Friday, April 29, 2011

Our Easter celebrations

You all know I'm a little health conscious, but I still believe in celebrating, and even in celebrating with food. I just try to celebrate with foods that aren't so damaging. This years Easter was the best. It really was. And it was the best because we spent the whole week before Easter, beginning with Palm Sunday, doing devotionals each night where we went through the scriptures and talked about what Christ did during that week before his resurrection since we have it all recorded in the Bible. Scott and I loved doing it and the kids loved doing it. I loved that each night after dinner we got to spend a good amount of time together speaking of Christ and learning of Christ. It brought such a nice spirit into our home.

We also did some typical Easter activities like dying eggs(we ate most of them before Easter) and attending an Easter egg hunt. The Easter egg hunt was at a local grocery store and I knew from previous years that this particular grocery store doesn't only have candy, but they have produce and toys as well. I advised the children to go for the non-sugar items and reminded them that their Mom is not at all averse to throwing candy and other junk foods away...this is something I do fairly often because they sometimes come home with junk from church or school, especially on holidays. They came home with stickers, a jump rope, bubbles some fruit, and some candy items. I let them pick out one piece of candy and then we tossed the rest, which wasn't much. They were smart.

We had Easter baskets on Sunday morning, though next year we may have those on Saturday instead just to be sure that the focus on Easter is actually on our Savior and His resurrection rather than on the gifts in their Easter baskets. The kids woke up Sunday morning and did their traditional scavenger hunt in order to find where their baskets were hidden. I don't know why they love doing that so much, but they do, so we always put one together. After the baskets we ate german pancakes...Elisabeth asked that I cut them into egg shapes, so we did that too.

The kids got more this year than in the past, partly because their great aunt gave them each an Easter bag full of goodies. In our Easter baskets were a few 'treats' that I got from a whole foods store like 100% fruit juice sweetened fruit snacks. I also bought festive Easter goody bags and put a couple in each basket that had things like bunny grahams(I also got those from the health food store, which are sweetened with honey) which was one of their favorites, and the baked cheetos, and a couple of boxes of 100% fruit juice. As for non food items they each got something to use in the garden that I found in the dollar bins at Target, some festive pads of paper and bubbles, also from the dollar bins and then we have a tradition that we give them something they can use for entertainment on Sunday since we don't allow media on Sunday that is not Christ centered. Last year they got an animated dvd called, He Is Risen. This year for Easter we got the family, 'Esther and the King' which is a Liken film. The Liken store also had their cd's on sale for $4 a piece so we put one in each of their baskets and that was their big gift. We all love the Liken films. They are scripture stories with singing and dancing and with a modern day application. My kids loved getting the soundtracks because they already knew all the songs and could sing along. Here is a short clip of Annabelle doing a dance to this Laman and Lemuel rap song :). This is not my favorite song, but here you go:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Piano update

Elisabeth is doing so well with her piano. We have seen a huge growth in these past 5 and 1/2 months. She went from not knowing any of the notes on the piano to knowing them all and being able to play many of them with both hands. Pretty soon we're going to need to get a full sized piano or keyboard with pedals. Here she is practicing one of the pieces for her lesson('When We're Helping We're Happy):

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Finding Faith in Christ

We watched the movie, Finding Faith in Christ(the link is below) as a family after dinner this evening. I know the kids liked it because they asked lots of questions during and after about specific miracles Jesus had performed.

Watch this 30 minute video. It's uplifting and inspiring. I love our Lord and Savior. I'm so grateful for His perfect example. I'm so grateful he suffered for our sins allowing us to repent and return to Him and live forever. He is the immovable anchor in my life and in the life of my family. Our lives completely revolve around Him and His teachings. He is everything that is good and wonderful. I hope you all have a very happy Easter and that you remember Him and the life that He gave for all of us, and that He was resurrected so that we too, can live forever.

BYUtv - Finding Faith in Christ

What we did while you were away (to Dad/Scott)

Scott was in Seattle this past week for work. Here are some of the fun things he missed:
Dying and decorating Easter eggs:
Archery(Ignore me. I had just come up stairs after exercising when long, wooden Tinker Toys started flying all around my head. Char is getting to be a pretty good shot. It's a good thing I work out because I've really got to be on my toes):
Sibling love(and teasing and torture, all within a few minutes time):

Our daily green smoothies(and my really good little helper):

Baking and decorating Easter sugar cookies for our Easter party with the Grazzini family this weekend. I'm glad you'll be home in time for the party!
We're so glad you're back!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Local, raw honey

I had my first purchase and use of local, raw honey this week! I was and am so excited to have found this honey bee contact. I found it through a lady in my ward who has so much knowledge and information in all things natural. I've called her quite a few times, gleaning whatever information I possibly can. I wanted to get local honey because some say it helps alleviate allergies, which I have(the reasoning goes like this: if the bees and nectar is local, it should help with symptoms that come from those same local plants), and I want it raw because anything raw has more nutrients than it's cooked/processed counterparts.

