Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Daily Dose Of Jenga

I love my time with Shane. Yes, I miss my girls but I have really enjoyed my one on one time with my boy! I have tried to be purposeful with the time Shane and I spend together. I know all too soon he will be off to school and also know next year there will be a toddler demanding a little of my attention. Shane is so excited to have a brother but I am afraid his little brother just might rock his "I'm the center of my mommy's world!" This week Shane and I were hanging out at Barnes and Noble reading books and playing trains and he looked at me with his big brown eyes and said, "Mommy don't you just love spending time with me!" Yes I do my sweet boy!

One of the things that Shane and I do a lot is play games. We usually get a daily dose or two of Jenga. It actually is a great game for hand eye coordination. Shane is pretty diligent and continues to improve!

I love watching his little fingers at work!

Hmmmmm which one should I try to take out!

Slowly, Slowly ....

Look at the concentration in his little eyes!

Love those big brown eyes!

It is getting harder to find a piece that wiggles!

I love how the game changes each time!

Hoping this piece doesn't make it fall!

Can't wait for our game tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chinese New Year Ideas and Web Sites

I had a couple people e-mail and ask me where I found some of the printables and crafts for our Chinese New Year celebration. Hope you enjoy!

Dragon Puppet

Chinese Lantern

Lucky Money Envelopes - I printed the tiger one on red paper to make it a red envelope

Chinese Number Symbols

Chinese Symbols or Character Cards

Coloring Printables

This web site had tons of fun ideas

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year

Eric and I are so excited about our trip to China to get our little boy. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him, pray for him, wonder what he is doing, what he looks like and all those things that are a great mystery to us but not to our Heavenly Father who has orchestrated this whole process. The kids continue to embrace this journey we are on. They daily ask questions and pray for him. It is fun to see them process and ask questions. Eric and I are excited to bring various Chinese customs and traditions into our home. We hope in time we can share some of these with family and friends as well.

The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday to the people of China. It is a 15 day celebration of a lot of food, parades, fireworks and special gifts. This year the Chinese New Year started on February 14. The date of the Chinese New Year changes every since it is based on the lunar year. The Chinese calender follows a 12-year pattern and each year it is named after an animal. This year it is the Year of the Tiger.

Since the kids didn't have school today we spent a good chunk of the day reading books, making crafts and preparing for our first Chinese New Year Celebration.

The girls had fun coloring a variety of different printables that I found.

We also made some red envelops which I will explain later in the post.

The kids had fun making a dragon puppet. The Chinese dragon comes out and dances and weaves through the streets during the parade. The dragon brings wisdom, wealth and happiness.

The kids then were busy making Chinese lanterns to decorate the table. Alexa wanted to draw Chinese symbols on her lantern so we found some to print off.

Shane got busy drawing a picture of his brother on his lantern.

Emma added some Chinese number symbols to her lantern.

The kids were very excited how they turned out. The quickly ran upstairs to put them on the table.

We got the tea pot and the tea cups out for dinner. Shane could hardly wait for Eric to get home to have some tea. He took one sip and decided it wasn't what he expected.

Oranges and tangerines are a big part of the Chinese New Year celebration. Since oranges are China's most plentiful fruit, food prepared with oranges symbolizes wealth and good fortune. So oranges were part of our dinner.
We also had Chinese Orange Chicken, Shrimp and Orange skewers, carrots and rice. We were going to have Chinese long noodles which represent longevity in life but I couldn't find the recipe I had found earlier in the day for them.

The kids had so much fun trying to figure out how to use chop sticks. Alexa kept giggling!

Eric was giving us all lessons.

Emma trying to figure it out with a big smile!

Shane thought if he had his mouth wide open it just might help him. The kids were a riot to watch but I have to admit I was the first one to put the chop sticks down and use my fork.

After dinner the kids were excited to open their fortune cookies and read them.

We finished the evening with the kids opening their red envelopes. The kids are all given red envelopes, or hong baos. They are filled with "lucky money" for a rich New Year.

Inside were some yummy chocolate coins.

We had a fun day learning about the Chinese culture, reading books, making crafts, eating yummy food but most of all laughing and enjoying our dinner as a family. We talked about how we hope next Chinese New Year we will have one more sweet little boy at our table celebrating with us! It will make our celebration so much sweeter!

Gung hay fat choy
Happy Chinese New Year

Saturday, February 13, 2010

On Saturday we decided to spend the day as a family and celebrate Valentine's Day! My morning was started with a Starbucks coffee in bed. If only every morning could start like that! Then we were treated with a big yummy breakfast by Eric.

At the breakfast table Eric had a rose for all of his girls ....

and a puppy for Shane. Shane named him Jo Jo McDonald!

We spent the day just hanging out together. We had a Candy Land tournament. Emma came out on top and I finished up in 5th place getting schooled by the other 4 members of my family.

Eric and I also had a Pinochle tournament.

Emma sported some heart socks for Valentine's Day!

We enjoyed a nice dinner together.

The kids loved drinking out of real glasses with fun straws!

Eric cooked up some yummy pasta with scallops and mushrooms!

Alexa is our pasta eater! She was loving life!

Shane thought the strawberries with whip cream were pretty tasty.

Emma was all smiles with her lip gloss and sparkly powder!

The girls got their Valentine's pj's on. Can you guess who had their pants rolled up? We had such a nice day just hanging out and spending time as a family. We didn't even break out the Valentine's aprons to do our Valentine's Day baking. We decided to spend our afternoon just relaxing. It sure was a great day!

Hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Getting Ready For Valentine's Day

Alexa and Emma were very excited to get their Valentine's ready for the classmates. I have a binder of ideas and crafts that I've gathered from various places. Emma was thumbing through it a while back and decided she wanted to make heart crayons for her classmates for Valentine's Day. Shane decided he would like to make heart crayons too but decided playing with his Lego's was more fun than participating in making them.

Emma carefully peeled all the papers off the crayons.

We then chopped all the crayons up and mixed them up.

Emma carefully placed the crayons in a heart mini muffin pan.

We put them in a 250 degree oven for 10 -15 minutes. We let them cool and then popped them out!

We attached them to a little card and Emma was ready for her Valentine's Day party at school.

Alexa loves those little candy hearts. So she decided that she wanted to get everyone a box of her favorite Valentine's candy. She carefully wrote all her friends name on each box. It always brings back such fun memories when I was a kid and filled out my Valentine's for my classmates. Alexa ended up getting strep throat so wasn't able to be at school for her party. She thought it was fun when Emma brought her bag of Valentine's home for her. The girls have poured over their Valentine's numerous times.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


It feels like it has been a really long, cold, crazy winter! I told Eric this week I was going to pack our bags and head to the airport.  I was going to hop on a plane and head to the beach and beach school the kids the rest of the winter.  And then I was shaken back to reality.  I have a feeling we are going to live outside this spring and summer! Can't wait to see the flowers start to bloom.  Even thought it was freezing this week here are a couple things that made my days a little brighter! 

It was crazy cold like -5 when I took this picture but the sky was clear, blue and the sun was shining! It was so nice to see the sun shining! 

My husband left notes like this all over the kitchen! What a fun surprise when I opened different cupboards, drawers and the fridge!

Alexa was home this week with Strep Throat.  She wasn't feeling great but we sure enjoyed our morning together yesterday reading books and cuddling on the couch while Emma was at school and Shane was at preschool.  It isn't too often that I have morning of cuddling with my big girl.  It was a nice treat even though she was sick! 

I sure can't wait for spring but am glad there are things during these long winter months that make my days a little brighter!

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