Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Hook, Ladder, Rope and Balloon

We knew our child from the get-go was a little engineer. I remember the day she started crawling. It was Easter weekend 2008 and we were getting ready to head out  to the sandbar on our boat.  Lallie was hanging out in my room in her little green and red outfit, crawling around the floor for the first time. She crawled over to her bouncy chair and started examining the bolts. Husband and I watched as she looked at the bolt from one side and then from the other side, figuring out how the thing was put together. And that's when we knew.... we have yet another engineer in the family.

So the other night, Daddy and Lallie are having a conversation about Jesus and this is what she had to say ....from an engineering standpoint.

Lallie:   Where does Jesus live?
Daddy:   In heaven.

Lallie:   That’s way up high?
Daddy:   Way, way up high?

Lallie:   Above the clouds?
Daddy:   Yes.

Lallie:   How does he get down?
Daddy:   He doesn’t come down?

Lallie:   He has to come down!? Sometimes.
Daddy:   Not often.

Lallie:   When he comes down, I think he comes down in a balloon.
Daddy:   I don’t know.

Lallie:   A balloon with a hook.
Daddy:   What?

Lallie:   A hook and a rope.
Daddy:   Why a rope?

Lallie: For the hook to hold onto.
Daddy: I don’t understand.

Lallie:   So he can hook a tree for the balloon to hold oooonn (long drawn “on”).
Daddy:   Oh. Maybe?

Lallie:   And a ladder to get back in the balloon when he wants to go home.
Daddy:   I love you Lallie.

A little engineer for Christ.
Happy Wednesday Y'all

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Lenten Promise

Yes, yes, I know I am nearly a whole week late getting started.  I have thought and thought about what I would give up for Lent this year and I have to admit, I have not gained much past success in this department. This year I am determined.

So what is my promise?  I'm shamed to admit this.  Yes, shamed!

I am giving up fast food and soda.  (I know that Lisa, my trainer, is reading this with her head held low thinking "didn't I teach her anything in Body Back classes?")  Yes, I am shamed.

But I will insert a disclaimer here (because, you know, we all have excuses thanks to Adam and Eve)...
I eat the *good* fast food.  Diet soda or lemonade, Wendy's salad, fresco tacos at Taco Bell. I don't drink soda at home, pretty much only water.  Okay, there was that one bacon cheeseburger, but give me a break!  It was 10:00 at night and we were on the way home from the hospital with Lallie's cracked head and we were hungry.  Excuses.
Shame again....yes, Lallie ate the McDonald's chicken nuggets.  Blech!

You saw my post a few days ago about eating healthier foods and organic.  We do eat well at home when I cook, but with two working parents, it's hard to get our schedules together sometimes for that dinner meal.  In this particular post, I'm talking mostly about lunches when I'm out on the road with work.  Breakfast and dinners we eat at home and Lallie, she gets a very balanced and nutritious lunch every day, packed by yours truly.  I just don't practice what I preach to my family during the lunch hour.  With my becoming more and more educated about healthy eating, this is the next step.

****As a side note, we don't feed Lallie fast food very often at all.  But McDonald's, they sure do have their marketing strategies down!  Lallie looked at me from the back seat a couple days ago and asked when we can go to McDonald's so she can get her box of hope.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly appreciate McDonald's charity work and am glad they are giving back to those in need through the Ronald McDonald's House Charities.  It really is a worthly cause.  But, HOPE certainly does NOT come from a little red box filled with junk food and a toy.  Hope comes from family, friends, Godparents, prayer, from within and most importantly, from God himself.  Sorry for the disgusted me that McDonald's is selling hope to my 4 year old via their food (you should have seen me try to explain this one to Lallie!).  We don't let Lallie watch much TV except for Sprout and PBS, so I'm not 100% sure where she saw this commercial.***

Anyways, I'm giving up anything fast food.  That is, food you have to get from a drive through.  Through work, I am often on the road and I admit, staying in my car rather than getting out to walk to a Publix is much more convenient.  But no more!  I shall prevail!  I plan to go shopping and fill my large office fridge with healthy foods.

