Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Remember that Jesus was born so that He could save our souls. Glory be to God and Praise His name for loving us so much.

Enjoy your families on this beautiful day!

'Twas The Night Before Christmas...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's a Wrap!

I finally finished (well, almost) a scarf that I had begun knitting back at the beginning of summer. I wanted to learn to knit and thought a scarf would be a great first time project. It WOULD have been except I had your everyday-run-of-the-mill yarn (and it was acrylic, yuck!) and I had size 8 needles....both of those combined with an inexperienced (it was my first attempt at knitting ever) knitter that knitted at a snail's pace resulted in a ridiculously tight knitted scarf. Only, it's not a scarf. I got overwhelmed by the length of this scarf (I mean it took me over 6 months just to get 2' of scarf and I wanted to have 5') so I binded it off yesterday to make a neck wrap, more or less. I've got to put a button-loop and a nice chunky wooden button on it to make it officially complete, but I'm satisfied with it overall.

The acrylic yarn is disgusting, I have to say. It's not really comfortable, especially when it's up against delicate neck skin, and it's entirely too hot (once again, it is acrylic which is really plastic so basically I feel like I've wrapped my neck in plastic wrap) but should the weather dip below 50 degrees here, it ought to be nice and toasty - or scratchy and sweltering, one of the two.

So thank goodness that project is over! I do have to say that as quickly as I binded off on this scarf, I immediately began another one. This time I've got a wool blend bulky weight yarn and size 13 needles and the scarf is knitting up quite quickly. I've already got about 6" of the scarf done in about 40 minutes so I figure that before Christmas I should have it entirely complete (hey, 40 minutes is a dream to have that much down-time to knit!).

Here's to scratching off something on my to-do list!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Gifts: Hit or Miss

Holy Cow...this gift right here would have been a prized possession had I gotten this as a child. Wait, I do believe I did get one as a child and I LOVED it!

I found a microscope set that has a ton of accessories with it and most of those accessories look like weapons to be used. This is a little "old" for Lawyer to get - mainly because of the accessories - since it is for ages 8 and up. But I have a question for you, who would even allow their 8 year old to play with a scalpel? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller? Anybody?

So most of the items will be confiscated and brought out only on VERY special occasions (namely when I feel up to dissecting bugs, worms, slugs, etc) but the microscope is beautiful. I think it's made of aluminum, which I was really thinking that it would be made of plastic, so it exceeded my expectations when I opened the package.

It came with a few slides but I bought additional slides of insect parts for Lawyer and I to view. Plus you can prepare your own slides which I think will be the most fun. Anyone up for cutting apart a inch-worm to look at? Anyone?

We'll see how well the light/magnification works on this, since that's truly the working part of the microscope but overall, I think this will be a huge hit. If you would like to buy your own microscope set, you can buy it

Also, if you would like to buy a more "age-appropriate" microscope for those under the age of 8, you can buy a nice-looking set
here. This is way more expensive than what I have bought but I'm sure the quality of this one will be better than I got also.

Trains for Charity

My family all gathered together to go to the mall to check out this train exhibit. It's all done for the
Ronald McDonald House, which is a place for families to "live" together while their children undergo all types of treatments for illness, disease, cancer, etc.

The train exhibit is so amazing and they pack a lot of everything into a somewhat small space (a converted store). Lawyer was SO excited about it and I love the pictures that I got of him - there's so much excitement, happiness, amazement and wonder in his face.

I loved this pic (even if it's blurry) of Lawyer and Jason walking through the mall. They both have on jeans and their sport cute!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Gifts: Hit or Miss

I bought the two separate sets below knowing that I would like them but I need to revise that...I LOVE them! Lawyer is going to flip out when he sees these two animal sets, he loves to play what he calls "animal rescuer".

Here is the first animal set. I love the detailing on the animals and I love the variety. It's not often that you can just go to the store and buy animal figures of porcupines and squirrels. The tree is this big rubbery plastic forest tree...I will admit the one I got is a little wicky-jawed but I'm sure this detail will be overlooked by Lawyer (although, he is pretty anal about things being perfect). I love that the owl and eagle have their wings spread. This set also came with a log and some boulders that you can place wherever you like...I nice touch for a child that likes to create their own scenes.

