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September 27, 2007

Counting my blessings

Today was one of those days when you get up with a cheerful heart, determined to do God's will and bless everyone in the house....and before 10 am things have turned quite the opposite.



5:30 am woke up (very early for me), spent 1 hour with God (word, prayer, journal, study)

6:30 am made my bed (something I very often neglect), folded away clean laundry and prepared breakfast for the 3 men in the house.

7:00 am lesson on cheerfulness for son who is not happy with breakfast.

7:30 am husband has to discipline son for lying about his brother bothering him

8:30 am started our preschool time. Reading always gets everyone happy so we do our read-aloud. Today it was all about trucks.

8:38 am siblings begin to argue about what book we are reading next.

9:32 am we are done with our school for today. And I go to the kitchen to wash dishes. Noticed son did not finish his breakfast and disposed it. Son realizes that I threw his breakfast away and has a meltdown because he's still hungry.

9:50 am son finished eating his brother's left over and we decide to play a game.

10:00 Son is disrespectful to mom and dad and gets disciplined...again. After this things calm down for a bit.

11:00 mom is mentally exhausted and decides to let the boys watch 1 video. The boys are quiet for about 30 minutes.

11:30 during lunch mom informed the kids that tonight mom and dad have small group and that they will be staying with grandma. Son starts crying because he wants to go with us.

12:00 noon mom decides that this has been a difficult morning for everyone and that we should all take a nap. While laying down with the boys in bed, son who's been misbehaving all morning starts crying and says: Mom, my throat is hurting a lot. Mom prays for him and he falls asleep.

12:30 Mom wakes up from a good recovery nap and it's determined not to let the challenges of the morning take away her joy. So she prays to the Lord, asks for strength, meditates in His Word and THANK HIM for her children. Then she calls her hubby and asks forgiveness for complaining about the kids to him this morning. And then...she takes a DEEP BREATH....and the Lord graciously grants her a new perspective...



...not all was bad this morning...the kids learned a new memory verse, the kids asked for forgiveness, dad was here to help mom with the discipline, the boys learned new Spanish words, Caleb read new words all by himself, they did not fuss about taking a nap early.



Rejoice always, praying without ceasing, give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for YOU. 1 Thessalonians 3:9

September 26, 2007

My Thrift Store Find!

I love thrift stores and I owe it to my friend Beth who week after week would brag about her findings. ;-)


On my last visit I found this book.


I wish you would have seen my train-lover boy's face when I showed it to him. It has over 50 stories from the original Railway Series (1946-1966) by the Rev. Awdry with original illustrations too.

And the best part....I paid 50 cents!!



Speaking of Thomas the Tank Engine...I know there are mixed emotions about this character and even when I am not always thrilled about the PBS/TV version of the stories, I find them to be good lessons and kids can really relate to the situations the engine on Sir Topham's railway experience.

But my favorite part of the books is the vocabulary that my kids are exposed to! And of course, all about trains and railways and their workers.

Here's some words from the stories....
  • stump, doze, siding, journey, dawdle, panting, splendid, nuisance, frigthened, mend, queer, obliged, heap, longing, damp, fetch, clambered, peered.

Do you know the meaning of these words?? I had to look some up. ;-)

September 18, 2007

Hispanic Heritage Month

September is Hispanic Heritage Month. Many Latin American countries celebrate national holidays this week.

DID YOU KNOW....

There were over 35 million people who identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino on 2000 Census? And that in 2006 there was an estimation of 44.3 million?


  • To learn more about the Hispanic influence in the United States of America, Spanish loan words, Spanish speaking countries, flags and facts go here.
  • To take some fun quizzes about Latin America's geography and latin celebrities go here.

September 17, 2007

Doorposts-Character Building Charts


We've just recently started to use some of the charts from Doorposts and let me just say what a great tool this is for parenting and character building in our kids! Thanks to the FIAR board ladies for as always recommending the best products available for moms and homeschoolers.

The chart we are primarily using is the IF-THEN CHART. This chart has 3 columns. The first column has a funny cartoon that describes a "IF" situation common to a child (arguing, whining, lying, hitting, etc.). The second column has a BIBLE VERSE that speaks about that sin issue and the third column is "THEN" column where you will write a consequence for that behavior. On the back of the chart there are suggested consequences.

The other chart we bought is the Blessing Chart, which has godly behavior such as sharing, gentleness, kindness, etc., a verse that speaks about the reward that comes from such behavior and a space to write a simple reward. I love the fact that they suggest you use a simple reward that reinforces the Bible verse. Very creative and a great way for kids to remember what the word of God says. Here's an example...

