Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Fill Ins

1. It's time for Will and Grace, it's the new Seinfeld in my book. Can't fall asleep without it.
2. My bathtub; it's not a bad place for thinking. I do some of my best work in there.
3. I must be heading to bed soon. I have a lot to accomplish this weekend!
4. Salvation is the best thing I have ever known.
5. My life is simply blessed.
6. The last time I laughed really loudly was earlier this evening when Rachel told me she hit a fly ball at the Dragon Range.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to updating my blog and reading some more of my book Real Moms, Real Jesus in preparation for the Mom's Group I'm leading this year, tomorrow my plans include cheering Benjamin on at his Championship Baseball game, doing another homeschooling portfolio review and getting my science experiments ready for VBS next week and Sunday, I want to go to church, take Benjamin to his Adventure Guides Olympics, take Rachel to her softball team's end-of-year pool party, go to Steve's playoff softball game and pack everything up for VBS and get everyone to bed early since we have to be out the door by 8:00am on Monday. YIKES!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Goodbye, July!

Summer is just rolling right along. August is going to be a busy month at the Carpenter household. VBS the first week and then family coming from CA for a 3 week visit will keep us hopping!
We're not ready to talk about the "S" word yet... you know... school ...shhhhhhhh. (HINT: Highlight the blank space to reveal the "S" word) However, I do have some fun ideas bouncing around in my head. For example, wouldn't it be cool to have a chalkboard wall? Or how about a magnetic wall to hang all our fabulous artwork? With 4 kids, my refrigerator doesn't stand a chance! I have so many cool magnets and we could even create our own. A place to hang our calendar, charts and photos... the possibilities are endless!
The idea that excites me the most, however, is Rain Gutter Bookshelves. We have enough books in our house to open a small library. If the books were more accessible and on display I think they would be read more frequently. The fronts of the books would be showing, as opposed to the spine, so they would be much more intriguing. Although Emily might look at this as a new opportunity to climb the walls! All I need is a hack saw and I think I can do it (when Steve isn't looking, of course).
These and many more awesome homeschooling tips and ideas can be found at a blog I recently discovered Raising Olives.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Can you guess who these lil' piggies belong to?

Monday, July 27, 2009

My millennium baby

Nine years ago today I cried because I had to leave Benjamin for the first time overnight. A few hours later, well maybe more than just a few, I heard the words, “It’s a girl!” and knew I could venture over to the ‘pink’ side of the store! I was thrilled to have my teeny tiny princess! She was a six pounder and just precious! And ya know what???? She still is! (Precious, not six pounds).
This daughter of mine is so many things:
She is an athlete who plays soccer, softball, ballet, jazz, modern dance and anything else you might challenge her to try. She is usually the smallest girl on the team but that doesn't discourage her in any way, shape or form. She's small but mighty! Her last soccer coach said she was the dynamite stick on their team!
She is a musician who plays the piano and sings her heart out. She also wants to learn to play the violin.
She is brave. It is NOT fun to have Celiac Disease but she is learning how to live with it. For the most part, she makes it look like a piece of cake (gluten free, of course!). I also remember a time when she was 5 years old and was the first child to give her Oral Presentation at our Homeschool group. The room was filled with many parents, grandparents and children. She was the only Kindergartner and I wasn't sure if she was going to do it or not. I know if I was in her shoes I would have wanted to hide. She was nervous, but she marched right up there to the microphone and recited Humpty Dumpty like you've never heard it before! That's my girl!
She is a friend and a sister. Her devotion to her friends and siblings is remarkable. She loves to play with them and is extremely creative. It's interesting to watch her create something she needs. It doesn't matter what it is, she'll find a way to make it work.
She is a helper. She loves to help me organize, fold laundry, bake cookies and take care of her little sisters. I don't know what I would do without all of her help! I don't think I tell her thank you often enough.
She is my little night owl who, since birth, has always loved that oh-so-delicious 5:00 nap! And she is also quite the snuggle-bug!
Most importantly, she is a Child of God. She has blessed our family with her sweet spirit, kind heart and loving nature. I am so thankful that God chose me to be her mom. My prayer for Rachel is that she remains strong in her faith, makes good decisions and seeks to honor and glorify God in all that she does. I pray that she will be happy and that God is preparing a special man to be her husband someday and that they will be blessed with children. God has a very special and unique plan for you, Rachel Nicole! I look forward to watching you follow that plan! I love you so very much, you'll never know just how much!
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139: 13-14

Friday, July 24, 2009

Adventure Day

Adventure Day is when you load up the van with curious children, plenty of snacks, food and water (note to self: pack even more H2O next time), sunscreen and mapquest directions. Then you head out for a fun-filled day of exploring. Your husband drives while you navigate. You give him one too many clues while driving and he correctly guesses the destination. Well, at least the first stop.
Today's Adventure Day took us to Chagrin Falls where they just happened to be having a Sidewalk Sale too. The Falls were pretty and I think we should return in the winter months to see what they look like when they're frozen!