And this is the second set. The mountain is going to be a HIT with Lawyer, I can tell you right now! The only thing that I can see will be frustrating about the mountain specifically is that the ledges are completely flat (as they aren't in real-life either) and when I was setting up the animals they would fall off if they weren't positioned just right. The good news is that Lawyer attends a Montessori school and they are all about trial-and-error for self-correction so I see this mountain as a challenge that Lawyer will just need to overcome (although I'm sure the first few times the animals might be thrown against the wall and some "special" words of Lawyer's might come out!) and he will. Oh and the best part is that most of these animals have babies and Lawyer will get a kick out of that.

So I definitely give these two sets two thumbs up! If you want to purchase these sets, you can get it
here and here.

Oh and Lawyer is OBSESSED with volcanoes....I mean the kid gets crazy when he sees lava flowing on TV or if he sees something even related to a volcano. So, since Lawyer loves to set up all kinds of sets for his figures to play in, I'm going to be making him a paper-maiche volcano that will be complete with a hollow center to actually put in the correct household items to let it erupt! Lawyer has a science experiment kit and the "erupting volcano" that we make is his absolute favorite.

Anyhow, I'll probably be posting a step-by-step of making the volcano should you have a yearning to make one for the special 4-year-old-obsessed-with-volcanoes boy!

Loving this...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Our Gingerbread House

We had a lot of fun putting together this gingerbread house. Towards the end though, Lawyer was getting pretty bored with it and told me, "Mommy, you just finish it." Oh, I just love that boy. (Warning: Photo overload...surprise, surprise.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Gifts: Hit or Miss

I'll try to keep my ramblings short for this "toy" post, which is apparently a great challenge for myself.

Here is a gift that I really thought I was going to absolutely love. A map of the United States puzzle that "speaks" out the state's name, capitol, and nickname when you put the state in its correct place.

While I love the concept, even though I'm not a "talking" toy kind of gal, there are some things that are VERY wrong with this gift.

Check out New England. What in the hell were the toy manufacturers/developers thinking when they created this item? The tiny states, such as Delaware, Connecticut, New Hampshire, etc, have been clumped together to make one puzzle piece that is a horrible representation of the individual states and, even worse, when you put the multi-state puzzle piece in the correct area, it blurts out ALL the states that have been thrown together, along with their capitals and nicknames. I hate this about this gift. It makes me want to return it but I think it's overall ability to give state recognition (for the most part), is an okay idea. I definitely don't plan on having this electronic, sorry-excuse-for-a-map-of-the-US be the sole educator of the US map for my child. I'm already planning on making state cards (they are called 3-Part cards in Montessori education) that will show the shape of the state and then the state's name typed out below the state.

Anyhow, I'm border-line on this gift...not certain whether to embrace it or be embarrassed for it. We'll see what Lawyer thinks about it when he receives it.

If you would prefer to purchase this "iffy" puzzle map, you can buy it

Had I really done my research for a US map puzzle,
visit here to see what I should have bought instead. I LOVE this map since the pieces can be used for a tracing activity.

Christmas Gifts: Hit or Miss

Christmas is in full swing and we are full of holiday cheer in my house. From decorating a tree just for Lawyer upstairs to Lawyer break-dancing to Frank Sinatra Christmas classics, the fun keeps going on and on. I thought it would be fun to show how and why I choose the items (I truly dislike the word "toys" - or at least today's toy-makers perversion of the word) I do for Lawyer, the 4-year-old boy in our household.

Lawyer definitely doesn't NEED anything and I'm not a toy person, per se, so I put plenty of thought into what I would declare as old-fashioned, classic or multi-sensory for Lawyer. I love the classic toys that Lawyer does have since they allow for an imagination, thought-provocation, hands-on manipulation and fun of all kinds. One such "classic" are Lincoln Logs. Oh, how I love this construction toy.
Did you know that the son of Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect of both the Arts and Crafts period and in our American history, created the logs after being inspired by a building in Tokyo? They have been around for almost 100 years and there is something to be said about a toy that can last a century in the fickle world of toy-making and toy-selling.

