Sunday, August 31, 2008

Birthday Highlights

Twinkle Toes had a wonderful birthday! She got to see some of her friends at a Baptism we attended in the morning, followed by a BBQ at our friends home.  We then came home to eat cake and ice cream and let her open up her gifts...  I used the opportunity to purchase her a new booster seat and some new boots and dresses for the fall, which she LOVED (and needed!)...  She especially loved the card from her grandparents, the gift from her Godparents, and her new "searching" book from us.

Thank you to all of you for the prayers and birthday wishes.  I read them to her and she says "Thank you!" with her cute and bashful smile.  God Bless!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Twinkle Toes!

I can't believe that our little princess is turning FIVE years old today!

As I was making her Towering Sand Birthday Cake earlier tonight (or rather yesterday!), I kept finding myself reminiscing over the past years, and then found myself looking though our old photo albums. Anyhow, I thought I would take a minute and share a few pictures from her past four birthdays.

Here are a couple pictures from the day she was born. We were all SO excited to meet her. Our family was growing fast! Three babies in three years.

Here is our little girl on her first birthday. . . (along with my attempt at making a cake!)

On the day of her second birthday, right as we were about to sing happy birthday, my camera was dropped and broken. So, the only picture I have from that day was this one of her in her nightgown when she first woke up and saw her birthday presents. That's it. I had forgotten about that till tonight, and now I am dying to go look through our video cassetes to see if, by chance, we have a video from that day. . . I hope so. Anyhow, here is another picture from that last roll of film, taken a couple days before her birthday.

For her 3rd birthday, we invited a couple families over for pizza and cake. She was very excited to have friends over. However, when it came to blowing out the candles, she wasn't quite sure what to think.

For her 4th Birthday we had family in town, so we all went out to dinner at a favorite Japanese restaurant. Looks like I had started making a habit of just picking up Costco cakes! Oops! At least one had chocolate frosting and one had white!

She was soooo excited to receive a new doll on her 4th birthday.

(You see, we had recently had to throw out bury all her old baby dolls. During the prior winter, she was trying to keep them all warm and lined them up on the ledge of our woodstove. I wasn't sure what I smelt burning, and when the fire alarm went off I ran into the living room to find a row of smoking dolls with melting heads. Not to mention my devastated daughter! My dear hubby put them outside (face down) to cool off, and later that afternoon we had a surprise visit from a couple Jehovah Witnesses. I couldn't help but laugh at what they must have been thinking about the row of burnt dolls!)

Well, I better stop looking back and finish getting ready for tomorrow. Her cake is made and presents wrapped, but we have to leave bright and early for a baptism and it is getting late!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, August 29, 2008

In Honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Well, summer is drawing to a close, and yesterday was our last:

Summer with the Saints

The month of August is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and so was this week's Summer with the Saints.

"Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of August is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The physical heart of Mary is venerated (and not adored as the Sacred Heart of Jesus is) because it is united to her person: and as the seat of her love (especially for her divine Son), virtue, and inner life. Such devotion is an incentive to a similar love and virtue." 
(Catholic Culture)

Here is an overview of our afternoon:

The Children started with some beautiful coloring pages of the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

I must say that Marci is a very creative and resourceful craft planner. For this week she came up with a way for the children to make the Immaculate Heart of Mary using only a piece of red construction paper, scissors, glue and some crepe streamers in pink, red and orange.

Didn't they turn out great?!? To make them, all you have to do is fold your paper in half to cut out a heart. Spread glue over the heart. Tear some orange strips of crepe paper for the flames and add to the top middle of the heart. Make little balls out of the red crepe paper and cover the heart. Make little balls out of the pink paper to add around the middle for the ring of flowers.

As they were making them, Rascal said, "This is the easiest craft ever! It is so much fun!" Need I say more . . .

Next my boys (Rascal decided not to be left out this week) got busy creating there Summer with the Saints Sidewalk Art based on the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary
Left picture by Captain; Right picture by Rascal

Then it was playtime for the children while the snacks were prepared.

I just love how you can so clearly see the difference between boys and girls in this last picture! My daughter is peacefully jumping next to a three boy pileup! :)

For today's snack, the kids enjoyed the cutest little ice cream sandwiches shaped like hearts.

Before we left, we got another group photo. It was a small group once again this week. But oh so much fun, just the same. 

OH! I almost forgot. . . We didn't have time to stay and make Holy Cards this week, since we had to get to the children's last swimming lesson of the week, aka Graduation Day. Nevertheless, we brought home the printed images so we could make them later.

We are most definitely going to miss the weekly Summer with the Saints.
It was so much fun!

Sweet heart of Mary, be my salvation!

Super Commenter

Aahhhh!!! Shelly, The Keeper of the Keys, is so very sweet and just passed on the Super Commenter award to me! Thank you Shelly!

Yes, I love to leave comments when I have make the time. . . almost as much as I love receiving them!!! ;) I just really have enjoyed meeting and getting to know some of the wonderful bloggers out there!

Anyhow, the 'rules' of acceptance are that you nominate 7 other bloggers to receive the award.

