Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Library Time

We went to the library yesterday to pick up some books for the next two weeks of home schooling. I got about 8 books about various bugs and insects. Daniel helped Danya pick out a large stack of beginning reader books. Here's a picture Daniel took of Danya reading "Princess for a Day" to me and Gloria. She's improving all the time with her reading. Her reading caterpillar is growing fast. She already has over 20 books on it. Today the girls and I went back to the library to listen during story time. The librarian read alot of books about pigs acting silly. The girls enjoyed the songs and games, too.

My Weakness

I admit it. I can't resist McAlister's broccoli cheddar soup and salad. Worse yet, the craving for it wins out at least once a week, sometimes twice. There aren't alot of places to eat in my little city, so that may contribute to it. Mostly, though, it's just me. Now I've got the girls hooked, too. Gloria loves the salad and Danya loves the soup. Daniel humors us all.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Lemonade and Sisters for Sale!

We found a cute little lemonade stand on our way back home today. The girls just HAD to stop and get a drink. I'm a sucker for kids trying to earn some money. Yeah, I'm the easy sell for all the kids in the neighborhood when they're pushing cookie dough and candles for their school fundraisers. We get more cheerleaders, band kids, and girl scouts then you can shake a stick at. Speaking of sticks, I'm right this moment waiting for an order of little magnets sticks and balls that I paid $16 bucks for. I convinced myself that it could be a birthday gift for Gloria AND used for homeschooling. I'm good at justifying paying too much for stuff like that. I will not, however, buy from some strange adult/teenager who shows up at my door pushing magazines or cleaning supplies. When I was a kid my mom says that she got a call from a neighbor (and we lived in the country, neighbors were FAR away) telling her that they'd found me and my brother at their door attempting to sell handmade lunch sack hand puppets. When they said, "No, thank you." we apparently offered to sell them our little sister. I vaguely remember that.

Toni, if it helps any, I now rank you much higher than a hand puppet. Love ya, Sis!

Yard Sales!

This morning we all hopped in the van and cruised around looking for someone else's junk to buy. I got some good books, including some A Beka reading books from a family that has kids attending Rejoice Christian school. I also found a whole box full of National Geographic World kids magazines. Daniel is so good about driving me around to find these. Today there was one on almost every corner! Alot of the time he just stays in the car with the kids and lets me take a quick look. I should seriously start a fund in our budget for garage sales since I enjoy them so much. I look forward to Saturdays all week long. Gloria seemed to think today that since her birthday is in about a month, I should be buying her presents everywhere we stopped. She doesn't know that we bought her one last night. Today we took her to pick out some wrapping paper. She's already telling me her birthday plans. We're thinking about having two parties, one for her friends at our house, and one for family in OKC.

Winds of Change

To sweep or not to sweep? That is no longer a question for Daniel! He got a brand new leaf blower this weekend! He hooked it up first thing this morning. Then he began blowing out the grass clippings, leaves, and other junk that has been getting into our garage for quite some time now. It took a minute to notice that our next door neighbor was outside washing, hand-drying, and detailing his pretty black car. So Daniel was nice and put the leaf blower away.

I'm glad that he'll finally be able to clean up the mess after mowing the grass and we won't have to spend an hour sweeping it up with our broom. Of course, now we won't get to compare whose blisters are bigger afterwards, but I can live without that joy.

Purple Power!

We went for a family bike ride today to try out my new bike. Daniel bought me this new bike last night as an early birthday present. Okay a verrry early birthday present. My birthday is in November, but what I really wanted was a new bike and by then it's a little late for bike rides. I can't wait to get all my little "accessories" put on it! I've got a nice comfy cushioned seat that was a birthday present last year, and some new plush handles that Daniel got me yesterday. Now all I need to do is add a stereo system, lower the frame, and figure out how to make it lift up and down and I'll have totally "pimped my ride", lol! It's purple, my favorite color, so now all 3 of the Elliott girls have purple bikes. The girls decided since our bikes match, we should match, so we declared "pink shirt day" too. I'll enjoy it for now, since they'll outgrow wanting to look anything like their mom soon enough.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Swing Time

