Saturday, November 28, 2009

Taylor's Victorian Tea Party

Taylor loves to dress up. Often she has the family dress for dinner, or she makes the boys change their clothes and put on a tie to play a game. She has been talking about having a Ball for several years now. I was adamantly opposed to a ball, so when I found a book at Goodwill about how to host a Victorian Christmas Tea Party, I knew I had found my salvation! Taylor was very excited about the idea. I realized soon after we started planning that our home would not accommodate all the guests. We had decided on a Mother - Daughter Tea. I started checking out our options and there were none, unless I was going to rent a reception hall.

Syndi came up with the wonderful idea of hosting the party at her mother in law's house. Peggy eagerly agreed and opened her home to us with such love and generosity! We are awed by her graciousness and the beauty of her home. My mom, upon entering her house, exclaimed, "It is a feast for my eyes!"

Peggy's home was the perfect location and atmosphere for Taylor's Tea.

I know they say imitation is the finest form of flattery. Both Taylor and Kimberly wanted me to do their hair the same as I had done mine. How come theirs looked so much better than mine?

I must apologize that I was very busy at the party and failed to take photos of all the guests. You can get a sampling of how beautiful all the girls looked by the photos I did take.

One of the most interesting facts about the party was how quiet and polite all the girls were. There was an atmosphere of awe and beauty that permeated all the way to the girls' behavior. At one point I wondered if they were all having fun. I was assured that the party was wonderful!

I appreciate Taylor's friendship with each and every girl who attended. She carefully chose each mother and daughter who were to attend. I love that she included Hannah who is 5 all the way to Keziah who is 17! I think that twelve must be an age where life changes drastically! Taylor was as happy and excited about the Playmobile as she was about the clothes, gel pens, and camera. She was thrilled to get a new journal and immediately began working on her journaling pin for Keepers. I appreciate the innocence as well, Taylor does not like to misspell words so she dictates to me every night what she wants written in her journal.

I could not have pulled off the party without everyone who helped so much! First, Peggy who offered not only her home, but her china, and lovely decorations and time. Syndi, who pays attention to all the details and gently instructs me in the way I should go. Syndi also helped with all the decorating and clean up not to mention all the beautiful tea cups, saucers and tree that she brought! My mom who saved me. When I was looking at the 4 layer cake that I had not yet decorated my mom rescued me by getting Taylor a beautiful cake from the bakery (Thank you so very much for lightening my load). Jess who always takes care of the things that need to be taken care of and washing the dishes after the party! Last but definitely not least for Mikaela who carried everything out to the van after the party. I would have been overwhelmed, instead I am overwhelmed by the love and generosity I was shown.
Kalina and Jubilee at tea.

Taylor was very careful to avoid getting chocolate on her gloves.

My oldest daughter, Mikaela and my momm.
Two beautiful and important women in my life.

Taylor, Kimberly and Ruby decorated Peggy's tree. Apparently you can not have too many pearls on your tree. Ruby spent the entire party rearranging the ornaments.


I enjoy celebrating with friends and family and due to circumstances in all of our lives we were unable to get together with others for Thanksgiving. Mikaela had to work as well and could not make it for dinner. I really struggled with my attitude but with God's help I was able to focus on the positive and on all of our blessings.
I have found that directing the children even on weekends and holidays makes for a more peaceful and productive day. I decided that we would write poems of gratitude. I walked the children through the process step by step and word by word. Here are our results:
Ian wrote:
Warm, Fun
Welcoming, Feeds, Provides
We like to learn
The Slocum's

Aaron's is as follows:
Sharing, Kind
Responsible, Trust-Worthy, Patient
Fun to Play with

Erik wrote about our next door neighbor (she lets him take his frogs for a walk in her yard, and let them swim in her wheel barrow).
Ms. J
Kind, Sharing
Helpful, Friendly, Forgiving
She cares for us

Taylor's poem came together easily for her but was much more difficult to actually get on paper.
Mrs. H
Teaches, Employs
Shares, Listens, Helps
She is very kind
Ben's mom

I think that this was a very good exercise! We will definitely need to continue practice writing poetry, I like focusing on the people and things that we are thankful for and for all the things we have rather than the things we do not have.

