Archive for May, 2013

Four Year Pictures Outtakes

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

I have always known that our daughter is a little bit on the goofy side!  She has some serious funny faces and we were able to capture some of those when we went out today to take her 4 year old pictures.  She makes me laugh more and more each day!

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Blowing bubbles!

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This is her go to cheesy grin when you tell her to smile!

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"I’m scared" face.

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Sneak attack!

This was probably the best photo session we have done with her since she was a newborn!  She was really into taking the pictures and as you can see, really animated!  If you want to see the "good" pictures from the photo shoot, you can check them out here on Ben’s Facebook page.  Here is a sneak peek of them…

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Posted in Parenting |

This Week’s Happenings May 1-12

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

For the last couple of weeks I have been part of the planning committee for our term break camps.  Each school break the kids that stay at the hostel return home to be with their families.  Periodically during these breaks we will bring those that are 15 years and older back to the hostel for a fun filled camp.  The camps consist of sports, guest speakers, life skills training and much more!  Last week was our camp for this school break and it kept me super busy!  Mikayla and I would leave the house each morning and not return until supper or later!!  I was the "behind the scenes girl".  I did not have a super specific role, but floated around and helped to fill in the gaps where needed.  I was on my feet a lot and running around, which made me super tired!  Not sure how I taught kindergarten right up until Mikayla was born!!

Part of the camp was a mural project.  We took the theme "Live Your Best Life" and had each group (there were four) complete one of the words in the theme on a large board.  The kids spent the first day brainstorming, then Ben took their ideas and created the designs.  I then projected them onto the board and traced them. The kids took over after this painting and filling in with additional thoughts and ideas.  I think they turned out pretty good for their first big art project.  Thanks to all my time at Kaleidoscope I was able to help get this project completed!!

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Another highlight from the camp week was the Cabrini staff vs. Camp kids soccer match.  It was quite entertaining and actually a really well matched game (with the exception of a couple of out of shape gentlemen)!  Here are a couple of shots from the game. Oh and the kids won (1-0) in overtime!!

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Staff in blue, kids in green.  Anyone notice something out of place in this picture?

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We spent the weekend recuperating from camp and relaxing!  I had a fabulous Mother’s Day where Ben and Mikayla let e watch movies and relax on the couch all day.  They served me food and wouldn’t let me lift a finger!  Just what this momma needed!  Love my family.

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Posted in Life, Work |

Pregnancy Update Week #32

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

How far along? I am 32 weeks.

Total weight gain/loss? Let’s just leave it as weight gain.  Haven’t stepped on the scale lately!

Stretch marks? Still none, keeping our fingers crossed.

Best Moment this week? Mikayla has decided that she is ready to share her room and has spent the last week "preparing" for the baby.  She has cleared off a shelf in her closet for the babies clothes and even made a pallet on the floor with a blanket and "crib" (her stool turned upside down)!  Then just last night she was sitting really still and I could tell she was thinking.  I asked her what she was thinking about and she said, "I’m just thinking about what the baby could wear when it comes home from the hospital".  She is going to be a really great big sister!  Just look how excited she is in this next picture!

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Movement?  Moving like crazy.  Still really low and on the right side of my belly.  I almost never feel movement above the belly button or on the left side.  It is really strange!  Mikayla moved all over the place, but this baby is content sticking to one side!  

Food Cravings:  Nothing major, just sweets mostly.  I crave something sugary after every meal!

Gender? Still unsure, but we head back to the doctor this week.  We are hoping for some news in an ultrasound that will be more definitive!

Labor Signs?  Last week was a busy week for me and I was on my feet and moving a lot more than usual.  There were a couple of nights that I had a couple of contractions, but since then nothing.

Belly Button in or Out?  In, but just barely!

What I miss.   I miss being able to easily get down on the floor and play with Mikayla (and I think she misses it too).  I am just not as mobile as I was a few months ago!!

What I am looking forward to.  A trip to South Africa this weekend to pick up some baby items.  We have made a list of all the essentials we need and are hoping to pick them up there.

Weekly wisdom:  There is nothing wrong with sitting down and putting your feet up when you are 32 weeks pregnant.  Everyone will understand and will probably even encourage you to do the same!  Also, pillows are a girls best friend when pregnant, just ask Ben!

Milestones:  Since I last updated I entered the world of pillows.  I purchased a few extra ones to help keep me comfortable at night time and it has made all the difference.  I now sleep with three pillows – one between the legs, one under the belly and then one for my head!

Here are two belly shots for comparison.  This is me at 32 weeks for both pregnancies.  Picture one is the current baby and picture two is with Mikayla.

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Mikayla’s 4th Birthday

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

When Ben’s parents were here we had Mikayla’s official birthday party, but still wanted to do something on her special day.  Like in years past, we had a week long countdown to her birthday filled with fun activities to do as a family or small gifts.  She was so excited each day to open her countdown and I think it really helped her realize just how special a birthday should be!  Her countdowns this year included the following:

  1. Some special princess stickers and a sticker book.
  2. Spa day complete with bubble bath and painting her nails.
  3. Campfire with marshmallows and hotdogs.
  4. Popcorn and a movie.  She had been saving for Toy Story 2 and we surprised her with it for this countdown day.Easter, birthday, camp 061
  5. Some bubbles and chap stick.
  6. Family pizza night where she rolled out and made her very own pizza.  We also watched a movie (Mulan) on this night while eating.
  7. Making special birthday cupcakes and decorating them with pink frosting and sprinkles!

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On her actual birthday (the 28th) we started the morning with balloons, streamers, homemade donuts and gifts.  Then we headed to Big Bend Country Club for lunch and some time on their fun playground.  Afterwards we headed home and prepared for a special birthday dinner with Joe of spaghetti!  And finally ended the day with a special birthday cake. 

