Like Legos

only more colorful

Date Nights

With the boys this weekend.  Let’s be real, this is really more about a date night with daddy than with mommy.  Friday night Brent and Noah went to Hometown Buffet to use Noah’s ‘free buffet” coupon that he got for reading at school.  Nathanael sweet talked me into going thru the Taco Bell Drive thru.  Then we sat at the breakfast nook and he had a million wonderful questions until Noah came home singing about the dessert bar at Hometown Buffet.  Meltdown.

Saturday was Nathanael’s night with daddy.  I had a buy one get one free coupon for TGIFridays so they went there but not until after the great debate on China Palace vs. Mike’s.  (Nathanael said we were being cheap since we mentioned Mike’s….um…yeah we are.)   I guess TGIFridays was a good choice after all because Nathanael came home wildly excited about the sliders describing them in great detail.  Noah really wanted to go to Taco Bell with me but I had a coupon for a free burrito from a small hole in the wall place so we decided to try something new.  He was excited because it was called “Santa Cruz” and he thought it was hilarious to keep saying that we were on our way to the island.  (The Channel Islands are right off the coast of Ventura.)  Once we got there it was closed.  Good thing McDonald’s was near.  Since the back seats were down in the back of the van we had a “pic-nic” in the Target parking lot.
He thought it was great fun.  I was just happy no one could see me inhaling my Filet-O-Fish.  Oh yes!

We went into Target to look for coasters.  We didn’t find any but I did find a set of Corelle dishes for 50% off.  We’ve needed new dishes for a couple of years.  That is if 10 year old dishes with rust spots all over the edges constitutes “need”.  Since when did ceramic rust???  I’ve been searching the internet just to make sure I got a good deal and I can’t find a set nearly this pretty for less than $50 and I paid $35.  Of course, if you want to show me up then send me the link b/c I’m always game for saving more!!!  Anyway these are the dishes I got but I’m not sure if I’m going to keep them.
What do you think???

We also worked on the house a bit this weekend. The bathroom is almost done.  Two years later.  And I put the second coat of paint on two of our walls.  A year later.  My genius husband also hung the curtain rods he made from supplies from Lowes for LES THAN $20!  We saved a bundle since we needed loooooong rods for our front room windows.  I sewed some curtains all by myself without the help of my mom (or Aimee D.)!  They look great from 5  feet way.  Actually we don’t like them.  They are too busy with our new super duper awesome chairs.  Say hello to Sunny, aka, Mr. Magnificent.
We are planning to take a trip down to the fabric district in LA sometime soon so I can get some inexpensive fabric. We can’t find anything we like here in town and curtains at the store are soooo expensive.   Last visit to the fabric district we really scored with the glittery bright red shag fabric.   What. Were.  We. Thinking?

I also scored again on freecycle and got a free television for our garage. This is so I can test and review (at least that’s the idea) workout videos for which, by the way, is well on it’s way to becoming  We are also looking forward to trying P90x when it gets here.  😉

Oh yeah.  The other day in the car I asked Nathanael if he thought he would move far away when he grew up?  He said very matter-of-fact without looking up from his game, “I’ll live in California but I’ll probably live in Beverly Hills or some place like that.”



  • Filed under: life
  • As most of you know we have decided to homeschool this coming year. We feel a deep sense of gratitude towards God for giving us not only the desire but the means to do so.  For years I have wanted to homeschool in my head but I never could find the desire in my heart.  Brent and I would always talk about how much fun it would be if we could homeschool but I always said maybe next year.  About six months ago I was sitting on the couch praying and suddenly I knew we were to try homeschooling in the upcoming year.  It was so clear to me much like the time I knew I would marry Brent.  Immediately, I told Brent about the prayer time and he was very excited that I was ready to move into this uncharted territory.

    We have many reasons why we have decied to homeschool.  Here are a few in no particular order.

