'H' couples. They had a couple stand up there and reach apart and hold hands, demonstrating that they don't really need each other. They are completely independent and the other is just there. Then you have 'A' couples. They had a couple stand up in front and lean on the other forming the ^ in the A. If one of them moved the other would fall and they were completely dependent on the other. Finally, the way we should strive to be is the 'M' couple. A couple stood up there holding hands but unlike the 'H' couple who were as far away from each other as possible the 'M' couple was together, closer, and working together along the way. I just thought it was a nice visual and felt like sharing. :)

    The Hebrew for help in “help meet” is ezer, a term meaning that Eve drew on heavenly powers when she supplied their marriage with the spiritual instincts uniquely available to women as a gender gift... President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, "virtues and attributes upon which perfection and exaltation depend come [more] naturally to a woman.”
    I loved this! I loved reading about how important women are. Men are the head of the family but the wives are TOTALLY necessary to make the relationship work. I think this is kind of funny because Paul normally says that he just trusts my instincts because they are normally right. ;)

    The article goes on to talk about the men:

    Genesis 3:16 states that Adam is to “rule over” Eve, but this doesn’t make Adam a dictator. A ruler can be a measuring tool that sets standards. Then Adam would live so that others may measure the rightness of their conduct by watching his. Being a ruler is not so much a privilege of power as an obligation to practice what a man preaches. Also, over in “rule over” uses the Hebrew bet, which means ruling with, not ruling over. If a man does exercise “dominion … in any degree of unrighteousness” (D&C 121:37; emphasis added), God terminates that man’s authority.
    President Kimball said, "We do not want our LDS women to be silent partners or limited partners" but rather " a contributing and full partner." Together, a couple will make decisions and they will each listen to the counsel of the other. The man will listen to the "promptings of her inner spiritual compass just as she will listen to his righteous counsel." (What great information!! I loved this article... can you tell? Well, I'm not done.)

    And for another great quote:

    In an equal-partner marriage, “love is not possession but participation … part of that co-creation which is our human calling.” 9 With true participation, husband and wife merge into the synergistic oneness of an “everlasting dominion” that “without compulsory means” will flow with spiritual life to them and their posterity “forever and ever” (D&C 121:46).

    The article jumps back the scenario it discussed at the beginning about the young wife waiting for her husband to get home and here is what it says:

    Young wife, do you see in him someone who has worked all day to bring sustenance to your table? Young husband, do you see in her someone who has worked all day to make nourishment of that sustenance? Can you both see beyond the doing of the day and remember the inestimable worth of the being to whom you are married?
    Sometimes, being a stay at home mom, it is so easy to forget that I have done anything to contribute to this family. All our money comes from my husband. He doesn't feel this way, I know he doesn't but sometimes when were both feeling stressed about the day it is easily forgotten. I loved that this article reminds us of that. I may have to print out this paragraph and put it on my refrigerator. It would be a great reminder to me of how I should focus on my husbands feelings and remind myself and even though the house isn't spotless I did "make nourishment of that sustenance." I nourish my children physically, spiritually, and mentally every day and I wouldn't be able to do that without the sustenance provided by my husband. A great cycle for me to remember. :)

