Shape sorter

Jayda is really starting to get active now that she is a full-fledged walker. However, her favorite activity is still to be carried by Mom or Dad. Because of this, she has earned the nickname of “hip rider” (or HR for short).
As you might imagine, this gets kind of tiring for a mom who is trying to home-school three other children !
So, I’m always happy when I can find an activity to keep her busy for a few minutes. 
One of her favorite things to do right now is to sort her pegs. We have a big bag of pegs that go with our Giant Pegboard toy.
She pulls them out and then puts them in the circle hole in this shape sorter toy. She isn’t quite big enough to match up all of the shapes on the shape sorter. But she can handle the circles!

She works diligently at this task until she fills her little blue box with pegs. And as long as she’s busy, I work as fast as I can to complete whatever task I need to accomplish!
Is that fun, Jay-jay?

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The tunnel of doom

Last week I was getting my hair cut, and the salon where I go was hosting a free skin-care clinic.

Unsuspecting women would come into the spa, probably hoping for a nice free facial and maybe some advice on make-up. Instead, they would be ushered over to what could only be described as The Tunnel of Doom.

This was a big box-shaped contraption with a curtain on one side and some sort of view finder on the other. The Tunnel might not have been so bad if it was hidden in the back of the spa or, better yet, locked inside a private room.

But instead, it was pretty much in the center of the salon, and it was operated by two very perky women with perfect skin, white labcoats and surprisingly loud voices. They would greet the victims clients with a series of questions that would lead them to reveal their innermost feelings about their skin.

“So, how would YOU describe your skin?” one of the ladies would ask.

I had my head buried as deeply as possible in a magazine, hoping that neither of the women would happen to glance over at me with my head full of foils. I was trying to keep my eyes and smile frozen in a position that might create the fewest number of wrinkles just in case they happened to look my way. And I was trying to think what the appropriate answer would be to the question.

“How would YOU describe your skin?”

I think the first woman gave the only correct answer. “Combination.” I mean, really? WHAT else CAN you say?!?

But then, it was time for The Tunnel. The poor woman went underneath the curtain, and the perky labcoat lady on the other side would shout out her incredible findings like she had just discovered the cure for Alzheimer’s. Her high-pitched voice screeched through the lulling spa music with commands to help her further her investigation:

“Oh, wow! That ring of red dots on your cheek looks like it might be eczema!”

“Could you move over a little, I want to examine that yellow patch on your chin now?”

“Could I see that oily place on your left cheek?”

I was squirming in fear that they might spot me and force me to go under the curtain. I didn’t hear the woman scream out in pain, but I could only imagine that she was hoping a secret trap door would open in the floor and she would go flying out into the street through a hidden chute.

She couldn’t be so lucky.

Apparently, once released from The Tunnel of Doom, it was time for therapy.

“How many kids do you have?”

“Five? Oh, my. Well, I know it is hard to think of yourself. You are always giving to the kids, right?”

“Now how many are girls?”

“You know your girls are watching you. They see how you treat yourself. Do you want them to grow up to put everyone else first in their lives?” (“Like you,” she did NOT add.)

“How many fruits and vegetables are you eating each day?”

And FINALLY, we are getting to the point of this post.

Because right then, that perky lady with the red hair said something that almost made my head turn in her direction.

“You know that 80 percent of your hydration comes from the inside.”

Eighty percent?

That got me thinking. So perhaps instead of spending hundreds of dollars every year on skin care products that don’t seem to be doing a lick to stop my 40-ness from spreading across my face, into my laughlines and all the way out my crow’s feet, I should just drink more good old fashioned almost-free water.

Then, she told the lady that she needs to eat eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day. I mentioned this to my wonderful hair stylist when she came back from cleaning the hair dye off of her hands. I told her eating that many servings of fruit and veggies seemed less probable than getting my boys to wear clean clothes everyday.

But being the kind, helpful, soft-voiced person that she is, she gave me two life-changing words: V-8 Fusion. (I suppose that’s actually one initial, a number and a word, but whatever.)

So, now, I’m on a mission to eat five (not eight) servings of fruits and veggies each day and drink eight glasses of water. The V-8 Fusion has one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables in one 8-ounce glass, which is almost half of my goal. I’m finding that now that I stopped drinking sugar… yes, three weeks and still going strong… that I easily eat the other three servings without even trying.

I guess The Tunnel of Doom wasn’t all bad after all. For me, anyway.

What about you? Do you find it a challenge to eat your fruit and veggies each day? Do you have a good strategy to drink eight glasses of water? I would love to hear about it!


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SciTech Museum

We had a field trip today with our home-school co-op to a science museum about 20 minutes from our house. This was a ton of fun. They had converted an old downtown post office into the SciTech Museum, which was full of hands-on experiments perfect for the ages of our kids.
We felt like we had discovered a hidden treasure when we arrived and “signed in.” The only other people who had signed in before us were other families in our co-op.
Alayna loved playing with the “bubble wall.” She is blowing on her giant bubble in this photo.

Here are some of the kids getting ready for “lift off” in a hot air balloon.

This was Matthew’s favorite part. He had to generate electricity by pedaling a bicycle. As he rode harder, more lightbulbs would light up. He was talking about that for the rest of the day. In this cold weather, we certainly are glad we don’t have to generate our own electricity!

Jayda had a great time running from one side of the museum to the other. Here she is standing in the foot of a mastodon. Grrrr….

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Eating leaves

One of our assignments for our Biology class this year was to take the little radish sprouts we have been growing and eat them. We were supposed to divide the sprout into three sections and try to determine in which section the radish grows.
OK. It’s kind of funny that my kids don’t really know what a radish is. They haven’t ever eaten one before. So, the fact that one end is red, really wasn’t a big clue to them.

I loved their reactions. The firstborn was totally reluctant to eat the sprout. Each section grew progressively more unbearable as he ate the leaves, then the center section and then the red part. “Too spicy!”
The middle child loved it more and more with each bite. “Mmmm! This is good!”

And then there’s the third born. She basically loves to do anything that’s silly. The whole project was just one more opportunity to have a big laugh.
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More snow!

It is unbelievable how much snow we have had in the last week. Just when we think it could not possibly snow more, it does!

On Sunday, we woke up to big sticky flakes falling from the sky. By the time we got home from church, we had lots of fresh snow to work on the snow-boarding hill. It was a little above freezing, which feels like spring to us these days.

Here are a few photos of the kids on their sleds and snowboards in the front yard.

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