A List Maker's Life: August 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One Hand, Two Hands by Max Lucado

What do we use our hands for? 
As parents we often find our hands cuddling, comforting, nourishing, and encouraging.  Meanwhile our children are busy using their sweet little hands for drawing, digging, holding, clapping, snapping, waving, and more!


In the latest children's book written by Max Lucado, and illustrated by Gaby Hansen, all these hand-y jobs, as well as many hand-y attributes are highlighted to activate kids' prior knowledge about their hands.  The clever rhyming text in the beginning of the book leads appropriately in to a new lesson about how to use our hands to help others!

This book is pleasantly entertaining while still conveying a very important message.  We can use our hands to show our love for God by helping others.  The illustrations are adorable.  The characters, even the friendly creatures, have happy expressions that are downright contagious.  The text includes giggle worthy words such as: squishy, stinky, ooey, and pooey. The story ends with a simple prayer to reinforce the lesson shared.  Overall the book is child friendly and oh. so. cute! 
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Thank you to Booksneeze for providing me with a free copy of this sweet book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Baby Love

Our dear baby is busy growing, growing, growing!  Recently, at what might just be our last appointment with the specialist before his delivery, our "little one" measured in at just under six pounds based on the ultrasound.   He will definitely have size on his side when he checks in to our world!  We were pleased to hear that the fluid in and around his brain has remained stable in the mild risk range.  We continue to pray that will be true upon his arrival. 
With each milestone appointment crossed off the calendar we anticipate our first meeting all the more.  We trust that we will make the right decisions to the questions that need to be answered in the next weeks. We wonder if he will indeed look more like his big sister than his brothers.  We long to learn about his personality, which will most certainly dispel our fears about his physical limitations.
We think he could be here before we know it.
We hope he can sense how very much we all look forward to loving him!post signature
{Photo Credit: Pictures used in this post were taken by Kate of Bloem & Grow}

Friday, August 27, 2010

Quiet Celebration

Could it have already been a week ago that Kevin and I were kicking off our relaxing weekend away in celebration of our 10 year anniversary? Thanks to a generous offer from our parents to watch our kids for 4 days, as well as a generous offer from our uncle to borrow their cottage for the weekend we had a delightfully quiet celebration!
Even though we insistuted the "no gifts,-just a nice card" rule, Kevin surprised me with a heart shaped necklace that says HOPE in the center.  It's perfect.
Our sweet sister and her family sent us this beautiful floral arrangement.  The perfect blend of friendship (yellow roses) and love (our wedding day flowers, blue hydrangeas).
We enjoyed our own peaceful view from "sunset station...."
Where we were able to watch the entire sunset without jumping up to chase a child out of the waves.  Where we enjoyed a warm breakfast cinnamon roll with no one to stick their finger in our frosting.  Where we caught up on reading the final pages of several books we've started and set aside through the busy of summer.  Where we drove and drove up the northern coast of Michigan with no clearn destination in mind, but amazing scenery to appreciate.
It was a lovely, quiet celebration of us. 
Yet, it was just as wonderful to return to the joy that is the rest of us!
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Camera Shy?

A perfect summer evening found Gibson happily playing in the yard with the big kids' swing. 
How dare we expect him to participate in the family photo shoot. 
Right?
Besides, this little guy never likes attention. 
He wasn't born to make other people smile. 
And, seriously, this whole family picture process is totally embarrassing. 
{No sarcasm here...}
Perhaps a silly, smooshy face kiss will bring him out of his shell?
Oops, he doesn't look so amused with his crazy old parents and their antics.
In fact, it appears he'd rather eat soggy cereal than be part of a giggly group shot.
So, we let him free to explore and play. 
Just like that his "sonny" smile lights up the camera.

{Photos courtesy of Kate}
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

K12 Virtual Academy

Today I am introducing you to this month's sponsor, K12 Education.  You may have noticed their graphics playing on my sidebar and like me been very curious about what exactly an online K12 Education is all about.  The following article, written by Heidi Higgins, explains.

