Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Don't you love retro toys?

Like I mentioned in my last post my kids have been playing with the Little People toys for a few days. I find it so interesting how many cycles the toys go through. They will be into Barbies then My Little Pony, then American Girl dolls, then coloring, then Lincoln get the idea. Right now it is Little People. I always loved playing with Little People. In fact it is one of the only things I kept from my childhood. My Mom has kept them at her place as something for the kids to play with when we were there playing. I started wondering if they were in the garage and viola, they were.

Once I got them out the girls were so thrilled. They thought they were sooooo cool. I was showing them how I used to place all the pieces and how it all works. They kept saying, "Your toys are so cool Mom!!!" I kind of think they are pretty cool too. I had the town, the school house (still in a box in the garage), the hospital, and I have lost the yacht.

I think the girls plan on keeping their LP toys so their kids can enjoy them too. I know I am not the only one out there who used to have these and spent many an hour enjoying them.

It is fun to see how these toys have changed over the years. Still, I think they are a classic.

homey home

I think I received one of the sweetest compliments. I had some kids over yesterday for tutoring (the big sister often likes to come and spend time here while I tutor her brother). I think that these kids feel something when they are here in our home that they really like. That "homey" feeling. Not to say that they don't have that at their own home, but I think they feel it here too. They both commented that they love coming here and wish they could be here more often. This is what they experienced yesterday.

- Tutored the 8 year old for reading, phonics and math
- Played games together (yep, I played too)
- Read them stories
- Played with Little People toys (even though they are kind of a young toy, I think it gives these kids the freedom to be kids and not feel like they have to be too grown up)
- Snacks: they each enjoyed homemade cinnamon rolls (from fresh milled wheat)
- Were here for several hours with OUT the TV on

I always want our home to feel like a homey home. Not that it is perfect (nope, it is not). But I do desire our home to be a safe place to "fall". To be comfortable and secure.

When we were talking at the snack table, they mentioned that they wished they could come back again. Now that is such a sweet compliment. I am glad they like it here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Finally, my big bear story!!!

OK...I have been meaning to post about the bear story. In the craziness of our life I got sidetracked with Chuck coming home for the weekend and working hard in the garden and having an open house (2 families came through ~yippee!!!) and being attacked by fire ants (actually 3 out of the 4 of us got a bunch of bites)...whew. It just tires me out thinking about the last 4 days. It has been great having Chuck home. We actually adjust really well to having him home again and then adjust pretty well to having him gone. We are grateful that we have a good long distance/cell phone relationship. Don't get me wrong, I am so done with living the single parent life, but I have so much to be thankful for and again I am focusing on the positive.

Where was I headed? Oh, yes, the bear. Well now that it has had such a build up I am sure I will disappoint the peapod readers with the story. Alas, I will share the story and pictures anyhow.

About 2 weeks ago, I was sitting down to read with the little boy that I tutor and glanced out the front window. I noticed this large animal (much too big to be a dog) lumbering up the front yard, headed right toward the front door. I called for the girls and grabbed my camera and stepped outside to take his picture. Like I said he was headed right for the front door so I didn't stay out there for long and I shooed the kids back inside to watch from the safety of the living room.

We watched him come right up to the house and walk around the side yard. We ran to Tally's room to watch from there and then to Tissy's room as he headed out to the back yard. It was great to watch him climb right over the fence (guess I shouldn't think that closing the gate at night is going to keep out the wild animals ~hee hee)

We watched him from the lanai (screened in pool) as he checked out the back yard. He wandered over to the playset and then headed for the fire pit and garden area. We all ran up to the guest house and watched from the deck up there as he lumbered through the yard and climbed the fence to the neighbors yard. It was so much fun to watch him play in the neighbors bird bath and stand up to get into their squirrel feeders. Eventually he climbed a tree and gave a grunt to let us know that the show was over.

Needless to say, the tutoring was over the moment the bear showed up. I wasn't able to calm the kids down. They absolutely loved watching this part of nature right in their own back yard. It really was a treat to be so close to him. The pictures don't do justice as most of them are through the screen. Why I felt safe through that screen is crazy, though these black bears aren't the most aggressive bears. Not to say that I would want to come face to face with one as I stepped outside to take out the trash some night. Hopefully that won't happen. =)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

back to the airport

I am up early so I can actually do my hair before we head out to the airport to pick up Chuck. It has been 3 weeks since he came home last and this is the last ticket we have for him. I am just believing and trusting that we get a contract by the end of July. The place that he has been staying will become unavailable as of the end of August (not sure where he will stay after that). It has been a rough few days (I have a post running around in my head to share the details).

I think I have figured out that this whole process is like a ride at the amusement park. I feel like I have been strapped into a roller coaster and can't get off. There are ups and downs, twists and turns and it is thrilling yet terrifying at the same time. This whole thing has taken me out of my comfort zone and forced me to rely on God's strength like never before. The moment I think the coaster is coming to a stop is takes off again for another wild ride. I think I might enjoy the merry-go-round better. Smaller highs and lows and much more predictable. There is even music and all of your family waving on the side each time you pass by them. I am just not sure that I am enjoying the ride of this adventure. I am trusting that God knows when the ride is coming to a complete and full stop so I can hop off. =)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Letterboxing 101

I have told you before about our family hobby of letterboxing. I wanted to share with all those newbies out there what our letterboxing bag has in it. (I am in the process of planning a LB event for some local homeschool families and wanted to send them this way for ideas of how to get started on this activity).

