Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stephanie's Bikini?

Faith's project for the day is to make hummus and pita bread. My good friend from Az gave me a hummus recipe and after writing down the ingredients I realized that I may have a problem finding one of the ingredients at the local grocery.

It calls for Sesame Tahini, so I got the number for the grocery store and gave them a call.

The lady picked up and I said, "Yes, I was wondering if you carry sesame tahini?"


Oh my.


"Oh, just a minute."

They ended up having it but the whole time Mike was in the background pretending to be on an intercome calling out,"Yes, will the customer Stephanie Bikini please come to customer service."

It was pretty funny.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Faith Blogs

Faith has been writing poetry this week and is so good at it!! I have never really enjoyed writing poetry so when I saw that we had a several week long unit on it I wasn't super thrilled. But she loves it and it comes pretty naturally to her. Check out her poetry here .



The girls had their recital on Sunday. It was a long day for us but it was great! Kylee played California Surf''in and she did awesome! She had memorized her song and wasn't even a bit nervous. Hopefully I can post video soon.

Faith played four pages of the Entertainer, which she also had memorized. She did great. She had a little hiccup in the middle of the song but got back on track and finished it up. Mike and I were so proud!! She was so, so nervous!! I felt bad for her because I am totally that way when I have to do something in front of a group of people!

And yes the boys did as well as could be expected. Dad gave them candy and except for the occasional crunch they were so quiet. Especially when Joshi fell asleep with his candy cane in his mouth....Yes, I took it out right after the picture.


Monday, January 28, 2008


We spent the day in Chicago on Friday. I had organized a field trip to the Adler planetarium for our home school group so that was our first stop. It was nice, but lots and lots of school groups. Now, I am not trying to be anti-public school here I am just giving an observation from the museum time we have spent this year, but the school groups are just soooo rowdy. It seems like maybe there are too many kids and not enough supervision, and the supervision they do have don't seem to have much control. So in the bigger museums it isn't too bad because you can get away from those groups but the Adler is a smaller museum so it was a bit crazy. But we did get to see a few things before we took off for the Museum of Science and Industry.

The Museum of Science and Industry is huge and also free for the rest of January so it was awesome!!! Mike and I refuse to pay the parking garages so we found great parking down the street and walked in the - degrees temperatures. Our ears were a tad cold but it was worth the 20 bucks!! I think the Museum of Science and Industry is my favorite so far. So interactive and just a lot of cool stuff to experience and see.

After climbing a bit on this cool rock wall at the Museum we were all starved and decided to hit China Town for a little dim sum. We made it to Happy Chef Dim Sum by three o'clock so we got to experience dim sum which they only serve until 4. It was so good. We tried a bunch of cool stuff, some that we had tried before and some that we hadn't. And the kids had a blast reading the signs of the food we didn't try like geoduck and eel.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

-7 Feels Like -24

I am not complaining, because we have had a fairly mild winter, for Il., but I have to say when I woke up and checked the weather this morning and saw "feels like -24" my heart dropped a little.

You know it is cold when you look forward to the high of 22 predicted for tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kylee and Venom?

Seriously, I had no idea.

Who knew that when we let the kids watch the American Gladiators it would effect them so strongly.

I have to admit the first time I ever saw the old American Gladiators was a couple of months ago when Mike and I were on a date. We were eating an embarrassing amount of wings at Buffalo Wild Wings and there on the big screen they were showing retro shows of American Gladiators. I laughed so hard and Mike told me that he used to watch that show when he was a kid. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

So, when I saw that they were reviving it and it was going to be back on t.v. I knew the kids would enjoy it.

But who knew how much they would enjoy it. Kylee told me the other night while it was on that when she grows up she wants to BE a gladiator on the show. Okay, to be honest I can totally see this. But then she went on to say that when her and Seth play American Gladiators she is Venom and Seth is Justice. Seth chose Justice because they both have mohawks.

Makes sense.

But wait a second, when they play American Gladiators??!!! I didn't even know this was going on!! I don't think I want to know how they are playing American Gladiators, but I am sure that little Joshi is involved somehow.

Poor Joshi.


