Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My Favorite Things

Some of the things that bring me unending joy...

Roses from the rosebush in our front yard.

A smile from my daughters.

The laughter of my son.

Ice Cream.

A cool Spring day.

The sound that fallen leaves make when you walk on them.

The first snow of the season, and how it makes everything look so fresh and white.

The laughter and smile of a baby.


Learning something new.

Sitting on my patio on the porch swing enjoying the peacefulness of my backyard.

Fresh clean sheets.

Strawberry cheesecake blizzards from Dairy Queen...mmmm.

Storms that come at the end of a long hot day, cooling the air.

A really good book with a great story and interesting characters.

Almost anything from Bath and Body Works, especially anything Warm Vanilla Sugar or Creamy Coconut.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

Whatta ya mean there's no water ??

I went downstairs this morning to do one of my least favorite chores (wash dishes) and to my suprise when I turned the faucet handle nothing came out.

So after calling the water company and making sure it wasn't my fault (they were working on something), I informed Pinky and Daisy that there was no water so they couldn't flush the toilet, then 'Cole and Pickles came in from the library and I told them the water was off.

So for an hour I had to explain that:
1. If you flush the toilet it only has enough water to fill itself one more time.
2. No water in the house water in the house. No, you cannot use the downstairs bathroom, because there's no water there either.
3. No it's not just our house, the neighbors don't have water either.
4. The icemaker can't make ice, if there's no water.
5. No you can't wash your hair, because there. is. no. water.

The quote the day is from Pickles who asked me with a look of total disbelief on his face:
"So you mean if you turn the handle on that faucet no water will come out ?"

Right son, there is no water.

Luckily it's back on now. Just in time too, I was about ready to go screaming down the street.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Can You Spot a Fake Smile ?

Spot The Fake Smile
I thought this test was pretty interesting.
You got 14 out of 20 correct

It was harder than I thought. (and some of the people were creepy looking)

If you take the test share your scores. (reply in the comments section of this post)

What Are We Reading ?

We just started on 'The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane' by Kate DiCamillo.

What's it about?

Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely.And then, one day, he was lost.Kate DiCamillo and Bagram Ibatoulline take us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes' camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

What do we think so far ?

I've already read the book, and even though it starts out slow, it is absolutely worth reading. Its has a great message about holding onto love even when it seems like everyone has abandoned you. I recommend this book for children ages 8+. It does portray some violence towards a child. (child is slapped by his father) Children who have moved multiple times in the foster care system, might understand how Edward feels and how a little of himself dies away everytime he moves.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Farmer's Market

Today we did #11 on my list of 101 fun things to do over the summer. First we went to an outdoor farmer's market, we met a woman who sold lavender soaps and satchels. She gave Pinky and Daisy a handful of lavender to put in their pockets, so they could smell the aroma all day.
Next we went to the North Market a huge indoor marketplace. We wandered around and looked at the different types of fruits and vegetables, we saw different types of breads and meats. We found a Italian bakery and drooled over the cannoli, but ended up buying some delightful cream horns. We taste tested salsas made from Peach, Mango and Raspberries. Pinky and Daisy tried a hot and spicy salsa that made them run for a water fountain. We bought the Raspberry Salsa and some red tortilla chips and got some huge strawberries on our way out to the outdoor eating area.

We sat outside and enjoyed our cream horns and then walked back downtown to catch a bus to go home.

A wonderful day. Very relaxing and peaceful. I love days like this.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sand Eater ?

We did a nice little craft project Saturday, we made sand art pictures by gluing colored sand to paper. Today I find out that 'Cole ate the leftover sand from her project.
ATE the sand. (she said she wanted to see what it tasted like)
Doesn't sand taste like....sand !?!?
Still scratching my head over that one.
Even the twins don't do stuff like that.

In the words of Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean)
"I wash my hands of this weirdness."

Tough Stuff

A few months ago 'Cole had asked me about any paperwork that I had received when I adopted her. I had some things, but I had misplaced them. I found them yesterday morning, I debated all day about letting her see them.

