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Archive for the ‘Kid Activities’ Category

June 1

This has been a week with a couple blog posts, other weeks there’s a dearth and I’m lucky if I get this one up. I think I’m going to try to work on posts when I have the time, but save finished posts for when it’s been a few days etc, so I still have something to put up. Especially if the post is already chronologically way late anyway 😛

1. The routine is still hit or miss. Typically the pattern is I have a really good day where I’m mostly away from the computer and on schedule, and then when I have some computer time the kids get into trouble and I end up frustrated, and then the next day I feel I can spend a bit more time on the pc to make up for it. I do love praying my new morning prayer out on the deck though! The kids have been sleeping in this week 😮 but if they don’t then I just give them some cheerios and a drink, and then go out to pray. The one time they stay out of trouble is if they’re at the table eating!

2. Faith Notes
– Morning Prayer/Reflection: I remember when I was younger I always felt like I was special, like I was set apart from the rest of the world, like the main character in a movie. Now I realize where that came from: God had a clear calling on my heart. Long before I knew what it was, I felt the whisper of God’s love on my life.

We are all the main character in God’s movie.

Then later reading spiritual combat: ‘We like to see ourselves as important’ – Yes, but this feeling didn’t come from me… I like to think of myself as important but this was different. – it came from ‘out there’ from somewhere outside of me.

-CCO is here for impact this summer. That in itself is pretty exciting, but since I’ve already taken ownership of my faith and gone through the first two faith studies, I didn’t think there’s be a whole lot to enrich my faith, but then I discovered the Courageous Catholic program. While the impacters lead faith studies, the staff team leads more mature Catholics in a program on mission and evangelization. There people of all ages at the tables, which makes discussion very interesting. I feel that pull on my heart for other souls, what better way to feed that desire than to be equipped to do something about it? It’s exciting and challenging, and I only missed two weeks… One session and I was hooked, I will be going back!

CC Lesson 3:
-Holiness and Mission are 2 sides to the same coin. They compliment each other, as one grows, the other follows. Both are key to our spiritual life, our relationship with God. We should put the same care, resources and attention into out missionary life as we do into attaining holiness.

-“In the spiritual realm, to, no one lives for himself alone. And salutary concern fro the salvation of one’s own soul is freed from fear and selfishness only when it becomes concerned for the salvation of others as well. This is the reality of the communion of saints, the mystery of ‘vicarious life’ of prayer, as the means of union with Christ and his saints.” Incarnationis Mysterium

-The danger in mission is we can get so busy doing, that we miss the relationship. My ways, my thinking interferes with what God wants to do. (like when you over think what you’re going to say too much…)

-Everyone’s relationship with God is so different, so personal, that children CAN’T latch onto their parent’s faith, because it is not their own.

-If anyone so much as glances at the Lord (monstrance) He’s got them.

-There are barriers to other people’s faith when we try too hard: the worst thing we can do is open our mouth and have it not be the Holy Spirit speaking

-Sometimes the worst sinners make the best witnesses. When you’re an army general, and you’ve been in the trenches and looked evil in the eye, no one can say ‘ you don’t know’.

-Faith w/o question is not faith. It’s blind obedience. How do we know it’s not just a bunch of lies? Lies fall under their own weight, truth survives. The truth of God’s word has survived for centuries. Also, would the martyrs die for a book of lies?

-To reach the world one person at a time, we need to pass on the message AND the mission. If we don’t pass on the mission as well, then there are people who will not hear the message. But we have to equip them, we can’t just tell them to go and share the faith without helping them to do it!

-I had a beautiful Pentecost. At Mass before communion I had a real sense of God pouring His very Life into us through the Eucharist. I understood again that this is what He does, for all of us, and also personally. As I was trying just a little harder to live led by the spirit and to live how God wanted me to, (extra patence and love etc) I chose to remain calm when one of my children followed me up, and when they wanted to see Mary I felt such a request should always be granted – though when my big kid came running over after the priest didn’t seem too impressed. But still, as soon as I received Jesus, I felt a deep increase of patience, that I had the grace to do much better what I had been trying to start doing for a few days. It was just neat.

As I drove to my mom’s while listening to the Rosary CD: ‘She would treasure in her heart, as she had always done, the things that God had done for her, and for all of us her children.’ As Father Groeschel said those last words, I had an image of a great big cross in the patch of sky that lay open before me, watching over us. It’s there, this life, this hope, for all of us here on earth, who choose to see it. I wanted to take a photo but I was driving, but another time I will. I hope I never see big open spaces like that driving on the highway the same way again.
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Then, still being led by the spirit, at my Mom’s mention I ended up washing a number of her dishes. (only my oldest kid was awake at the time.) As I washed and she prepared lunch we discussed a couple of the faith questions I’d been meaning to ask, and we had a very nice conversation.