What will this accomplish?
  1. I will become healthier.
  2. My pocket book sure won't suffer!
  3. Husband will hopefully follow suit and join me.
  4. Lallie,  though she doesn't eat this much anyways, won't be tempted.
  5. I'm doing this as my Lenten promise to God to support this temple he has given me.
What are your Lentent promises?  I'm anxious to hear!

Happy Tuesday Y'all!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Wheat Grass and Puppets

We had a fabulous weekend at the SLPS household!  Saturday, Husband had a church council retreat from about 10 am to 2 pm so Lallie and I headed to the library for a puppet show and some book checkouts.  We were lucky that Daddy's meeting was at the same library, so we got to pop in and say hello!
We met our friend, Georgie, at the puppet show!  Isn't she a doll?
Lallie LOVES books and was thrilled to spend some time checking out some new ones for nightly reading.
Earlier that morning, before we headed to the library, Lallie assembled our new wheat grass plants.  I had picked up a kit from the nearby farmer I told you about on Friday and Lallie was thrilled to plant them.  She actually didn't want to go to the library as she feared she might miss the first sprout!

Pouring in the seeds and packing them down.

Next comes the watering!

All done!  Now we wait for them to start growing!
Saturday night, I headed to our local Junior League fundraiser....the one that I chaired last year (HERE and HERE).  I worked the ticket counter and was able to greet all the guests which was great!  I didn't miss a friend or a face!  I didn't stay for the full fundraiser this year but I did bring Husband home a few cupcake goodies!  It was a good gift considering he was in a retreat all day to come home and have me leave for the rest of the night.

Did I mention that the U.K. Wildcats won their 51st straight basketball game at home on Saturday as well?  I didn't. Well, they sure did!  Our coach hasn't lost a single game at home since coming to Kentucky.  We are SO looking forward to the SEC and NCAA championships this year a/k/a March Madness! 
Terrance Jones
Sunday after church, we headed home for a lazy day around the house.  We cleaned out the garden a bit (the tomatoes are still coming in at full force!), I finished up the flower girl dresses for Ashleigh's wedding and I caught Daddy and Lallie watching Singing in the Rain.

Here are a few pictures I promised the family from a couple weekends ago.  It was a beautiful, cool and windy day, so we headed outside for some kite flying.
Throw in a picture of our crazy geriatric dog (named UK after our fabulous Wildcats!)  He was trying to see the kite! :-)
Kite running.

Lallie has also become a "carpentress."  All she needs is a pink drill set, pink goggles and a pink measuring tape (which Lallie has promptly requested yet again, last night) and she is all set for carpentering work!
Excuse her was a wild day at the SLPS house!
Hope everyone has a wonderful start to the week!

Happy Monday Y'all!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Eating Organic: Best tasting food we've ever eaten

My family has been eating organic beef and chicken for some time now.  A few months after we moved into our new house in 2009, we started purchasing all our beef, chicken and some seafood from a local distributor who brings the individually packaged and organic items to our home every couple of weeks.  
Every once in a while, the "Meat Guy" as we call him (his real name is Ron) doesn't stop by and I have to go buy grocery store chicken and it is so rubbery and strange tasting to us now.  I'd rather not eat if we don't have our Meat Guy chicken. 
Recently, I discovered an organic farm fairly close to us that sells not only organic meats, but veggies and all kinds of other fun things.  I try to visit weekly but it's sometimes difficult due to the distance but it's well worth it.  I took a tour a couple months ago and found that this farm grows 60-75% of what it sells.  And what it doesn't grow comes from 100% organic farms.  And I mean the TRUE organic....not the organic that sells on the boxes at Publix or Whole Foods. 

*Just because it says organic doesn't really necessarily mean it's 100% organic if the full sense of the word.  Also be sure to not confuse "natural" "free range" and "cage free" with organic.  Being one doesn't automatically make them them the other.*  Look it up on the Internet.

Some articles say that eating organic isn't necessarily healthier. Fine, I'll give you that in vitamins and minerals. But one thing is for sure, we're not eating harmful pesticides and fungicides and we're definitely not eating a bunch of added hormones. Lallie will certainly be flat chested going into elementary it should be!