The question is: Am I a good mommy for taking them to the park today, or a bad mommy because it was 95 degrees outside? The girls seemed to have a good time. They went down the scorching hot slide, took turns pushing each other on the swing, and played in the sand. Another little girl came at almost 4pm and they played with her. When they first wanted to play on the swings we realized that someone had wrapped them around the top to shorten the chains. So I spent several minutes tossing the swings up trying to get them over the bar. The first one wasn't too hard. The second one I got the swing seat over, but the chain got tangled on the giant nuts and bolts fastening it to the top of the swing. I had to stretch to my tiptoes with the seat in my hand and try to nudge the links of the chain off of the bolts. I don't want to even think what I must have looked like sweating in the 95 degree heat, my pants sagging down showing my white granny panties, my shirt lifting as I stretched my arms over my head showing off my flabby belly. I was thinking how embarrassed I would've been when I was a kid to have someone see my mom looking like that. But when I got the chain fixed so my kids could swing they just jumped up and down squealing, "You're the best mommy ever!"

Future Playwrights!

Yesterday Danya wrote her first play! She and Gloria worked out the story together. Then they asked me to help them hang a blue sheet for the "sky" and a green sheet with flowers on it for the "grass". First they pretended they were Pocahontas and John Smith. Then Gloria changed her outfit and became Pocahontas' dad, the chief. Here is an excerpt from the script with Danya's original spellings:

"Pokhenis wones wit owt one day and shee met a boy and shee ast if shee kud kno what his naem wus and he sed yes my naem is Bob."

Here's the translation: "Pocahontas once went out one day and she met a boy and she asked if she could know what his name was and he said, "Yes. My name is Bob."

Later Bob became John Smith and the script grew from there. They really got into the whole thing. I just wished there had been a bigger audience so I could have stood up and said, "That's my kid!" lol. They are so creative!

Dirty Story

Here's a dirty story with a clean ending. It's shameful, but true. We let our van go without a wash for about two solid months. It was getting so bad that I'd make Daniel back the van out of the garage so I wouldn't have to scoot past it and risk getting my clothes dirty. I didn't even want to open the trunk to put groceries in because the hatch was so dirty. We've traveled to visit Daniel's parents who live in a semi-rural area, collecting even more dirt...and yet STILL we did not wash the car. I was starting to feel like "Sara Sylvia Cynthia Stout who would not take the garbage out" from that Shel Silverstein poem. Click here to read the poem: Sara Cynthia So last night, after dropping the girls off for Awanas at our church (late, but that's another story), we got gas, aired up the tires, and finally finally went through the car wash. Oh, and of course (some cute inside info about our family), Daniel kissed me when the van windows were covered in soap. It's a tradition that we've done our whole marriage. Makes me wanna wash the car more often!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Homeschool Support Groups

Someone asked my opinion of homeschool groups, which is a very good question, so I thought I'd devote a post to it. (thanks, Kelli) I haven't been a homeschooler very long, so I can only share my short term experience. My need for a homeschooling support group is limited, but I decided to participate in my local group. If someone is interested in finding a group local to themselves, here is a good easy to use link: http://www.homeschool.com/supportgroups/ When I was researching homeschooling I talked to several people about it and found out that there are alot more homeschoolers around me than I realized.

I got invited to a meeting this summer. It was a pool party, which you can see a post and a picture about further down in my blog. Most of the people there were experienced homeschoolers, so I got to ask them all my questions. That, to me, is a great reason to attend homeschool meetings, if for no other. It was also a relief to meet some girls and boys ages 17-20 who had been homeschooled and were respectful, intelligent, and were either pursuing college or beginning a career. It boosted my confidence that I could successfully homeschool my children to adulthood. This group also holds monthly prayer meetings, but I haven't been to another one yet.

My husband, Daniel, went to the first official meeting of the school year. He paid $20 dues for the whole year, which I think is reasonable to help with group expenses. They email us and let us know about upcoming homeschooling events like book fairs and such. They gave us a card, with their group logo on it, that I signed and we use it to get the teacher's discount at several stores. That has been my favorite thing so far! They offer a couple of 8 week co-op classes that the parents share teaching different subjects. I don't feel like my girls are ready for that yet since the age range is kind of wide. It costs an extra fee, and would require me to help each week for a few hours. Daniel and I don't want to sign up for any extra responsibilities this first year of homeschooling. We want to focus on our family. We will consider it next year, though. This group has been around for a looong time, so I feel confident that they'll still be there.

