Thursday, August 30, 2012

How we survived ISSAC

No hurricane is exactly like another. There's also no real way to predict what will happen until it is happening. The last big hurricane we were here for was Gustov. We had strong winds and rain and it was over in a day but we were without power for almost a week. This time around Issac barely made it up to hurricane status before making landfall and was only a tropical storm by the time it reached us, but because of its ultra-slow moving center, it battered us for two days. We are several miles north of Baton Rouge but we still had 30-60 mph winds and probably about 6 inches of rain over about 30 hours. Fortunately, there wasn't much wind damage or flooding where we are and our power was restored within 8 hours. Our biggest inconvenience was that our air conditioner went out just as Issac was coming ashore leaving us hot and sticky likely until after the holiday weekend when repairmen can be dispatched. The blessing is that a friend let us borrow a window unit A/C that he wasn't using so we can at least keep part of the house cool since the power's back on.

During the storm, we carried on with our plan and found lots of things to keep us busy. When my husband and I were cheering today when the lights came back on, our oldest son was saying, "Aww, I wish the power would go back off, I was having so much fun in the dark." Really?

Day 1 (Tuesday) No school, watched tv and played video games while we still had electricity
Day 2 (Wednesday)
Made pom pom poppers and shot cotton balls all over the house

played keep up the balloon

Built a fort and played in the "cave"

Found a cool spot

Blew bubbles in the wind

Played in the "sideways rain" and pretended to be like the weather guys on TV

took a nap

watched the neighbors fence blow like Popsicle sticks in the strong winds

played in the tent some more

played catch with dad who is still recovering from a fractured knee
(thus the brace and wheelchair)

played ipod games

played cards by lantern light

Day 3 (Thursday)
Grilled Meals (Breakfast = sausage biscuits, oatmeal, mac n cheese & smores; weird I know but we were trying to use what was in the freezer and/or leftover and the kids wanted oatmeal & smores for a special treat...
Lunch = tacos and nachos)

Made & played with slime and cleaned up the mess

Built with blocks and sorted all our mardi gras beads

Colored a really cool hand print picture

Learned magic from Dad

Power came back on after lunch today and we had no cable so we just played and enjoyed having fans again at least. Now things are getting sort of back to normal. No school again tomorrow (even though we did our homework every day!) and my husbands parents are coming to visit from TX. Hopefully we can pack back up the hurricane kit until next time which I pray will not be soon.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A dozen things to do with kids when the electricity goes out!

Well, it's that time of year again. Hurricane season. Even though Isaac is currently only a tropical storm, it is a big one which can only mean we can expect days (if not weeks) without electricity. The kids are out of school for at least the next two days. Parents everywhere are dreading the beginning of the "I'm Bored" whine-fest. Prepare now!

Here are some things you can do without electricity to make the time pass more quickly and maybe make some fun memories....

1. Easy-Weave Newsprint Basket Easy Weave newspaper baskets

2. Handprint coloring pages  

3.  Marshmallow Shooters  

4. Make your own goo oobleck-2.jpg 

5. Build a log cabin (or a monster truck garage)

6. Make some no-bake cookies  snacks

7. Have a build your best sundae competition. Use all the stuff that's going to otherwise ruin in your freezer/fridge to make and eat a yummy sundae

8. Play flashlight hide and seek! For younger kids leave flashlights on when hiding, for more of a challege turn the lights off when you find your hiding spot. Have the finder sing "This little light of mine" while searching for hiders.

9. READ stories by candlelight

10. Do your homework! Practice sight or vocabulary words.

11. Make your own fruit snacks (you have to warm the water on the grill if you don't have hot tap water) 

12. Exercise! Use all those canned food provisions to build and tone some muscles.

13. Draw your child's silhouette with the light of a flashlight. Trace with chalk on black paper and then cut out and paste on white paper. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Exercise Playlist

There has been lots of research on the effects of listening to music while exercising. Some say listening to music while exercising increases muscular ability and makes you exercise longer than if you workout in silence. Others say it decreases your lap speed and heart rate and interferes with form and effective reps. 

No matter what the research says, I find that listening to music while I walk (particularly on the treadmill) makes a workout more enjoyable and seems to help the time pass more quickly. I choose upbeat contemporary christian music that motivates me to "finish the race" so to speak. The problem is I only have about 25 minutes of music on my exercise playlist. I need about one or two more songs to make a full 30 minute walk - which is usually all I can fit in most days of the week. Here's what I have already: 

  • Good Morning (Mandisa & Toby Mac)
  • Brand New Day (Yancy)
  • Me Without You (Toby Mac)
  • God's Not Dead (Newsboys)
  • Shine (Newsboys)
  • The Motions (Matthew West)
  • I Choose Jesus (Moriah Peters)
  • Well Done (Moriah Peters)

Got any suggestions? Leave your favorite workout song suggestion in the comment box below. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

First Day of 2nd Grade

Sounded like it went well. Only tears from mama after dropping him off in carpool line at a new school. My goodness, just look at how much he's grown up since last year! He likes his class and had fun drawing today although a little disappointed they didn't have recess because of the rain.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ready or school comes!

