Friday, October 31, 2008

Batman, Robin, and a Cheerleader...Oh My!

I’d say that this year’s ‘Trick or treating’ was a success in the kids’ eyes. Not only did they love their costumes, their candy combined could feed an army. Halloween may be over but the candy eating continues for the next several months(unless Jon gets to it all when the kids are tucked away in bed, searching for us in Dreamland)!

Here’s our cute kiddos…(they’re already planning next year’s costumes!)

What was your favorite costume you've ever dressed up in?

We Need Your Vote!

It’s one of my very favorite “contests” we run in our home, our Halloween tostada making contest. We scheme for weeks on “what our design will be” and keep it a secret from everyone then “hope” our plans come to fruition with cooperating fingertips. Sometimes we “dream too big”, but hey…that’s okay too!

Before leaving for trick or treating we have a smorgasbord of toppings for each hardened canvas and hungry bellies. Our shopping list prior is planned by us all. Artists are particular you know and even the way things are cut makes a BIG difference.

Anything goes when making them! The only rule we have is…whatever you put on your tostada, you have to eat!

Okay spectators, we need your help though. Our Kempiak Party of Five spirit trophy is at stake. Baylee’s possibly held it “too long” and now, one of us may be able to host it in our room. Get your whole family involved, everyone get’s a “vote”. Post your top pick in the comment section here below (or email it to me). Rock the vote…you can make a difference!

Tostada One

Tostada Two
(Look closely; there are eyes and a nose that camouflage into the beans)

Tostada Three

Tostada Four

Tostada Five

Here’s our two guests’ work of art (who cannot take the trophy from our household). Enjoy their work but don’t vote on these.

Papa John’s

Grandma Pat’s

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our Pumpkin Carving Party

We love the many traditions fall brings, one of which is carving pumpkins. This year each kid got their own, including Owen. Instead of handing over a knife of any sort for Owen to use, I found a great solution! At Wal-Mart there was an animal pack where the body parts just get poked into the pumpkin themselves. He absolutely LOVED it. It kept him busy for a good hour! We all laughed at his creations, they were adorable!

Baylee and Nathan were so grown up, determined to make their own…start to finish. I think they turned out super! What do you think?

Nathan's fabulous final product!

Here's Baylee's!

Okay, when all was said and done, Owen wanted his to light up so the three kids carved just one more! Go figure!

I love the smell of pumpkins with burning candles in them!

We Have a Reader!

Nathan is continuing to learn like a champion in kindergarten. Each child, on their own pace, is to come to their teacher during the year with a mastered list of 25 sight words. Once they get that “checked off” they move to a blender book, then to Sam Books. Nathan is now in Sam books and can’t be more proud of himself for this! We too, of course, are proud of him as well.

So now, Nathan has mastered tying his shoe, knowing his address and phone number, writing his first a last name, writing all upper and lower case letters, his first 25 sight word list, blender books, etc. Nathan’s determination with hard work makes him a super student. You keep up the great work Nathan!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


This Gratituesday I am thankful for the simplicity of God’s Word and its availability to me. I take it for granted often, shame on me! There isn’t a situation in my life that God doesn’t have something to say about it in the Book of Life and I am grateful that he’s opened my eyes and ears to understand and obey it. I’m not perfect at all, just a work in progress!

I’m in a learning curve of many things right now and find life to be challenging. Sometimes I am a slow learner. But when push comes to shove, these challenges show me how reliant I must be on Him, how BIG He is and how small I am, and who God is growing me to be! Some things He’s teaching me are:
- to practice forgiveness daily (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3)
- to grow in my humility (Psalm 66:18)
- to remind myself daily that He is in total control (Romans 8, Jeremiah 17:9-10)
- to grow in grace (1 Corinthians 15:10)
- to show unconditional love (“Love always believes, hopes, perseveres, never fails, etc…1 Corinthians 13, 1 Corinthians 13:6-7)
- to practice patience (Ecclesiastes 7:8, Romans 2:4, Colossians 1:11)
- to trust ( Jeremiah 17:7-8, Psalm 112:7)

Thank you Lord that you have not lost your mighty grip on me and I know you never will. Help me to stay diligently focused on you, never living in fear but in total awe of your power! Thank you for my life in You and that we live in a country that we can openly share our faith.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Family Fun-"Ding Dong Ditch," Boo Style

We love to be anonymously sneaky and bless several families each year at this time with a yummy homemade treat whether we know them at all, a little, or a whole lot. Tonight we went "Booing" (and plan to hit a few more homes later in the week).