-There was also a fun Focus on the Family Broadcast on Surviving Summer Vacation:

*Start by letting your kids have a few days to decompress. Then, draft and explain some summer house rules: curfew, bedtime, what friends can come over, where they can go etc… Then do some brainstorming and involve your children, what are some things you want to learn? ( Sports, hobbies, etc )Plan to help them get what they need, help them practice, even do related field trips.

*Expect them to do some more chores than during school year, and summer is a good time to teach them important life skills like doing laundry and paying bills. This is doing them a real favor, because they will need to know this stuff when they leave home!

*Have a Summer hit list: places and things to see. Think about some fun fieldtrips! (beach, parks, museums, tours…)

It’s a time when you can really influence your children since you’re around them more,. If you’re intentional, you can be teaching and growing your kids physically, spiritually, intellectually…. Don’t let the days devolve into ‘sleep in as late as you want’. Have a schedule where everyone sleeps in a bit but gets up at a reasonable time, 7:30, 8am. And don’t sit around in front of a screen all day – get out there!!!

Other ideas:
Have a scheduled quiet/reading time for everyone
Have a reading contest to motivate them to read… 2000 pts for this book… 10 000 for reading the gospels etc – have rewards (at the end of the week we’ll go: for icecream, to the beach, to an amusement park (depending on the total points)
Other ideas: Museum scavenger hunt, Nighttime animal safari!, Go to a state park and cook foil dinners – start traditions!
Same with the car trips: Car contests-scavenger hunt, bingo etc… have little prizes in the glove box.

3. Boo! Unprotected Sects – When it comes to computer viruses, you’re now more likely to catch one visiting a church website than surfing for porn.

4. BBQ for the Win! I love summer when we can just throw a quick meal on the Barbeque! We’ve been making suppers om the barbecue a lot lately, Yum 🙂
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5. The full site for the worldwide photo project won’t be up till June, but they’ve posted up 100 photos and also 100 profiles for people to browse through. There’s some pretty neat stuff there 🙂 I especially like this one:

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The tailor takes the measures of new summer uniform for a swiss guard in vatican city

Check them out here: http://www.aday.org/#100-photos

6— I am POSITIVE I wrote about these photography basics for kids activities, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on the blog… Since my kids have a mom who’s in love with photography, these ideas would be great to help teach them and have fun. Hey, I probably could teach DH a thing or two as well!

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This is another article about teaching kids to take good photos, but the ideas are more aimed at older kids: Teaching Your Child How To Take Good Pictures

7–My son’s birthday party is in just over a week! We’re doing a CARS themed party, and I’ve got some good ideas, but nothing is made or wrapped and I still have a few more supplies to buy.

I’m going for something like this CARS party :
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Summer Activities

http://www.thrivingfamily.ca/Features/Magazine/2010/may/seize-smmr-jun.aspx

My kids are a bit young for this, but it looks great for a few years from now… I’m always looking for things to do.

Summer is a great time to strengthen your family with parent-child activities. While a quick Internet search will give you hundreds of things to do with your kids — build forts, swim, create a scavenger hunt, draw chalk outlines on the sidewalk and twirl in the rain — Thriving Family is taking summer fun to another level.

We have compiled easy-to-do ideas that will help you enjoy the summer with your children while teaching them biblical principles. Print this out and put it on the refrigerator or near your family calendar. We want to empower you to help your family thrive spiritually — while you have fun!

This is the June calendar. For July, we have another month’s worth of activities.

