Maybe God wishes to teach me a thousand new things, move me from being in a thousand different directions to just ONE, and show me a thousand reasons to BLESS his name. Maybe that is why He moved me 1,000 miles away.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Winner is Declared! I've finally heard back from my panel of INTERNATIONAL judges. The clear winner of first place is the witty and creative entry:

"what no one can see is the archer in the foreground about to launch an arrow in the general direction of the dunce cap. if chloe can deflect the arrow with her ruler before it connects with the cap, she wins. if jackson can manage to sit calmly under attack without dropping or crushing the fragile plastic bottle, he wins..........". -- Jessica

Second place goes to this entry which is the most believable, and most likely what could have been occuring during the taking of the picture:

"your actually going to let me hit jackson, mom? all right!!! i'm going to cherish this moment.." -- Skittles

thanks to everyone for your fine entries. Of course, I wish I could award all of you a prize...but in the real world (which the thousand miles blog tries very hard to emulate) there are losers.

I cannot close this contest without publically declaring the worst entry. Shelly, I'm sorry but your post most certainly fits this category. I know that you have, shall I say, Unconventional Bathroom Ideas in your home (i.e. the "boys bathroom" near the side of the garage....) but to press these ideals on others over the internet and use my blog as your campaigning place was uncalled for. You are still my friend, however...quirks and all. You will be given grace this time.

Thanks again for playing Caption this Picture! Winners should look for their winning postcards in the mail. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for processing and delivery.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Yet again, it is time for another game of..........................Caption this Picture!
rules: only two entries per person. must be submitted by the end of the week.
winner will be selected by a panel of judges. winner will be publically notified, and will receive a postcard sent to their home from PA! Wow! Get your entries in soon!
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Friday, September 19, 2008

I love Fridays, because we spend the first 1/2 of the day on our school lessons, and the second half exploring historical places, or nature walking, or working on a project. The Museum of Indian Culture was a perfect end to our week of studying early American Indians. Above is a picture of the quaint home which has been transformed into a small exibit area for displaying artifacts and examples of the Northeastern Forest Indians. It is situated on the Little Lehigh Creek which is the same creek that runs through our neighborhood. It is a picturesque setting, as you can tell.

Audrey spent most of the time listening to the museum man. He had lots of American Indian facts to share. We were the only visitors, and I think he was happy to have three polite children to share all his knowledge with. After our indepth tour, I felt that the kids had more knowledge of the early American Indian and all the possible theories of how they first came to the Americas and who they may be related to than most college students.
After we left the museum, we went for a walk down to the creek. Jackson brought his rod and was ready to catch a trout. He didn't catch a trout, but on a day like today, one hardly notices such a loss.
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After living here 8 months or so, I still find all the creeks and rivers beautiful ~ cold, clear, rippling water.

We kept walking and were rewarded by finding a covered bridge. This one no longer accommodates cars, so

Chloe and Audrey went to check it out.
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We took Benjamin out of his stoller for a picture, but he had no interest in smiling and spent most of his time pulling out the grass and trying to eat it. We spent most our time trying to keep him from eating it, and encouraging him to smile. We gave up.

On our walk, we couldn't help but stop and rest here a while.

On the way back to the car we enjoyed watching this blue heron until he noticed us and glided upstream.

I needed a day like today~ Thanks God for giving it to me!

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

A well thought bribe is a mother's most cherished tool in her belt.

If you want your kids to clean up their stuff, fill up a baby jar with dimes. At the end of the day, what they didn't pick up or take care of gets a "caretakers fee" removed from the jar.
At the end of the week, the person with enough dimes for a Rita's Italian Ice will have their treat.

If you want your kids to take their fish oil without daily complaint, bribe them with a Jello Pudding Cup.

Kids will clean any mess for a slushie. Slushies are liquid gold.

If you are getting tired of the constant little nit picking kids can do at each other, how about offering a bribe of gum for the sweetest kid in the car?

Sometimes the kids have to dip their hand into the extra chore jar. Sometimes they get to grab out a bonus from the Amazing Kid jar. I like my charts, jars, prizes and bribes.

Some people may say this is lazy parenting. Some say (I've read their book) that kids should do what they are told without bribes or rewards. I say, who doesn't like a little reward, or a little bribe from time to time?

A well thought, and well placed bribe can eliminate the potential war, a day of crummy attitudes, or a mothering melt down.

And that, my friends, is my 12:30am parenting tip for the day. Good night ~

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Baby's got two teeth

Benjamin has two teeth now. Two cute little teeth on the bottom. His teeth and he have a love/hate relationship. The first is no longer painful, but the second is still causing drooling (which consequently gave him a drool rash on his chin) and some ouchy hurts.

However, Benjamin loves rubbing his tongue on his tooth, taking my finger and biting it right on his sharp, pointy tooth. While I carry him, he loves to suddenly turn and lunge and sink his tooth into my chin. Oh, he loves doing that. Which reminds me so much of Audrey who also enjoyed for many months attacking people's faces.