For those that have never “boo’d” it’s really simple. You leave a sign taped on the door (with poem/instructions) along with some type of treat. You ring the doorbell then RUN (othewise known as a friendly ding dong ditch). It’s then the task of the new family to do the same in days to come to at least two homes.

Here’s the poem we use:
Since this is the time for goblins and bats,
For Halloween spirits, for ghosts and cats,
For weird happenings and witches’ brew,
These are the things that I wish for you...
May the only spirit you chance to meet
Be the spirit of love and friends warm and sweet.
May the only goblin that come your way
Be this cute Neighborhood Phantom Pumpkin you must give away.
“Tis much better to give than to receive” goes the old verse
And something this easy won’t empty your purse.
It’s your turn to pass along a treat and a Boo
Because now the cute Neighborhood Phantom is little old YOU!
So by this time tomorrow, pick two friends sweet,
And give them each a Halloween treat.
You have only one day- so you’ll need to hurry-
Leave a treat on the doorstep, ring the bell and then scurry!

The Cute Phantom Pumpkin

Now these are the things you need to do:
1. Make two copies of this letter and the Phantom Pumpkin for each.
2. Post the cute Phantom Pumpkin on your door or in your window until Halloween. This will ward off that silly phantom from returning to you and yours.
3. Then take a letter, a phantom, and treat and deliver them to two houses that do not have a cute Phantom posted. (At least one should be given within the neighborhood/street; the other can be a nearby friend you are thinking of). You do NOT need to know the person you are Booing!

This is the yummy pumpkin Rice Krispy treat we left behind:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Getting Ready Before Winter Kicks In!

We’ve had our pet desert tortoise since Baylee was three. Each year when Tommy comes out of hibernation, we always comment on how much he’s grown. This year we took some measurements so we can keep closer tabs on it (along with giving him a basil feast).

Weight: 3.8 pounds
Length: just shy of 10.5 inches

We’ll miss you Tommy all winter long. We’ll see you again in the spring!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

An Answer to Prayer

Praise God! The bees have finally been taken care of, as of today, after numerous calls and complaints. We now can go in our backyard to play and not be worried about being stung (especially since Jon and I are allergic to them and we're going to caution that the kids probably are too). We still have no clue why they were attracted to our pool to get their water for building purposes for their hive which could be found across the golf course from us, especially since there were other closer pools. Can you hear my sigh of relief?

Friday, October 24, 2008

This is What 3 1/2 Looks Like!

We love to find reason to celebrate in our home and half birthdays are worthy of it in my book! Today our Owen turned 3 1/2! He’s so excited to be 6 months away from his “4 year old privilege”…chewing bubble gum for the first time! We had our traditional half a birthday cake (with 3 big candles and one half of another candle on top), half a song, two small gifts, a hand selected meal from the honorary kiddo, and lots of fun.

Owen buddy, we love you. You’ll always be my baby, no matter what your age is!

I Can't Stop Smiling About Our Night!

My ultimate life would be if it was like a musical where people sang to one another instead of spoke and danced their way from spot to spot. Truly, as I was growing up, I thought that would be a typical day in Junior High, much like “Grease” with the “T” birds and Pink Ladies. Quickly I found out differently and was disappointed. Needless to say, I teach and parent through music too; I guess it’s to keep my “dream” alive. My students and kids respond well to it! And with Jon’s music background, he loves it as well!