Godly Attitude: Obedience
Verse: "If you walk in my statutes and keep my commandments...then I will walk among you"
Reward: Special walk alone with parent
Godly attitude: honoring parents
Verse: "honor your father and mother that your days may be long..."
Reward: no nap, or later bedtime or play outside longer
If you are looking for something to help you be more consistent on disciplining your kids, you need to take a look at these charts.

September 13, 2007

Painting the Invisible

Here's what Vicky Beeching wrote to explain the title of her latest album.

What a talented young writer-artist! It's a bit long but worth reading....


"Trying to describe the eternal using earthly words is like trying to scoop up the whole ocean into the palm of your hand. It's like trying to count every star in the endless midnight sky. All our words fall short; every melody failing to capture the true beauty of the Heavenly....


...Despite our lack of adequate vocabulary, our hearts are so captivated by God that we cannot remain silent! So we search for words and melodies to describe Him; hunting and rummaging into every corner of language and expression, raiding the closet of linguistics for a suitable outfit to clothe our feelings in words.


We are like children with crayons trying to copy a majestic Monet or a Van Gogh. It's crazy that we should even try. And yet God delights in our child-like attempts to bring Him an offering of melody and song. How incredible! The everlasting King of Heaven is moved and stirred bu our simple,earthly songs of praise.


So we step in faith not sight, bringing our childlike worship to Him-loving the One we have not yet seen, singing of the One who is beautiful beyond our wildest imaginations. Joyfully struggling for words, we will continue on our worshipful quest of expressing the inexpressible, describing the indescribable, pronouncing the unspeakable, painting the invisible".







September 12, 2007

Awana Begins!



Tonight Awana begins! This will be Caleb's second year in Cubbies. He is so excited and has been asking me all day what time does it start.

He even told me today at the playground..."Mom, I think we should go home so that I can nap because tonight I have Awana. I need to save some energy". LOL!!! ;-)

September 10, 2007

Grandparent's Day











Yesterday was Grandparent's Day so let me tell you what the boys love about their grandparents...





Lolo Ben: he shares a love for gardening with the boys. This summer the boys helped him water and harvest many vegetables. He is also teaching the boys Tagalog (Filipino national language) one word at a time.

Lola Emmy: she shares a love for sweets and so the boys know just who to go to when they are in need of a cookie, candy or filipino sweet. ;-)

Abuelo Jim: he shares a love for animals with the boys. Last February we visited him and got a chance to see his big land with lots of animals. The boys still call it "abuelo's farm".

Abuela Nilda: she shares a love for books with the boys. Everytime abuela visits them they look forward to have her read them stories both in Spanish and English.
Thank you Lord for the beautiful heritage that my children have in their grandparents! I pray they will all live for you Jesus for the rest of their lives.

September 09, 2007

My weekend at church...

I have the opportunity to lead worship for the children's ministry in our church and I've just finished my weekend of service for this month and wow...I am so exhausted!!

But at the same time I am so thankful to the Lord for the privilege of leading little ones to Jesus Christ through songs and praise. I have to say that it amazes me how well behaved these kids are. And how many of them are so engaged during the worship time...eyes closed, hands in the air, singing out loud, dancing....unashamed!!!

It blesses me so much as I think of my own children and also how it brings memories from my own childhood.

As a child I was blessed to have a church (who was far from perfect) but took very seriously the impact the Word of God can have on little ones for the rest of their lives. I still remember many of my Sunday School teachers, their names, their faces, the verses we memorized together, the songs we sang.

This church was such an important part of my life. The truth is things at home were not always the best...parents divorced, moved from school to school, fears, etc. And in the midst of all of this I found comfort in Jesus Christ from a very early age. I can honestly say that the Lord was my refuge, my hiding place. My mom, along with the teachers of that church were the first instruments of God in my life. I am so thankful for them. And I am so thankful to be part of a church now who has that same passion for seeing children come to know the Lord and be transformed by the power of His Word.

September 07, 2007

Favorite Read-Alouds Theme #1

Are you looking for a book to read to your child that goes along with a topic or theme you are learning about? I'll be posting here lots of titles that we love because of their beautiful text, illustrations and and learning value. Hope you enjoy some or all of these. ;-)



Barn Animals


Does a Cow say boo?
Judy Hindley
A cow says moo, of course. So who says boo? This is a fun story to teach your little ones the barn animal sounds.


Barnyard Lullaby
Frank Asch
Poor farmer can't sleep because all the animals are making too much noise but what he doesn't know is that animals are singing lullabies to their baby animals. The book includes tunes for all the lullaby songs.

Barnyard Tracks
Dee Dee Duffy

I love this book because it teaches the kids to recognize some animal tracks while reviewing animal sounds as well. See also "Forest Tracks" by the same author.

