Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in 2 words....

2009 was full! And everything is 2 words or less :)
*crawling baby
* First steps
*family time
*Minnesota Trip
*Disney World
* First Birthday
*physical therapy
*home school
*Crossing Place
*public school
*spray park
*Mardi Gras
*road trips
*New Orleans
*leaky ceiling
*bittersweet goodbyes
*backyard garden
*Weight Watchers
*Louisiana mud
*Model Airplane
*bare feet
*missing teeth
*tee pee
*backyard camping
*dress up
*flower girls
*Easter Eggs
*bathing suits
*fire works
*good friends
*snow balls
*American Girl
*dance performances
*Lavender Martini
*Vocabulary Parade
*Roller skates
*Hair Bows
*7th Birthday
*6th Birthday
*cutting teeth
*smaller clothes
*larger clothes
*Christmas Angels
*Ant Farm
*Butterfly garden
*tying shoes
*Avery Island
*crawfish boils
*Balloon Festival
*Lost friends
*Lemonade Stand
*Oz lookalikes
*Soccer Games
*Three Duckies
*Jesus Christ

Thanks to everyone near and far who we all love so much for being a part of our lives in 2009. I can hardly wait to see what is in store for us in 2010. I'm sure it's going to be a wonderful year. Blessings to you all!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Which came first, the chicken......or the egg?

Put on your chicken boots......and head on down to Molly's chicken coop. This is the story of how The Middle Apple discovered how yummy fresh eggs are.

Feed and water the chickens.
Hunt for eggs. Yeah...she actually had to reach under the chicken to find it.
Look! She found one!!!
Take it back to the house, wash it, and have Uncle Mark scramble it.
And serve with a happy face pancake. Because we get spoiled like that when we go to visit Auntie Molly and Uncle Monkey :)

A glimpse into our past.....

Our family recently had the opportunity to travel back to our old stomping grounds in a whirlwind adventure up to Minnesota and back, in our van. And when I say adventure...I mean, cram your family of 5 in a minivan, along with carseats, highchair,snacks, DVD player, laptops, porta-crib, cold weather clothing, toys, varying size Christmas gifts, and a very oversized box of Satsumas to pass out to relatives. And somehow it all fit.

The following is just a touch of one of my favorite days of our whole trip. The day that we got to see Duluth. For those of you that are new to this blog, I would like for you to know that Eben and I spent 5 glorious years in Duluth, right after we got married. We have lots of friends here, and dug our roots down deep. As cold as the winters get in Duluth, the hearts of the people are the warmest of anywhere in the country that I have seen so far.

This first pic, our first apartment together. We lived on the second floor in the rear of this quadroplex. It was a great place.....$500 all utilities included for a 2 bedroom place. Loved it. Although I couldn't stand sharing a wall with neighbors. Very little privacy.
And this is our very first home that we bought together. We lived in the apartment for 6 months. Then when spring came, we started looking for a house. Eben and I were very pleased to see the Silver Maple tree that is in the front yard. We planted that tree the summer we moved in, in honor of our marriage vows. We hoped to be able to watch the tree grow through the years. And sure enough, our tree is still there, growing stronger, standing the tests of time.

The little window up top on the house is a little trick....that room is actually alot larger than it looks from the outside. You would never believe that that room once housed 2 cribs, 2 dressers, a rocking chair, changing table, and a twin sized bed. Plus, it has a walk in closet. I loved living in this house. Although it did have the tiniest kitchen ever, and a miniscule living/dining room area, and a postage stamp master bedroom, we were very cozy living here.

This next picture is where I used to work. This is Lakeview Christian Academy. My years spent working here remain some of the happiest days of my life. I often said to my co workers as I was picking up my paycheck that I could hardly believe that I got paid to work there.
Not only did this school have some of the best students ever (and some of them I have remained in contact with through the years), this school housed some of the greatest teachers the world has never known. I honestly mean that. I met some really great teachers that not only went the extra mile for their students, they had fun doing it too. If we ever moved back to MN, I would totally consider giving up homeschooling for a chance to teach here again.

