Friday, December 25, 2009


In all the craziness of the season preschool fell a bit by the wayside, but one thing we did keep up with is our Jesse Tree Advent celebration each night.  It has been so nice to gather together as a family, read scripture and remember the real reason for the season and I am looking forward to continuing these nightly family devotions as we move into the new year!

Being three, R-Man wasn't always all that keen on listening, but he amazed us how even when it seemed like he wasn't paying attention to a word we were saying he would then go and spout something off out of the blue a few days later from our reading, and then of course it would all feel worthwhile!

He thoroughly enjoyed getting to place a star sticker on the hand print Christmas tree we made to count down to Christmas Day!  He also loved adding a peace of straw to Jesus' manger every night and place a new Jesse Tree ornamanent on his special advent tree!

He is, of course, even more excited that today is finally the day and his waiting is over at long last!  He has asked us everyday since the tree went up, "Is it Christmas time?"  To which we always had to reply, "Yes, it is Christmas time, but it's not Christmas day." 

And the torture he has been having to endure since the presents went under the tree has been almost completely unbearable for him!  One day he told me, "Mom, ya know, I could just go ahead and open my presents now."- as if he was doing me a favor!  He is so adorable and I can't wait to see the look on his bright shining face when he gets to run up the stairs and see even more gifts under the tree! 

I hope you all get to experience the wonder of Christmas through the eyes of your children today and remember to keep our Savior and King at the heart of your celebration!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Tree Hunting!

Weekend before last we went to a Christmas Tree hunting party thrown by one of my old doula clients and it was so much fun!  We didn't actually get a tree because we already had one, but it was a blast anyway!

R-Man loved making new friends and helping them find their trees!  Here he is "helping" one of his new friends with her's!

We borrowed a friend's truck so that we could all ride together out to their property (which R-Man loved) and he got to wear all his snow gear for the first time this year (which he also adored!)!  It was FREEZING cold, but he didn't care!  He got to ride on an ATV with daddy and roast marshmallows over the bon fire- he was one happy guy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tiny Talk Tuesday- December 15, 2009

"If you're funky and you know it shake your head!"
Mama, "When Lion Cub goes to sleep you can paint."
R-Man, "With my feet?"
Mama, "No"
R-Man, "With my knees?"
Mama laughing and shaking her head.
R-Man, "With a paint brush?"
Mama, "Yes!"
R-Man, "OK" with a glum look on his face
"Mom, I'm going to make your hair pretty!  I'm going to make you like a rockstar!  I'm going to get it in a mohawk!"
R-Man, "Mom, can we get a dog?"
Mama, "No, honey. Our house is too small."
R-Man, "Can we just get a really teeny, small one?"
Mama, "No bud.  Our house is just too small for pets."
R-Man, "No it's not!  Its really, really big!  It's growing!  It's growing up to the air!"
He was down stairs having quiet time in my room, looking through books and didn't realize that the monitor was on!  It was so cute, and funny!  He was singing all about the trucks he was looking at, "I want that truck, and that tractor!  I want that bulldozer and "sbament" truck!"
There were so many other things he said that just cracked me up in the last two weeks- I wish I could remember them all!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

God Gave Us... Book Reviews!

We were recently sent God Gave Us Love and God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren to review and I cannot deny that I really like these books!  We have always been a fan of God Gave Us You and these two books are wonderful additions to our God Gave Us collection!

One of my favorite things about God Gave Us Christmas is that it addresses the Santa issue without bluntly ruining a child's wonder in the magic of Christmas.  Instead it simply redirects children's attention to God and His all-important role in the holiday.  The story is tender and loving- a wonderful book to read before bed and may even make you want to set aside a special time for each of your children to have some one-on-one moments with you this season.

God Gave Us Love is equally as wonderful and a true joy to read.  I think this book is especially good for children with younger siblings (or any siblings at all for that matter) as it emphasizes not only God's love for us but the importance of us showing love to others.  I am really looking forward to using this book during the month of February for a study we are planning to do on the Fruits of the Spirit, but it's theme obviously applies to our whole lives!  I think the message this book imparts can be beneficial for the whole family and could also be used during a family devotional time for little ones.

To grab a copy of these books for yourself you can visit the following pages on Random House:

This book was provided by the publisher for honest review.
To find out more about reviewing books for Waterbrook Press, you can go here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend!

What a weekend!  To start with, you loved going over to Aunt Michelle and Uncle Rick's house for Thanksgiving!  You and J ran around the house like maniacs and had a blast!  You had so much fun, even if you were not a big fan of the dinner (you don't like "batatoes")!  Here are some picture from the day:

Uncle Broth, just loungin'!

