Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Girl's Club



The girls went to Girl's Club yesterday and had a blast! Their leader is AMAZING! She puts so much time in preparation for the meeting and she works so well with the girls. We really appreciate everything she does for them! They had so much fun decorating mini-cakes, learning how to do a scrapbook page, coloring a "pen pal folder", singing songs, eating snacks and they got 2 pen pals that they can write to this month. The girls are really getting to know each other better and learning valuable skills that will help them as they get older. Can't wait until next month's meeting!

Oklahoma Aquarium



And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Genesis 1:25-31

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lessons I've learned from being a mother

I was tagged several weeks ago by my friend, Michelle, to blog about lessons I've learned from motherhood. While I am very late in responding (sorry, Michelle!) and I am by no means an expert in parenting, here we go...



1. Don't blink because time really does go by so fast! Children are a blessing from God and are only given to us for a very short period of time. We have to make the most of every moment and not take a day for granted.

2. Stop and smell the roses! Just sit, observe and listen to your children playing. Take it all in. Laugh at their giggles and appreciate their creativity with their imaginative play. Memorize their smiles and wipe away their tears. Listen to their quiet breaths as they sleep. And remember that each breath is a gift from God.

3. Appreciate each child for their own uniqueness. Even identical twins have their own identity. We have to avoid comparing siblings and accept each child for who they are.

4. God has blessed our children with a unique appearance, personality and gifts. It is our job to help bring those talents out and cultivate them. Who knows? You may have a future astronaut, scientist, doctor, artist or teacher living beneath your nose!

5. Treat your children with respect and they will show you mutual respect, as well. If you have to discipline your children in public or in front of their friends, take them to the side. Do it quietly and in private - no one likes to be humiliated or embarassed in front of others.

6. Be your child's biggest cheerleader! No one loves or knows your child better than you do. Be their encourager and watch your tone of voice when you speak to them. Nothing kills the spirit of a child like a parent who is supposed to love their children unconditionally, yet when they speak to them it's negative and condensending. Speak truth and discipline in love.

7. Above all else, teach your children to love, fear and respect their Creator, God. Do daily devotionals together. Pray together. Read the Bible together. Attend church together. And in serving God, teach them the importance of serving others, as well.



If you just read my blog, you have now been tagged! What to do: share with us and your readers a lesson that you learned from your own mom, a special mom in your life, or while raising your own children. There’s no right or wrong answer - just lessons that each of us can learn and implement with our own children. It can be very simple!!! Link your post back to this blog, leave a comment below so we can visit and learn from you, and then tag 2-3 other moms to participate.

Now, go give your kids a hug and tell 'em you love 'em! They need to hear it and hear it often!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Casa Bonita in Tulsa

We've been studying about Mexico in our homeschool and to end our unit, we thought it would be fun to eat dinner at Casa Bonita in Tulsa. I have very fond memories of eating there when I was a child growing up in OKC. I remember the arcade, the treasure chest, the Mexican guitar player and who can forget raising the flag at your table when you needed service! I was so excited to learn they had one in Tulsa! It has been newly renovated and was actually much nicer than I expected. They really went all out on the decor - it truly looked like a small Mexican village. The food was actually pretty good but next time I will definitely ask to have my sauce put on the side - they pretty much SMOTHER everything with cheese or meat sauce. We had a great time eating with friends and playing games in the Arcade. It is now the girls favorite restaurant and they can't wait to go back again soon! If you live in the Tulsa area and haven't taken your family to Casa Bonita yet, you have to soon! It is sure to become their favorite restaurant, too!

Zumba for Kids

Our homeschool co-op had a super fun P.E. class yesterday! Miss Maria and Miss Laura from Owasso's YMCA taught a Zumba for kids class. Even the moms joined in and got some great exercise! Miss Maria and Miss Laura did many dances including YMCA, the Cha-Cha Slide, the Chicken Dance, the Macarena, the Limbo and Cowboy Love. We had so much fun and hope we can do it again soon!


video

video

video

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Walmart.com




While I have a love/hate relationship with Wal-Mart, I just found a really cool feature on their website. You can now go to Walmart.com and check the availability and details, like ingredients and nutrition, on the products you shop most. At the risk of sounding like a Wal-Mart commercial, here are a few benefits of this new addition to their site...

Save Time: Make product decisions and plan your shopping trips more conveniently — before you ever leave home.

Shop Smarter: Look up product details like nutrition information or ingredients to help you make better choices.

Check Local Availability: Just enter a Zip code to set your location, and you'll be able to find out which nearby Walmart stores have what you're looking for.

