Monday, March 31, 2008

Guess Who?

Tonight's fantastically fun activity was Baylee's cream and a few rounds of Guess Who, the Hasbro mystery-face guessing game where you eliminate the wrong faces to guess who’s on your opponent’s card! Even as an adult, I really enjoy this game being pulled out of our bulging game cupboard. It's so much fun watching Baylee and Nathan's little minds work to "outsmart" one another in their questioning skills. We talked about "poker faces" too, what a crack up. Too bad Owen wasn't up for any of it tonight. He fell asleep on my chest during our family meeting (we didn’t think our “topics” for our meeting’s were sleepers! Lol). We'll have to make up for his later in the week.
Anyone else out there play Guess Who? What are some of your family games you ALL enjoy playing?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Mistaken Identity"

Did any of you watch the Dateline this past Friday night titled "Mistaken Identity"? My dear friend, Debby, from Michigan suggested that I watch it. She has a close friend that knows Laura Van Ryn's family well (one of the gals in the story). Friday night's show was amazing and I can't stop thinking about it!

"Mistaken Identity" recounts the true story of a fatal car accident where 4 out of 5 college students died. Two college students, Laura Van Ryn and Whitney Cerak were the focus — one buried under the wrong name, one in a coma being cared for by the wrong family — and the heart-wrenching discovery five weeks later that their identities had been mistakenly reversed. Both Christian families have now come together two years later to write about this amazing drama (and share it by television), the Van Ryns and the Ceraks describe the unthinkable agony endured by their two families and how God has seen them through it and caused their faith to grow stronger (and share it with millions of others that have kept up with this 'story').

Many people would probably ask, "Why would God allow this to happen to those dear, innocent families?" But after viewing it on Friday, it's obvious to me! God's love was so evident and spoken of throughout the entire story. His scripture, His strength, etc. was told of over and over again. So now all those people who don't know the Lord, who don't attend church, nor read the Bible now have heard it loud and clear. How awesome! I pray that many will come to a saving faith, a personal relationship with Christ through this.

Lisa Van Ryn, the sister of the deceased victim who cared for the comatose patient daily for over five weeks wrote in her final blog entry: Our final encouragement to all is this: do not hang on to the things of this world too tightly. Life here is but a vapor and there is an eternity ahead. As you remember the Van Ryn and Cerak families, let us encourage you to look to your neighbors as well. God calls us to love.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Zoo Day

Our dear, sweet friends, The Talley's invited the kids and me to be their guests for a day at the Phoenix Zoo, about 30 minutes from our home. We had a great time between lovely company, great sunny weather in the low 80s, and active and interesting animals. We probably spent most of our time at the Orangutan’s exhibit and pulled the kids away at the promise of seeing our favorite animals, the elephants. Ugh...the elephants were not out that day, there were men in the area instead. I guess they were planning a renovation of some sort. We missed the elephants!

Hopefully our next visit to the zoo will be our favorite Arizona zoo, the Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park (1 hour away). At that zoo, you get up close and personal to many animals as you feed the birds, giraffes, and walk under the cage of the black panthers (although you want to make sure you are not directly under them when they have to go potty)! The best thing there though, hands down…Jon’s dad, the train engineer! It's at that park, due to my "connections", that I got to go behind the scenes and pet/feed the newborn baby White Tigers right before I turned 30 (a dream of mine)!

What are your favorite animals to see at the zoo?

Our first animal stop of the's Nathan!

Baylee and her sweet friend since kindergarten, Sabrina.

My sweet children sharing their special day with Diego...his first time at the zoo!

One of Owen's most special friends is Colton. These boys loved walking hand in hand in front of us all. The scary part...they never worried if we were right behind them. I wonder how far they would have gotten!

Is it me, or does this orangutan look like she needs a Brazier! I can relate hunny!

Not in a cage, just scampering about the zoo grounds!

This is how I felt by the end of a day in the sun, pushing a double stroller, and being alert and responsible for so many precious kiddos!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Roastin' Fun!