She had a very rough beginning. There were many instances of her being abused by her (very young) biological mother. She still bears the physical scars of this abuse to this day.

But, I let her see the papers. I don't know if it was wrong or right. I'm not sure if it's better that she knows everything now or later. She already knew bits and pieces of the info, but this was the first time she's seen it in print.

I asked her if she had any questions about what she had read and she asked "What's a pre-placement visit ?" and I explained to her what that meant and I let her know I was available to listen or talk or answer any questions she might have, she said she didn't have any questions and she went back into her room and started watching a movie.

Today she seems...more cheerful than she has in a long time, it almost seems like a weight has been lifted off of her.

I still don't know if it was the right time or not, but if it answers some of the questions she has, I hope seeing that paperwork brings her a sense of peace.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Outdoor Movie Night

We had our first outdoor movie night and it was great. We watched the movie Eragon and ate popcorn under the stars. The kids were so excited to try something new. Definitely something to try a few times a month.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Changing a Behavior

Tonight we sat outside and enjoyed the cool Spring evening. We played Name That Toon and American Idol and had fun being together. Until Daisy (who doesn't handle change very well) started whining to go in the house. (she wanted to watch tv) We ignored her until she started getting annoying, then we all came in.

I probably should have just had her come in and go to bed, since apparently she had to be tired because only tired people get whiny.

One thing I've learned about being a parent is that I am constantly learning. It's always a matter of trying to figure out how to handle any and every situation that pops up. Daisy is good at sabotaging activities where she feels like she's not being the center of attention. It's really all about control, if it (the activity) doesn't happen the way she wants it to, she starts complaining, then it escalates to whining until finally no one is having any fun. I think that will be my behavior focus for this summer, catching the bahavior before it becomes a problem and redirecting her. It's hard to do it during the school year, because I'm not around her that much.

Some days I feel like I'm putting pieces in a giant puzzle, but I'm pretty sure I don't have all the pieces. A picture is starting to form, but I can't make it out. It just drives me to try harder, I can do this.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My Favorite Recipe Sites

Meal planning for families is so difficult so I have a pretty good sized list of my favorite food related websites.

So here are a few...
Food Network
My Recipes
Just Slow Cooking
Copy Cat Recipes and More

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Picture of the Day- Sunday

Pinky and Daisy with some feathered friends (Australian Lorikeets) at the Zoo.

A Call from a former foster child

A few weeks ago I got a phone call from a former foster daughter. Her and her sister were the first children that were placed with me. They were with me two and a half years before the placement disrupted. She had undiagnosed RAD, due to almost a lifetime in "the system".

It's taken a long time for me to find forgiveness in my heart for this young lady after what she put my family through. I was the only one who tried to help her in her life. I was the first foster parent who help arrange visitations between her and her other siblings just so they could know each other, I arranged visits at the mother's home just so they could have at least one Christmas with her, together as a family, I gave her all that I could give...but I couldn't fix what years in the foster care system did to a young girl's spirit.

So we had a conversation, adult to adult (she's 20 years old now) and I must admit it was a nice conversation. We talked about work and college, she's moved back in with her biomom, but she feels like she's not in a healthy environment. She doesn't have any children yet. She and some of her siblings have drifted apart (there's 7 of them total) She drives now, has a car. She sounded...ok, almost happy.

And I miss them...not just my first two children, but all of the ones who have been in my home. I pray that they are safe and happy, and that they have allowed God's light ito shine in their lives.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Picture of the Day- Friday, June 8th, 2007

'Cole at the Apple Orchard last year.