I never pictured myself as a “schooling at home” mom.

I was a big yellow bus believer! I even threw a party for myself when, after 20 years, I sent the last of my six children to school! The balloons were not all popped from my party when my husband, a state legislator, invited me to see some of the new education options now available in our state.

I went along just to be with him, so when I heard the words, “schooling at home,” I scoffed, “Not for me!” But something happened inside my mind and heart as I listened to what could now be offered to my children--at home. My mind drifted to my 12 year-old daughter who had been holding back in class, afraid to be labeled a “brain” or a geek.

I was told that the Virtual Academy option could open up doors for her and let her excel at her own pace. I remember the sigh that escaped when I knew this was something I wanted to try in my home.  My family has been enrolled since 2002. I am now the parent of a Virtual School graduate, and though it has not been an easy road, I cannot speak highly enough of the Virtual Academy option for schooling children.

A Virtual Academy is an online public school with most of the bells and whistles of a traditional school, but with all the comforts of home because that is where the student is—at home.

The Virtual Academy became my choice when I learned that this online school could provide my children with:

1. The top quality K12 curriculum
2. A state-certified teacher assigned to my family
3. All the supplies I would need to put together the highest quality education available
4. All this would be paid for by my tax dollars.

The Virtual Academy has remained my choice for more than eight years because I discovered that the curriculum can be individualized to the needs of each of my children. I no longer wonder where they are in their education or if they are grasping the material.

I know...

~Online tools show where to begin and suggest a plan for each day.
~The teacher brings the lessons and the online learning all together with regular contact, live lessons, and help with individual needs.
~Office hours are conducted online so that a family can virtually drop in to visit about a lesson or receive more instruction.
~During the day, I work directly with my child, as the child’s learning coach.

The child knows that education is important to me, and something to value. This encourages deeper dives into subjects that hold our interests. K12 provides resources for just such research in many of the lessons. There is a lot of multiple generation learning going on here.

The K12 curriculum builds lessons that include flash technology, brilliant photography, and exciting interactive programming to give variety to each lesson and peak the interests of students. I was stunned when my second grader watched the news and informed me that the Middle East conflict was taking place on the Fertile Crescent. And when one of them wanted to go for a drive so they could see a cold front and a warm front meet in the sky so they could explain how it worked. What inspires the child, inspires the Learning Coach, as well.

The Virtual Academy hosts regular meet-and-greets, as well as local activities for families to get to know one another and to network support. Activities are optional, but families tend to come and enjoy visiting museums, libraries, movie houses, parks and local historical sites. Parents pool their time and talents to offer additional support as Virtual Academy Boosters. These events are parent-run activities that vary from region to region, but include co-ops, clubs, gym days, bowling leagues and field trips.

My virtual academy hosts spelling bees, geography bees, science fairs and literacy fairs. My children have had pen pals, dance partners, and lego robot races. In enrolling my children in this program, I have found “virtually” everything my children need to have a top-notch educational experience right at home

This article, written by Heidi Higgins, is a sponsored post on behalf of K12 and was originally posted on ThinkTank12

Snuggle Pups

Wordless Wednesday is hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

10

Dear Angel of Mine,
Remember when...

{'00}
Unite the rainbow, Lord please make us one

{'01}
Your body is a wonderland

{'02}
Found our freedom now and we're traveling light

{'03}
Wonderful is what I perceived this life would be, pain and problem free but overtime I found reality. And through it all I see, you're the one who gets me.

{'04}
Cause days go by
I can feel like 'em flying
Like a hand out the window in the wind the cars go by
It's all we've been given
So you better start livin' right now
Yeah, these days go by
 
{'05}
You and me and all of the people
I don't know why I can't keep my eyes off of you
 
{'06}
This is my wish
I hope you know somebody loves you

{'07}
It starts in my toes
make me crinkle my nose
where ever it goes
I always know
that you make me smile
 
{'08}
I was made to love and be loved by you
This aint no ordinary love

{'09}
It's you and me, moving at the speed of light into eternity

{'10}
Love, will, hold us together
Make us a shelter
to weather the storm

{As we head into the future}
Love is in the house and the house is packed,
but you are  - still wah, wah, wah - my fire.
Happy 10th Anniversary Kevin.