Find Customer Favorites: Use our Customer Ratings & Reviews to share your opinions about the products you've tried and to see what other customers are saying.

Now, if they could only add on-line shopping for groceries and have them delivered to my door, I'd be REALLY impressed ;-)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fashion Frenzy

Community Footprints
Presents...

Fashion Frenzy

Saturday, November 8, 2008
5:00 – 7:30 pm
Bailey Educational Foundation
On the campus of Bailey Medical Center

* Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres
* Live jazz music
* Shopping
* Fashion show (with local models from Owasso)
emceed by KJRH news anchor, Karen Larson
* Silent Auction
Tickets are $30 per person and may be purchased at First Bank of Owasso, Surcee or Uptown Salon
You don't want to miss this fun and exciting event that raises money for a worthwhile cause!
Community Footprints is an organization dedicated to raising funds for local organizations, charities and causes in order to make a difference in the lives of people in our community. Each year, they will hold a fundraising event benefiting a different organization, charity or cause.
Owasso Meals on Wheels Facts...
* Expenses for meals are $1100-$1500 p/month.
* They currently serve approximately 175 clients weekly. Eligibility is based on mobility (i.e., homebound or unable to prepare a meal for themselves.)
* Meals are prepared in a commercial kitchen in Tulsa at a cost of $3.10 p/meal.
* There are currently 58 MOW volunteers in Owasso (as of July 2008).
* MOW Owasso was chartered in 1985.
* About 50% of Owasso's MOW clients pay nothing. The rest of the clients pay some. They are asked to pay "whatever they can comfortably afford."
* MOW is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Owasso Farmer's Market


I went to the Owasso Farmer's Market yesterday and found some wonderful finds! I met one lady from the Phillipine's who sold some very unusual vegetables that she said she used to grow back home. Her okras were a little over a foot long and she also had an interesting-looking type of squash called "opo". She gave me the following recipe for cooking with opo and we tried it last night. It was great!

1/2 lb. ground beef - browned and drained
1 large tomato - diced
1/2 to 1 onion - diced
1/2 opo - cut into small chuncks
2 chicken bouilon cubes
1 c. rice - cooked

After browning the meat, set to the side. In a separate pan, saute onion until tender and brown. Add the tomato and ground beef. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Add the opo and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the rice and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Salt and pepper to your liking. This is a really quick and healthy dish that tastes yummy, too!

There was also a group of people at the market called DOGS (Dutch Oven Gatherings). Evidently, they enjoy cooking with their Dutch Ovens and once a month they get together and cook a bunch of food then take it to a location and give it away - free of charge. It was soooo delicious! I tried samplings of jambalya, peach casserole, vegetable casserole and pumpkin pie - all to die for! If you are interested in joining their group or getting more information about what they do, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/okdutchoven.

If you like trying new recipes, the Owasso Farmer's Market website has a ton of recipes to go along with almost any vegetable you can imagine! Check it out here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Field Trip to First Bank of Owasso

Our homeschool Co-Op went on a field trip this past week to the First Bank of Owasso. The kids had a great time learning about checking and savings accounts, seeing the "vault" and where they process checks, as well as getting a tour of the bank. Hopefully this will motivate them to want to start saving their pennies instead of always wanting to spend them! Yes, I know - that's wishful thinking!



Fall Decorating

I finally had a chance to do a little Fall decorating today. I actually intended to start a few weeks ago but since Fall's not actually here until this Monday, I suppose I'm not too far behind schedule ;-) Here's a few of the things I decorated. Nothing too exciting - I'm trying to keep it a little more simple this year. In fact, I have about 2 huge tubfulls of Fall decorations that I'm ready to get rid of.


This fall display makes me laugh because it was totally free - with the exception of the tray which was almost free from a garage sale. Anytime I take my girls to look at artificial flowers at a store, they have a ball collecting the ones on the floor that have dropped off of bouquets. Of course, we always ask first, but the store usually allows them to keep their findings at no charge. So this is their little collection of free fall decor ;-)



Happy Fall y'all!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Our Favorite Family Devotionals...

I was recently talking with a friend of mine and we were sharing with each other how important we feel daily family devotionals are. There are so many benefits to having this special time together...

It helps families learn to solve problems together

You spend good, quality time together talking which grows you closer as a family and helps you feel more connected

It helps your family grow spiritually together

It helps your children learn that family and spiritual growth are very important in life

It provides a time to talk about difficult situations in a loving, non-threatening environment



I have written in a previous post about my girl's doing their own Quiet Time With God, which I feel is also important. It's just part of their bedtime routine and they are so good about doing it every night, much better than I am! My heart about melted the other night when I quietly went to check on the girls and "M" was singing a Psalm from the Bible. She was just reading a chapter from Psalms but put her own melody to it. I wish I could have gotten it on video but she's at the age now where she doesn't like me filming her or taking her picture. Anyway, I thought it was precious ;-)

I thought I'd share a few books that we have enjoyed doing together for our family devotional time. I'd love to hear what your family does, too!