Who says "camp fires" just happen when camping? Not us! Tonight for Family Fun, Jon's new entry was drawn...a campfire and singing. One detail he left out that I knew was vital to the enjoyment for the kids (okay, adults too)...marshmallows, so I headed to the store in a flash. We had a super night just "hanging out". In fact, Owen got so mesmerized with the flames that he fell asleep on my chest with his marshmallow still in hand. Camp fires are great!

Song Selections: Boom Chica Boom, Going on a Bear Hunt, Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord, and much more!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Resurrection Tree

We've enjoyed two weeks of Spring's been needed in a BIG way! Today, in between four separate playdates, I've gone through our home to wipe off the dust collected in that time, vacuumed, mopped, and much more which were all things I set aside so I could really just focus on playing and enjoying my kids. I'm grateful to have them with me 24/7 and also for a husband who's been willing to look the other way to the condition of the home.

From my cleaning "frenzy", I decided it was time to pack up our Easter decorations as well, one of which was this Resurrection Tree. I use this wooden tree structure throughout the year for many reasons, this Easter holiday I was inspired to create it to tell the story of Jesus' last days and use it as a devotional study with my children. It's been really neat to hear them be able to recall and connect what each "symbol" means and I know I'll do it again next year.

I share this on the blog because all of my LLL2 sisters have this wooden tree structure too (a gift from my cousin Laura and myself during one of our monthly Live Laugh Love evenings) and often times we like to share with one another what we created from it.

My inspiration came from a gal on the

On our tree we placed many's some of them:
~A Shepherd's Staff since He is the Good Shepherd
~A Donkey for the triumphal entry (Matthew 21)
~A Bottle of Perfume for when Mary anointed Jesus before the Passover (Mark 14)
~A Flat Bread Cracker to symbolize the unleavened break He broke…to remember His body (Matthew 26)
~A Cork from a wine bottle to symbolize what Jesus and his disciples drank at the last Supper…to remember his blood (Matthew 26)
~A Hershey's "Kiss" to symbolize the betrayal kiss from Judas to Jesus in the Garden
~A Bag of 30 Silver coins (dimes), the amount of money Judas agreed to take in trade of Jesus' identity...betrayal (Matthew 26)
~Soap since Pilot washed his hands of Jesus’ fate (Matthew 27:24)
~A Rope for the prisoner that was freed instead of Jesus (Matthew 27)
~A Feather to symbolize the rooster crowing three times
~Clipart of an Olive and Skull...location of this event (Matthew 27)
~A Purple Cloth that symbolizes the robe they made Him wear
~A Nail since HE was nailed to the cross for our sins
~A Crown of Thorns the soldiers made for Him to wear as they mocked Him
~A Sponge that was dipped for Him on the cross as Jesus’ thirst (Matthew 27:48)
~A Dice for the lots the soldiers cast (Luke 23)
~A Lamb because He was the Lamb that was Slain
~A Sword (cocktail sword) that was used to pierce His side (Luke)
~A Tissue to symbolize the tears that were shed over His death
~A Sign that says, "This Is Jesus, King of the Jews" (Matthew 27:37)
~A Rock that was rolled away from the Tomb (Matthew 28)
~A White Cloth that they wrapped Jesus' body in to bury Him (Matthew 27:59)
~Cloves to symbolize the spices the women brought to anoint His dead body (Luke 24)
~A Happy Face to symbolize they joy that His death/resurrection has brought

If you have any other ideas on what I should consider adding next year, I'd love to hear it!

Happy Easter!

We had a fantastic Resurrection Sunday celebrating what Jesus has done for us so selflessly. We pray this Easter season brings you reflecting on your eternity and drawing nearer to the Savior!

Friday, March 21, 2008


(Remember to turn my music selections off in order to hear this)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

An Answer to Prayer!

Today we got hold of a non profit organization here in Phoenix that will ship every box of Girl Scout cookies we collected for the soldiers in Iraq absolutely FREE! Praise God. We’re so excited to get these into the hands of our hard working Americans that fight each day for our freedom and protection. Check out this generous organization that is making Baylee’s prayers come true.