Because of our love for music (and musicals), the Kempiak Party of Five also loves Disney’s High School Musical! We were slow to discovering the hype but quickly joined in! It’s a huge phenomenon around Baylee’s circle of friends boy or girl! Nathan and Owen including many of their friends love it too!

Well, we along with thousands of other people around the world have been waiting for October 24th to arrive, High School Musical 3’s debut in the theatres! And although we don’t normally go to an evening movie, this time we made an exception and invited our Brownie troop to join as well!
(We missed our friend Maggie in the shot!)

This was the BEST movie experience I think I’ve ever been a part of! The audience was more precious than I could have ever scripted! They screamed for Troy (main male lead), clapped with the songs, waved their arms in the air, sang along, and even danced at their seated areas. It was so interactive. Nobody could have left there in a sour mood!

It was one night and one movie I can honestly say, I’ll never ever forget! Ten thumbs up from the Party of Five!

It's Been 20 Years...Hard to Believe!

I know, look at my 80’s hair! The bigger the better, baby! I worked hard at getting this hairdo to cooperate each morning, especially with how very straight my natural hair is. So, the timer in the bathroom would go off at 4:30AM…2 sets of hot benders, 1 set of hot rollers, and a curling iron. I’d wake 20 minutes later to go through the regime then add the final, most crucial ingredient…mega hairspray!

Why am I posting this today? Am I a glutton for some embarrassment and ready for some smart-alecky comments back or do I just want to give all my faithful “readers” something to laugh about? No, tomorrow would have been my 20 year high school reunion from Westlake High School (in Westlake Village, CA). I couldn’t get Jon to take me and going alone didn’t seem “okay” with me. I would have totally enjoyed myself, I know. I loved that school and so many people I attended with. I just wonder if we would have recognized each other without the “hair”.

I looked up some things that made the news in 1988 and the “popular things” that surrounded us…here’s a “flashback down memory lane”…

What things cost in 1988:
Average Cost of new house $91,600.00
Average Income per year $24,450.00
Average Price for new car $10,4000.00
1 gallon of gas 91 cents
Movie Ticket $3.50
US Postage Stamp 24 cents
Dozen Eggs 65 cents

Most Popular Television Shows
1. The Cosby Show (NBC)
2. A Different World (NBC)
3. Cheers (NBC)
4. The Golden Girls (NBC)
5. Growing Pains (ABC)
6. Who’s the Boss? (ABC)
7. Night Court (NBC)
8. 60 Minutes (CBS)
9. Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
10. Alf (NBC)

Popular Movies
1. Beetlejuice
2. Big (Thought it was funny)
3. Bull Durham
4. Cocktail
5. Colors
6. Coming to America
7. Crocodile Dundee II
8. Die Hard
9. A Fish Called Wanda
10. Good Morning, Vietnam (Saw that at a drive in movie theater with a boy!)

Popular Music
1. "So Emotional” … Whitney Houston (I can't get that song out of my head now!)
2. "Got My Mind Set on You” … George Harrison
3. "The Way You Make Me Feel” … Michael Jackson (was obsessed with this guy!)
4. "Need You Tonight” … INXS
5. "Could’ve Been” … Tiffany (Boy could I sing this song full of heart!)
6. "Season Change” … Expose
7. "Father Figure” … George Michael
8. "Never Gonna Give You Up” … Rick Astley (Annoying )
9. "Man In the Mirror” … Michael Jackson
10. "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” … Billy Ocean

1988 News
The Hubble Space Telescope Goes into operation to explore deep space.
A bomb exploded on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland on December 21st .
Prozac was sold for the first time as an anti-depressant.

What do you remember about the 80's? All I know is, I sure want to throw an 80's adult party so I can put my hair back up and wear my LA Gears that I've saved just for the occasion!

And I wonder, will perms ever come back in? Deep down, I sure hope so!

