Monday, February 8, 2016

GRANDAD IS SMILING!

My grandfather LOVED football... and especially LOVED the Broncos.  I'm sure he is smiling down from heaven right now for another Super Bowl Bronco Championship!  We were pretty excited too!  We rooted for them all night.  All of these sweet girls enjoyed the game (and the halftime show) the entire time!  I was fun to watch our young group of football fans, eat lots of delicious food and spend time with our AWESOME friends, the Fieldings and the Calls.  We are blessed!  Check it out:
Red Hot, Razzlers, Apple Jacks, Oatmeal Cookie, Lollipop, Key Lime Pie and Kotten Kandy
They seriously got into the game....
Watching in the suspense....
TOUCHDOWN!
(But the biggest excitement for these girls was:  Cold Play!  They sang along and LOVED it!)
Scott and I enjoyed the game as well....
I'm soooo glad that my grandmother gave me the advice to learn to love football for my husband.
Now I really do enjoy watching the game and I understand most of it too!
Jump Shot!  The Broncos won!!!  YAHOO!
(Love watching the SuperBowl on the BIG screen!)
These cute girls celebrate!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

FRIDAYS AND SATURDAYS ARE SOOOOO MUCH FUN

Friday was a busy day.  (It was made even more busy by the fact that our car was out of commission....  It is at the car doctor being fixed.  So we had to beg rides to get to all of our fun activities.)
Activity #1:  A production of "And Then They Came For Me" with our homeschool group.
Before the show began we took a group pic:
Back Row:  Kotten Kandy, Enchilada, Almond, Key Lime Pie, Asparagus, Nuts and Juice
Front Row:  Sweetarts and Rice Krispie Treat
This was simply amazing.  It was a multimedia oral history of the life of two Jewish teenagers during the Holocaust.  Eva was a vivacious, ordinary girl and a friend to Anne Frank.  Eva survived Auschwitz.  Ed, who was Anne Frank's first boyfriend, also survived the experience by hiding in Brussels.  The kids we brought were impressed.  And we discussed the quote by Martin Niemoller that the title came from:
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -- 
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -- 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- 
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me --  
And there was no one left to speak for me."
Activity #2:  A teen party at the Schmid house.
Unfortunately, despite my asking, my daughters forgot to take pictures....  :-(
Last night the girls went with the Bettenhausens to Bardstown.  They had so much fun snacking and visiting and playing games and dancing.  It's great for teens to have an outlet where they can hang out with other good kids.  And the girls were so excited that the people they love most were there (ie. the Bettenhausens, the Schmids and the Pinas - to name a few.)
Saturday was a busy day also.  Kotten Kandy babysat this morning.  Key Lime Pie worked at the theater.  Scott worked at the warehouse.  And I cut tubes, cleaned my kitchen, and decluttered drawers and cupboards in the kitchen.  Lollipop had a friend over.  I'll call her Icee.  She is from Madrid, Spain.  They watched movies, visited and made us dinner.  They made us empanadillas from Spain.  Here are the pictures:
Icee and Lollipop - in the kitchen....
This was DELICIOUS!
Everyone wanted seconds!!!!!
YEAH! for Lollipop and Icee!
And thank you!!!!!!!

