Sunday, May 31, 2009

product placement = active people toys

I can always tell when my brain is dried up...fresh out of blogging ideas. I start thinking about the stuff that I really like. Stuff that has worked for our family. (Stuff -- what a word -- it's all gonna burn someday, huh? Yep. I think I have an idea for a blog post....)

Anyway, I was doing a search on "Bilibo" (one of Ingrid and Ilsa's favorite toys -- they have a yellow one) and found the website for the Swiss manufacturer, active people toys. They have come up with a bunch of brand new, open-ended, creativity exploding toys. I particularly like the Bilibo/Pixel gamebox combo, as well as the Sakol wooden blocks with velcro attached.

The toys look innocuous -- like nothing in particular. But add kids to the mix and be amazed to see what they come up with. This youtube video is basically an advertisement, but shows what cool stuff the kids came up with on their own:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

10 things for which i am thankful

It's been a no particular order:
  1. The Lord is glorified when our lives are broken
  2. Prayer is a gift from the Lord that blesses us while giving glory to the Lord
  3. Nutella and graham crackers
  4. Pre-paid phone cards
  5. Pre-paid cell phones
  6. Popsicles
  7. Chad is seeing the light at the end of the "ACSC tunnel"
  8. The color aqua
  9. The Base pool is open
  10. Ingrid and Ilsa love the library

Friday, May 29, 2009

birdz & beez

Moms of little girls, how do you start "easing" into the facts of life? I'm not talking heavy duty stuff, but what about, "Mommy is so grumpy right now, I was wrong, will you forgive me? Sometimes Mommy has this time..." or " Mommy can't take you swimming today because I just want to crash on the couch with a tub of Cherry Garcia and a bag of Newman O's (supposedly healthy Oreos)." Ingrid is starting to ask questions...and I remember hearing an "expert" on the subject a while back say that once kids begin to ask questions, you need to have answers...age appropriate of course.

Can you recommend books on the subject that are Christian, yet not promoting naivete? Chad and I wish to raise girls who are innocent, yet not naive.

i took down the "whatever martha" video...

I felt compelled to take down this blog post...yes it was humorous, but at the expense of a Mother. My own Mom pointed out to me the other day that she was so saddened when she heard some grown friends of hers talking about their elderly parents disrespectfully. She is right...even if that mom IS Martha Stewart, her daughter has no business humiliating her in front of the world.

I apologize for putting this video up.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

convicting quote = parenting

From Donna Young's website:
Don't underestimate your children's ability to model your worse habits.
- Donna Young

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

the prosperity gospel unmasked

more info on baby joe joe

Sweet Baby Joe Joe had a minor stroke yesterday along with several seizures. There appears to be some brain damage. He is now has a catheter, semi-permanent IV line, and a breathing tube. He is also very swollen because of all of the IV fluids.

Mom Ciria has asked that we pray that the doctors have wisdom and strength for all of them as this trial continues.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

prayer request for baby joe joe

Our friends' infant son, "Joe Joe" was admitted to the hospital Monday with probable meningitis, and he has the complication of Downs Syndrome. He will be there a minimum of ten days, but these first three days are critical. Please pray for this sweet family who love the Lord so much; they are understandably scared. They also have a 2 1/2 year old and 9-ish year old.

** Update 7:00 pm**
Joe Joe does, indeed, have bacterial meningitis. His Down's has been a factor inasmuch that his immunity is compromised, and therefore, his body didn't fight a normal infection, leading to the meningitis.

Friday, May 22, 2009

cool garden resident

I found this funnel-web spider in one of the lantana in our front yard this afternoon. It is a completely harmless spider about the size of a silver dollar when spread out. What a beautiful web she spins. She sits in the hole and waits until prey comes along, and then out she comes. She must have felt my vibrations when I crouched nearby because out she popped for the photo op.

I also picked a bunch of tomatoes today. Mmmmm. Salad for dinner.

the graduate

Ingrid graduated from Pre-K today. It was a sweet ceremony, even though we didn't catch one smile on film during the ceremony. It turns out that the preschool director had given the students strict instructions as to how to little ladies and gentlemen. Ingrid must have really taken this to heart. She was practically a statue!

Pomp & Circumstance

With the other little statues

With sweet "Mrs. R."

Now that she's a Kindergartner, I guess she will be turning up her nose at the rest of us

Ilsa did crunches during the ceremony.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

first day....last day

** The first day of school **

** The last day of school with her wonderful teacher "Mrs. R." **
** "Come on Ingrid, would you just smile already?"

Today was Ingrid's last day of pre-K. I just got home after a celebratory ice cream treat at Sonic drive in (eating in the car on a relatively chilly 67 degrees here in Almost Mexico!).

