Category Archives: kids

Thriving In My thrifty Week–September 15, 2019

Rob was super blessed to hold not only 1 tiny baby, but 2 tiny babies today! I never stop marveling at tiny babies. So precious, and such a gift from God. This precious babe has been hanging around my sister’s house a lot while Mommy and Daddy crash on the couch for a little bit while everybody in the house takes turns holding her. That’s what life is all about, isn’t it? Her daddy is like a son to my sister and brother-in-law, but I just can’t wrap my brain around my sister as a….. grandma? But, I guess if I can be one, she can, too. I’m so glad she shares:). We feel blessed.

We canned chicken and broth. At 89c/lb, the price could not be beat. We canned more tuna than we needed last summer. We found that Rob likes canned chicken on his salads in addition to the tuna. We decided to just do a batch of chicken and use up the rest of the tuna, then can more tuna next summer. Tuna varies in price, but often is around $3.50/lb., so this a way to get him variety while saving money.

I bought approximately $13.50 of split chicken breasts and made broth and canned chicken. We got 17 or 18 little jars of assorted sized (most 1/2 pint) of chicken chunks, 7 quarts and 12 pints and a couple of tiny jars of broth.

Patsy decided to cook up a storm for the first time in a long time. I joined her. We made tamale pie.

She made Cashew Chicken with rice noodles. Twice. We made some blondies, and some chicken soup.

Then she went back to her regular favorites of tacos, quesadillas, and p.b.j. sandwiches with apples.

What brought this “cooking fit” on? Grandma and Auntie Jan were coming for lunch. She’s been waiting for years to be a part of the “make lunch for Grandma” team. I guess she thought Grandma and Auntie were starving:). The food came in handy. We did have a great lunch. They got to take little bits home for future meals. We had these things for our meals for a couple of days. I hauled little dishes over to my sister’s house for them to eat. Let’s hope she gets in a mood again:). She felt wonderful. All of our tummies felt wonderful! Win-Win!

Patsy is still plugging along on school, and finished week 6. We ran into some roadblocks due to information she had somehow missed over the years , but worked through a plan to correct the problem.

She joined the Christmas Choir at church and had her first practice. There is going to be a big program. This year, she felt confident enough to join in. Last year, she did not, but later confessed she had wanted to and helped with stage crew at the last minute. Grandma helped her work on her quilt block from the shop hop we took her on last winter/spring. None of these things cost money, but they all enrich all our lives and I have a great Christmas program to look forward to watching in December!

I was weeding during our sunny afternoon. Can you see what was under the weeds? I cleaned out all the old parsley and weeds, and propped the volunteer cherry tomato plant up on a wire cage–we may end up with a few more late cherry tomatoes. Not that we are out. I just hate to kill a plant with so much tenacity!

Can you see Alissa on the left? She is having the trip of a lifetime with her Daddy. They are in Israel, walking where Jesus walked, visiting Biblical places, and seeing for themselves what they have studied for years. In the meanwhile…..

Rob and I, my sister and older niece and Grandma and Auntie Jan and anyone else we can round up are all working together to keep the home fires burning for Jake and Michaela. It’s going well, but we will all welcome their return in a few days!

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes–2018

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This year, we signed up for one morning to help at the drop-off for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  My husband and I, 1 daughter, 2 nieces and our nephew all joined others at our church which was a drop site for the first time.

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We had a slow trickle of people bringing boxes all morning.  Most people brought in from 1-6 boxes.  Some of those were individuals, and some were small church groups.  One group brought over 100, though, the entire back of a pickup truck full.

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Michaela especially enjoyed helping the volunteers that were packing the boxes into huge cardboard boxes and they had her write the number of small boxes contained in the big box on the side, in the designated place, each time.

It was our first time volunteering at a drop-site before, and we quickly learned to check the boxes for labels, have the contributors sign the correct form, and how to pack them up.  We had a really good time and it was good for the kids to help.