    1. We feel like God has placed this desire in our hearts.  Sitting down with the boys to learn has by far been one of the greatest joys of parenting for me.  Some people have remarked that it sounds like such a chore.  A year ago I felt the same but I can say with honesty that I no longer see it as a “chore” but as a gift.  I can’t believe that God has given me two amazing children and has given me the desire and opportunity to homeschool them.
    2. The boys are getting big and we know Nathanael’s next 9 years are going to go by FAST.  We know if we never give homeschooling a try we will regret it later.  We don’t want them to grow up and say we wished we would have tried.
    3. We want to help preserve our boys unique personalities.  Although they have gone to a very warm and nuturing school we have noticed the effect of peers on their personalities and frankly it’s not been all that great.  Our boys are trying to discover who God has created them to be and we want to be the ones to guide them down that path.  Do we want to shelter them???  Yes, to some extent we do because we feel that is our job.  Forever?  Absolutely not.  But homeschooling will give us a bigger say in who they choose for friends.  Homeschoolers have a reputation for being “weird”.  This idea that all homeschoolers are “weird” is just plain ignorant.  A while back I spent some time visiting homeschooling groups.  Honestly, I was expecting to meet “weird” kids but what I found is that the kids actually seemed more grounded, thoughtful, confident, and kind than the kids on the school playground.  I observed kids appreciating the differences in others.  I even saw two juniour high girls discussing science and math with enthusiasm. One was encouraging the other who was not doing as well with those subjects.  This really opened my eyes to the types of kids who homeschool.  It was a far cry from what I saw happening between the girls at the school.  So if “weird” means being able to think for oneself, an interest in learning, and relating to others on a mature level then so be it…I want “weirdos”.  Of course, school kids are NOT all bad kids.  There will be a few that we hope to keep in touch with but these are some observations we have made that have influenced our decision.
    4. We want to know our kids as deeply as possible.  We just don’t feel like we are getting to know them as well when they are in school all day and then coming home tired and cranky with only a few rushed hours trying to squeeze in homework, taekwondo, and dinner before bed.
    5. Freedom and flexibility.  Brent has worked so hard to get to do what he does for a living but because the boys are in school we are unable to take full advantage of his flexibility and enjoy the fruits of his labor.  Now we will be able to go camping and visit family whenever and for as long as we want as long as it works with Brent’s schedule (and money and not wearing out our welcome!).  We have dreams of spending a year in a RV traveling the country really learning about American history.  Or spending a year in China teaching English.  Or who knows…..  We are all SO EXCITED about the opportunities that this will allow even if it’s just family trips to a museums during the week.
    6. Teach them not just to learn but more importantly teach them to love learning.  Learning is not about textbooks, quizzes, and tests.  It’s a way of looking at the world, asking questions, and seeking answers.  It’s exploring the history of humanity through art, literature, philosophy, and science so that we can respond the work of God throughout mankind.
    7. Reduce stress at home for us and for the boys.  As crazy as it may seem to some, we know that this is going to reduce the stress level in our home.  We are SO HAPPY to be done with the get up early and rushing around to get to school on time.  Not only that but stressing to get all the homework done after a busy day and having very little free time to just be kids and play.  Running back and forth between home and school had added unnecessary stress.  We are really looking forward to slowing down and being able to enjoy each other.  We also hope to reduce isocial stress.  We talked to one family who had home-schooled 2 or their 4 kids and said their home-schooled kids carried a lighter burden.  We hope to lighten our boys future loads.
    8. We feel they will get a better education, one that is tailored to suit their gifts instead of a one size fits all approach that’s necessary when teaching in a classroom.  For example, Nathanael has already expressed interest in taking Dave Ramsey’s financial peace course and learning Photoshop.  Things we would never have time for if he is in regular school.  Not to mention those are real-world skills that they will be able to use for the rest of their lives if they so choose. Much (not all) of traditional school work is boring and a waste of time.   Okay so a few people love filling out worksheet after worksheet and cramming for tests.  And a few actually remember it.   As Nathanael has gotten older his busy work has gotten longer and longer.  He has sat for hours filling out science reviews or history reviews searching through dull textbooks for the answers.  Understandably so, he gets frustrated and bored.  Brent and I talked about this and remembered feeling the same.  Not only that but we remember very little from our textbooks BUT we remember almost all of the stories we read. So we are going to use very few workbooks and textbooks.  Our homeschool is going to be based on high quality, much of it classical, literature. See History & Literature below.Not only is much of the work boring but they either have to wait for everyone to catch up OR they don’t understand concepts because the teacher doesn’t have the time to explain it to them in a way they understand, so they fall behind. Most of world’s greatest thinkers were not taught in a classroom.So how do homeschoolers compare  academically with the rest of the students.  Read Academic Statistics on Homeschooling to find out!
    9. Spiritual guidance.  So what if our kids do brilliantly academically but suffer spiritually.  If that is the case then we’ve missed the point of life.  This is why everyday will start out with Bible and we are going to approach every subject from Biblical/spiritual points of view.  When they are ready we will tackle the big questions of life and the implications of the different answers.   Far from wanting to shelter them we want to challenge them by asking these questions while they are still under our care because ultimately these are the things that REALLY matter.

    So how are we going to do all this????  Well here is a list by subject and I’m sure this will change as forge ahead.

    Bible – A Bible, The Awesome Book of Bible Facts,  A devotional Bible.

