Thursday, October 20, 2011

Italy and Thoughtful Gifts

I am so lucky to have friends and family who put a lot of thought into the boys' birthday gifts...and support our Worldly Wednesday adventures!

I was playing around on the internet, looking for a kids' cookbook when I came across a REALLY cool website.

They have kits for the countries we are studying. I put it on my wish list for the boys' birthdays, and we got a kit from Aunt Lauren and Uncle Smoak. It is the Italian Cookbook kit. Immediately, Carson became a chef, mixing "fresh garlic tomatoes" (his words) in his construction hat. We have plenty of bowls, but you know, whatever works. The mustaches are also a gift from Lauren and Smoak. The website offers placemats for the countries with a map, and utensils and ingredients translated into the country's native language.

So, since we had the Italy cookbook, we decided to study Italy this week. I let the boys look through the book and choose a recipe they wanted to make. I have learned since we started Worldly Wednesday that I need to begin preparing for our Wednesday night meal early in the week. So, Carson and I go to the library to get books about the country we are studying Monday, and I try to make part of the meal on Tuesday. Carson and I made meatballs on Tuesday. I even let Carson help me shape the meatballs, which required me to totally get over my phobia of my kids touching raw meat. He LOVED it. It was like playing with playdough. Wednesday afternoon we threw all the ingredients for the sauce together in a big pot and boiled some spaghetti. We reheated the meatballs and added them to our plates. The meatballs were a bit garlicy, but luckily my boys like garlic. Carson said his was spicy and then proceeded to eat every last bite of his meatball. While we ate we looked at pictures of the interesting buildings in Italy from the book Spotlight on Italy, by Bobbie Kalman. The boys watched a movie about Leonardo Di Vince after dinner. It was entertaining and educational.

Another thoughtful gift we received for the boys birthdays was from my friend Jenna Hall. She hooked us up with a World Traveler Package from Little Passports. We received a package in the mail including a World Traveler Suitcase, letter from Sam and Sophia, the world travelers who will be sending us letters from other countries, and access to a website with all kinds of games to develop map skills. Carson loved the suitcase the most and carried it everywhere for about a week. He was also very excited about the website. One morning he insisted we visit the website and complete the interactive map puzzle before he even ate breakfast.

I am so thankful for the ways my friends and family have supported our journeys around the world! Our next stop will be Italy again. We are going to stay with Italy a little longer because we have so many materials. Luckily we have some friends from Raleigh who happen to be in Italy, so I can show them real, live pictures!!! Thanks for all the posting, Karin and Sass! :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Carson!

It's that time again! Carson's birthday comes a week after Jonah's. I finished his book on time too. Woo, hoo! So happy to have them finished and to have enjoyed looking through them so many times already. Aunt Lauren and Uncle Smoak were here today and Carson sat on the bench with them and read through his whole book. It was such a sweet moment I couldn't even break away to grab my camera. Sometimes moments are better enjoyed through the naked eye, and not through the lens of a camera.

One of the best things about the ABC book is seeing the phase or stage of life my kids are in. For Carson, that is dressing up. This year every other page has Carson dressed up as something.
H is for Harry Potter
K is for Knight (Sir Carson) and Kaleidoscope (Chef Carson)O is for Outfits--my favorite outfit is one we finally found at Karousel Kids (consignment shop in downtown Matthews) after driving all over the Charlotte area. Carson insisted on having a suit so we could get married. In fact, earlier in the book, I is for I Do, for the day Carson and I got married. I actually wore a dress. I think I will cry on the day Carson tells me he is going to marry someone else.

This year is marked by the characters Carson has been, and also by the creativity that has gone into planning each of his outfits. Justin's favorites are surely the days when he insisted on dressing EXACTLY like his dad. I am kicking myself for not taking a picture the day the two of them came downstairs wearing Chicago Bears shirts, jeans with a hole in the left knee, and flip flops. I did manage to capture this one, though, on the day Carson decided he was going to work, just like his dad."P is for Prodigy" in both boys' books this year. I made a note in my journal on the day we heard Pastor Furtick preach on "The Prodigy in Me." I knew I wanted my boys to know that "there's a prodigy in everyone" (from sermon). The dictionary definition of prodigy is: a highly talented child or youth." I want Carson to know he is a "wonder" and a "sensation" (synonyms of prodigy) and he can be used by God in many ways. In his sermon series, Pastor Furtick also says, "The prodigy in me has to be devoted to God's purpose," and "In scripture, God chooses people to do His work, He doesn't need them, but He chooses them." Carson is an entertainer, and I know that sometimes his "entertaining" can get him into trouble. But I also know that he can use his love of entertaining in a positive way and that his wit and extroverted personality attract people's attention. I am excited to see how God will use Carson.