Thursday, April 24, 2008

This is Michael

My little baby boy is 14 months old today! When did that happen?

Here he is in his favorite place - outside - toting a tasty popsicle. Yes, he is an absolute mess. This is also very "Michael." He had just finished dinner. He consumed a slice of bread and jelly, a hot dog, 2/3 of a banana and a large bowl of yogurt. I think you can see him wearing the remnants of all four in his hair. What a boy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Money Managers

Inspired by some recent reading, we had a money management lesson yesterday morning. After Michael was down for his morning nap (a necessity in this case), I gathered the kids in their room and brought along my supplies to begin their new money management system! I instructed them to find all their money which was not an easy task. Children are children and they somehow tend to stash money in all kinds of places. A couple of hours later in a stray coin purse we even found five dollars more belonging to Jacob.

We spread out on the floor and I began teaching. But it was so not "teaching". It was the best kind of lesson with results I am thinking we will enjoy sticking to. We sorted their coins and bills and counted everything up. I kept a running tab for each child. Once we had our totals (some of this is money they have been receiving for years), I explained to them how they were going to give 10% each month to savings and 10% each month to the church or a charity of their choice. They were so receptive and excited. The idea of donating is not foreign to them. The children give money on a sporadic basis, but we want them to build the habit of regularity in this area. We put all the leftovers aside as "spending money" even though not all this will be spent in the near future.

We took a notebook we already had and gave each child a section to record their earnings and spendings. Can you see the accountant in me coming out?

We started with our total and then subtracted 10% for their savings (S) and 10% for donation to the Church (C). Then we figured up their balance. Our plan is as follows.

- Anytime the kids earn or receive some money (gifts, payments, allowance) we will enter it in the "earned" column and put the money in their "Spending Money" bag.
- Anytime the kids spend some money we will enter that amount in the "spent" column.
- On the 15th of each month we will take the notebook and calculate donations and savings based on what they've earned since the last 15th of the month. Their donations will go in their envelopes for Church and their savings will go in their banks in their room.
- Our intention is to not touch the money in their banks and pay them a very small amount of interest each month (any ideas?)
- We are also planning on payday for allowance each Friday - again something nominal (any thoughts on how you do allowance?).

I am really hoping that this will work well for us and teach them a lot about how to manage money and develop certain periodic habits, such as donating and putting away money in savings. I am excited and I think they are too.

I'd love to hear your ideas and suggestions.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A few school projects for the week

We learned about water pollution and made our own water filter as suggested in the book. I was doubtful as to whether it would work, but I was amazed. We made some yucky muddy water and then we poured it through our filter (a funnel with cotton stuffed in the hole, on top of that a layer of sand and then a coffee filter cut to size). You can see by the photo how amazingly clean the water turned out! We were all impressed.

The second project was a puppet show. The week before we had been to Houston's Miller Outdoor Theatre to see a free production of Peter and the Wolf. It was wonderful. I got some books from the library of the story of Peter and the Wolf, one of which I had wanted to buy that comes with a CD. We have really enjoyed that book. So the other day Jacob and I made some popsicle stick puppets of the characters and yesterday they put on a little performance while listening to the CD. They really loved doing it. The funniest part are the photos. Michael was right in the middle of it all - right where he likes it! It cracks me up how they lack so much enthusiasm in their faces (the video was even worse) and yet they were enjoying it so much. The final photo of the performers is far more happy.

Next week is one of our off weeks from school. We will concentrate on birds and our vegetable garden. We might also spend some time on more reading about the Titanic in preparation for an exhibit we will attend the following Monday. If we have time, we might begin a bit of Texas history before we visit the battle reenactment at the San Jacinto Battlegrounds on the 26th. Did I mention we are "off" school?

Isn't "she" lovely?

She is such a "she". The fabrics say nothing else but girlie girl to me. "She" is done. Yeah!

P.S. Too funny. I just noticed this - Yes, that would be my big toe in the bottom corner of the second photo. What a nut!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

If only I could make it go away

Last night when I went to bed, Brian and I were discussing the state of things. We have been sick off and on for at least 3 weeks. Not a horrible illness, but at least every five or so days someone has fever again. Colds. Congestion. Yesterday it was Andrew's turn to get a fever. And as we went to bed I wasn't convinced Michael didn't have a fever. Sure enough this morning tells us he does. He just had a fever the weekend before last!

I am frustrated to say the least. When will it end? Why are we being assaulted so? I desire a time where we are all healthy for a while. I know every mother wishes the same. I get discouraged. I find myself wondering what I am doing wrong that we persist in illness. If only I could make it go away. I can't control it. I can't make it go away. But I am stubborn.

I sleep on it. I wake to find Michael feverish. I still feel discouraged. And to top it all off, I am still congested and my neck really hurts.

And so this morning I open my Bible to read the Mass readings for the day. I read the first sentence, laugh, close my Bible and look at my favorite picture of Jesus hanging before me. Ha Ha - Very funny!

It says, "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit."

Enough said.

Monday, April 07, 2008

On another quilting note

Lovely blue and white is back home from the quilter's!

I sent "her" off about a month ago and I went last week to pick "her" up. She is gorgeous. The sweet lady who quilted "her" for me did a knock-out job! I am not sure if you can see the design but it suits the quilt so well. And in a lovely variegated blue thread!

Now I have to choose some binding fabric (I'm thinking the darkest blue), make the binding strips and sew it on! Then ta-da - it will be done!!!!

Done and Hung

This weekend I managed to finish this quilt I had in the works for a while. I love it! It makes me smile every time I see it. So it is completed and hung in its rightful place of honor. Quilting is a joy. It is a wonderful thing to create.

Oh, and on Friday my little jelly roll kit I ordered came in the mail (on sale!). What a fun kit. Someday it will make an adorable little quilt made of hexagons. So vintage. So fun.

Have a great day dear friends!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

When the birthday dessert

is Lemon Pie.....

then you know it must be this handsome guy's birthday!

We love you Brian!
I cannot imagine what life would be had you not been born this day.
I am glad God made you and that he led us to each other.

Happy Birthday!