Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Learning: Rooty Tooty Fresh-n-Fruity

Those of you who read my blog with scrutiny may have seen that "Learn the Fruits of the Spirit" was one of the items on our family's "Summer To-Do List."

"What is this all about?" you may have asked yourself.

Well, I'm glad you asked, O Scrutinous Blog Reader.

The idea came to me a few weeks ago when I was trying to describe to Bennett how we needed more peace in our home. He asked me, "What is peace Mama?" And while I was explaining it to him, this simple idea was born. I didn't want to overwhelm him or myself with tons of elaborate summer preschool curriculum like I used to. I though that focusing on a new "Fruit of the Spirit" each week could provide some opportunities for spiritual growth for the whole family as well as some arts&crafts, cutting, math and music along the way.

So here's what we did. First we made a big blank tree on butcher paper and hung it on the playroom door. (This is also what I do for my thankfulness tree in the fall.) I'm no artist, and my tree is proof of that, but the kids don't care.

Then, each week, we choose a fruit that begins with the same letter as the virtue we are learning. For instance, a lemon for love.

And a pineapple for peace. I also wrote a simple, easy-to-understand definition on each fruit that I keep repeating to my kids every day at breakfast. The kids get to paste the fruit up on the tree, and this helps us to continue reviewing all the fruits we've learned.

I also choose a Bible verse that corresponds to the Fruit O' the Week and post it on the chalkboard in our eating area. Here's the verse for love.

The verse for peace was "Live at peace with everyone." (Romans 12:18)

Again, those scrutiny-filled readers may notice that we skipped "Joy" on our tree. This is because I did "Peace" early... we've had a lot of fighting around here lately, and I thought we needed some peace ASAP! So I broke the order for the greater good.

And now we're doing Joy this week.

Our fruit for Joy is actually going to be "Jelly" because there are no fruits that begin with the letter J! Jelly counts as fruit in my book. Long live jelly!

And my kid-friendly definition for Joy is: Having a happy heart no matter what happens.

Joy's verse is: Proverbs 15: 13 "A happy heart makes the face cheerful."

Also: Throughout the week, I really try to phrase things using our 'Fruit O' the Week,' so the meaning will really sink in for the kids.

For instance, I use it to lovingly correct, as in, "Bennett, is that a good way to seek peace with your sister? Or are you stirring up fighting?" OR "Mallory, that wasn't a very joyful attitude." OR "Bennett, those weren't very loving words."

Or better yet, I use it when I'm praising the kids for great behavior. As in... "Bennett! I'm so proud of the way you handled that peacefully!" OR "Great job, Mallie! I love your joyful attitude!" You get the picture. This serves as a good reminder of what we are working on.

So there you have it... our Rooty Tooty Fresh -n-Fruity Summer Learning!

Monday, July 11, 2011

DIY Art: Eye Chart

I need to fill the blank walls of my boudoir with some art! I've seen all this super cute "eye chart" art on Etsy lately... like this one and this one. Love them.

So I decided to make my own using a song we are always singing at our house.

It was super easy, and I love how it turned out! I downloaded a font called "Eye Chart" and then just wrote out my text and set to work making lines of descending size.

I think it will look awesome matted in a white frame.

Can't wait to add some personalized love to our bedroom.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pizza... You Singin'-a My Song!

I love my Dad. The title of this post is an ode to him and all the funny little inside-joke phrases we have together.

I don't really know where the phrase originated, but EVERY time I have eaten pizza with my Dad since the day of my birth, he always loudly proclaims in a pseudo-Italian accent, "Pizza! You singin'-a my song!" It's a silly little tradition that I love.

I hope that when my kids are grown, we have a lot of little family inside-jokes like that. These little things are what truly add up to create tight family bonds for life.

Anyway, back to pizza. I experimented with a few favorite flavors and came up with a pizza that I LOVE!

It was inspired by my favorite pizza from Mandy's Pizza... the Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza!

So, without further adieu, here's the how you make it.

First, take yo' pizza crust. This one is the whole wheat from Trader Joe's. (Love P-Dub's recipe too! ) Spread the dough on your pan, and spread on a layer of ranch dressing... like so:
Next, add your toppings: chopped, cooked chicken (I used leftover grilled from the night before), crispy chopped bacon and diced tomatoes. I would have thrown some green onions on there too if I'd had any. Next... the cheese! I used grated mozzarella.
Then bake it in a 475 oven until browned and crispy!!! (about 8-10 minutes)

Look how delicious!!
And now, before I take my leave, one more time... all together...

Pizza! You singin'-a my song!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Just when you've given up all hope on motherhood...

This last week has been difficult, parenting-wise. After last week's busy-ness (VBS, staying up late at our family reunion, 4th of July and sickness all around), the kids have finally hit their limit. There has been fighting and grumpiness non-stop... and my patience has been waning.

But just when I had given up all hope, something magical happened.

I came downstairs and found this:
My son, without any parental prompting, made me a "present" complete with Star Wars "gift bag" and took paper and a marker to his Daddy to dictate a message to me.

Here's what my sweet boy put inside the present he made for me. Some favorite little toys and trinkets. He was so excited about giving it to me.And here's the card.

It's hard to photograph the words because he used blue marker on blue paper.

It reads:
Dear Mom,
We love you, and it's Bennett Clark Anderson and it's Daddy.
I love you for the sweet words you say and because you're so beautiful and pretty. We love you so much!


And just like that all my frustration melts away, and once again, I am reminded why motherhood, despite its many difficulties, is such a precious gift...

...moments like these.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Blogspiration: Shameless Copy Cat

I am a shameless copy cat, and I'm not afraid to admit it.

Why re-invent the wheel? If I love the way someone does something, I figure... why not completely, utterly and shamelessly copycat them?

Such was the case when I saw this post from Leslie.

I LOOOOOOVE this idea of planning out intentional summer fun and prioritizing your favorite activities for this season.

I loved this idea so much, that I copy-catted.
And when I say that I copy-catted, I mean, like super specifically copy-catted. You will notice that I even copied the way she wrote "Summer List" at the top with the little sunshine. Like I said, if it ain't broke...