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Monday, June 27, 2011

Alphabet Hunt

This morning and into the afternoon, we gathered together with our friends and searched the museum trails for ABC's. We all put our thinking caps on and were extremely creative in coming up with all the letters. We had wonderful participation from everyone, and enjoyed ourselves along the way. We looked for things that started with the letter, or even actions that began with the letter. And for a precious few, we were able to spot the actual letter in nature. Our only rules were that it couldn't be a person's name, and we had to go in alphabetical order.

This is something we do each summer, and the kids always find it fun, but I believe it was actually the adults that got more into it this year. I always look forward to our hunt. There's something about using your brain creatively that I find extremely satisfying.

So without further ado, here's our Alphabet!

A is for AGUA

B is for BROKEN



E is for EAST

F is for FLOWERS

G is for GREEN and GRASS

H is for HANDS

I is for INSECT

insect photo
J is for JUICE

K is for KIDS (If you look closely, they are in the shape of the letter K too.)

L is for LILY holding the LOVE LEAF

M is for MOSS

N is for NIKE shoes

O is for the letter O

P is for PINK

pink flowers
Q is for QUIET (Shh)

R is for ROOF

S is for SOIL

T is for THE TRAIL

U is for UNDER the sign

V is for the letter V (If you look closely here, you can see the V is actually the head of a man who's holding a walking stick.)

W is for WOOD chips

X is for the letter X

Y is for the letter Y

Z is for ZIGZAG

Sunday, June 26, 2011


After a two month break, our book club finally had our 3rd official meeting. This time we all were to read the book Persuasion by Jane Austen. We also got together to watch the BBC movie of the book.

Penguin Popular Classics Persuasion by Jane Austen
(Fun Fact) I specifically chose to share this picture of the book, as it is the exact copy that I own. Several years ago, my family took a trip to England and we visited Bath one of the places that frequently shows up in Jane Austen's novels. While we were in Bath, I purchased this book, and the rest of Jane Austen's novels at a museum dedicated to her.

The book was one of my suggestions, as I have grown to love the story. Jane Austen is a favorite author of mine, and I especially enjoy the story of Anne Elliot. When she is a young lady, she is persuaded not to marry a certain man. After 8 long years, she still loves him. The part of I love most about the book is to see the transformation that Anne goes through. She begins as a soft-spoken girl, who will never stand up for herself. Towards the end of the book, she is much more forward, and is no longer persuaded by what others feel. She finds her own identity. I think it's a beautiful story.

Since this was my choice, I was given the task of coming up with a quiz for my friends. I had a lot of fun with this, and took notes throughout the story so I could try to stump them, and even give some extra information later that I had researched. It was quite fun for me!

Just like I did with To Kill a Mockingbird, I will share with you the questions, but if you want the answers, you will have to read the book for yourself. I would hate to deprive you of the privilege and satisfaction you can get from finding out for yourself.

1) Who persuaded Anne to not marry Frederick when she was young, and why?

2) Jane Austen has 6 complete novels, which one is Persuasion?

a. 3rd book
b. 1st book
c. 4th book
d. 6th book

3) What happened to prolong the moment of Anne & Frederick meeting again after 8 long years had past?

4) Who besides Frederick was Anne also persuaded not to marry and why?

5) What is the name of the family home the Elliot family was forced to rent out at the beginning of the story?

a. Kellynch Hall
b. Camden Place
c. Uppercross Hall

6) Why was Mr. William Elliot in bad favor with the Elliot family, and where did we first see him?

7) Anne’s father tells her upon their long absence from each other, “her skin, her complexion, greatly improved; clearer, fresher.” What product did he think she’d been using?

8) How old was Anne when her mother died? And how old is she at the end of the story?

9) Why did the Admiral and Mrs. Croft come to bath?

10) Who was it that told Mrs. Smith that Anne would be marrying Mr. William Elliot?

11) In the letter that changes everything at the end of the book, to whom is it addressed?

a. Miss Anne
b. Miss A E
c. Miss Anne Elliot

This will probably give away one of the answers to the questions, but I found this information to be most interesting and made me enjoy the novel even more. Jane Austen wrote Persuasion in a hurry, during an illness that she eventually died from; as a result, the novel is both shorter and arguably less polished. It was not subject to the usual pattern of careful retrospective revision. I believe it was still very well done, and has a special place in my heart.

If you've read many books from the time period of Jane Austen, the lifestyle they led was remarkably different than us. One of the things we were talking and laughing about the night of our meeting was how the characters would take a turn around the room, or a walk together. They would stop what they were doing, link arms, and walk the perimeter of a room. I would guess this would be to stretch their legs a bit, but it's still rather comical. My friends decided to take a turn around the kitchen.

I am so thankful for the gift of friendship I was given. I love all these women dearly, and I would gladly do anything for them. Whether it be taking a turn around the room, or something greater. God has blessed me!

