Archive for the ‘Gus’ Category

Q:  What is something your mom always says to you?
Stop (doing that.)

Q:  What makes your mom happy?
When I obey

Q:  What makes your mom sad?
When I don’t obey

Q:  How does your mom make you laugh?
tickling me

Q:  How old is your mom?

Q:  How tall is your mom?
Uhhh, I don’t know.

Q:  What is her favorite thing to do?
Is it cook?

Q:  What does your mom do when you’re not around?
Go shopping.  (What she sees is that one night a week while Dad does science, Mom goes “shopping,” as in shopping for food and toilet paper and things our family needs.  I don’t think she knows I sort of dread those nights out lugging bags around dark parking lots and then home exhausted!  I do like the time to have my own thoughts; perhaps that’s why she thinks I’m so excited about shopping.)

Q:  What is your mom really good at?

Q:  What does your mom do for a job?

be a teacher
Q:  What is your mom’s favorite food?
cookies (nope, but I do like them!)


Q:  If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

Jessie (as in Woody’s counterpart from the Toy Story movies)

Q:  What do you and your mom do together?

Q:  How are you and your mom the same?

I don’t know.

Q:  How are you and your mom different?
She doesn’t have curly hair.

Q:  How do you know your mom loves you?
She tells me.

Q:  What does your mom like most about your dad?

He can cook.

Q:  Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
Mmmmm. . . is it the grocery store?  (See above.)

Q: If you could have any job in the world, what would you do?
missionary to where? to Africa

Q: If you could be a superhero, what would your superpower be?

Q: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you like to go?
on the other side of the world . . . China(?)

Q: If you could build anything, what would you like to build?
a robot

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet, what would you want?

Q: If you could look like someone else, who would it be?
me. But that’s not someone else . . . Dimples (her brother)

Q: If you had plenty of money, what would you buy?
a camera Why a camera? so I could take pictures (duh) Of What? Animals.  What animals? Wild animals  What wild animals do you see? Alligators.  You see ALLIGATORS? I did (in Florida).

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in school?

Q: Have you ever sneaked a peek at presents that were hidden from you?
No. You sure? Yeah.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you are alone?
play or read

Q: What is your favorite vegetable?

Q: What is your favorite season of the year?

Q:  What is your favorite Bible verse?

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

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This picture was not posed at all.  I walked into the family room and there they were – every one of them reading!  What a glorious day that was!

monsterella = mozzarella (cheese) -Dimples


And with the monster theme, we decided that if Handsome is the Tickle Monster, I must be the Tickle momster!  Ha!  I crack myself up!


“Mom, I want to be STOMP when I grow up!” – Dimples, after watching a quick video of the group that makes all kind of cool noise will kinds of stuff


At the beginning of each week, I sort of run through the list of words; if a child can tell me – off the top of her head – what a word means, she doesn’t have to define it or study it the rest of the week.  I was quizzing Gus.  Now you have to remember that this is really a brain workout for her, since she has only been speaking this language for two of her almost-eight years!  Today I got to the word “justice” on the list and said it aloud, expecting to hear something about fairness or some such.  She looked directly at me, and replied confidently, “A store!”  What could I do!  I just laughed and said, “Yup – in the mall!”

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The Art Book

When Bubba was in kindergarten her teacher was awesome.  And by “awesome” I do mean that God gave her the best teacher ever . . . for her!  Mrs. S was all kinds of cool, but for my child’s needs one of the coolest bits was that the year before Mrs. S had been the school’s art teacher.  Budget cuts got rid of the art program at Bubba’s public school, but Mrs. S was able to slide into an open kindergarten room . . . yay for us!

That year Mrs. S had all of her students make an art book.  Bubba’s art book has a laminated cover and is ultra cool!

The year that I homeschooled Little Man and Dimples for kindergarten we put together an art book too.  There’s no laminated cover, but the kids learned a ton . . . and we had lots of fun!

