29 November 2008

A Day Out!

In an on-going effort to separate the kids and have their days out with just parents, no siblings, I took Samantha to have her eyebrows waxed. This is something that had been bugging her. She had gotten some good hearted teasing at school about having a unibrow, but, was worried that waxing and plucking would hurt. So, I told her the truth - yes, it does hurt. But it only stings for a minute and then it's over. She was brave, though visibly nervous as she sat in the chair and tried so hard to make small talk. The lady was very nice and explained things as she went along. Samantha did just great and wants to keep trimmed now. These photos are not as dramatic as the transformation in person.

Samantha before and after - November 08

26 November 2008

Thankful ....

Okay, I know it's the tenth of November already, and I am already behind, but, I wanted to put out a challenge. I will list one thing I am thankful for every day until Thanksgiving. Let's all make a list and share our gratitude...
1. my family
2. James
3. the colors of fall
4. music
5. my friends (past, present and future)
6. living in the USA
7. Children's Hospital
8. taco salad
9. my testimony
10. sleep
11. cell phones, dishwashers, internet and modern conveniences
12. forgiveness
13. daughters who will change diapers
14. family dogs (and the lessons they teach the ladies)

15. Primary teachers
16. my brother's military service and all who protect our freedoms
17. James' patience and knock-out smile
18. Jay's sweet giggle and happy disposition
19. Samantha's competitive side (may she always use it for good...)
20. Rachel's constant questions
21. Charlotte's excitment in learning to read - it's a whole new world
22. Josephine's imagination and wonder at the details all around her
23. growing up with my Mom at home with us
24. daily family routines-meals together, scriptures, practice, prayer
25. my father's personal history - treasure now, priceless later
26. a kind smile from strangers day to day - southern hospitality

Pilgrim Hats

I have been trying lately to find 'joy in the journey' (President Monson, October 08 Conference talk) and while I sometimes take that as a reason to play with the kids and neglect the laundry, I have also taken it to mean that my time playing with the kids should be quality projects and games, not just SpongeBob reruns. So, in the spirit of the holidays, we made these: Pilgrim Hats. The ladies had fun, they taste great (we used mint choloclate chips...) and they made nice little treats for the families that James and I Home/Visit teach. Enjoy your journey.

Dip the large marshmallows in the chocolate and use a toothpick to set them on the chocolate side of a striped shortbread cookie.
Remember to paint your lips with chocolate and smile for the camera. It is also important to keep the little man of the house away from the chocolate mess because he can make a mess out of just the cookies. And look darn cute doing so, I might add... Add some icing for a buckle and there you have it - Pilgrim Hats!

25 November 2008

Two great things about today ...

Okay, these two pictures have one thing in common - they both made me so glad today!
First, the cereal. A local store was having a sale on Chex Cereals - buy two for $3. That's a good deal by itself, but, on some of the boxes there was a coupon for $3 off of three boxes. I love cheap cereal! Now if the price of milk would just go down...
Second, gas is only $1.55. Wow. I just knew that once it broke the $2 threshold that there would be no going back. Happy to say I was wrong. Think it'll go below $1 a gallon again?

24 November 2008

Any Ideas?

Okay Friends. I know you are out there. And, I know you are creative, innovative and cheap, uh, I mean frugal... What ideas do you have for gifts for the teacher this year? I am coming up with nothing. Last year we made crayon stacked ornaments and I thought they turned out great. I guess that was my highwater mark. What is teachery and Christmasy? Help!

21 November 2008

Dome Climbers

With a few days off of school (something about a big teacher's conference...) we let each of the big ladies invite a friend to spend the night. The more the merrier, right? We've had some great weather lately - just right for being outside in the crisp air.

19 November 2008

Frontier Festival

Last week Rachel's Middle School hosted an old-day "fair" called Frontier Festival. It was really quite educational, but, presented in a hands-on, fun way. The school was invaded by Arkansas Frontier Reinactors who stayed in character while explaining the details of frontier life to the kids. There were stations on log-sawing, soap making, firearms (it's weird that a gunshot at school was an educational thing...and welcomed), goat herding, dutch oven cooking, folktales, ropemaking...lots of good stuff. The students were encouraged to come in costume, too - girls in pioneer dresses and boys in overalls and cowboy hats. Out in front of the school is a cabin, a reproduction of a frontier homestead, and it made a great backdrop for the days activities. In the evening, there was a hoe-down, complete with a presentation of the square dances the students had learned. Yeee-ha!
The Frontier Girls - Rachel, Britney and Kayla

18 November 2008

Baby Jay, His Hat and a Triscuit

Baby Jay has one big thing in common with his sisters so far - food. Anything I give him is just the best stuff he has ever had. He finishes everything, and if you are eating, he pulls himself over to you and expects a bite. The ladies have never been shy about eating, either, and I am so glad for this. Their healthy appetites and eagerness to try new things make my life so much easier. Rachel is our only picky eater, but, that is disappearing as she gets older. In these shots Jay is having a triscuit while I make supper. Doesn't he look dashing in his hat? So handsome!