Monday, February 1, 2016

LOLLIPOP GOES TO OHIO AND I READ A FABULOUS BOOK

This weekend was kinda sad for all of us since we really missed our German daughter.  Lollipop had the opportunity to go to Ohio with a bunch of other foreign exchange students.  She had a great time.  But the rest of us really missed her.  It's amazing how much she has become a third daughter to us and a sister to our daughters.  We kept saying how much we missed her all day Saturday and Sunday.  But we have her home now, and we are glad!  We aren't sure how we will let her go home in 5 months.....  She is wonderful.  (Cindy, the coordinator for exchange students, understands our love of this beautiful, young woman.... She agrees that Lollipop is a "joy to have around!")
Her trip was a quick one.  She had a lot of fun with the other exchange students and got to do some sight seeing.  Here are a few pictures she sent me for the blog:
Ohio was beautiful....
Apricot and Lollipop in the Ohio State Capitol
Vanilla Ice Cream, Lollipop and Apricot
Vanilla Ice Cream and Lollipop smile for the camera...
I sure love my third daughter!
And ...  I'm super excited to share this book with y'all!  A few years ago I read Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project.  I loved it.  And I guess I'm late to the game because apparently she wrote another book and I JUST now read it:  Better Than Before.  It is WONDERFUL!  I wish I knew Gretchen Rubin in person because she really "connects" with me and I would love to tell her how much I have enjoyed both of her books.
This book is about changing your life for the better by creating/forming good habits and stopping bad habits.  What I really liked about it was the fact that she gave multiple strategies to help create good habits.  She writes about "knowing" yourself and what works for you.  I've already applied a LOT of strategies to start some new habits and I've been successful (if only for a week.)
Here are some other things I liked about this book:
- The 4 Tendencies:  Upholder, Obliger,Questioner, and Rebel.  These tendencies are how people deal with expectations from others and our own selves.  By the way, I'm an Obliger.  My husband and youngest daughter are Upholders while Key Lime Pie is a Questioner and a Rebel.
- I love that Gretchen (I've decided we are on a first name basis) explains that habits are different for different people.  She goes into lots of details about different kinds of strategies and ways of "learning" because she realizes that forming habits is not a one size fits all.
- Gretchen had great insight to abstinence and moderation.  I'm TRYING moderation for one of my new habits.  I may need to switch to abstinence, but I would rather not.
- The loophole spotting chapter is very helpful.  Last night I almost fell into one....
- I never thought about the danger of rewards and the benefits of treats.  I need to work better on that.
I really recommend this book.  I think it is going to have a huge impact on my own life for the better.  And it's entertaining to read too....
Great quote:  "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." Annie Dillard

Thursday, January 28, 2016

ROLLER SKATING WITH THE YW

Back Row:  Reeces, Asparagus' Friend and Asparagus
Front Row:  Kotten Kandy, Lollipop, Rice Krispie Treat, and Key Lime Pie
Last night we drove to Bardstown for YW.  Rice Krispie Treat turned 12 last week... and she invited the girls to join her for her first YW activity.  She is an AWESOME young woman! ... Anyways, the girls had a blast roller skating!  Here they are:
Line Dancing: Rice Krispie Treat, Kotten Kandy and Key Lime Pie
MY DAUGHTERS!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

AT OUR HOUSE THERE ARE FOUR "BEAUTY"s AND ONE "BEAST" jk

It really has been an insanely busy and fun week - even with our "Snowpocalypse."
The 3 prettiest girls at the show!
Kotten Kandy, Lollipop and Key Lime Pie
I may be biased, but even with all the little girls that came dressed as princesses,
these three out-shined them all!!!!!
I love watching shows with my cute husband!
I love that he loves shows as much as I do!
I'm blessed!
Here are the girls that helped usher with us...
We got to usher with the foreign exchange group.
Yesterday we were able to volunteer at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.  We ushered for the live musical, Beauty and the Beast.  And we got to see the show too!  It was soooo much fun!  The WHOLE family participated.  We loved the songs and the story.  The dancing was amazing.  The costumes were fun.  And the sets were impressive (except for the library.  We were all a bit let down by the library set.)  I would love to volunteer there on a more permanent basis...  Theater (especially musical theater) is really my favorite thing in the whole wide world (except for, of course, my family!)
Other fun things we have been doing:
Selfie while playing games with dad!
Lollipop, Key Lime Pie, Kotten Kandy and Scott
Kotten Kandy and Lollipop make wishes
before tossing coins into the fountain at the mall....
I already blogged about our fun day on Thursday... But I neglected to share about our outing with the Schmids at the mall on Monday to celebrate Martin Luther King Day.  Kotten Kandy and Lollipop shopped till the dropped.  They both got some GREAT deals on coats.  ($60 coats for $15, etc.)
We've also played games and read some of Dinesh D'Souza's book out loud.  It's been a productive week - despite the 3 inches of snow we received.
This is what happens when you leave your phone unattended....
Kotten Kandy LOVES her doggie, Karmel.
I had about a half dozen pictures of this pooch on my phone....
Thanks, daughter. <sarcasm>
I love our little family of 5 (+ Karmel).