Moving on....the food is absolutely amazing.  Even Lallie eats her veggies without complaint (yes, even the "little trees" a/k/a broccoli).  I don't yet know if it's a mental thing or if the food truly is that much more tasty.  Whatever it is, the prices are very comparable to even those of Walmart and the produce is one hundred times better!  We've added more spinach, broccoli and kale to our diets.  The potatoes are sweeter than I've ever tasted.  The strawberries barely make it through the door before they're eaten in entirety and the veggie chips are Lallie's favorite new snack (made at the farm).  I even use their organic made olive oil and their locally produced eggs (the yolks are the size of your palm!). 


I'd love to try their bee pollen.  Bee pollen you might say?  Yep, here are some of the benefits:
  • Holds of aging
  • Increases libido in men and women
  • Increases energy
  • Is anti-carcinogenic
  • Helps promote weight loss and increased metabolism
  • Apparently you could live of bee pollen as it has every enzyme, vitamin and mineral you could possibly imagine!
I'm also wanting to pick up some wheatgrass which aids in lowering blood pressure, increases metabolism and can help with many issues of the GI tract (ever wonder why dogs eat grass when they're stomachs are upset....(*light bulb!*).  

Wheatgrass, interestingly, also has soothing oils for sunburns, itches and cuts, it increases fertility and sweetens your breath.  It can even reverse grey hairs when ingested regularly and can help with sleep just from sitting a pot next to your bed!  Amazing stuff! 

Kale and Arugula (Via)

Anyways....I'm sold.  Clearly.  And so far, my family is as well.  I'm not only becoming more educated but we're eating better in the process!  Yesterday I was at the grocery store and except for bread....I didn't even shop the center aisles (which is what they say to avoid when you're trying to eat healthy as all the processed foods are in the center aisles). 

Do y'all eat organic foods?  Tell me about your experience.  I'd love to start and chat and hear what you have to say! 

Happy Friday Y'all!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pick My Dress: Rehearsal Dinner

Ashleigh's wedding is getting close!  Of course, I already have my attire for the wedding itself so now I'm shopping for the rehearsal dinner dress.  It is cocktail dress attire with the men in golf attire. 

I would like to show you Ashleigh's dress, but it's a secret from her betrothed.  It's definitely a show stopper for sure!  So keeping her dress in mind and the fact that she's the bride and all attention should be on her, I think I want to go with something a little more understated than my usual attire (ahem....Lilly Pulitzer). 

Yes, you heard me.  I'm putting my bright and airy Lilly aside and going with something one-colored.  That doesn't mean that the dress has to be boring or any less classy though, right?  (And okay, I squeezed in one or two Lilly's hear...but I'm thinking the Black Bowen over the Whitaker).

So, has anyone rented from Rent the Runway?  I've been a member for a year now but have never actually rented from them.  I haven't heard about any experiences but know the company is growing like crazy, so I guess they're doing pretty well.  Yesterday, I received an email from Rent the Runway saying I have a $20 credit for being a member for over a year.  Perfect!  I can rent a fabulous (and normally very expensive) dress for pennies on the dollar!  All the ones I'm showing below rent for $50.00.

Here are some of the dresses I'm considering.  I have my favorites and the ones I think most appropriate.  But I'm curiou, what do y'all think?  And of course, I'm most curious about Ashleigh's opinion!  :-)

Milly Sail Away Dress
Nanette Lepore Daisy Lace Dress

Kate Spade Andora Dress
Lilly Pulitzer Whitaker Dress
Lilly Pulitzer Black Bowen Dress
Nicole Miller Wall Street Woman Dress

Kate Spade Aubrey Wrap Dress

I can't wait to hear what y'all think both about the dresses and about Rent the Runway

Happy Thursday Y'all!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday

 Hey Y'all!  I'm hosting {Semi} Wordless Wednesday today over at Flip Flops and Pearls!  Hop on over there, check it out and then link up with your own {Semi} Wordless Wednesday.


