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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Comic relief

I love seeing what my kids get into on their own during independent play.  When I was working at my computer, I looked over to see Sunshine playing with her Coffee Bean Sensory Bin.  I actually laughed. out. loud.  Not just LOL'ed :-)  Of course it's normal to play with an Ikea bin on your head!  Isn't it?  Isn't it?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

It's far better to give

About a month ago, DH organized a service project with our small group.  We put together care packages for the homeless.  The packages were meant to be kept in our cars so that we could give them out as needed to people we saw as we were driving.  We all helped pitch in and bought different things to add to the packages - reusable shopping bags were filled with non-perishable food items, water bottles, new socks, toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste, bar soaps, rain ponchos, and copies of the New Testament.  We also wrote small notes of encouragement and the kids in our group drew pictures to add to the packages.

The project was a great success!  I gave out my last bag today on my way home from a session in the city.  He was a young guy with an easy smile and was very graceful.  I wish I had asked what his name was so I could pray for him by name, but I know God will know who I am mean :-)  I went to the store today to buy more supplies for more bags and filled them up.  I also had a pretty adorable little helper!

I wanted to share this post because I know I typically post about adoption-related stuff.  And although there are way too many orphans in the world that need to be cared for, there are also people in need right here in our city too.  This is a simple, but needed way to serve and I love having these care packages on hand.  I thought some of you might also like the idea and want to do it too, so I'm passing it on.  And if you think about it, please pray for the man I ran into today the next time you're talking to God :-)

For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.  Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you? Then he will answer the, 'Truly I say to you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'  Matthew 25:43-45

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rainy day

It was on overcast, wet day yesterday so the kids got a little ... ummm ... bored.  After watching Frosty the Snowman And Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas (yes I recognize the wintery Christmas theme there - not my choices, that was all Lovebug!), we pulled out the Coffee Bean Sensory Bin, watercolors and crayons.  Sunshine adores drawing and amazingly, can hold a crayon perfectly without any help.  And Lovebug worked on a picture-in-progress that he is painting all red.  A guy after my own heart .... ahhhhh.  Oh and we stayed in PJ's all day, a favorite for me - I'm sure you'll recognize a theme if you've read my blog for any length of time.

We did finally get dressed just in time to pick Angel up from school, where we enjoyed an Ice Cream Social at the book fair there.  It was a delicious mess and we got to hang out inside, but outside of the house.  And of course I spent even more money at that darned book fair.  Why oh why must I be a sucker for books?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Are you a "liker?"

A Facebook "liker," that is.  I finally took the plunge and created a Facebook page for Living Out His Love.  Why?

I admit, it is a little odd to create a page so that people can "like" my personal blog.  However, after thinking this over a bit, I realized that by being on Facebook, I can reach more people in that community that I may not be reaching now.  I know many people who prefer to stay updated through Facebook and not through a blog or a google reader.  When they log onto Facebook, all of their updates are just waiting for them to be read.  Heck, I do that with a few photography-related businesses!  I realized I was probably missing an important audience by skipping out on the Facebook community.  And because I truly do want to reach as many families as possible, it just made sense.  Facebook is a wonderful gathering place for friends and acquaintances to connect.  So for better or worse, the Living Out His Love Facebook page has been created.

What can you expect over there when you "like" the page?  Well the obvious of course - I'll add my new blog posts there so you'll know when to come check out the blog for new material.  But also, I'm excited about being able to post other articles of interest about adoption, faith, parenting, etc. ... that's not something I would typically do in a blog post but I enjoy sharing little nuggets of interest with others.  Facebook is a terrific way to do that.  The other thing you can expect on the page is random status updates ... you know, the random things that don't need a full blog post so I just don't write about them.  The cute things the kids do, the little Praises throughout the day ... or honestly, the small annoyances throughout the day too (I'm only human!) :-)  It will also be a great way for me to keep everyone updated on surgeries, although Praise God we don't have many of them anymore!

So if you are on Facebook and want a different way to keep up with the blog, will you pretty please head over there and "like" the page?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sensory Bin #3

I cooked up Sensory Bin #3 today - Dyed Spaghetti!  Lovebug picked the color.  Although it was supposed to be blue, it turned out more greenish-blue.  Guess I needed more dye?  I also could have used more spaghetti!  I could have easily cooked the entire 48 oz box of pasta for my 18-qt bin.  I used a Wilton Gel Food Color and only needed the itty bittiest amount - it well worth the investment in those dyes!  It was a gorgeous day today, so we headed out front on the shady side of the house.  Grass and cooked spaghetti = double sensory experience!

This one was not Sunshine's favorite at all.  I did coat the spaghetti in olive oil so it didn't stick together and she just didn't like having her hands messy.  I was eventually able to coax her into playing with it and she even picked it up, but she still was never as into it as Sensory Bin #2.  This is good though, it give me a point of reference and I'm slowly figuring out what sensations are bothersome to her.  And she still did have some fun with the spaghetti, albeit brief ... and that's also good because it shows me she's getting more and more comfortable with sensations that she doesn't like!

UPDATE - I pulled this bin out again after nap when Angel was home from school.  Angel was super-interested and couldn't wait to play so of course, Sunshine had to get in on the action too.  She sat for a long time at her high chair and played with the spaghetti this time.  Don't know if it's because it was the second introduction or we were inside and there weren't distractions?