Next,we had a picnic lunch in the South Chagrin Reservation of the Metroparks.

Then off to Preston's H.O.P.E. Playground in Beachwood. What a fun place! This 60,000 square foot outdoor play facility is the largest fully accessible playground in NE Ohio. Even though it is located on the property of the Mandel Jewish Community Center, it is available to children of all ages, religious, ethnic or racial backgrounds. Until now, there was no such place that provided accessible structures that were safe and secure for children using special equipment such as crutches or wheelchairs or one that truly enables children with and without disabilities to play alongside one another. The park was built with many custom-designed elements to accommodate youngsters with mobility issues, vision or hearing impairments. Here are a few examples: The park is wired with sounds (train whistle, flowing water, etc) that can help a sight impaired child navigate. The large windows in the village houses allow parents to use sign language to communicate with hearing impaired children while they play inside. Broad ramps throughout the park let youngsters in wheelchairs get a loftier view of the world. And, the slides have transfer decks so children in wheelchairs can be helped onto the equipment. Three million dollars were donated in loving memory of Preston, a little boy with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, to build this awesome place. We'll definitely be returning there!

Daddy decided to add one last stop to Adventure Day.... Handel's for ice cream....mmmmmm!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Sarah: Mommy, I want to play this game (Trivial Pursuit).

Me: You have to know how to read to play this game.

Sarah: I know how to read, Mom. Remember that day I did the Alpha Bits?

It won't be long, my girl! You love books and know the letter names and sounds... You are on your way!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I'm always saying, "Systems, we need systems!" You know. Just a little order and some routines to help control the chaos of the Carpenter household. I would love for things to happen efficiently and in a timely manner. Things like dishes, laundry, recharging batteries (for my camera that seems to need fresh batteries after every two pictures), the assigning, doing, grading and storing of school work. You get the picture.

Well, Rachel took matters into her own hands and devised a system to keep her little sisters out of her room. They love to sneak in there and play with all of big sister's treasures. I gave Rachel permission to lock her door to keep them out but so far this system seems to be working just as well. Here, take a closer look...

The sign says, "Pull on Doll". Meaning the tiny,bald princess at the top who is connected to a string that is connected to some sort of contraption on the other side of the door that alerts Rachel when visitors have arrived.

This is what you see when you "Pull on Doll".
If you ask, "What are you doing?", this is what you will see. More lovely hair dos!

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, July 20, 2009

Not My Child!

Welcome to Not My Child! Monday! a fun and simple twist on Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what everyone's kids have not been doing this week.

My 8 year old (I won't be able to say that for much longer!) did NOT construct a bun on my 2 year old's head that was so large and heavy she was having trouble staying upright. Nope! NO fabulous hair dos at our house!

Another child of mine did NOT yell across the baseball field, mid-game mind you, "Coach, I have to go to the bathroom!!!!" Said child did NOT then run across the field, directly into the woods. *Ahem*

We certainly do NOT travel with a potty in our van and even if we did we certainly don't stop just anywhere to use it! Most definitely not on the side of the road in the heart of Amish Country! Nope! Not us!

My children, especially the 2 year old, NEVER point at strangers, who are standing mere feet away, and call them things like pirates (because they're wearing eye patches) or Sharpay (from HSM - because they're blond). Not my kids! They're much too polite, kind and considerate for such behavior.

Lastly, my children do NOT cut their own hair or apply their own make up. They know better than to play with scissors or to get into mommy's things. Even if they did, I'm sure they would at least make it symmetrical.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Guest Blogger

How on God's green earth am I supposed to man-up, if you will, when she gives me a girl name and puts a pink dress on me????

I just want you to know that it was NOT my idea to wear a pink dress, sporting a picture of a dog none-the-less, and I don't even care if he IS a famous dog. Believe you me, I made my feelings on the whole matter clearly known after that hideous picture was snapped! And this isn't the first time she's done something like this and I assume it won't be the last. You should see, actually, you should NOT see, the slew of pictures she took for an album she's making titled "Stuff on Your Cat". I think she got the idea from a book she saw at Border's. At least I'm not alone.... there are others out there who endure this kind of thing.

How did I get on her blog you ask? She thinks I'm curled up, all cute-like, cat-napping next to her on the bed, but really I've got one eye open memorizing passwords.

So there you have it, folks.


PS - In case you are wondering what that rant was all about this post might clear things up a bit (or confuse you further).

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

  • Upon seeing my soon-to-be nine year old daughter in make up with her hair done for her role as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, I did NOT gasp at her beauty and begin to fear realize what is down the road for us when she is old enough to be interested in dating. You know, when she is like 30 or 40.

  • I did NOT worry AT ALL about my husband and son who were paddling down a river in a metal canoe during that horrendous thunderstorm on Saturday. Nope! Not Me!

  • I did NOT continue with my cleaning as my 3 daughters hid under their pillows and blankets on the couch during that same horrendous thunderstorm. I, also, did NOT overhear the 8 year old telling the 2 and 4 year olds, "Just keep praying, girls!"

  • I did NOT put a pink dress on my cat (just because). The fact that he is a male did NOT make it even worse and more embarrassing for him. Nope! Not Me! I would NEVER even think of something so absurd!
  • Thursday, July 9, 2009

    Fill 'er up!

    I long for quiet and crave solitude.

    Maybe that's why I stay up too late, too often. There's a stillness in my house that you will not likely find during daylight hours.

    Don't get me wrong. I love my kids and the sounds of their laughter, singing, silliness and playing. I have come to realize I truly love the craziness of this season of my life - the never-ending laundry, the always present toys on the floor, the clutter on every horizontal surface, the homeschooling books and papers and projects, oh and did you know they expect to be fed THREE times a day???? We won't even discuss the sports, play dates, practices, parties and all the other activities that require a chauffeur - a logistical nightmare to be sure!

    Susanna Wesley, a mom of 19 kids (beat that, Duggars!), would pull up her hoop skirt over her head to find a moment to pray. One of her sons, John Wesley, was the founder of the Methodist Church and another son, Charles Wesley, was a great hymn writer. I wonder if she homeschooled? At any rate, she certainly understood the need to pull up to the spiritual filling station so she had the love, patience and energy to serve her family.

    When we spend time with God, we fill up until we are overflowing and that overflow is what enables us to love and serve others.

    However, before we fill up we need to empty ourselves of all the gunk and yuck that has been building up. The other day I heard a new song on the radio by Chris Sligh called Empty Me. He was on American Idol a few years back. I liked him then and I like him even more now. In the song he talks about emptying ourselves of selfishness, pride and foolish things so that we can be filled with Jesus.

    I long for quiet and crave solitude.

    I want to hear Jesus speak to me in those quiet moments. I want to put His word in my heart and spend time in sweet communion with the One who created me. I want to pull up to the spiritual filling station, empty myself of me and then overflow with Jesus' love on to my family and those around me.

    I long for quiet and crave solitude.

    Sarah's Advice

    "Eat slowly, Emily, or your tummy will laugh at you."

    Wednesday, July 8, 2009

    Monday, July 6, 2009

    Not Me! Monday!

    Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.
    • I did NOT send out many not-so-nice messages containing a virus via Facebook because someone hacked my account. Nope! Not Me!
    • I did NOT spend large amounts of time (which I will NEVER get back) trying to remember and then change passwords to countless other sites and accounts.
    • My dear, sweet husband did NOT spend even larger amounts of time (which he will NEVER get back) doing things to my laptop, which I will NOT pretend to understand or explain, so that it is all better now. Love you, hunny!
    • During communion I did NOT tear off a piece of bread large enough to be considered lunch! (The pastor did remind us beforehand to get a piece big enough to dip in the juice... I was simply complying....that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!)
    • After a yum-deli-cious cookout earlier in the day on the Fourth of July, I did NOT suggest that my son and I simply have ice cream for supper and then follow through with that suggestion. Nope! Not me!
    • I did NOT contemplate setting fire to my flowerless flower beds to get rid of the gazillion weeds that have taken over. Not me! Never!
    • We did NOT forego fireworks this year simply because sometimes it's easier to just stay home. Nope! Not at all!

    Thursday, July 2, 2009

    Who needs Ethan Allen?

    Some people have furniture or decorative items in their foyer. I have a K'nex Motorized Ball Machine, the Chrysler Building and a fancy shmansy helmet of some sort.

    Wednesday, July 1, 2009