So get ready for an amazing summer! If you’ll take just 10-50 minutes a day to do these fun — and spiritual — activities, you’ll be amazed at how God grows your children in their faith!
June
1 Over the summer, create an alphabet scrapbook with your children to better appreciate God’s creation. Have them create images of things God made (e.g., draw an ant for the letter A, or take a picture of a watermelon for W). You can talk about God’s purpose for each. Today, gather all the supplies.
2 Plant flowers with your children. When you’re done, tell them to wash by cleaning the dirt from under their fingernails. Explain how sin is like dirt that needs to be washed away. When we sin and ask God for forgiveness, He “washes” us clean. (John 13:1-11)
3 Place toothpicks in cut-up fruit, and savor the sweet flavors. Talk about how a tree may produce several bushels of delicious fruit. Explain that God also wants us to produce “fruit.” Talk about the fruits of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness and joy. (Galatians 5:22-23)
4 Help your children make a page for the letter A in their creation scrapbook.
5 Introduce the Clubhouse Jr. summer service challenge to your children. Find the details in Clubhouse Jr. magazine or online at clubhousejr.com.
6 Ask each family member to be kind to someone during church today. At lunch, share what each of you did for others.
7 Choose one Scripture verse for this week. Write it on a card, and post it on the refrigerator. Help your children create a Scripture song using the verse. Sing this song together every morning this week.
8 Help your children make a page for the letter Z in their creation scrapbook.
9 Don’t open the blinds this morning. At breakfast, ask your children to open them. Explain that there’s no reason to sit in the dark — by pouting or being mean — when God’s light is available. Asking for forgiveness opens the blinds on our heart and lets God’s love shine in. (Acts 26:12-18)
10 Go to a park. When your children ask you to push them on a swing or merry-go-round, ask them why they need a push. (“To get started.”) Explain that the world began with God creating everything and breathing life into humans. That was the “push” that got it all started. (Revelation 4:11)
11 Help your children make pages B and Y in their creation scrapbook.
12 Introduce the Clubhouse summer challenge to your children. Find the details in Clubhouse magazine or online at clubhousemagazine.com.
13 Ask your children to count how many times they can legitimately say “thank you” to those around them.
14 Sing your Scripture song. Choose a new Scripture, write it out and post it. Create a new song and sing it every day this week.
15 Help your children make pages C and W in their creation scrapbook.
16 Take a drive, and ask your kids what each road sign means. Then ask, “What would happen if we ignored it?” Explain how signs and rules help keep us safe. Then talk about how God’s rules help us, too. His rules are in the Bible, and obeying them keeps us from hurt. (Luke 11:28)
17 Switch labels on two cans of fruit. At a meal, ask your children what they think is inside each can. Then open the cans. Discuss how disappointing it can be when the inside of a can doesn’t match the outside. God wants our thoughts and actions to be the same inside and out. (Matthew 23:26-28; Luke 10:27)
18 Help your children make pages D and V in their creation scrapbook.
19 Sit outside and ask your kids to identify sounds they recognize. Because God wants us to recognize His voice when He speaks to our hearts, we have to learn what His voice sounds like. We can better listen to God’s still, small voice when we find a quiet place to pray and read the Bible.
(John 10:2-4; 27)
20 Before church, ask your children to be ready to talk about what they learn today.
21 Sing your Scripture song. Choose a new Scripture, write it out and post it. Create a new song and sing it every day this week.
22 Help your children make pages E and U in their creation scrapbook.
23 As you work on a puzzle, discuss how you can’t see the whole picture until every piece is in place. Then explain how our lives are like an incomplete puzzle. Though it’s hard to understand how certain events fit in God’s plan for our lives, He sees the whole picture and knows how all the pieces fit together. (Proverbs 3:5)
24 Enjoy a sunset painting party. With watercolors and paper or fabric, paint the sunset. Explain how God is the master Artist, and we can see His handiwork in nature. (Psalm 102:25)
25 Help your children make a page for the letter X in their creation scrapbook.
26 Collect leaves or berries that have fallen to the ground. Talk about how they stop growing when disconnected from the tree or plant. Explain how Jesus is the Vine, and we are the branches. If we quit praying, reading the Bible and going to church, our spiritual lives stop growing. (John 15:5)
27 Ask your children to greet at least two people at church today by telling them that God loves them.
28 Sing your Scripture song. Choose a new Scripture, write it out and post it. Create a new song and sing it every day this week.
29 Take a walk with a compass. Go east. Ask your kids when they think the compass will says they’ve gone as far east as possible. After awhile, explain that you could travel east — or west — forever. Discuss how this is similar to God’s forgiveness. As far as the east is from the west — that’s how far God has removed our sins from us. (Psalm 103:12)
30 Help your children make pages G and S in their creation scrapbook.