Awhile back I added a widget in my sidebar that lists my "top commenters" on a regular basis. (It lists the top 10 from the last 500 comments.) So, to make it easy, I am just going to nominate the current top 7, or else I would never be able to limit my nominations it to just 7. . . all my commenter's are Super!
  1. Amy at Knit Together in Love

  2. Aubrey at Prosapia Vita

  3. Christine at Living a Simple Life and a Pure Faith

  4. Shelly at The Keeper of the Keys (Right back at ya Shelly!)

  5. Meg (my cousin) at Meg's Blog

  6. Jamie at Lord, Make me a Saint

  7. +JMJ+ at Totus Tuus Family and Michele at Galloping Grace Youth Ranch (these two are currently tied for 7th... At least until a couple more comments come through!)

Thank you to all of you!! ♥ Keep them coming!!! ;)

Graduation Day

Yesterday was Graduation Day once again for Myrna's "Swimming Stars." My boys were so excited to earn their 3rd Star of the Year. . . They completed six WEEKS of lessons, and went from barely swimming to diving to the bottom of the deep end and dreaming of the Olympics. The girls are also doing great too, and earned their 2nd Star of the Year for completing four weeks of lessons. Even Snuggles received a Star. It is so cute seeing him sit on the side of the pool and hold his breath, jump in, and roll over onto his back when I give him the cue, " Ready... Go!!!"

Myrna did decide to add one last session to the end of this summer, starting next Tuesday, and she said she could fit us in if I was interested. . . I just don't know if I could do another two weeks, especially with school starting. She told me to think of it as therapy. . . which is very true. . . since swimming does wonders for children with Auditory Processing Challenges. But still, I am not sure. . .

Anyhow, here are a couple pictures from our last day.

Oh, and even though Rascal may not be the fastest swimmer in the group. He definitely wins the prize for the best dives!

(This one was the best, but unfortunately I pushed the record button a second too late, and was wrestling with a squirmy baby! :S)

"Hip, Hip, Hooray!!!"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The First Shall be Last . . .

Rascal: "Mom, I don't think that I am going to be able to be the best in the Olympics when I am older..."

Mom: "Why do you say that?"

Rascal: "Well, because I only won 5th place..."

Mom: "5th place is GREAT!!!!"

Rascal: "Not when there are only 5 people in the race."

Which opened the door to the First Shall be Last Parable. ;)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Rest of our Plans

With just a few days left until the beginning of our new school year, it is time for me to wrap up my plans... So far I have just shared our plans for World History, American History, Math and Religion. I had hoped to do a post on each subject but time is flying and I need to stop planning and get ready to start implementing... So, I am just going to quickly outline the rest of our plans in this post...


This year I will have my oldest son's tutor coming 3 mornings each week. I am really excited about this. Not only will she be helping Captain, but she will also be teaching me how to teach the younger children. After struggling so hard the last few years (even though I know now it was all due to a learning challenge), I am very burned out when it comes to teaching phonics. I am SO thankful for help in this area!!

Mrs. K uses a variety of resources and is trained in the Lindamood-Bell method of teaching phonics. Next week her and I will be sitting down and planning out the phonics curriculum for my children this coming year. I am actually starting to get excited about it once again!!




The boys will be doing plenty of handwriting in their Spelling books, as well as with their copywork assignments for Religion, History and Poetry. However, they love the Seton Handwriting for Young Catholics series, and so I did order book 2 and 3. They will probably complete 1 page per day.

My girls will be using Handwriting Without Tears. Twinkle Toes will be going through Letters And Numbers For Me and Chiquita will be using Get Set for School. They both will be working with the various Hands-on Materials.


Our Geography studies will be tied in to our History lessons, depending on what we are studying each week. We will use our Globe and the Blackline Maps of World History Book and CD.

We will also be playing lots of games as we continue working on memorizing the States and Capitals. Our favorites are:


The boys will be using Harcourt Science and Lesson Plans from Kolbe Academy. We will also be doing Bi-Weekly Nature Hikes and keeping Nature Journals. I also plan to have a book basket available for extra reading using the suggestions over at Serendipity.

Music, Poetry and Art:

For these subjects we will be using the plans over at Serendipity:
I have the guides printed out for the first couple weeks, books and CD's ordered or requested from the library, and some very excited children looking forward to beginning. It should be a fun year!

I am also still considering whether or not to put the boys in Music Lessons-- either Piano or Violin. I am torn since we are putting most of our extra money (and then some) into the tutor this year, so this might just have to wait till next year. We'll see.


I almost forgot to mention Pre-School. I have used the Little Saints Preschool Program with my other children and plan to pull it out once again this year. (In fact we have already started!) I also couldn't help feeling completely drawn to try out Elizabeth's Along the Alphabet Path (especially since it goes so well with our music, poetry and art plans), so I printed out the Storybook and Booklist this past weekend, we may just follow it loosely, I'm not sure yet... I also ordered some of the Kumon Workbooks (Tracing, Cutting and Mazes) for both Chiquita and Twinkle Toes. (Captain has been using some of these with his tutor, and she said they would be great for the girls to do as well.)

After gathering all my plans in one location, it looks like we are going to have a busy year. I better get *busy* making that schedule!