A really good reason to find a local support group is to simply have someone to talk to about homeschooling. I talk about our homeschool online some, and sometimes get comments on this blog, but speaking to another homeschooler face to face helps so much. A fellow homeschooling mom, Betsy, just the other day invited us over, taught Danya how to bake bread, and let me see her homeschooling materials and filing system. I was able to get some great ideas from her and breathe a big sigh of relief that her system wasn't so different from mine.

Homeschooling groups can be a positive thing, so I'd recommend them as long as they share your views, create a positive supportive environment, and don't overwhelm you and take time away from your family's needs.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tower of Babel - Elliott Style!

Today we read about the tower of Babel. The girls made "bricks" from playdough, shaping and cutting them out. Then we made our own tower with lots of different kinds of blocks, including Jenga blocks. To illustrate the story, I started talking to Danya and Gloria, then suddenly switched into speaking gibberish. Then we talked about how frustrating it would feel to no longer be able to communicate with others. We wondered if God confused the language of immediate family members, or if he had criteria for the different languages. Could parents no longer talk to their children? We talked about why God did this. Why the people's reason for building the tower was wrong. They really seemed to understand the concept. This was a fun project to work on together. I got the idea from a book called "Forget-Me-Not Bible Story Activities" by Christine Yount. Here's a link to a site discussing the book: Bible Activities

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Scottish Festival!

Today we went to the 26th Annual Oklahoma Scottish Games and Gathering. We had a wonderful time! They really went all out in the kids area. Everything for them was free! They made crowns, ribboned head pieces, and a painted shield. They climbed on giant inflatable toys, and participated in sporting events with other kids. The girls got ribbons for the log toss, relay race, sack race, ring toss, and mini-golf. They got to take a picture with a knight, pet a giant horse, learn about falcons and ancient smithcraft, and listen to Irish and scottish bands. Daniel and I ate giant smoked turkey legs and read about the history of the Elliot clan. Daniel enjoyed watching a man actually hammering and shaping metal on an anvil in a forge! I loved the music and looking at all the beautiful silver jewelry twisted into intricate shapes.

The absolute most amazing moment of the day was when we were watching an Irish band perform and they invited kids to dance up at the front of the stage. Gloria said she wanted to, so I took her up to the front. She got shy, but joined in when a woman in costume took her by the hand and started dancing with her. Then Danya got excited about dancing and joined them. They were the only kids dancing at the front, but they were loving it. Then it got even better! The lead singer called for the three of them to join them up on stage!! So my girls went up there and danced with the lady in green while the band performed! Everyone was clapping and the girls were doing a little jig as the singer called out "kick your feet!". When the song ended he laughingly said that was the first session of the Tulsa Irish school of dance! The girls were breathless and grinning from ear to ear as they came down off the stage. We were so proud of them! Gloria kept doing a pretty little dance as we walked away. You can see her peeking out, wearing a white shirt, on stage in the photo on the right. I love how fearless they are! I hope they keep that boldness and excitement as they grow older! Danya even had the courage to ask a lady in costume to take a picture with her. She also asked one of the handlers questions about the birds when we were looking at the hawks. They are growing up into beautiful, fun loving, wonderful young girls!

Pizza Party!

The girls attended their friend, Myka's, 5th birthday party at Pizza Hut today. Myka's dad is the general Manager there. All the kids got to make their own personal pan pizzas at the party. My girls stuck with cheese only, as usual. They ran around with their little conical hats on and chased the birthday girl all over the store. The party was at 10 am before the store opened, so they had free run of the place. The Pizza Hut here is unique, because Myka's dad turned an unused storage corner in the main dining area into a play place for little kids. It has a small plastic slide and some other toys in it. The kids ran in and out from there to the main party room. Danya and Gloria gave Myka two coloring books and some pretty jewelry. They both came home with a goodie bag and a balloon. This may be the last year that Myka's family has birthday parties at Pizza Hut since their dad is transferring to a store in Tulsa. Daniel and I have both worked at this Pizza Hut for Myka's dad, Mike, at different times over the past few years, Daniel as a driver, and I as a waitress. Today we got a little flashback to those times. Daniel got recruited to work the cut table slicing pizzas for all the kids as they came out of the oven, and I wore out the carpet delivering them to the party room. It was sort of fun, since he and I had never worked there together. Ah, memories!