JULY
1 Go to a nearby body of water and skip stones across the water’s surface. Explain how God helped David, a shepherd boy, use one small stone to defeat a giant. David obeyed God and trusted Him to direct the stone.
(1 Samuel 17:45-50)
2 Help your children make a cover for their creation scrapbook.
3 Go outside. Let your kids collect things in a shoebox, such as small rocks, leaves and seeds. As they show you each item, ask to whom it belongs. Discuss how everything belongs to God. (Psalm 24:1)
4 Ask your children to honor the history of their country by decorating your house, talking about your flag, discussing God’s directions that were followed by past and current leaders, and greeting others in a way that celebrates your country’s birth.
5 Sing your Scripture song. Choose a new Scripture, write it out and post it. Create a new song and sing it every day this week.
6 Help your children make pages I and P in their creation scrapbook.
7 Look through a family album with your children. Share memories and explain how photographs help us remember things. God wants us to remember what He has done, too. Communion and Bible stories help us remember what God has done for His people. (1 Corinthians 11:23-25)
8 Build one tower of blocks on loose sand, and a second on something flat and solid. Using a hose, let water gently flow next to each tower. Describe why the tower on solid ground does not fall. Explain how we should build our lives on the Rock, who is Jesus Christ. (Matthew 7:24-27)
9 Help your children make pages J and O in their creation scrapbook.
10 Blindfold one child, and carefully guide the child along a short walk. Give each child a turn. When you are done, explain how God is our guide. We are sometimes blind to obstacles and dangers in life, and we must trust God to safely lead us. (Isaiah 42:16)
11 Ask your children to talk to a child they don’t know at church or who doesn’t have many friends.
12 Sing your Scripture song. Choose a new Scripture, write it out and post it. Create a new song and sing it every day this week.
13 Help your children make pages H and R in their creation scrapbook.
14 Go outside and look at the night sky. Find constellations and try counting the stars. Tell your children that God calls the stars by name, that the heavens are His handiwork and that the earth is His footstool. We serve a big God! (Isaiah 66:1-2)
15 Break into a rhyme or sing a tune as your young children eat fruit: Watermelon, watermelon, day or night; God made it good for us, and it tastes just right! Explain that God made fruit and wants kids to enjoy it because it will help them grow healthy and strong. (Genesis 1:29)
16 Help your children make pages L and M in their creation scrapbook.
17 Blow bubbles outside. Point out how the wind moves the bubbles. Explain that we can’t see the wind, but we know it’s there because we see it move the bubbles. In the same way, we can’t see God, but we know He is there because we see Him doing things in our lives. (Romans 1:20)
18 Ask your children to give a big hug to one person at church.
19 Sing your Scripture song. Choose a new Scripture, write it out and post it. Create a new song and sing it every day this week.
20 Help your children make pages F and T in their creation scrapbook.
21 Enjoy a run through the sprinkler with your children. Afterward, share how God’s Word is like cool water on a hot day, encouraging and reminding us of God’s faithfulness and love. (Psalm 23:3)
22 Deflate your bicycle tires and explain that, with flat tires, your bike is useless. Likewise, Christians can do nothing apart from God’s help. Reinflate your tires, reminding your children that when they are filled with the Holy Spirit, they can do what God intends for them to do. Then go for a bike ride. (Ephesians 5:18; Philippians 4:13)
23 Help your children make pages K and N in their creation scrapbook.
24 At mealtime, tell your children to smell and look at their food; no tasting allowed. Explain how food is delicious and satisfying, but only if it’s eaten. Then let them eat. Tell them that they can read, talk and sing about Jesus, but if they never experience Him, they won’t know His goodness.
(Psalms 34:8)
25 Encourage your children to remember one of the songs they will sing at church so your family can sing it again on the way home.
26 Sing your Scripture song. Choose a new Scripture, write it out and post it. Create a new song and sing it every day this week.
27 Help your children make a page for Q in their creation scrapbook.
28 Declare today Summer Thanksgiving! Have your kids write or draw everything they are thankful for. Explain that we should give God thanks because He is good and He loves us. End the day with a prayer of thanksgiving. (Psalm 118:28-29)
29 Ask your children to pull up a large tree from the roots. When they can’t do it, explain that God wants our “roots” to run deep. When we drink from His water (His Word) and bask in His sunshine (prayer), our roots (faith in God) grow deep and strong. (Hosea 14:5)
30 Have a family praise night. Sing every Scripture song your family has created throughout the summer.
31 Talk about all the things you did together this summer. Thank your children for being a part of the fun. Then discuss which activities meant the most to them. Pray together, thanking God for your family and your time together.

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My Quick Takes are really late this week…

1. Faith thoughts:

-He’s not mad at you. He’s not laughing at you either. He LOVES you!

-Learn to turn to that love in suffering/frustration. – like I did when I started to get my heart ready for confession, even before examining my conscience, just knowing that I’d be going later to meet with God etc…

-Like with loneliness, but also in the stresses of daily life- I am learning to find that comfort (Jesus/love) in times of trial.
also thinking back to Montreal-when I was there in adoration and still no peace-I was too proud-holding on to my anger and frustration. I have to learn, especially in trials/times of great frustration, to let go and surrender to God… maybe even try to learn but above all to remember that God loves me and I was not meant for this etc…

-Oh, and it’s probably high time for this (and I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to share my life here without mentioning something) so: We are expecting our 3rd child in December. Right now a baby wasn’t in our plans, but I am choosing to really trust the Lord in this, and everything will be just fine.

2. This week I bought myself a can of hair mousse.
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For the longest time I have been of the school of ‘wash and wear’ with my hair, not wanting to have to fuss with it, but decided, especially with graduation coming up, that I wanted more volume to my ‘do’. And, I am thrilled with the results! When I put it in right after washing and blow dry it upside down etc, the extra bounce lasts for 4 or 5 days! It adds about 10-15 minutes to my overall care routine but it makes a big difference, and I love the new me 🙂

3. This week I finally graduated from University! It’s been a long time coming-6 years!- but with the co-op work terms and the 2 KIDS, well I guess it’s to be expected.

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My DMIL offered to take the kids for the night before my graduation, so I would have more time to get ready. Thank the Lord she did, I never would have made it! Still fighting the pangs of morning sickness, I ended up sitting down at my pc to got through pictures and rest and wait for it to pass, even after I’d eaten (which seems to be the best kept secret to keeping it away-besides taking my vitamin later in the day-instead of on an empty stomach first thing in the morning). Then once I felt better I had to wash and style my hair with the mousse and blow it dry…. By the time I got out of the house it was half an hour later after when I had tentatively planned to be at my Mom’s….

