Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Day of School

I know that for kids the first day of school can be scary and exciting. So I have tried to make the first day of school a fun day at our house. This year, I had the door decorated with "Good Luck in 4th grade" by using Crayola Window Markers which are really a lot of fun to leave messages on windows and mirrors. Anyhow, then I usually try to find 1 school supply that wasn't really needed but wanted and I purchase it without my kids knowing about it. Then on the first day of school, the kitchen table is set for breakfast and there is a new supply at their spot too. This year it was twist-up colored pencils for Robert and a new Thomas the Train book for Garrett. This is also one of the days that Garrett and I go with Robert to the bus stop across the road, and we do the usual first day of school photos (which I try to do at the same place so I can see how the kids have grown)

I also try very hard to make sure that I have cleared the calendar for when Robert gets home to hear all about his day. It sometimes takes a little bit of time for Robert to tell me details of the day, but usually by bed a have a pretty good look at what the day was like.

So what do you do for the first day of school?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Monarch butterfly time!

It is that time of year, when the boys and I go out caterpillar hunting. We went the other morning and found a couple of caterpillars, but nothing like what Andrew and I found Sunday afternoon. We found 7 caterpillars, but the coolest thing was the size of them these are the smallest caterpillars that I have ever found and we found 4 of them. Check out the picture. Monarch caterpillars are such a neat thing for the kids to check out - the process of change that the caterpillar goes through. I will have photos of the process until these caterpillars turn into butterflies. Garrett will be doing a butterfly life cycle - check out http://www.enchantedlearning.com/ for a life cycle print out and other butterfly activities. I have found that there are adults that have never seen this change of life - I guess that I took it for granted that I had school teachers that loved the hands on learning that could be added to the curriculum. I also found that if you search "life cycle of monarch butterfly" there is a website that has time lapsed photos of a butterfly coming out of the chrysalis - very cool!

Children's Sermon - Stepping Out

okay, this children's sermon was almost too long, but the length can always be adjusted by the number of examples used.

I asked the kids how they were doing and if they were ready for school - answers were as I expected the day before school starts. Then I asked if over the summer if any of them had gone to Wal-mart, Riverside or Sharp Shopper - to which they answered yes of course. Then the hard question - how do those doors work? The answers were interesting, but I finally explained that they use to have these black rug like things that when you stepped on them the door opened. So what opened those doors? We did - by stepping forward and stepping on the black rug or by breaking the motion detector. So YOU stepping forward was what made it work.
Now do you know that God has a whole warehouse of miracles just waiting to have happen? So what is he waiting for? Well let's look at some of his past miracles.
We talked about David & Goliath and how David had to say "I'll fight the giant" before God went to work.
We talked about Noah and how Noah had to say yes I will build the ark - God gave the blueprints.
Jesus feeding 5,000 - the boy gave his 2 fishes and 5 loaves of bread and God went to work, but the boy had to step forward first.
But that was all a long time ago, so are miracles happening now? Well when Gary went to Jamaica, it poured at the place where they were staying but where they were working it wasn't raining and they could get the house built. See the mission team had stepped forward and said yes and God was doing the rest.
(I continued with several examples of current miracles from within our church)
So why don't we see miracles happening more often, because people aren't stepping out or stepping forward and saying yes to what God wants them to do.

So with this new school year, I hope that you will decide to step out for Jesus and say "yes" to what God wants you to do. I made foot shaped bookmarks from funfoam and wrote on them "Have you stepped out today?"

A verse to go with this was Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Swimming Pool Educational Game

This summer we have spent a lot of time at our pool. The boys like to have me "tow" them around the pool on a pool noodle. Well I had just read an article about a mom who had her girls learn their address and phone number while they got their hair done. Well since this was on my mind, it got the creative juices going. While in the pool, we came up with a new game. Rockin Robin's Towing Service.

The boys would pretend that they had an accident with their pool noodle and then they would call "Rockin Robin's Towing Service" AKA Mom. I would then ask them to give me their location for the tow truck to find them - they had to tell me our home address including town and state. Then I would ask for a phone number at which they could be reached in case the tow truck got lost. To this Robert found out that he needed to learn my cell phone number - so his contact number was my cell phone and to Garrett his contact number was the house number. Once the information was communicated I would rush to the "scene of the accident" and grab a hold of the pool noodle with child in tow and tow them to a pretend garage to have their car fixed.