This coming month, our next book we will be reading is Julie by Catherine Marshall, another one of my suggestions. I would encourage you to read it with us!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Treasure Trove

This weekend marked another Bag Day Book Sale at the library. Ever since the last book sale in April, I have been counting down the days. It is like heaven, here on earth. I can hardly tear myself away from the sale, wanting to fill my bag to the highest capacity. Every time I would take another trip around the room, I would find a new treasure, some book I hadn't heard of, or one that I desired to read again.

Ariel and I went as a "girl date" again, but this time we picked up my mother to join us. They filled their bags and were very patiently waiting for me at the exit door. How can you walk away from a room full of books, when they are practically free?

I figured out by the amount of books that I chose, I paid 17 cents per book! And Ariel paid 13 cents per book!

17 cents a book! WOW!

If I had found a few more, it would have been even cheaper than that. I love this sale. It has become one of my favorite things that our city has to offer. I feel like I'm stealing from the library though. But in all honesty, I'm happy to do it.

Actually, I'm probably too happy to do it. Sales like this can bring out the worst in you when it's something you love. Last time I enjoyed myself so much, I told my mom she just had to go to the next sale. Three days before the sale, I had this horrible thought that I'm ashamed to say.

What if she took my books? There are only so many really good books there. What if I didn't get all that I needed for myself? What about me?

Honestly, it wasn't until I got there and saw all the books that I realized how ridiculous I was being and feeling. The tables are loaded with books! And it worked to my advantage to have a friend there. We found each other books. It was helpful to have a fellow friend hunting.

How many times does that happen though? That our thoughts turn selfish and we start to just look out for our self? I'm sad to admit, it's probably daily that it happens. I often find myself arguing with my child about what they are not doing because it leaves me with more work. I catch myself thinking if they would just do this, then I wouldn't have to do it. It's all about me and what I want.

I'm constantly reminding my children that we have to look out for others. We need to be doing things for someone else because it's the right thing to do, not because it's what we want to be doing. But am I reminding myself that?

Doing what God wants is not always easy. It takes sacrifice and work. It's about being selfless and not thinking about you. It's putting other people's needs above your own. It's about being a servant, and giving up your rights. But after all this is done, God gives it right back to you.

"If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it." Luke 17:33

It seems I keep being reminded of this verse in many different ways. Last week it came from a simple, ugly, selfish thought about books. This week I was reminded of it when I was yelling at my child for neglecting to do their job because it caused more work for me. Who knows where the thought will come from next time. But I pray that I will be ready, and willing to serve, to give up my rights for another with no questions asked.

With that being said, I wanted to share my beautiful treasures with you all. Ariel and I found many good books!

Ariel was able to find several American Girl mystery books, which in itself would have made an awesome treasure. I've read a few of these and really enjoyed myself.

Nancy Drew! I think my daughter shares my heart, because we both love a good mystery book. I find there are so many mysteries in life that we almost never solve that it's very appealing to read a book where you can figure out or are given the answers.

We recently watched The Little House on the Prairie together as a family, so Ariel was really excited to find two books from the series.

A couple of classic books that you can never go wrong with... Ariel had both me and my mother showing her books she should try out. She was especially excited when I found her The Phantom Tollbooth a book her second grade teacher read to the class two years ago. It was the first one she decided to read once we got home.

My goal this sale, I wanted to complete my Left Behind series. I only had 1 of the prequels left to buy, and the last 3 books of the series. I didn't get my prequel, but I did find the last two books. I was pleased!

When I was in middle school, my favorite author was Janette Oke. I read every single one of her books, but have never owned more than a couple. If I had acted quickly, I could have got her entire Love Comes Softly series, but I hesitated and didn't want to choose them unless I could get them all. Once I finally started to collect them, the rest were already snatched up. Oh well... maybe next time.

Both of these authors are wonderful. I especially like Francine Rivers. I bought this book series for my mother for the past two "Mother's Days", so I already knew the series was good!

Some of those mystery books I told you I was fond of. Mary Higgins Clark writes very originally. She has lots of books, and all the stories are very different.

I was a little interested in these two, and thought Ariel might also like to read them.

Some random books here... I've always wanted to read Little Woman, I like The Client already, and the others just sounded good.

Both of these books are a blast from the past! I loved Full House when it was on, and I own all the DVD sets. I found this book in the kid section, but I bought it for myself. It's so neat because it has a page for each member of the Full House family. I have no idea what I'll do with it; maybe just add it to my keepsake box in the basement.

The 1940's book is full of good information. Ariel is having a Kit Kittredge birthday party, so I thought the book might come in handy. It's very close to the time period of Kit.

I didn't want to go home empty handed for my boys, so I looked long and hard for some books they would like. I believe the Maze book is the favorite of Gabe's.

Now that I have a new load of books to read, I first enjoy cleaning them up. I place a high value on books and take care of them in the best possible way. Several of the books I chose this time were previously library books. They all had plastic slipcovers that I was able to carefully extract and stickers that came off with Goo-Gone. They look like new and are all beautiful additions to the library I hope to have one day.

If you ever want to borrow a book, I would be happy to oblige you. The only thing I ask, please treat the books very respectfully. I hate to see a book with folded corners, covers rolled back, and pages torn or spilled on. I treat books like you would a Bible. All of them are very special to me!