PS - I would be ever so grateful if you would take just a moment of your time (seriously just a moment!) to click on the 2 links below and vote for my blog on these sites.  I am trying to get the word out about my blog and build my readership so that I can reach more families and hopefully help them through their adoption or cleft lip & palate surgeries.  I promise I won't continue to bombard you with annoying requests to do this all the time!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My little book worm

We have quite the little reader on our hands.  Seems Little Miss Sunshine adores books just like her older sister and brother.  On many occasions, I find this little lady has gathered all the books from the shelf in her room into a pile on the rocking chair so that she can sit with them.

All of them.
And read.
It's oh so precious.

Especially because when we were with her in China, it seemed that she had never looked at a book before.  But now almost a year later, Sunshine is so fond of books that she is a bit territorial about them.  I pity the fool that tries to take one from her.  LOL.  When she gets bored of reading books by herself in the rocking chair, mama's lap is waiting for her.  And if it isn't waiting for her, well let's just say that baby girl makes it known it *should* be ready and waiting for her.  Oh this child, I just can't get enough of her.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sensory Bin #2

Well I certainly couldn't have predicted the complete success I'd have with this one - coffee beans were a HUGE hit with Sunshine.  They were mostly just the cheapo ones (about 36 oz. - still kind of expensive for a sensory bin, but so worth it!) and about a pound of chocolate beans mixed in that my mom gifted me.  The "regular" coffee smell overtook the whole first floor, so we didn't smell much of the chocolate unfortunately.  I'm guessing this is a total of about 3 1/2 lbs of coffee beans in an 18 qt. bin.  I wasn't sure how Sunshine would react because of the smell and because she got coffee residue on her hands.  But wow, she was in love.  She tried to dump anything and everything into the bin and got mad at me when I told her it was nap time.  LOL.  She also got very territorial when Lovebug tried to jump in for some play.  Oh you gotta love it.

As you can see, we did this one inside and it worked out nicely.  If I had enough forethought, I would have grabbed our vinyl mat for the floor, but it was fine without it.  Sunshine was sure to grab any straggling beans to put right back in the box anyway.  This sensory bin was definitely well received - I will be sure to pull it out again (like after nap today!).


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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sensory Bin #1

I am on a mission to create an arsenal of sensory bins for Sunshine to play with over the summer ... mostly outdoors but inside too on rainy days.  I thought playing with a variety of texturey sensory items might help with some of the small issues we're trying to work through.  So I'd like to introduce our first sensory bin of Water Beads.

To say the older two were in love with these cool beads is an understatement.  They couldn't get enough of them!  Angel was trying to stick her face into the bin until I caught her.  LOL.  The barrel of monkeys went in and out of the beads as did the little Polly Pocket dolls over and over - the whole afternoon was spent playing with these.  Sunshine, however, was not nearly as interested.  When I put her hand in the bin, she got mad at me.  LOL.  I tried multiple times though and even put her foot in it.  She really didn't like that ... at first.

Shortly after, she sat down and started taking off her 2nd sock and shoe and signed for "help" to get completely into the bin.  LOL.  I eventually took her pants off too because they were getting soaked. And by the end of the afternoon and into the evening, she was sitting in the bin!  Score!  It took awhile - you can even see the lighting change from the bright sun to the cool shade.  But we finally got there and she loved them.  She was squooshing them all over the ground with her feet too.

And you can see what the result of 4 neighborhood friends in addition to my 3 kiddos did ... there were beads EVERYWHERE and they made such a mess squooshed all over the patio.  No worries though, I picked up as much as I could and just hosed off the rest into the grass ... made perfect sense to me at the time :-)  I am so thankful my mom spent the afternoon with us - the kids always have a blast with her and she was so helpful with cleanup ... thanks Nana!

So what are water beads?  I think they are actually meant to be decorative material for flower vases but they are oh-so-fun to play with.  They start out very small (like the size of tiny seeds) and then when you add water to them, they (slowly) grow into these little soft, squooshy balls.  The inside consistency remind me of the gel inside a diaper (not that I would know what that's like, since I have never let me child's diaper get big enough to explode, LOL).  And they are so fun and feel awesome on your hands and feet (again, not like I would know because I didn't put my feet in the bin either, LOL).

A lot goes a long way too ... I bought a pound of the beads not really having any idea how much that would be ... I have multiple uses still left in the bag and I really put too many in the bin anyway.  And I have also read that you can let the beads dry out and re-use them.  I'm not so sure about that, but it's worth a Brownie try this first time around.  It may be more trouble than it's worth but we'll see.

So YES, this one was definitely a success!  I'll be doing many more posts over the coming weeks and months about different sensory bins, so excited to give more of these a try and see what the kids think of them!

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hot tub fun

Yes, a fun time indeed.  DH has been telling me how much he has wanted a hot tub since ... well, since 2 houses ago, circa 2002.  He finally decided he was going to get one.  And in true DH fashion, he found one on Craigslist for a fantabulous deal that he just couldn't pass up.  With a friend's help to get it here and a bottle of cleaner later, it was ready to go.  And he was in heaven.  And apparently, so are the kids ... and me.  It's been really fun to hang out in it - it's like a mini-pool for the kids.  And the amazing weather has made it even better.