Nana on the computer!  In truth, all of the adults spent a little time on the computer checking out the Black Friday sales!

Papa and Lion Cub just snoozin' away!

On Friday we broke out the Christmas music and decorations and started the festivities!  You were especially excited about the little light -up, ceramic houses and fake snow!  Come to find out, you wanted to make a little village for your trucks to drive through, at which point I had to tell you they were only for decoration.  Sorry to burst your bubble!  You still keep getting out the extra snow though and stuffing it in your trucks!

You espeically loved trying on all of our different Christmas hats!

Here are my other favorite pictures of you over the weekend!

Sweet Brothers!

Your little brother being... well, a little brother!  Or should I say bother?

You and your toy truck.  You insisted I take this picture!  Why, I am not sure!

It was a fun weekend and we are looking forward to many more fun adventures this holiday season!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tiny Talk Tuesday- December 1, 2009

"Mom!!  "Lion Cub" hit me in the face!!" 
...And so it begins!
(Keep in mind, Lion Cub is 5 1/2 months old!)

In our house we like to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and not focus on Santa bringing gifts.  R-Man has been seeing movies, however, and talking to friends about Santa so he told us the other day that Santa would be bringing him gifts.  Daddy explained that he would be receiving his gifts from mommy and daddy instead and that Santa wasn't real. 

In response he looked at me, rolled his eyes and gave me this look like "Wow- he has no idea what he is talking about!"  Ha!!  His innocence is preserved and his belief in childhood wonder cannot be thwarted!  (Don't tell, but I'm kind glad!  What's a little belief in Santa going to hurt for a three year old?!)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Our Thanksgiving Lapbook

 I know it is a little after the fact, but we had to actually finish our lapbook before I could bring myself to post on it!   It turned out to be a great learning experience (for both of us) and we really enjoyed creating it throughout the month!  I have included photos and a video walking through all of our different components.  There is also a list at the bottom of the post with the resources I used!  Enjoy and please feel free to share any feedback!  I would love to hear your comments and suggestions!




Here is a list of the sites where I found our wonderful resources:
A very comprehensive list on Squidoo
A great little Bingo game on
Verse cards and other printables on
Dot-to-dots and more at

I found all of our resources through a basic Google Search, so if I left anything out I am sure you will be able to find them easily!  Thanks for taking a gander at our Thanksgiving lapbook!

Friday, November 27, 2009

What I love About You- November 27, 2009

There are so many things I love about you, R-Man, but here are just a few!

-The silly stories you tell!  You have such a wonderful imagination!

-The way you spontaneously tell us that you love us!  It makes everything worth it!

-How much you love trucks and construction equipment!  You know what everything is called and how it works!  You amaze me!

-Your love for hip hop!

-What a snuggle bug you are!   I will never tire of your hugs, kisses and cuddles!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tiny Talk Tuesday- November 24, 2009


R-Man went to Disney on Ice with Nana this past week and on their way home this is what he told her, "Nana my daddy can build ANYTHING!  He can even build a house!!  It's because he has so many tools!"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What I Love About You- November 22, 2009

R-Man I love how generous you are!  You are always sharing with others and it just warms my heart! 

Case in point, this morning you brought me chocolate!  Now granted, I was in the shower and you had snagged a few more chocolate chips than I said you could have, but none the less, you brought your mama chocolate and that will always earn you points!

Keep up the good work little man and never stop being generous and selfless with what you have been blessed with!

PS- And when you are married ALWAYS give your wife chocolate- it is the key to her heart!  :-D

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Read and Share Toddler Bible Review

What a great little Bible this is!  We truly love it!  It is very simple but it is a great place to start.  We generally read and discuss one Bible story a week after dinner and this is typically the Bible I turn to on Mondays.  It puts everything in terms that little guys can easily understand and encompasses the basics of each story very clearly.  The graphics are adorable too!

I also like that at the end of each story there is a little box with ideas for parents to help their children better understand what was just read.  The ideas range from drawing descriptive pictures to acting stories out.  They are easy to do and make the story time so much more interesting!

To top it off, a one hour DVD is included with the Bible.  R-Man loves watching the stories and seeing them animated just helps drive home the concepts even more for him.  I highly recommend this toddler Bible and think it would make a great addition to any children's home library.

The Read and Share Toddler Bible can be purchased from Thomas Nelson Publishers here.

This book was provided for honest review from the publisher.

Preschool Corner- Thanksgiving and K!