The Concert

The concert was amazing! Dennis Jernigan is such a wonderful performer! He's been playing the piano for audiences since he was 9, and it certainly shows in his inspired music. He puts so much passion and compassion in his voice and lyrics! Daniel and I were loving the old favorites that we'd sang together as teens, and enjoying learning his new music. Attending a Baptist church, even with a pretty good band, I've really come to miss the spirit filled joyful worship services of my youth. At this concert we were truly rejoicing in the Lord!

I didn't have the nerve to ask Dennis for a photo. That's why this is the only semi-decent picture I have. We did get a new CD of his music while we were there, though. This morning I played it loud while Daniel and Danya went out to get donuts for breakfast. Gloria and I danced and jumped all over the living room while the wonderful praise music filled the house! We danced until we both fell down out of breath! It was so much fun!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Dennis Jernigan Concert Tonight!

Daniel and I are going to the Dennis Jernigan concert tonight at our church. His music is special to me because while we were still teenagers, before I graduated high school, Daniel's family used to take me with them and other teens to hear Dennis Jernigan perform at the "Night of Praise" in OKC. His music affected me profoundly. I had never heard anyone sing songs that truly cried out to God like his did. His songs described God in a way that was brand new to me. I had heard God referred to as our "heavenly Father" before, but since I didn't have a close loving relationship with my natural father or my step-dad, it didn't mean much to me. I thought of fathers as being the disciplinarian and rejecting me when I made my mistakes. Dennis Jernigan's music completely changed my concept of God. To this day, his songs can bring me to tears. Not painful ones anymore though, but tears of joy that I have such an awesome loving God as my Father!

Here's a link to his website: http://www.dennisjernigan.com/

I'll post again this weekend, probably, to tell you how the concert goes!

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

My friend Missy came over this morning with her girls Sara and Sydney. They stayed for lunch, and then we headed out with them to walk Sara to school for afternoon Kindergarten. On the way, a van stopped beside us and it was Azure, our hairstylist friend. She had a hair appointment with Missy and had come early to give Sara a ride to school as a nice surprise. Now that's my idea of a good friend! So we came home and they went to Sara's school. After the girls and I had finished our homeschool work we walked over to Missy's house so that we could ask Azure if she'd cut my girls hair too, while she was at it. She did a great job on Danya and Gloria's hair, as usual. This time, instead of curling under, she made their hair flip up at the ends. It's extremely cute! The girls got to play with Missy's daughter Sydney some more, and with Azure's son, Zack. As for me, I got to "play" with the other mom's. It's really great to have some grownup conversation during the day. With Daniel working days this month, I think I've been missing that. The good news is, that he got his new schedule, and he'll be back on nights next month. We've really been feeling the drop in pay with him on days, since he isn't getting the shift diff. we've come to rely on. With this new schedule he'll be working Thursday through Sunday nights, 10 hours a day. So it's like having an extra long weekend every week, PLUS his new company pays him a little extra for working weekends! God has truly been good, helping us make ends meet this month, but I'll be glad to have Daniel on nights again starting next month. Speaking of work, do you see the small sticker on Danya's shirt? She got that for correctly answering ALL of the addition problems on her flash cards today! Yeah, Danya! And doesn't her new haircut look cute?!

Art Supply Therapy

Recently I finally took the plunge, stopped being so uptight, and let my girls have almost free access to the art supplies in our house. In the past I couldn't trust them not to destroy everything they got their hands on. I'm finally allowing them a little more freedom and responsibility. They are loving it! Daily they get out the construction paper, crayons, scissors, and glue sticks. You never know what they will design or invent. Yesterday Danya decided to draw a city scape complete with houses, churches, roads, and trees. Gloria is perfecting her people drawing skills. Her Grandma Nancy says that she is amazed at all the details Gloria includes in her drawings. She says the average 3 year old doesn't draw fingers, toes, eyebrows, etc. on their people. Gloria has been doing it for a long time, and I guess I hadn't really thought about it. I'm trying now to teach the girls to clean up after themselves better. They tend to leave tiny scraps of paper and crayons all over the floor, but they are getting better about it. My worst pet peeve is when they leave the caps off the glue sticks. I guess the next frontier for me will be when I start letting them have free access to their paints. But for right now I'm just working on "baby steps" like Bill Murray in "What About Bob?".