Let me say once more that I love you,
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Let's Get Organized

Today I'm hosting a linky party on my other blog: ABC & 123: A Learning Cooperative! Let's Get Organized together! Come share let us know how you organize your:

Learning Materials and Curriculum
Toys, Puzzles, and Books
Craft Materials
Home and Holiday Decor
Kitchen Pantry and Cabinets
Linen Closet
Schedules
Shopping Lists
Meal Plans
Recipes
and anything else you've come up with!

For typically being an ultra organizer I am embarrassed to admit that I have not taken time to take pictures of any of my latest organizing projects.  Although with nesting instinct in full gear there are some pretty organized tupperware closets and toy boxes around here - at least for a few hours. I've also been organizing a "Master Schedule" for keeping our family organized while Kevin and I are in the hospital with our new babe.  Thankfully I have the rest of the month to link up with more pictures and suggestions.  In the meantime, here are two of my favorite household organizing tools.
This flip album sits on my desk, right by my card organizer.  Each page has a thematic calendar with the days of the month.  Whenever a new baby is born or we enjoy a wedding celebration I add it to the calendar.  It makes it very easy to remember special dates and have the card ready.
My other handy dandy desktop organizer is this file folder box.  I have a folder for immediate to-dos, menus, school papers that need attention, and each of my side businesses.  As you can see it gets used a lot and the folders need a little spruce up!

Happy Organizing,
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Our Favorite Monkeys Visit Friends

After having a wonderful time at his Kindergarten field trip to the John Ball Zoo, Gavin was anxious to bring our whole family back for an adventure together.  The very warm weather forced most of the animals to rest in the shade. Despite the lazy zoo atmosphere learning about the animals was fascinating.  Gibson's excitement about all of the creatures was especially fun to see, especially since his siblings (and parents...) certainly haven't set that example. 
"It sure is nice that they have a stattoo of John here in the zoo." Gavin
"I just want to find the lions and the big pink birds."
Anne Hope {aka Fancy Nancy}
"Wook Ma, Wook."  Gibson

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bloom

"Bloom where you are planted"
It's my desire to listen and grow at whatever stage I may find myself here on life's journey.
To avoid becoming too pot-bound, comfortable with my place. 
To be a colorful outward example of the water and sunshine building my roots.
Speaking of blooms, this little beauty has really blossomed this summer. We've been thrilled to see her confidence and maturity grow as she has experienced many new and special things in the past weeks!
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

BitDefender’s BitMoms Community Teaches Families to Stay Safe Online

Today I am welcoming my newest sponsor, Bit Defender, who will be sharing some interesting information with you, as well as offering a valuable giveaway!

If words like sexting, social networking, tweeting, wall posts, cyberbullying, objectionable content, security, and privacy settings make you uncomfortable, the free BitMoms.com community can serve as a useful resource to help you keep your kids safe online. BitMoms provides news, content, and resources about family internet safety and security issues to make the internet a safer place for children.

Powered by BitDefender, the award-winning provider of innovative internet security solutions, BitMoms is an interactive website and social network. It serves as a hub for conversations on internet safety topics, as well as online safety news.

Members engage in information seeking through the discussion Forum, sharing diverse perspectives on current events involving internet safety topics for families, and accessing resources from the Content Library. The Content Library includes information about talking to your children about internet dangers, protecting yourself when online shopping, safeguarding Facebook photos from hackers, and a PDF download about online safety that can be easily shared with friends or used to educate fellow parents PTA meetings.

New content is constantly being added to BitMoms, making it a dynamic and exciting site to visit daily. Chief BitMom Leticia Barr, of TechSavvyMama.com creates blog posts and videos that are uploaded several times per week and the BitMoms community members are also regular contributors to all aspects of the site.