So without further ado, here’s our art book:

The cover – simple straw painting (put your paper in a box and your student in a paint shirt, allow child to dip end of straw into paint, put opposite end into mouth, then blow – don’t inhale – paint onto paper) This was just a random project that we did, but it made a colorful cover.

“The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue.”  We talked a lot about the primary colors for a while.  For this painting I gave the kids red, yellow, and blue fingerpaint and told them they could paint whatever they wanted.

“The secondary colors are orange, green, and purple.”  We did a lot of little experiments turning primary colors into secondary colors; we used food colors in water, homemade play-dough, and cookie icing.  Each time we started with the primary colors and ended up with a whole rainbow.  Then we made these “blotter bugs!”  This is one of the projects that Mrs. S did with Bubba’s class.  You start with half-sheets of typing paper.  Fold the paper in half then open the paper.  Allow children to dribble a few dots of the primary colors near the fold.  Then have the children re-fold the paper and use their fingers or the sides of their hands to smoosh the paint all around.  Open the paper and allow it to dry.  When it is dry, students can cut around the painted area and glue on googly-eyes.  We also colored the little chart that is on the left; Little Man got his upside down when he glued it on the paper, but it still works.

After learning about primary and secondary colors, we ventured into warm and cool colors.  After that we talked about neutral colors.  This page was simply a matter of coloring pictures to help us remember which colors are warm/hot colors and which colors are cool colors.

We actually did two different projects to make this page about monochromatic colors.  First we got out some orange acrylic paint.  We squirted a rather large blob of it onto a paper plate.  I had already used a ruler to draw a long rectangle that was divided into half inch sections for the kids to paint.  We painted the very center space orange.  Then we added a bit of white to the orange and painted the space to the left of the middle.  We added more white and painted another space and on and on until we ran out of spaces.  I would have liked it if we had actually gone a little lighter, so the kids could see how light orange can be . . . but not everything works out like I want it too.  Then we got out a second plate (because our first “palette” was rather full.), squirted a rather large blog of orange and added a tiny hint of black.  We painted the first space to the right of the middle.  We added more black and painted a space . . . until the whole thing was full.

The second project we did was simpler, though it was still fairly difficult for kindergarteners.  I told the kids to draw circles or ovals (I think we were studying circles and ovals in our curriculum too) all over their papers.  I was expecting some big, giant, overlapping circles.  As you can see what I go was a lot of small, non-touching ovals.  Then I had the children go through our crayon bin and pic out every shade that was even the slightest bit orange (orange, orange-red, red-orange, yellow-orange, peach, etc.) .  We had a pretty big pile!  Then we started coloring.  I told them to try to avoid coloring touching spaces the same color.  They did a pretty good job at that.  When the whole page was full (a week later), the project was finished.

This page was part following directions, part practice in patterns, and part learning about line and shapes.  I gave directions and the kids were able to iterpret them as they wished.  The first line I probably said something like, “Make a pattern with diagonal lines and curvy lines.”  For the second line I told the kids, “Make a pattern using horizontal and vertical straight lines.”  This was one of our least fun and most structured art pages, but it was good practice for everyone.

Texture bugs.  These were simple and fun!  Simply look around the house and find anything that is any fun texture that can be glued down.  Here I used brown rice, split peas, sandpaper, and some fabric scraps.  Have the kids cut out circle or semi-circle shapes and glue everything down.  (For the rice and split peas, we just made circles and semi-circles of glue then sprinkled the rice/peas over it like glitter.)   A few googly-eyes and some drawn on feet and antennae later, and you’ve got some really great texture bugs that remind your students that texture means that things feel different!

This was our last project, a watercolor tutorial.  Really, go check out this tutorial; it is well done and includes lots of great techniques that are handy for kids to know/be able to use!  I wasn’t smart and didn’t trim the paper before we did it, so part of our tutorial is missing – oops!

I also intended to have the children do a self-portrait, but I never got around to it that kindergarten year.  We did finally do them when they were in first grade, but we used oil pastels to color them, and they smear a bit when touched.  For that reason I have not included them in the book.

