Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Reading Restaurant

We have been blessed in our lives with many, many extraordinary teachers, and this year is no exception.  Patrick recently had a wonderful event that might be of interest to homeschoolers and teachers.

The Reading Restaurant!

We were met outside the "restaurant" (library) by the maitre d' and escorted inside to tables set with tablecloths and flowers.  Light music met our ears.  Our waiter then came to our table to welcome us and ask which book on the menu we would like to order. 

We had a choice of five books (all of which Patrick had practiced reading the previous week).  After making a selection Patrick went back into the "kitchen" and came back with the book, then proceeded to "serve" our selection by reading the book aloud. 

Once the reading was over we were given a comment book in which we could write positive feedback to our "server."  Patrick's godmother joined us for our "meal."

It was a most memorable event!  We had several students read to us, which was especially important for the kids whose parents weren't able to attend.  The kids were excited to practice their reading skills, while simultaneously learning about manners, public speaking, and personal interactions.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Modern Day Busy Mom Phone Club Book Club

What do you think of when you hear the words, "book club?" 

A gathering of women, sitting around chatting, laughing, and eventually actually discussing the book of the month?  Flowers on the table, appetizers replicated from the latest issue of Martha Stewart, and wine?

I've always loved to read and enjoy a wide variety of subjects--fiction, non-fiction, biography, self-help, spiritual, mothering . . . the list goes on.  I am usually reading at least five books at one time and will read absolutely anything, whether it be the latest bestseller, a cereal box, or the tampon box insert warning about Toxic Shock. 

To say I am obsessed with reading is an understatement.

I love the idea of a book club, but at this point in my life I am not willing to carve out the time.  I also have so much textbook reading that it can sometimes take months for me to finish a pleasure book. 

Enter the Modern Day Busy Mom Phone Club Book Club. 

A fellow blog-friend and I have started a book club--by phone.  Elizabeth and I became friends during our adoptions from Vietnam.  We both have large families and crazy, busy lives, so it's the perfect fit for this chapter of motherhood.  We both come up with suggested reads.  We try to find books available from the library (we both love thrift), and I especially like to find books recorded on CD (my #1 way of "reading" these days is driving to work and school).

Elizabeth is very patient with my bizarre reading style and my stopping one book in order to fit another in.  I hope to meet her in person one day, but until I do, I know we will have lots more books to discuss during our Modern Day Busy Mom Phone Club Book Club. 

My most recent reading list includes:  The Map of Love, The Help, The Secret, Methland, The Bluest Eye, Sarah's Key, Spychips, The Purpose Driven Life, Raising Your Spirited Child, Sabbath, Edgar Sawtelle, and The Memory Keeper's Daughter. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Laugh of the Day


I was packing for my business trip and my three-year-old daughter was having a wonderful time playing on the bed. At one point she said, "Daddy, look at this," and stuck out two of her fingers.

Trying to keep her entertained, I reached out and stuck her tiny fingers in my mouth and said,

"Daddy's gonna eat your fingers," pretending to eat them.

I went back to packing, looked up again and my daughter was standing on the bed staring at her fingers with a devastated look on her face.

I said, "What's wrong, honey?"

She replied,

"What happened to my booger?"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Reading posts like this challenge me.  I am inspired to use all my gifts wisely--time, treasures, and talents.

We are so blessed by so many--and I want to bless others in so many ways.

Last week, we were given both a pool/air hockey table and a foosball table by two different friends.  Given, as in, for free!

The greatest gift is having the kids all gathered together for laughter and fun.

 I pray we can use this space wisely to entertain friends and strangers. 
 I pray we can bless others with our blessings. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

More Signs of Growth--Small Motor Skills

Not only is Vu finally gaining weight, he is also gaining strength and skill.

When he first came home he lacked muscle--his legs were skinny and he couldn't walk far without tiring.  He also lacked small motor skills, such as writing.  At the age of six he could only draw a circle and a line.  It took him a full year to learn to write his name.  Six years in the orphanage definitely had taken its toll, in so many ways.

I was thrilled when he produced this picture.  Vu drew this after working on his writing/drawing skills for one year--it is a sun in a rainstorm:

He drew this six months later--I was excited with his growth in detail and color (he still needed help with the letters)

Here is a picture from this week--one year after the previous one (18 months after the first).  The detail amazes me.  He loves to draw and will spend an hour or more making his creations. 

Vu continues to grow in so many ways!  It is exciting to watch him blossom!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Let Spring Break Begin . . .

I get two weeks off--then my last quarter of college until GRADUATION!!!!

I invited some of my best friends over to invite all of you to come on over and celebrate!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Birthday Parties 502--The Money Sandwich

On the subject of birthdays, here's a great party gift! 

The money sandwich!

The idea comes from my sister in Texas.  Take a bunch of dollar bills and place between two slices of bread (hold the mayo, please).  Place in a plastic sandwich bag.  Put the money sandwich in a paper lunch bag.  Add an apple and a cookie to make it like a real lunch.  Make sure to write the birthday child's name on the paper bag.

Here's a picture of Kim presenting her friend Shu-nay-nay with a money sandwich:

It's easy!  It's fun!  It requires no shopping.  Kids love it! 

Birthday Parties 501--Masters Level Celebrations

After 26 years of celebrating kids birthdays, including celebrating every child, every year, for a total of 123 celebrations, I am finally at the Masters Level of parties.

Let kids plan their own parties!  And let them do all the work!

For Kim's 13th birthday the party revolved around making food--for the party.

The kids made the entire dinner of pizza and veggies:

Played some games and opened presents:

 and then made the birthday cake:

I'm getting smarter! 

Side note--rubber bands make nice pop can markers:


My favorite party book is The Penny Whistle Birthday Party Book by Meredith Brokaw:

Happy Birthday to my sweet baby girl!  I dreamt about you before you were ours and your presence in our lives has been beyond my wildest dreams!  You are funny, sweet, loving, and WOW do you have people-skills girl!!!  Your sense of humor keeps me laughing, your determination keeps me motivated, and your love for life inspires everyone who knows you! 

Happy 13th! You're a TEENAGER!!!!!! I love you with all my heart.