Roller skating

Today we went roller skating! We have tried taking the kids roller skating in the past, but it wasn’t real successful. Now that they have been ice skating all winter, I felt more confident they could handle themselves on the rink.

Every Thursday, one of the local rinks has a home-school skate. This week, it was a 50s theme with a Valentine’s card exchange.

The kids were a little uncertain at first. But after a few times around, they decided they have a new favorite past time!

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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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Feed My Starving Children

A company in our area opened its warehouse on Saturday to host a Feed My Starving Children event. They invited our church to participate.

The three older kids and my husband volunteered for two hours. Everyone takes a different job and works in an assembly-line fashion to pack up meals, which are then sent to kids living in impoverished countries.

By the end of the day, they had packed more than 125,000 meals for distribution. All three kids and my husband said it was an incredible experience!

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In front of the tree

For the past five weeks, I’ve taken a photo of my four kids in front of the same tree in front of our house.

I don’t try to make them pose or wear matching outfits. In fact, I don’t even try to clean up what is behind them in the photo. I just want it to be a reflection of our lives and a way to see how things change over the course of a year.

Today’s photo was funny.

Our “post-blizzard” photo included one child in the tree, a snow tunnel underneath it and a few random snow boarders in the background! Let’s see… Is that tree getting shorter? Are the kids getting taller? Or is the ground rising?
Check out how we’ve changed the past five weeks!


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Last night was scary. The snow was coming down in a sheet. The wind was blowing about 50 p.m., causing the snow to swirl in every direction.
The light pole in front of our house was shaking in the wind. And then the lightning would electrify the entire sky.
But this morning? This is the kind of day that makes everyone feel like a kid.
Who could resist a tramp through THIS when you open the front door?
These are the bushes in front of our house.
The drifts are waist high in front of the house.
Where did the skating rink go?
The back yard. Wow.
Boys seem to have an irrepressible desire to shovel.
I guess we won’t be driving anywhere real soon.
Nature gave us a snow hill in the front yard!
Hey! Send a snow plow!
Fun times.
We are thankful for a warm house, a full fridge and SNOW!
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