Thursday, March 31, 2011

What color eyes does a goose have?

The questions from my 5 year old are flying at me faster than I can keep up:
"Does a squid have lungs or gills?"
"How many eggs does a Platypus lay?"
"How does a cat drink water without it spilling from it's mouth?"
"What is the defense mechanism of a Walrus?"
"Why do female ducks look different than males?"
"Why do Octopus squirt ink?"

At first it was really overwhelming for me, especially to think that my child actually believed that I knew all these answers! I started keeping a running list on the kitchen counter, of all the things he was asking me, so I could look them up and tell him later. Wouldn't that make me look so smart? ha ha. But that really isn't the point, is it?
These past few months a light has ignited within our 5 year old, spreading into a giant, burning, bonfire, of learning more about everything animals!

It has been really exciting to see him begin to focus on learning about something he feels truly passionate about.
I just keep thinking over and over, "So this is when the homeschooling fun begins!"

Well, our goal is really to help him learn how he can expand on that passion to learn more. I don't want to provide all the answers. I couldn't even if I wanted to! I want him to reach out into the world and find the resources he needs to learn more, get excited more, and do more!

It is all just really cool.

Some things we have been doing to enhance his desires, and encourage him to learn:
Observing animals in natural habitats and farms,
Reading animal books from the library,
Watching animal-nature movies and TV shows,
Frequent trips to the Zoo,
Keeping an animal-science journal,
Incorporating animal facts and stories into everyday life
Pretending to be animals and putting on puppet shows
Talking about our personal experiences with animals (With an ex-zookeeper Dad, that isn't too hard, and Zadok adores all his animal stories.)

But most importantly, we are allowing him the freedom to learn all these things with his own creativity attached! You see, one of his sole motivations in learning more about animals, is because he wants to build "creature power suits". He is pretty serious about it, and it is no laughing matter in our house. He is collecting the data he needs to build the greatest, most powerful creature power suits in the world!
Right now he is making blue-prints for a dolphin and a Giant squid:

Here's the owls, and Draco-gliding suits:

And every morning when I wake up, I don't know what animal he will be
pretending to be that day. Will he be a duck, a wombat, a shark, an alligator? Usually something with a great defense mechanism.

I love this. I love all of it! I love that the excitement to learn more about animals from our 5 year old son, has involved the whole family to learn and get excited, together. I mean, I never imagined that I would be so intrigued to know that a Platypus is one of two mammals in the world that lays eggs and makes milk! But, it's cool! And homeschooling is cool, too. :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Black bean, tomato, cilantro, and olive Couscous

We love Couscous around here! It is made from a healthy grain (wheat), is really quick to cook (5 minutes), and is affordable! The boys usually like it served plain, with just the flavors of boullion and butter. I like to spice mine up with whatever I find in my cupboards!

I came up with this recipe a few months ago, and it has been a hit at several potlucks we've attended since. (On St. Paddy's day I dyed it green!)


2 cups dry Couscous
3 cups water
2 tbs butter
2 teaspoons flavored bullion (chicken or veggie) or 2 cups stock

Boil water with butter, and boullion. Once water is bubbling, add Couscous. Stir until combined, turn off stove and let sit until fluffy (about 2 mins)
Pour warm Couscous into large bowl, let cool, then refrigerate until chilled.

Couscous salad:

1 can Black beans
2 tomatoes
1 bunch cilantro
1 can black olives
Dressing of choice

Combine everything together with a large spoon, then add about 1/2 cup of dressing.
Enough Couscous to feed a large family, or friends at a potluck, or Couscous salad just for for ME, for days!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Creature power suits

There is a secret power that one can possess, if they truly desire to help animals. The power lies in the bear paw symbol, which can be activated from the front of an ordinary T-shirt.

First you have to touch the animal that is in trouble, which will then trigger the activation of the creature powers of which that animal holds. Next you touch the bear paw and shout out, "Creature Powers Activate!"

Creature powers can be anything from webbed feet, to gliding wings, to underwater gills, to extra speedy, Cheetah-running power. Once you have the power of that creature, you can BE that creature. And, along with other super-powers of strength and stamina, this is the ultimate secret weapon of rescuing hurt or endangered animals.

