Friday, May 29, 2009

The Book Club

Screaming, chatting, moving
Girls Girls Girls
talking, screaming, hugging
Girls Girls Girls
chatting, drama,
...and did I say screaming?

How Fun! A book club for girls! As long as it's not at my house and I'm not the one leading it! I can just hear the wheels in your heads turning. The wheels in my head started making me crazy turning when I went to a book club with my girls last month and immediately started thinking about how to do one myself with my older girls and their friends. And here we are. We sent out invitations and I made a phone call or two. The day of, there was much house cleaning and craft planning. I was so nervous! My husband came home early and did his usual lightening fast last minute clean up and kitchen detail while I laid everything out. By the time the 4 girls showed up, I was calm and ready! It was so much easier than I thought it would be! The girls loved it and I did too! I hope this will encourage some of you to give it a try too! Feel free to copy my ideas! That's why I'm posting them!

Here is a simple run down of what I did:
When I started the meeting, I outlined what we would be doing, reminding them we would be picking a name for a book club and a book to read, hoping to get the wheels in their crazy little heads brains to start rolling. I also assured them we would have time for crafts, snacks and to just hang out. I also introduced them to the idea of signing up for the book clubs around town where you get a free book after filling out a sheet saying you've read so many books. I even had gotten the forms earlier in the week!

The get to know you game:
I took out a roll of Toilet Paper (that totally grabs their attention!) and took a few sheets then passed it to one of the girls. They all were to take "however much you think you'll need." After the TP made it back to me, I instructed them to tell me something about themselves, one fact for every sheet. I played too, as if I were back way back when I was a 4th or 5th grader! The girls had so much to say, they all kept tearing their sheets into more pieces to be able to talk more! It was great! I let them keep going (and I was worried some of them wouldn't think of anything to say...) until they had gotten everything out they wanted to (no pun intended)!

Name the club
I had looked up a few suggestions on-line to get the ball rolling, then I wrote down every suggestion they said. They were laughing sooooo much, I wanted to have giggles in the name (my suggestion was GAB Giggles and Books) but the top two choices were Got Books? and Secret Agent Readers. We voted and it was tie. We voted again and it was another tie (I didn't vote, I didn't want to "take sides"). During snacks we called in the reinforcements and the little sisters came in to vote... and it was another tie! So we did the draw-a-name-out-of-the-hat trick and the name is.... Got Books? A snack of brownies and strawberries soothed the disappointed ones!

What book to read?
Deciding on what book to read literally kept me up at night. After cruising the school's website I came across THIS website for Bluebonnet books! While the girls were working on their craft (bookmarks... stay tuned! I will write about those this weekend...) they took turns with a buddy and read through the summaries. They all wanted the same two books, so the last group was the tie breaker (or I would've gotten out the hat again!) and decided on the book Maybelle and the Soup. I think we will read the other book next! While the girls were finishing crafts, I had pre-written a note (email info, best dates/times, ideas...) to the parents and put in the info (book club name, the next book and other books we will read) and printed them so it would all be ready for the girls to take home. We finished early (since we didn't have a book to discuss) and I pulled out my just-in-case activity. While needlessly looking up random stuff researching book club stuff I came across a contest for writing a short poem. I read an excerpt and we talked about the contest. Hopefully some of the girls will be inspired to write. I have always said reading and writing go hand in hand, so I am excited to have a way to incorporate both into the club! Plus, it's always great to have a back-up time-filler! That still left the girls with half an hour to hang out... ride scooters outside... find a quiet place to share secrets... play!
I really enjoyed talking to the moms when they picked up the girls! I think Got Books? was a huge success!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In Memory

Today would have been the birthday of a dear friend. She died a year ago. This is a poem I wrote for her memorial...

My Butterfly

My Butterfly, I really believed you had wings.

You showed your beauty when you would laugh

And you soared when you would sing.

For you, movies is where it was at!

You were passionate about history and theater,

And don't forget about those cats!

The Lord knew your needs and heard you pray

Even when you were stuck in your cocoon

It was He that carried you all the way.

To others you were friendly and sweet.

Your friendship was loving and constant.

I know one day again we will meet.

Butterfly, now that you've stepped through Heaven's door

You will find peace that here you missed.

Unfurl those beautiful, butterfly wings, and SOAR!

Happy Birthday my friend!

Through her life I learned, but through her death God revealed even greater life truths...

