Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Book Review: Nowhere but Up

I'm not sure why I picked up this book to read.  I guess it was just curiosity.  It was a relatively quick read and what a story!  The amount of trauma and abuse she experienced at such a young age is quite unbelievable.  As a teen mom with a drug and alcohol dependence issue she was trying to overcome, God just wouldn't give up on her.  At one point she intentionally made a decision to just write God off.  She was frustrated with the fact that she had fallen back into her old ways of drugs and alcohol and assumed God wasn't present.  But He was and He just kept showing Himself to her in a variety of ways that were just too coincidental.  So amazing.  She sure has a great testimony.  It was interesting to read about how Justin came to be so famous too.  He was a talented little guy from a very young age . . . a real natural. 

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  It’s an interesting read and great proof that no matter how far we fall away from God, He will never give up on us.  

Friday, 15 February 2013

Mondrian Art

Today we learned about the artist Piet Mondrian.  I told the kids a little bit about his life - information I learned from this website.  We talked about some of the different styles he used throughout his life.  We focused on this particular painting - one of his most famous.  

I got the idea from this site and thought it was perfect because of Valentine's Day this week.  So the kids created their own Mondrian hearts.  First they cut out a heart out of white paper.  They used a ruler and pencil to draw the lines on the heart.  Then they traced over the pencil lines with a black oil pastel.  I gave them a choice to use either markers or pencil crayons . . . they all chose markers.  They coloured in random squares/rectangles with red, blue and yellow and left some of them white.  

Here are the finished pieces.  I was happy with how they all turned out.  

Austin's masterpiece

Samara's masterpiece

Victoria's masterpiece

Denver's masterpiece

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Book Review: Cutting for Stone

This is one of those books that has been on my radar for a while.  Then when a friend mentioned it again, I got right onto the library website to reserve it.  I'm glad I did.  It’s such a good book.  I loved the way each character was developed throughout the story and by the end, I felt like I knew them all so well.  My favourite part is that the book takes place mostly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  There were so many places and scenes and names that I recognized from being there.  I gained more insight into some Ethiopian history too.  The book takes place at a hospital in Ethiopia and a few of the characters are surgeons.  So there are a lot of medical details.  If you have a weak stomach, some of the details surrounding the medical conditions and surgical procedures can be a bit intense at times.  The characters in the book go through a lot of “tough stuff” for lack of a better way to put it . . . major trials that bring them closer as family and friends.  I'm being kind of vague about the details because I don’t want to give away any of the story and ruin it for anyone.  Overall it was a great book.  I have to admit though, it took me forever to read it – not because I was ever uninterested or bored throughout it, but just because it’s a really long book.  Definitely worth the read though.  

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Big Melt

Notice I didn't say the big meltdown??  Although we have those around here sometime too!  LOL!  

Anyway, it was warm and rainy yesterday so a lot of our beautiful white stuff melted.  Oh so sad.  I was hoping it would last for more than a few days but I guess not.  But thankfully there was still enough snow for Austin to get outside and make a snowman.  I'm hoping it's not the last snowman that will show up in our yard this season.  

Poor Frodo.  When he goes outside now to "do his business" he growls and barks at this stranger that has invaded his territory.  Oh Frodo . . . it's not alive you silly dog!  

Monday, 11 February 2013

Optical Illusion Art

Saw this idea here and wanted to try it with the kids.  It's always nice to have an art project to work on while we're doing our read alouds.  The kids drew the lines first using a sharpie marker.  Samara did it with pencil first and then traced them with marker.  Then the spaces were coloured in with markers as well.  


Victoria took it one step further and added some shading.  If you look closely you can see it.  It adds a nice touch to the finished project.  Here are all the finished projects.  I think they all turned out looking really cool.  Good job guys!  

Austin's finished piece

Victoria's finished piece

Samara's finished piece
Oh and Denver was busy working on his own art project . . . tracing his hands.  

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Great Canadian winter

I was away all day yesterday at a conference so I missed out on a day full of playing in the snow.  As Mike was making dinner, I scooted out to take some pictures of the kids.  Victoria had made herself a fort dug out of the snow bank.  This is what I remember doing all the time as a kid.  I wish we still had winters with as much snow as we had when we were little.  It's so much fun!  

Samara and Austin worked together to make a cave for themselves to crawl into.  Shortly after this picture was taken, the roof caved in . . . but it was fun while it lasted.  

Friday, 8 February 2013

So far . . .

. . . we have 28 cm and it's still comin' down!  


Okay, now THIS is winter!  Oh ya baby . . . it's snowing and snowing and showing no sign of stopping.  I LOVE it.  So pretty.  

I think Victoria is our child that enjoys the snow the most.  She can spend hours out there.  Austin and Samara also enjoy it . . . just not quite as much.  And Denver?  Well, he usually can't be bothered with the mittens and boots!  LOL!  He's happy watching the kids from the front window . . . unless Mommy says he HAS to go out.  :)   

Thursday, 7 February 2013

We have a winner!

A few weeks ago Samara and I were out and about doing errands.  One of our stops was at the bank.  When I was waiting in line, Samara was drawn to a table they had set up with balloons and cookies and five green piggy banks filled with pennies.  A few of the tellers saw her looking at it and encouraged her to fill out a ballot to guess how many pennies were in the piggies.  So we filled one out and she took her best guess and off we went not thinking much more about it.  She was just happy to get a cookie!  