This next picture...well, it brings tears to my eyes actually. This is my best friend, Molly. I'm a firm believer in Divine Appointment, and if for no other reason did we go to Minnesota, it was so Molly and I could meet each other. I thank God every single day for her. She's the best friend anyone could have.
We toured Canal Park. And bundled up in every item of clothing we had....and actually looked like tourists.
We drove along Superior Street, which was all decorated up for the Christmas City of the North Parade. I took this picture because of the Skywalk System. In the extreme cold areas of MN, alot of the buildings are connected with the Skywalk so that people don't have to brave the cold to get their shopping done. I got to take the kids to the Aquarium for free (thanks Molly!), where we made waves,

went snipe hunting,
climbed mountains,
and swam in The Great Lakes. Quite literally. I had to go out to the car, bust open the luggage and obtain dry clothing for the The Little Apple, who decided that GETTING IN the water was much more fun than just standing next to it.
Oh, and I also took this picture through the aquarium window, which is now my desktop.
I will continue with more pictures and rememberances in a later post....but I will add this, when I am in Duluth, I feel like I am finally home.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Friendship from across the miles.

Friendship knows no limits.

You can be half a world away....but the love remains the same.

Good morning, Singapore.
Good night, Louisiana.
See you when you get back.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

An extention of the Hands of God......

James 1:27 " Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."

This has been a blog post a long time in the making. A very long time, in fact. It all started a few months back when my friend Stephenie asked me if The Apple Dumplin's would like to participate in a Lemonade Stand. You can read all about that delightful day HERE .
All of the money would be used to purchase toys and school supplies for orphans in Indonesia. From that day, they raised about $50. More donations came from lovely people online, and then the girls had about $80 fabulous dollars to spend at the Dollar Store for kids in Indonesia.

Here are a few pics from the shopping trip....

Hair accessories are very important.

The girls carefully laying out their hand selected items for payment!
You will see that pink kitty backpack again in another blog post at the orphanage
That was a very fun day. The girls had a nice time choosing things that they thought would be fun for the kids in Indonesia. And not one complaint was made that day that they weren't buying anything for themselves.

We dropped off the items with Ms. Euvah, who was headed back to Singapore. Never would we imagine that in a short while later.....Stephenie and her daughter, who had come up with the idea for the Lemonade Stand would also be joining them in Singapore for Thanksgiving.

A few days ago, Stephenie, Raelee and Euvah took the gifts to the children in Indonesia. They didn't simply drop them off to the children. They hand delivered LOVE to those children. I would love to copy and paste some of their pictures onto my blog for you to view, but as they are not my own pictures to share, I cannot. You will simply have to view them for yourselves on their blogs. Please view Stephenie's Blog post HERE, and Ms. Euvah's post HERE.

Be warned. These pictures will change your life. My heart was warmed and totally broken at the same time. What I do know is that even from many THOUSANDS of miles away, we were given the opportunity to be an extention of the Hands and Feet of God. I am very proud of the girls and what they selflessly did for other children, and very proud to call Stephenie and Euvah my friends, they have tremendous hearts. I love them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Baby School

For the most part, we love homeschool. But educating the kids has gotten increasingly more difficult since The Little Apple has started moving around. And when I saw The Middle Apple and The Big Apple now do most of their schoolwork in the early morning while baby is still sleeping (we are blessed with a baby that likes to sleep in until around 9 AM) and while she is working on her breakfast. We usually continue with our math lessons later on during the day when The Little Apple goes down for a nap. This system is working out very well for us.

But then of course, no system is flawless. There are many days when we have to rethink the whole day and work around what we have going on.

So we now have what the older Apples call Baby School. Baby school usually means that I come up with something very cool to keep the baby occupied while the older 2 finish up with what they have for the day. The Little Apple has spent plenty of time in Baby School scribbling with markers, plinking bingo chips into a coffee can, stacking small wooden blocks, watching Baby Einstein videos, and the like. This week, the very cool project was STICKERS!
She loves them. She calls them "Tick-Cars" She surprised one of her therapists last week by working with stickers for almost 30 minutes. I had to take a picture of her doing her schoolwork, she was so sweet. We have this beautiful piece of artwork hanging on the fridge right now, where all great works of art should be hung.

I guess it's never too early to start homeschooling. I can't wait to start teaching her about The Revolutionary War with her sisters!

"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ & the American Soldier. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom." ~ Lt. Col. Grant L. Rosensteel, Jr. USAF

Thanks to all of the Veterans for their service on this Veteran's Day. I do not take our freedom for granted, it came at a great cost.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween, Cajun style!

Happy November, all of my bloggy friends!