In memory of Karen Ruth Bottoms

For those of you who also knew her... there is so much more to the story...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Question Time!

It's a little box... the pencil keeper kind you can buy for $1 or less. Inside there are long, thin strips of paper that have words on them. Nothing special... so it seems. That little, seemingly insignificant box has become to my family a treasure box filled with all kinds of insight! On the pieces of paper are questions. Simple questions. Silly questions. Meaningful questions. Each night around the dinner table (yes, we eat EVERY night around the dinner table! as a family!...Ok, except for the rare monthly sometimes-once-a-week "easy does it" nights we have sandwiches or pizza...) after saying the mealtime prayer, a child takes turns asking the question. It has brought us much closer as a family. I've seen my kids grow in the way they've answered the questions... You see, we love it so much, we've gone through the box over 2 times! The girls came up with a method on folding the notes to know which ones we've read. We even do the questions when other people join us for dinner! We've done it so much, we need new questions! Do any of you have a book/game/question box of your own?

Where did we get the box? Good question! My sister, Karen, is a Mentor Mom with the MOPS program at her church. I (heart) MOPS! One of their craft activities was making this box. Since her kids are grown and (at the time) did not have kids of their own... she gave it to us... knowing I was a sucker for these things... and would use it faithfully... and I have! (OK... she also knows the DRAMA we have with 4 girls... and that we NEED something like this!) I hope other families have used it as much as we have! Ladies, have any of you gone through it 3 times??!! I would LOVE to hear from some of those MOPS moms!
In fact... I would LOVE to hear from anyone! Especially with stories of your own dinnertime conversations/traditions. You don't have any... well, I'm not giving up my special box! BUT you can find your own Around The Table activities over at Jolly Mom's blog where you can WIN one! Check it out! Keep the comments coming on what YOU do! I want to know! Also check out the comments, I'm going to ask my kids what they really think about question time and will post it in the comments!

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Angela's Field Day

Youngest child

Kindergarten kiddo

Angels kissed Angela, our beautiful birthmarked baby!

A total girly-girl!

Always has a smile

In dealing with life's obstacles, she smiles sweetly and always holds her head up high.

Way to go Angela!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Evelyn's Field Day


Third Child

Second Grader

Always on the GO!


Loves to Laugh

In dealing with life's obstacles, she finds the answers fast and always looks for ways to help others.
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Way to go Evelyn!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Amber's Field Day


Second born

Fourth Grader

Lover of books

Sweet Spirit

Sense of Humor

In dealing with life's obstacles, she looks to God and laughs at life!

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Way to go Amber!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Emily's Field Day

Oldest child
In 5th grade, about to enter the threshold of jr. high.
Avid reader
Excells in sports
A natural leader

In dealing with life's obstacles, she is concerned with what is right and confident with making decisions.

Way to go Emily!
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Field day fun!

Field Day this year was a BLAST! The school had made some changes, the most notably that it was only a half day instead of a full day. I feel bad that the kids didn't get as long to play... but it worked out really well. There was less down time, less water activities, less standing around waiting for your turn. I know the kids missed the water activities, but not having as much time waiting for your turn on the races was nice. Also, the classes worked together instead of everything being a competition. It worked great! The only thing I would change is to still have classes compete against each other in the tug of war! Some competition is ... healthy... and fun! As a mom, I enjoyed watching my kids interact with others. It was great to walk the hallways and run into a different child's class! When Angela's class was walking from music, we ran into her and her teacher was more than happy to let us snap this sister snapshot!

I saw families together! In one class, the teacher had her whole family there and they all got into the activities. It was wonderful to see her older "real life kids" play with her "at school kids"! It also worked out for part of my family to be together. On Friday Emily had her field day in the morning and I checked her out so she could stay there for Evelyn's. I LOVED seeing my kids cheering each other on! I also checked out Emily's bff and they had a great time. They both helped so much, by the end of field day, they were even helping the teachers!

Yes... field day sure was fun this year! It was my first year to NOT have a toddler running around... and last year I didn't make any because I was working. By the time Friday afternoon rolled around, we were all exhausted! Especially me...
Stay tuned this week as I post pics of each kid's field day!
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Juggling Act

I made it on my sister's blog! Yes... I'm on the right on the top picture, on the bottom picture, YOU are on the LEFT... or is it me? Dad! We're confused again!
If you want to know what I'm talking about, check out Kristie's blog here!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sidewalk Chalk and Tissue Paper Flowers

Handmade cards and tissue paper flowers,

Gifts not of money but of care.