We’ll be shipping these out in the next few weeks. If anyone wants us to send to a loved one you know fighting in Iraq, I’d love his/her contact information.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Treasuring the Reason for This Season

Many of you know how much I enjoy traditions, especially those that teach my children about our Lord and Savior. There are no exceptions for Easter, it’s the core of my faith and a vital event/s for my children to understand and take to heart. After all, Jesus never commanded us to remember his birth (Christmas) like so many do but instead, to remember his death and resurrection. For Easter and the days that lead up to it, our family holds many dear traditions. I’ve been asked by several if I’d share the Easter Cookie “story/recipe”.

We have yet to do it this year, we wait until Saturday night (the night before Easter) to make them, however if I wait to post it then, you’d lose out on the chance to do it this Easter. Let me know if you end up making these with your kids. I have no idea where to give credit for this…it’s not originally mine. I’ve just been blessed by having this and you will too!

Here's the recipe to get your family started on this special season of “life” and the incredible power of Christ and his love, something much more fulfilling than chocolate bunnies and jelly beans.

You will need:
1cup Whole pecans
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
3 egg whites
Pinch salt
1 cup sugar,
Zipper baggie, wooden spoon, packing tape, and the most important of all "THE WORD OF GOD" (Bible)

Here’s what you’ll need to do. Preheat oven to 300°F.

Step one- Place pecans in zipper baggie and let your children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.
Illustration- Explain that, after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read John 19:1-3.

Step two- Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl.
Illustration- Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink.
Read John 19:28-30.

Step three- Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life.
Illustration- Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.
Read John 10:10-11.

Step four- Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.
Illustration- Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. So far the ingredients are not very appetizing.
Read Luke 23:27.

Step five- Add 1cup sugar.
Illustration- Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.
Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.

Step six- Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
Illustration- Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

Step seven- Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons (approximately 24) onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Illustration- Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Read Matthew 27:57-60.

Step eight- Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF!! Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.
Illustration- Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed.
Read Matthew 27:65-66.

Step Nine- GO TO BED! Illustration- Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.
Read John 16:20 and 22.

Step ten- On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow!
Illustration-On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
Read Matthew 28:1-9.

By making these cookies and having other Easter traditions I've come up with for our family, it's allowed me to teach our kids how marvelous this season really is. By doing so, my kids can clearly decipher the difference this Christian holiday has over how the “world” tends to shape it with its distortion.

(If you’ve never truly understood what Christ did on the cross for His people and the power and importance of his resurrection, I’d love to share it with you. This can be the most significant Easter’s ever for you!)

Monday, March 17, 2008

We're Going Green (VOTE!)

Once a year we have a dinner challenge…who can be the most spirited St. Patrick’s Day contestant. Each family member gets to spend $4 the weeks leading up to the affair, keeping their new accessories a secret from the others until the holiday’s mealtime. The anticipation leading up to it is part of the fun.

This year Jon had to work in the evening so we switched our plans to the afternoon (I know, call us wild and crazy). We ate our green meal, chicken Kiev, shamrock pasta, green punch, and green beans (and for dessert, mint ice cream with a chocolate “gold coin” for well wishes).

Since our Party of Five is “high tech” this year, we thought it would be fun if we let our viewing audience help us decide who gets to honorary award for the most high-spirited, festive green pal. Take a look and enjoy.
Are you going to “vote” for Owen in his green shirt and new hat (although stepped on)? Or do you think Nathan is your “choice”? Hi, I’m wearing a green and blue striped shirt with my new green St. Patrick’s Day tie (with shamrocks). Don’t be fooled, I’m wearing one more green thing that you just can’t see!
Hi, it’s Baylee. I think I’m the most festive one around. I have lime green shorts and socks, my new green shirt, a green hair braid (it’s fake), green barrette, and green nail polish. Vote for me!

Jon’s convinced he’s the winner! What you see is what you get. His green Chuck Taylors (shoes) and Oscar the Grouch Shirt is his outfit of choice today.

