Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Life with Lana today (4 years, 4 months)

Profile of a 4-year-old Lana
  • Enjoys: gymnastics, swinging, doing workbooks
  • Turn Offs: a conversation between Mommy & Daddy that doesn't include her, loud noises, having to leave church/school before she's ready
  • Vices: telling adults what to do.  Our friends Matt & Kristen came to keep the kids for us so we could go on a date, and while the kids were cleaning up to watch a movie, Matt was checking his email on his Blackberry. Lana paused in her cleaning to tell him, "You know, Mr. Matt, this would go a lot faster if you would help us clean up."  Oh MY!  Thank goodness we're close enough friends with them that they will still speak to us after that.
  • Strengths: her heart is so tender, and she's quick to repent (and forgive).  She's been known on several occasions to come back to us and apologize for something, without any prompting from us.

    Favorites of a 4-year-old Lana
    • Foods: she says broccoli.  She really does eat nearly anything, although she's not a huge fan of oatmeal and things that are that consistency.
    • Songs: The Gospel Song - she asks me to sing it to her nearly every night.
    • Shows: Dora - we haven't had cable in a very long time, so she hasn't had the opportunity to watch this.  We recently subscribed to Netflix, though, so she can watch it On Demand, and loves it.  I'm thankful she's still loving cartoons, as opposed to Hannah Montana and those sorts of things!
    • Books: she's enjoying non-fiction books these days, and even did a book report for her class about deer based on a non-fiction easy reader we ordered from Scholastic.   
    • Toys: She's gotten then hang of electronic Leap Frog games; we've gotten her a Tag Reader for Christmas - I can't wait to give it to her!  I went ahead and wrapped it up so that I wouldn't be tempted to get it out for her.
    • Activities: tea parties, playing family
    How 4-year-old Lana is like her...
    mommy - (see "vices) she likes to tell others what to do.  She sees things in black and white like I do, and expects others to see things that way, too.
    daddy - she loves to be outside and exploring with him....climbing tree stands, making bonfires, whatever it happens to be.

    Treasuring details of my 4 year old:
    • She watched her first Disney movie on DVD this month: Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue.  Her friend Anna Kate Lyon is about a year older than her, and talks about this movie all the time!  When we found it by chance at a redbox, she was beside herself with excitement.  
    • She's not napping at all anymore, but every once in a while, if I'm napping, she'll ask to come sleep with me, and sleep we do!  Oh, she's the best nap buddy.  She curls up against me and life could not be better.  I already have plans to get a king-size bed so that the four of us can nap together one day!
    • She's beginning to "connect the dots" of the spiritual things we speak of: as we've talked to her about not correcting adults or telling them what to do, she's begun asking God at every prayer time to "help me not to tell adults what to do."  We're so thankful that Psalms 121 is proving itself real in her heart: "I lift my eyes up to the hills, Where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth."
    • She and Tucker are interacting more and more every day....quite often we'll hear them laughing hysterically together, or have to do some intensive training with them about how to share, love one another, etc.  She's learning specifically right now how to be a "peacemaker."  She's memorizing Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons and daughters of God."  All in all, she is a wonderful big sister: she cares for him so well.  There is nothing quite like the love between siblings.  The proof is in the pictures: 

    Monday, November 29, 2010

    Homemade apple pie

    I found this recipe for homemade apple pie on AllRecipes,
    and thought I'd give it a try for Thanksgiving Day lunch.

    It turned out so well, and I love that it is pretty much homemade, with a cheater crust.
    Makes it manageable for this mama of two small children, and still look super impressive!

    1 recipe pastry for 9 inch double crust pie
    1/2 cup unsalted butter
    3 Tbs all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup water
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    seasoning for apples: cinnamon, sugar, apple pie spice, etc.
    7 Granny smith apples - peeled, cored, and sliced

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  
    2. Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Stir in flour to form a paste.
    3. Add water, white and brown sugar, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer.
    4. Season apples slices lightly with some combo of cinnamon, sugar, apple pie spice, etc.  I've used some combo of all of those - just whatever you have on hand in your cabinet.
    5. Place the bottom crust in your pan.  Fill with seasoned apples, mounding slightly.
    6. Cover with a lattice work of crust.
    7. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust.  Pour slowly so it doesn't run off.
    8. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven.  Reduce temp to 350 degrees, and continue to bake for 35-45 minutes, until apples are desired softness.