Empress Orchid

Wow! I just finished this book and I loved it so, so much!! It covers the first part of the last empress of China's life. It is so well written. I don't know how much of it was fact or fiction, since there is a second book that covers the rest of her life, and I don't want to read up on her too much until I finish the second book. It is written in first person so that leads me to believe that it is fictionalized quite a bit. But the bits of Chinese history in there are so fascinating.
This book reminded me a lot of Memoirs of a Geisha, which I loved.
So I am going to brave the snow and cold today to get to the library. I do have books that have reached their renewal limit, but also, I have to get the second book!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Okay here is a confession. I don't know my geography. I don't know what happened, I really honestly don't remember there being a big emphasis on geography when I was in school. I was a good student, not the best, but good and I am sure that if I had a problem with it I would have remembered. I am sure we did have to learn where things were in the world, and I just learned it for the test. All I know is that it is not one of my strengths.

My curriculum puts a huge emphasis on it. And I want my kids to really learn it. It is so important. I don't want them to learn it for the test or to please me, I want them to know how important it is to know the world around you and to be informed.

I think this rant all came about when I was listening to a mom help her kid the other night with his geography. We were at basketball practice and he was supposed to know all his Midwestern states and their capitals by the end of the week for the test. The mom was putting such an emphasis on learning it for the test that I knew that even if he did learn it in time for the test he was not going to retain it. He as much as told his mom this. How sad. It is such an important thing. I love that we can immerse ourselves in the area and really learn it and not have the pressure that you have to pass the test.

So I urge parents who have their kids in school to encourage creativity in their kids learning and to help them learn it for real and not just to pass a test. I am living proof that that system doesn't work!!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Food Issues

Tomorrow we are going to hit a Greek restaurant for lunch!! I am excited about it. I can't say I have eaten much Greek food. I looked at some recipes to maybe make some but there were just too many strange ingredients that I was afraid of. Who know maybe I will try it and decide to cook it myself!!

I did make an awesome crock pot full of chili tonight which was gobbled by everyone except my one sweet picky eater. Faith has really grown and gotten to be such a great eater, but chili is just asking a little much.

Eating was a parenting issue that I wasn't sure how to deal with when we first became parents. I struggled quite a bit with food when I was little. I was determined not to create those same problems in my child, but created in the process a whole slew of other issues. I was determined not to make her eat anything she didn't want to when she was very little. I ended up creating a very strong willed not-eater.... A few years into it Mike and I changed our philosophy on parent-feeding, and things have gone a lot smoother. We began encouraging her to try new things in small bits. It was not a pretty sight in the beginning. Let me tell you there were some down right ugly meals. But when she realized our will was stronger than hers and we weren't asking her to eat an entire plate of something she hated, she did begin to try new things. We were able to slowly add more and more things and increase the amounts. We went from a child that wouldn't eat pizza with sauce on it to a child that would not only eat the sauce but ask for pepperoni on it!! Now she doesn't love certain things still, like spaghetti with sauce and meatloaf will never be a fave, but she will eat a Faith portion with very little complaint and will even thank me afterwards for making her dinner!


Monday, January 14, 2008

Sports Insanity

This weekend I went on the mission of trying to look into spring sports. I have to admit i hate this task. I have a hard time paying for and planning for a sport that won't start until May.

Both Kylee and Seth played baseball/softball last year and want to play again. The problem is that we played in a weird league last year, although very good and very reasonably priced, it was also pretty far from our home and with two practices a week and two games a week it was just too much driving for me, and that was before Saturday services started!! i don't think I could do it on my own.

So I looked into some leagues closer to home and I was blown away! What are they thinking? The prices to participate are just out of this world. When did children's sports become a big money making venture? Now I am sure that there are costs involved and I don't mind paying my part but these prices seem ridiculous.

Example- one local league's fees went like this-

100 dollars for Seth to play, 110 dollars for Kylee to play and 180 dollar fund raising/family fee. Apparently if you sell your allotted raffle tickets before the first game you make the 100 dollars back. RRRRight. I can't even tell you how much I am not going to be selling raffle tickets!