Or there’s me, Kymberly. My purchase is the most obvious, I think…the hair. You should have seen everyone’s eyes pop out when I came down the stairs (poor Owen kept pleading with me to take off the wig)! Also in green was my makeup (eye shadow and eye liner), green shirt, shamrock socks, jewelry, and well…one more item that isn’t for the viewing audience. Lol (I know, I would NOT make a good green Doodle Bop!)

Okay guys and gals...the vote begins NOW!

Circus Camp!

Girl Scout Camp this weekend was a total blast. We can’t wait to go back! It was held at the “Hilton” of all GS camp facilities, Willow Springs Camp in Prescott. It was deep in the pines and breathtaking. This weekend’s ‘Mom and Me’ theme, was “the circus” and we went up with my childhood dear friend Kimberly and her sweet daughter (Baylee’s great friend) Cassandra. We made many new Brownie friends as well and hope to run into them many more times! I thoroughly enjoyed having special time alone with my dear daughter!

Baylee and Cassandra tie dyed pillow cases on Saturday afternoon and now Baylee can’t sleep on anything else.

We also went on a nice hike as part of our rotation. Here’s Kimberly, her daughter Cassandra, and Baylee leading the pack. We spotted mistletoe too and of course had to kiss under it.

A magician came, amazing us all!

We can’t forget the clown Jo Jo and her face painting skills.

Baylee and Cassandra made SWAPS ("Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.") In a nutshell, it’s a pin you make many times and exchange them for some other design with fellow Brownie sisters. Afterwards, you proudly place them on a bucket hat as a constant reminder of your new found friends. Swaps are a unique way for Girl Scouts to meet each other and promote friendship and a special way to remember a Girl Scout Sister. Baylee’s SWAP was adorable, cotton candy!
Baylee and Cassandra felt so grown up making their own hot cocoa all weekend long!

Since it was a smaller camp, we didn’t share our cabin with anyone else, it was just Cassandra, Kimberly, Baylee, and myself. The girls loved snuggling and reading in each other’s beds. I can’t believe how late they stayed up talking. It reminded Kimberly and me of our childhood. We too were the ones that stayed up the latest at ALL slumber parties, just “catching up”.
We did so much more and will remember our first time at camp forever! It ended on such a neat note…snow!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Leaving a Piece of Me Behind

Baylee and I are going on our 2nd annual weekend away. This year we are going to Girl Scout Camp together in forest of Prescott, AZ (our first camp experience together). Although I am excited to do this, I will miss the "men" (big and little) that I leave behind. In order for them to know they are deeply loved and missed, I've left the "While I'm Away Box" for them to open each day filled with little trinkets of adoration.

If you travel at all, I highly suggest this neat box from Once Upon a Family (the company my cousin and sweet friend April work for).

Operation Cookie (can you help?)

Sitting in my living room are the generous donations of Girl Scout Cookies just sitting here waiting to be “deployed” to Iraq for the men and women fighting for our freedom and protection. As I’ve mentioned, Baylee’s heart has been to collect donations of money to purchase cookies for the soldiers…that part is done (over 26 cases which equals 312 boxes of yummy cookies). We have a few names/addresses of soldiers from Arizona (we need more) that are over there, which even includes a police officer from our hometown here in Gilbert. Now we have one more step to go (or so we think). We need a way to get them out there for free. If anyone knows of companies and or organizations that will ship these perishable packages for us, we’d love to hear from you. Please help me track down a solution quickly (names/addresses of Arizona connections of soldiers and free shipping).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


To end each school quarter, each class in Baylee’s school hosts a Cottage Fair where the kids “show off” what they learned. Baylee's Cottage Fair was spent in a different style. Her sweet teacher planned the kids to share their head knowledge on their theme, weather by playing Jeopardy (kids against parents/grandparents). The kids had a BLAST, blowing the parents socks off.

Alex Trebek made a special appearance as well, "Jon" who was his normal whimsical, quick thinking, joke-telling self. Baylee loved having her daddy in the spotlight!

Wow these kids know a lot and of course they WON, BIG TIME! The final score…Parents = 2,200 and Students = 6,300!