See y'all over there!  :-)

Happy Thursday Y'all!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Beach, Swimming and a Cracked Head

We had a super busy weekend!  Yes siree!  Friday night, we attended Fantastic Friday, a fabulous program for young adults at our church.  The youth pastor and other volunteers (usually Confirmation students) babysit young kids starting at age 3 for a parent's night out!  The kids complete crafts, watch a movie and chow down on popcorn while the parents either go out by themselves for a date night or get together as a group.  Friday, we decided to get together as a group at a friends house for a potluck style dinner and in typical married fashion....the men sat outside and chatted about getting old and dying and the women sat inside gossiping, trading recipes and chatting about the kids.  It was a lot of fun though as this gives all of us a chance to get to know the other couples in the church that we might not have known already.

Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day!  It was breezy and just warm enough to head to the beach!  It was too windy to take the boat out on the water and since the local municipality is dredging the inlets and canals, it was a little busy out there, so we just headed to the sandy paradise!  Lallie LOVED playing in the sand, but is still very intimidated by the waves.  When we take on the boat out to the sandbar, there are hardly ever any waves, so she's not really used to them.  She can play around in the water, catching sea creatures and looking for shells without any white caps.  And we really don't hit the beach but maybe once per year (because when you live somewhere, you never go anywhere!)  I can't blame her though.  I stayed away from the waves as well.  I mean, it is February and the water was FREEZING!  At least I can finally work on that base tan!! :-)
Ahhhhhh.....paradise!  No chairs for us.  We Floridians know how to "work" the sand!
Lallie:  "I love this bathing suit, the bottoms and the boobies!" :-)

It did get a little chilly depending on the wind, so Lallie kept taking on and off her rash guard.

Saturday night, we headed over to a friends house for game night.  We do this every other month or so.  Very casual.  Pizza, salad and brownies.  Our friend's daughter is only two years old, so we headed over there, took Lallie's PJs and toothbrush and put her down in the guest bedroom.  Lallie has always been a traveler and can sleep just about anywhere.  We plated a riveting game of Scrabble, laughed and enjoyed the evening and then packed up Lallie for home.
Sunday afternoon, we headed over to our other friend's house for an afternoon of swimming.  Thankfully, their heater is working (ours is not.... *sad*) and they had the water heated to 88 degrees.  The kids just loved finally being in the pool for the first swim of the season.  Later that evening though, Lallie split her head wide open on a coffee table.  :-(  Poor baby!  She split her forehead open about an inch above her right eye.  It wasn't a huge gash, but it was quite deep.  So we took her to the ER where she was an absolute trooper and had glue put on the wound.  Thankfully she didn't need stitches on that pretty little forehead of hers!  She slept quite late on Monday as she didn't get to bed until nearly 10 pm on Sunday night.  She woke saying "the hospital was fun!" 

We spoke to her explaining that this injury is exactly why she is not allowed to jump on the bed or couch etc.  She finally had that "aha" moment that when we say "you'll crack your head open" ....... she actually will crack her head open!  You could hear the light bulb click on in her head as she said "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhooooooo."  Well, what can I say.  We almost made it to the age of five without an ER visit.  I'd say we're doing pretty well!

I'm looking forward to catching up on what y'all did this holiday weekend!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lallie is reading! What are you doing to help your child learn?

Beware....this is a long post!

I cannot believe it, but Lallie is reading!  She is growing up way to fast for us, but we are so proud nonetheless. 

I'm told (studies show) a child is ready to start reading after having approximately 1,000 books read to them.  Well, we've far surpassed that!  Lallie has been read at least 4,000 books, likely more.  Since she turned one year old, we've consistently read three books per night and she LOVES to read as much as we do.  Even when she was little, she would take whatever book I was reading, without the pictures, and pretend she was reading herself.  She has quite the imagination, making up stories, and and is able to recount stories that have been read to her.  Ashleigh is a reader as well and has started Lallie's classic book collection. Every year, on her birthday, Lallie receives a new book, inscribed by Ashleigh (and without cracking the binding, Mommy usually reads the books as a refresher)  :-)

Now, when Lallie is punished, we take away her nightly books and reading.  Sometimes it's one book.  Sometimes it's all her books.  It depends on the punishment.  We can take away TV time, dessert or a toy and she'll say "that's okay, I'll do better tomorrow."  Obviously, that doesn't make much of a point if she's thinking that way.  But if we take away a book?  Lallie knows we mean business and she's in trouble. 

