Saturday, February 28, 2009

Life According to Millie (Part 2)

Hannah is spending the week at MeeMaw and Kimpaw's, so Greg and I decided to take Millie out to dinner tonight. We were at Casa Ole, and Greg decided to take the cherries out of my Cherry Coke. I leaned over and whispered to Millie, "Tell Daddy, 'Thou shalt not steal.'"

So she looked Greg square in the eye and said, "Daddy, you should NOT sit still!"

Monday, February 23, 2009

I haven't heard that in years!

Today I had one of those moments that makes motherhood worthwhile. We were getting ready to head to the lake to visit Mom and Dad, and I needed to take a shower before we left. I quickly showered, then got out and started towel-drying my hair, when Millie walked in, patted me on the butt, and said, "You have a cute little bottom, Mama!"

Well, thank you, my sweet child! You are forgiven for every bad thing you have ever done, and you will have a brand new car in the driveway on your 16th birthday!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What is this stuff?!

Tonight I made pork loin for supper. The rotisserie chimed when it was finished, and this is the conversation that ensued:

Hannah: Mom, your porkling is ready.
Me and Greg: (Look at each other and start laughing.)
Me: My what?!
Hannah: Your porkling. You know, your chicken, your duck.
Me and Greg: (Continue to laugh.)
Hannah: Isn't that what it's called? Or is it oinkling?

And yet she's so darn smart!

Friday, February 20, 2009

100th Day of School

Today was our 100th day of school! Hannah has been eagerly counting down the days, knowing full well that I had planned some sort of celebration for today. And celebrate we did! Here's a peek at our day!

We started out the morning with "100" donuts to go with breakfast.

Our neighbor's granddaughter was visiting for a few days, so she joined us after breakfast for several of our activities. The girls put together a 100-piece jigsaw puzzle . . .

. . . and made Fruit Loop necklaces with 100 pieces of cereal on them. We came up with three different ways we could make 100, so everyone's necklace was different. Hannah had five colors with 20 pieces of each color, Millie had two colors with 50 pieces of each color, and Kaelyn had four colors with 25 pieces of each color.

In the background you can see some of the books we read. Some of our favorites were 100 Angry Ants, 100 Days of Cool, 100th Day Worries, and 100 School Days.

We counted pennies . . .

. . . and saw something magic happen when we closed our eyes at number 100!

I can't believe I didn't take any pictures of this, but we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went door-to-door with the wagon to collect 100 canned goods to take to Some Other Place. This was much harder than we thought; 100 cans is a lot of food!

And our last activity was to make "100 Goodie Bags" for our friends at church. We had 10 different types of treats, and we put 10 of each treat into a bag. Then we sealed them closed and attached a tag. Here's the front of the tag:

And here's the back of the tag:

And here is the finished product!

We made ten goodie bags; and since they each had 100 treats in them, we counted by 100's so they could see what happened when we got to the tenth bag. Instead of ten hundred, it became 1,000!

I'm exhausted, but I sure am glad the kids had such a great time!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kk Kangaroo

Today we completed the next phase in our journey through the continents. For the past week, we've been in Australia learning all about Kk Kangaroos!

We learned that a baby kangaroo is called a joey and that kangaroos use their thick tails to help them balance and their large feet to help them jump. (I have a sneaky suspicion that after you read the next sentence, you're going to think I made a typo; so let me assure you in advance that, although what you are about to read is shocking, it is 100% accurate.) We learned this week that in a single jump a kangaroo can hop 42 feet. Yes, 42 feet! And just in case you're spatially challenged, this is what that looks like:

Before we took this picture, Hannah and Camille stood at the edge of the driveway and jumped the farthest they could. Then we measured 42 feet to see how far a kangaroo can jump. Needless to say, the kangaroo won.

Some new vocabulary words during our study this week were herbivore and marsupial. We talked about some different kinds of marsupials, such as kangaroos (obviously), opossums, and koala bears. Then Hannah put on a jacket and made a pocket by only zipping it up halfway. She put Cupcake (her favorite stuffed animal) inside and carried her around for a while.

As we studied Australia, we started with the essentials: This is where The Wiggles and The Crocodile Hunter are from. After we got that out of the way, we went on to more mundane things such as locating it on the globe and discussing what an island is (another new vocabulary word). I have been teaching Hannah the names of the continents using a song I learned in elementary school, and this week she was able to recite them all from memory!