Finger Lickin' Good!

We had a little bit of money left in the "eating out" budget this week, so we decided to go out to eat at Rib Crib. Actually, we were going to Chili's to use some coupons we had, but the line of people outside waiting to get in was rediculous, so we changed our minds. I can not WAIT until the new restaurants get finished here. There will be an Applebee's among others, which is exactly the kind of food I like best. I must have the most boring tastes in the world when it comes to food. I don't eat anything too spicey, I usually leave all condiments off of my sandwiches and just eat them as dry and plain as possible, and I prefer not to try a new restaurant unless I know that they serve something that I'm willing to eat. I'm just the opposite of Daniel who has a cast iron stomach and will eat practically anything. Sometimes I dare him to eat weird foods just for fun. I can usually order almost anything off the menu for him if he can't make up his mind, and he'll at least try it. So truthfully, the only reason we don't eat at home more is because I don't like my own cooking, lol!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Hi Ho! Cherry-O!

The girls have a rack full of games next to the couch that they can pull out and play anytime they want to. Almost all board games have some educational value, in my opinion. Even if it's just practice in counting as they move their game pieces around the board. In this picture the girls are playing Hi Ho Cherry-O! Here's a list of some of the games they play as part of our homeschooling:
1. Boggle Jr. (spelling game)
2. Bingo (math)
3. Hi Ho Cherry-O! (counting)
4. Rack-O (numerical order game)
5. Candy Land (color recognition and counting)
6. Chutes and Ladders (counting and good habits)
7. Memory
8. Pretty Pretty Princess (colors and counting)
9. Waterworks (critical thinking, problem solving)
10. UNO (colors and numbers)
11. Dominos (math)
Those are just a few. The girls also enjoy playing games with a deck of cards. Daniel and I have a card collection and the girls have a few decks of their own. We've taught them how to play "WAR" which is a very good game for learning number value. We are definitely a game playing family!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Today we were doing some catch up work since I've been sick the last few days and going lightly on home schooling. We did some work on shapes today and colored some masks made from shapes. Then the girls got to make their own masks from brown paper grocery sacks. They did great with this. I didn't give them any advice really, just let them go crazy. They came up with some wild masks! Since they made them, they've been creeping up on me all around the house. Then they jump up and yell, "BOO!" I clutch my heart and squeal with fright and they burst out laughing. We're also going over their Awanas verses today since they have to say them tonight in class. I plan to start reading "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" to the girls today. We've already read the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia series "The Magician's Nephew". I'm hoping to get through all of them by the time the movie comes out in December. This morning Daniel emailed me about the Oklahoma Scottish games http://www.tulsascottishgames.org/ which will be in Tulsa this weekend. So we are going to read about Scotland this week and make the Scottish games a field trip at the end of our studies. That's the plan anyways. But then "the best laid plans of mice and men, often go astray", lol. We'll see what happens!

The Perfection Problem

The question is: Where do you draw the line between doing your best and trying to be perfect? Let me tell you, this is not a problem for me. However, I see my five year old, Danya, flirting with disaster sometimes. Danya struggles with the fear of failure. When we ask her a question that she doesn't know the answer to, she gets upset. She's likely to just blurt out anything in the hope that it will be right. She also loves to sing, but panics occasionally when she's expected to perform in public. We try to help her to relax and remember that it's just for fun. She puts alot of pressure on herself to do well. I don't want to smother that tendency, because if used appropriately, it can help her to succeed in life. She just needs to learn to not let that drive for excellence overwhelm and control her.