Our Halloween weekend went by in a blur, and it was so much fun! On Friday, the girls went to the pumpkin patch with their co-op buddies and had an amazing time. They played games, ate cookies, and decorated pumpkins. On Friday night, the girls had been asked to be in a parade in Houma with their dance school...but as it rains just about all the time around here, of literally rained on their parade, and it was cancelled.

But, alas...we made up for it on Saturday. We celebrated the big candy collecting day in a big way! Cajun Style. And when I say that Louisiana knows how to party, halloween is no exception.

I had the girls help make the costumes this year. They asked to buy Barbie and the Three Muskateers costumes, but I wasn't having that....I prefer homemade costumes anyday! I came across a very quick idea online to create a flock of ducks.....

Here they are working on their duck feet.

And a cute flock of ducks they were....
My sweet little duckling... learned how to say "Trick or treat!" only when she said it, it sounded more like she was saying "Chick-en treat!" Very appropriate, I thought.Then we headed over to Stephenie's for some tasty Gumbo and fun with friends. Then it was time to costume up and trick or treat!

Here is where I must explain about trick or treating around here. True to like every other holiday, Louisiana does it up right. Trick or Treating is more like a block party. This picture was taken at the very beginning when the crowds were light. Everyone sits in their driveways. Some barbeque, some drag their televisions outside to watch the game while they pass out candy. There were adult beverages in cups everywhere. Some even set up little spooky houses for the kids to go through. The police ride around on 4 wheelers and patrol the crowds. I loved it! Super fun time!
Super fun time, unless you are this little duckling that didn't mind what the mama duckling said about walking along the curb where the rain had left big puddles. So of course, she fell in one and made a big splash. (pun intended!)
Note to self: White clothing. Children. Louisiana mud. Doesn't mix.
And I absolutely had to share this picture, because it's so priceless. This is Miss Eleven from Gypsy Forest. She was dressed as Red Riding Hood's Granny....The Middle Apple decided that Miss Eleven was her special friend for the evening. When people saw the two of them together, they said, "Oh look, how cute! It's Mother Goose!" Soooooo sweet!
We had such a marvelous time. It feels so good to have such special friends, and spending this cozy time time of year with family.

Friday, October 23, 2009

This is the way we knit a hat, knit a hat, knit a hat....

The Big Apple decided that she would like to try knitting. The only kind of knitting that I know how to do is on these loom I own them in almost every size there is. She decided that she would like to try making a hat first, and then next, perhaps a scarf or two.

We bought some clearance yarn from Walmart for $1 out of her own money because she LOVED the color. It's a rough texture, but we can work with some nicer cotton yarn next time.

She figured out the steps to knitting VERY quickly, and I barely had to help her at all. She even asked if she could sit up and knit instead of having her regular movie at bedtime. I was only happy to oblige.

This is the finished product. She's very pleased with it. She wants to sell hats to earn money to buy herself her first American Girl Doll. This hat was for sale for $50, she said. But she was willing to sell it to me for the bargain price of $30, since I was her mom and all.
I think I got a great bargain.

Friday, October 9, 2009


The time has come for me to blog about the Apple's latest obsession....Soccer.

When we lived back in NC, The Big Apple repeatedly asked if she could be on a soccer team...and not really knowing how to go about doing that in the booming town (note the sarcasm) of Holly Hole, I mean Holly Ridge, soccer just wasn't meant to be. So, now that we are here, The Apples have their chance at soccer. And I am now one of those moms.....a soccer mom.

I had originally requested that both girls be signed on the same team, and was devastated to learn that I was going to be doing double duty of toting 2 kids to different practices and games. But after being in the routine, having them on 2 different teams was really the best choice for the both of them.

Let's start with The Middle Apple.

Soccer for 6 year olds is definitely interesting....I think it's more of a comedy act for the parents. The kids run around in little packs and attempt to put the ball in the goal. Check out my lil' apple trying to find her way in that pack....

I have to tell you about The Middle Apple's coach. The woman is a saint. She has more patience with The Middle than I have seen from someone in a long time. Usually by the time that practice rolls around at 5:45 during the day, my patience has been stretched and spent and I am just about done. Elizabeth never ceases to amaze me with her kindness towards my girl who has problems listening. But then again, all of the girls have problems listening, and soccer practice looks a whole lot like trying to herd kittens. In this picture, Elizabeth stopped to give The Middle Apple special instruction on which goal to try to get the ball into. Because heaven knows, she usually doesn't know which way the ball should be going.
I suppose Elizabeth also should have instructed her on where NOT to put your feet while hanging out around the goal. Because this is what happened to her.
Yes, she got tangled in the net and unable to free herself. And while other soccer mommies ran to her rescue, I went trotting across the field yelling "Wait! Wait! I need a picture!" *click* "I am soooooo going to post that on my blog! Ha!" To which The Middle Apple responded, "Am I going to be trapped here forever?"