When I walked out to the car 30 minutes late DH was sweet and told me I looked fantastic. I knew he was right, and I felt I had mostly done my best to get ready on time, and decided not to worry about the details of the day. Unfortunately, my mother did not share my trusting attitude, and was actually much more upset about the time etc than I was; She thought the day was turning into an increasingly big fiasco because I hadn’t rented a robe yet either, but I was pretty sure it didn’t work that way anymore, and you got them the day of.

I knew when I first saw ceremony start time of 9:30 that given how my mornings have been this deadline was ambitious…(especially since they said grads should be there one hour before…) I can’t imagine if we’d had to get the kids up and fed and dressed and drive them all the way to my MIL’s… She just offered to take the kids and I never would have even thought of it but it was a lifesaver, so a BIG thank you goes out to her. As it was, I got there with 5 minutes to spare-before the procession. I ran up and found my spot, made a mad dash back down and got a robe and then dashed back up gain just in time to jump in my place in line at the door to the auditorium. I made it even in time for the procession-just. I hadn’t quite had time to finish with the pictures on the computer that I was going to be deleting, but I knew fairly well which were the good ones, (When I got in the car and told my mom that morning that at that moment we had only 11 pictures…she was somewhat distraught. So while I sat there in the auditorium I was able to clear enough pictures for the day. I did try to pay attention and clap for each graduate though, as God reminded me that EVERY ONE OF THEM deserved it just as much as I did.

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Sitting inside the auditorium I did my best to relax and soak it all in. For me, this was basically a once in a lifetime thing, and I was determined to enjoy it to the fullest. When it was time for our row to stand at the side I got the camera to my family, having cleared some 50 pictures for them to use. Then I fixed my robe, had one of the CS admin women pin on my alumni pin, walked up the steps, whispered my name to the announcer and walked across the stage. They hold a grad hat over you but you don’t get to wear it as an undergrad. There was a kneeling bench but I chose to bow under the grad hat, I only kneel to my Lord. Then I walked the rest of the way, shook a complete stranger’s hand and received my undergrad diploma; BSc in Computer Science and Philosophy. DH was right there with the camera to capture the moment. Sitting in my chair again afterwards was a moment of simple joy. There was a great sense of ultimate completion and fulfillment. This chapter of my life was over, for some reason it made me think of Christ’s final ascension from this world back up to heaven. And I couldn’t stop smiling, because after 6 long years, finally, I did it!

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Outside after the ceremony it was cloudy but warm, and not a drop of rain. The forecast had been for heavy rain all day, which of course would not do for my graduation, grad day is supposed to be warm and sunny for everyone to take pictures outside.. By later that afternoon the weather was perfectly glorious, I think the sun even properly came out. I decided we’d take the pictures first, just in case the weather decided to turn nasty again, so everyone took turns standing in and taking photos-all except me, who had to be in them all and thus couldn’t take them-but did give final approval that the photos that were taken were up to par, before we could move on.

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Then we went to the reception. It was nice to come back ‘home’ one last time, to my old friend the CSB.

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And the CS reception did not disappoint! In fact, the focus was on sandwiches and fruit and veggies… And it was catered by SCANWAY, one of our favorite catering places. The rest of the time was pure celebration, it was a most fitting reward after 6 years of hard work. The food was fancy and delicious, smoked salmon on potato latkes, gourmet and scrumptious!

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They also had wine which of course I couldn’t have any of, so I just took a few pictures of the glasses instead, and drank several glasses of the delicious non-alcoholic punch.
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Since I didn’t have my full length mirror yet, this was the first photo I was able to take of baby in my belly: 11.5 weeks.
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It was an afterthought when I decided to get a photo in front of the Computer Science Building, (I had already given back my robe and I had to convince my brother to go back and take it) but I spent a LOT of time there working at the helpdesk, doing assignments-even into the wee hours of the morning, and chatting with friends and it became another home to me.

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After everything was over and we got back to mom’s she gave me my card, with a surprise present inside! She also told me what a hassle I made it and how she nearly didn’t finish it. (oops! my bad..)
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Then we just sat talking about life for a while. It was as we discussed the changes and growth, and what this winter held, that my mom consented that I had been right: last year was the right time for me to go to Rise Up. I knew it all along, God writes these things so clearly on my heart. But it was good to finally hear it from her.
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4. I have two exciting faith prospects to look forward to. The first is Summer Bible Camp. After my grad I decided to go home and change etc, before picking up the kids from DMIL’s. As it was Wed and I had alone time, I also decided to stop in at adoration, especially because it would give me an opportunity to talk with the Catechism lady (since I would actually be there during daytime hours!). A few weeks ago I’d noticed the poster for the summer bible camp and felt it would be good for my oldest-but the ages is 4 and up, and he will barely be 3. Another mom there told me she brought several of her younger kids before along with her old ones and it would probably be no problem if I talked with the lady in charge and cleared it ahead of time. I would go with him the first day, then see how it went and go from there. We’ll get to know more of the kids and families, and my son will get time in a structured environment with lots of other kids to socialize with and proper instruction in faith, which hopefully will fill him with a new appreciation for everything I’ve been trying to teach him!

