Thursday, November 22, 2012

100 Thankfuls

Last year my cousin Cassie challenged me to think of 100 thankfuls.  She made it to 100, I only made it to 30--so I kept a running list and it took me all year to get to 100.  These are in no particular order (except maybe the top 10.....yes JC made it in there!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

1. Jesus
2. Bryan
3. Kaela
4. Graeson
5. Maezie
6. New house
7. New job
8. New church
9. New Bible study group
10. Jeremy Camp
11. Klove radio
12. Christmas music
13. Email
14. Facebook
15. Blogs
16. Cell phones
17. Pajama days
18. Evening walks
19. Fall leaves
20. Weekends
21. Movie night
22. Making cookies
23. Pumpkin spice lattes
24. Eggnog lattes
25. Sleeping in
26. Red Lobster
27. Olive Garden
28. Starbucks
29. Camping
30. Oregon coast
31. Redbox
32. Thunderstorms
33. Warm bed
34. Morning cuddles
35. Reliable car
36. Flannel sheets
37. Electric blanket
38. Snow
39. Time with one kid at a time
40. Gift bags & tissue paper
41. Windshield wipers
42. Sturdy roof
43. A reliable paycheck
44. Christmas
45. My 92 year old Grandma
46. Library books
47. Library digital books
48. Saturday morning phone calls from my mom
49. Bryan's cooking
50. My dear husband lets me sleep in on weekends
51. Coffee with a new friend
52. Game night with the kids
53. Cold medicine
54. Christian friends
55. Play dates
56. Tax refund
57. DVR
58. Weekend getaways
59. Nana babysitting for #58
60. Grammy babysitting for #58
61. Porch swing
62. No mosquitoes in Bend
63. Warm (yet cool) summer evenings
64. Long walks
65. Short hikes
66. Family bike rides
67. Waterfalls
68. Free lunch in the park
69. $1 kid movies at the theater
70. A good book
71. Kaela's play
72. Hand-me-downs
73. Taekwondo-gymnastics same place AND same time
74. Graeson's very patient taekwondo instructor
75. Back to school sales
76. All three kids at same school
77. Amazing school teachers (past and present)
78. Temperpedic pillow
79. Friday coffee dates
80. Old friends from high school (and one all the way from kindergarten)
81. Shasta diet creme soda
82. The internet
83. Slippers
84. Porch swing
85. Early bedtimes
86. Mail-in ballots
87. Covered porch which stays dry
88. Red autumn trees
89. Dishwashers
90. Washing machines
91. Dryers
92. Microwaves
93. Hot tub
94. Crockpot
95. Switch-on-switch-off fireplace
96. Christmas cards
97. Computers
98. Cameras
99. Pedicures
100. A day off

Sunday, November 11, 2012

October Fun

We've been having a lot of fun in the Williams family.....

Maezie is five years old and she started gymnastics.  Her favorite thing is standing on her head!

Graeson is seven years old and he is very very excited to get to play flag football!  He did a great job and can run very fast!

Kaela is ten years old and growing up every day....

Bryan (the biggest kid) was very excited to go the the OSU Beaver store.

We went to the pumpkin patch and had fun with pony rides, petting zoo, hay ride, feeding cows, and tons of fun!

We also had fun dressing up for Halloween.  Kaela was a Spider Princess, Graeson was a Ninja, and Maezie was Cinderella.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Family Who Fasts

I created a second blog to keep ourselves accountable on this particular part of the Williams adventures.  Check out the full version over here at The Family Who Fasts

The Plan
Our family is going on a "financial fast" for one year--spending money only on actual necessities, focusing on what we truly need, what we can live without, and how much we can save for what might be around the corner. We will use this time to be obedient to God's desire for our money management, and to experience spiritual growth--individually, as a couple, as parents, and for our family as a whole. Hopefully in the process we will be His light to others....even if they think we're crazy.