    History & Literature & Reading – This is going to be the core of our program.  We are going to learn history through high quality literature. For our first year we are going to give Sonlight a try.  Check out their website for more information.  History and literature aren’t grade dependent so we will be reading many of the same stories together out loud.  Nathanael will also read from the advanced readers list and Noah will read from the beginning reader list.  We are starting with an overview of world history as opposed to American history because…well…the world didn’t begin with America and it’s not all about America.  We feel like this will give us a better perspective and appreciation for our own country’s history.

    Writing – The boys writing assigments will be based off of the books we read for history and literature.  As far as a formal handwriting program, we are going to give the Writing without Tears program a try for Noah since he doens’t like handwriting at all.  I’ve researched and researched and this seems like it will be the best fit for him something that would not be able to happen if he was still in school.  Nathanael is going to use A Reason For Handwriting program since this is what he has used since Kindergarten.  As soon as he is consistently writing neatly we will stop a formal handwriting practice.

    Grammar – We are going to use the Rod and Staff grammar program.  From my research, it is one of the best and most thorough programs out there.  Noah will not start this until 3rd grade.

    Phonics – We are undecided on our phonics program.  So far I’m leaning towards Explode the Code, Rod and Staff or A Beka.  I’m still very open though and will be talking to other homeschooling moms for advice.

    Science –  This year we are going to be using Sonlight’s science curriculum.  For now our focus on science is to encourage their curiosity, appreciation, and wonder for God’s creation.

    Math – We are going to stick with Singapore Math for now.  Their school switched over to it last year and I was very impressed.  It’s a little different than the way most of us were taught math but I find the Singapore way of doing math to be way more intuitive and practical.  For those of you worried about me teaching Math I want to assure you I’m confident in my abilities for the next few years.  If or when I feel I need additional help we will either switch to a different program, take classes through the groups or co-ops and or get a tutor.  Just FYI I did very well in math.  I’m better at the language arts but I did get all the way through trigonometry in high school with an A.  I didn’t take any math in college so yes, it’s been a while but like I said if I need help, I’ll get help.

    Spelling – I think I’m going to start Noah with Spelling Workout A and I’m trying to decide wether to do Sequential Spelling or Spelling Workout D with Nathanael.  I really like all that I’ve read about Sequential Spelling but again I’m going to talk with some other homeschooling moms before I make a decision.

    Spanish – We are going to give the Rosetta Stone Homeschool Edition a try.  Of course, trips to Blancas (the little mexican market around the corner) will be great fun and practice.  I considered starting with Latin but since they’ve already had some Spanish and there are ample opportunities to practice we decided to wait on Latin.

    Music & Art – Until we can afford piano lessons we are going to try to learn the basics together.  We are also going to spend some time learning about the great artists and composers throughout history.  There is a really cool drawing book we are going to try to go through together as well.

    Socialization – This is possibly the most annoying question so don’t ask me about it.  People who ask this must have forgotten what it’s like to be on a playground or in the junior high cafeteria.  If this is a concern read Socialization: Homeschoolers Are in the Real World or this one and  you’ll see where Brent and I are coming from.  Don’t worry, we are not going to raise our kids in a bubble.  They will interact weekly with kids at taekwondo, church, playdates, our friend’s kids and our homeschool support groups CASA, ACHEVE, and we are on the waiting list for Group Solutions.  In additions we are considering joining the homeschool choir and/or Boy Scouts.  So they will have plenty of friends, in fact, we are going to have to be careful not to get too busy!!  We are already looking forward to a homeschool camping trip the last week of August.

    So there you have it a basic overview of what will be The Nims Academy of Excellence in Exploration.  Yes, we realize this is a bit ideal on paper but we agree with Michelangelo  “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”  We hope in time Nathanael and Noah will be setting their sights as high as the heavens.

    With Love,
    Jenn & Brent

  • Filed under: homeschooling
  • Materialism and Metaphysics

    A few weeks ago Nathanael was elected class treasurer.  The days leading up to the election were stressful as he prepared and fretted over getting elected.  The day of his speech he wore his suit.  Of course.  This is his speech in his own words.

    I am a nice smart boy.  I like rich people stuff. Also I like money and would not miss a payday.  I like to buy things.  I would be (best) for the job because I like to remind Mrs. Hoffman stuff like What day it is on the board.  Changes I would make would be giving us more money or lowering prises (prices) so we could afford it.  I would also have SSR so we could have more time to read.  I would also have homework passes so we could have a break.  And lastly share day every other friday for 5 kids.  And that is the end of my speech and I hope I convinced you to vote for me! See ya later!

