Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shopping Today

It's Fair Trade Tuesday--a great day to check out fair trade goods to fill your Christmas shopping list. :)

You can go to Fair Trade Tuesday to see a huge list of just some of the fair trade organizations.

A few of my favorites?

Loving this necklace (With a silver AND gold chain--love that.):

Or this:

Or even these: 
(Hint, hint, J. ;)

Amazing hand-made scarves made in Ethiopia.

Like this:

This week they are offering a different shirt each day (instead of just one for the week).

Today's Cause:

Light Gives Heat

Have fun shopping and making the world a better place! :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

You! Who is Looking at This!

Here are a few more of my favorites.

From the girl:

And the boy--ALL boy:

And Beza:

(I was away for 3 days last week and Pop awesomely came to help J with the small crowd.  When I asked Beza if she had been chilling with Pop (who she loves), she said, "Pop donuts."  Pop knows the way to her heart. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Funnies: Light Rice

Styled by M this morning to look like Daddy.  (He even brushed his hair.)

The Situation: J holding the nearly useless glass measuring cup up to the light over the sink to see the last few remnants of red markings.
T: Daddy, why are you adding light to that water? (Not. Even. Kidding.)
J: Because I'm making extra light and fluffy rice.  

Really happened.  T had like 5 helpings of the extra light rice.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sometimes a Book Can Take Over Your Life

--or just your upstairs hallway.

After reading Fancy Nancy: Aspiring Artist this week, M wanted to make her very own art gallery.

We do have an "art gallery" in the basement, but sadly, we have two cats on "hospice" who are occupying that place. (So sad...)

After some thought, we turned the upstairs hallway into a gallery with the help of lots of string (tied in rows of three around every door and strung anywhere possible down the lengths of the walls) and a bag full of clothes pins.

A ream of paper and cups of markers.

A shower curtain rod and spare velvet curtain.

Mood lighting.

(T often contributes to the scene with performance art.)

And jazzy music from Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

It's kind-of a cool place to hang out (and to finally try this). I just hope our upcoming house-guests like it as much as we do. ;)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Weather Watcher

We have a little weather watcher on our hands--she starts each morning by checking Accuweather on my iphone--for the whole country.  We are treated to the "audible" version of the hour-by-hour forcast with the bonus of the day's high and lows. :)

But, we really have had some crazy weather.  Just before Hurricane Sandy we built our favorite leaf mazes.

The very next week, a nor'easter left us with a few inches of snow.

*While these storms left us unscathed, that isn't true for our neighbors to the south.  HERE is a link to ways to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  (You can even have items directly shipped to where they are most needed through Occupy Sandy's Amazon's Gift Registry.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012



I want our kids (and me) to know that the world is so much bigger than us.  Yesterday M was crying about her lap desk that accidentally broke.  While it's important to show compassion,  I also know that, in the scheme of the world, a replaceable lap desk is not so important.  

(So often the words that leave my mouth come right back and slap me on the forehead.  Ugh...I'm right there in the trenches of learning life with them.)

In the pursuit of my goal I love finding real life examples.  This past week we watched these two short videos about two people who lived life well despite the obstacles.

Two stories of loss that I usually avoid because they just feel way too sad.  But, in them there is so much hope and perspective in what really matters as imperfect people trying to live a life well-lived.  

We've been reading a handful of those Who was ____________?  books including Who was Harriet Tubman?  We've also been learning about colonial America.  And talking about chocolate (not only how much we love it, but where it comes from.).  And in all of these topics we've been discussing slavery (definitely a heavy topic). 

On Sunday night we all watched Amazing Grace the story of William Wilberforce and John Newton. I want these little people to know that there are things in this world worth fighting for--even if it takes a lifetime.  (I also want them to know the power of God's grace.)

These things we've been watching and reading and talking about are tough, but I am so thankful for those who have walked ahead of us and have given us examples of ways to live in the hard that show us there is so much more to live for than ourselves.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fall Feasts

A few of our recent favorites...
(And when I say "our" I mean J and I. ;)

Chicken Piccata (so simple and so delicious)


*[Family Blog Note:  This past weekend J, an avid fan of Alton Brown, excitedly took on roasting a turkey--just for fun.  (I can guarantee, I would never do that "just for fun." ;)  He prepared a "veritable feast" of (brined) turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, home-made gravy and green beans with walnuts for friends who brought this yummy pumpkin pie.  Then he made Alton's turkey soup to fully utilize the turkey.  It is definitely a sweet deal to live with someone who genuinely loves to cook. ;)]

J's recent reading list (seriously.):

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Funnies: These People

These people are my people.  And they are funny.