We made a little booklet with pictures of animals that travel by hopping. The only ones we could think of were crickets, rabbits, grasshoppers, frogs, and of course kangaroos. Surely there are more than that! If you know of any others, please leave a comment so I can add to these when Millie does Kindergarten in a few years.

We read some great books this week, including I Love It When You Smile; Norma Jean, Jumping Bean; Animals Should Definitely NOT Wear Clothing; and Katy No-Pocket. They were all books worth reading, but I think our favorites were Animals Should Definitely NOT Wear Clothing and Katy No-Pocket.

Our special words this week were "I am safe in God."

We discussed how God desires to protect us and keep us safe, but He can only do that when we stay close to Him. I used the old umbrella illustration and told Hannah that, just like we get wet when step out from under the protection of an umbrella, life can hit us pretty hard when we step out from under the protection of the rules God has established for us. It was a very sweet conversation.

I love the way this curriculum kind of puts the lessons out there for her to claim. It does't just say, "We obey God because that's what the Bible says to do." Instead, it explains the heart behind the requirement, which I pray is what will ultimately draw my children to their Savior and want them to remain tucked away safely in His pocket forever!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kids with kids

Well, it took Rose and me four weeks to come up with a goat visitation time that worked for both of us, but it couldn't have turned out more perfectly. She emailed Friday to let me know that one of their nannies had just given birth to twins!

This afternoon we stopped by the store to pick up some carrots and apples and headed to Rose and Wade's house. The girls were excited just to feed the goats, but they were in for a special treat when Mrs. Rose let them hold the babies.

Pretty much all of them liked the carrots.

But this is the only one that would eat the apples. Rose noticed that she was quite pregnant and wondered if this had something to do with it. Maybe goats have pregnancy cravings, too???

The pregnant goat kept trying to nibble the green ponytail holder in Millie's hair. I think she thought it was some type of green leaf!

I don't know if the girls had more fun feeding the goats or if I had more fun fellowshipping with a very wise friend. It was a great time for all of us and well worth the wait!

Praising God for His perfect timing,

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pp Penguin

Today we finished our Pp Penguin unit--and journeyed to Antarctica along the way!

We started off our unit with a non-fiction book called The Emperor Lays an Egg, then moved on to March of the Penguins. No, we had never seen this before; yes, I realize we are probably the only family in the United States who hadn't; and yes, we now completely understand all the hype associated with it. Whatever the next step up from excellent is, that's what it was! I was amazed at how devoted the father penguins are, going without food for months and sometimes even dying as they stand in the freezing cold, caring for their treasured eggs and trying to keep them warm so they can reach maturity. And I get grumpy if my kids cause me to miss Dancing with the Stars?! Geez.

I also checked out Happy Feet, which is a movie about a tap-dancing penguin. At least that's what I think it's about. We couldn't watch it because someone was screaming too loudly since apparently cute little cartoon tap-dancing penguins are incredibly frightening! (It's moments like this when that PSA from the 80's echoes in my head: "Count to 10. Take hold of yourself before you take hold of your child.") I guess between this experience and the experience we had during our Hh Horse unit, I'm learning to just stick with books unless I find a documentary-type movie. Speaking of books, some of our fiction favorites this week included Whiteblack the Penguin, The Adventures of Marco and Polo, Flip and Flop, and Sergio Makes a Splash.

This unit was very rich in science! Not only did we study penguins themselves, but we also made icebergs by freezing water in ziploc bags. The next morning, we filled the bathtub with water and placed our icebergs in it so the girls could see that, although we only see the part on top of the water, there is still a lot of ice beneath the surface. Hannah got Millie's Little People seal and polar bear and let them take rides on the icebergs.

I told Hannah that we must have made North Pole icebergs if we have seals and polar bears roaming around on them because polar bears don't live in Antarctica. I find it interesting that, although they enjoy a similar climate, polar bears and penguins don't cohabitate. I truly feel like this is God's way of protecting penguins. Otherwise, these devoted creatures who stand so still while warming their eggs would be completely wiped out by hungry polar bears in search of an easy meal!