    The day after winning the election Nathanael decided to wear his suit jacket and tie so he would be dressed properly “for work”.  I’m glad my son is confident and I’m thrilled he wants more time to read but I’m not so sure about the current obsession with buying things.  We are trying to convince him that the millionaire next door drives a dumpy car and lives in a modest house because he is investing and not spending.  But he likes “fancy” things.

    Noah, on the other hand, has been more interested in the metaphysical world.  Just yesterday he was asking Brent about Heaven.  He wanted to know if we could come back, go where we want to, see people still on earth and so on.  Brent told him that he didn’t know and the Bible doesn’t give us many details about that stuff.   Noah responded, “Then go online.” I wish it was that easy.  I have a few questions I’d like to email God.

    We had a nice Easter today.  This morning we got up early and went to sunrise service at the beach.  It was so beautiful despite being a little chilly.  Later we went back to church and then visited our friend, Lucille.  The afternoon was spent napping on the couch, hunting for Easter eggs, and cooking.  Simple.  Wonderful.

    (Brent’s been updating pictures on Flickr.  You don’t want to miss those!)

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  • Filed under: life
  • Little Jensen

    Last week my nephew, Jensen, was born with a heart defect.  Will you please remember him and my brother, Jeff, and sister-in-law, Anna, in your prayers.  My dad started a blog to keep people updated on his condition so we can pray for his needs.  We are believing in a big miracle for this little boy.

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  • Filed under: family
  • tubing

    Tubing from Jenn Nims on Vimeo.

  • Filed under: adventure
  • Rocketing

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  • Filed under: Uncategorized
  • Noah found his first loose tooth today when we were brushing his teeth.  Excited doesn’t even describe his reaction.  He was elated.  Giddy.  He started talking .  It was really cute.  Here is a short video of him talking about it after the initial excitment.

    Noah and the Tale of the Loose Tooth from Jenn Nims on Vimeo.

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  • New Neighbor

    So ugly he's cute!

    So ugly he's beautiful!

    There is a new cat in town.  His name is Moses.  That’s what is on his collar.  And he is so ugly he’s beautiful.

    The first time I saw him I was captivated.  I stopped the car and stared in wonder.  The second time, I rushed across the street with the boys and we discovered Moses is greasy.  The third time I saw him, I invited him onto the front porch for a treat.  It was mostly fine except Moses has the weird habit of hissing for no reason.  I think he is subconsciously angry about not having any hair.  Sort of like short man syndrome for cats.  Anyway I was excited about my new friend until Brent opened the door and informed me Sunny was sitting on the other side listening.  I decided I better go in let Sunny know he was still number one even though I had become rather obsessed with Moses.  Nope. Sunny would have none of it.  He puffed up and walked away from me.  I reached down to pet him and was shocked when he showed his teeth and hissed at me.  Uh-oh.  I followed Sunny to his favorite spot in the house the window between Brent and I’s desk.  Once again I tried to pet him and this is what I got.



    Guess he was sort of mad.  If you know my cat you know he is really a dog trapped in a cat’s body.  He’s really sweet and cuddly, almost pathetically so.  I’m sure other cats would make fun him if they knew how sweet he was.  But not today.  I promised Sunny I wouldn’t pet Moses anymore.  But it’s sort of hard.  Moses is so new and it’s so tempting to pet him.  Now when Moses comes over and greets me with a “friendly” hiss I just toss him a treat.  Because although Moses may be strange and beautiful our little Sunny is sweet and faithful.  So I better be too.

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  • Joy

    It’s the new year and one of the things I want to do is update our family website more .  We’ll see how long it lasts.

    smorgasboard We had a lovely Christmas this year.  Simple and sweet.  GG (my grammy) and TT (my grandpa…grandpy sounds weird) came to visit us.  On Christmas Eve, we went to Santa Maria where Brent’s mom really outdid herself and served a wonderful Swedish smorgasbord.  That night we went to church for the Christmas Eve service.  Our family lit one of the advent candles.  The candle of joy.  I was actually going to light the candle while Brent was reading but I couldn’t get the lighter to work.  Hello.  You’d think by now I’d could work one of those stairs things.    At least you’d think.

