Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Housekeeper Day

Before embarking on this adventure called homeschooling, I was a little terrified, to say the least... How does one get started? What if I don't get through it all? And, that was only the beginning of my questions.

So, I did what any worried -- er -- good mother would do; I picked-up some books on it and began to read!
The first book I read, within the first chapter, said that a busy homeschooling mom
needs a housekeeper if she can afford one. I was sold. Funny, I don't remember much else from that book, but we do now have a housekeeper twice a month.

Because I don't know how a housekeeper could possibly get anything done with my sweet little
terror Sierra running around, we opt to do homeschool at our local mall on housekeeper day. All that to say, today was housekeeper day, so today we headed for the mall. It was my first time going solo with all four.

At the last minute, I decided to grab my old camera
just in case... (Just in case, what? I don't know... but just in case...) It was a Divine nudge. Here's how it went:
Part 1: Inside Starbucks
In the car on the way to the mall, we reviewed our verse for the week, Phillipians 4:8. Many of our verses are put to music, so all 3 girls sang in the backseat while I drove. Listening to their 3 precious voices sing together has to be one of my favorite things in life!

Our first stop, as always, is to Starbucks for some hot chocolate and our history lesson. Sierra happily colored while we read together our history. That's about as long as Sierra can last in one setting...
Part 2: Outside Starbucks
So next, we moved outside where there is a nice little playground. And birds. And more birds. Yes, Sierra loved the birds, so we chased them. Sierra actually took this picture of the birds all by herself:
Meanwhile, the girls worked on their spelling and phonics.
And this little turkey found the slide:
Part 3: The Library
But, even the slide couldn't hold her attention too long. Soon it was time for a new setting. Luckily, the library opens at 10am, so that is where we headed next.
The constant change in location seems to be as good for the big girls as it is for Sierra. Of course, we did some reading in the library and then checked out a few books for the week.
Here's where it gets fun... Just picture this. I have a backpack on, which is my diaper bag. In front, I have my Bjorn with Malachi in it. Around my neck is my camera bag. And then on one arm I have my bag full of school books and supplies, while on the other I am carrying several library books. And, I am surrounded by 4 kids 6 and under. Can you picture it?

My 2-year-old decided she did NOT want to put her books on the counter for the lady to check out. Nobody was going to talk her into it, so I had my 6 year-old take them out of her hands for me.

Oh, the scream of terror as she laid down on the library floor, kicked and screamed, and had a good old-fashioned tantrum.
Funny, it didn't phase me much.

I continued on with my checkout and ignored her until 3 library workers came rushing out demanding, "Who is this child's mother?"
I smiled. "Oh, don't worry -- she's just upset because we had to check out her books. She'll be fine in a minute."

If looks could kill... One lady walked away. The second lady tried to comfort Sierra by stamping her hand and hugging her. The third lady asked if she could check out my books so I could pick-up my screaming child. (Right, because I had an extra hand!) I just smiled again and said no thanks, handed Sierra her books that were now checked out, and we all left happily and headed for the carousel.

Part 4:
The Carousel
Sierra has 2 loves in life: carousels and lollipops. When you finish riding this particular carousel, they give you a lollipop so it is like heaven for Sierra.

I was so relieved to finally reach the carousel to unload all my "luggage," if only for a moment. As we were the first patrons of the day, I struck-up a conversation with the attendant, who ended up giving them an extra long ride. As we were talking, I noticed 3 long tables next to the carousel, loaded with cupcakes, frosting, and candy. Lots of candy. All sorts of colored frosting. I had to ask -- what was it for?
Part 5: The Cupcakes
It turns out, there was a
FREE cupcake decorating demonstration for kids this day. I had already been pondering taking the kids to get a
half of a cupcake because of THIS awesome post, but now I didn't have to... they were each allowed to make not one, but TWO cupcakes to take home!!
The first cupcake was to be an owl. Step-by-step they showed the kids how to make this:
Notice the green owl, (Sierra's), with the bite out of one eye and a bite out of the cupcake. Oh, and there were many candies consumed in-between. I think that was her third nose!

They even had the mall mascot, "Shadow," pay a visit! (I never knew there was such a thing as a mall mascot.) As usual, Sierra was freaked-out by it and refused to go near it, much less take a picture with it.

As for the ladies in charge of this whole production, I thought they looked a bit familiar, so I had to ask... were they on "Cupcake Wars?" The answer was "Yes!" How cool is that? I have only seen one episode of Cupcake wars, and that was the one. I embarrassed myself by asking if they came in second -- they were the winners! Open mouth, insert foot! But, they were super sweet ladies who didn't seem to mind. Perhaps they felt sorry for this crazy mama of 4!
Each cupcake got its own box, so I added a giant bag of 7 cupcakes to my collection of luggage. Oh yeah... and by this time, Sierra was quite tired and insisted on being held. I am quite sure I was a sight to see walking to my car. But, I couldn't help but smile. What a lovely morning! I couldn't have been more thankful that God nudged me to bring my camera. Or, that we had an impromptu cupcake-decorating session! Or, that Malachi was happy and mostly sleeping in the Bjorn the entire time!
Part 6: Coming Home
At home, we quickly made lunch so that we could dive into our cupcakes. Coming home from our Housekeeper Day school at the mall is always so wonderful. The house smells and looks so clean. I am lucky if it lasts an hour, but that first step through the door is heavenly!