0 screams from the fans...

Mean Green Soccer Queens

The Mean Green Soccer Queens ended their season with a record of 4-5-1. At the end of the season party, each girl received a trophy from Coach Adrian who had wonderful things to say to each girl. It was a good season - a building season - and he asked each girl to come back and play for him in the spring. They all agreed, and at the end of the evening they were not saying goodnight, they all left saying, See you at practice! I think Samantha really enjoyed being a part of a team (with gymnastics she was on a team, but the practice and the events were so individual that it didn't always seem like a team). She even told her Coach - if front of the whole team - that she would return as goalie, as long as she could play on the field sometimes, too. Good season, Samantha. We are proud of you. Go Mean Green Soccer Queens!

11 November 2008


ALL musical credit goes to the a capella comedy group Moosebutter (from Provo, UT),... Enjoy - Pause the music on the background tunes (scroll to the bottom of the page and hit pause before you hit play) to hear this clearly...

08 November 2008

First Term Assemblies

Last week we had the award assemblies for the first nine week term of school and I was able to snap a few Star Photos.

Rachel's assembly was during Kiva, so I wasn't there, but, she did bring home ribbons for Honor Roll and Outstanding Conduct. Great job, fifth grader Rachel!

Samantha also made Honor Roll and a great photo op for her big fan, Baby Jay.

Charlotte had a great day, too, and made us proud. She made the Honor Roll, and was chosen as the Kindergarten Star. A star is a student chosen by the teacher, one per class, to be the ambassador for new students. The star is chosen based on good manners and outgoing personality. Way to go, Charlotte!

Scarf Braid

Charlotte is still my only daughter that actually enjoys having her hair all done up. At least, she let's me think that she enjoys it. Her sisters will let me play only occasionally with their hair, but, Charlotte is my one champion if I want to try something new.

This past Sunday, Charlie picked out a dress that has a matching scarf. Usually her older sisters would wear it around their necks, but I thought maybe Charlotte could wear it in her hair. So, instead of three sections to make a braid, I used two and the scarf was the third section. I thought it made her look very grown up.

07 November 2008

Like father, like son

I wish this picture weren't so dark, so the shadows wouldn't be so overwhelming, but, it's still a great photo. Everyone tells us that Jay looks like his Dad - so give him a beard and few years - the two handsome men in my life!
October 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Charlotte's kindergarten class went to the Pumpkin Patch last week and I got to tag along. The whole trip was really not as much about the pumpkins (and good thing, too, 'cause pickins' were slim...) as much as it was about lots of other activities and just getting to go on a field trip. There just something about matching shirts and riding the school bus together...

The kids also fed the horses, held the chickens, pet the rabbits, fed the goats, fed the catfish, played in the haybale maze, ate a picnic lunch and generally ran around in the fields with their friends. It was a fun day in Kindergarten!

Charlotte here sitting on the fallen haybales in the maze with her buddies - R* and K*. (Charlotte's friends are much cuter without the black over their eyes, but, just in case their parents' don't want the world to see them, I covered their eyes.)

04 November 2008

Action Shot!

With only one game to go, the Mean Green Soccer Queens suffered another loss. Samantha played mid-field for the first half, with some great clears and good passes, then as goalie for the second half. She had one save that would have made the highlight reels, and that's not just a proud Mom speaking, she literally jumped up and grabbed that ball out of the air. Our bench all cheered. She doesn't like goalie too much, because she'd rather be chasing the ball, but, she sure does have what it takes to throw herself into that mass of kicking feet to cover a ball.
Go Mean Green Soccer Queens! Go Samantha!Rachel grabbed this action shot during the warm ups before the game ...

Happy Halloween

This year we actually went trick or treating twice! Why? You are only a kid once, right?

At the ward's Trunk or Treat, I took pictures. When we went out the following week with friends door-to-door, it was too dark to take any more photos, so we have more candy and less pictures. Just what we needed...
We have Jay the soldier - you can't see it unless you click on it to enlarge it, but, I used masking tape to write Sargeant Ball on his camos ... this was his first Halloween and he just stared at everything. It all must have looked so odd to his new eyes!
Next we have Josephine the graceful Ballerina and Charlotte, the Spider Witch ....
And finally Samantha the Vampiress and Rachel the Tourist - she was our official photographer of the night and took some great photos of the whole ward. If I could just learn to get them off of the camera and on the computer...