Thursday, January 21, 2016

SNOW DAYS

Can you feel the cold?
It is a winter wonderland here in Kentucky.  It has been fun having my three daughters home to survive the cold with me.  The first day of unplanned "vacation", the girls decided to get some school work done and stay warm inside their blankets.
Day 2 of the snow days, we ventured over to the Bettenhausens' home to do crafts, yoga, play games, eat Taco Bell and music lessons.  It was a fun day.  Check it out:
Our project was creating stained glass effects with tissue paper....
None of us had done the project before and
we learned that the darker the tissue paper, the better the project...
Oh well.  It was still really fun to create....
Key Lime Pie loved the greens and blues....
But her project bled a lot.
Lollipop created a wing in purples and pinks.
It was beautiful and artistic!
Kotten Kandy was trying to create a forest.
Once the tissue paper came off it looked more like an ocean.
But it was still beautiful!
This was Jelly Bean's first time to craft with us... and he loved it!
He especially loved tearing the tissue paper into small pieces and covering EVERY blank spot.
I was soooo excited that he enjoyed crafting so much!
We all did yoga afterwards... for exercise.
Amy and I did NOT want to be in the picture.
But these three girls and Apple Pie are sure good at doing the "Warrior" pose.
Here's one more shot of the finished projects - with a photo-bomber in the background.
I love our little Raisin!
A few days before the Snow Days we had a fun game night,....  Even though the weather was FREEZING... Mark offered rides on his motorcycle.  The only person crazy enough to do it was Lollipop.  She LOVED it!  It was really fun to see her so excited about the ride.
The Helmet!
Although it was dark outside we still got a picture with the bike!
I also forgot to post a picture at Christmas time of Scott with one of his favorite gifts from my sister, G.J.  He loves his t-shirt:
Although our Snow Days have been warm and happy (inside)... I'm TIRED of the snow and cold.  Unfortunately, we are expecting a blizzard later this morning.  I guess we'll have to deal with more freezing temperatures and winter conditions.  I think I want to turn into a bear and hibernate until Spring.  Stay warm, all my blog friends!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

EDUCATION: BASKETBALL, MOVIES AND BOOKS

My girls started the YW basketball season this year.  Today was their first game....  And we won!  The score was 20 to 4.  And according to Scott Kotten Kandy is the "Jump Ball Queen" and Key Lime Pie made a basket!  YEAH, daughters!  I will try to take pictures next week....
A good education is important.  That's why we homeschool.  And for my faithful readers, I thought I would share a couple of things that have been neglected in my daughters' educations that I have tried to remedy.  Math and science are always necessary, but there are other aspects of education that are sometimes overlooked...
I realized that I had done my daughters a great disservice.  I had failed to introduce them to the musical "Singing in the Rain" with Gene Kelly.  Today we watched it.  I had forgotten how wonderful it is.  I laughed out loud (which is unusual for me) during the song "Make 'Em Laugh."  I desired to take tap dancing lessons during "Good Morning."  And I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face when Gene Kelly danced (and sang) in the rain.  I believe my daughters enjoyed the movie too.  This film is lighthearted and fun!  I bet that Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor had a blast making this movie about making movies....  I definitely recommend it.
And speaking of movies.  We also took all of our teen age homeschool group to see "Bridge of Spies" last week.  It was great!  Another wonderful educational opportunity.  This movie is a great character study of a lawyer during the Cold War... and it's a true story as well!  Donovan was a hero.  And I'm glad my daughters got to see a bit of history.  I especially liked how they showed the Berlin wall and compared it to the American chain link fence at the end.  The differences were unmistakable and made me long for a simpler time when the Cold War was our only global "problem."  This is another educational film I would recommend....
Thus:  Education can be fun and entertaining sometimes.
I loved reading "The Emperor's Soul" by Brandon Sanderson.  Admittedly I am a pretty big fan of Brandon Sanderson, so it's no surprise that I read this novella in one day - and was super excited when my dad bought it for me for Christmas.
"The Emperor's Soul" is set in Sel, the same planet as Elantris (though far apart from where Elantris takes place.)  The magic in this world takes the form of elaborate stamps.  These stamps can change the history of an object causing it to change it's present state.  This is called Forgery.  This book follows the captivity of a talented Forger who is faced with an impossible task: Forging the soul of the emperor who is brain-dead by an assassination attempt.
Shai, the Forger, is an interesting character, more admirable than heroic.  She's not a victim.  She is opportunistic.  She is smart.  She is honorable in accomplishing the thing she sets out to do.
Gaotona is also intriguing.  He is kind.  He is a friend and a truth seeker.  He's compassionate.  I would have liked to have learned more about him.  Maybe another book?
This is largely a story of ideas, but it kept me engaged throughout.  I loved it.  And I HIGHLY recommend it.
My girls also just finished reading "A Room With a View" by E.M. Forster.  I read this book about 5 years ago, and I loved it.  My daughters enjoyed it too!  This is one of those stories that touches on a wide range of the general overall human condition.  It deals with love, prejudices, betrayal, strong but understated humor, a snapshot of a previous era (pre WWI - not during the 'Victorian Era'), cultures and clashes of cultures, and social classes.  It also deals with the dilemma of "self" vs. the expectations of society and family.  All in all, if you look at it in a certain way, not much has changed over the years.  I loved this book, and I hope others will want to read it based on my recommendation (and the recommendation of my BBF and daughters as well.)  It's definitely worth the time.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