Big Red Barn
Margaret Wise Brown
Another favorite in our home. Same illustrator as "If you give a mouse a cookie". On this book there's a monarch butterfly that your child can spot in almost every page.

Birthdays


Happy Birthday, Jesse Bear
Nancy White Carlstrom
We LOVE all the Jesse Bear books! This one is great to learn about what to expect on a birthday party. I love how at the end Jesse receives a book from his parents. ;-)

The Blue Balloon
Mick Ickpen
Funny! Kipper finds a blue balloon like you've never seen before. Make sure you have some balloons with you when you read this one.


Ask Mr. Bear
Marjorie Flack

A sweet, beautiful story of a boy who is searching for a gift for his mom's birthday. After asking many animals on the farm, Mr. Bear gives him a great gift idea. Shhhh...it's a secret.

Bubbles

Bubbles, Bubbles
Kathi Appelt
Lovely poem that follows a boy's bath time and bedtime.


Animal Recognition

Whose Feet?
Whose Nose?
Whose Ears?
Jeanette Rowe
Large flaps on these three books show one body part (feet,nose or ears) of an animal. Lift the flap to see if you guess right.

Other good books
One Mitten
Kristine O'Connell George
A little girl shows us how much fun she can have with one mitten. But when she finds the second one it's time for the real fun outside in the snow.


And if the moon could talk
Kate Banks
If the moon could talk she will tell you what she sees every night, including a little boy ready for bedtime. A good bedtime poem with beautiful oil pastel illustrations.


September 05, 2007

The Clipboard!!

Here's a neat idea I got from Kendall's blog Preschoolers and Peace.

I am using a "mobile clipboard" and place on it the following...

  • Daily Schedule/weekly schedule
  • Yearly Goals for the boys
  • The If-Then Chart (more on this chart soon)
  • The Blessings Chart (more on this as well to come)
  • Free Time Activities List (things we can do when we got nothing else to do or someone starts fighting for a toy!)
  • Read-Aloud books list for the week
  • The boys memory verses for the week and my memory verses as well

I LOVE lists and I am so excited now to have all of them in one place...a clipboard...why didn't I think of this before??

Songs for Sinners

One of the worship leaders of our church has new CD released titled "Songs for Sinners". His name is Andi Rozier and some of the songs on this album are sung at church during the weekend services and has been of great blessing to my life.

Check out the website to preview some of the songs and order the CD!!

Songs for Sinners


There's a video clip that takes a bit to download but after that you can hear the songs...

September 04, 2007

Our Preschool Plan

Many people are asking me what I am doing for preschool this year and so here it goes....

  • Read-Alouds (lots and lots of books): I am re-reading many books that Caleb loved in the past 2 years and introducing them to Noah. I grouped them by themes. We will also re-read all the BFIAR (Before Five in a Row) titles. I'll blog about the themes in the days/weeks to come.

  • Kumon Workbooks: These are great for fine motor skills and pencil control. The workbooks include cutting, pasting, folding, coloring and mazes. I don't schedule these at all but whenever they feel like doing some pages.

  • Usborne First Learning: we got the Opposites, Shapes, Starting to Measure and Counting 1-10 titles of this series. Like the Kumon books these we do as often as Caleb feels like doing them.

  • Hooked in Spanish: I let Caleb play in the computer with the CD-roms on this program 2 times a week. I am not too excited about the rest of the materials but the computer games get them to hear more Spanish.
  • Ziploc Activities: I prepared simple activities and placed them inside ziplocs and file them away on a crate. The bags include stamps, stickers, stencils, lacing beads, watercolors, playdough, etc. We usually do these after nap time. And somehow putting these things inside a ziploc makes them more appealing to little kids.
  • Devotionals: The Rhyme Bible and A-Z Bible Verses. Plus we review stories from Sunday school and Awana.

That's it! The rest of the time we spend playing (games, blocks, puzzles, trains, etc.) and we do a lot of singing too (nursery rhymes, worship songs, Spanish songs, hymns).

My weight loss update

Not much has happened. I guess I didn't take in consideration that labor day weekend was coming up! So after 3 days of picnics and lots of BBQ food...humm...the ticker is staying on the same place.

My verse for the week...

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh" Galatians 5:16

September 01, 2007

WATER-PARK


Who said you can't play in the park when is flooded?


Last week after a big thurderstorm came our way, the boys and I decided to walk around the neighborhood to search for puddles. To our surprise the playground was flooded!!! It was such a BIG puddle! ;-)
Sorry for the blury images...these were taken with my camera phone.
Splash! Splosh!
We love our rubber boots!