Okay so we pretended and included learning and swimming and fun all into one- what more could we ask for! At least the boys now know phone numbers and Garrett has learned his address! Yeah!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fresh Applesauce

Well it is that time of year when the apples start to fall off the trees and the battle to pick up apples with the boys begin. But so far this year there hasn't been major battles and Gary helped this week by bring in a bucket of apples. These weren't real big apples so not really good for apple pie filling or apple dumplings, but good for applesauce. So if you have never made homemade apple sauce here is all that you do - it is really simple:

First wash your apples, then you can decide if you would like to peel your apples or put the apple sauce through a food mill. If you peel your apples, you just need to core and peel the apples and put them into a large pan and add a little bit of water so they don't scorch to the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat on and stir your pan of apples on a regular basis until it is sauce. You might need to add a little sugar depending on your preferred taste and depending on the apples. As for me I dislike peeling apples so I just cut and core the apples and cook the apples with the water until the peels start to let loose of the meat of the apple. I then put the apples through a food mill and take out all of the peels and then add sugar (Depending on the apples your applesauce might take on a pink color from the peels). Either way homemade applesauce with a little cinnamon is a favorite around my house especially if it is still just a little bit warm.

The best part was that I had 2 boys come offer to help today. Robert came in and started turning the food mill and when Garrett got up from his nap he wanted to help too. This was so neat since I try to find jobs for them to help with putting up food at this time of year and sometimes I have to listen to a lot of whining about helping. So their volunteering was a great joy!
If you are looking for ways to include the kids in the kitchen with canning or preserving foods this fall stop and look at the simple jobs that they can do. Even 2 year olds can stand on a chair and "help" wash the apples before cutting them into pieces. Older kids can learn knife safety and if they are soft apples use a butter knife to cut the apples into pieces. The food mill is another easy job but it takes supervision because usually the food being milled is hot and it could splash on the child. But even when we are trying to get the food ready for winter we need to find ways to include our kids in the kitchen.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Venango County Fair

The Frog Jumping contest returned this year and Andrew had the largest frog there - he didn't win but it was a huge frog! (And he didn't step on it!)

Robert in the auction ring on sale night - he did very well and had several buyers there bidding on his goat.

Animal dress up contest - Garrett took first place with his goat as Rudolph and he dressed as Santa. Robert and Sam had "Superhero goats" while John, Joe & Paul had the "Pirate goat" and Andrew dressed his sheep up as a King.
The week ended on a fun note except when Andrew got hurt, but the kids had fun. The one other thing of the week was that at the awards ceremony Robert received the "Rate of Gain" award for goats, which was cool since we weren't sure if he was putting on enough weight or not- I guess Robert must have fed it right. The fair is over for yet another year, but now Robert has decided that maybe he would like to have dairy goats so he could milk them and then make goat milk fudge & a pig might be fun too. Oh what will the next year hold for us? I can hardly wait!

Venango County Fair - Continued

Robert with 1 of his 4-H projects - Genealogy- 1st place. He also entered Cookie Magic - 2nd place and First Aid as a club project which received 1st place. He entered a few in open this year too a Quilt patch, a story about Maple Syrup, a Duct Tape ipod case, and a photo of a butterfly. ( In this picture you can see nephew Andrew's poster in the right hand corner with a 2nd place ribbon)
Andrew showing his pig in pee wee showmanship and he received a blue ribbon.

Andrew in the pedal tractor pull. He had a full pull which made it he was in the pull off which he had 2 more full pulls before being beat by another boy by a few inches. But he did a great job!

Garrett in his first fair pedal pull and he did a good job.
Tuesday of fair was busy watching Andrew show his pig. He also showed a sheep on Monday. Wednesday the big event was the pedal tractor pull - first time for Garrett and the first time that Robert got to help instead of pull. Also the first time that Andrew got several full pulls. By Wednesday the boys were getting a little tired.

Venango County Fair - beginning of the week

Garrett with his 2nd place collage of tractors. He entered a farm display which placed 1st, a painting on fabric which placed 2nd, a Christmas ornament that he received 3rd and a bookmark, plus his goat Simba.

Simba and Garrett had a blue pee wee showmanship, a 1st in Doe of any Breed and Champion Doe of any Breed

Robert received a blue in fitting, a red in showmanship and a 1st place in the middle weight Meat Goat class. He got to go in for Champion but didn't quite make the cut.

Garrett showing his goat, Simba, all by himself this year!

Robert answering the judges questions during the show with Bo.
We started the fair off with the Goat Show Monday morning and the rest of the projects being judged. The boys were planning a great week and I think they succeeded.