Here are some of the questions they answered correctly (written by Baylee):
~How many sides is a snowflake? (6)
~Is snow always white when it falls? (No, it's been red too in Japan.)
~What are the rainbow colors in order? (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet)
~How many types 0f clouds are there and what are the names of them? ('s a few of the names: cumulous, nimbostratus, cumulonimbus, stratus, cirrus, etc.)
~What is the strongest wind called? (a tornado)
~What is the cycle of water? (evaporation, condensation, precipitation)

We are so proud of Baylee for working very diligently through this cottage and thank Mrs. Runyon for her dedication and creativity towards these precious kids and their education.

One last thing…Baylee wants her daddy’s silly jokes in here too, so here are a few:
~What is the difference between weather and climate? (You can’t weather a tree but you can climb it)
~What happens when the fog lifts in California? (UCLA)
~Why did the woman go outdoors with her purse opened? (She expected some change in the weather)
~What happens when it rains cats and dogs? (You have to be careful not to step in a poodle!)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Our Family Fun Night- We're Jumping with Excitement!

Tonight, out of our Family Fun Box we pulled my childhood favorite recess game, CHINESE JUMP ROPE. I've been looking forward to teaching it to the kids and was amazed at how quickly they caught on. I remember every recess chanting; “One, two, three, four, out, in, on,” as the jumper demonstrated their fancy footwork until they no longer could jump the height the rope had been raised to during the progression of their turn. (Kimberly, Lara, Leah, I’m sure you recall our countless hours we played this together, don’t you? We were so “good," or so we thought.)

I started out the night as the jumper and was quickly lacking oxygen (and felt like I had to run to the potty or wear a Depends from all the jumping…one downfall from delivering three kids I suspect). Baylee, Nathan, and even Owen immediately followed as the ‘jumper’ (without side effects), all doing a remarkable job. Tonight’s FAMILY FUN NIGHT (meeting and activity) was a lot of fun.

Is there anyone out there that loved playing Chinese Jump Rope too? Was ‘my’ pattern the same you followed?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Birthday Weekend

My dear, silly, loving husband turned 37 years young today and because of his very busy work schedules, we've had to slip in small forms of celebrations here and there all week long. So Jon…happy birth’week’ we love you!

On Thursday, Jon took the night off from work so we could go out for a family dinner (first one since October). Of course he picked his very favorite restaurant, Rosa's Mexican Grill. He got his "must have" a chicken chimichanga, enchilada style with red sauce with sour cream and guacamole (and who knows how many baskets of chips and salsa)! Afterwards, the birthday dessert presented to him “on the house” from a chorus of singing employees was only eaten by our Owen. Nobody else can muster up eating flan around here in its normal state of rubberiness. We're definitely, without a doubt, "texture people".

Saturday afternoon, the five of us headed to Tempe Town Lake for a surprise picnic and boat ride. Unfortunately there was a beer-fest going on at the park, so it was closed off. We found a different spot though, under the old Mill train track, yet next to the water. It was a great day for a picnic, setting off our rockets and playing a favorite throwing game (with one part permanently in the murky water…our accidental donation to the town). But because of the beer-fest, the “rental” plan for the motorized boat could not happen as planned. We were so bummed. The kids were dying to see their daddy be a “captain” of a boat. All motorized boats were a liability issue, we were told, due to the alcohol onsite. We found that so strange, especially since it was obvious we were not part of that crowd AND because they were still allowing paddle boats and such (no motorized boats) to be rented. Come on’, if someone is drunk, aren’t they a liability issue on any kind of boat, not just motorize?! Nevertheless, we settled for their “tour boat” (motorized…I’m so confused) with the promise from Jon that we’d return soon for him to show his ‘sailing’ abilities.

Today, Jon he had to work a double (his actual birthday). My mom, the kids and I surprised him though, by coming in and eating lunch at his table. We sang Happy Birthday and blew out candles in front of his costumers, a plus in the tip making eyes.

It was a great time celebrating a great man. Baylee, Nathan, and Owen are so very blessed to have Jon as their daddy and I am even more blessed to have him as my husband.