After their 4-turned-into-6-hour drive, this is how my parents and two of my sisters appeared at our door two weeks ago for M's birthday (right before Halloween.).

And this is how they pose for photos.

They drove away with the windows down singing, "So long, farewell, auf Weidersehen, goodbye!"

LOVE them! :)

Friday, November 09, 2012

Favorites: The Tuffet

I LOVE library night.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Finding Ethiopia (Beza's Got It)

Beza is learning a bit of Geography.

From Ethiopia to New York

Bulletin Board Frame: $30 from Amazon

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

We Voted--Peanut Butter Won

Today M woke up with pink eye (yuck).  So after "school" we went to the doctors, then Walmart, had a bit of a potty incident, went to the pharmacy, Beza spilled water all over her shirt and then we finally made it to the voting place!

Then, after a nice nap/rest time, we spent the rest of the afternoon cramming in a brief look at the election process.

We started with this book.

Then watched THIS VIDEO from BrainPOP about the presidential election.

And this...

(Both found as links from Simple Homeschool.)

Then we watched Please Vote for Me, a documentary about a third grade class in China learning about democracy by voting for their Class Monitor.  It was all in subtitles--but the kids actually really liked it (who knew?).  (Thanks JG!)

Later, while I was making dinner I called J and asked him to bring home some treats so that we could have our own election.  He chose 2 ice creams--chocolate brownie, and peanut butter cup.

First they each gave a little speech.

Then they had a debate. (Just a little peek.)

After that, we cast our votes.
(J got all tricky and checked more than one box--we had to hold a committee meeting to decide which one he actually meant.)

Peanut butter won as our dessert for the night.

Their reactions.
 (Beza was just thrilled to have any ice cream. :)

And finally, our bedtime story...

And that was our Election Day.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Funnies: Just Like Albert Einstein

Last week we were driving home from the library and T asked me a question.  Whatever he asked, I answered, "Sure!"  He laughed and said that was funny because doesn't "sure" also mean the place where the sand meets the water?  Where you can get off a ship?

Then I laughed and said, "Hey, yes, it does?  When did you get so smart?"

To which he replied, "I'm just like that guy.  You know, the guy who thinks a lot because I'm a really good thinker just like him."

Me, "You mean like Albert Einstein?...Yes.  Yes, you are a good thinker just like Albert Einstein."  :)

I love this guy. :)

On that same day, I pulled out a bib for Beza who was feeding herself some oatmeal.  She promptly muttered, "Baby shirt."  I suppose it could be called a baby shirt. :)

And then, this.  A "news report" from M.
I gave her a wipe and I came back and the wipe was dirty!

My favorite part (besides the illustration of Beza's hand reaching out and the "dirty" wipe) is the exclamation point.  Quite outstanding news! ;)

Sunday, November 04, 2012


Today is Orphan Sunday.

A day to remember that there are an estimated 163 million orphans in the world.  
163 million little people that will go to bed tonight without a mommy or daddy.

For More Information

Friday, November 02, 2012

Tigger, Spider and the Bee (Halloween 2012)

A quick look at our Halloween.

Trick-or-Treating with Friends. 

Home for the night.

When we come back from walking around the neighborhood, we dump all the candy on the table and let everyone eat whatever they want.  One night of all-you-can-eat and then it all "disappears. ;)

My favorite parts of the night?  Watching them share the candy they got--making sure everyone had a taste of each kind of candy.  And watching Beza look at something, flick it across the table and say, "Don't like it!"  (How can you not like Milky Ways, KitKats and Reeses Peanut Butter cups??)

Also, I LOVE watching how much they love to answer the door and hand out our treats.  And Beza couldn't run to the door fast enough.  After we watched her run a few times to answer the doorbell, we tried to catch it on camera.  We seriously don't know how she didn't wipe out going around the corners. :)  (This time it was just M or T pretending to be a trick-or-treater---she was very disappointed. :)

Our "spooky" pumpkins.  (Dracula's eye is a squirrel-lunch casualty.)

Hand-carved by none other than J himself.  (Doesn't he do a great job?)

Have a great weekend!