Personal Responsibility (Part 1)

Sometimes I just don't understand how my oldest daughter thinks. On Monday she came home and we had this conversation:

'Cole: I can't go on the field trip because I lost two school books."
Mommy: How'd you lose two books?"
'Cole: "I don't know, It was from the beginning of the school year."
Mommy: "So are you going to have to pay for them ?"
'Cole: "Well, I could use my allowance or you could pay for them for me." Mommy: *scratching head* "But I didn't lose any books..."
'Cole: It's not fair to make me pay for books I don't remember."
Mommy: " lost them..."
'Cole: "Can't you just give me the money for them ?"
Mommy: "But... you lost them."
'Cole: "It's not fair, nobody understands."

The money for the books (and her field trip spending money) came out of her allowance fund, she wasn't happy about that, but oh well. I can't ever remember a time that 'Cole has admitted to doing something wrong. She never apologizes. She can be just seems strange/odd, to me. She's the only person I know who can say "I didn't mean for it to happen, but it wasn't my fault." On the other hand, she's an excellent student, she doesn't steal, she doesn't lie, she's a likable, friendly girl. Kids look up to her.

But if nothing is ever your fault, how do you learn from your mistakes ?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Meet The Family

Daisy and Pinky, twins age 8
They came to live with me in October, 2003. They are as different as night and day. Pinky is the quieter of the two, she is a people pleaser, but she has a sneaky side. If she thinks she can get away with something she'll give it a try. Daisy gets up in the morning full of questions and goes to bed at night full of questions.

Pickles, middle child age 11
He came to live with me in October 2003. Pickles is the biological brother of Daisy and Pinky. He is a great kid. Friendly and kindhearted. I feel bad for him sometimes being the only male in a house full of females.

'Cole, the teen age 13
*insert primal scream here* She came to live with me in 1999 at age 4. Exceptionally intelligent and creative. She can be so sweet and then when she doesn't get her way, watch out , her dark side appears. She has a little problem with with prsonal responsibility. In other words...nothing is never her fault. Nothing.

My mother, age 64
Granny is my best friend. (usually) She has helped me care for my foster children and adopted children. She has supported me in whatever endeavour I have tried. Age is starting to catch up with her and she's forgetful sometimes, but having her live with me and be involved in my life helps to keep me focused.
We also have two dogs, Casey and Shadow, a cat named Oreo and a rabbit named Binky.

Just Thinking....

No truer words have been spoken...

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
--Marianne Williamson

One More Day

Just one more day of school. Maybe I can make a break for it, while they're gone tomorrow. Get in the witness protection program, get a new name, new identity.

Well, since there's no real hope for escape, I guess I will try to keep everyone as busy as humanly possible and hope for the best.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

What's For Dinner

I used to love to cook, but now it seems like a full time job, a full time job where the patrons complain and the chef is starting to look at the knives with a gleam in her eye.

Menu *Week of June 3, 2007*
Lasagna with Garden Salad and Breadsticks
Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Sauteed Green beans
Shredded Barbecue Chicken sandwiches with Corn and Potato Salad
Italian Sausage and Peppers over Rice with Tomatoes and Cucumbers
Grilled Hot Dogs with Baked Beans and Corn on the Cob

I think the menu for the week looks great, but every meal I have to answer the following questions:
"Did you make the potato salad ?"
"Do I have to eat all of this ?"
"Are there onions in this?"
"If I don't eat all of this do I still get my after dinner snack ?"
" Are there peppers in this ?"
" Are you sure I have to eat all of this ?"
" Pickles sneezed on my food, do I still have to eat it ?"
" Can I have mustard on this ?"
"Can I have ranch dressing on this?"
"Can I have ketchup on this ?"
"If the cat licks it, do I have to eat it?"
After the third or forth question, my eyes start to glaze over and visions of going on strike start drifting through my mind.
Hey, family I'm the only one who cooks around might just wanna stop complaining now.