We pulled out the globe one day and found several areas where penguins live, including New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and the Galapagos Islands. We used the blue arrows on the globe that mark ocean currents (never knew those were there before this week!) to track the cold water currents. This explained how some of these areas that seem too far north are still perfectly suited for penguins.

For one of our projects, we made an adorable penguin out of a black balloon. I would love to show you a picture of it; however, when you're a balloon animal living in a house under construction with two little girls who have very lax rules while said house is being rebuilt, your life span is very short. Rest in peace, little penguin!

Here is another one of her projects that was better able to survive our current environment. It's a painting of a penguin standing on a pile of snow during a blizzard. Notice the egg resting on his feet.

Those were the only "official" school projects we did this week, but Hannah came up with one on her own that I thought was great! Millie had her well-child exam this week; and while we were waiting to see Dr. Brown, Hannah made up the following story and asked me to write it down while she told it to me:

Penguin Finds a Home

Once upon a time, there was a penguin who didn't know what home it could live in. He found an iceberg that had a little door. But yikes! There was a polar bear inside! Then he saw an igloo. He went inside. Nobody was in there. He sat at the table, and he had a nice meal of fish. The End.

Awww...cute, huh?! I thought that could really be a fun children's book if someone elaborated on it and had the penguin make several attempts to find a home before finally finding the cozy igloo.

Our special words this week were "I show love to everyone, especially my family."

Apparently Hannah really spent some time thinking about these words. The following letter which I mailed to my dad today explains it all:

Dear Dad,

Please forgive that this letter is typed and not handwritten. It’s much faster this way, and time efficiency is a lifesaver these days!!! Just wanted to give you a quick explanation of what’s in this envelope.

Hannah is studying penguins this week. We learned a lot about Emperor penguins and the role the dad plays in caring for the young. The female lays the egg, then she goes back to the sea while the dad stays on land with the egg resting safely on his feet, nestled under his belly flap so it will stay warm. The father doesn’t eat during this entire time, which, by the way, is two months! Even after the chick is born, he still stays with it for another month, letting it rest on his feet under his belly flap so it can survive the elements. The mom eventually comes back when the chick is about a month old so she can have a turn taking care of it. By this time the father is starving and has lost half of his body weight.

That led to a conversation about what a good father the Emperor penguin is to take care of his baby like that.

That led to our special words for the week, which are “I will show love to everyone, especially my family.” We read a couple of Bible verses about not doing things for selfish reasons, but being humble and considering others better than yourself. We talked about several practical applications of this verse (none of which related to your birthday).

Then Hannah said, “I want to get Grandpa a birthday present!” I said, “Baby, his birthday was yesterday.” She said, “So! I’m trying to think about someone else and how I can put someone else first.” How could I argue with that?! So she grabbed her piggy bank and we loaded up and headed for Wal-Mart, where she picked out a present for you all by herself and used her money to pay for it. It was really neat. On the way home we talked about the expression “It is better to give than to receive,” and Hannah said she thought it was more fun to buy a present for you than to get one herself.

I thought it was a really neat experience and wanted to (1) share it with you, and (2) explain why you’re getting a random package in the mail!!!

Much love to both of you!!

Greg, Jen, Hannah & Camille

I love it when God gives us moments like this when we can see the fruits of our labor!

Praising the God of Encouragement,

Friday, February 6, 2009


Today was World Culture Exhibit presentation day at co-op. I decided to let Hannah choose which country she wanted to study. I guess I expected her to just point somewhere on the globe, but she knew exactly which country she wanted: China. I guess this is because she has heard us talk about it with friends who adopted from China, or maybe because that's the country we used for "the other side of the world" when we did our Ss Sun unit.

I'm pretty dogmatic about making learning exciting for my kids. If they study China, I want them to walk away feeling as if they have actually been there and experienced the culture themselves. But there was so much information available on Chinese culture that it became overwhelming to decide which information to include in our report. Then I had an idea: What if we made an ABC book about China?! I ran it by Hannah, and she jumped on board wholeheartedly. Soon, we had all 26 of our topics.

I found a picture of each topic and printed out a page with the picture and a brief summary. Hannah glued the pages to yellow and red construction paper. Then we laminated the pages and bound the book so we can keep it for a precious keepsake. She has read it over and over again for the past couple of days.

