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Archive for January, 2008

Winter in China

Today I received an email from my friend Lily, who is a photographer that lives in Anhui Province of China.  I have posted some of her pictures before.  She has quite the eye for artistic pictures, and these new pictures are good examples of that.   Her city of Hefei has been having an unusual winter–in fact, she said this is the most snow that they have had for 40 years!  She has used this opportunity to take some beautiful photographs of the Baohe Park in Hefei, which is where we met her when we went to China in September 2006 to adopt Kara. 

I so appreciate Lily.  It is neat to still have a contact with someone who is from the same Province where Kara was born.  Her friendship is invaluable.  Enjoy her pictures!

Click to play China Winter
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This morning Luke was supposed to be paying attention in school.  Instead, he was all turned around in his chair and didn’t seem to be working very hard!  I was just about to call him down, but then I saw what he was doing:  He folded his hands, closed his eyes, and with the most passionate whisper that I have ever heard he said, “God, help me to do everything that is right!”  Then he turned around in his chair and continued on with his day.  What a prayer!

Luke is like that.  He is quite a profound boy for a 5-year-old.  He thinks deep spiritual thoughts, and he tells me that he thinks that God wants him to be a pastor someday.  That wouldn’t surprise me at all–I pray that he will continue to grow in his love for the Savior.

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Tonight we began the Creative Arts project of the Trail to Creativity in our Camp Fire USA meeting.  This lesson was entitled Rainbow Dust.  We talked about the color wheel, and how mixing primary colors make secondary colors.

We put the color wheel into practice by making Rainbow Dust.  This is simply sugar colored with food coloring.  Using the three primary colors, we made the colors of the rainbow, and the kids thought it was neat watching the colors blend together to make the new colors.

We continued working on our marbles project tonight as well.  We learned the difference between bowling, shooting, and plunking.  We also learned about lagging, which is a way to determine who goes first in a game of marbles.  We spent time working on our shooting, and next week we will try a real game.  (That should be interesting!)

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Cosette has always had such a sweet, happy disposition.  She thinks cute, happy thoughts so often.  In fact, when she was younger she used to say that she wanted to grow up to be a slide in the park so she could help kids have fun!

Yesterday, Cosette spent time writing a “book” that she called “Things That I Would Make if I Could.”  Here is what she wrote:

If I could, I would make a guitar that could play itself!

If I could, I would make a rainbow.

I wish I could make a slide.

If I could, I would make a Chibi Robo and put it in my house!

If I knew how to make a swing, I would invent a triple swing!

If I could, I would make a house for me and Mom.

Cosette then drew very happy pictures for each page. 

I just love Cosette’s outlook on life.  Wouldn’t our world be greater if everyone were so optimistic?!

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Today was our first venture into the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby.  My boys are first generation scouts, so we all learned together–by trial and error.  Believe me, we knew NOTHING about this stuff when we got the boys’ kits a few weeks ago!  We knew absolutely zero about carving, painting, or weighting the cars, let alone maximizing the performance of the wheels!  But, we told the boys that this year would be a time for learning, and next year, we’ll put all of this great experience into another set of cars!

Actually, the boys did very well.  Dan has been gone a lot the past few weeks with meetings, so this has made getting the cars ready a challenge, to say the least!  But, when he had time, Dan and the boys diligently put in a lot of elbow grease, and I think their cars look pretty good! 

The race went fine too.  Now we know how it goes, so we’ll be better prepared for next year.  Even though the boys’ cars did not win, they were competitive, and we are satisfied with that.  They did learn a lot–that was the main thing. 

The girls really want to make cars too.  I told them next year we’ll make cars to enter in the Family category of the Pinewood Derby.  That should be interesting….. 🙂  Actually, John will be in Boy Scouts by then, so if he makes a car it will probably go in that Family category too.  Brock and Luke will be our official racers next year!  (Better start planning for those cars, boys!)

Click to play 2008 Pinewood Derby
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Today was Lesson 100 for this year’s school.  There are 170 total lessons, so we are definitely making headway!

Cosette was really disappointed because she thought that there would be something special on the dvd’s today.  She was sure it should be Hat Day or something!  But, that was not the case, so I told her that she could wear a hat if she wanted to, and Kara thought that would be fun too. 

The more I thought about it, though, the more I agreed with Cosette that the 100th day of school should be something special.  We still had 5 packages of unopened Webkinz trading cards that Grandma had given the kids, so I told them that we could open those for something special.  Boy, was that a hit!  The kids all had such a great time opening the cards and entering the internet codes for their virtual prizes!  It was so cute:  the kids would all jump and cheer for each other when they saw what they won.  That was just great!

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We had a very good meeting of the Christian Explorer’s Camp Fire USA club tonight.  We finished up the People Power project of the Trail to Family and Community.  Our lesson was entitled “Red, White, and Blue,” and its focus was on the symbolism of the USA flag.  We also made a simple craft project of a flag as part of this lesson.

Both Luke and Kara earned their Tying Shoes Awards tonight–so now all of my kids can tie their shoes!  Yea!

We began our lessons on Marbles tonight too.  We talked about the history of the game, and the kids were surprised to learn that it has been played for thousands of years!  We also learned the rules for shooters, and started practicing the correct way to shoot.  This is definitely not as easy as it looks!  We are going to have to practice before we are ready to play a real game, but I am planning several weeks of activities and practicing.  The kids also enjoyed a video that shows how marbles are made, and I am going to include the video clip at the end of this entry.

The kids earned the People Power badge tonight, and they are always excited to get more badges for their vests!

Click to play Marbles
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