This next picture is The Middle Apple's favorite part of the game. It's never too early to teach good sportsmanship, and I love it!
Now let's move onto The Big Apple. I have to mention here, that The Big Apple is just not by any means an athlete. She'd rather play with her dolls. And have her dolls come watch her play at her games. I'm okay with that.

She also believes that soccer is all about looking cute in your uniform....oh wait, that's what I believe. So, um.....I did the soccer mom thing and got some help making bows for everyone on both teams. Cute eh? We take them out for the games, but I have seen our soccer bows all over town on non-soccer game days, so I know the girls love them.
Here is Coach Seth. The Big Apple thinks he hung the moon. He is really great with the girls and makes all of the practices fun. With the U8 team that Izzy is playing with, the kids actually play different positions. The Big Apple's favorite position is Defender.
She's a pretty darn good defender too, if I do say so myself. The coach just tells her not to let the ball in her box, and she's all over it. She takes her soccer really seriously.
So far, we are having a great soccer season. Wet and muddy...but none the less, a great season.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Psalm 151

One of our homeschooling assignments this week was to create a Psalm, just as David did in the Bible. After reading several Psalms from the Bible, this is what the Big Apple came up with.

Psalm 151, by The Big Apple, inspired by God.

Praise the Lord.
I will praise the with all my heart.
I will praise the Lord forever.
I will praise Him for He washed all my sin.
I will praise Him to the end.
I will praise Him for He created Heavens and Earth.
I will praise Him always.


Saturday out....

The next event that I would like to catch all my Bloggy friends up on, is the Saturday out that we had recently. We went to a event in Houma called the La Fete d' Ecologie ( I suppose, without any background in cajun or french, that this translates into "The Festival of Ecology" This festival was every homeschool teacher's dream! There was so much to look at, learn about, and do...that I'm positive that we can log it as a FULL day of school.

This is a blacksmith, we enjoyed watching him fashion a hook with his hammer. The Big Apple had recently learned about blacksmithing in her Colonial studies, so she had tons of questions for him.

We saw some people who made different types of arrowheads out of pieces of rock. They had fishing spears and blowdarts to look at and touch too. The man on the left is actually sharpening the arrowhead with a piece of deer antler.
They dug for worms, and learned how dirt is made. If you found a worm, you got your face painted.
There was crab racing. The kids got to choose a crab from a bin and hold it in place until it was time for the race to start. For some reason, it was always the tiny ones that skittered across the finish line first!
I love this picture of The Middle Apple. There was a turtle in the bayou that kept surfacing and hiding again. She stood and watched for the turtle for resurface over and over again for at least a good 20 minutes.
The Apples could have stayed and done this activity all day long. It showed what would happen to our environment if we don't protect our wetlands.
Local furs to look at and touch. Very cool.
The Apples got to help paint a wetlands mural. True to form, The Middle Apple decided that surely mermaids live in the wetlands, so she painted one.
The Big Apple showed off her itty bitty tiny Mosquito Fish.
Then there was THIS GUY. I think he is supposed to be King of the Swamp or something. He had a band of people banging pots, pans, garbage can lids, and the like...and they parade around the festival grounds. Odd. Only in Louisiana can a king wear beer as a necklace and Spanish moss for a beard.
This was my favorite part of the day. At one of the tables, the girls met a lady that had a very interesting display of the many different types of critters that live in the bayou. She demonstrated what happens to the wildlife when the wetlands aren't protected and maintained. The girls spent nearly an hour asking her many many questions. The lady was rather impressed by their questions and level of understanding, that she took them down to the water edge with a net, helped them scoop up some creatures. Then, they took their findings back up to the table and helped her classify them using some of her books.
You may notice that The Little Apple isn't in any of these pictures. That is because she was a crab, didn't have a nap, and stayed in her stroller for most of the time, only to be shut up with cookies. If not for the crabbiness of her, our day would have been perfect. As we were climbing exhausted back into our van, The Big Apple asked if this could be counted as a school day. OF COURSE!!!!! I learned alot too!