2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." So I'm trying, through my own actions and words, to teach my girls to do their best, and not leave their work half finished. This doesn't mean I expect perfection. Anyone who's seen my house on a typical day knows that perfection just isn't in my dictionary! It does mean, though, that we need to do a job in a way that we can be proud of. I think public schools have confused ideas of self confidence. Self confidence should stem from the knowledge that you are prepared and capable and that you are a servant of the Almighty God. Public schools instead teach children that self confidence and pride don't come from a job well done, but from just existing. The idea that "you are special and that's all that matters" doesn't give children anything to base their self confidence on. Instead it breeds the feeling that "nobody is better than me" and there is no point in striving for excellence in your work. The bible tells us instead that "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men" (Colossians 3:23, 24) So, that is what we are trying to teach our girls. 1. Do your work with all your heart. 2. Whatever you do, do it well, so that you don't have to feel ashamed. 3. The only one you need to please is God.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Emma's Playdate

Emma came over today for a playdate with Danya. I had actually forgotten that I'd invited her last Sunday. I've had a nasty cold or maybe allergies, I'm not sure which, for the last few days. Her arrival was a good thing because it helped us all get going for the day. We played games, made crafts, and sang songs. Gloria kept trying to be the center of attention. She was bothering Danya and Emma so much and getting so out of control that I finally had to put her down for a nap. Danya and Emma play really well together. They played Barbies, dress up, and Boggle Jr. It was really sweet watching Danya "teach" Emma how to spell the words in the Boggle game. They kept going into Danya's room and shutting the door. Every so often I'd hear wild bursts of giggling. We had pizza for lunch, and Emma's mom picked her up just before dinner time. I'm so glad Danya has Emma for a friend. I'm worried that she'll miss her terribly next year when Emma goes to first grade. Right now, Emma is in half day Kindergarten. Next year it will be all day. I hope they can still find time to play together.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Cool Photos - by ME

I've read alot of different articles on photography, mostly scrapbooking related. I've learned neat tricks and ideas like the ones used in these pictures. But I think that I can claim a teensy bit of credit for keeping my eyes open to the picture taking possibilities around me. This picture of Danya, for instance. I've read that a photographer should look for "natural frames" to use in their photos. The problem with this one, though, was that this window was designed to allow kids to look through it to see the Aldabra tortoises at the zoo. My kids couldn't get behind it for me to take their picture. So I shoved my upper body through the window beside this one and took Danya's picture from inside the exhibit. Danya caught on to what I was trying to do and helped by sticking her head out. I bet no one else has a picture like this from the Tulsa zoo! Then as we were leaving I saw our shadows advancing before us as we walked along the pavement towards the exit. I had just been wishing that I could get someone to take a family picture of us at the zoo. When I saw our shadows I decided to eliminate the middle man! I like the results so much that I may just have to take more family shadow portraits!

ZOOpendous Day!

Today we renewed our family membership at the Tulsa zoo. The temperature stayed in the 80's and it was a perfect mix of hot and mildly windy. The girls were thrilled to finally go back to the zoo. We haven't been in months! Gloria rushed ahead of us to all the exhibits. She seemed to know where everything was. We got to talk to one of the zoo docents. He told us about the fighting going on between the two males, who are brothers. One had a nasty scratch on his nose from their last battle. They are trying to establish dominance. A girl chimp named Jodi, has just been taken off of birth control. They are hoping that she'll get pregnant soon! We got to see another zoo worker feed the otters. He threw dead fish all over their enclosure so that they could "hunt" for it. We also got to see the giant brown bear. He was enormous! The girls played with the penguin in the above picture. He would follow their hands all around the glass! They also explored a "meadow maze" among wild flowers, sat on their favorite turtle statue (a zoo tradition of ours), teeter tottered as a family, and stood in awe of the giant fish in the "Tropical Rain Forrest". Another highlight moment of the day was when a nice young couple gave the girls their leftover tokens as they were leaving. So next time we go to the zoo we'll let them ride the carousel and the train. We all went home today over-heated and exhausted, but happy.