The Reality
Even though I "make good money" we never seem to get control of our monthly spending. When I look back on our newlywed years, part of me longs for those days of eating out several times a week, coming and going whenever we pleased, and buying gifts for everyone we knew. Fast-forward 15 years and three kids later--we love our life! This is truly the life I always wanted. But in all that time, we've never quite "made it" with our finances. Year after year after year we barely make our monthly bills, we build up a small savings then have to wipe it out for some unforeseen need, and we constantly dip into our reserve account to keep our checking account from overdraft. Every year we hold our breath until our tax refund can rescue us--which goes toward paying off debt, trying the savings again, and getting bills caught up.

Every month (twice, actually) when it's bill-time again, my husband knows he probably better stay away from the Wicked Wife of the West.
I am super-organized with our finances--we have gobs of spreadsheets, budgets, calculations, and categories. I keep budgeted numbers compared with actual numbers, color-coding where our out-of-budget spending went, what we need to improve on, and what we totally blew it on. We pray. We sacrifice. We cut. We cry (ok, I do). We pray more.

It's. Still. Not. Working.

I came across a blog called And Then We Saved which described one person's journey on a spending fast for one year. Like me, she felt a cycle of guilt and remorse which she finally declared must end. I couldn't stop reading, and I knew right then that if we were going to be faithful to God with our finances, it had to be dramatic, crazy, long-term, and ALL IN.

The Sacrifices
When I talked to my dear husband, you can imagine he was.....let's just say, less than thrilled. We had a not-so-fun argument about the constant despair of where-the-heck-does-our-money-go-every-month when we already feel like we've literally cut everything there is to cut. But, one thing I love about him is that he is a process thinker: he might get mad at first, but if I give him some space then he comes around. A few hours later he was 110% on board and already making plans even more dramatic than I had come up with. 

So we made an initial list of all the things we honestly could live without. Keeping in mind's only one year. And also reminding ourselves that we have proven over and over that can't do this on our own--we HAVE to do it God's way. (Why do we always wait until utter desperation before we understand that He truly knows better than we ever could! Sigh....) And what a coincidence (um, not!) that right after our little argument, Bryan came across this verse: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." Malachi 3:10 Well ok then. Not much more to think about, is there!

So here's the list of what our year will look like.....telling ourselves it's "short term pain for long term gain."

  • House mortgage--two of them, unfortunately
  • Utilities--electricity, water, heat, garbage
  • Cell phones--but limiting our plan
  • Email and internet
  • Groceries
  • Gas
  • Friday coffee--this is our cheap date....and honestly, it's crucial for us!
  • Life insurance
  • Money market savings account
  • Health insurance
  • Tithe (this should probably be first on the list)
  • Kids extracurricular activities--one per kid per season
  • Lowe's and Home Depot--unless an actual "need" not a want
  • Cable--or at least a very minimal package
  • Cell phone "everything" plans (is Facebook really necessary 45 times a day?)
  • Costco membership--*insert sad face* but it seems to be a grocery-budget buster for us
  • Eating out, movies, dates
  • Kid rewards that involve money--such as eating out when they successfully pass their current level. We'll definitely provide a reward, but it will be focused more on quality time rather than something monetary.
  • Pet insurance
  • Gifts--attempting to make DIY homemade gifts
  • RV payment/sell the camper--this is the most dramatic on our list! *insert an even sadder face* But we will still go camping, we will just buck up and sleep in a tent.
  • Our current gas-hog car--but it is paid off, so we're planning to do a straight across trade for our SUV and RV in exchange for a more economic car which can still meet our family needs. We'll see what happens....
  • Civil War tickets *insert super really sad face*--we'll be selling them
  • Out of town trips--this doesn't mean never, but we will be more closely evaluating the actual cost (including gas) of each potential trip