WINTER

Yup.  It's winter.  But that's not why I titled the post winter.  It's actually a multi-purposed title:  I want to update you on our winter thus far.  AND I want to write a review about a book I JUST finished last night called Winter.
Winter is my least favorite season.  I don't like being cold.  That being said, we've had a VERY nice winter so far.  It's been relatively warm.  But we did get snow on Sunday.  (I didn't like that.)  But it has already melted - pretty much, and we are back to nice, spring-like temperatures.
Since January 1st, we have gotten back into our school routines.  Key Lime Pie and Kotten Kandy are busy studying science, math, music, reading, literature, aerobics and history.  Lollipop is back at public school, and she recently joined the Lacrosse Team.  She is sore during the workouts, but seems happy to be participating in the sport.  All three girls are also on the young women's basketball team for Church.
We are also all keeping up with current events.  The recent problems in Germany have been really concerning for all of us; our thoughts and prayers are with those in Germany and elsewhere in the world where terrorists and radical refugees are causing panic and harm.  We are definitely living in an exciting and scary time.  We are also reading Dinesh D'Souza's newest book, "Stealing America," as a family.  So far it is making us mad and more aware of how corrupt governments can be.  I'll write a review later....
Speaking of book reviews.  "Winter" by Marissa Meyer was a lot of fun to read.  I've written about this author before because this is the final book in the Lunar series.  This series is a fun read.  I enjoy how it combines fairy tales with science fiction.  I like how it combines different fairy tales into one giant story.  I liked the humor, action and even the romantic trysts.  And I love that there is no sex or bad language throughout the series.  These books are not deep, but lots of fun.  And I'm glad I read them.
I don't want to give away any of the plot so I'll just say that this book focused on Winter (aka. Snow White).  Don't worry...  Cinder (Cinderella), Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), and Cress (Rapunzel) are still very much in the story too.  There is a satisfying ending.  And I felt the series ended on a high note.  If you are in the mood for a fun, cheesy and fast read, these books are for you.  But start with "Cinder."  Read them in order.

Friday, January 1, 2016

NEW YEARS EVE WITH "FAMILY!"

This is how we feel about the people we welcomed in the new year with last night!  We TRULY love the Bettenhausens, Schmids and Thorntons!  And we are so blessed that they are part of our lives!  We played games, ate lots of fun food, and visited with these amazing people!  And we concluded the evening with our traditional predictions for the new year and review of predictions from last year.  I decided to start a new tradition this year...  I took a photo of everyone with their resolutions, so they can be "accountable" for their new year's goals!  Here are the pics (in age order.):
Mike:  Be Present - Control my destiny - Get out of debt - Show my family love every day
Me:  Write in my journal 3xs/week
Scott:  Loose 25 lbs.
Mark:  Do 1 integral problem for fun!
(Isn't that an oxymoron? fun and integral problem together?)
Amy:  Run a 5K - Finish book - Organize 
Sheila:  Become debt free - Loose 5 lbs.  (She doesn't need too!) - Participate in 3 craft fairs
Chris:  "I will win!"  (Not sure what that means...)
Hammond:  "Awesomeness" (OK?!)
Key Lime Pie:  Like mother, like daughter.  She wants to write in her journal also!
Reeces:  Always be happy!  (And she is VERY happy now that she is living with the Schmids!)
Lollipop:  Stop being lazy (and maybe get up earlier) 
Asparagus:  Have better handwriting....
Kotten Kandy:  Write (finish my novel(rough draft))
Juice:  Quit antagonizing his brother.
Ring Pop:  Go to the temple... (Yup, she turns 12 this year!  I've BEGGED her not to grow up!)
Nuts:  Buy a new 3dsxl (video game thingy)
Marmalade:  Her goal is to practice the piano more!  (Yea!!!!  She'll be a virtuoso in no time!)
Apple Pie:  "Stop touching hot potatoes!"  (What?!  I love this kid!)
Jelly Bean fell asleep....

I love these crazy people!  Here are some other random snapshots of our New Year celebration:
Boys playing RAGE
Marmalade and Ring Pop painting their nails....
Scott is trying to tempt Raisin...
But she resists.
Jelly Bean is soooooooo darn cute!
Kotten Kandy modeling Amy's wedding dress...
Wait!?
What?!?!
Lollipop get a turn at loving on Raisin
And Key Lime Pie also gets some giggles in....
Boys will be boys!
Chris and Scott are two of a kind....
Chris and Scott even infiltrated the "kid" photo!
Happy New Year!