    Sunday, November 28, 2010

    Dancing machine

    Tucker has become a dancing machine!
    He'll walk over to the iPod and ask "On?!" over and over until we turn on some music.
    Then he dances!
    Sometimes he dances just a little,
    but sometimes he REALLY gets down.
    I caught a video of him this week:

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Homemade yeast rolls

    My friend Terra gave me this recipe for homemade yeast rolls, and I am telling you that they are to DIE for!  I made 3 dozen of them today.....24 for our big meal with friends, and then another dozen for our family to eat with ham for dinner.
    They were perfect every single time.
    We'll be having these often.

    2 tsp fast rising yeast
    3 cups bread flour
    1.5 tsp salt
    1.5 Tbs sugar (or honey)
    2 Tbs nonfat dry milk
    4.5 Tbs butter, melted
    1 cup + 2 tsp (9 oz.) water
    For glaze:
    1 large egg

    1. Put ingredients in the bread maker in the order recommended by the manufacturer, and put on dough cycle.
    2. When the dough is finished, divide into 12 equally sized balls.
    3. Put them on a lightly greased cookie sheet, and let rise for 30 minutes.
    4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    5. Before baking, mix together 1 egg with 1 Tbs water, and brush on top of rolls as glaze.
    6. Bake 15-18 minutes.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    There's nothing like being with family for Thanksgiving,
    but we are SO thankful for friends who are like family to spend this special day with!
    Newton's, Davis', Reed's, and Blake Grubb 
    My friend Jacelyn and I cooked it up RIGHT!

    We had turkey, ham, sweet potato casserole, broccoli cheese casserole, hashbrown casserole, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, and homemade yeast rolls.
    I didn't take a picture of dessert, but it was amazing!  Between Jacelyn, Tammi, and I, we served up some amazing homemade goodies: apple pie, pumpkin spice cake, chocolate pie, and tipsy apple pie.

    We had to get creative with the table set up:

     Lovin' this "kids table"

    Tucker was hanging at the table with the bigs, chowin' down.

    Mollie prefers coke over pepsi.

    There was lots of time for play, too!

     It was a wonderful day...we have so much to be thankful for!

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Beginning of the year preschool assessments

    Lana's preschool teachers recently completed their beginning of the year assessment of her skills:

     I conferenced with Lana's teacher today, and
    she had nothing but great things to say!  
    Lana is showing mastery of 4 year old skills, 
    and her teacher has great plans to continue working with her interest in reading and writing.
    I'm so thankful for such a smart girl!
    Because she has a summer birthday, we always knew that giving her a Transition year was an option, but after hearing her teacher's thoughts today, I do believe she'll be ready for Kindergarten.

    Here's Tucker's assessment, too:

    Some of my favorite things that we hear from Tucker's teachers include:
    • Tucker is so loving...he will stop and give us hugs as he walks by.
    • He is cooperative, and will follow one-step directions: "Tucker, put this book on the shelf."
    • He loves the playground, and they have to watch him carefully on the climbing structures.

    Waking up is hard to do

    Lana very rarely naps these days, just because she doesn't need it.
    If she naps, she has a hard time going to sleep at night, but if she doesn't nap, she's out like a light at 7 p.m. With Tucker going to be at 7 p.m., too, it's usually just easier for her not to nap.

    Last Sunday afternoon, though, I needed some snuggle time with my girl.
    I interrupted her quiet time in her room, and gave her the choice to keep playing, or to come nap with me.  She said, "Oh, that's a hard choice!"  

    In the end, she chose to nap with me:
    This is SO rare, and treasured!!

    Her brother didn't let that golden moment last long, as he was refusing his nap.  I played with him for a bit, and then we went to wake sister up.  We all laid in the bed for a while and were so silly and cuddly.

    I was grinning ear to ear taking these pictures, knowing that I was documenting how purely Tucker adores his big sister.
    Here are a couple of videos that completely melt my heart.  I was trying to video him doing this crazy bouncing thing, and got something much sweeter:

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Leaf jumping

    Our neighbors have a beautiful tree in their yard that drops big huge leaves in the fall.
    Lana LOVES those big leaves, and has been asking for a pile of leaves to jump in.
    Before Dan went to work today, he raked up a big pile for she and Tucker.
    These pictures speak for themselves about the fun we had!