I said I would get involved with my parish … ! During my last meeting with my CCO mentor, one of the summer goals I set to help me grow spiritually was to get involved in my (new) parish, and this is getting involved! Especially if I also get to volunteer for the week too. The lady told me they’re looking for volunteers as well, and I felt that little pang in my heart like this was where God was leading me. Even before I was interested in my faith I went to a few of the bible camps at the local churches and really enjoyed them. It’s something I really want deep down, something that I could almost already see was going to happen. And my heart sang, Lord, your always challenging your followers to do new things they never would have thought they’d be doing.

Lord, You’re always calling me, and I love it.

The second is I’m signing my husband and I up for a Theology of the Body Seminar, taught my famous Catholic author Christopher West. I see attending on the facebook event CCO couples that probably know way more about this than us, and if they can benefit then we certainly can. Mostly, I think it will be good for my husband to hear a complete explanation of everything I stand for, better than I can give myself.

5. On Thursday my oldest was talking about pirate ships so we went on a Treasure Hunt, complete with TREASURE: I made a treasure map, and filled a little box with chocolate eggs from Easter, some of my jewelery and a few other little things.

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2 trees next to each other, a clear creatable hiding spot
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I put the map in a bottle, just for fun
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Sailing
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What’s this?
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A MAP?!
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Where would we find an island with trees?
DS: The sunroom!
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The map says it’s here Mummy
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Oooh!
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My lil pirate
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Later on my oldest kept following the map to the 2 trees, then was disappointed there wasn’t more treasure 😆

6. On Sunday DH and his friend dug up the rocks in our yard and put down grass seed in one section. I refused to let him make our whole yard unusable for the summer, by turning the entire thing into dirt, but if this grows as quickly as it’s supposed to, we may get another patch done later in the summer. Or early fall, apparently that is another good time to put down grass….
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Here it is, just over a week later:
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7. While DH went home to clean up the ants the kids and I spent time in the pet store. They loved looking in the cages etc, and were especially taken with the fish.
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After a while though, I got tired of trying to keep their fingers out of the non-parent-friendly open fish tanks at ground level… so I brought them to the cat toy aisle. Clearly, if it amuses a kitty, it will amuse two kids under the age of three….
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I’d been planning this bin and gathering items for a good 2 weeks-a month, but couldn’t find anything reasonable to use for the green filler. The best I had come up with were fish rocks or dyed rice/pasta, but the fish rocks were pretty expensive. (These food items are pretty inexpensive, but the bin would need a LOT to be properly full, not to mention, how much mess my kids would make with grains of rice… )

Finally this week, when googling around some more, I found a reasonable material for the green filler, that wouldn’t cost a fortune or make a huge mess.

Ta daa! A Spring bin with, GRASS!
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I had thought about using grass but figured it would still make a big mess, especially picturing grass clippings from the mower…. She used big grass leaves and our front lawn was nice and overgrown, so I took some scissors to it, just as DH was deciding it was time to mow it!

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Now, all I needed was a nest for the little birds, and some little bird eggs. I hadn’t found either in the dollar stores, so I set about making some… I found a neat craft for a shredded paper nest, but then decided against it in favor of finding SOMETHING more sturdy (I wasn’t going to spend an hour or more on something my kids would destroy in a matter of minutes.) Then I had a brainwave when I went in the bathroom and saw my half coconut shell, so I used it for the nest.

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I hunted around for small objects but nothing was even CLOSE to egg shaped, so I picked up a few gravel rocks from the playground, and painted them up. I am really proud of the result, I figured out a good blotting technique to get the spots more random and natural than say a polka-dotted Easter egg, and I think they look great!

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Then I put it all together, I laid out the grass, placed the nest and the other objects and set it aside for the next day.
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Ta daa!
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I tried out the light in a few spots around the house before settling with putting it by the big door to the sun room (but not in the sun room). I figured this was my best chances for good lighting for pictures and it worked quite well. I also enjoyed capturing some of the details in natural daylight.

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When I was done photographing, I called the kids over to see their surprise…

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We only had about 15-20 minutes with it before we had to pack it up and go out so I hoped the kids had not exhausted their imaginations yet…

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So, when the weather finally cleared up again later in the week, I bought it out as part of our camping game. I said we could take a nature walk, and had it set up outside in the back yard.
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my oldest put the birds to ‘bed’
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I took advantage of the natural setting and took some more little detail photos
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Then we stumbled on a june bug in the moss…

which crawled on baby’s shoe…
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which was fine but then he crawled up baby’s pant leg, so we had to move him to the stick…
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after that he was a bit more wary…only observing from a distance
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but my oldest was fascinated
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he was only joking…
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I think…