I stayed away from raw honey before because of it's price. Honey in general is not cheap and the cheapest I could find it was at Costco. They sell there 6lb container of honey for $13.92 which works out to be .14 cents/oz. My new honey bee contact sells his honey for a similar price if you buy it in bulk. You buy 50 lbs and it ends up being .16 cents/oz. You can buy it in smaller quantities too, but it's a little more that way(though not much) and since honey lasts forever and I use it so often with granola and other recipes, I thought this would be the best deal for our family. He didn't have the 50 lb container available at the moment so I went for a 5lb container for now which ends up selling for .18 cents/oz($15 for 5 lb) which is still really good. I also got a couple of the 12oz squeeze bears for $3 each. I'll let you know how the seasonal allergies go. I normally get them a few times a year so I'm really hoping this will help.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Cleaning

We've been doing a lot of extra cleaning and organizing over the past couple of weeks. I don't know what it is about Spring and wanting to clean, but it's got to be something in the air because I know I'm not the only one feeling this way. Last week I bought the 9 cubicle organizer for the girls room and we got things looking better in there. This week I cleaned out the garage, organized the shelf in our kitchen where all sorts of odds and ends get dropped,
went through the really large pile of papers sitting in the basket on our kitchen counter(among other things in that general area),
Before After

and took out the cd player also sitting on the kitchen counter and we put up a new under-the-cabinet cd player in it's place(I used my birthday money to buy this and I'm loving the counter space it has freed up). I gave Elisabeth a project one day, too, since she's off track. She was to clean the counter and beneath the counter in the main bathroom. In cleaning underneath the counter, I also asked her to please separate and organize all the clips, ponytails and headbands that had been put away in the wrong drawers, or not put away at all....which was the case for many of the items. She did a phenomenal job!

On the to-do list for next week is to clean behind and underneath the fridge(we're getting a new one next week! More on that later) and to sort through and organize the stacks of paper sitting on the desk downstairs. I'm dreading that last chore. I wish I could just dump it all in the garbage and call it good. Unfortunately some of those papers are important. What I really need is to borrow a wand from the fairy-god-mother or see if I could learn Mary Poppins tricks. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My birthday letter from Elisabeth

Elisabeth gave this note to me on my birthday as her gift. I love it! For those of you who can't read it, it says:
"Dear Mom. I love you with all my heart. I can't believe you are turning twenty-eight. You are so close to daddy. You are so nice to us. You are such a nice mom. When ever I am at school I miss you so bad I just want to stay with you all day. Love, Elisabeth"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Saturday sports

Charlie's t-ball team:
Elisabeth has been begging us for months to sign her up for soccer. Apparently she plays at recess every day and loves it. Since Scott and I were both soccer players, we sympathize with her pleas :). These are pictures from her first game. She also will have soccer practice on Thursday evenings.
Here's a short clip that I took when they were practicing before the game. Elisabeth seems to be shy and quiet at the beginning of the clip. That's because her coach kept calling her Emily. Right here she finally tells him, "My name is Elisabeth." :)

This past Saturday was the first one in which both children had sports games. And they were back to back: One game began at 10, the other at 1130 and in different locations. Friday night Scott and I went over our schedule for Saturday so that we could be sure to get everything in that needed to be done. It's a good thing we're young and healthy because otherwise days like these would be exhausting. :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Christ Centered Easter: Days 4-8

In the book, The Christ Centered Easter, the first few days each had their own page. Now, all the days share a page with another day, so I'm just going to post the rest of them now. These pages will take you from Wednesday through Easter Sunday.

I am loving doing this. I really am. It has been so nice spending so much time together in the evenings, as a family, reading about Christ and doing different activities that go along with the Easter story. We probably spend about an hour each night with this. And on top of that, once they go to bed I read through the material for the following day which includes scriptures and uplifting stories, and then again the following day if I didn't finish the evening before. Easter and Christ are on my mind all through the day. It really does bring a sweet spirit into the home.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 3- Tuesday; parables and teachings

Day 2, Cleansing the Temple, went well. After we read the scriptures about Jesus cleansing the temple and talking through that story, we used one of the discussion questions about what we could do in our home to 'clean' it so that the Lord would feel comfortable here. The kids enjoyed answering all my questions about, 'if we did this, would the spirit be in our home?' We ended up deciding that we would work on not fighting this week and if we noticed that someone was beginning to get angry or fight, we'd gently remind them by saying, "cleansing the temple." :) The kids thought that was a pretty neat idea :). They also enjoyed picking a secret pal (I just put all our names, minus Jane, into a hat and we took turns pulling out a name) and figuring out things they could do every day this week for that secret pal that would make them happy.

Here is the page for Day 3, tomorrow, which will be Teachings and Parables.

News from the week

Here is Jane. She is so cute. I love her sweet and happy temperament. I have so many pictures that I haven't posted on here yet. I'm going to try and do as many of them on this one post as I can. I'll be posting Day 3 for the Easter week tonight once the kids are in bed.