The Wins
Selling the SUV and RV is a win-win-win on multiple levels--no more monthly RV payment, less gas to spend, decreased auto insurance, and less cost for campsites! This will be something we'll immediately benefit from, as well as all year. It sounds silly, but the RV is already one of the hardest sacrifices and I will cry when we sell it! It's more about the sentimental value--Graeson was only six months old when we bought it, and we knew he'd be 12 by the time we paid it off. And by that point, we figured the kids would probably rather sleep outside in a tent and we'd have the place to ourselves anyway! And it has so many fond family memories inside those four walls. Playing games while waiting out the rain, nap times in the air conditioned trailer, male-bonding at high school camp..... I know, I know--we'll make new memories. And we can always buy another (smaller) trailer at the end of our year if we just can't stand tent camping! But I will need a moment of silence to say goodbye to an old friend. (We even named him Harvey.)

Cable, cell phone package, and Costco will be an immediate win for our monthly bills. Our grocery budget is one area we just can't quite reach. Bryan is WAY better at the grocery budget than I am, and he's already thinking of less-expensive recipes we could easily adapt for our family. One up-front purchase we will probably make is to invest in a laptop, so we can still watch our favorite shows and movies on the internet.

But of course, the most important gain is the journey our family will be taking. Together. The kids are already on board, and coincidentally (or not?) have been learning about Godly money management in Sunday school. Kaela seems a little hesitant about it all, but ultimately I think her issues are that she just plain doesn't like change. And the thought of a different car is a little anxiety-provoking for her. But these are the exact lessons we want to teach our kids--in the context of Biblical teaching and the concept of giving up what we don't need.....and giving it all to God.

Goodbye ball and chain! We're not even going to miss you.

Monday, September 24, 2012

5 Year Old Logic

We've been having difficulty with Maezie (now age 5) crying, sulking, and throwing fits when something doesn't go as she wants it to.  This particular episode happened when it was getting near bedtime and I told Maezie to clean up her room to get ready for bed.  She and Kaela had been playing together so I told her they could continue playing after she had gotten all ready for bed.  Unfortunately, Kaela started cleaning up their game, which sent Maezie into a tizzy fit.  This then resulted in no further game playing.....which escalated the fit.....which turned into no books before bed.....further get the idea.

Since the usual tactics of time-outs or being sent to her room didn't seem to be working, I decided to have a little heart-to-heart.  So we cuddled on the couch and talked about not crying all the time.  I said we cry when we're hurt or we cry when we're sad, but we don't cry when we don't get our way.  She thought for a minute, then said "But I was sad that I couldn't play with Kaela!"  Hmmm....ok then.
Maezie: one point.  Mommy:  zero.

There are other times when crying is not what we do--when it's Kaela's or Graeson's day to choose what we have with our lunch, we don't cry if they choose something you don't like.  More pondering...."But if it's my turn to choose and I pick bananas, Graeson doesn't have to eat bananas?!"  Hmmm.....true.
Maezie: two points.  Mommy: zero

And on the weekends when it's Kaela and Graeson's turn to choose what we fix for lunch, if they choose something different we don't cry about that.  "But when do "I" get to choose?  They always choose!"  You get to choose every day when you come home from kindergarten and you're with Daddy.  Just like they get to choose what they pack in their lunch for school.  "So they choose on school days and I choose on school days, and Saturdays are Kaela's day to cook and Sundays are Mommy's day to choose so I nevvvvver get to choose!"  Hmmm.....good point.
Maezie:  three points.  Mommy: zero.

When it's family night and we choose a movie to watch, we don't cry if we don't choose the movie that you wanted.  Sometimes we choose what Kaela or Graeson wants to watch.  "But you SAID we're all supposed to choose a movie together, but they alllllways get to choose!"  Hmmm....yep, that does in fact happen.  (Usually because Maezie picks babyish movies that the rest of us don't want to watch!)
Maezie:  four points.  Mommy: zero.