The books this time were so much fun to find, and I honestly will be counting the days until the next sale in September. I promise, if you come, I won't worry that you'll be taking books away from me, unless of course you grab it out of my hand!

Happy Reading!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day

To all the men in my life who are great fathers... this is a day that we celebrate you! It's a day that we acknowledge all that you do for us, and are reminded that we wouldn't want to live without you.

I have three men that I greatly respect and care for. I first have my father, then brother, and of course my husband. They all are great examples of how to work hard and be committed. They are protectors, providers, and leaders. They have insight and give counsel. They also know how to be a friend. I appreciate all of them in ways that words cannot express.

Father's day craft homemade DIY camera card
This year, my children put together and planned everything for Father's Day. They have finally reached an age of independence, and the love they have for their dad was expressed beautifully this year.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rainbow Day 2011

It was with great excitement on Sunday that it was announced and chosen; Rainbow day was going to be taking place this week. We had a similar theme day last year, just with different activities for each color. This year we invited all our friends, and asked if they would help us out by choosing a color to plan. For myself, it made the day much more fun, and it required less planning on my part. I really enjoyed seeing the creative minds of my friends, and the thought that they put into it!

We made sure to have everyone dress in colors of the rainbow so we could celebrate with our whole bodies. My kids enjoyed choosing their color, and we were all surprised to find that red and blue are the favorites. After everyone arrived for the party, Ariel and I chose to change our color so we could have more of a variety of the rainbow. No one had chose purple!

rainbow day party
We started off the party with the color YELLOW. My mom was the planner for this one, and chose to have a candy balloon game. She filled yellow balloons with rainbow skittles, and all the kids had a turn breaking open the balloons like a piƱata. We had a sharp stick, and a fun hat to catch the skittles with!

candy balloon game

A couple of us adults even took a turn wearing the hat!

Our next color we explored was BLUE planned by Cynthia. We all decided she is very resourceful and can turn any piece of trash into something better and fun!

We played a game with blue creamer lids, and blue silverware. There was a bucket full of lids sitting next to us. One person was in charge of adding the lids to the circle, while the rest of us tried to pass them all the way around without dropping them, using only the end of our silverware. If the lid fell, we had to leave it on the ground. The last person in the circle would place the lids aside so we could count how many we got when time was up. If we were able to go through a certain amount without dropping them, and before the timer was up, we each got some Rainbow Twizzlers!

Another blue game we played was with the creamer lids and a bucket of water. We had two teams playing against each other this time for a relay game. The first people had to fill their lid with water, run to the other side and dump the water into a plastic container. The first team to make it to the blue line on the container won.

After a winner was pronounced, it was decided that the winners got to dump their water container on the other players. My daughter got into this the most!

I planned our next color which was ORANGE. We used three cans of shaving cream and mixed it with orange kool-aid. The color unfortunately didn't dye the shaving cream very well, but it did make it smell really good. The kids really seemed to enjoy this, and by the end were covered with the shaving cream regardless of how many times we told them not to touch their clothes.

orange shaving cream fun

shaving cream fun kids
When the shaving cream was all used up, we took the kids to the grass and hosed them all off. It was a perfect day for it as the weather was quite hot. The kids were all cooled down with their dripping wet clothing!

For the color GREEN Cristina planned for us to play "Red Light, Green Light" The kids really enjoyed this! I personally thought every time they need to go back for continuing to run on the Red light, but they didn't seem to think so.

After we finished playing the game, we all had some very delicious green rice krispie treats!

Michelle planned our RED game, water balloons! We had the kids divided into two different teams, and the fight was on.

Ariel found a new way of playing, by first breaking the balloon then trying to throw the water. I think she might have actually gotten herself more wet this way.

We had some healthy PURPLE smoothies made by Rachael to complete all of our colors

After our colors were finished, we played some rainbow games, and made a rainbow craft. I found these rainbow beanbag balls on the Family Fun website.

rainbow beanbag balls Family fun
After a little trial and error, we were all able to complete our balls. We had a little bit of difficulty getting the balloons stretched out enough to fill up with our split peas.

One of the games we played was "Rainbow Catcher"

1) First you choose a "rainbow catcher." They will stand in the middle of a large play area.
2) Next assign all the remaining players different colors of the rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
3) The rainbow catcher then calls out a color. All the players that have been assigned that color try and run past the catcher to the other side of the play area. The "rainbow catcher" tries to tag as many of children as they can before they reach the other side. Since we had only a few players, we also had the "rainbow catcher" call out multiple colors to make it a little more challenging.

Another game we played was inside the house, a sort of rainbow scavenger hunt. Each kid was assigned a color of the rainbow, and they had to run around finding three things of that color. The items had to be small enough to carry, and you couldn't get two of the same item. The kids seemed to have fun with this, and we even made a clean-up version of the game!

To end our rainbow party, we turned on the sprinkler and found a real rainbow to gaze upon!

It was a really fun day!


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