Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gabe the Goofball

Gabe has been potty training for a while now. He *is* making progress (right?!). He sometimes gets bored sitting on the potty (we have to make him sit sometimes so he doesn't have #2 accidents), so he'll find creative ways to entertain himself on the potty. He is naturally goofy, silly, funny and will even use this habit in stressful situations.

Yes, those are his shorts...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day Horse Show

 We happened to pass by Sedgefield Showgrounds on Friday evening and see people setting up for a horse show. We decided it would be fun to bring the kids back out to see on Saturday.
We got to watch both adults and kids doing jumps as well as technical riding skills. It was really interesting.

Gabe and Olivia loved to see the horses jump.
It was a hot day, so we sheltered under a tree for a while.

Even emma had a good time. Of course, she can have a good time anywhere. :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Playground Fun

 We spent a day at Triad Park last weekend and the kids had a great time, as they always do.

Olivia's getting quite adept at the climbing wall. We are considering doing a summer camp in it for her.

The boys love to swing higher and higher. :)

Big Brother pushing. :)
 After playing for a while, we walked down to the fishing pond and ate lunch on the grass.

We got to see some wildlife in the pond. A turtle swam by looking for a place to sun himself.

and a dragonfly landed right next to us.

All the excitement tuckered Emma right out.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Shavuot!

These are just some thoughts I had as I was thinking about this festival/rememberance. I am thankful to God for the richness of his revelation to me and how much deeper I feel like it has brought my relationship to him. He has given me a mind to learn and understand. And he has asked me to have faith in him.
So Shavuot is celebrating the convenant of Moses and the giving of the Torah. There is more to this festival. But that is just a bare bones assessment of what it is about.

From this website: "The Hebrew word, torah (תורה), is derived from a root that was used in the realm of archery, yareh (ירה). Yareh means to shoot an arrow in order to hit a mark. The mark or target, of course, was the object at which the archer was aiming. Consequently, torah, one of the nouns derived from this root, is, therefore, the arrow aimed at the mark, The target is the truth about God and how one relates to Him. The torah is, therefore, in the strict sense instruction designed to teach us the truth about God. It reveals the character of God and gives us guidelines so that we can live and thrive. Torah means direction,teaching, instruction,or doctrine."

So God gave us this truth/instructions by which we are to be in relationship with him. This is, of course, a continuation of the covenant of Abraham in which we learn that our righteousness comes through faith and belief. But then we are given the truth/instructions of how to be in relationship with God.

But of course we often miss the mark of the law, to continue the archery theme. And then Yeshua came to share with us more about the Torah and the heart of pursuing that relationship with God. He explained the covenant further. And He was the spotless lamb needed for our relationship with God, just as we celebrated 50 days ago at Pesach/Passover. He was living, walking example of Torah. He was the "end" (not as in the period or the stop but the fulfillment and culmination of Torah. But the Torah was/is still so relevant. It is there to teach us the truth about God, it was the path Yeshua himself walked, and it is the way we walk to have abundant life. I am not doing nearly as good a job as I have heard others explain this. I am so grateful for knowledgeable guidance from some friends and a book called Restoration. But back on topic...

Then, He (Yeshua) said it was better that He go away and leave us the Helper/Spirit of Truth (John 14:16-17). That title really struck me. The Holy Spirit was to be the Spirit of Truth. That means he is the spirit of Torah. And he helps us to be in relationship/covenant with God. And it is just even more significant that on a day when the disciples were gathered to celebrate the giving of Torah that they would received the Spirit of Torah to dwell within them.

And then I was reading from a bible study by Pricilla Shirer. And she said this and it really struck me too:
"While our insatiable desire to know it all seems to rarely be satisfied, we must discipline ourselves to place confidence in His decision to give us the information we need to successfully accomplish the step we are on in the journey." And then a bit later she said: "They [the disciples] could rest easy in Jesus' departure and the partial information He'd given them not because they had enough notes from their three years with Him to carry them the rest of the way but because a wise and wonderful Director would be with them to given them step-by-step instructions. If they'd listen, He'd guide. If they'd follow, He'd lead. The result--a life well lived and a journey well taken"

God's story is so rich and woven together in a way to reveal himself to us and to equip us for this journey of life and our worship to him. He is full of mercy and endless love. I celebrate and remember! Praise God!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Strawberry Jam

We decided to try our hand at canning some strawberry jam this year, since that's considered one of the easiest was to get introduced to canning and preserving.

