Monday, June 28, 2010

Update: Project 35

Random Acts of Kindness:

21) Paid for someone to have their nails done. I let my nail lady choose one of her hair clients. She told me she had the perfect person- a single Mom who would never do something special like that for herself.

22) Paid for the people behind us to get into the Topeka Zoo (did this a couple weeks ago but forgot to mention it).

23) Left money on the miniature Merry Go Round for a free ride.

24) Took cookies to the neighbors.

25) Left money on a pop machine.

26) Left money on a snack machine.

27) Annabelle passed out 15 of her drawings to residents of the local nursing home. We spent some time visiting with them.

(If you haven't already read it in a previous post, I am celebrating my 35th birthday with 35 random acts of kindness this month.)

Has anyone participated by doing or been blessed by a random act of kindness this week?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Morse Code in the Tree House

This is where we slept last night- in a tree house cabin. It was a cute little cabin, up on stilts amongst trees. Ricky and I have been spoiled since our version of camping involves meeting my parents at a campsite with their luxury RV and catered meals. It's pretty sweet. The only downside is knowing that you won't get any sleep. But we sacrifice, knowing that camping= big memories for three little girls.

Here's how the night went:

9:30- Ricky puts the girls to bed in the cabin, he locks them inside and we settle down across the street next to my parents' RV to keep an eye on the cabin.

9:35- The lights in the cabin come on, and off, and on, and off. . .

9:45- My brother-in-law starts referring to the cabin as the disco cabin since the lights go on and off in quick rhythmical patterns.

9:50- I begin to wonder if Annabelle has secretly mastered Morse Code and start watching for recognizable patterns.

9:52- Chad tells me it would be much more entertaining if we had a baby-monitor and could hear what they are saying during the light show. Ricky explores apps on his iPhone so that he can download one that will allow us to use our iPhones as a make-shift baby monitor.

9:55- The door to the cabin opens, we see two little bodies quickly exit. Before we have time to investigate, they re-enter the cabin.

10:00- The door to the cabin opens and closes again.

10:01- Ricky decides it is time to drop in on the Punketts to see what kind of mischief they are up to. After about 20 minutes, the crew seems to wind down with Daddy's help.

10:30- I finally decide the girls have to be getting close to falling asleep and go to turn in for the night.

It turns out there was a three-way battle over the lights being on or off. I also learned that Violet had to use the bathroom, so the big girls exited the cabin, against strict directions, to grab her portable potty off the front porch. This avoided a potentially messy disaster. We were glad they did so!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Round-Em Up Cowboy!

This week is Vacation Bible School at our church. The theme is Saddle Back Ranch. I am teaching, no more like doing crowd control for a class of 22 three and four-year-old kidlets. Today some of my boys were giving me some trouble, so I put them in time out. Cowboy Lee gave me hand:

Here are some of the cuties in my class:

Summer Learning


This summer, we are spending our down time watching Signing Time videos to learn sign language. In my previous career, I was a pediatric speech pathologist, so teaching kids to sign is nothing new to me. We taught all three of our daughters simple baby signs which helped them to communicate their needs before they could talk well.

Now we are learning it just for fun and well, because we want to keep our brain cells busy without doing anything that resembles school. The girls are keeping track and so far they have learned around 80 signs.

Here is a clip so that you can see how entertaining these videos are. (My music therapist sister approves of their presentation style).



I would recommend these videos to anyone who is interested in teaching their kids to sign. They also have a baby signing series. The lady in the video has a daughter who at the age of 14 months was discovered to be deaf. She originally made some signing videos to pass out to friends and family so that everyone could learn to communicate with her daughter. Now their company has produced 26 volumes of videos. Her daughter and her nephew are also featured.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Update: Project 35

Random Acts of Kindness:

13) Gave a gift card to the man in Target who was shopping while pushing his severely physically and mentally handicapped daughter in her wheelchair. (I have a special place in my heart for caregivers).

14) Donated clothes to Goodwill.

15) Helped the elderly lady shop and checkout who was pushing her elderly husband in his wheelchair while she held a big sack of potatoes at Dillons. (I have a very special place in my heart for elderly caregivers).

16) Paid for part of the groceries for the man in line behind me at Dillons who just looked like he needed a break.

17) Picked up trash on a street I often walk.

18) Left money for a free wash at the car wash.

19) Passed out a cooler full of cold water with my family at our town's festival when the heat index was around 100 degrees.

That evening, Ricky and I were talking to the girls about how dangerous it can be to become dehydrated when it is so hot outside. The next day, a lady who had received one of our water bottles told us a story. She said that a few minutes after she got her water from us, a frail-looking old man walked up to her and asked her if she had any water. She was so thrilled that since we had given her a water bottle, she had an extra one to share.

20) Gave an anonymous note to someone, thanking them for being a great Dad to his kids and a good role model to others.

(If you haven't already read in a previous post, I am celebrating my 35th birthday with 35 random acts of kindness this month.)

Has anyone participated by doing or been blessed by a random act of kindness this week?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pillages for the Pantry


Instead of gifts, the guest to the pirate party pillaged their pantries and brought food for the local food pantry. The kiddos took their food to the pantry to donate it this week.
My friends Kelley and Michelle volunteer weekly at this local pantry. I am thankful to their dedication to this cause and know many people have been blessed because of it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Birthday Highlights

I have been incredibly spoiled for my birthday. Here are a few highlights.