Stories and poem written in pencil,

Messy and misspelled add a special flair!

Messages of love from

Paper, pencils and crayons

Messages of love

That will never be gone.

Drawings on the sidewalk,

Chalk that will wash away.

Shadows get distorted.

They fade throughout the day.

Messages of love appear in

shadows and chalk art.

Messages of love

Forever in the heart.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Flower Mother's Day Card Part 2

Part 2
Please scroll down to the previous post, to see how to do the base of the card!
I had the kids sort out the flowers (yes, a good learning activity here!) then glue them together, careful to only glue the middle. {insert a lot of screaming and arguing here over who glued too much, who did not match the colors correctly, who kept matching them too well leaving no room for creativity, and one child sneaking away, catching on that they were only doing the dirty work for mom...}

Pick the prettiest to put little brads through (or wait till they are on the cards and use stick on jewels... which do not stay unused in this house! Let me know when they go on sale, someone, so I can stock back up! Thanks!) Then curl up the petals with a toothpick. (Confession: I searched the house to find something small to do this with and used something that did not work near as well. I learned this trick AFTER I made the cards and THEN watched the tutorial...)

Glue a layer of flowers on flat.

Put on the last layer of flowers.
Use your imagination (or some pretty paper that you cut with the flowerpot part of the original card base) to decorate the pot.
And just in case some a sneaky mom and mil peeked, I am not going to show the finished project! (ok... and I haven't finished it yet!)
Have fun being creative and crafty!
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Flower Mother's Day Card

Part 1
Stop right now! If you are my mom, or my husband's mom, DO NOT read any further! Turn off the computer! Walk away! If you read further, You will see your Mother's Day card. And I KNOW you don't want to mess up that surprise!

For the other handful of people that want to see what card I made for Mom's day, continue on!
I will start out by saying I totally and completely copied this card! I got the idea off of svgcuts blog. I saw a picture and copied it. I will also admit that I studied very carefully did NOT watch the tutorial until AFTER I made the card. Why? I was a bit impatient... and the computer kept freezing, so I did it on my own. Now that I've studied very carefully watched in fast forward, I would do a few things differently. But as you will hear on another blog post, I am still just learning how to use my new favorite toy... the cricut!... so I made lots of mistakes... but learned a lot too. So get ready for the journey as I show you how I, ummm... my kids and I... made this beautiful card! Just don't judge it against the one on svgcuts! Remember, they are the professionals with the download for the card that you have to buy and the really pretty paper, and I am the complete newbie that has only bought plain, cheap paper for the cricut!
So, here goes!

To start, I made the base of the card. I used the software program, Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL) to make this, but it can easily be done by hand. In SCAL, I used some different shapes (trapezoid and rectangle) to make a flower pot with a decagon (10 sided shape) coming out of the top.

After cutting that out, I folded a card and used the negative image to trace on the card. Line the edge of the stencil with the folded part and don't trace or cut those lines. Then I cut out the card (by hand!). WHEN I do this card again, I would put the imagine in SCAL upright and then flip it, weld it together and the whole thing would be cut by the machine.
I found a free font of flowers and picked a few of those to cut out. I made one color one size, then enlarged it a little and made those flowers in a lighter/darker shade. I used the same template and cut it out on different pieces of paper. Here is a tip (sorry I didn't do a picture of this... ) Do the top row of flowers one size and a row on the bottom the other size and then use two different strips of paper to cut it out. Saves time. Another tip: make twice as many as you need, then keep the others saved for other projects.
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Monday, May 4, 2009

A true lip gloss moment

On the "release day" of my blog, our household had one of those moments. A true lip gloss moment. No, we did not discover a new flavor or shade. No, we did not find lip gloss on sale. It was a not very good lip gloss moment. It was a moment that makes me want to BAN lip gloss from this house for ever a very looong time! What happened? That is not a question posed by an anal laundry mom um... a laundry queen, but by a mom who does not have small children. Yes... someone left their lip gloss in a pants pocket! And, if you follow me on twitter, you would know how I spent my day... doing laundry... and figuring out this blog. Note to self... next time you do laundry... check ALL pockets... and, come to find out... all other hidey-holes where creative girls can hide their lip gloss! What I find really interesting, NONE of the ruined clothes belonged to the culprit!

Anyone know how to get out lip gloss?