“As a mom of two, technology expert, and educator I am proud to serve as BitDefender’s Chief BitMom and blogger,” said Barr. “With BitMoms.com, we’re really trying to provide a constructive place for moms to go, to talk about the issues we experience as part of our daily digital lives as well as a place to gather information, industry news and helpful tips to keep our families safe online.”

BitMoms also encourages fellow bloggers to apply for the BitMoms Blog Network. BitMoms Blog Network members are an exclusive group of individuals who are passionate about helping other parents keep their kids safe online. Benefits include exclusive content, a stipend to attend a blog conference of your choice, and the opportunity to win a full sponsorship to BlogHer 2011.
BitDefender encourages all mothers, regardless of their experience using the internet and ages of their children, to visit and become a member of the free BitMoms.com community to become knowledgeable about family internet safety.


BitDefender is offering a copy of the newest BitDefender 2011Total Security to one of the We 3 Teach readers. You can find and enter the giveaway here.
The giveaway is open for entry until August 31st, 2010.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of BitDefender.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August Lovin'

Weddings are filled with traditions, and ceremony, that become familiar to us as adults. To see it all through the eyes of a little one at her first wedding was priceless!

"So, who am I getting married to tomorrow?  Does he know me yet?"
"Waiting for my turn is boring, but it's fun when it's my turn to walk in front of the people."

"We really need to practice that for about a half hour more times before we get it mom."
"I can't believe it, all of the other girls wore dresses and shoes that matched mine." (Of course that wasn't planned in advance - smiles)
"I have to stay by my teacher to know what to do." (a.k.a. the bride)

"Guess what? She even had friends who helped her get her dress on because it was so beautiful."
"Look at that whole table full of presents for me." (No, those would be for the new Mr. and Mrs., but thank you Uncle RJ for providing her with a special package of her own)
"After I do all the pictures I get to go to a big, fancy dinner.  I'm going to dance all by myself." (Lucky little lady actually got a dance with Grandpa and Daddy)
"I did it!  I walked down the aisle and stood in front of all the people without being embarrassed."
It was such a joy to watch Anne Hope confidently fulfill her role as flower girl, to listen to her four year old reactions, to accompany her as she flitted around the dance floor, and to experience a wedding with fresh perspecitve as she did- for the first time.  Thanks to Dana and Greg for including her in their special day & a big congratulations to all 3 of our dear cousins who celebrate August 7th as their wedding day!

And...
speaking of wedded bliss,
Happy Anniversary to two of my favorite people ever. 
My role models. 
 My examples of all that is love. 
Enjoy your special day Mom & Dad!
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Monday, August 9, 2010

Peace

As each summer day passes, so do many milestones that we have been anticipating since late May. In the last week we've had conversations with our doctor that have given us a bit more peace of mind about what to expect upon our little babe's birth.  This week we look forward to many more answers as we meet with two more specialist, whom we have been compiling questions for since the appointments were made months ago.  Each week - each day - we look for little pieces of comfort as we do our best to make the most of every moment.
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Top 10 Summer Day

Yesterday was a great day. The kids and I will add it to the list of top 10 day for this summer. Perfectly filled with chasing, splashing, and relaxing with friends.

Courage.
During our pool date Gavin took his first fearless ride down the water slide and Gibson flopped repeatedly into the deep end.

Generosity.
My dear friends completely surprised me with a much needed, much appreciated gift for baby Gabe. Seriously, these ladies are looking for ways to help all. of. the. time.

Exploration.
In the afternoon the kids had a hayday with a group of school friends in a giant, secret garden playroom. Gavin could hardly settle in to one activity afraid he might miss out on another.  Anne Hope discovered the little girl thrill of all things Littlest Pet Shop.

Foodspiration.
I enjoyed a ladies only Chinese carry out meal with two other sweet friends. It was fabulous to fulfill a craving, have adult conversation, sit in beautiful surroundings, and not have to share a single bit of my orange chicken bowl.

Creativity.
The girls and I chatted and scrapped the night away. I was able to catch up on my album pages through July, work on a few digital graphics, and brainstorm a cover page for our 2010 family album.

Refreshed.
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