* Bible Stories For Children - Retold by Geoffrey Horn and Arthur Cavanaugh

* Read Aloud Bible Stories - By Ella K. Lindvall

* Heaven for Kids - by Randy Alcorn

* Leading Little Ones to God - By Marian M. Schoolland

* Princess and the Kiss and Life Lessons from Princess and the Kiss - By Jennie Bishop

* Finding God's Promises - By Cherie Noel (This is a great study guide that comes in workbook form but it's hard to find a copy because it's out of print. "M" loves to do this one during her Quiet Time.)

* God and Me! Devotionals for Girls - By Diane Cory

* The Beginner's Bible: Timeless Children's Stories - By Kelly Pulley

Flashback Friday


This is "M" when she was about 5 months old. She's almost 9 now. I can't believe half of her life at home is already over. Excuse me while I get a kleenex!!!

"M" today

Monday, September 15, 2008

Disney Tips


This was the girls first trip to Disney and I haven't been since '84 so we were all pretty excited about our vacation. While I didn't prepare near as much as I should have - in fact, I didn't even start packing until the night before we left - I did discover a few tips along the way. Thought I'd pass them along...

1. Apparently, every March, Disney announces a date later in the year that you can book your vacation and get a free Meal Plan. So this past March, they announced the dates would be in September then we had to book right away. It's not always the best time of the year due to kids being in school and hurricane season - but that can also work in your favor. The free meals included 1 snack, 1 lunch and 1 dinner per person. We figured we saved around $800 or so in meals. You still have to pay gratuity but we got really nice meals that would cost around $90-$120 for our family but only had to pay around a $15 tip. All of the meals were amazing and the characters were very entertaining.

2. Thank you to my friend, Shannon, for this tip...If you have kids who are terrified of automatic toilet flushers, have them take a sticky note in the stall with them and cover up the sensor. When they are done, remove the sticky note and the toilet flushes without them on it!

3. Buy Disney souvenirs before you leave and surprise your kids with them while on vacation. Prices are MUCH cheaper at Wal-Mart or Dollar Tree than at Disney.

4. If you purchase a bottle of water for breakfast, keep it and you can refill it and use it throughout the day. Much less than buying new water bottles all the time and it helps save the planet ;-)

5. If you go to a water park, bring swim shoes! The ground is often hot or rough to walk on.

6. If you plan on flying, have your kids write a letter to the pilot and mention how they would "just love to see the cockpit of their airplane". They're suckers for letters from kids & usually gladly let them see the front unless they are running behind schedule.

More tips on-line...

Tips and Sneaky Tricks

Disneyland & Walt Disney World Tips & Tricks

Advice, Tips and Tricks for Walt Disney World Tickets and Passes

Disney Tips and Tricks

Blogs About Disney Tips and Tricks

That's all for a while - the "Slideshow Queen" needs a rest ;-)

Disney Vacation - Day 8

Day 8 - last day of our vacation. We were a little nervous about getting home because of Hurricane Ike but we made it back with no problems. Riding in an airplane is always such a religious experience for me - just being up in the clouds and seeing the world from up high. I'm always amazed at how much land is still untouched or unpopulated. We flew over some pretty ominous-looking clouds - remnants of Hurricane Ike - quite amazing.

"A" is already moping around the house saying how she wished she was still at Disney. I'm thinkin' she got a little too used to being called "Princess" all week - time to get back to reality. We had a great time but there's no place like home ;-)


This is a McDonald's that was close to our hotel. I just thought it was cute so I had to take a pic of it.


This was taken at the Orlando airport. Snow White was one character we unfortunately didn't get to meet at Disney.


Hurricane Ike clouds

Disney Vacation - Day 7

Our 7th day of vacation was spent at Epcot again - riding a few new rides and re-riding our favorite ones. It's funny - one of the girls favorite rides was Mission: Space. I found it a little boring but we rode it about 4 or 5 times because the girls loved it - mostly because it takes your picture at the beginning of the ride and then at the end of the ride you can create a postcard and e-mail it to your house or to someone else. They turned out pretty funny...