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Enjoying her balloons and streamers!

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Opening gifts.

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More gifts!

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Backstory on this picture – A couple of weeks before her birthday she decided that she wanted to make a paper bike.  After we worked on it as a family (I had to enlist Ben’s help because I was drawing a blank), she decided she wanted to wrap it up and save it for her birthday gift.  So she decorated a box and put it inside and promised to forget about it.  This worked out perfect for us because we had already been planning on buying her a bike.  So when it came time to open our gift she opened the paper bike.  And was super excited!  We went out side to "ride" it and had her real bike on the porch waiting.  She did not see the bike at first, but when she did was very excited and forgot all about her paper one!

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She is still a little timid with the bike and has not figured out how to pedal yet.  But then again she has never had any sort of riding toy so this is brand new territory for her.

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Her cupcakes and cake she decorated all on her own!  She knew she was four, so she picked out four candles!!

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I just love this picture and the effort she is using to blow out her four chosen candles!!

All in all it was a great birthday week.  Thanks to everyone who called, sent gifts and cards or sent messages on her special day.  She was excited about them all!  And for the record, is already talking about when she turns five!!

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Posted in Life, Parenting |

Preschool Update

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

I have been so bad about blogging (and taking pictures) about Mikayla’s preschool time lately, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been doing some really fun activities.  We have plugged along with our letters and numbers and have worked our way up to the letter L and number 12.  Here are just a few of the activities we have done lately.

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She learned about the parts of an insect and put a felt one together.

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Beginning sound match where she matched the bees to their hives (both pictures started with the same sound).

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Letter I Iguana!

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Drawing and writing about ice cream in her journal.  We try to do something each day in her journal as our last activity.  This is how she knows school time is coming to a close. 

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She played number Bingo.  This really helped with her number recognition that she is currently struggling with.  Also please note baby on the table.  This baby has become her go to one and she takes it every where with us!  This is the first time in her four short years that she has latched onto something so strongly.

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Henny Penny’s Rhyme Time Game (courtesy of Mailbox magazine).  She chooses two pictures that rhyme and puts the on Henny’s nest.  She absolutely adores this game and would play it everyday! 

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Butterfly symmetry.  She is really concentrating here.

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For this game I laid out some magnetic letters on the floor.  I would call out a letter or sound and she would pretend to be a bee and fly them back to the hive.

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Jigsaw J’s

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We have also been spending a lot of time in her dry erase books.  She has accumulated several now and enjoys working hard in them.

Like I said, I haven’t been very good about taking pictures or blogging about her school time recently and don’t make any promises to get better in the future!!  I am however, doing a much better job of documenting for myself what we do and what has worked and not worked for in the future!

Posted in Parenting |

This Week’s Happenings–April Update

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Besides Easter and a very special fourth birthday (stay tuned for a separate post on this one), April was a pretty routine month for us.  Ben worked, Mikayla and I had school and hung out at the hostel and we enjoyed time as a family!  After our month of visitors in March, we enjoyed some quiet down time as a family. 

I was also able to take a mini trip to Mozambique with Joe and Scooter for a weekend, while Ben stayed home with Mikayla.  It was a nice weekend.  We hit up the craft and fabric shops, some of my favorite places to go!!  I got lots of fun fabrics, purses and other small items to add to my collection.  We also visited a fish market and had a delicious lunch of crab, prawns, calamari and some sort of fish.  It was nice to get away for the weekend, but I was glad to get back home with my family when it was over. 

Below are some pictures from our month.

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Mikayla dyed Easter eggs this year.  All the eggs are brown, so it was a little tricky.  She enjoyed every minute of it and asked frequently afterwards when we were going to to dye more.

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Dansile, a child staying short term at the hostel, even got in on the action with the help of Scooter.  Scooter was with Cabrini as a volunteer for a few months and really latched on to taking care of Dansile.  We were even able to have a slumber party with Dansile one night when the kids at the hostel were gone and Scooter had prior commitments. 

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Hunting for eggs.  She was so cute and excited each time she found one!

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Mikayla and Ben had a "tea party date" one day. They both dressed up and had tea in her room while I showered and relaxed!  Please take note of Ben’s tie, this is how everyone here wears them…about a foot too short!

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For school one day Mikayla got to experience shaving cream.  She loved exploring it, writing letters and drawing pictures!  She has even enjoyed playing with it in the shower since then!

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This is a picture we forgot to post while the Steve and Rita were here for a visit.

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This picture is for Meghan, Ben’s cousin.  She made the necklace for Mikayla as a birthday gift.  Mikayla was being too silly to get a good picture, but says thanks for the beautiful necklace.

May is already shaping up to be a busy month for us, but more on that later!


Easiest PB Fudge Ever

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

I love me some good old fashioned Peanut butter fudge.  My mom actually makes a great one, but her recipe calls for marshmallow cream.  Something I have yet to see here in Swaziland.  Some recipes call for marshmallows, but the marshmallows here a little bit funky!  So for almost the last two years I have been Peanut Butter Fudge free.  Sad, I know.

This morning I found this recipe and the best part is it is marshmallow (and marshmallow cream) free!!  And the title says it all, "Easiest Peanut Butter Fudge Ever".  I made this in less than ten minutes.  It must be pretty good too because over half the pan is already gone and we only made it this morning!!  Okay, onto the recipe.

You will need:

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup peanut butter

Bring sugar and milk to a boil.  Boil 2 1/2 minutes, remove from heat and stir in Peanut butter and vanilla.  Spread in an 8 x8 pan and refrigerate. 

That is it folks!!  Check it out yourself if you don’t believe us!

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Posted in Life |