Mmmmmm... I am feeling much better this week about where we are headed on our home pre-schooling journey!  I still have a lot of research and preparation to do, but now that I have taken a more relaxed approach and shifted our focus we are having so much more fun and I really feel that R-Man is absorbing a lot more.

I did more reading into Charlotte Mason this past week along with a good bit of blog hopping on the topic and found a WONDERFUL blog called Our Journey Westward!  This mama very closely mirrors what I believe our future homeschool experience will look like.  She has a strong emphasis on Charlotte Mason's methods while incorporating lots of unit studies and some classical education, which is exactly what I have been thinking about!  She lists so many wonderful resources on her blog- you really must check it out!

So what are our days looking like right now?  Well, we are working on establishing more of a routine.  I try to reserve Lion Cub's morning nap time (about 45 min- 1 hour) to solely focus on working with R-Man on "pre-school" things.  During that time this week we have been working on different components of his Thanksgiving lapbook (which I will be posting on next week), reading Thanksgiving books, and the letter K.

He is really coming along with his cutting skills and is even beginning to enjoy coloring and drawing with me (I never thought I would see the day!)!

Another fun project that R-Man and I embarked on this week was writing his very first book!  It is something I have been wanting to do with his for quite some time since he has such an active imagination and is always telling us the most hysterical stories!  So, we sat down and he dictated to me a whole story he called "A Lot of Spiders."  

And here it is for your reading pleasure (remember that he is only three and I tried to stay as true to what he told me as humanly possible!)!

A Lot of Spiders
by, R-Man

There were a lot of spiders going to get all the food.
By going on the floor and going to eat the food and going to go on my little chair.
They will bite big on my little chair.
Then they will bite bigger on the big chair and then they will bite all the chairs.
And there will be a big, big, giant chair and all the spiders will be eating it.  They will eat it all gone in their tummies and they will be really, really, really big!
All the spiders go up the loop and go to Canada and eat the food!
The End

I am debating over taking the story he wrote, tweeking it a bit so that the English flows better and he can hear the difference between the two, and adding graphics to turn it into a story book, but I am still not sure.  It is so pure and clearly written by a three-year-old so I will probably just leave it alone and let him learn as he grows.  It was a fun project though and I hope to do it more often!  I am hoping to prompt him into writing something about Thanksgiving this week!


R-Man has really taken an interest lately in building things out of his foam blocks and legos!  I adore this type of play because I can totally see his wheels turning as he tries to figure out how best to stack and balance things to make them work!  He builds whole towns that he then drives his cars through and he loves using his semi-trucks and tractors to move the blocks around and haul them from place to place!  Of course he also loves that he is building things "like daddy!"

In "Life-School" my husband and I are both putting a more concerted effort into instilling "habits" into R-Man and our whole family.  The habits we are working on are praying more throughout the day, memorizing scripture, reading the Bible together as a family, and Catechism.  I try to read a daily portion of scripture with R-Man during either breakfast or lunch everyday and we try to read whatever particular Bible story we are focusing on for the week (this week is Daniel and the Lion's Den) out of one of our children's Bibles right after dinner.  It has been great to see R-Man absorb these habits so quickly!  It amazes me how fast and well he is able to memorize verses, including the reference!

We are working on other "habits" with R-Man also- he likes to call them his "jobs."  He is responsible for taking his dishes to the sink after each meal, making his bed, putting his clothes in the laundry room and putting away the silverware out of the dishwasher.  He is doing a great job and is at a young enough age that these tasks actually seem fun!  Good by me- less work for mama!

It was a great week and I know it is only going to get better from here!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tiny Talk Tuesday- November 17, 2009

Alright, I now that R-Man has said more funny things this week, but this is the one that really stands out in my head!

The other night we were sitting at dinner and out of nowhere he piped up with, "Dad, I think I need to go to Hawaii."

Hmmmm.... he hasn't been spending much time with me now has he?  If you don't follow my personal blog you can go here to see the post I wrote on this very topic just last week!  Too funny!  We laughed so hard to hear those words come out of our 3-year-old's mouth!

If you want to participate in Tiny Talk Tuesday just head on over to Not Before 7 to get in on the hilarity!

Friday, November 13, 2009

What I Love About You- Nov 13, 2009

R-Man, there are so many things I love about you right now!  Here are just a few!

  • The way you run to get your brother whenever you hear him waking up in the monitor!  You seem to have a sixth sense for hearing him and cue into his whimpers long before daddy or I do!  What a connection!
  • Your AWESOME dance moves!  Your rhythm never ceases to amaze me!
  • Your big blue eyes and loooooong eyelashes- killer!
  • Your goofy grin and crazy faces!

  • Your love of all things truck or heavy machinery related!