I had a great time the day after Thanksgiving, I was able to meet up with Mikaela for some Black Friday shopping and lunch. I cherish the time we have together!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Welcome Loden Xavier

I do not know how to steal photos from someone else's blog so I will have to send you to my Sister in Law, Nicole's blog to see photos of my newest nephew!
I have not met him yet but from what I hear, and from the family he comes from, he is wonderful!
Congrats to Karina and Ryan and your little miracle and blessing! I cannot wait to get my hands on him.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Farwell Old Friend

Today I said, "Goodbye" to a dear friend. Actually this is one of my servants. This is a servant that I often use several times a day. I love rice cooker oatmeal for breakfast and rice for dinner, steamed veggies in it's basket. I will have to work hard to replace my faithful servant but alas, it's service is completed.
Lately, all my servants are kicking the bucket. The toaster, crock pots, and now my rice cooker and it looks like my coffee maker is not far behind.

Taylor is Twelve

It is hard to believe that 12 years have passed so quickly. I remember how difficult Taylor was as a toddler and her cute little pig tails when she was a little girl. Now, here is my right hand, my helper and she is already 12. Twelve is such an interesting age; she loves animals (snakes, hermit crabs, kittens), she collects dolls, loves to color, has both an Ipod and Barbies on her birthday list. Taylor has friends who are 8 and friends who are 14 (even one 17 year old).
Taylor takes good care of her siblings and has a lot of responsibility. She was even happy with the remaining Nemo cake and 12 cool candles. It takes awhile to light 12 candles. It takes even longer to light 12 candles when your 9 year old brother accidentally blows out the candles every time he blows out the match.
After history we had a small celebration with friends and another celebration with family. Saturday is her friend party and we are really looking forward to that.
We have a tradition that on your birthday you get to choose your meals for the day. For breakfast she requested Funnel Cakes and Strawberry Smoothies,Lunch consisted of Sloppy Joes and fish crackers, and for dinner we dined on Teriyaki Chicken (also known as Taylor Chicken), Cooked Carrots, Rice, and Pot Stickers (Ruby calls them 'Hot Stickers').

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nemo Party

Surprise! You were told that you had a lot of work to do today after I got back from my appointment. My appointment was actually at home setting up for a surprise party for the children.
Syndi and I have been trying to have this party for a few weeks now but, alas, the children have not been well so we kept rescheduling my appointment.
They were truly surprised when they came home to a house decorated for a Nemo party!
The children had to jump through the field of jellyfish!
What is a party without lots of food! We even gave the children their own bubbles (Sprite). Ruby and Erik actually asked if they had to drink it! They said the bubbles hurt their nose.

We incorporated a pop quiz into the party. The children had to answer marine biology related questions to receive glow sticks and marine life themed wash cloths.

Crush and his son Squirt joined in the party and loved watching themselves in the movie.

I can't tell you how many times I have watched the movie but I still find it funny and hear new jokes every time. This time I caught that the other sharks' name was Chum, and Gill referred to the puffer fish as Bloat Boy.

Ben and Erik found Nemo and Dori in what proved to be a more difficult hide and seek game than I anticipated.
I had a treasure hunt complete with clues all around the house that led to the coveted prize of, well I don't really remember what the prize was.... it doesn't matter it was fun!

We had a bubble blowing contest. My poor neglected children were not sure if you were supposed to eat the gum. Erik said, "I can't get this chewed! It is too hard to swallow."

No party is complete without a cake! We had the complete aquarium with fish, rocks, worms and seaweed.

Aaron loved all the different food and toward the end of the party figured out that the fish flakes were actually cereal.
I think that this is a school day the children won't soon forget.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gift of Time

I was able to spend Saturday with some wonderful women and I am so sorry that I do not have any photos to share with you. Every year Kelly treats her friends to a day spent preparing for the holiday season. Kelly apologized profusely that she was not going to pamper us as she has in years past. I must say that I did not hear any complaining, only compliments and appreciation for all that she did do. We had a wonderful time with a smaller group that allowed us to really talk and share together.
We enjoyed some delicious Frito boat chili, cheddar cheese scones, homemade bread, brownies, ice cream, cream puffs and my favorite candy bar: Take 5, and other goodies too numerous to count. I think I spent more time eating than working. And Kelly said it was going to be small this year!
This post cannot possible do justice to all the details that Kelly pays attention to. She remembers things about people that others see as insignificant: she knows who likes peppers, who doesn't like coffee, what is each persons favorite treat, snack, drink, or hobby. She has such a wonderful way of welcoming others into her home and her life. She is a person who is dependable and I feel like an anchor in my life, she has shared so many important milestones in my life.
She has such an amazing gift of hospitality an her husband encourages this gift by taking their 3 precious boys out while we have our time to be refreshed and encouraged. Thank you Steve! I was able to partake in this blessing because my husband graciously stayed home with our other 5 children for me to be gone ALL day. Thank you Sean.
I was able to glean some wonderful tidbits of wisdom from more experienced, gentle, peaceful and joyful women. Liberty did not want to miss out on our fellowship and sharing so she chose to sleep in very small increments throughout the day.
I even received the blessing of some uninterrupted time with my mom ~ precious and priceless.
Thank you Kelly for including me in your group of friends I am honored and privileged.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Where's Erik?