This time they played with it for a good long time, I’d say close to an hour, but at that point the kids and I were getting a little tired, and it seemed like it was about to rain. So we packed it up and came inside to roast marshmallows by the campfire 🙂
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The kids did have a couple good play sessions with this bin, but I think it would have been better for girls; the flowers and even the birds don’t capture my boys’ attention the way they do mine…

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Something with trucks or fish would probably go over better. I think it’s about time to put this one away and come up with something else…

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May 18, 19:47

I started baby with pouring and spooning one evening when I discovered I did have a small -non-edible item – these little beans in a pot decoration.
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threading straws and string
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does it fit?
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Penny Drop Game
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more with the beans and spoons and cups
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Quick Takes

This week I have been settling a little more into routine as I have been feeling overall more rested and energetic, and even waking up early several mornings. This has given me more time in the day and especially a little me time in the morning, It goes a long way to making it a good day when I feel I have been productive with MY stuff.

1. On Friday night I went to the Bridge for the first time. I heard it was like the Summit, but beyond that, I didn’t know what to expect. We started with a bit of praise and worship, then prayed a directed group rosary. In between each Hail Mary the speaker read a bible verse. It was a different way to reflect on the mysteries, and I really liked it.

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The worst of the week’s troubles behind me, I came to adoration that night without any particular agenda-and so was open to listen. It was a simply moment to pause and reflect, a time to get back in touch with my heart. It was also that night that I finally figured out how to fit in bible reading with my kids and get them to actually hear it (and enjoy the time) – when they have their bottles. See # 5.

2. This week we stopped getting the baby when he wakes up in the night. He’s 18 months, he’s not starving, mostly he’s just used to crying out and being picked up; DMIL would always get up with him and then bring him to me where he’d spend the rest of the night. I was already leaving him in the room before he was asleep at naptime and bedtime so he could learn and because it was sleep time and I was ready to be off duty, but he would still cry a little. And if we tried to lay him down with his bottle he’d get really mad, so we usually had to leave him sitting up and try to remember to tuck him in later.

On Sunday we began the new set up, and now a little over a week later he pretty much sleeps through the night, or if he wakes up-he doesn’t cry out, (sometimes he cries and wants to get up in the morning before mummy is ready, but I usually don’t get him till I’m ready, and often he will end up going back to sleep too.) Now I can actually lay him down and tuck him in without him sitting up again 🙂

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3. Letting baby learn to settle himself back down in the night has paved the way for the new bedtime routine mentioned in 1, since he doesn’t scream when we put him in the playpen anymore. Now, I can wind him down, give him his bottle and he will usually lay down quietly.

And so, it has been the perfect time to introduce 2 new phases to their bedtime routine- because baby doesn’t scream, I can read and sing:

Driving to the Bridge I heard a mini segment on my radio about a mother singing the great hymns as lullabies. It made me REALLY want to do it. Before, my oldest would get mad just about any time I’d sing, but he seems ok with it now, and baby seems to like it. So here’s to lullabies!

Some ideas:
-The Lord is my shepherd
-Holy Holy Holy and Joyful Joyful
-Amazing Grace (a favorite)
-How Great Thou Art.
-Here I am Lord (a personal favorite form elementary)
-Eagle’s wings

(But I am open to further suggestions too. )

After they’re in bed with their bottles I read them one page out of Baby’s first bible. Then I sing one or two lullabies, while tucking baby in. Then I leave, whether they’re quite asleep or not. Usually baby doesn’t even cry now, it’s great. What’s even better, I get actual evening prayer time to reflect: What could be a better way to end the day, than singing songs of praise to the Lord?

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4. I have been following survivor again. DH and I sit down to watch it together every wendesday night. I used to watch it a lot when the show first came out, but then lost interest after season 4. I got back into it (around season 18?) because my in-laws watch it and we were living with them – it sort of became something we did as a family – and also because DH has been in a work pool for the last 3 seasons.

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This season, I am espeically interested because the redemption island twist makes it a whole new game. When someone is voted out, they’re no longer out of the game. Instead they go to redemption island. What really gets me, is that because of this there are still 8 people in the running and the finale is on Sunday night! (usually there’s no more than 4 or 5).

I’ve also been watching because of the people. DH’s contestant (for the work pool) has gone farther than any of his previous picks, he’s been dominating the challenges and he’s the leader’s right-hand man. The season started off with 2 all star favorite players, and one of them is still very much in it. However, the person that really caught my attention is a first timer-Matt. A devout christian (no idea the denomination, the website has no mention of it) who is not ashamed of his faith, and makes no efforts to hide or diminish it- even though survivor is a very social game. It seems God’s plan for him is to be on survivor, and I can already see it paying off. (What a crazy call that musta been, ‘I want you to go on survivor…’ ‘survivor?? are you sure Lord? lol…)

Here’s an article I found about him: Light of the World – a City on an Island
And the full interview: It’s a hard place to be
Behind the scenes

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Even I find his faith inspiring. He is a powerful witness in a culture that puts everything ahead of God. He puts what God wants ahead of everything else, including his own hunger etc, and desire to leave the game. This guy is following the Lord and trusting Him, every step of the way. And, he’s not shy to talk about it; with his fellow competitors, and the cameras. He’s already made an impact on one of the other contestants: When Julie was eliminated she commented that thanks to him and his faith, she was going to look for a church again when she got back home. I had tears in my eyes. God truly can work through ANYTHING.