Here is a peak into our bag. We use a mini back pack that we had. As you can see it can hold a lot of essentials. I always have our logbooks, ink pad and or markers, garden gloves, bug spray, compass, pen/pencil, our stamp (in the small green pouch) and paper towel or wet wipe (not pictured). We usually take water too (depending on how long the hike is).

Our bag is always packed and ready to go. We print our clues from atlasquest or letterboxing north america and bring those along with us. We search out the location to see if there are more than one LB hidden at each park or trail. We would hate to walk right past one and miss it. =)

When we started out on this journey we carved our stamp out of a pink pearl eraser. All we had was an exacto knife to cut out the design. We are still using the same stamp. **NOT an activity for kids if you are carving with an exacto knife.** I have, since then, ordered the speedball carving kit (about $12) and have used it a lot. But it is not necessary to invest in those kind of supplies. You can even carve a stamp out of foam (good idea for kids). The instructions for carving a stamp without the tools is here. You don't even have to carve your own stamp, you can used a store bought one.One of the first things you will need to do is choose a trail name. Something that represents you and that you can sign into the logbooks that isn't your real name. Ours is 3 Ps in a Pod. And our stamp is a peapod with 3 peas in it. Don't fret over a name, just choose something that you like. Remember you will sign in with that name when you find a box.

We have been LB about a year now and just completed our first log book of stamps. I get mine at Hobby Lobby or you can order it online here. Any notebook will do. I like ones without lines so the images show up well. We each have one (kids and I) but one would also work for the whole family if that is what you prefer. You can also make your own if you are feeling creative (here are some ideas)

I have recently found a great site that has lots of links to helpful tips. Check it out the get familiar with this fun hobby. HERE Hope this doesn't overwhelm you but I hope it inspires you to get started. Click here to follow some of our adventures of letterboxing. Let me know how I can help, ask me questions and I can help you get started.

Monday, July 21, 2008

found some before pics

I found some before pics of the house. The orange room is the master BR, the room with all the boxes is the school room and the one with the green wall paper is the laundry room. Notice in the kitchen the old counter tops, appliances and the knobs on the cupboards (not to mention the old floor in the kitchen). Big difference from house to home. =)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Come on in...and stay awhile

If you know me at all, you would see I love to have people into my home. Yep, got the hospitality gift. I love to see other peoples homes. I love to look at house pictures. I really should have gotten a degree in interior design. I love to watch home decorating shows. HGTV is one of my favs. I will often check out books of house plans out of the library (with no intention of building my own home). I have said before I am a visual person. The more pictures the better. And with every anticipation that our home here will hopefully be a memory, I wanted to capture it on my blog. I also wanted to invite you in (virtually that is) and stay awhile. are my disclaimers.

***My house doesn NOT always looks like this. For all you out there that think we live in a supper clean bubble, you are mistaken. In fact I have a messy kitchen as I sit here and blog this (I really should clean it up). And if any of you have had your house on the market to sell, you know that you have to have it show ready in just a few moments.

***Our house did NOT look like this when we bought it. (I can't find the before pics). We have redone just about everything in the last 7 months. Including painting, lighting, get the idea. I thought this house had a neat country farm house feel and I love character. And I am thankful I was able to look beyond the quirks that it had to see the diamond in the rough.

Lastly, here is that house that you are joining us in praying that it will sell soon. I do appreciate all your prayer and support.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Where to start????

After my reunion with my laptop last night (yep, I was up past 1:00 trying to catch up on as much as I could) it had another hissy fit this morning. Wouldn't work again and had to have the trusty "computer whisperer" come and whisper sweet nothings in it's ear to get it to work again. I think I am really truly back up and running. Let's hope at least.

So the question is...where to start? Where do I begin with trying to unload all the posts that have been bottled up in my mind. As you all know, once you start blogging you see your world through a blog filter. Everything becomes a potential blog post. This being said, I will try and exibit some self control and not post everything I have been thinking about in the last few weeks. I did have to begin with that picture of Steffany and I really wanted to give her a little shout out since it was just last week that I met her in person.

I can tell you are all on the edge of your seat to hear the bear story. Should I share that now or keep you coming back to read about that one? Um...I think I have to share pictures of the girls hair cuts first. I know, b-o-r-i-n-g for those local friends and have already seen them. But my family far away hasn't seen them and since I am already cut out of all the comrodery it is my attempt to be part of the group.

before and after

In the thrifty way of life that we are in, I took a chance and cut the kids hair on my own. I thought it turned out pretty good. Not TOO much of a homemade haircut look. =) The truth is, we live in a VERY hot and and humid state and the long hair was just getting too hard to take care of. And it is easy to swim with shorter hair. I do think Tally is interesting in trying to grow it out and donate it (she has beautiful thick hair - no wonder it is so hot).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Meeting face to face

Let me just start off by saying I am SOOOOOO glad to be back to blogging and connected to the world again. It has been a long week with out my computer and I have really missed checking in on all of you and finding out what you are up to and how I can pray for you. It has been WAY too long since I could post pictures so I hope you don't get overwhelmed by the soon to be mega picture blog-a-thon that is coming your way.

Last week I was able to meet a blogging friend face to face. It was such a blessing. This is someone I have fervently prayed for this year. It was great to enjoy the afternoon in the HOT sun as the kids played in the water and we were able to visit. It seemed like a present day pen-pal meeting (don't worry...we met at a neutral location).
What an incredible woman. Not to mention such sweet kids. I was disappointed that we had to head home and get my kids to bed. We could have talked all night. It was such a highlight of my week. Thanks Steffany for letting us crash in on your trip.