Boys in the Park

My bestest buddy Glenda came to Tulsa this weekend! Yippee! I was so excited when she emailed me! Her husband, Eric, had some continuing education classes for Physical Therapy to attend in Tulsa, so she and their two adorable boys came along for the trip. On Saturday we got to meet them at LaFortune Park in Tulsa. Qorban brought a little football and he and the girls had a blast! He is the cutest thing on two feet! He can throw a perfect spiral, pretends to line up on invisible scrimmage lines, and even says "OU" when he sees the Sooners letters. He and his little brother, Caleb, are "all boy". They move faster than the speed of light and climb tall playground structures that you'd never think they could. Qorban is proud to be a "momma's boy", too. He seems confident to try new things and experiences as long as he knows his mommy is somewhere near by. Saturday night we got the privledge and fun of watching the boys at our house while Glenda and Eric went out for dinner. Poor Glenda was almost too tired to enjoy it, though. She is within about 6 weeks of her due date. She's having a little girl this time! Luckily, Daniel had mowed the back yard Saturday morning. So that night Qorban, Caleb, and our girls had a wild time all playing in and on our back yard toys. Caleb especially loved the slide! He would giggle and laugh over and over again every time we helped him slide down it! The next morning Glenda met us at our house and visited our church with us. The boys did really well with unfamiliar Sunday school classes. Qorban seemed happy by the time we picked him up after church services ended. Gloria was ecstatic that her daddy got to be her teacher for the first time in her class. After church we all went out to eat lunch at McAlister's deli (my fave!). Then we hung out at our house until Glenda and the boys had to leave. The girls and I have decided to try and muster up our courage to make the 3 hour drive to their "Tanti" Glenda's house some time soon without Daniel since he has to work days now.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Baking Bread

Today we went to our friend Betsy's house. She taught Danya to bake bread while Gloria and Betsy's daughters played. Danya got to do everything from scooping the ingredients to kneading the dough. She had a blast! Betsy explained to her that the yeast was alive and just like a little baby it needed milk and air. Danya really seemed to enjoy the concept of "baby yeast". She had fun rolling the dough and smacking it down. It took her a while to figure out how to use a rolling pin, but after a while she was practically a pro. It was so funny watching her get her fingers stuck in the dough when she was trying to separate it in half. Her hands would be too sticky and need more flour on them. Betsy offered to let me help too, but I was having way too much fun just watching Danya
enjoy the process. Besides, I much prefer to be the photographer than the baker! Gloria and the other girls came in every so often to take a peak at what Danya was doing, but mostly they ran around the house, pounding on the out of tune piano, dancing to the CD player, and generally wreaking havoc in the upstairs playroom. Little Megan was so cute when she would reach her tiny hands up to me so I'd pick her up and let her see what was happening inside the mixing bowl. Danya got to join in on the craziness 4 little girls can make during the intervals when we'd have to wait for the bread to rise or otherwise "do it's thing". She was very patient with the whole process and listened well to Betsy's instructions. We had pizza delivered for lunch, which was an hour and half late so we got it free. Free pizza always tastes better, doesn't it? Then it was back to the grindstone...or in this case, grinder machine. Betsy actually had a machine to grind wheat. So Danya got to scoop it full of real wheat grain and it made wheat flour. That was alot
of fun but it was also extremely noisy! Between the grinder, the mixer, and the kids there was quite a racket! The end results sure were tasty, though! We got to try some of the rolls when they were hot and fresh out of the oven. Danya made rolls and pita bread! She was so proud of her creation! Then Betsy surprised me by telling me that we got to take ALL the bread home because she had already made enough for her family previously! She didn't have to twist MY arm! lol. So tonight we had chicken and macaroni n' cheese with yummy wheat rolls. Mmmm!

Wagon Trail

The girls and I took a trip into town yesterday. You could call it a walk, but really I did all the walkin' and they did all the riding. Somehow I just couldn't convince them to pull ME in the wagon, lol. We stopped by two children's stores on the way to McAlister's restaurant for lunch. The first one was a joke. They were selling ugly children's clothing for outrageous prices. They had a dress with a flower on the front for $50!! The next store we stopped in was called Primarily Kids. It was awesome! They had educational toys, girly girl kinds of pink frilly toys, Thomas the Tank Engine, and dance clothes. The girls loved it! I saw several things that I will have to go buy as I get the money for it. They had several things for less than $20 that I thought were well worth the money. So we played with their Thomas train set, looked through their science toys and books, and bought a hidden picture coloring book about the alphabet. Then we went on to the restaurant. On the way back we stopped at the grocery store to get a free cookie for each of the girls at the bakery department. By the time I got home, after pulling two 40+ pound kids in a wagon all that way in 92 degree heat I was ready to collapse. Does that count as my exercise for the week? Oh, hey, you might notice the girls are wearing their new shoes in the above picture too! We got these on sale at Payless in the mall. I love that store.

Is Public School Biblical?