So tonight when Mommy said you could still play after pajamas, but Kaela started putting the game away, we don't just start crying right away.  You need to talk about it instead of cry.  Thinking....thinking.  "BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY!!"
Maezie:  five points.  Mommy: forfeit.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Kaela makes a commercial

A while back we gave Kaela an old camera that (we thought) didn't work very well.  She wanted to print a couple of pictures and in the process, I discovered she's been video taping herself being creative.  This is her version of a commercial....

Shortly after she filmed this, she joined a theater group.....might want to get her autograph now, folks!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to the best Daddy on the planet!  Here's what we love about our Daddy...

1. his cooking
2. he takes us to the park
3. we ride bikes together
4. he takes care of us
5. he takes us places
6. he helps with our homework
7. he loves us
8. he likes to be with us
9. he stays home
10. he gets groceries

1. he picks us up at school
2. he takes care of us
3. we read my Bible together
4. we go shooting together
5. riding bikes together
6. going to the park
7. playing
8. cuddling
9. he loves us
10. his cooking

1. hugs and kisses
2. he loves us
3. we watch TV together
4. cuddling
5. he helps me with my bath
6. he brushes my hair
7. he helps me with chores
8. going swimming
9. reading books
10.  writing my letters

1. his faith in Jesus
2. his love and commitment to me
3. his undying love for our kids
4. being a stay-at-home-dad
5. he cooks
6. he cleans
7. he drives the entire family.....everywhere
8. he picks out better movies
9. family outings
10. coffee dates

Saturday, May 26, 2012

April catch-up

April was a busy month in the Williams family!  We bought some new bikes so we could go on family bike rides together when the weather is nice.  We got Maezie a "tag-a-long" bike which attaches to the back of Daddy's bike.  She LOVES it!  She pedals her little legs and thinks she's going so fast on Daddy's bike! We even got some little pink handle grips.

Maezie went to a "preschool princess party" at her school.  All the little girls wore their best dress, and made their own crown, painted their nails, wore princess sashes....and got to meet a real princess!  Maezie's eyes just lit up when she saw a princess "in real life!"  This princess happened to be the teacher's daughter who has been a local pageant princess--she organized the preschool princess party as one of her community service events.

April brought slightly warmer weather (only slightly!) and we got a new outdoor fire pit.  Bryan has wanted one for a long time, and our new house has a perfect little cut-out area on our back porch.  For one of our Friday Family Nights we roasted marshmallows in our back yard and made s'mores.  The kids had a blast!

Kaela had her gymnastics performance in April.  She performed on the balance beam, the bars, and a floor exercise.  One of the new coaches, Mohini Bhardwaj, was actually in the Olympics in Athens in 2004!

Maezie started swim lessons in April--our local fitness center has several pools for different age levels and abilities.  So Maezie got to be in a smaller pool for ages 6 and under.  She had some anxiety at first, but she had a great time and learned how to kick and blow bubbles in the water!

And at the end of April, Graeson was ready to once again go forth for taekwondo testing for the next level--green belt.  At this level, he demonstrated his skill by breaking a board with his elbow--HIY!

March catch-up

March brought a family field trip to Peterson Rock Garden just north of Bend.  This cute little roadside attraction is another great family place to visit, and has a "good old days" feel to it.  I can't possibly explain in words but there are hundreds of rock-built creations:  houses, castles, bridges, gardens, fountains, statue of liberty, flags.....the place goes on and on!  Inside the gift shop is a black-light dark-room where you can see fun rocks that glow.  There were also plenty of peacocks strutting around, and a couple who even displayed their full feather display while walking down the driveway!

Graeson started indoor soccer in April--an interesting set-up with no practices and no coaches, but the referees do some coaching during the games.  Graeson's team was mostly boys, though it is a co-ed league.  I was unable to upload a video of him playing soccer, but here's a picture--it's hard to catch him in focus because he's always moving!