See Ezra's empty bucket? It stayed that way. The kid ate every berry he put his hands on. He's quite good at spotting perfectly ripe berries...:)

We started out by going to Ingram Farm in High Point to pick our own strawberries. The kids always enjoy the work since they get to eat as many strawberries as they possibly can. :)

Here we are waiting for the tractor to take us back to the barn with our 10 pounds of strawberries!

Once home, we hulled and washed our berries...

Then Olivia and Rebecca mashed them to pulp.
After adding some pectin, sugar and lemon juice, and 10 minutes in a hot water bath, the canning is done.

We wound up with 26 half-pint jars of jam. We made 3 different batches; one with the normal amount of sugar, one with half the sugar and one with about 1/3 the sugar. Rebecca sampled each batch and pronounced the half- and 1/3-sugar batched to be excellent. The fully-sugared batch was still very good, but very, very sweet. We used the Pioneer Woman's recipe (Part 1 and Part 2) and are pleased with the results. As an aside, we did a little figuring and found that is cost us roughly $1.75 per jar, including the jar and lid. Considering it is all-natural with organic strawberries and organic sugar, that's a pretty good deal for a half-pint.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"I'm 2!!!"

Happy Birthday, Ezra!!!

Our rough and tumble younger son is turning 2 today! His mom's favorite thing about him are his strong but soft hands. :) My favorite thing about him is his boisterous enthusiasm. He loves to shout and smile. :)

We celebrated with a cool car cake that Rebecca made with some "stoplight" Rice Krispies treats. :)
Nana and Pop-pop came over to help us celebrate his big day.
Ezra loved his cake! :)
Nana and Pop-pop got him a great card with Thomas on it. They also got his a race car track that all the kids enjoyed right until bedtime. 
He really enjoys his wooden frog. It "hops"as he pulls it along and it makes him laugh.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Our Last Two Continents

We finished out our world travels this last week. Well, at least for now. :) Both continents are found entirely below the equator but are very different. First we spent time in Australia. That included studying Coral Reefs. Then we headed to Antarctica. Here we reviewed both polar regions, comparing and contrasting them. 

This is Olivia's model of an undersea volcano that would eventually become an island surrounded by different types of  coral. 

Here she is using her observation journal (this was one of the resources I added and it came from the Winter Promise company) and reading from her One Small Square Coral Reef book.

Dot Art: The top two are scenes from Australia, the left one being Sydney and the right one be Ayer's Rock and the desert. Then there is the map shape of Australia below in the center.

Aboriginal bark drawing

Olivia learned that there is no government in Antarctica and therefore no flag. She was to design her own. Throughout the year she has learned about the significance of the flags of the countries we have visited. She chose yellow to symbolize the light of summer, black to symbolize the darkness of winter, the white to symbolize the ice, and the picture is to symbolize that the continent is primarily for scientific research and exploration. I'd say she did a good job thinking that one through. :)

learning about the insulation provided by the fat on penguins


We learned about explorers and she had to tell me what she would need for an exploration trip to Antarctica.

Olivia was to give me a presentation of sorts on the two polar regions. She took it quite seriously and did a good job. :)

Here she is giving me a presentation on penguins:
Here is the nest.
The parent penguin is regurgitating food for her chick.
Here is the mother penguin teaching the baby to fish for krill. The rottie dog on the right is a seal predator. :) 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Backyard Fun

The kids' Great Aunts Bethany and Kelly gave them a soccer goal and a couple of balls a few months ago and I finally got around to setting it up this weekend. They all thought that it was great fun to kick and throw the ball into the net. Olivia and Gabe took turns being the goalie.

She's got the celebration part down. :)

After kicking the balls around for a while, they took a turn playing on the stepping "stones".