Well here we are in August (the most miserable month in Louisiana) and while it's still very much summer, school is starting back. Where has summer break gone?!! 

We have done the back to school shopping list, bought the uniforms, picked out a new backpack and lunchbox and met our teachers. My 2nd grader (gasp!) is very excited about starting school this week. He's been jumping out of bed by 6:30 every morning this week practicing getting ready for school. At orientation he met his teachers and heard about all the awesome science projects they would be doing this year - robots, building animals out of trash, etc. This was the most exciting part for him. I could just see is ears perk up at the mention of science projects and he got a little twinkle in his eye. It made the part about spelling homework and handwriting books kind of fade into the background. He is ready. We even put command hooks on the inside of the kids closet doors to lay out their school clothes for the week so there will be no mid-week "I can't find my____" because all the clothes are already laid out at the beginning of the week (pending mom's ironing day gets done - yikes!) Our PreK-4 son is fickle about going to "real" school. We did home school for PreK-3 and it went very well. We thought he needed to learn to follow the rules of the classroom before kindergarten. His school doesn't start until Sept. when he will go 1/2 days. I think he will be more excited about it when he realizes some of his church friends will be there.

While the kids are ready to go, I as their mom and fighting the urge to just keep them both home with me. There's always a nervous feeling in my momma heart when I have to send my sweet boys off into the real world. The real world is scarier than it was when I was a 2nd grader. Today's kids still face bullies at school but always have to wonder if they have a gun with them. They face so much more violence and drugs and temptation. That's why it so important to teach them to clothe themselves with the Armor of God. I have to let go a little bit and trust that they have learned enough from us to handle it, and that the Lord is watching over them wherever they are (Matthew 28:20).  Even though the kids are starting school we have to keep teaching them. We as parents are still their #1 teachers. We try to prepare them the best we can and then walk beside them and support them along the way. 

I hope my boys have made some good memories this summer. We have had many adventures in travel from Georgia to North Carolina as you can see in the previous posts. We've also done some pretty cool stuff at home. We made hot car crayons... and lava lamps...  and sponge balls...and bookworm bookmarks...a rug out of old t-shirts....lots of pudding for kids in the for construction workers at church...homemade fruit snacks...Brain Games....gone to the bounce house and bowling.  It has been a full summer. 

Church has taken up a lot of our summer too. We had Vacation Bible School the first week of June which was awesome to see over 300 kids there everyday excited to learn about our Awesome God and His Amazing Power. We helped with the 5th and 6th grade local missions trip the last week of June. Then we did Drama camp for a week in July. My 2nd grader was thrilled to get to do puppets this year. He was "baldy" in the middle. He did a great job. Additionally, we have been in renovation mode all summer. Our church is currently in the process of completing a new building for youth and renovating the old FLC for the children. It looks like a completely new space upstairs. I can't wait for it to be finished. Much blood, sweat and tears have gone into that children's area. While I can't say I've enjoyed the building process, it does excite me to think about the ministry that will move into that space and have room to grow and flourish. 
     Now if we could just get my pastor husband's fractured knee healed up and him off of crutches we would be even better able to rock n' roll with the move. All in the Lord's timing.... Maybe God allowed this injury during this time to bring forth the volunteers that are needed to make the move happen that otherwise would not have felt like they were needed. They are needed - greatly! 
Speaking of growing and flourishing, we also attempted to grow our own watermelon patch this summer. We got help tilling up the concrete dry ground and added organic fertilizer (AKA cow poop) we made the mounds and planted the seeds and watered, and watered, and watered. The weeds got a little bit away from us but nevertheless we had 19 watermelons! Just last week the vines were dying and had apparently become infected with some sort of mildew fungus or something. So we picked the watermelons all 3-6 lbs. and surprisingly they were ripe! They were the cutest little things! We ate one and the kids said they didn't like seeds and the oldest said it was hard to keep the juice in his mouth with two front teeth missing! We gave the rest away to friends and neighbors and the garden was mowed down last weekend. Not quite the lesson on patience being rewarded that I had hoped for but the boys did get a lesson on generosity as they went with us to deliver the melons to unsuspecting friends. All in all, a good summer (just not long enough).