March also brought a visit from Auntie Laurel and Baby Keira from Portland.  It was fun having just the two of them with us--usually our visits are with the big extended family, so it was nice to have some time together with just us!  Keira didn't need much time to get warmed up to us, and she chased the kids around as fast as her little legs would go!  She wasn't too fond of our kitty at first, but after a while all we heard was her little voice saying "meow? meow?" which meant "I want kitty to come here!"  Here are pictures of Maezie and Keira with matching pajamas; Graeson and Keira playing together in the morning; and Kaela reading to Keira at the library.

February catch-up

In February, Maezie turned four and a HALF on Valentine's Day.  Maezie apparently decided (unbeknown to the rest of us!) that since we celebrate Kaela's half birthday, that we should celebrate Maezie's half birthday too!  The day before Valentine's Day, Maezie informed us of all the lengthy plans she expected us to adhere to--she wanted a princess party, princess presents, bowling at the Fun Center, and a chocolate cake "the rainbow cake from Costco."  We discovered this the day before!  So we gently explained that Kaela gets a half birthday because her real birthday is on Christmas and she doesn't get a party then, and Maezie's party would be at her birthday in August.  (I say "we" explained but in reality, somehow Daddy vanished when it was time to have this conversation!) the sight of her crocodile tears, we decided to give in a tiny bit and make pink cupcakes at home.

Winter finally came to Bend in February.  Since this is our first winter in Bend, we didn't know what to expect.  Many people have told us this was a very unusual winter and we usually get much more snow.  Yet, surprisingly school was cancelled when there was only two inches of snow at our house!  Twice!  Supposedly there was up to 8 inches in other parts of town, but we were shocked!  Especially since Bend is a "ski town" with Mt Bachelor and many other mountains within an hour's drive.  But....I guess the school buses don't care about skiing!  This picture is Graeson helping shovel the driveway....he did the whole driveway!  Even though it wasn't perfect, he was a great helper!

We also went to the High Desert Museum in February.  This is a great indoor/outdoor activity for the whole family.  We packed sack lunches and spent most of the entire day there.  We listened to a staff member talk about birds of prey and we saw live falcons, eagles, and owls.  We watched an otter swim underwater, and we also saw snakes, lizards, and all sorts of "leapers and creepers".  And we listened to another informative talk about cougars, mountain lions, and bobcats.  One of the more entertaining moments was when the turtles in the glass display were mating (apparently no need for modesty!) and Graeson shouted "Look Mommy!  The turtles are playing leapfrog!"  Um....yep, yes they are!  Here's a picture of the kids playing on the spider-web ropes.

And finally in February, Kaela had her recorder performance at school.  This event caused mom and dad to reflect on when we both played recorders in fourth grade.  And after polling some of our friends, it seems kids have been playing recorders in the fourth grade since at least 50 years ago, maybe longer!

January catch-up

Did you miss us?  It's been a couple of months without blogging.  I wish I had a good reason but....just busy I guess.  So now I'm taking on the ambitious project of doing five blogs in a row, to catch up the past five months.  We'll see how it turns out!

January finds the Williams family resting and recovering from the busy holiday season.  We started going to the library every Saturday for story time.  Kaela has learned how to use the library website to reserve the books she wants.  Most of the weekend the only time we "see" her is with a book covering her face!  Graeson likes to read Sports Illustrated Kids magazine.  Maezie loves the interactive story time which also means singing, dancing, and making a craft.  This is Maezie listening to one of the stories on the computer.

At the end of January, Graeson had progressed in taekwondo to where he was ready to test for the next level.  Taekwondo teaches martial arts as well as self-control and self-discipline.  These are very good characteristics for an active 7 year old boy!  He started as a white belt, and then tested for his yellow belt.  Graeson and Daddy spent some time at home practicing his moves as well as practicing the required Korean words.  He did a great job!  I tried to upload a video of him "sparring" good.  But here's a picture of Graeson's yellow belt!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Family Game Night

We have maintained a weekly tradition of Friday Family Nights.  We take turns choosing an activity that we all can enjoy together--sometimes its a movie with popcorn, or when the weather is nice we might go for a walk or bike ride, or we bake something together.....or a long list of other possibilities!  This night we chose to play games--each of the kids chose their favorite game.  We had tons of fun!  Here's a little video clip of our game night.