A few days later we received a phone call from the bank that Samara had won!  So she got to go back into the bank and pick up one of the piggy banks.  She had a choice - she could either take the piggy bank full of pennies or she could get a ten dollar bill.  Well, she was torn about that decision. She had just learned about the fact that they weren't going to be making pennies any more so she really didn't want the pennies BUT she did want the green piggy bank.  As it turns out, if she wanted a ten dollar bill, they would put it inside the piggy bank and she would get to have both.  So the decision was made and off we went to the bank to pick up her prize.  She was so excited!  

If you know Samara, you'll know she loves to save her money.  It's a rare day when she wants to spend any of her own money.  But on this day she took some of the money she had saved up and along with her ten dollar bill, she went and bought herself a nice Lego set.  Good for you Samara!  

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Book Review: Clutter Rehab

A friend of mine was reading this book . . . and so I had to too!  LOL!  I absolutely LOVE anything that has to do with organizing, purging excess stuff, etc. and so clutter rehab?  Yes please. I know that sounds a little strange but that's me.  You would actually probably never know from looking at my house though.  Sigh . . . it's a work in progress.  

Anyway, this book is kind of fun.  It's so easy to read because each page lists one of the 101 tips with a brief description of the idea.  So it's not overwhelming - a nice quick read.  A lot of the ideas  were things I have done even in the last year or so but some were new.  A lot of it was motivating and I felt inspired to keep on working on it.  Here is a list of a few of my favourites:  

#8 – Have a daily walkabout

I love this one because if it’s done on a regular basis, it shouldn't be a big deal. The idea is that you and the kids just walk around the house for just ten minutes every day putting away things that are out of place.   I usually just go around the house and pick up toys and other things lying around and place them at each child’s spot at the table.  And then the idea is that they have to put them away.  But a walkabout is probably a better idea. 

#18 – Have a donation station

I always have a box going in our storage room to throw stuff in when I want to get rid of it.  Great idea. 

#23 – Use hooks for kids’ coats instead of hangers

Just started doing this last year.  I was so frustrated by coats not being hung up or falling off the hangers because let’s face it, it’s hard to hang stuff on hangers.  Hooks are much easier and each of the kids are responsible for their own coat.    

#26 – Start every week with a menu plan

We've done this in the past but we weren't very faithful at it.  We started again in the middle of January and we’re rockin’ it! I love not having to think about what’s for supper.  It used to be that at 3:00 or 4:00 pm, I’d be trying to figure out a plan for dinner and it was stressful.  We do a two week menu plan with a huge grocery shop at the beginning.  It gets tight at the end of the two weeks but we've been sticking to it and it’s great.   Helps with the budget too. 

#45 – Schedule regular toy “clean-outs”

I've done this once or twice with the kids but should do it more often.  The kids have to be in the right frame of mind though.  Sometimes I just get in a “I want to get rid of ALL the toys” kind of mood and that’s not helpful either. 

#46 – Toss your junk mail right away

Yep – I do this.  I often show the kids how much of our mail goes directly into the recycling bin.  It’s ridiculous how much paper junk comes through the door.  I feel like it’s less now that we’re homeschooling and the kids aren't bringing so much paper home from school but it’s the mail that’s crazy. 

#53 – Cut the knick knacks out

I've tried . . . still needs some work. 

#63 – Keep projects in process under control

Ha!  Hopefully when 2013 is done, I’ll have things a little more under control.  Yikes! 

#68 – Have a handy library basket

Oh boy . . . I try this, I really do.  But it seems like library books end up all over the house.  It’s hard when four kids are taking books out and they want to read them in various areas around the house.  Have to get better at this one. 

#76 – Create a binder and online library for recipes

Yep – I finally did this about a year or so ago.  I have a binder with the plastic page covers from the dollar store.  That way if I take a recipe out to use, I can wipe it off if I happen to spill on it.  This website also helps to keep recipes. 

#86 – Stop sorting your laundry

Okay, this may have been the best thing I read in this book.  I have secretly been doing this for a few years . . . just washing all the clothes together without sorting.  Whites with colours.  It works and saves time and there’s no difference (shhhh . . . don’t tell my mom!)  I was just so happy to read in a published book that it was okay not to sort laundry!  LOL! 

#91 – Cut the clutter in your bedroom and create the sanctuary you deserve

This one is a challenge for me.  Our bedroom ends up being a dumping ground.  I guess it’s because it’s the room where the door is always closed and our guests don’t go into.  I know I should work on that . . . maybe it gets easier as the kids get older?? 

#92 – Invite company over as motivation

Ha!  This made me laugh.  It’s really quite true.  You know you just HAVE to clean if people are coming over.  And the other thing is that if you have less clutter, it’s easier to do a quick tidy if you have last minute company.  

Friday, 1 February 2013

Six years ago today . . .

Our world was rocked . . . in an amazing way!  This precious little baby girl entered our lives and added that much more happiness, love, joy, laughter . . . 

Samara - Happy Gotcha Day sweetie.  Mommy and Daddy love you so very much and we're so happy that God chose us to be your parents.  Hard to imagine it was six years ago today that we held you in our arms for the very first time.  

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