Field Trip Fun

Part of my teaching week included a field trip for our kindergartners to Mother Nature’s Farm in Gilbert. This is a traditional spot our school takes the kindergartners and I can see why. Not only is it walking distance from the school, it’s a real nice, quant place to be. First thing, the kids got to jump on board a hayride pulled by a tractor, pet/feed pigs and cows, as well as go through a hay maze, decorate pumpkins, and enjoy a snack under the shade of some very big trees. I had a super time with the 20 precious kids and the chaperones today and look forward to going again once Owen is in kindergarten (which I hope comes real slow).

(from right...Jonas, Kaydon, Jake, Andrew, and Nathan)
(At least I got one shot of Nathan with a friend...Nathan and Andrew)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Answered Prayer

Thanks for your prayers! Jon’s dad, Dick, had surgery today to remove the cancer in his bladder. When he woke from the procedure, Owen got to take a ride with Papa, as Papa requested.

The Lord is good to us all and we are comforted that He is in control!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm Back to Teaching!

Little did I know that when I agreed at the beginning of the school year to substitute in Baylee and Nathan’s classes, that I’d be used back to back! I got a call the Sunday before school started up again from fall break that Nathan’s teacher, Mrs. Zavisch, was in a car accident and needed more time to recuperate. I was faced with somewhat of a dilemma since I had already promised Owen that he had me all to himself and that mommy wasn’t a “working mommy for the time,” We held an emergency family meeting with Owen and explained it all. He told me he’d be “okay” and for me to go help Mrs. Zavisch. So, needless to say I agreed but asked for the first day to be covered by someone else so Owen and I could have “one day”.

What a blessed woman I am to be honored to teach Nathan. Boy he’s a super hard working student with so many precious classmates/friends. I had a blast being a kindergarten teacher for the week.

Please pray for Lauren’s recovery. Thank God she will recover and has many people that love her and will support her along the way. She’s one incredible person!

(Thank you in the meantime for understaning why I am behind on my blogging. I'll catch up as soon as I can, one step at a time).

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Sweet Night

We baked tonight for our family fun activity, cooking up 4 different dishes. We made yummy cinnamon friendship bread, Rice Krispy treats, Halloween style, and chocolate chip and oatmeal cranberry cookies. I guess we had a sweet tooth! Boy did our home smell delectable! Too bad for Owen that he slept through the entire thing. Poor guy was ‘pooped’…falling asleep in the car on my way home from tutoring and staying that way for the entire night, even during dinner!

To end our special night, we of course had to sample our labor. We asked Baylee to get some milk for us to share. She had a unique way for us to drink it…what a great memory maker! Have you ever had cookies and milk (in a bowl) with four straws?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Back to the Farm Again

We couldn’t resist, we had to go back to Schnepf farms this weekend, this time with Daddy since he missed out last weekend. It’s tradition! And boy did we get our money’s worth. We spent almost 8 hours there and still, as usual, didn’t get it all “in”.

The kids sported their t-shirts they made during fall break. They took such pride in them and received lots of positive comments in return.

We took Daddy through the corn maze, finding other ways to get through it. Fun!

Baylee was dying to try the roller coaster and loved it. She would have been satisfied if that’s all she did I think. I took her the first time (ugh…my poor neck) and Jon had the “privilege” of taking her two more times, once in the dark! That time, Baylee and Jon had their arms up in the air the whole time no matter the dips or turns they were riding! It was so fun watching (too bad the photo didn't turn out of the two of them).

The five of us loved the bike ride obstacle.

Okay, call us corky if you want, but we got our hands on a “find” this time. We each got pig noses, which are normally given out only to the winning pig calling volunteers. We wore them during the pig races, both times we watched them. Baylee and Owen even got called up to cheer for the pig in the purple bandana the last race of the night. So cool!

Owen and I even found time to dance to the hillbilly band (that was awesome). Jon was too busy to cut in and swing me around the ‘dance floor’ because he was mesmerized with the washbasin bass.

And don't let me forget to mention our train ride!

And the merry-go-round...

We’ll visit the farm next year eagerly.