Music lovers


I love the fact that my kids are now old enough to really enjoy music and have preferences about what they want to listen to.

Last week, Andrew asked if we could download a song he had been hearing on the radio by the Christian group, the Newsboys. I have been a little leary of the new Newsboys because I just don’t get how Michael Tait, former member of dcTalk, can now be the lead singer.

Tait’s soulful sound is a contrast to the disco, hip-hop sound of former lead singer Peter Furler.

Well, we ended up downloading the whole album, and it has become our new favorite around the house. It’s also created a lot of conversation. The album includes the song, “Jesus Freak,” which was the most popular song recorded by dcTalk.

The kids really know that their favorite Christian artist, TobyMac, was part of dcTalk. But they don’t know anything about the other members, Michael Tait, and my personal favorite, Kevin Max.

So, they keep asking, “Why is Michael Tait singing TobyMac’s song?”

“No, no, no!” I keep explaining. Michael Tait and TobyMac were BOTH part of dcTalk. So, Michael Tait has just as much right to sing the song (even though he’s part of the Newsboys) as TobyMac with his own band.

It finally got to the point that I drew them a flow chart to try to explain the whole thing.

All of this conversation about the old dcTalk, the old Newsboys, the new TobyMac and the new Newsboys, led us to dig out all of our dcTalk and Newsboys cds from the past. We loaded them all on iTunes, and the kids have been loving their “new” collection of music.

I am loving hearing lots of my favorite songs from my two favorite groups from the past. And I love listening to all of this music through the “new ears” of my kids!

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Basketball and gymnastics


Wednesdays get really busy for us because Matthew is taking a basketball class, and Alayna is taking gymnastics. This Wednesday, we also added in a trip to public skate to meet up with some other home-school families. It was a packed day full of physical activity.

Alayna looks so much older this year in her gymnastics outfit!

Matthew is doing great at basketball. He won the dribbling contest this week and last week. It’s fun to see him choosing to try a sport that doesn’t interest his older brother. He loves basketball class and can’t wait for it each week.

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Sugar-Free Mama?

I don’t know. I’m just thinking “Sugar-Free mama” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as “Sweet Mama.” “Sweet N Low Mama” isn’t working for me either. “Splenda Mama?” Not so much.

It’s probably not time for a name change yet, anyway. But I am kind of proud of myself that I made it one entire day without drinking any sugar. Yes. I did mean to say “drinking” any sugar.

Despite my New Year’s Resolution, I have been thinking about trying to reduce the number of calories I consume in liquid form. I got up Monday morning, and without any premeditation, decided it would be the day. I made my morning tea, and… GASP! … didn’t add any sugar.

I took a few sips, and instead of immediately giving in, like I usually do, I started getting used to it.

It takes a lot of beverages to get me through the home-schooling day around here. With the cold weather, I have increased my daily consumption of hot, sugary liquids to an all-time high. I usually have two cups of tea in the morning, with sugar. I start craving a can of Coke around lunchtime. The afternoon usually includes some hot chocolate, decaf coffee, herbal tea or maybe some chai latte. Whatever the case, it always includes sugar.

It takes a lot of sucrose to keep this home-schooling mama sweet all day long. But I started doing the math and figured that I’m drinking at least half of the 1,800 or so calories I should be consuming per day.

The first thing I noticed this morning was that I was a LOT more hungry. By about 10:30, I was ready for lunch.

Then, I started craving a banana. That was weird.

Later, my glucose level was getting so low I had to have an orange. Who knows what will be next? Apples? Grapes? An old container of baby food?

I’m not trying to cut out all sugar from my diet, although I would love to try that if I could ever find that much will power. I’m also not looking to replace sugar with its equally evil counterpart (in my opinion), artificial sweetener.

But a day without liquid sugar felt pretty good. In fact, I feel kind of powerful that I defeated the one thing that seems to have the most control over me: Sugar.

I’m going for Day 2. And if I make it, maybe my kids will abandon my old name of “SW-EEEEEET MAMA!” start calling me “Super Mama!”


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The skating rink

This is a double post from my daily photo blog. I’m starting to really get in the hang of posting a photo every day over there, and I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would! But for those of you who read in a reader or via e-mail and you don’t check the link to my daily photo blog, I’m posting this one both places.
Our ice-skating rink is finally complete. It turned out far better than I ever anticipated!
Because we started so late building it, we couldn’t even consider trying to level the yard first. It’s funny that even in a yard that seems fairly flat, a few inches of decline can make a huge difference when you are thinking of filling a space with water.
The rink is about 28 feet by 26 feet. My wonderful husband had to build up the far side because it is about six inches deeper than the opposite corner. This means we have about eight inches of water in the deepest section and only about two inches in the diagonal corner.
We’ve learned a lot about the freezing properties of water. It took us nearly a week to add layers of water and let them freeze. In the middle of this process, we got several inches of snow. That seems like a good way to fill the rink with water, right? Well, not exactly.
It’s too cold for the snow to melt and create a nice smooth surface. If it freezes, it will create bumps that have to be chipped away. So, snow means we need to shovel the rink!
But after much waiting, much shoveling, much filling, much chipping away at uneven ice, we finally got  to skate this weekend!
I joined in on the fun on Sunday afternoon. The rink doesn’t seem like it would be big enough to really get good exercise. But it actually is. It took me a few laps to find my center of gravity. I haven’t ice skated in about 10 years.
Once I did, I spent about an hour going around and around. We brought out some music, which was even more fun!
These days, we closely monitor the weather. But unlike most years when we moan and groan if it drops below 20, we are starting to look forward to those days! We want to keep our ice frozen so we can have lots more fun on the rink.


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Birthday scavenger hunt


Today was my husband’s 42nd birthday. Because his birthday is so soon after Christmas, I always have a difficult time thinking of good gifts for him.

This year was no exception. I actually waited until this morning to even go shopping because it took me that long to figure out what to get him!

Well, I have to say that I should win the good wife award for this year. I went a little crazy and came up with some AWESOME gifts.

A few of the gifts were kind of large, so instead of wrapping them, I created a scavenger hunt. I made one clue from each of the kids.

He was puzzled at first about the clues and what they meant. Each one had a little poem that told him where to find the gifts. The first gift was from Jayda. It was an ice-scraping tool he can use to smooth out the rough spots on the skating rink.

Gift #2 was kind of crazy. This one was from Alayna. It’s a steam mop for our kitchen floor. I know. This gift is really for me. But it’s a well-known fact you can’t buy a mop for your wife. So, I decided I would give it to him instead and he could be happy to see me use it!

Gift #3 was from Matthew. It was a pair of ice skates so he could skate with the kids.

Gift #4 was the one that was the shocker! This one was from Andrew. It was a snow blower!

So, yes. I went totally overboard this year for his birthday. But he was so excited. And it was so much better than giving him the traditional sweater and socks.

The funny part about the whole scavenger hunt is that my husband is extremely low-key. During the search for the gifts, he seemed like he was just going along with my little game to be nice.

After it was over, he said, “That was one of the most fun birthdays I have ever had.” He said it in a completely monotone voice. I wasn’t sure if he was serious at first! But he really was! Not only did he love his gifts, but he had a great time finding them.

Happy Birthday, Kent!!

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