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We received this letter from a friend this week:

Dear [Gus] and [Little Man],

I am sorry for boxing you.  And I am sorry you got hurt.  please come play again soon.

from, [our friend]

That is definitely one for the scrapbook!  Oh, my lands!  I can’t tell you the laughter this whole situation has prompted.  Our children decided to box with a friend on a playdate.  Their was only one pair of boxing gloves involved, and my children weren’t smart enough to request to be the ones to wear them.  No one was really hurt, but there was one big, giant lump on one girl’s eyebrow.  Same eye that she clobbered a couple of weeks ago; that time she had a huge shiner!  I should pray for her safety more.  (And just to be sure to sound like a conscientious parent, yes, we were checking on the kids.  Yes, they were sneaky and only boxed when we parent-types weren’t looking.  And yes, they knew they shouldn’t have been doing it . . . but they did anyway.)


A friend wrote me the following sentence in reference to our “last day of summer-let’s have lots of fun-day to celebrate and go swimming and eat chocolate chip cookie bars” event:

“I think jumping into a new school year calls for a pan of sugar.”

I couldn’t agree more!


{wrote this yesterday but was just too tired to actually hit the post button}

While it is still hot, hot, hot outside, the temperature inside has cooled considerably; we spent our day having our first day of school.

The kids woke up to find at the bottom of the steps a pile for each of them – new school supplies, a few treats, and a mom-made All About Me Poster.  A little side note:  one of the things that I enjoyed this year was that when we went school shopping, the kids opted to save some money and not buy everything new.  We did buy a few new things – either things we didn’t have before or things that needed to be replaced – but over and over they said, “I don’t need a new one of those; I’d rather spend the money on something fun!”  I didn’t prompt this, but they are learning that smart decisions get rewarded!

We did a devotion this morning from 1 Corinthians, talking about how we should honor the Lord with everything that we do.

Then we dove into a checklist of back-to-school kinds of activities.

Here is list of things to do this week:

  • Draw and color a page for the front of your binder.
  • Organize bins and binders (each child has a bin where his/her school books live and a binder that is his/her main work binder)
  • Sharpen pencils and have erasers ready
  • Art Lesson (Yay!)
  • “Why Study History?” lesson from Tapestry of Grace
  • Calendar (one child decorated around the calendar, one child wrote family birthdays and holidays, and one child crossed off all the days until the 20th)
  • Reading
  • “All About Me” Poster (The kids were supposed to work on this any time they didn’t have something else to do)
  • Put together a time capsule

And that, my friends, sums up the official end of our summer break.

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Tis The Season

I can hear them from my post inside – working.

The laughing and screaming.

My middle two children are in the front yard with their dad, wearing their soccer jerseys from years past.  There’s a soccer ball out there among them, bouncing around at the command of bare feet.  They are dripping with sweat and red-faced.

Kids against Dad.

I’m not getting much done for all this watching out the window.

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Dimples wakes up very easily in the mornings, so by the time Handsome has gotten up, shaved, and showered, Dimples is usually awake.  He lays in his bed, just waiting for Handsome to come get him and tickle him, and he is delighted every morning when Handsome does exactly that!  (Morning people – how do they do it?)

The other day, as I was trying really hard to get my head in the game and wake-up already, yet laying in bed with my eyes glued shut, Handsome walked into the boys’ room and said, “Are you awake . . . or are you sleeping?”

Dimples’ response was to yell, loud enough for the neighbors to hear, “I’m sleeping!”

I just love a little irony!


The other night at dinner, Dimples was just drumming away (with imaginary drumsticks on imaginary drums); this is a constant for him.  He is always moving to the beat, if there is any kind of music on.

I looked at him and said, “You’re going to be a drummer when you grow up.”

He thought about that for a bit, looked seriously at me, then blurted out, “No! I’m going to be Mickey Mouse!”


Today in the car:

Gus: “Me and Little Man . . .”

Little Man:  ” . . . Little Man saw a green car and we . . . ”

He talks in third person about himself and finishes her sentences for her.  I think they really might be twins, separated at birth . . . except I was there, and that didn’t happen.  Well, and they look really, really different.