Anyhow, my point is this: I like sensorial, imaginative, battery-less, educational "toys" for Lawyer to both play with and learn from. I plan on doing posts on the different items I purchased for him and explaining the analytical reasoning for the purchase. Wait, did that even make any sense? Never mind, don't listen to me, I know not what I say.

This bug discovery kit has real bugs encased in clear, acrylic blocks. I think it will be a real winner with Lawyer, especially since you can look at both the tops, bottoms, sides, heads, rears, etc. of each and every bug. The few things I'm not fond of are the cheap, plastic magnifying glass (I plan on purchasing a real one for Lawyer's stocking) and the ridiculous storage container the bug blocks came in (a plastic bag, or better yet, a reusable canvas bag would have sufficed for me). I'm sure most of my money for this item went to pay for the container and the colorful packaging but seeing as I have yet to catch bugs in my yard, put them to their death in a gas chamber of bits of cardboard doused with rubbing alcohol (that's how I used to kill bugs for my biology bug projects anyway) and then put them in a plastic-y, see-through grave of acrylic, I doled out my money for this item.

You can see the detail of the bugs here a bit better but my picture is a tad on the dark side so you can't get the full-effect of seeing the hairs on the wasp's thorax. What? Don't know what a thorax is? Look it up and be enlightened by the wonderful world of entomology. Huh? You don't know what entomology is? Good grief people, get a set of encyclopedias and look it up...and I don't want to hear the excuse that nobody even owns physical sets of encyclopedias anymore. Although, Santa Claus did bring me a fabulous set for my 6th Christmas (it was at the top of my Christmas list) and they were a beautiful shade of 80's maroon tinged with gold. Anyhow, I digress.

These blocks could be used for bug identification (Montessori is very big into this), a matching game or even to learn about the different parts of an insect.

Kids LOVE "real" things to play with, thus the reason I'm purchasing a real magnifying glass for him to use and the real bug blocks. And seeing as I'm originally from Arkansas, I know that "my people" LOVE to have the real deal stuffed and placed oh-so-carefully on their mantle to display the one that "didn't get away". This particular item is right up my Arkansas-roots alley. Plus I'm a science nerd - that probably explains more than enough about me.

If you are interested in this bug discovery kit, you can purchase it

Ooh, and if you REALLY are into science, this online store is AWESOME! I can't wait to buy a few experiments from there for Lawyer.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


is waking up to a beautiful sunrise, even if I do live in the 'burbs.

is making homemade Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberry Jelly on the side and taking my served-up dish outside to photograph it and my husband opens the back door to see where I am and then sees me taking pictures of my food on the ground and says "Oh, you're taking pictures...I didn't know where you went." and then shuts the door to go eat. And he is not EVEN surprised at what I'm doing.

is my 4 year old break-dancing to Frank Sinatra's "J-I-N-G-L-E Bells", which has been his favorite Christmas song for 2 Christmases running. (I love how '70's this picture looks - all faded and blown-out with Lawyer in his athletic attire)

is my family sharing dinner, even if it's Chik-fil-a, sharing conversation and sharing laughs at the dinner table.

is being happy even though you have triple chins and necks and the world's plumpest cheeks.

It's good to be happy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Comfort and Joy...

is homemade fresh-baked rolls.

Try this delicious-smelling homemade potpourri also:

Take the zest of an orange or grapefruit and put it in a saucepan with some whole spice like allspice, cinnamon and/or cloves. Put some water in the saucepan (I like to put some apple juice in with mine) and then put on the stove and let simmer. Turn off the heat after half hour and then enjoy the scent of Christmas.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Look Back...

Oh, how cute was Lawyer! I see those fat cheeks and wonder if I pinched them enough. He was a big butterball of a baby and I loved it!