Yo Ho!

Almost everyone achieved a goal in the last week or so: Rea read an entire chapter book by herself (Polar Bears Past Bedtime, a Magic Treehouse book), Sara finished her first run-through of her phonics program, Reading Bear, and Mike read his scriptures for more than 60 days straight. (Alison needs to achieve a goal!) So we had a very big goal day party. The girls got balloons and created a unicorn piƱata out of paper mache (mostly Rea with Alison's help). Then we stuffed it with some clearanced Easter candy and the girls joyfully smashed it open for our party treat. We also had hamburgers for dinner for our celebration.

Alison and the kids were going to go to the zoo for the rest of the goal day party (goal day parties now include a special dinner, a treat, and a ride on the carousel at the zoo), but then it started to snow. It snowed for at least 24 hours and we got over 7 inches. Alison and Rea had a lot of fun playing in it; they like to play in the snow (yo ho!), more than the rest of the family. It has been a very snow-light winter, so we were happy to get one more good storm before spring sets in for good.

The kids have been learning and doing lots of cool new things this week. Timmy does lots of signs; his new favorite is "wash hands," when he sees one of his big sisters washing their hands. He has also folded his hands for prayers a few times, and he will walk around with a grown-up holding both his hands. He's getting to be quite a big boy!

Sara loves her daddy, especially this week. She convinced everyone to go have lunch with him at work one day this week, she went to Home Depot (not the girls' favorite store) with him while everyone else played in the backyard, and she loves to show him all of the cool things she's learning to do.

Rea has been working hard on math with our math blocks. She's started doing double-digit addition and subtraction with carrying/borrowing, as long as she has the manipulatives. She's very proud of her accomplishments in math and asks to do the "hard problems" fairly often.

On Saturday was our stake Emergency Preparedness Fair, and we volunteered to share with people how to make paneer cheese out of their dry milk. It's easy and only has ingredients most people have on hand (dry milk, vinegar, salt), and it's a good way to get kids to eat dairy when they won't drink the reconstituted powdered milk. People were very impressed at the fair with how good the cheese was, although we are not used to making so much so quickly and we could taste a slight scalded flavor to it. We also came home with a whole list of things to do to get ourselves more prepared. Does anyone know anyone who's done a seismic retrofit on an older house to make it more earthquake-proof? We're looking into it.

We finally bought the materials for a hammock stand and put up the large, family-sized hammock Alison bought a few months ago. We're looking into the feasibility of replacing beds with hammocks; they're better for your back, promote better sleep, are non-toxic (mattresses are horribly toxic), and can be washed (so important with small children!). We have established that our entire family fits in the hammock just fine, but we have to try sleeping there for a full night a few times before we decide to remove the bed. Rea is incredibly excited to sleep in her own hammock, and Sara likes the idea somewhat, so we might all switch over in the next month or so.


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