We made lunch, put the 2 littles down for a nap, and then enjoyed our cupcakes. I may have told the girls 20 times to hold their heads over their plates so they wouldn't spill on my newly-cleaned floor. :)

I'm not going to lie to you; the afternoon was tough. Neither Malachi nor Sierra ever did fall asleep. But, I kept smiling. I was filled with joy as I thought of all the Lord had blessed me with that morning. We got through school -- even if it was all over the place! We were blessed with free cupcakes! I had a camera with me to capture it all. The house is clean. I could go on and on.

There is a quote I've been seeing on Pinterest lately that sums it up well. It goes something like, "Being grateful makes what we have enough." I am so grateful for my four blessings and the opportunity to learn with them each day... and that is enough for me!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

See This?

See this mess?

My hubby bought a plum and a peach tree to add to our orchard. I can't wait for fresh summer fruit, (though it will probably take a few years!)

See this boy?

He is 2 months old, as of yesterday. Isn't his smile the most precious thing? He's got a bunch of them for me every morning. And, he's been sleeping 12 hours at night, waking up only once to feed for about 10 minutes. Oh, how I hope this continues for a while!

See this iced coffee?

I saw that the Pioneer Woman put her coffee in a glass jar, and it looked so refreshing I just had to do it, too. And, you know what? It does taste better that way! :)

See these Vietnamese meatballs?

It's one of my favorite recipes. (I posted the recipe almost 3 years ago... you can find it here). Anyway, you have to refrigerate them to firm them up before grilling, and I felt so clever to use an egg carton that I had to take a picture!

See these girls?

(Well, you can see one of them!) They still entertain themselves for hours with crafts. Today they found some scratch paper and played "math school" while painting the squares with numbers. I absolutely love listening to the creative things they come up with! I also love when the weather is so beautiful that they can do their thing outside.

See these blossoms?

Yes, spring is in the air... even though it is the middle of winter! The weather can't seem to make-up its mind; sunny, warm, hot, cold, windy, rainy... but I'm ok with that, because I can't make-up my mind, either! One day I can wear jeans and a sweatshirt, and the next day shorts and a t-shirt; it keeps life interesting!

See these two?

No words... just smiles!

See this poor thing?

I have never seen a nose run so much. Makes me thankful it's just a cold and it, too, shall pass!

See these boards?

They are a hint as to my next project! I finally got them power washed, and am ready for the next step. Stay tuned...

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Two-Year-Old

Can I freeze time? I've decided that the cuteness that is a two-year-old officially outweighs the naughtiness. (And that's saying a lot, as I just cleaned-up blueberry juice from all over our carpeted staircase!)

Seriously, the things this girl says absolutely crack me up! Here's just one conversation from today:

S: "Mommy, Bert and Ernie Sing-along?"
Me: "You want to watch 'Bert and Ernie Sing-along,' Sierra?"
S: "That's a perfect idea, Mommy!"

Then there's the songs. This girl loves to sing. She watches Shirley Temple and Julie Andrews on You-Tube every day! Nap time I turn-up the volume on the monitor and get a free concert for an hour before she falls asleep. I love it!

I also love the monitor for the funny things Sierra says. Today the Santa Ana winds are howling. First thing this morning, I hear Sierra scolding the trees. "No, no trees... no more doing that. Wind, stop talking!" That's an exact quote. I walked in and she had the blinds pulled back as she was saying this. Too cute.

And, finally there are the prayers. As always, when you try to capture one with the video camera it's not quite as long and cute.. but here is what she had to say at lunch yesterday:

Please remind me of this post next time I am ready to pull my hair out cleaning-up after this 2-year-old tornado!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Boy

My Boy likes to be held.
It's a good thing we have lots of "holders."
That's all!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy 8th Anniversary!

It's a good thing we have a blog... every year we have to go back and check what we did on our previous anniversary! (Pathetic, I know!) But, we had a wonderful anniversary yesterday! After school, Daniel watched the kiddos which allowed me to go on my first post-baby run! The weather was perfect, which was my only motivation to keep going out there. (Ok, so going out to eat and having an anniversary dessert was also a bit motivating!) I went a couple miles, and was definitely inspired to try to get healthy, again. This extra 15 pounds feels awful! But, I am trying oh so hard to be patient and ok with it for the time being.

After my run, I showered and got ready for the babysitter to arrive! The girls were so excited, and did great for our sweet Emily! I got to spend my anniversary with both my men. Despite not sleeping, Malachi did great. No fussing! So, we enjoyed a yummy dinner at Harvard Square in Claremont.

After dinner, we did a little shopping and found some great deals before heading home. Once we got home, Malachi finally went to sleep and slept almost 7 straight hours for us. I think that was God's anniversary gift to us!