    Finally, a journal entry from John Haslem Clark of Manti, Utah in 1921. This actually turned out to be his last journal entry.
    “The folks have been here today, but have gone to their homes. The clatter of racing feet, the laughter and babble of tongues have ceased. We are alone, We two. We two whom destiny has made one. Long ago, it has been sixty years since we met under the June trees. I kissed you first. How shy and afraid was your girlhood. Not any woman on earth or in heaven could be to me what you are. I would rather you were here, woman, with your gray hair, than any fresh blossom of youth. Where you are is home. Where you are not is homesickness. As I look at you I realize that there is something greater than love, although love is the greatest thing in earth. It is loyalty. For were I driven away in shame you would follow. If I were burning in fever your cool hand would soothe me. With your hand in mine may I pass and take my place among the saved of Heaven. Being eight years the eldest—and as the years went by and I felt that the time of parting might be near—it was often the drift of our thought and speech: how could either of us be left alone. Alone, after living together for 56 years. I scarcely dared think of it and though a bit selfish comforted myself thinking [that] according to our age I would not be the one left alone.”
     Another handwriting then appears later on the same page. It is Therissa’s voice, gently closing John’s journal:
    “Almost two years and a half since the last writing, and its following events are so sad, so heartbreaking for this, his life’s companion that this pen has been laid down many times ere this record is made. Loss and loneliness [are] ever present and will be with me to the end. … Will time soften this sadness, will I be able to leave the Old Home and not feel that he is waiting for me, calling me? I am only content at home where I feel that he is watching over me, his presence always with me.
    “On March 11, 1923, John Haslem Clark passed away after an illness of only one week. He seemed so like himself, talking and active. We had no thought that the end was near until he passed into unconsciousness a few hours before his death. Oh, may we all be as clean and pure, ready to go before our Maker.”
    Finally, the article closes with this paragraph:
    If our young couple could only know that this love is what they could feel and understand at the end of their lives, what wouldn’t they give! They’d listen more and choose better, over and over, day after day, crossing after crossing. They would learn, by patient experience, that “work is love made visible.” 11 They would realize as the years pass that their marriage is helping them become better disciples of Jesus Christ, even becoming a little more like Him. Then they would understand as they cross the final threshold of mortality that the extent to which they have become one with Him is the extent to which they are one with each other.
     I will say that I am an incredibly lucky girl. I ended up with an extremely incredible guy whose family already taught him most of this stuff but often I find myself forgetting everything that he has gone through during the day. That is the main part that I need to remember in this article. I do think that Paul and I are pretty interdependent of each other. We had to learn that fine balance very early in our marriage when trials hit us and I'm so grateful for those trials -- not necessarily grateful for the death of my son but for the growth and opportunity the struggle allowed for us.

    To my awesome husband -- Thank you, Paul, for putting up with me and all my "girl power" times!! Thank you for loving me when I make mistakes and for being there when I feel depressed or "off". Thank you for laughing and flirting with me and even for your sarcastic mouth. Thank you for being willing to spend eternity with me. I love you!!

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Book Buddies

    So, Collin's school has Book Buddies. Yes, he is virtual school but this is Mrs Huiet and she came to our local library to have some time with the kids. If we include little Ryanne then we had K-4th grade represented in this group. ;) My kids thought it was awesome!! She read some books and then talked about some of the things the kids have been learning in the reading class and applied it to the book. It was fun!!!

    Sunday, October 16, 2011


    Science Education Enrichment Day... yeap, Collin was in heaven. We started off learning about neurons and Collin built one out of pipe cleaners. Then we moved on to glass blowing. This was exciting b/c Collin had learned about it in history when studying Italy.
    Then we learned about minerals and the kids had to name a mineral to get a dum-dum. Then we moved on to the animals.
    There's a little turtle!! There were a couple of them. :)

    A snake wrapped around the light bulb.

    A hawk. The kids couldn't touch the birds but they had the parts of a bird sitting around the table for the kids to touch. Kinda creepy if you think about it too hard but the kids enjoyed it.

    Here's the owl. There were also owl pellets for the kids to dissect if desired. We didn't b/c Collin had an appointment in the Planetarium.
    So, on to the planetarium for a show went Collin and me.

    After the show we headed off to the quad where we found a truck that ran on water and a very exciting demonstration of levers.

    Collin got to pull the pin and throw the tennis ball with the catapult.

    It's hard to see but in the distance is a little boy with a red jacket on. That's Collin getting the tennis ball. It actually went pretty far.
    The kids learned what to do if I was choking... do you see how hard Collin had to hit to get that gumball out of "my" throat. Oh my... I think that would have hurt. LOL! Ronni tried it too and the ladies teaching it had to help her get the hotdog out.

    Time to make some paper!! Here's the pulp!

    No, those aren't pancakes. That's round paper... they were cooking out the water. ;)
    We did many other things but there were so many ppl that it was just hard to get the camera out everywhere. It was a fun day. Then, we went out for ice cream to make the day even better. Oh yeah!! :)

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Colonial Times (field trip)

    So, we went on a field trip today and I'm exhausted. It went from 9am-1pm. Okay, so we left at about 12:50 but then we had to walk all the way back to the van so, yeah... it was pretty much 1. It was geared to kids a "little" older than Collin so I was surprised they lasted that long. It was tons of fun though!! Enjoy our adventures.....
    This was George Washington. He was telling the kids all about his "adventures". He kind of lost my kids attention after ten minutes or so so we moved on to the guns... :)

    This was one of Collin's favorite ones. This man explained step by step how the guns worked and he had samples of the barrels sliced open so Collin could see it all inside. He even fired the gun! Ryanne wasn't a fan of the loud noise so she and I went next door to the yarn spinner instead while Collin finished learning about guns, tomahawks, knives and swords.