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We had 2 families working together on 2 boxes.  We let the children choose what ages/gender we wanted to make boxes for.  They chose toddler girls.  Patsy helped sew this skirt, and I finished it and another one for the other box.  I was glad we could work on her sewing skills for such a good project.

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I would like to say the rest of the things were hand-made from ideas off of Pinterest, but they weren’t.  I struggle for time.  We hit up the school supply sales in late August, the Dollar Tree, super sales of t-shirts from the internet, and got a few things at Fred Meyers.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, although I’ve seen some really cool ideas out there, which would be loved, I’m sure.  The children are grateful for whatever they get, and I’m happy to be a part of the project as we have been for many years.  When we had to look into some  boxes to determine who they were for because they were not labeled, I noticed a vast difference in the amount and kinds of items in the boxes.  Each one is individually packed by a person or family, and they vary greatly.  I was told that if a box is really lightly packed, they will add a thing or two at the warehouse, but will never remove items from a full box.  (One of the ladies I worked with today had spent time volunteering at the large warehouse in California)

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Everything fitted!  The special boxes were at a restaurant my husband went to with a friend.  We would have used empty shoe boxes as we have always done if he had not stumbled upon these.

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Rob went on the internet and paid for the shipping.  He signed up for tracking for our boxes.  Hopefully, we will remember to look and see where they go!  The only other time we did that option, last year, we forgot to look, as we were so used to just sending them off with a prayer and never knowing where they went for so many years before:). This is a newer feature that is available.

There is still time if you haven’t filled a box this year, but wanted to!  They are collecting all week, until the 19th of November.  The internet is chock-full of ideas, both easy and time-consuming.  It’s a way to bless a child that you will never see, and share God’s love with them–something everyone needs to know, whatever their age, wherever they live or whatever their circumstances.  God uses all of us to spread His love to those little ones He cares for so very, very much.  I’m happy I got to be a part of that this year.

 

 

A Fun Science Experiment With Jake

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Jake spent the night last night.  We were looking for a fun activity bright and early this morning.  He had checked out a book of science experiments at the library a little while back, and decided that he wanted to do one of the experiments.  He looked through the book until he found one that seemed like it would be fun, and that Auntie had all the ingredients for.

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Once we taped the spoon to the clothespin, and then down to the board, it was time to add the marshmallows.

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It was very fun and satisfying and fun to fling the marshmallows from the spoon.  They flew everywhere.  He was very diligent to pick them up because it just felt so naughty to him to be throwing them around the room.

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Pretty soon, Patsy came stumbling out to see what the fun was about.  It wasn’t long before they discovered that given just the right “flick”, the marshmallows might land in the teacups.  Or a dish.  Or on the beautiful table runner my aunt made that I’d gotten out for the fall season.  Pretty soon they were giving points to each other when the marshmallows landed in difficult cups, dishes, etc.  They truly had a good time.  They were laughing their heads off as they flung them around.  Over and over and over.

I made sure to pack the experiment in his suitcase to take home.  I made sure his mother knew where he got it from.  After all, what are sisters for?

(Note:  The book states that energy is stored up in the spring of the clothespin, and I add it is also stored in the flexible spoon.  When it is released it makes the marshmallow fly up–I did say that several times during the process, but really….he just had fun!!!!)

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–October 21, 2018

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It was our turn to feed the college-aged kids at church this week.  We made a giant sub sandwich, using a board Rob covered with foil.  We used 5 loaves of French bread, which were purchased for 88c/loaf at Winco.  We also found ham lunchmeat for $3.50 for 2 pounds!  We got 8 pounds and piled it on, along with a thin layer of cheese slices, put fancy toothpicks in it, cut it and lined up the pieces to look like one long sandwich.IMG_9545

We served chips, brownies, veggies and toppings for the kids to put on their sandwiches such as tomatoes, lettuce, olives, onions, etc.  There was a gluten-free option on the other end, using Udi’s French bread and Krispie Treats.  This meal was very well received.  Alissa and Patsy helped me the night of the event, as Rob ended up staying home.  We came in way below the budget and the kids were so appreciative as usual. They are fun to cook for!