101 Fun Summer Activities (Or how to keep Mommy from going insane)Part 1

1. Join the library summer reading club.
2. Have a Barbie Doll Bath Day (In the tub or pool and use the sample sized bottles of shampoo for shiny clean Barbie hair)
3. Pull out the family board games and play
4. Play a computer game and compete against each other. We like Nanny Mania and Zuma.
5. Paint t-shirts (or tie dye them)
6. Go swimming
7. Play in the park (try to go to a new park once a week)
8. Have a picnic in the park.
9. Plant a garden.
10. Plan a meal with foods you've never had before.
11. Visit a Farmer's Market.
12. Pick strawberries from a farm.
13. Visit an amusement park.
14. Go to a museum.
15. Visit a festival.
16. Make homemade ice cream.
17. Have a talent show.
18. Do a craft project.
19. Get a big piece of canvas and some acrylic paint and create a mural.
20. Go stargazing.
21. Take a walk around the neighborhood and try to discover new things.
22. Learn the history of your neighborhood. (The library has some great books on local history)
23. Pull out the water guns and water balloons and have a neighborhood water fight.
24. See a movie.
25. Go to the zoo.
26. Visit a pet shop. (you don't have to buy anything, just look at all the animals)
27. Have a car wash.
28. Visit a museum.
29. Make and Bake a loaf of bread.
30. Do a Factory Tour.
31. Go for a bike ride.
32. Decorate cookies just for fun. (or make a cookie pizza)
33. Learn a new language. (Grab a book/tape from the library)
34. Give the dogs a bath.
35. Clean out the garage.
36. Make a fleece pillow(or blanket)
37. Have an outdoor movie night.
38. Blow bubbles.
39. Play with play dough outside.
40 Finger paint with your feet.
41. Put on a Play together (don't forget to videotape it)
42. Make paper airplanes.
43. Make your own soap.
44. Have a spa day.
45. Go see a baseball game.
46. Go play a baseball game.
47. Make s'mores and tell ghost stories outside.
48. Make a pizza.
49. Learn one new thing without using a computer.
50. Make a teddy bear.

101 Fun Summer Activities (Or how to keep Mommy from going insane)Part 2

51. Have a Teddy Bear Picnic.
52. Take a vacation.
53. Go to a beach.
54. Run through a sprinkler.
55. Make your own slip-and slide. (Heavy tarp + sprinkler=fun)
56. Climb a tree.
57. Build a tree house.
58. Go camping.
59. Give everyone a can of whipped cream and put them outside for a whipped cream fight.
60. Learn Sign Language.
61. Learn how to draw.
62. Take swimming lessons.
63. Go to an Airshow.
64. Go see fireworks.
65. look at the living creatures in a creek.
66. Invite a cousin over to spend the week (or weekend)
67. Make doughnuts out of canned biscuits and decorate them.
68. Find out important things about your birthday. Birthday Calculator + Facts
69. Learn about a different culture.
70. Clean out from under all the beds.
71. Watch diet coke fizz when you add Mentos to it. Fizz Factor
72. Clear out a room and go carpet skating Carpet Skates
73. Teach the dog a trick.
74. Learn a magic trick.
75. Grab some joke books from the library and have a comedy day.
76. Read the newspaper together.
77. Do a crossword puzzle together.
78. Have a party for no reason.
79. Visit a neighbor.
80. Clean up the litter in your block.
81. Make coloring books to trade with each other.
82. Go to a free concert.
83. Make a CD of summer music and have a sing-a-long.
84. Go birdwatching.
85. Buy a disposable camera and a scrapbook so everyone can remember their favorite summer things.
86. Visit your state capitol building.
87. Go for a paddle boat ride.
88. Have a slumber party.
89. Play tennis.
90. Visit an Aquarium
91. Go miniature golfing
92. Go bowling.
93. Visit a fair.
94. Visit a family member you haven't seen in awhile.
95. Go horseback riding
96. Take a drive through the country.
97. Hop on a Greyhound Bus and take a short ride to a nearby town.
98. Spend the night at the Zoo. (May need to get a group together for this)
99. Paint each others faces
100. Make balloon animals.
101. Just enjoy each other.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Summer Craft Camp

I was searching for some summer fun ideas and stummbled upon this cool website.
Summer Craft Camp

There are a lot of cool ideas for snacks and games for kids.
check it out :)