Wanna see it? Here you go! (But I have to tell you it's MUCH cuter in person!)

I'm noticing that the group learning activities we do at co-op sometimes seem like too much work in the beginning, but so far they have ended up being a lot of fun and have added so much to our schooling!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ee Elephant

Today we finished our Ee Elephant unit--and boy was it fun!

We learned that elephants live on two continents: Asia and Africa. (Sneaky, huh, that we thought we were learning about elephants but My Father's World threw in some geography as a bonus!) We got out the globe to find these continents and even the specific countries where elephants live. We were very surprised to learn that you can tell the difference between an African elephant and an Asian elephant because African elephants have bigger ears. (Proud mom alert in 5...4...3...2...1) And I was so proud of Hannah for saying, "Hey, I know how we can remember that! Africa is a bigger word than Asia, and African elephants have bigger ears!" I love teaching this child!

We checked out a National Geographic video about elephants that was interesting. It did talk about poaching, which was a new concept for Hannah. It also talked about mating, which has been coming up a lot with all these animal studies, but so far she hasn't asked any questions. I guess she knows enough to satisfy her at this age, which is fine. with. me.

Some of the books we enjoyed this week were "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" (an old favorite!), The Elephant Who Couldn't Forget, Babar, The Ant and the Elephant, and a wonderful, wonderful allegory called The Great Elephant. Did I mention yet that the last one was wonderful? No? Well, go check it out because it's WONDERFUL!

The girls made elephant masks out of brown grocery bags, which was a lot of fun! It was a complete fluke, but we noticed when we finished that one of the elephants had noticeably smaller ears than the other. Hannah said, "Hey, I know! Millie can be the Asian elephant, and I'll be the African elephant!" I'll say it again: Pure joy teaching this child!

During her free time this week, she drew this picture of an elephant. Granted, it is missing the ever-so-essential ear and its nose does somewhat resemble a vacuum cleaner hose, but I think she did a really good job on the feet, tail, and body! And no matter what it may look like, I am quite certain that she was not trying to call herself an elephant's behind, but rather trying to let everyone know that she is the one who drew this masterpiece!

Our special words to remember this week were "I will remember what God has done for me."

One of Hannah's assignments was to list some things God has done for her that she wants to remember. Here's what she came up with (all notes in parentheses are mine):

  • Made our earth that we can walk on
  • Provided food for us
  • Made pets like ducks (FYI, we have exactly ZERO pet ducks at our house.)
  • Giving us a home that we can live in
  • Giving us people who can help us
  • Providing us a nice daddy and mommy (Awww!)
  • Providing stores so we can buy more wood if we have a broken house (Spoken like a true hurricane victim!)
  • Adjusters, adjusters, adjusters (See note above...)
  • Giving us air that we can breathe
  • Helping us make new friends
  • Giving us our sisters and brothers
  • Giving us a nice house to live in
  • Made plants and animals
  • Jesus
  • Sending people to write down the Scriptures in the Bible
  • Sending us people who wanted to make a church and teach us about God
  • Gave me my friend Rachel
  • Gave us nice hot sun to keep us warm when we play outside
  • Gives us company who can entertain us
  • Gave us the Holy Bible

Millie decided she wanted to join in, too. Here's her list:

  • Gave us a hamburger
  • Gave us candy
  • Gave us green beans
  • Gave us Hannah's kitty
  • Gave us horses at Mrs. Jayne's house
  • Gave us cows at Mrs. Jayne's house

This unit really made me take time to reflect on what God has done for me that I never want to forget, as well.

Thank you, God, for giving us the ability to remember all that you've done for us. Help us to take advantage of that gift!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Life According to Millie

For those of you who don't know her, let me just preface this post by saying that Millie has taken lots of blows to the head in her two short years of life. Lots. I'm not sure if these mix-ups are a result of the apparent head trauma she has suffered or if they're just normal two-year-old blunders, but they've given us some good giggles around here all the same.

Wednesday night we took Millie to get her a new pair of shoes. She saw some with Strawberry Shortcake on them and said, "I want the Patty-cake shoes!"

When we got to church today, we could hear sirens in the distance. I guess she was thinking of a fire truck because she said, "I hear a pacifier!"

And just a few minutes ago she came in with the hiccups and told me, "Mom, I have make-up."