This would be a very affordable idea for anyone who needs to have a party or other occasion to feed a large group.  It’s fun, too.  Even though it was a simple presentation, it made it feel special to the kids.  I could tell by their comments.

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I worked 3 different times, putting the garden to bed for the winter.  I’m still not done, but am gaining on it.  Now I need to make more pasta sauce and Salsa Verde with the tomatoes.  The green ones are for the Salsa Verde.

Rob was able to till up a portion.  I’m glad he did, since I cannot handle the large tiller.  However, his bad hip does not allow him to do that kind of thing for very long.  So, he did what he could, and will work on it again another time.  He bought 20 bags of something to amend the soil a while back.  I think it’s steer manure or garden compost.  We need to get that on.

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I didn’t need many groceries from the regular store this week, so we spent our money elsewhere.  I got cauliflower from farm stands–2 at each place, since I took the last 2 at the first place.  I also got 25 pounds of both onions and potatoes, and some hot peppers.  It’s hard to believe we have eaten almost every single one of all those onions we grew and every single potato as well.  I feel we grew so much in that garden, and feel great that we have used it so much.  It did save a lot of money over the summer, and the preserved food will continue to bless us during the winter.

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They were huge heads.  We ate a bunch, and I still got 16 quart-sized Ziplock bags full.

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The family likes it cooked with a little cheese on top, or in cauliflower-cheese soup.  I have also made some things using it chopped up in the food processor (riced) to make things more low-carb.  I did make cauliflower pizza crust last winter.

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Rob, I, Patsy and Alissa volunteered at the 4H bake sale on Saturday.  The girls especially enjoyed taking bins to the barns where there was a tack sale going on and selling the goods out there.  The 3 teams did very well.

Rob and I stayed back at the 4H building and helped package all the goods the clubs sent in.  Alissa and I made caramel corn to bring and every bit of it sold, which is a good feeling.  Patsy and Alissa made one batch of Muddy Buddies with Rice Chex right there at the sale, so the aroma would entice people to buy baked goods.  When our shift was up at noon, almost all the baked goods were gone–a wonderful position to be in.  The lady in charge was delighted. The sale continued for an hour or two after we left, but she figured they would run out, and she had someone coming in to buy anything that was left at the end.  Several hundred dollars were made, but I don’t know the exact figure.  100% of it will be used on 4H programs.

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I think our extra-warm, dry spell is about over, but the Patsy and Jake decided to have one more water balloon fight this afternoon after church.  They got out popsicles, and Patsy filled up 20 water balloons.  Then they started the games, and throwing them back and forth.

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We also went to the library on our way over here from church and Family Sunday dinner, and Jake and Patsy chose books and movies.  Michaela was with us, but she didn’t want to go in, so Rob stayed in the car with her. She also didn’t want to do water balloons.  That’s ok.  She had fun in her own way.   It was good to get the routine going again.  We have had one family member or another gone on vacation for quite a while now, and have had various ones get sick, so have been unable to get the crew together very often lately.  Hopefully, everyone will stay well now.

How did your week go?  Did you save money in some way, or do something that fed your soul and made you feel like you were thriving?  I’m expecting to have another busy, but good week.

 

 

Ja’Ana’s Graduation

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We finally found a dress yesterday.  Whew!

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At first, I wondered if it was too fancy, but she really wanted this one.  She looked so nice, and it fit in perfectly.  She was just right.  There were other girls with super fancy dresses, along with some who chose more casual attire.  She also got high heeled black shoes, but wore the white ones in the car and to the rehearsal.  Once she put those babies on, I felt even shorter than usual:)

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And, then……She graduated!

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IMG_7223  It’s nice to have another milestone achieved.  Tonight, I’m going to chill for a while, then up and at ’em bright and early in the morning to cook, clean, shop and decorate for the big party on Saturday to celebrate with family and friends.