(Note:  press pause on the blog music player to the right of this post.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Adventures in Bus-Land

I've been trying to find free (or at least cheap) activities for our family to do on the weekends.  This past weekend the kids and I set out to ride the public transportation buses around Bend.  We didn't have any particular agenda, just to ride around and explore our town and give the kids a new experience since they've never ridden a bus before.

So, being the good plan-ahead-planner that I am, I researched the city website to learn the bus routes, prices, and schedules.  The schedule was in such tiny print I couldn't read it online nor in print--but how hard can it be, right?  I knew there were multiple bus stops I'd seen around town, so I figured we'd just hop on and hop off whenever it suited us.

Adventure #1--There weren't any bus stops near our house. Not to worry!  We drove to my work office about two miles away, parked the car, then walked about a block to the bus stop. 

Adventure #2--Looking at the schedule posted at the bus stop, we were going to have to wait almost 45 minutes for the next bus.  We crossed the street to the opposite stop where we'd have to wait a mere 30 minutes.  That particular stop was an enclosed shelter-type bus stop, to which all three kids proclaimed "IT STINKS IN HERE!"  (Thankfully no one else was at the bus stop!)  While we waited we had a little lesson on how to read the bus maps and bus schedules posted at the stop.  And we played with rocks.  And we threw rocks.  And we counted rocks.  And we asked how much longer......about every 7 seconds.  Finally the bus came!  The kids were thrilled and as soon as the bus started moving, their eyes were wide and their smiles were big!  And...."we don't even have to wear seat belts!"

Adventure #3--There are some interesting folks who ride public transportation.  One gentleman (nurse-mama's assessment quickly decided he had a mild form of mental illness) proceeded to tell the kids all the misadventures he got into when he was their age including "I burned down all of Awbrey Butte....all of it!" when he was 7 years old.  And "I took out all the windows in the entire high school" when he was 10 years old. stop please!

Adventure #4--There was not an abundance of buses waiting at the transfer station.  We had to search to find the bus stop for the route we wanted, only to discover we would have to wait yet again for another 45 minutes.  So we hopped on the bus that WAS at the station, and explored a section of town we hadn't seen.  But apparently it was only interesting to mom, and I got the "I'm bored" looks multiple times.  Back to the station again.....still no other buses.

Adventure #5--The bus we were already on apparently changes routes at the station, so we hopped back on again and headed for a different part of town.  This time we did have an agenda and went to Baskin Robbins for ice cream.  When we got off, I checked the bus schedule and noted the bus wasn't coming back to that location for another 90 minutes!  Ok kids, I guess we're going shopping for a while!  While the kids slurped ice cream, I looked over the master schedule the very nice driver gave me (when I was looking bewildered at the bus stop schedule!) and started to realize Adventure #6.....

Adventure #6--Houston, we have a problem.  Due to Saturday schedules, we would still be able to get back to the station, but that would be the last bus of the day.  Note: our car was parked at the opposite end of town!  Bryan wasn't feeling well, so he had stayed home; via text messaging we decided the only option was for him to walk the two miles to my work, pick up the car, and drive to rescue us.  Did I mention he was sick?  But, it was either that or join the homeless population for the night.  So he walked....with a fever....and it started snowing.  Oh what a wonderful Daddy we have!  (Yes, I will owe him many times!)

We did make it home--thankful that Bryan did stay home from this adventure or we wouldn't have even HAD someone to pick us up!  I am still owing him....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Kids in the Kitchen

Bryan loves being a stay-home dad, and he also loves to cook.  So the kids have naturally absorbed a love of cooking as well.  Kaela (age 10) has already advanced to a "cooking for teenagers" cookbook.  Graeson (age 7) mostly likes to make snacks and desserts, but occasional kid meals as well.  Here's some of their masterpieces.....