I'm surprisingly melancholy for a number of reasons: a milestone has been passed that will never again be visited; I loved her teacher, and she loved Ingrid; but primarily because she never liked it; she never got over the jitters of heading off to school; there was a teary day at least once a week about school, and plenty of grumbling in between times. Her heart was just never in it.

I believe we did the right thing having her in pre-K, and we are earnest and confident in our choice to homeschool. I guess I just need to move on.

Monday, May 18, 2009

happy mount st. helens day

Where were you May 18th, 1980? Tell me!

I was standing outside the old chapel at Westminster Chapel in Bellevue, Washington watching Mount St. Helens erupt. Click the photo to read to your heart's content all about The Eruption that changed Washington forever.

So, I suppose in honor of MSHD, the Almost Mexico, AZ international airport has a current temperature reading of 104.4. Ugha.

duck! rabbit!

This is so stinkin' cute! Click the link to watch the video, or the picture to be taken to amazon to see the book, itself. Watch all the way until the very end...nice little grammar lesson :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

product placement = oxo office supplies!

I haven't done a product placement in a while. You probably don't know this, but I have a "thing" for cool design that is functional. I believe that form follows function. In my dream world, my home would be 100% form following function, and I just know it would still be a beautiful place, but it would look like a cover-home of Dwell magazine, decorated by IKEA, Room & Board and DWR.

So, I was super excited to get an e-mail ad this week from OXO announcing that they have teamed up with Staples to sell their exclusive line of OXO office supplies. They are neato. I particularly love the pocket stapler. Now, I know I have no need for a pocket stapler, but the idea is cool.

And check out this push pin dispenser -- it has a little magnetic wand to safely pull them from the dispenser. It just makes me want to make over the office.

Oh, one more thing: I found this darling nightlight over at the OXO website. It plugs into the wall, of course, but then, the whole house comes off, leaving the light in the wall, and giving the child a walk-to-the-bathroom-in-the-middle-of-the-night-nightlight to take along. DARLING!

Friday, May 15, 2009

baby naming...

So, I'm wondering: why did you choose the specific names that you did for your children? I was surfing the other day and ended up at this article on I found it very interesting. Partly because of our ancestral heritage and partly because Scandinavian names are just downright cool. Chad and I knew we wanted Scandinavian/Germanic for our children. In the back of our minds we knew the names couldn't be "popular" (at least in the top 100 of those yearly lists), and couldn't be "invented". So here's the scoop on our girls' names:

Ingrid Anne - In Norse, Ingrid means a meadow. We also read where it means, hero's daughter or beautiful daughter. Anne is English for gracious.

Ilsa Ruth- Originally a pet form of Elizabeth (Liz), which means consecrated to God. Ruth is Hebrew for friendship.

After Ilsa was born, a good friend of ours quipped that Ingrid Bergman played "Ilsa" in Casablanca. This never occurred to us when we picked the names, but it's kind of cool. (Click on the picture to visit for more wonderful photos from Casablanca.)

I'd love to hear your naming philosophy and stories.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

i'm so thankful about this!

After several summers of unsuccessful attempts to get Ingrid into swimming lessons, Ingrid is signed up...and bonus, Ilsa is as well! The idea to call the "Y" was a whim...well at least that what most people might think. But honestly I believe it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit. This HAS been a REAL burden. The session sign-ups opened up yesterday morning at 5:00 am. I called at 11:00 am. They told me I had better scoot down quickly. We got the last two spots, and someone was inquiring on the phone as we signed up, for that specific session. Nope, I don't think that "idea" to call was just an idea.

Praise the Lord...I'm not saying this lightly. It has been a burden on my mind the two previous summers. The Lord even cares about swimming lessons. I'm looking forward to a summer of safer splashing.

Monday, May 11, 2009

amusing ourselves to death

My pastor mentioned "Amusing Ourselves to Death" in his sermon yesterday, so I'm going to give it a plug (it's on my sidebar right now). He is preaching through The Sermon on the Mount right now, and he was on "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted". He brought up the very good point that people avoid mourning (over sin to the point of repentance) by amusing themselves. Our culture now places amusement as the number one goal of life. This is a classic -- read it!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