5. This week I realized that the meals I put together should center around fruit and veggies-not grains! On my old food chart fruit and veggies were separate and so grains was the biggest category, so every time I tried to think up a meal I’d focus on the grain: pasta, bread or cereal etc… and build everything else around that. But I would often end up short on fruits and veggies.

taco salad, yum!
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fruit salad
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lemon pesto salmon pasta
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Now that I realize that the fruit and veggie group is actually the biggest (# daily servings), I’m going to try to plan around that food group instead. This week I’ve started putting together some better, more balanced meals for myself and especially my kids. Lots of carrots and dip and fruit, and milk to drink for all. I had also been forgetting to have a drink with my meals, which is a great way to get either a fruit or a dairy serving.

A balanced lunch: Carrots and dip, a few mini sausages, milk and cantaloupe.
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with his own little fruit salad
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And lastly, I really looked at the food chart for kids 2-3 and tabulated what they’d eaten. They were right on. They only need one protien serving, so no need to make that a focus of every meal. Fruit and Veggies it is!

6. Last weekend DH finally installed our portable dishwasher.

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Because the mess in the kitchen was such a thorn in my side, I had started to really resent the fact that the dishwasher was still portable, something I knew I didn’t want. We got it off kijiji cause DH said he could mount it permanently, but it was driving me crazy because it was hard to open since it’s on wheels, and because I couldn’t run it without it taking over the kitchen since it had to hook up to the sink. As a result, I’d only have DH put it on at night, and during the day I’d largely avoid it.

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Drafting the phrases for the post it notes, a sign on a shed came to mind. I see it whenever I go in town, and it says ‘ be grateful’. I said to myself ‘that is a post it!’ And the phrase came to mind especially in relation to the dishwasher. Many many people don’t have that luxury. To me it was a need, but God blessed that desire with an affordable model, that really there is nothing wrong with. It’s not too small, and in good working order, and it does what I need it to. And I was still complaining! I keep telling myself, I don’t need the best house, just a moderate house for my needs, of course, I don’t need the best dishwasher, just one that works! Thankfully, ever since that moment in the kitchen, I have learned to appreciate my dishwasher, and no longer get annoyed by it. It is hooked up now so it can run in place without going to the sink-but it’s still on wheels. And I am content.

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Also in terms of gratitude, I had all my post its written etc, and then I added 2 more, and I have another 3 to add. I’m out of post it colors! It may be a little while before they get sprinkled around the house..

7. Tot school experimentation continues:

Clothespins!
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May 6?

This week through some blogroll clicking I finally found a good resource for simple kid activities. I’d read about the Montessori play style, where kids explore the world and its all hands on and not tv etc… and I really liked the idea. I had a few ideas from reading some lists etc so I tried them with my oldest, but at the time was met with limited success. Most of all, I think he may have been a bit too young for the ones I tried.

After reading over the where to begin section explaining a basic premise for being a teacher-mom is to purposefully play with your kids. This means sitting on the floor with them, demonstrating how to stack the blocks etc, and commenting on them, this is the letter p, this block is blue etc. When I sat down with my kids and the blocks I found this educational thing surprisingly easy. I stacked blocks with the baby, then helped my oldest go over his numbers with them.

The sites I found this week have posts about each activity with age ranges, so I can find things that are just right for my oldest and for the baby. And of course, the oldest finds a lot of the baby stuff just as fun as baby does. SWEET -simple activities with household items like these is exactly what I needed when I first got interested in this over a year ago.

So, we tried a few of them. That afternoon I had the kids amused for close to an hour with a cereal box and spaghetti, and a cup and straws.

Cereal Punch Board – we used spaghetti 🙂
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Straws in an Empty Container
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This one I came up with on my own-the sort of sorting and separating etc. Baby just ate the cheerios and raisins…
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We’ve also tried painting outside with water and my oldest really likes that one. He’s had 3 sessions now.
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The possibilities are endless…
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Some other ones I want to try in the near future:

making water drops on wax paper, pipe cleaner threading (straws, pasta etc), Letter Matching Eggs, marshmellow and toothpick creations (but they’ll probably just eat all the marshmallows), spooning and pouring, (especially non-liquids like raisins or pompoms), Playing at the Sink(measuring cups, funnel, bubbles, float and sink), popsicle stick shapes, seasonal sensory bins, Penny Drop Game, interviewing a 3 yr old.. and my personal favorite: rainbow toast!
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Tot-school shopping list: food coloring, pop sticks, toothpicks, marshmallows, eye dropper, paint brushes, penne?, muffin cups

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