Truly, I feel so blessed to have this man in my life. I could go on and on, but I will save that for him.

Happy anniversary, Daniel!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Decorating for Valentine's Day

I was thinking about it today... In a span of 107 days, from Oct. 31 - Feb. 14, our family celebrates 4 holidays, (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine's Day), 4 birthdays, (Sierra, Malachi, Natalie, me), 2 New Years' (Gregorian and Lunar), and 1 anniversary, (Daniel and mine). And, that's just our immediate family! No wonder I've been feeling so busy!

But, I love each new celebration as it comes! And, I especially love all the red and white of Valentine's Day. The girls and I had fun pulling down the bins of Valentine decor and getting started on the decorating. I am so happy I made an extra mailbag for the back of Malachi's chair last year... I just need to add the "M."

The girls found exactly 3 leftover heart lollipops. How could I say no to those faces? They got right to work coloring with our heart crayons and stamping with our heart stamps, which left me to decorate the house. We now have 3 weeks to write fun notes to each other and stick them in our mailbags!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chinese New Year 2012

It's days like today that I am SO glad I married into a Chinese family! Today is Chinese New Year's Eve, and we celebrated with a hot pot/ sushi feast with our family. Not only do I get to enjoy all the yummy food, but since I'm not Chinese, my husband does all the work. It's a win-win-win for me!

As always, the girls got so excited to have family come over. We are so blessed with such a wonderful extended family... (on both sides!)

After dinner, we played a new game we got for Christmas; Farkle Frenzy. Daniel creamed us the first game. I scored a win the second game. And, Allison was a great sport despite multiple losses!

The kids were also blessed with red envelopes... even Mr. Malachi!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Organizing Kids' Artwork

I bet you've been wondering what I accomplished on my day to myself, ha?! Are you ready? Absolutely nothing that was on my list. My little man needed a lot of attention in the morning, and my teeth needed a lot of attention in the afternoon! (Deep cleaning, but no cavities!)

But, the day wasn't a total loss. I was able to organize the girls' artwork while holding Malachi. First, I took pictures of all of Natalie's 4-yr-old art and put it into a collage. In case you didn't know, Picnik is offering their premium services free until April. That's the good news. The bad news is, they are closing after that. Anyway, I was able to make this collage of Natalie's 4 year old art:

Next, I organized Allison and Natalie's art from their art class. I bought 11 frames from Ikea for less than $30. (Their Nytjia frames are so cheap!)

I love the fun colors of their artwork, and I love having it displayed. Now onto the next project!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ritz Sandwiches

We had our Keepers of the Home meeting this week, and it was Allison's turn to bring the snack. Still in recovery mode, I went for something super easy. (Thankfully, they were super tasty, too!) I saw this recipe on Pinterest, but didn't actually pin it myself; so I winged it! We just mixed a little powdered sugar with some peanut butter, made sandwiches with the Ritz, then dipped them in melted chocolate chips. We decided to add sprinkles as well.

Just look at my "helpers." Ha!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Absolutely Nothing

Where do I begin? I wish I could say my lack of blogging was due to exercising... but my doctor told me I had to wait 8 weeks. So, I'm continuing to feast on junk, totally unmotivated to eat healthy until I begin jogging again.

I wish I could say I've been working on my next craft project... but I haven't.

have been home schooling... but nothing too exciting there.

The reason I haven't been blogging is simply that I've had zero energy. I had a nasty cold/ sinus infection that is finally starting to lift. I've been taking some pictures and "blogging" in my head; but my brain has felt too tired to actually sit down and blog.

Thankfully, I turned a corner today. You know how you don't realize how yucky you felt until you finally start to feel better? Yeah. That's me today.

Tomorrow my husband is taking the girls to Knott's Berry Farm... again! I have a dentist appointment, but other than that I am praying my little man will cooperate and allow me to get some things accomplished. Do I...
  • organize my mess of a closet?
  • work on the upstairs bookshelves?
  • work on the downstairs built-ins?
  • sew some pillows from the fabric I just bought?
  • work on a painting I've had in my head?
  • catch-up on blogging?
So many possibilities. I'll let you know! (Just keep me off of Pinterest!) :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

One good thing about the Santa Ana winds...

1. Tie a bag to a string.

2. Send kids outside with said bag.

3. Relax inside while the kids play "kite" for an hour.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Did you know...

  • 2-year-olds look even cuter on bad hair days? (Yes, I'm jealous!)
  • there is such a thing as rainbow roses? My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on January 3rd, and my dad sent my mom this lovely bouquet with rainbow roses. How do they do that?
  • everything tastes better with a toothpick? It's true... my dear friend Kelly introduced me to this concept, and I think it is so fun!
  • there are a lot of words that start with "b?" The last few afternoons while I painted, the girls came up with a letter, drew pictures of things that started with that letter, and then painted them. They started with the letter "b."
  • homemade pizzas are one of my favorite dinners, but I can never seem to get the crusts quite right?
  • even Grandmas get worn-out?
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