Within the wild minds of two very excited little boys, this animal-power-activation process all works out, and has made two little boys very serious about animal rescues!
They have been watching this show called Wild Kratts, on PBS kids, and along with their own imaginations, have created a world all their own.

It's all about saving animals at our house these days, and every day brings new opportunities for adventure and fun!

Creature Powers Activate!
**T-shirts found from dresser drawers, with felt glued onto them work marvelously.
**Yesterday we picked up litter from a nearby creek, for the animals.
***Several days ago they saved a worm from drying up in the sun.
***During the week we feed the ducks and geese, and pigeons.
**We wander the forest looking for animals in trouble.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Waiting for the Call

We've decided we really want to move to Hawaii, the place where I grew up and we both love. Micah flew over for a preliminary interview a couple weeks ago, and now all we can do is sit here and wait for the call.

Waiting is the really hard part. We know they need teachers, specifically in his field. We know they will be hiring. We know they need teachers and will be hiring right where we want to live. But we don't know if they will hire us.

This is the part that requires the utmost faith, that yes, God has a plan for us, and yes, whatever happens will be for the "welfare of thy souls."
We're doing all we can to work hard and make things happen in the direction we feel is right, and now we wait.
So, we are waiting for the call. Waiting, waiting, waiting......waiting for the future to unfold. I think they start hiring at the end of May. This waiting is going to be annoying.

Today I am focusing my positive energy and prayers in the direction of Hawaii. You, my little, tropical islands, are on my mind, and I can't wait to reunite with you, we think.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Soul Surfer

There's a new Hollywood surf movie coming out April 8th, called "Soul Surfer," about the life of Bethany Hamilton. She was the 13 (now 21) year old girl who was attacked by a shark while surfing on Kauai in 2003, losing her entire left arm.
I hadn't paid too much attention to the news story at the time it happened. I was living here in Utah, far away from Hawaii and the surfing scene. But I remember being shocked about the way it happened, because it was such a beautiful, crystal-clear morning, and the shark just came out of nowhere.
I can remember so many times waking up early, as a young girl, before the sun had risen, to catch those crystal clear waves, just like her. You never thought in your head, "A shark might come bite my arm off." But...It happens, and it happened to the little Bethany Hamilton.

When I heard this movie was coming out I decided to go check out her book at the library, and read about it, first. The book is also called, "Soul Surfer," and it is actually a really inspiring book! At first I was intrigued by the shark attack, and had fun reading about her life surfing and growing up in Hawaii, but most importantly, I walked away super inspired by her faith in God and Jesus Christ.

Bethany Hamilton is a Christian and believes that this shark attack, which was really traumatic and hard, actually opened up a window for her to teach others about Christ. How awesome is that!
She has taken this opportunity to be a missionary, and to be an example of hope and faith that God has a plan for us, even when life doesn't go the way we expect it to. She has helped so many people to have hope during hard things in their lives, especially youth who have undergone serious accidents and problems they didn't feel they could overcome.
After Bethany's shark attack and loss of one arm, she still went on to become a professional, champion surfer. Now that's hardcore!

I loved reading this book, and I loved that her optimistic attitude allowed her to use this accident as a way to serve others and God. Can't wait for the movie to come out.
I hope it conveys the same positive message as the book.

(And when I say book, I'm talking hardback, thick font, double spacing, with pictures, written by a 14 year old. It's an easy one, and I read it in 2 hours. Go check it out!)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Owners Manual

I'm certain there's about a million different opinions about what to do when your 7 month old baby wakes up in the middle of the night, and only wants to play. It was 2am this morning when I heard Jonah fussing in bed next to me. So, I did the first thing I always do, nurse him til he's well-filled, until he passes back out, a belly full of warm milk. It usually only takes one "side", before he drifts back into happy, sleep-land.
But that didn't work this time. He was still fussing. So, I tried the other side. Then back to the other side. Then back to the other side, until it was very clear to me that he wasn't going back to sleep, no matter how many "sides" I gave him!