Adopting out of birth order has been such a huge blessing for our family!

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Yes, that’s an imperative.

Recently I was playing a game with a group of children ages five and six.

The kids were having a great time, that is except for one little girl.  She seemed really unsure of herself.  I helped her though the game, but watching/helping her made me think about how much we teach our children when we play games with them!  There are also a lot of great games out there for kids.  Here’s a nice little list for you!

  • Turn taking – playing games where children have to take turns prepares kids to wait while someone else gets a turn and to pay attention and be ready to take their turn
  • follow the rules – learning to follow the rules is a pretty big deal in life, and it starts with the little things like following directions to play a game; everyone has more fun, if everyone follows the rules!
  • play fair – no one likes to be the one who looses because someone else cheated
  • playing games with dominoes teaches children number matching (and color matching, if you have a colored set), counting, one to one correspondence (one dot = 1, etc.), more and less
  • Playing games with a deck of cards (my brother in law calls them “bad man’s cards”) teaches kids number order, visual discrimination, and the names of those little characters on the corners (I was in college before I could tell which was a spade and which was a club – save your kid that embarrassment, please!).
  • Our family loves A to Z junior.  Each player or team gets a game board with the alphabet.  Teams have to list items in categories that start with all the letters of the alphabet.  Who ever fills up their gameboard first wins.  Two of my children mastered their letter sounds by playing that game.  One of them learned to visually identify her letters by playing A to Z.
  • Memory is a great game, not just for their memory but for so many other reasons.  When we brought Gus and Dimples home, they could not speak any English, but she could play memory.  We played it almost every day for a while.  We have a version with animals, another with everyday objects, and another with super-heroes.  The words for the things on those memory games were some of her first English words, well, that and the word, “match.”  We also have a game that matches animals and their babies; we talk about what animal babies are called sometimes when we play this version, the current favorite.  Silly little side note:  it wasn’t long after Gus was home that she could totally beat me at this game!  Though her mastery of the English language was still a long way off, this was something that she succeeded at.  She loved playing it for that reason; and I loved playing with her, because it was one of the few kid games that was a real challenge for me!  So much fun!
  • Car alphabet games – As you drive around town, pick one letter and see how many times you and your children can spot that letter.  Alternatively, start at the beginning of the alphabet and work your way through the alphabet; this version is better played on longer road trips.
  • State License plate games – copy a simple map of the US, give it to your child with a box of markers or colored pencils.  Each time you see a car from a different state, color that state on the map!  We’re doing this activity this summer!  I can’t wait to see how many the kids notice!  I might even give a treat to the child who gets all the states first – should be interesting – and might take years!
  • I Spy With My Little Eye – We have played this game so much that I hate it, but that’s okay.  My kids have played it so much (and there’s four of them) that they don’t need me to play it anymore!  WooHoo!  Try to get tricky and use more difficult clues – instead of saying “I spy . . . something brown,” say, “I spy something that chews it’s cud,” for a cow.
  • Shut the Box – simple concept, great math skills, fun game
  • Scavenger Hunts – you can make them as easy as, “Go find ten different things that would fit in my pocket,” or “Go find two things you are really thankful for.”  Or you can get a little creative and give them instructions that require specialized knowledge:  “Find three things that are the primary colors and three things that are the secondary colors.”  Or, if you have a little time to plan ahead, you can hide clues throughout the house/yard that lead the kids from one place to the next.

I think sometimes we think that our kids need “learning toys” to learn, but really they learn so much more by interacting with other humans than they do that toy that sings the alphabet song!

So play games with your kids this weekend!

Oh, and tell me what your favorite game to play with your kids is – that’s an imperitive too!

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“Other countries are still sending children home to their adoptive families.Why is the US waiting on UNICEF?Ask our ambassador.”  posted here, recently, from Haiti.

And here, a post that should break your heart but will hopefully inspire you.

And here, an article that will probably surprise you.