If Lallie has done something well or special (such as eating her "little trees" a/k/a broccoli at dinnertime), she gets extra books.  Yes, it is a bribe, but I think of it as better than an ice cream bribe (though we have been known to bribe with ice cream before....what parent hasn't?).  Anyways, this is just to show how much she loves books.

Even Scholastic time is fun for us because Husband, Lallie and I can all sit down to look at the catalog and choose which new books she's going to get each quarter.  We love that we can purchase a load of books for fairly inexpensively.  You can also donate books to your school through the program.  We just got a whole new order last night!  We purchased a combination of Lallie appropriate reading books, books that need to be read to her and long stories, such as the Ramona series and Fudge series.  Do you remember these books?  I can't wait to start reading them to her, seeing her imagination soar since these books don't have pictures. 

Anyhow, back to Lallie actually reading.  We really had no idea that Lallie was ready to read.  I mean, yes, we  had thought about it and worked with her haphazardly here and there and she has been able to sound out words and read and spell here and there for a while now.  But actually sitting down and reading a book?  We hadn't gotten that far yet.  We've worked on her letters and writing skills, writing thank you cards and words and Valentine's etc., and she does a ton of writing practice at school.  We also have workbooks at home that Lallie works on consistently with numbers, letters, words and sounds etc.  But I was not prepared when Lallie came home from school one day a few weeks ago with some Hooked on Phonics pages and said "Mommy, look, I can read!"  **Apparently, her Pre-K teacher has been copying some of her daughter's kindergarten homework and bringing it to some of her students that are ready to start reading, including Lallie.** 

That night, Lallie proceeded to sit down and read through the pages, sounding out the words without much help from Husband or I.  For kicks, I pulled out the Bob Books my neighbor bequeathed to us after her son learned to read.  Low and behold, Lallie picked up the first three books and read right through them without much help!  When I'm at workout class, Lallie plays the Bob Books app on my iphone too.  She sees it as a fun game, not learning and education, which is half the battle sometimes. 

Daddy told Lallie that for every book she reads, she gets a dollar in spending money.  After about $10 in one night, Daddy had to change his tune a bit to $1.00 for every NEW book, not for reading the same book over and over.  She can't get enough!  She also has her Leapster with the Rapunzel Tangled game, where she is learning to spell.  Every morning on the way to school, she plays for about 15 minutes, sounding out and spelling words.  The Leapster has been a fabulous teaching tool since she received it for Christmas last year.  She's learning logic, Spanish, math, reading and spelling.

The other exercises we've been working on are sight words such as THE, AND, A, ON, GO and so on and so forth.  I have flash cards, teaching Lallie that once she knows the word, she doesn't have to continue sounding it out.  We also have her use the words in a sentence as reading is not just about the words, it's about context.  We also practice beginning and ending sounds and rhyming (which rhyming still gives her quite a bit of trouble, but I understand that this is still a difficult task for her age).

Did I mention Lallie is only 4 years old?  I know for a fact I didn't even start learning my letters until kindergarten, when I was five years old.  I mean, I'm sure my mom and dad worked with me before then knowing the type of parents they are and I know Husband's parents did as well (his mom was a teacher).  And most parents do work on these things well before school.  But for the actual education system, it wasn't taught until kindergarten.  (We didn't have pre-school, or Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten as we call it in Florida, it was more of a daycare).  We started the letter people in kindergarten and reading in first grade.  In the education system, first graders are now full on reading complicated books at the ages of six years old!  It just amazes me how quickly children learn.   

Anyways, what are you doing to help your pre-k or kindergarten child learn to read?  I'd love to hear your input!! 

Happy Friday Y'all!