Our news for the week:
1. I was able to do Elisabeth's hair in two ponytails, and then pull those pony tails through and underneath the hair. If that doesn't make sense, and you are curious to know what the heck I'm talking about, you can enlarge the picture. Either way, many of Elisabeth's friends wear their hair like this and she always makes me try it, but it never really turns out right. We usually end up with one, or both, sticking up kind of high and so we end up taking it out. But on this day I did it right. Elisabeth was so happy she asked me to take a picture of her :).

2. It was so nice this week that Charlie asked me to set up the small tent. We didn't actually sleep in it, even though they wanted to, but they did drag their sleeping bags inside along with some books and played in there. Here is Charlie with our neighbor Brigham.

3. Elisabeth is off track from school for four weeks. In order to make my life a little more organized and happy, our day is somewhat scheduled, especially the mornings. Once we've finished breakfast and cleaned up after ourselves, the kids pull out their school work books(We got these from Costco...Scott's mom picked up one for each of the kids and I have a couple others we use as well). They sit around the table with me, Elisabeth works through hers on her own and will ask me questions if she has any, I explain to Charlie what he's supposed to do and then he goes to work on that page and when he's finished we start again, and Annabelle does the same as Charlie, though she requires more help. After school time, Elisabeth plays the piano, I lay down Jane for a nap and then I exercise while the other two play or watch Letter Factory(we're really trying to make sure Annabelle has all of her alphabet letters and sounds memorized...she's close, but not quite there yet). Here are the kids around the table working on their school books.
4. All the kids were able to sit in a fire truck this week. A friend of mine told us they'd be having one at the end of her sons preschool class and asked us if we'd like to come along.
5. I've been in need of some sort of furniture item for the girls many sweatshirts among other things. This weekend I stopped at Target and found this 9 cubicle piece on sale, along with drawers you buy separately. I set it up all by myself. I even got to use a screwdriver and hammer! No, it's really not that exciting, I mean, I use a hammer whenever I put pictures up, but it was still satisfying to be able to do a building-type project on my own without any help. I love that it has organized some of our chaos. Elisabeth decorated it herself. I thought she did pretty good for the most part. Her sweatshirts are in the two drawers.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 2-Monday-Cleansing the Temple

Our Palm Sunday activities went really well. I think the favorites were the acting of the Triumphal Entry, going on our nature walk, and one of the stories I paraphrased. Below is a picture of all our actors and a short clip of the second half of our play. Charlie was Jesus, Scott the colt, Elisabeth a disciple and Annabelle one of the workers who kept the colt. And I was the narrator.
If you click on the picture below, and then magnify it, you'll be able to read the ideas for Day 2, which is Monday. I'm going to prepare tonight so we're ready for tomorrow.

A Christ Centered Easter: Palm Sunday

My Mom gave us an Easter activity book called, "A Christ-Centered Easter" by Janet and Joe Hales. It has ideas and activities, scriptures and prophecy's you can read each day, beginning with Palm Sunday(the Sunday before Easter) and finishing on Easter Sunday. I'd read through all the days and decided to implement this into our Easter celebration. I hate that the Easter holiday has turned into a celebration of bunnies and eggs and candy, instead of focusing on the Savior. I love Spring, and we'll celebrate Spring, but Easter is a very important day, a day when Christ should be the focus, not candy and eggs. By following this book, the kids will get a much better understanding of the real reason behind the holiday. We'll still have an Easter basket, but I'll be sure to include things in the basket that will help them remember Christ.

I'm going to post each of the days on here, and from now on I'll try and do it the night before the actual day, so if there are any of you who would like to follow along, you'll have the evening before to get your thoughts together. I won't include all the supplemental songs, recipes, stories etc but if you'd like them, you can buy this book online through Deseret Book and probably other places. It really is a great book and the stories are heart warming. But you can also read through each day that I've posted and choose some of the activities that don't require the book. There's not going to be enough time to do all of the activities listed, so our family will probably pick several a day and leave the rest for other years. Today I'd like to do the nature walk if it's nice, talk about some symbolism, read one of the stories and if there's time, act out the triumphal entry play. When we read from the scriptures, I'll also have us do our traditional eggs --I have a post on the eggs from the previous year. Each egg has a scripture inside and a symbolic item to go with it. I hope you can enlarge this and read it fine. Let me know if you can't and I'll see what I can do. Have a happy Easter week!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Handsome Charles

Doesn't he look great in his new suit? I passed by a Burlington Coat Factory the other day and made a quick stop to see if they sold little boy suits. And they do, from size 2T and up. Charlie was excited to get dressed for church Sunday morning. That morning before he got dressed he also got his own breakfast and cleared his spot without us asking him to, and he cleaned his room and made his bed, also without any reminders from Scott or myself. When I walked into his room and saw him cleaning and could hear him singing along to the primary church songs, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and I couldn't help but smile. Charlie looked up at me and smiled back and then I crouched down and he gave me a big hug. This isn't the first time this has happened, but either way, when it does, it's wonderful. He is turning into such a big, wonderful boy. I decided to grab my camera so I could have this moment to look back on, and so Charlie would know how wonderful I think it is when he sings and when he his working to improve his surroundings. Each of these videos is only a few seconds long. And hey, if you show your kids, maybe it'll inspire them to clean their rooms. At least that's how my kids work :).