There's no baby owner's manual that tells you what to do in this instance. There's only what you feel in your heart is right. It's 2am, I'm half asleep and exhausted, and all I want to do is drift back into my own happy sleep-land. But here I am, rolled up in a blanket on the floor of the toy room, watching this sweet

The whole time I kept thinking, "He's so adorable! So cute and lovable!He can do no wrong in my eyes,
not even at 2 am!Tomorrow's gonna be tiring."
Here's a small peek into my morning this morning. (Note the toys he played with are things I don't usually give him: my camera case, a balloon, and the snot bulb. Anything to please a baby at this too-early hour, right parents?):


2:30 am




back to sleep, drifting into that happy place we love. Silly baby.

Friday, March 11, 2011

40 days-Facebook Free

I decided to give up checking and browsing facebook for 40 days. Some friends of mine were discussing what they should give up for Lent when one of them jokingly said, "How about facebook?" We all laughed.

The general consensus amongst us was that giving up facebook would be impossible, because facebook is such a lifeline, and such an important connection to the rest of the world!

"How would I know what was going on everyday?"
"How would I connect with my friends everyday??"
"How would I be able to share my happy/sad/frustrating news everyday???"

Well, once upon a time we didn't have facebook, and once upon a time we were all still functional. So, I temporarily deleted my account, just to see. I have until April 18th until I allow myself back onto facebook.

I think everyone gets something different out of facebook. For me, fb is a way to hear news about people- a marriage, the birth of a baby, a move to a new place. And not only do I get to receive news, I get to share news. I can't even name all the blessings that have come from connecting with friends on fb. Oftentimes when I have needed help, or needed an answer to some quandary, the answer has come from a facebook friend.
When we had to hurry up and move to SLC, with nowhere to stay, it was a fb friend who offered her mother's basement for us to stay in. When my phone fell in the water and I needed a new one, it was a fb friend that replaced my phone. When we were looking for friends to kid swap with, so Micah and I could get dates, it was fb friends that we swapped with. (and it's still working out marvelously, by the way)

Sometimes I think even God even uses facebook......or else he answers our prayers through other facebook users. he he.
I'd also like to think we have helped other people as well, through the opportunities we've found via social networking site.

But, even with all the good things that have come from being a fb user,there is also this addiction that keeps me coming back, at times when I really don't want to. Like late at night when I want to read a good book, fb wins. Or in the morning when I want to make a delicious breakfast, fb wins again, and we eat toast. Sometimes I even use fb to ignore my responsibilities, or my whining kids, and that's no good. No good at all.
I have been spending more time than I want to on fb recently, and if I recall, that's one of the things on my happy list of things not to do.

So maybe I shouldn't give up facebook, maybe I should just practice some self-discipline!

But I want to. At least for right now. At least for Lent. I may not be Catholic but I know there is great merit in sacrifice, and with sacrifice comes new awareness and maybe even some purification of the soul.
Also, giving up facebook for 40 days is a challenge for me, and sometimes it's good to challenge yourself. (As if life isn't challenging enough. ha ha) But, I'd like to see how strong I am with this one.
Lastly, I've been getting this strong feeling that there's other really important things I need to do right now, and maybe I wouldn't be aware of them or open to them if I was spending my free time on FB. (which is only like 20 minutes a day, but I don't really have 20 minutes a day to browse the web!)

Wow-April 18th seems so far away. I can do this!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dear Blog

Dear blog,

I am so sorry I've left you alone a lot lately. I realize how much I miss you and how much you really mean to me. I didn't mean to break up with you so quickly and so hurtfully. I hope you will forgive me and let me explain.

I mean, we've had our rough spots, (like that time I went on vacation for 2 whole weeks), and sometimes I feel like you take too much time away from other things that are important to me. Though don't get me wrong, I still care about you.
I just feel like lately we are growing apart, and my commitment to you feels so inconsistent and unsure. I don't want to lose you, so I'd like us to stay together, but I guess I feel like I'm failing to be what you need me to be. But gosh, that doesn't mean we can't still be friends, or still meet together on occasion, like old times!!

Maybe we can just take this real slowly and not make any rash decisions we'll regret later. I think I'd like that.
And who knows, maybe we can pick up again someday right where we left off.


Yours truly,