I have been joking that everyone in our family needs to have a shirt that reads, "Where's Erik?"

Really, it is not a joke. I must say that 82 times a day. The thing is He is ALWAYS doing something. He wears this shirt every chance he gets! He loves that his frogs blend in with the frogs on his shirt.

He really does not like to 'do' school. He wants to read fluently and until he can he does not want to try. If you tell him something counts toward earning rank for scouts he is all over it! He had to make corn bread and as I was teaching him I showed him how to level the flour. He proceeded to dump out the flour and remeasure what I had just measured. He really did make the corn bread ALL BY HIMSELF!
There is no way in a million years I could begin to tell you all the random rules we have had to come up with to prevent him from..... well from whatever you name it, burning down the house, breaking an appendage, taking apart the car, toaster, lawnmower. You get the idea.

He is very smart and talks almost non stop. He will discuss the gravitational pull of the moon in the same breath as him beating the world record for hot dog eating.

During our circle time we have been reading about and praying for people who are persecuted for their faith. Last week we were praying for pastors in India and Erik said that he wanted to pray for our pastor. He had the sweetest prayer for our pastor whose name is Ryoichi. He prayed that God would strengthen and encourage Pastor Luigi! I am glad that God knows who he is talking about and does not confuse our Japanese Canadian Pastor with the character from Mario Cart.

Erik's goal is to set as many world records as he can think of. One must give him credit for his self esteem. We continually learn memory verses about humbling ourselves, serving others, overcoming selfishness. I often feel God gave me this child so that I could not become too proud of my abilities as a mother, or a teacher.

I love him. He challenges me. He makes me grow. He offers me much opportunity to be on my knees in prayer for him (and me!).

Psalm 105:4-5

Seek the Lord and His strength;

Seek His face continually.

Remember His wonders which He has done,

His marvels, and the judgments uttered by His mouth.

Children are a blessing and a heritage and I pray that I can always treat them as such.

Keepers and Contenders

Can I say it again? I love my group of friends! I love the similar ideas and goals we share. I love their respectful children. I love learning together. Once a month we meet together to learn about being Contenders of the Faith (boys) and Keepers at Home (girls). I apologize that I do not have any photos of the boys but trust me they have at great time and Jason does a wonderful job instructing them, keeping them in line, and having fun together.
As mom's we take turns teaching the girls. We usually pick something that we are interested in or want to learn. Deanna is an amazing cook and shared her skills (and recipes!) with us. The girls made some delicious pumpkin tart lets (from home made pumpkin puree), and nutmeg whipping cream.

Raylene is one of the youngest girls and well on her way to becoming proficient in the kitchen. The moms stay with the girls and help them out during the meeting. It is a chance for us to connect with each other and help where we are able.

Tami is so gifted with seeing a need and filling that need. When our group started it was much too big and we had too many young children confined to a small space for a large amount of time. We have adjusted the needs of the group and are now blessed with just the right amount for our space. Tami takes these cute little girls and gives them activities to occupy their time constructively.

Jess is so thoughtful and made an extra batch of these wonderful treats and sent them home with Tami as a blessing for all of her hard work.
Taylor shared hers with us and blessed some neighbors with the rest. I love her generosity and thoughtfulness to others.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

History Day

Syndi has so graciously offered to teach the Westward Movement, using Time Travelers, to my older children. I am so grateful for her and her willingness to use her skills and energy and bless us.
Look at those cute little teeth!
While Taylor and Aaron are at Syndi's, Tami and her children joined us for Five in A Row. We are currently studying Cranberry Thanksgiving. We made Cranberry Bread and set the table pretty for our guests.
We had a great discussion about character and despite that both girls said they would like to marry Mr. Horace. Ruby said it because in the book he has a pretty present with a pink bow. Isobel said she liked Mr. Horace because he looks nice. I guess we need to do more study on Character and what really matters.
I loved being able to teach with another pair of willing and able hands to help direct the children (Thanks so much Tami). We made 2 loafs of bread, a girls loaf and a boys loaf. We used the same recipe but they did not turn out the same ~ Hmmmmm? They did not even cook the same when they were in the oven at the same time.