We also created a silly space video here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Disney Vacation - Day 6

The morning of our 6th day of vacation was spent at Blizzard Beach - probably our most favorite park. We had so much fun racing each other on the slides and staying cool in the water and out of the Florida heat - which it really wasn't that bad at all - maybe 90 degrees at the most!

 
After that, we got cleaned up and went to a "fancy" dinner - the one the girls were looking forward to all week - dinner with Cinderella! We took a boat ride to the Grand Floridian which is a beautiful resort that looks like a huge plantation house. The food was so good and the girls enjoyed meeting Cinderella, the handsome prince, the evil step-mother and one of the evil step-sisters. Afterwards, we went to the lobby and enjoyed listening to a maestro playing Disney songs on the piano. The girls couldn't contain themselves and had to break out in dance! For just a moment, time seemed to stand still and I just sat there taking it all in. The beautiful surroundings, the music playing and the girls dancing - probably my favorite time all week.

video

Disney Vacation - Day 5

Our 5th day of vacation was mostly spent at Magic Kingdom. The girls got to meet Daisy Duck, the Fairy Godmother and Ariel. They also had fun touring the houses where Mickey and Minney live. Late afternoon it started to pour down rain! The girls were actually excited about it because they got to use their rain jackets for the first time.


We then ate dinner at Boma which is located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The food was delicious and afterwards we got to walk around their lodge and view african animals up close. A highlight of our night was meeting a lady that worked there named Peace. We enjoyed talking with her for a long time. She's from Uganda & we told her how we have an interest in Uganda because we sponsor a child there and our church just sent a team to Uganda to do mission work.

After meeting Peace, we hooked up with some friends from Oklahoma who were staying at the lodge. They gave us a tour of their grand hotel room - and I mean GRAND - then we went swimming. Another fun and busy day!




Disney Vacation - Day 4

Our 4th day of vacation, we went to Epcot. We enjoyed meeting Alice in Wonderland and Aladin - the girls loved his smile ;-) They discovered "pin trading" and their favorite ride was Soarin'. It's so cool how far advanced technology is to create a ride that makes you feel like you're actually soaring above California! It even had the smells of evergreens, oranges and the ocean! We ate a wonderful dinner at Teppan Edo which is located in Japan and had a great time traveling the world in a day!

Disney Vacation - Day 3

On the third day of our vacation, we went to Typhoon Lagoon. We loved "catching the waves" and soaking in the sun!






That night, we ate a super-fun dinner at Chef Mickey's which is located in the Contemporary Resort. The girls got to meet Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse.

A family pic along with Steve's parents
(a.k.a. "Nanny and Poppy")

Here's a picture of all the kids that were in our group!

 
Hollywood Studios was open late that night, so after dinner we finished our day there. We rode the dreaded Tower of Terror, which the girls disliked with great passion.

Disney Vacation - Day 2

The morning of the second day of our vacation, we went straight to Magic Kingdom - the girls couldn't believe their eyes! "A" had a fascination with little tiny Mickey heads that were scattered on the ground and collected them all week.


That afternoon, we went back to the hotel for a swim and brief nap.








Then we went back to Magic Kingdom and ate an Italian dinner at Tony's Town Square. We ended the night with a few rides and an awesome fireworks show!

Disney Vacation - Day 1

We just got back from a family vacation to Disney World in Orlando, Florida! We had a great time but it's good to be back home! I don't think I've ever walked so far, yet ate so much, in one week!

We went to Disney with a group of about 30 friends and family. We woke up early last Saturday morning and took a plane from Tulsa to St. Louis then on to Orlando. The girls were SOOOO excited! This was their first plane ride so they decided to write letters to the pilots and tell them about their trip to Disney. The pilots were so friendly and even let the girls see the cockpit before and after our flight. The flight there was very "entertaining". It was the birthday of one of the flight attendants & one of the passengers so they were playing it up big. Everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to them and turned on their overhead candles/lights. The flight attendant went on to sing numerous/too many songs including "If You're Happy and You Know It", etc. Let's just say we were happy to get off that plane ;-)

 
Once we were in Orlando, we took a bus to our hotel, the All Stars Music Resort. The room was a little small but for as little time as we spent there, it was great for us. The hotel itself was very well organized, clean and had great customer service. And of course, the girls LOVED the pool!

 
After we checked into our hotel, we went to Animal Kingdom and ate dinner at The Tusker House, a yummy African buffet of food.








Animal Kingdom closed early that night so we went back to the hotel after dinner to swim. The girls entered a dance contest then participated in a dance party. They had a blast doing dances like YMCA, the Macarena and the Cha Cha Slide. We ended our evening by watching "Enchanted" on their outdoor movie screen. What a fun first day!