  • The way you play with your brother and entertain him- he is your biggest fan!

We love you so much and think you are pretty darn cute and smart boy!

To join in and find out what other mamas love about their kiddos, visit Lil' Ladybug!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Preschool Corner- Changes & Holiday Traditions

Over the last couples of months I have been trying to use The Hubbard's Cupboard curriculum for 3-year-olds with R-Man but have been realizing more and more that it just doesn't work for us.  I think it is a wonderful curriculum and a well outlined map, however it just isn't really jiving with R-Man's style of learning or even my teaching style. 

So, that has left me to searching- again- for something that works for us.  I decided to skip a curriculum (nearly) altogether this month and just focus on Thanksgiving.  There is so much to this holiday, from the history to the concept of being thankful to the food, that I was sure we would have no shortage of material to cover of fun ways to learn!  We are currently working on a lapbook that I will be posting more about in the coming weeks, but so far it has been a lot more fun and held both R-Man's and my attention much better!

I place of our weekly bible-themes we have been focusing on our own family Bible and Catechism time each night after dinner and have been choosing our own verses to memorize as a family.  We are currently working on 1 Chronicles 16:34:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

I try to work in our scripture memory all throughout the day and in lots of different formats (song, repetition, explanation, etc...) so that R-Man gets used to using scripture anytime of day for all varieties of reasons.  Soon we will also be starting advent with The Jesse Tree, which will give us a map for our Bible time for the month of December.  To learn more about The Jesse Tree and how to start this tradition with your family, head over to Tired, Need Sleep for an EXCELLENT post by Nicole!  She even has a full 13-page print-out with scripture cards, ornaments and the works (Thank you Nicole!)!

In my quest for the learning process that will best work for us I have been doing a lot of reading on a variety of teaching methods, and although I think that ultimately I will end up using a mixed-bag approach as we more fully head into our homeschool years, I am significantly leaning towards many of Charlotte Mason's methods.  I found this terrific site called Simply Charlotte Mason that has wonderful articles, books and DVDs, especially about early learners.  Charlotte Mason places a large emphasis on establishing habits in ourselves and our children and I think that our whole family could benefit from implementing her ideas!  I am hoping to receive some of the books and DVDs from that site for Christmas, so I will definitely keep you all up to date on how our little journey is going!

Well, with all that said, we have been doing a little bit of "structured" preschool learning.  We continue to work on a letter a week- this week Jj was for Jet.

He loved cutting out the letters (almost all by himself) and gluing on the jets!

We have even started the very early stages of copywork.  R-Man has never been much of a drawer/colorer, but after reading Harold and the Purple Crayon I discovered that he really enjoys copying a picture that I am drawing at the same time.  I got out a large sketchbook we have and drew a line down the middle.  We then went step by step to create a picture- just like Harold in the book!  R-Man loved it!  He was so proud that he posted his pictures on the fridge right away!  We have also been doing letter tracing, particularly with his name.

All in all, I'm feeling better about how things are going.  I don't feel like I am rigidly stuck to someone else's schedule, trying to accomplish more tasks than either of us feel like doing or are interested in.  The way R-Man we are learning right now feels much more natural.  We read good books, do interesting projects, sing goofy songs and just have fun- exactly the way it should be at this age!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tiny Talk Tuesday- One God!

The other day we were working on The Catechism for Young Children after dinner and Jer asked R-Man the question, "Is there more than one god?"

R-Man instantly replied, "No! errr, yes?" (with a questioning expression), then, "Um, no.  Still no."

It was so cute and I am glad to know he has that resolve!

To join in Tiny Talk Tuesday head on over to Not Before 7:00!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Last weekend we went to my grandmother's house (R-Man's great-grandma) to celebrate my mom's (R-Man's Nana's) birthday (which happens to be on Halloween).  We are not much for celebrating this holiday but we did decided to have a little dress up fun, mostly in terms of hair!  Here is R-Man with his new (and very real) Mohawk!

And here is Aunt Rena (R-Man's great-grandma's sister- confused yet?) and Uncle Rick (my uncle) with their matching wigs!  The funniest part is that Aunt Rena really wears her wig everyday and has worn the same style since the 70s!

Here is Aunt Michelle (my aunt) with a long black wig and eyelashes on to round out the gang!

It was a fun and crazy evening with lots of laughs and general hilarity! 

Happy Birthday Nana!  
Live it up cause next year is the big one (a half CENTURY!)!!
Oh she is going to hate me for writing that!  Haha!  At least she looks pretty stinkin' good for 50!  
Oh, wait, sorry mom, 49!  ;-)