Earlier this week, my girls and I got to go out for sushi:

I got my nails done with the brand-new non-chipping shellac (click to learn more). That stuff is A-MAZ-ING! What a treat.

Flowers:
Today we spend the day together as a family having fun:

Doing random acts of kindness (people are really appreciate of a cold drink when the heat index is around 100):

I got pampered. The family made me my favorite breakfast (banana-walnut french toast), cleaned the house, and washed my van. Here Violet is cleaning my leg after she noticed that I had some dirt on my knee:

The neighbors brought over a delicious fruit pizza:
Pretty much a perfect day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fire Flies, Snow Cones and S'mores

A few days ago, we had our friends over to experience "Firefly Forrest." We call our yard Firefly Forrest since there seems to be an over-abundance of fireflies. Each of our guests brought a container to catch fireflies.


Aliah and Daddy were in charge of roasting the marshmallows for the s'mores:Tess, a.k.a. "Snow Cone Man" kept everybody cool with his icy treats:

The chocolate bars from the s'mores were popular finger-food:


Aunt Caylyn, always popular with the Haigh girls:

Riley and Aliah using teamwork to trap a firefly in the jar without letting the others escaping:

After dusk, we broke out the glow-necklaces. It prevented any children from running into each other in the dark. :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Annabelle's Dot Room

Here are the after pictures of Annabelle's completed room.
It fits her fun and spontaneous personality. Plus, she really likes looking at herself in all of the mirrors.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Conversation with Aliah

We were getting ready to host our "Firefly Party" when I told the girls that they needed to clean up dog poop in the back yard. Daddy has Annabelle trained to do this job with a pair of plastic gloves and a plastic bag. Somehow, thus far, Aliah has avoided this chore.

Me: "Girls, please go clean up all of the dog poop in the back yard so our friends don't step in it."

Annabelle: "Okay, I know where the gloves are."

Aliah: "Disgusting! I don't want to do that."


Me: Okay, but then you will have to pay your sister a dollar for doing your share.

Aliah: Well, I guess need to do it since some day I will be a grown up and will have to do disgusting things.


Me: Like what?


Aliah: Well, I will have my own pets and kids.

Me: So you will have to change dirty diapers too, huh.


Aliah: Well, it depends on my husband.

Me: What do you mean?

Aliah: Well, if my husband is allergic to cats, then I can't have any cats. And we will have to see if he changes dirty diapers or not.

Me: You are wise beyond your years my dear.


Later, the big girls are outside on poop patrol. Violet becomes curious.


Violet: What are you guys doing, playing a game?

Annabelle: No, we are picking up dog poop.

Violet: I want to pick up dog poop.

Annabelle: No! It's not for you. It will make you puke!

New Car Shopping

We took Grandma out last night to get her a new car. She picked out a nice shiny blue one:


We ended up coming home with two: Happy Father's Day Ricky, hope you enjoy your new ride!


The girls were very surprised to see two new cars in our garage when they got up this morning. Here's Annabelle telling Aliah, "The blue one is for you and the red one is mine!"

Chances are we will have this Camry for 12 years like we had our old Camry, and one of our kids will be driving it to college.

Speaking of red and blue, our front porch is looking pretty patriotic:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pirate Birthday Party

Aliah and Annabelle have birthdays very close to their good friends Abby, Bailey, and Riley. This year, us Moms finally got smart and decided to just throw one big shebang and invite everyone's friends. We went all out. The theme was a princess pirate party, and Captain Jack himself even was in attendance.


At first the girls were a little afraid of Captain Jack, and wouldn't get to close to him.
I told them that I would give a dollar to the first girl who gave him a hug. Not surprisingly Annabelle quickly took advantage of that opportunity. Aliah was floored that she would actually touch a real live pirate.
Captain Jack lead the group in a treasure hunt and each child got to choose a treasure out of the treasure chest.

Aliah and Annabelle's cake had a pink treasure chest made out of cake with jewelry inside.


We rounded out the day with a couple of hours of swimming. About half of the swimmers at the pool were there for our party. Annabelle went off the low board for the first time.
Guess who walked the plank off the high board for the first time:

Update: Project 35

Random Acts of Kindness:

6. Mailed a care package to a missionary team getting ready to leave for mission work in Turkey.

7. Picked up trash at the park.

8. Passed out snacks to kids at the park.

9. Took a thank you note and home made chocolate chip cookies to the local police station.

10. Thank you note and home made chocolate chip cookies to the local fire station.

11. Left money with the cashier at the local grocery store to pay for groceries the elderly lady behind me in line who had managed to pile all of her food into her walker's basket.

12. Paid for an ice cream cone for the person behind us in line at the ice cream stand.

(If you haven't already read in a previous post, I am celebrating my 35th birthday with 35 random acts of kindness this month.)

Has anyone participated by doing or been blessed by a random act of kindness this week?

Have a blessed week!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Just Beet It!

I was thrilled to see another batch of freshly harvested beets in my CSA bag from our local farmer. This is my favorite way to prepare beets and beet greens.


First I cut off the beets, slice in half, and boil them in water until tender, about 45 minutes. Leave the skins on and remove after boiling.

My kids are quite proficient at stripping kale, it's the same idea with beet greens- just strip from the central stalk.
In they go to the salad spinner for a spin. (I added some swiss chard to the beet greens since I had some in my CSA bag also).

Then I slice the beets, put some olive oil in a pan with some garlic and saute the beets.

After a few minutes add the greens. Heep them in the pan, since they will cook down to a fraction of the original bulk:
After: