Friday, May 29, 2009

Tiny Dancer

*Sigh* I think I'm in love. For the millionth time with this one...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Toys Worth Buying

With Sissy, our first daughter, we didn't know anything about toys. We bought practically everything Fisher-Price put on the market between 2002 and 2005, and if we didn't buy it, the grandparents did. Both of us come from single-parent homes where money was tight, so when we had Sissy I think we subconsciously decided that she woud never have to "do without" something that other kids had. Unfortunately, that mindset resulted in an overwhelming amount of toys, most of which never got played with. With that in mind, here's a list of toys that actually worked for us:

Fisher-Price Ball Popper -- I can't find anyone, adult or child, who doesn't love this thing.

Stuffed Animals -- depending on the child, these can lead to hours of imaginary play

Puzzles -- wooden puzzles are educational, long-lasting, and fun

Play Food -- the wooden variety is sturdiest, but check around the web to find felt food patterns

Blocks -- for younger kids, the bigger the block, the better!

Art Supplies -- a no-brainer

Fisher-Price Piggy Bank -- my 2 year-old is still going strong with this; good manipulative toy

Add a baby doll & stroller if you've got girls, or a cars and trucks with a road-map rug for boys, and you're set!

It's really hard for parents not to buy into the hype of the latest "developmental" toys being marketed today (& don't even get me started on video games!), but the basic toys are always the best. Fundamentally, what young kids like to play hasn't changed in generations. Head on over to We Are THAT Family for more tips and inspiration!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Gosselin Meltdown

I know that by writing about this subject I may draw fire from Gosselin-fans and Gosselin-haters alike. I do not want to use this blog to indulge in gossip or slander against the Gosselins or anyone else. But, since Christianity and parenting are both focal points for this blog, I hate to say nothing about something that troubles me so deeply.

I do not believe that Jon and Kate Gosselin are evil. I believe that they are Christians. I believe that they love their children, and that they began their television show with honest intentions. I even believe their claim that they viewed the show as a way to share their faith with others. I also believe that they have, like all Christians at one time or another, turned their back on God's will and are operating out of their flesh rather than out of the Spirit.

They've believed the enemy's lie that happiness is life's goal. They've believed his lie that comfort and security are paramount, and once they have been achieved there will be plenty of time to work on their relationship with God. They have looked for love and approval from others, from one another, and ignored their identity in Christ. The world and its lies have bewitched them, hopefully only momentarily, and they are floundering to understand why everything is disintegrating all around them. I would say that at some point, we have all, as Christians, been guilty of these same things--luckily, not quite as publicly.

Nothing about their story is new. The enemy of their souls is on the prowl for them as he is for each and every one of us, as he has been since human history began. He delights in the fact that these children of God have sinned and are being humbled and humiliated before the eyes of a wicked world. He loves nothing more than to mock Christ by "discrediting" His followers.

If you read this, please pray for Jon and Kate Gosselin. Pray that God uses someone close to them to speak the eternal truths they need to hear. Pray that they can lay their souls bare and receive the grace that can only come from God. Pray that they can find strong Christian counseling in order to restore their relationship. Pray protection over those eight precious children. Pray that God gives Jon and Kate the words to comfort and soothe the hearts of their children.

Lord, thank you that you are our portion and our strength. Thank you that when you are for us, it doesn't matter who's against us. Thank you for the gift of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. And thank you for the opportunity to pray for our fellow Christians as they navigate the trials of this fallen world.

Monday, May 11, 2009

And, why do we homeschool, again?

I love lapbooking. I love the theory behind combining craftiness and learning, though I'll admit to being a little, shall we say, OCD about making everything perfect (I'm working on this, I swear). Sadly, I often take the fun out of it for Sissy, because I tend to hover to make sure she's doing everything "right". Today, inspiration struck and she wanted to make her own book about fairies. I vowed to leave her alone until she asked for help, and things went swimmingly. She needed help binding the pages, which is when I finally got a look at the book. Nice.

Not sure where 'Queen Caca' got her name, but see? It's so much more fun for both of us if I let her do it by herself.

PS--I didn't bother posting the picture of the fairy named 'Tata'. What's the point?

Goodwill Goodness

My other blog, Newly Thrifty, is about my effort to stop paying retail. I love our local Goodwill--I've been most successful at finding clothes for Sissy and Sassy and neat kitchen/dining items. At any rate, I couldn't resist posting this dress I found for $3.50. It's from The Children's Place and was easily $20-25 retail. No original tags, but it looked brand-new. Sassy wore it for Mother's Day and it was so adorable. I encourage everyone to hit their local thrift shops/Goodwill because though it takes some time, it pays off in the end!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


My friend Cathy has way more self-control than do I, and has been able to survive a whole pregnancy without knowing the sex of her baby. That would drive me insane. Anway, I made a Burt's Bees-themed diaper cake for her shower over the weekend & it turned out to be really cute! (I almost wrote "it turned out to 'bee' so cute", but then I would have hated myself. Aren't you glad I resisted?)

Monday, May 4, 2009

This is What Sassy Looks Like

Here's Miss Sassy. She goes, and goes, and goes non-stop, until she drops in her tracks. She's referred to as "busy" by friends and family who are too polite to use the word "wild". She also inherited my rubber-face, which means it's next to impossible to get a good picture of her; if her body's not moving, her face is. Sassy doesn't talk very much, but doesn't have to since she has a family of slaves at her disposal.
She is also headstrong (I'm thinking this is a girl trait, no?) and stubborn, but she's figured aout a strategy for herself: charm. She crinkles her nose at you, pats your hand, hugs you, and then proceeds to do just as she wishes, despite your protests. She loves her big Sissy with an unswerving devotion that is sweet to see. My prayer is that the two of them are each other's best friends for life.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Meet Sissy

Behold the two faces of Sissy, my 7 year-old. She is a beautiful, intelligent, sweet gift from God. She is also a lesson from God made flesh, because Sissy is just like me. She is headstrong, bossy as the day is long, and possessed of the sure knowledge that she is ALWAYS right. Ouch.
I'm not sure I believe in "generational curses" in quite the way that others do, but I do believe some of the characteristics handed down in the old DNA can shock you in their, ahem, familiarity. It's one thing to recognize your own faults and battle them in yourself every day, but to turn around and battle them again in a smaller (but much cuter) package can be overwhelming, to say the least.
But Sissy is unlike me in many wonderful ways. She possesses an astounding imagination that I completely lack; she acts out elaborate stories, sings her own songs, choreographs her own dances. She has a natural physical grace that is amazing (my husband's nickname for me is "Stumbleina") and a curiosity about knowing everything there is to know in the whole, wide world. She loves nature, animals, and bugs. Me, not so much.
That God. If he didn't wrap up some of our hardest lessons in such beautiful packages, what would we do?