    Collin just looked so serious; I had to get a picture of him.

    This was the arrogant French-man. He made lace and he was hilarious!! He was so haughty (an act) so it was just funny.

    This is the Frenchman's wife. Ryanne thought that her dress was so pretty she wanted a picture with her.

    This was the circus and the part that my kids spoke about most. This was one of those eye illusion things. He did some magic tricks and showed the comb of Medusa, a tooth from the whale who swallowed Jonah and some other things. Then... he moved on to the fire....

    This was funny. He said, "Do you want to see me shove this lighted baton in my wife's mouth?" The kids all yelled, "Yeah!!" So, he did. hehe! ;)

    He really did it for the kids though. He lit his tongue on fire and lit another baton with that flame. Fun! His finale was when he blew fire from his mouth. He made all the kids stand back. It was awesome!


    Finishing up lunch.

    The kids watching the little creek that ran by where we had our picnic.

    The wood carver.

    Stockades. Neither of my kids were tall enough to reach so I could take a picture so Collin is lifting his sister into it. LOL! It was the best we could do. ;)

    Toymaker!! My kids were here for a while.

    More toymaker...

    Still at the toymaker....

    We just needed to get that stinkin' ball into the cup so we could move on from the toymaker's. Collin finally did so on we went.

    The Indian Trader... no, he didn't trade Indians. I meant that he traded goods with the Indians. The follow pics of some of the stuff from his tent. In the picture above he was demonstrating how to make fire w/o a match.

    The Blacksmith

    Collin kept trying to get closer to the orange part. Freaked me out. We finally just left that building and went on to safer places.

    This was a soldier showing us the food rations the men in the army were given. The ones on the floor were for the regular army men (rice, split peas, dried meat, vinegar, rum, and flour) and the ones on the table (which looked yummy-- chicken, fruit, cheese, pickles) was for the officers.
    By the time we got to this part Ryanne was so tired she was cranky and yelling and crying about everything. Collin wanted to see so we quickly walked to other booths and looked to see who was there and then moved on to make a trip to the "Doctor Who Potties" (as the kids called them) or port-a-potties and then to the van. So, not pictured but also there were Indians, Benjamin Franklin, a leather builder person, a lady with information on tea, a woman doing those silhouette portraits ($20 each if you wanted one of you) and a few others that we just didn't make it to. Tons of fun!! :)

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Update on virtual school

    The kids have been loving it!! Ronni participates in a lot of the classes. Collin gets 3 live virtual class each week. He has reading and math and then science and social studies alternate each week. He also just got his IEP and now gets two speech sessions with the school and one through private so, yes, he gets 3 speech sessions/week. On top of all that he has math, language arts and phonics lessons daily. Then he has art, history, science, and music which alternate; he has 2 lessons of each one/week. Ronni loves to participate... especially on the projects. He just had his monthly assessment with his teacher to make sure he was where he was supposed to be. We skipped the first 8 units of math b/c Collin already knew them. That equaled 16 weeks worth of work. So, she tested him on that to make sure he understood everything he skipped. He did!! She was shocked and bubbly when she realized that. At the rate he's going he should be moving up to first grade math in January. He is also reading and building words now. It's awesome. He got to start his first reader book today. Hooray!!

    Ronni and I have been working on number recognition lately. She can count to 12 but she doesn't know what the numbers look like so that has been fun! :) It's not as fun for her as it was for Collin so our sessions are much shorter for her. She's only 3 so I don't want to teach the fun of learning out of her. We make it fun and when she's tired we do something else.

    Here are some pictures of a few of our projects.
    These are from history....
    When studying the Netherlands we built a dike. The water is on the right side of the dike.

    Then we built a canal to go with the dike.

    This is Collin's diorama of The Great Reef off the coast of Australia from when we studied Australia. ;)
    The following are science:
    We've been studying plants and how they get nutrition so, of course, we had to do this classic science experiment. We ended up with a blue and red daisy. :)

    This was when we were working on senses. This day we were focusing on the sense of taste. I blindfolded the kids and they had to tell me if things were salty, sweet or sour. It was fun!! Especially when I gave them the lime. LOL! :) It took a lot of trust on their part.

    Collin pouring white vinegar into a jar.
    Ronni placing a chicken bone into the jar.

    Two weeks later - Collin demonstrating what happens when calcium is sucked out of the bone. (Obviously, this was when we were learning about the body and on the topic of bones.)