Kaela made jambalaya--it was quite complicated with chicken, shrimp, sausage, rice, tomatoes....and more!

Graeson found a new cookbook at the library and he made chocolate vanilla swirl cookies.  (Unfortunately, they ended up not having much flavor, so we decided to add honey and powdered sugar on top.)

Maezie's friend Ella came to our house for a play date and we made chocolate thumbprint cookies with peanut butter inside--yum!

Graeson has been wanting to make homemade pizza for a long time, so he made sausage, pepperoni, and olive pizza.  The recipe called for ketchup as the pizza sauce--mom and dad wrinkled their nose at that part--but we were pleasantly surprised and it tasted great!

We've been making friendship bread, which is a dough starter.  You mash the dough bag every day for 10 days, then you bake bread.  We've been trying out tons of different recipes, so this was Kaela's choice for chocolate Nutella friendship bread with Nutella butter cream frosting.

Graeson also made a different kind of pizza--cookie dessert pizza!  He chose mint chocolate cups and marshmallows.

Kaela and her cousin Kacy made Kaela's birthday cupcakes this year.  Then they made a second batch just so they could eat the raw batter!

One of our family traditions is Friday Family Night and this particular night we chose to bake together.  We made Cake Cookies (made out of cake box batter) with frosting in the middle--they were SO good!

If any of you come to visit us, we'll definitely cook for you!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spring 2011

I'm a little behind on blogging/posting/ surprise there.  Hope you can still enjoy!  Remember to pause the blog music player to the right of this post.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When You Are My Age

This Christmas for Kaela's 10th birthday, I got her a book called "Just Mom and Me" from the American Girl line.  (See last year's post "Girl Talk" for a similar story.)  This book has a variety of short activities for girls and their moms to do together--so far the activities we've done are comparing a list of likes/dislikes, hiding surprise coupons around the house ("free 15 minute neck massage"), and interviewing specific questions.  Tonight Kaela chose a questionnaire "When You Are My Age" where Kaela asked me a list of questions about when I was 10, and I asked her questions about when she'll be 35.  Daddy, of course, can't stand to be left out of the fun, so he comes in and hears the answers too.  Tonight was both entertaining (Kaela giggling non-stop) as well as enlightening.

Kaela's interview questions for her mom "When you were my age...."
What you spent your allowance on:  blue creme soda and Reese's peanut butter cups
Stuffed animal or doll you couldn't sleep without:  Flower Patch dolls
Pet you dreamed of having:  dog
Best friend:  my cousin Heather
Food your parents made you eat:  brussel sprouts at Thanksgiving
Best school subject:  reading and spelling
Worst school subject:  geography (Kaela didn't know how to spell it so we agreed on social studies)
Least favorite chore:   folding the whites...too many socks
Funkiest fashion you followed:  side ponytails
Most embarrassing moment:  pretending to kiss a boy during the school play

Mommy's interview questions for Kaela "When you are my age...."
Where you will live:  Canada....but I guess if I have to stay in America then at least Washington
Job you will have:  doctor who works in a hospital, not a doctor's office
House rule you'll make:  no putting stickers on the wall
House rule you'll break:  no drawing on the walls....just in the bedroom will be ok
Pets you will have:  two cats
Number of children you'd like to have:  one.  Ok maybe two.  No I think twin girls.
What you would name a daughter:  Amanda and McKenzie
Advice you'd give her:  always ask for help
Allowance you'd pay her:  three dollars a week (mom note: this is three times what Kaela makes now)
How you'd make her earn it:  cleaning the whole house....cuz it will be three dollars!

I asked Kaela if I could keep the interview sheets tonight and give them back to her in the morning.  She replied, "Why, are you going to blog about it?"