This doesn't seem okay to me. What in the world is all this money going towards? They aren't paying the coaches, oh don't even get me started again on the 50 dollar coach gift that is expected of each parent at the end of the season, and the t-shirts couldn't be that much....Are the fields that expensive to maintain and don't our city taxes pay for anything?

That is just too much for a little kid to play a sport. Even if I had 400 dollars laying around I wouldn't pay for this. It just doesn't seem right.

Oh, and the league that is actually in our town is just as expensive, but you have to know someone to get into it. They have such a high demand to be on their league that they don't except mail-in or internet registration. Yeah they expect the parents to line up at some awful hour in the morning, outside because they don't open until later, but if you don't line up early your sweet-ums will not get a place on their precious team. Have I mentioned how cold it is here? Who is doing this?????

So as much as I would love the kids to participate in the team sports this spring unless someone has another alternative for me it isn't going to happen.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Six Down

Everyone in the house has been sick again. It seems like the last few years we have been so fortunate not to come down with every illness, so this must be our year.

Unfortunately Mike got it this time and almost lost his voice this last weekend. He was a trooper though and with some vocal help made it through the three services. I thought I was going to escape it completely seeing that i had been around it for over a week and it hadn't caught me. But at last, Tuesday I started feeling bad and here I am with the nasty cough and yuck. But at least I can get up and move unlike the last illness.

I think we have had our fair share this winter and should get a little break.

I also think this is the time my kids miss being school kids. Tuesday when Faith also woke up with a fever and feeling bad I gave her some meds., made her some hot tea, and handed her, her assignment sheet with her books. Man, I remember when I was in school just hoping for that fever so you could get a day off, all it does for my kids is change the location the work gets done.

Back to work!


Monday, January 7, 2008

Back to the Work!!

I just read a post by my friend Joni about kids going back to school after break. It's funny because at Wahabu yesterday the lead teacher asked if anyone was excited about going back to school and my hand shot up. I heard some chuckles behind me and thought they must think I am excited they are leaving the house, but Joni hit it right on the head for me. Even though my kids will not be leaving the house for school I am totally ready for us to get back to our routine. The kids need the routine, and I need the routine. After two weeks of too much candy, cookies, Christmas specials, and SpongeBob, I think we are all ready for a little normalcy.

This week we are looking at the Ancient Greeks. We will be trying to make a Greek yo-yo, a fresco master piece, and of course a Trojan horse. I am excited about the literature these next two weeks because I think they are really going to enjoy it. Kylee starts her fifth grade math book this week which is huge for her and very exciting!!!

So we start school year 2008!!!


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Great Snow, A Great City and A Great Dinner

Trying to get back to life today. Mike took me away for our anniversary and it was awesome!!! You can read about it and see pictures here.

People tell you not to talk about your kids while you are on a date or away on a trip and make it sound like such a big deal, not for us!!! We had such a great time together and didn't struggle with the no kids thing at all!!!! Don't get me wrong I love my kids but I love my husband more and he is such a fun person to be around. We had a fabulous time talking and laughing and being silly.

And the food!!! Oh my! Scott, rocks!!! I almost called him several times during the meal to thank him for recommending it. It was a whole experience. Fabulous.

The walk 6 blocks in the falling snow in my cute black dress and high heels was romantic and really, really cold and wet!! Chicago is incredible in the falling snow at night. You have to experience it. If it weren't for children I would beg to live in the city.

Our hotel was perfect. A perfect mix of new and old. Traditional and contemporary. I loved it. Unfortunately Mike and I are too old and the youngsters down the hall wanted to party till 5. I will ask the median age of people staying on our floor next time!!! Still a great night.

I love my sweet man and love that he went through all the planning for me. It was awesome.

I looked at the traditional and contemporary list for his gift. For 13 the traditional is lace and the contemporary is textile or fur. I got him new tennis shoes with LACES and a cool new jacket. Jackets are hard for Mike because he doesn't wear them. So I got him a lighter weight one that I thought was pretty cool.

Okay so I have to pack up Christmas today and do laundry. Nothing like laundry to bring you back to the real world:)