Memorial Day Rock Throwing and Fishing Trip, 2018

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Memorial Day dawned sunny and bright, and our troops were up early so we could be on our way.  REALLY EARLY!  On Sunday afternoon, Jake came home with us so he could spend the night, and go with us today on our outing.  I woke up in the night for a while, as I often do, and had just settled down to sleep when I heard a big thump.  I asked Rob what that was, and he replied in his sleepy voice that he had not heard anything.  I went to check on Jake, and sure enough, he was clambering back onto the couch where he sleeps, after falling out of bed.  I tucked him back in, and told him good night, none of which he remembered in the morning.  At 6 a.m., he was up and raring to go, so therefore, so was I:). We did the morning things….reading out loud, getting him rice milk, finding clothes, etc.  I wanted to make him bagels, but I had none.  I wanted to make him toast, but the bread was moldy.  I finally settled on a stale hot dog bun, which I toasted, and he ate.  I grabbed some food and threw it in a cooler, Rob gathered chairs and fishing supplies and drinks, all the while being asked if we could leave yet.  Jake rousted both Patsy and Ja’Ana out of bed and harassed them until they got into the car, then fussed because he didn’t have as much room as he wanted in the back seat.  Finally, we were on our way.

We stopped in a small town on the way up Hwy 22, to buy Ja’Ana a fishing license, and to grab hash browns at McDonald’s, which Jake gratefully ate as well. The juvenile fishing license is a great deal–only $10, because she is not quite 18.

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When we got to Detroit Dam, I asked Rob to stop.  We did not know you could drive over it, so Jake, Patsy and I jumped out and started walking across, admiring all of the people fishing along the edge and the spectacular view. Rob quickly figured out that you could drive across and began following us.

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An extremely kind young man noticed Jake’s interest, and  called him over.  He had a fish on, and let Jake reel it in!  That was so nice of him.  Jake loved it!

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The rock and pine cone collecting and throwing commenced immediately on the other side of the dam:)

We drove up past the little town of Detroit, and went to the other side of the lake.  We did not understand the the federal campsites over there were being run by another organization, and they wanted to charge us an additional fee, besides the one we had already paid for our federal forest pass.  So, we decided to just drive around the lake, find our own spot, and settle down there.  Sounds easy, doesn’t it?   It wasn’t quite that simple:)

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We saw lots and lots of trees.  We saw beautiful wildflowers.  We saw rocks, bushes, and miles and miles of gravel road.  We saw many, many little forest service road numbers, but only 1 sign that actually told us where to go.  We turned around and backtracked when our road ran out.  In the middle of it all, there was pavement, and we were excited, until it suddenly turned back to gravel.  We saw many people camping, several vehicles, including pickups pulling trailers (not me on that road!!!!), and a sheriff, so we knew the road went somewhere.  I had cell service for part of the time, so could check our location from time to time.  IF I had trusted myself, we would have ended up back at the lake.  I chose to follow the sign instead.  After all, it was a sign.  The only sign.

13 miles later, we had climbed up and over a ridge, and emerged at what could only be called a convergence of roads, all with signs stating road numbers, declaring that we were to “SHARE THE ROAD” and that it was a scenic hi way.  But, no direction at all as to which direction we should go, where we were heading, or anything else useful.  We chose to turn left because it felt right to both of us, but truthfully, we were not sure.  The road was paved, it went downhill, and we did emerge again at HWY 22.  19 miles east of Detroit Lake.  Really.  19 miles and a couple of hours later, we were right back where we had turned off in the first place.   Exactly. The. Same. Spot.  But, we really experienced the wilderness, and I truly thank the Lord that the kids all fell asleep in the back seat after the first little bit of those bumpy, winding, skinny, cliff-skirting, roads.

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After stopping at the Oregon State Park, and being directed by an extremely helpful ranger, we went to this spot.  Jake woke up, and the throwing and fishing commenced again.  He threw in everything he could find, then settled down to “catch a fish,”

15 minutes later, he had one.  He caught it all by himself, but would not touch it, or pose with it for a picture.  He did, however, take it home to his mother, which really threw her for loop, not wanting to clean it at all.  Being the good mother that she is, she accepted it, and the one J caught, and will cook them up.