Read here.

Be informed.


(And if you feel so led, do something about it.)

I have a little girl who prays daily, “God, thank you for a mommy and daddy, for my family.”

Every little girl and boy should have the opportunity to pray such a prayer!

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I was telling Handsome about this great story, when I mentioned that the governor was on board the plane that went to fetch the orphans and their caretakers.

One of our children asked, “What is a governor?”

“The leader of a state,” I answered.

Then the discussion wound around a bit; we arrived at city-level leaders.

“A mayor is the leader of the city,” I said.

“Oh, Papa Bear (from the Berenstain Bears) wanted to be a mayor!” Gus happily announced.

“And Sir Topham Hatt is also a mayor,” added Bubba.  (He’s not really, but he is in charge of things in the Sodor realm.)

Right then and there I decided that we’ve seen a little too much tv this winter!  (Ug!)


Gus and I were recently discussing winter Olympic sports.

She asked me, “What do they do in the winter Olympics?”

We discussed that it was too cold to do things like swimming and that no one wants to play baseball in the snow, so, I said, “What are some sports you do in the winter, outside?”

“We build snowmans!”

“. . . and play in the snow!”

I just love the thought of that:  Olympic snowman building…and Olympic snow ball fights…and Olympic snow fort building!  Wouldn’t the world be a great place!



No kidding, today, just a few days before his party, Dimples came to me and said, “I want a Star Wars party!”

He doesn’t really know what Star Wars is – except that those words are used a lot while our neighbor boys fight one another with lightsabers.  He loves the lightsabers!  And I have planned a COW party, so I said, “Oh, honey, you wanted a cow party, so you’re going to have a cow party.”

That three year old looked me square in the eye (with no regard for the amount of time/energy/creativity that you and I have have put into this cow party) and said, “I don’t want that.  I want a Star Wars party.”

He was nice enough about it, so I replied in kind, “Well, you wanted a cow party first, so that’s what you are going to get.”

He happily said, “Ok!”  Little does he know that he has caused within me a series of emotions that could be summed up like this: Mommy Guilt.

(Oh, and I found a pretty cute cake!)

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Checking out at a big box store, one with a bullseye on the front.

Employee on the other side of the counter is very friendly.

She notices that I’ve had a lot of fun at the dollar isle and that most of it revolves around teacher-y things:  a set of three self-inking stamps, three workbooks about the presidents, a book about the animals of Africa, a few Dr. Suess-y things, etc.

She:  So, I guess you’re a teacher.

Me:  Well, I used to teach in a classroom, but now I homeschool my kids.

She: . . .

I guess I said too much, becuase she looked at me like I had fourteen eyes and finished my order as fast as any girl could.  If someone had come behind me in line at that point, I’m pretty sure they would have thought that I was holding a gun to her and threatening her; she might even have been shaking!  I hope she didn’t call anyone on me after I left; after all what we do here at home is legal.

It was weird.

But she probably went home and told her roommates/husband/children, “You should have heard this chick that I checked out tonight.  She said she HOMESCHOOLS!  It was crazy weird!”


In other news:

Little Man lost his first tooth; he was SO excited to pull it out himself!  When he saw the blood, he was a bit freaked out…but when I told him, “It’s okay; sometimes they bleed just a bit.” he went right back to pulling that tooth out of there.

The toad didn’t appear for a couple nights; he’s back tonight.  We’re glad.  The kids still haven’t seen him.

Bubba is a regular bookworm.  She is flying through so many chapter books each week that I can’t hardly keep up!

Gus has managed to save all the money she needs for an American Girl doll.  I find that crazy impressive; there is no way that I could have done that when I was her age!  Our kids don’t get a lot for allowance either!

Dimples has become a jukebox of sorts.  At any given time of day, he’ll start humming a song.  If it’s one I don’t like (or the kids don’t like it), we can ask him to not sing that song…and he’ll just start singing something else.  It totally cracks me up…until he starts singing, “I’m a Gummy Bear,” which he heard once (Heaven help me!)

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