My favorite part of the day was when everyone came here for lunch! I was so happy that everyone was able to do a full day of learning and have a great time, and Liberty was able to get a great nap in despite the activity.
Look at those cute cheeks, and that chin!
I realized that every time I post pictures of the twins it is mostly of Justice. This is not intentional and I do love them both, but Justice is always close by and Honor is off exploring. Justice is not as busy and likes to pose for the photos. He actually likes to see the picture even if you are still in the process of taking it! It makes me smile to think how different children of the digital age are.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lotsa Learning Happening Around Here

Sorry for the blurry photo, I seem to be inept at picture taking lately. I guess I have other things on my mind..... We have been discussing salinity and discovered that an egg floats in salt water but sinks in fresh water. Which led us to a discussion about the Dead Sea. We discovered, much to the children's amusement, that if one were to pass gas in the Dead Sea copious amounts of salt will enter said orifice and will burn for a long time!
We were also discussing anemones and sponges and that they are porous and filter their food through the 'skin'. The celery in red dye shows how the celery absorbs the water all the way up the stock. Erik was concerned that we were poising the celery with Red Dye 40. I assured him that it really did not matter since we were not going to consume the celery.
The past couple of days we have had great field trips to the beach to try out our underwater view finder that Sean made for us! For actual photos and some great posts about our adventures visit Bakers Dozen and Syndiluhu, they both remembered their cameras and their batteries. I was actually glad that I did not have my camera when we were climbing over some treacherous rocks to view a dead seal. Trying to balance with the baby in the Ergo and helping Ruby over the rocks and not jab myself in the eye with the low hanging branches was no easy feat. Renee had to sacrifice a small child in order to protect her camera. Hey, a child will heal but a camera won't!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Syndi found us our very own microscope at Value Village. It was new in the box and still wrapped in plastic. This is not a cheap $3 microscope, it is a good one. Unfortunately the light source on the microscope did not work.
I charged the light source, Sean took it apart and tried and we checked the Internet to see if we could buy the new part, no luck. I left the microscope on the end table and was trying to decide what we could do with it. There has to be a way. I said nothing to my children but Aaron really wanted to use the microscope. There is so much to see in eel grass and he wanted to see the lice that were on the prepared slides that came with the microscope.
I guess the 9 year old has a better chance of thinking outside the box. He got a mirror and a flashlight and used the light from the flashlight to reflect into the mirror and create his own light. It worked perfect!
Now how did he know how to do that?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Small Hannah

On Friday our whole family was able to attend Small Hannah's Birthday Party. We were so excited that it was at our local Marine Life Center. It was perfect and went wonderfully with what we have been studying lately. We enjoyed some fellowship with friends from church and met some new really fun people! We were so happy to be able to celebrate with Hannah.
Usually Ruby's friends are the siblings of her siblings friends. But Wesley (pronounced with 3 syllables by Ruby Wes/a/leee) is both a friend and neighbor. He likes to ride bikes with Ruby and watches my boys closely.

The children listened to the story, "A House For Hermit Crab" by Eric Carle. They were able to see and touch the various animals from the story as they were listening to the story. Sandy and her boys Simon and Henry were there to celebrate as well! The staff at the Marine Life Center sent the children on a scavenger hunt to find various marine life located in the tanks. Sandy was helping her boys find mussels, oysters, an octopus, eel grass, anemone, sponges, hermit crabs, and more! Simon kept hiding from my camera but I finally caught him.

Ian asked if they had any hooded nudibranchs? The staff were impressed with his knowledge but unfortunately nudibranchs do not do very well in captivity.

Hannah had many helpers blowing out her candles! They were the cutest cupcakes with starfish on top. We even had hot cocoa to enjoy with the snacks.
Ian took this photo of the octopus in her tank, pretty cool that you can see the detail in her tentacles. I am enjoying watching my children enjoy learning and discovering more every day.
Thanks Hannah for including us in your celebration.

Fall Bloggy Carnival Giveaway Winner

OK I admit it I am a comment junkie! I love comments, I guess it makes me feel affirmed. I think another giveaway will be in the works soon just so I can get more comments. Leave me a comment that lets me know what kinds of things you comment on! I wanted to give a prize to everyone that entered but I had not made enough pumpkins so I don't want to promise something I have not done yet.
I did draw two winners and the winners are.............drum roll please.........
Verity and Chelsey if you leave me your contact info I will mail your cute little harvest pumpkins!
Thank you all who left comments and participating in my giveaway.