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Ja’Ana caught one, too, and we were fortunate to have them, according to both the ranger, and the young men who were at the little park we were at.  I guess fishing hasn’t been very good this weekend.  We were delighted.

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He was done fishing after catching that fish, and spent the afternoon wading with Patsy, having me read “Laura and Mary” and digging in the snack bags, and lunch pail for drinks and chips mostly.

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Sometimes it took 2 hands to get all those chips in!

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We saw many black swallow tail butterflies flittering around.  The ducks were constantly landing on the water, sometimes right in front of us.  The sun was shining, the wind was blowing, and people were happy.  It was a great day, and we took a dirty, tired, but not very hungry boy back home, and handed him over to his mom!  Chips are very filling;)  Of course, we included the most special rock, 2 large walking sticks, and the fish.  We wouldn’t want him to leave his treasures in the car.IMG_0285

He already spent the day talking about when we can go camping again.  I’ll bet he’ll be asking to go fishing again before long.  I know we want to!

 

 

Happy 4th of July

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I started the day with a red, white and blueberry muffin (gluten-free muffins made with blueberries and raspberries) and put on my blue denim skirt, red shirt, and red, white and blue sweater vest and necklace.  I then proceeded to have a wonderful 4th of July, doing things I liked and wanted to do–a perfect holiday.

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We drove up to Portland to have breakfast with some of Lovana and Ja’Ana’s birth siblings/family members.  We went to a restaurant named the Gateway Breakfast House. I had never been there before, but I guess President Obama ate there when he visited Portland.  We waited quite a while, which was fine because it gave the kids a chance to visit.  It was a beautiful, sunny day–perfect for hanging around outside and taking pictures.  When we got in, it was quite small inside, and not fancy at all.  They had both breakfast and lunch items and, because we were with such a large group, I was able to see quite a few menu items.  The omelets and hamburgers were enormous!  We had a great time, both with the company we were with, and the chance to try a new restaurant.  We had the pleasure to sit near the little guy, and boy was he entertaining:)  And super cute:)

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Then, we drove home.  We are listening to an audio book named “Hattie Big Sky” and are enjoying it very much.  We got to hear a lot of it today, since we were in the car so long.  On the way home, we stopped at Home Depot and ordered a new vertical blind for the front window.  It’s been broken for some time now, and won’t shut all the way anymore.  We’ve been putting up with it, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was the other night when a salesman came up to the door when I was in my bathrobe, sitting on the couch, and PEERED into the crack left by the broken blind (about 6 inches) and then rang the doorbell.  I politely, but firmly told him to go away, and told Rob that we were getting a new blind ASAP!  It’s on order, but it will come soon, and Rob plans to install it.

 

When I got home, I indulged myself in some sewing, purely for fun.  I don’t get to sew much anymore, due to my busy schedule, but still love to sew.  So, I finished a sundress I had been working on for a while, for Patsy, and then made this little summer dress for a little friend.  I had worked on Patsy’s dress on our camping trip, but forgot to bring an iron, so had a little to finish up here at home.   I was able to use fabric I had on hand for both dresses, and lots of rick rack from my stash for the little one.   img_4867.jpg

During the evening, I went out and picked a few flowers and messed around in the garden for a little bit.  I will do a garden update soon, since it’s growing so well now.  Rob took Lovana back to her job.  It’s official now, Saturday is her last day.  As is is, the job lasted almost 6 weeks past when she thought it was going to, so she’s great with that.

Then, the neighborhood exploded into a loud and smoky display as we saw many, many fireworks exploding all around us.  I was surprised to see lots of the big, blooming, ariel (illegal) ones exploding in the sky all around us.  Beautiful. I just wasn’t expecting it in the city of Salem.  Clearly, there is no need to drive to any display when we’ve got all that from our back yard:)   Rob and Patsy did their little pile, and then Patsy sat on the deck and enjoyed the show for at least an hour.  Judging from all the bangs and pops still emitting from the neighborhood outside, I doubt I’ll be sleeping any time soon, but I had a great day.  I have another fun day to look forward to tomorrow, starting with a birthday breakfast with my mom, so I think it’s my lucky week:)  (Last night we had a bbq for my niece who is back from Ireland for only 1 week). Although I miss Jake since he’s on vacation with his mom and dad, I’ve welcomed the time to spend time with other family members this week.