10 things for which I am thankful - mother's day edition

In no particular order, I am thankful for...
  1. Our just-right-for-us home which is comfortable and nicely decorated according to our tastes, and easy to keep clean as it is not a mansion.
  2. My washing machine/dryer, dishwasher, stove, oven, microwave and hot water heater, all of which afford me more time to spend with my girls (and husband, but this is Mother's Day after all...)
  3. Our reliable, safe, practical and fun-to-drive Subaru Outback wagon, so that I can safely transport our girls and buy the groceries and things we need.
  4. Friends who are godly Moms of of whom I can bounce thoughts, questions and prayer needs.
  5. My Mom. She's wonderful. She's reliable. She loves the Lord, and was and is faithful to raise me in the ways of the Lord, and consistently challenges me to walk in His ways.
  6. My Mother-in-Law. She's NOT the stereotypical MIL. She's wonderful, too. She cares about me, not because I'm Chad's wife, but because she loves me, too. She too prays for our family on a consistent basis.
  7. My husband, Chad. It's been 13 wonderful years of marriage now, 5 of which have included motherhood. He's a great husband and caring, gentle and engaged Daddy.
  8. Ingrid, my firstborn...she's spirited, interesting, smart, creative, thoughtful, inquisitive, beautiful, quick to forgive and amazes me every minute.
  9. Ilsa, my baby...she's gentle, sweet, kind, soft-hearted, feminine, bright, engaging, funny, and completely delightful.
  10. My Lord and Savior. I could not have survived as a mommy this long without his grace and gentle guidance. Thank you Lord for allowing me to be a Mommy.
Even though the girls look MAD in the picture above, they were actually really happy and just acting silly.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

desert hike

This morning the four of us went for a short hike -- about an hour round-trip. The saguaro and prickly pear cacti are blooming (a once-a-year show) and we all missed it last year, as Chad was traveling in South America, and the girls and I were up in Washington State. It was 97 degrees when we hit the trail at about 10:15 am. The girls did remarkably well. After the hike, we rewarded ourselves with ice cream cones from, as Ingrid puts it, "that Q is for Queen Ice Cream place".
Ilsa was pretty warm and "done" by this point. Ingrid was tired, but not wiped out.

The prickly pear cactus has a beautiful flower that blooms for only one day; they bloom yellow, purple or red, even among the same species. They remind me of those paper flowers we made as kids in grade school art class. The flower dies, and the edible and very sweet fruit then ripens. The juice and pulp from the fruit is widely available here in Almost Mexico, and the prickly pear cactus fruit candy we tried last year (similar to Aplets & Cotlets, you Washingtonians) was delicious.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Trinity Church Blog: Just Say 'No!'

Click on this link to watch the video. Trinity Church Blog: Just Say 'No!', and then tell me what you any level of cloistering of value?

an ugly self-realization

I was speaking with a friend yesterday who had the courage, guts and Christian heart to tell me something that I needed to hear: that my displeasure and frustration with a certain individual is written all over my face whenever said person says something that doesn't sit right with me.

Yuck. I KNOW that I have this ugly habit that needs to be prayerfully removed. But I'm more thankful to know that I have a beautiful friend who will tell me when I need to trust that Christ will sanctify me progressively in this area of my life. Friends, will you hold me accountable in this area?

ilsaism = footernail

Usage: "Mommy, you need to cut my footernails."

it must be summer in almost mexico, az

I went out to get the mail today while in bare feet. I forgot just how hot and ouchie the cement is when it is 100. It must be summer, and time to keep the flip flops by the front door ready for quick trips out into the molten lava. We bought a cheapie blow-up pool for the girls last weekend as we knew the heat was coming, and it is already leaking. Chad predicted this. Ilsa calls it our "balloon pool", rightly so, because despite repeated warnings to make sure that no rocks get into it, I'm sure they will, and it'll just POP and sadness will ensue.

Our tomatoes are quickly starting to ripen now. We have also added Armenian cucumbers, seedless cukes and a couple of watermelon vines. Our potatoes survived and seem to be thriving (baby reds and Yukon Gold). I am just waiting for some sets so that I can cover them up (create furrows) with dirt so they'll start maturing into taters. The beans are going to town -- have a ton of flowers starting to turn into beans. I haven't caught a picture of her doing this, but the other day I found Ilsa sitting in her little folding ladybug chair picking Italian parsley by the handful and snorfing it. She said to me, "I'm eating salad, Mommy."

Finally, I crocheted two scarves this week: one for my Mom-in-Law's birthday and one for my Mom for Mother's Day. (Don't worry, Chad's Mom gets a Mother's Day present, too...) I particularly liked this pattern called "alternating windowpanes" that I found over at the cool Crochet Me site. You can't tell from the picture, but the yarn is a white cotton encased in an aqua blue nylon netting. It's very summery with lots of slubs and imperfections. I didn't think to take a picture of the one that I made for Chad's Mom; it turned out really well, too. It just did a simple double-crochet, but I pulled long strands down and around to create this "northern lights" pattern. It was a hand-dyed cotton in navy and cobalt blue, a very vivid kelly green, acid yellow and white. Both are very cool and summery. I hope they like them.
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