He looks so cute with his teeth, but we still haven't successfully captured them with a camera. The little guy just keeps on growing and getting older...which I love/hate. He hugs me now, and lifts up his arms towards me when I come near. He gazes across the room and locks eyes with me and giggles with delight. To him I'm the world. I love that. As he gets older his personality emerges more and more...I love that too! But each day goes by pretty quickly and he is changing so fast! One day he will be 13 and probably won't want to hug me and bite my chin (which is good -- that would be, odd) So I try to enjoy every moment spent with him, even the four am mornings (ok, that one is hard) because the older I get, the more fleeting the days go by...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Allentown is on the map

For the first location where the stink bug has been documented. A native from Japan and China, the stink bug is a pesky critter that really does stink horribly if you succeed in killing it. They cling to the side of the house looking for an opportunity to get inside. Here is what the Penn State Department of Entomology says on their website:
Even though these insects do not harm humans and do not reproduce inside structures such as houses, they cause concern when they become active and conspicuous in fall and spring. If many of them are squashed or pulled into a vacuum cleaner, their smell can be quite apparent.
For homeschool science class one year Jackson had to catch, kill and mount different insects. We've thought many times about catching, freezing and mailing our good friend Maria (who mounts bugs just for "fun") some of the strange varieties of bugs we have here. This is one bug that we will NOT be mounting here...or sending to MN.
Stink bugs. Just another one of those interesting suprises about living in PA.

Monday, September 8, 2008

At first glance, they look like my kids...

But how could that be? They were only out of my sight for 15 minutes or so.....Come to think of it, Audrey's hair looked a bit sloppy and sticky that evening when I tucked her in to bed.....

(click the picture to enlarge it -- take a look for yourself. Could these kids be mine?)

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Participating in games

I was tagged by Pam so I'm going to bore you with the answers. I promise all proceeding posts will be exciting and eventful once again with the amusing delights of PA.

Ten Years Ago:
that was 1998....I remember vaguely.....Chloe was 3 and Jackson was 1. Either we lived in Mound or Minnetonka...I think it was Minnetonka.

My To Do List Today:
finish making supper, walk to the park with Benjamin and Audrey, put away laundry, exercise, clean up kitchen, read stories, give baths (to the younger ones) tuck in bed, clean up the uncleaned up areas of house, waste time on the computer, go to bed.

Snack that I enjoy:
organic carrots dipped in homemade hummus with a sprinkle of chives grown in my window herb garden................errr, scratch that. I lately have been snacking on the most amazing chocolate cookies I've ever baked (new recipe that is a keeper).

Things I would do if a Millionaire:
Go on a trip
Buy an Airstream (great idea, pam)
Get dog training for my sister's dog
Adopt a child
Hire a weekly house cleaner
Hire a handy man to do Roy's household chores so he doesn't have to do them
Give money away to help families adopt children

Places I've lived:
As a child: Burnsville, Bloomington, Hamlake MN
As an adult:
Northeast Minneapolis,
New Brighton MN
St. Paul, MN
Tokyo, Japan
Mound, MN
Minnetonka, MN
West Chicago, IL
Maple Grove, MN
Macungie, PA
In my dreams......Kauai!

TAG to DEB and TAG to Kendall and TAG to Chloe!!!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I was brave.

On Friday, we took our annual trip to the zoo to kick off the school year. This year was exciting as we visited the nation's first zoo! With my trusty Magellan at the helm, I followed the turnpike into Philadelphia. Once off the turnpike, we drove on a freeway that skirts by some of the old buildings of Philadelphia. We took our guesses at what the buildings might be -- they looked old, they looked historical, they looked important! We don't know what they were, but hope to on future visits.

We knew the zoo was close by when we drove through an underpass that was painted with patterns of tiger, giraffe, zebra, and other exotic animals. After adding up the costs of parking and entrance fees for all of us, we opted for membership. We can bring two guests for free each time, so count that into your savings when you come to visit! The Philadelphia Zoo is definately a city zoo. In fact, on one end of the zoo you can hear the commuter train rambling and shreeeeking on the tracks. For the first 40 minutes, we heard constant sirens outside the zoo walls, which had me a little concerned as to our safety, but I guess the fugitive was apprehanded because the sirens died down and I didn't really notice them anymore after that.

With Audrey's tired feet and Benjamin needing a nap, and me desiring a break from the 90 degree day, we opted to stop our visit short of seeing the whole zoo. Well, I guess that membership will now be paid for, as we are already saving money the next time we go. I was proud of myself, as I braved driving the Turnpike (you'd be proud if you saw it!) and I braved a new city, and I braved eating a zoo hot dog for lunch (yelsh) and I braved sending my precious children into a swan boat to pedal by the Lemur Island where they were out of my sight (in a big city!). I was brave.
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Friday, September 5, 2008

When all the other children are sitting at their desks...

We take a week to do, see, and play. This has been the tradition since we began homeschooling seven years ago. The tradition continues. One of my favorite days this week was spent at a beautiful natural spot in Emmaus called the Wildlands and Pools Sanctuary. We dipped our feet in a cool, clear creek and hiked a boardwalk that led though a marshy terrain of wild flowers that were taller than Chloe. We saw numerous birds, a family of deer, squirrel and chipmunks, and lots of bugs.

Spending the first week of the school year this way has always been very feels like we are stealing extra days of summer, and the colaberative sneakiness of it is quite bonding. If you homeschool, I strongly recommend adding in the extra week of summer. Just don't go to our spots -- one of the beautiful things of the week is having all these treasurable places mostly to ourselves.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Just like that....

Baby Benjamin is 1/2 a year old!
Here he is enjoying his celebratory meal of mushed carrots!
We love you little guy!