 

 

 

Double Birthday at the Zoo

 

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Today, there were 2 birthday girls celebrating at the Oregon Zoo in Portland,Oregon.  Both Ja’Ana and our little friend, Danait had their birthdays today.  J is 17, and Danait is 3.  We decided to have a celebration together and chose the zoo for the big day.  My sister, Rosalie, Danait’s mother, Harnet, Alissa and myself all went along.

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After several great sunshiny days, the weather man began to predict that today would include heavy rain, up to 45 mile per hour winds gusts, and cool temperatures.  Rosalie and I debated the issue and decided that we needed to go anyway, even if we didn’t stay too long.  When a little 3 year-old is promised animals, she needs to have animals.  The big girls would have done something else without blinking an eye, but cheerfully agreed to give it a try.  Our plan was to dart from covered area to covered area, dodging the raindrops in-between and holding big umbrellas over our heads when needed.  We did decide not to pack a picnic as planned, but instead to buy lunch at the little cafe, where we would be assured of a roof over our heads while we ate.

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We had a blast!  The rain held off until we were eating, praise the Lord!  We chased after a very excited little girl, who was enthusiastic, to put it mildly, to see all of the animals, but especially the monkeys.

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She loved climbing on this toy, as long as Alissa helped her stay on.

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Harnet sure appreciated how much the big girls helped chase little Danait around.  That child is quick.  She reminds me so much of Ja’Ana when she was little.  Harnet is so kind to the girls, always telling them how much she appreciates them playing with Danait, and how she wants Danait to grow up just like them.  What an encourager!

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They enjoyed the African exhibit a lot.  The giraffes reminded Harnet of her home in Africa, as they had them there.  The elephants and lions were also a hit, but little Danait wanted to see the monkeys the most, and watched them for a long time.  They obliged by throwing their food (some kind of leaves and fruit) around after taking a bite or two, and jumping around a bit.  So exciting!

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It was a great day and both girls had a great birthday.   It was so special that they could spend it with each other.  Little Danait loves Alissa and Ja’Ana and often says “they coming’ mama, they coming’.”  Even when they aren’t.  Then she will pout because they aren’t.  Of course, the big girls think she is adorable, and who doesn’t love to be looked up to and adored right back!  We 3 ladies had a great time visiting, laughing and watching the girls have fun.    Once it started pouring rain and the wind picked up, as the weatherman had promised, we finished our lunch and headed for our respective homes.  Both Ja’Ana and Alissa had driver’s ed drives this afternoon and evening.  Ja’Ana drove all the way there in the rain, on 2 freeways, and home again through rain, a huge traffic jam, and windy conditions.  I was so proud of how she is doing with her driving.

Rosalie went back with Harnet to her house so they could work on making appointments, and other things that needed to be done.  Sometimes Harnet has Rosalie make phone calls for her, to make sure the person on the other end understands exactly what is needed.  Her English just keeps getting better and better–I can really tell a big difference in the few months I have known her, but sometimes, she just wants a little help.   Rosalie is really good at that kind of thing.   We are already making some plans for summer.  Once we get Harnet’s school schedule, we will made another date to do something together.  It will be fun.

I’m glad we had such a fun time, because Rob and I are taking Jake, Michaela (niece and nephew), and Patsy (daughter) on Monday.  We have a zoo pass, so want to use it as much as possible.  We are planning the trips so that everyone we take will get in on the pass, so we have to take a few at a time.  The other 3 were all in school today, so were feeling left out until I explained that we would go Monday and NOT take Ja’Ana and Alissa.  Just them.  The big girls are going to the beach with the youth group on Monday anyway.  So, it’s all good.  Tomorrow is Rob’s last day of school and then he’s out for the summer!  Yea, and double yea!!!  Let summer begin!