Picture this:
God gives me a beautiful baby girl and says "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:5-7 I thank Him and say I will obey. Then a few short years later a humanist group comes to me and says they'd like to offer me a great deal. They will gladly take that child off my hands for about 6 hours a day, 30 hours a week, for the next 13 years and instruct her in how to get along in a humanist world; how to fit in, be part of the crowd, and get a good little job when she's grown. They say that while they're at it they will even attempt to teach her how to read and do math. Of course, no guarantees that she will learn it well, in fact most of the children in this group will barely be literate and will fear math by the time they are done, but that will be their parents' fault.

The best part, they say, is that since I am not "qualified" or "trained" to teach my child myself, they will take the burden off of me so that I can have some "me time" away from my child. I'm not quite sure, but they say all the other parents are doing it, and besides, it's THE LAW. I ask how they will teach my child to love God during those hours and they look shocked! They say that mentioning God or anything about Him is wrong and that it would be unfair to the other children whose religions will be taught as social studies. I tell them that Jesus said "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14 and it seems that 5 days a week for 13 years of hindering them from coming to Jesus is just too much.

They say my child will be a social outcast and will hate me for making her miss out on all the fun times and friendships that can only be had in this one building closed in with 20-30 other children her same age for 13 years. Yet, I believe that I can provide her with fun and opportunities to form lasting friendships. I will follow the apostle, Paul, in knowing that "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ" Philippians 3:7-9

"No," I say, shaking my head. I may not be qualified, but I do know that Phillipians 4:13 says "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." You may think children should be educated without any mention of Jesus Christ, but I think that they cannot be truly educated without Him. "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ." Ephesians 4:15

Edited to add: Here is a link to the book that has opened my eyes and profoundly influenced my thoughts on this subject. http://www.lewrockwell.com/yates/yates61.html This web page gives an excellent overview of the book. If you'd like to get the book and read it yourself, here is a link for that: http://www.exodusmandate.org/info_books.htm The book is called "Let My Children Go! Why Parents Must Remove Their Children From Public Schools NOW" by Ray Moore.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Woohoo!! The settlement check from the van accident came in today! Just over $1,100!! Now we can resupply our emergency fund and Daniel is taking me out tonight as an anniversary re-do since the van broke down last time. We keep a $1,000 emergency fund in the bank for life's minor emergencies like for when major parts go out on the van, unexpected medical bills, broken appliances, etc. Lately ours has been at about half full because of all the little problems we've had. Since we've had this emergency fund we haven't had any problems with going negative in our checking account monthly. I'm also excited that we can use part of this money to renew our zoo membership and to get another 100 hour pass at the local drop-in child care center. Getting the big pass really saves us alot of money on babysitting in the long run! Well, I'm off to check the movie listings for our date tonight!

Danya's Bike! Hooray!

Danya has been saving for this bike for months!! She started with the $20 her Grandpa Richie sent her for her birthday around the middle of June. Since then she has been working hard doing jobs around the house to earn money. She sorts laundry, loads the wash, transfers it, and puts it on the couch. Each of these steps earns her 25 cents. She also cleans up her room and the living room. When we take out the trash, she puts in the new bag. She has washed the bathroom counter, dusted, and helped empty the dishwasher. She has been one busy little girl. Whenever we ask her if she'd like to use some of her money at a garage sale or somewhere else she always says no because she's saving it for her bike. Well, today was the day. She saved up $35 which was how much her sister's bike had cost us a few months ago. The bike was on sale, but not that much anymore, so it cost $40. We covered the extra since we'd told her it was only $35 and we had driven all the way to K-Mart in Tulsa to get it. She is right this minute helping her Daddy assemble the bike. She keeps squealing, "I'm so happy! I'm so happy!"

What's in a Name?

What happens when you leave a 5 year old little girl alone in her room with some construction paper and a pair of scissors? At our house, the answer is, she surprises you. I thought she might make several different things, but her last name wasn't one of them. She was so excited! She came out of her room quietly and said, "Mommy, come see what I did!" I was thinking the worst. Had she cut all the paper into teeny tiny slivers I would be finding for the next week all over her room? What a relief to find that she'd made her last name, mostly from scraps. And to top it off she'd neatly gathered all the left over pieces into a pile on top of her Dora table. Yea, Danya!