    After church we came home and tried to coax two anxious boys to sleep so Santa could come.  We set out chocolate chip cookies, milk, and carrots for the reindeer.   Of course, the next morning the boys were delighted to find Santa had filled their stockings with all sorts of junk from China and candy.  Except Santa had mistakenly given them cherry flavored candy canes “AGAIN” even when they specifically wrote “MINT” on their lists.  I told  them Santa is probably pretty clueless since he lives all the way in North Pole.  Nathanael agreed since he also leaves ash allIMG_3151.CR2 over the floor around the fireplace.  Come on Santa get a clue.  Not only that but the elves have quit making toys.  Instead they all sit around in cubicles ordering stuff on the Internet which is why everything says “Made in China”.  Nathanael is 8.  I really need to give this up before he gets made fun of at school.  But it’s just so sweet watching them get so excited about a fat man in a red suit who squeezes himself down chimneys and fills stockings with stuff they get bored with in 5 minutes.

    Amazingly GG and TT arrived at 8:30 am. 😉  We all opened presents and then started making waffles.  It’s been a tradition IMG_3134.CR2 since I was a kid.  I love it, especially when the waffles aren’t soggy!!!  After waffles Brent started in building the Lego Republic Gunship and soon discovered that was all he was going to do on Christmas day seeing that the gunship is over 1000 pieces.  Nathanael  also started building his new Lego airport and was done in less than two hours.  Maybe he should give Brent building lessons.  As the builders built, GG and I started making dinner.  Every year I make a special roast lamb.  It’s really good and since we eat chicken 364 days out of the year it’s a real treat.

    IMG_3139.CR2 As the lamb was cooking the boys and I went to the hospital to visit Lucille.  Lucille is one of the elderly women we deliver groceries too through an organization called Shop Ahoy.  The past year we have become quite close to Lucille.  Unfortunately these last few months she has taken a turn for the worse and ended up back in the hospital Dec 23.  As we drove over we all practiced singing Silent Night together.  Once we got there it was disappointing to find Lucille in such bad shape and I was having difficulty holding my tears as I read the story of the birth of Jesus to her.  And when Noah started singing the first verse of Silent Night to her I gave up.  Nathanael followed Noah with the second verse IMG_3141.CR2and we all sang the last verse together.  I was so proud of them.  They both sang with a sincerity that would melt the heart of the scroogiest of scrooges. Or in Lucille’s case make the weakest of the weak smile.  It was the only time I saw her smile the entire time we were there.

    It wasn’t long after returning home that we finished cooking dinner and had a wonderful feast.  Lastly, before my grandparents and cousin Danny left for home we put a gold candle in the middle of a pumpkin pie and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.  Yeah, I know it’s sort of corny and my kids will think were weirdos when they get older.  That’s okay.  They are probably right.

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  • Merry Christmas

    Christmas Card 2008

    Christmas Card 2008

    Hello Family and Friends,

    Hard to believe another year is “In the can”. Here are our highlights from 2008:

    IMG_2934.JPG Nathanael, our little eccentric one, is enjoying third grade. The thing he’s currently “into” is limousines. He draws them and talks about them, or plays with his toy limo daily. For his 8th birthday his GG and TT (great grandparents) surprised him with a limousine ride. Maybe one day he’ll have his own. When I asked him what he wanted to be this year for Halloween he responded, “Bill Gates”. He has also grown into an AVID reader and will regularly sit down and read an entire “chapter book” in one evening.

    Noah 6 Noah officially “graduated” from preschool in June and is now a bonafide Kindergartner. He has made this transition rather well and every morning when he walks into class he is greeted with many many “Hi Noah”s from his classmates. Where as as Nathanael wants to be Warren Buffet, Noah wants to be a Jedi Knight. He spends many hours practicing moves, playing with his Lego Star Wars figures, and video games.

    This year we have really seen a great camaraderie take shape between Nathanael and Noah. Some days hours will pass before we are summoned to play referee. We have also seen a new concern for others develop as they deliver groceries with Jenn weekly (without much complaint) to home-bound elderly women. These two points of growth alone have brought us so much joy.

    In November Jenn competed in (and won) her first figure competition (probably not what you think it it’s one step removed from body building)! What a huge accomplishment that was and a success on so many levels but mostly it was a huge exercise in discipline and showing determination to finish. She’s been keeping a blog on her journey to health and fitness at The changes she has made in her own health have had such a profound effect upon her that she has decided she wants to help others reach their own goals in health and fitness. She will complete her personal trainer certification in early 2009.

    Brent continues to work hard at growing NimsMedia. We have been blessed with many great clients and projects. Our One Million Children project (documentary film) is finally nearing completion and we’re looking forward to what the Lord has in store for us in 2009. Brent also continues to enjoy playing in the worship band at church, taking photos of well… anything (check out our photostream here), and tackling the few remaining projects for our home renovation (come on housing market!!!).

    Balch Park This summer we launched head-long into our newfound favorite family activity with the purchase of a ’93 Jayco pop-up trailer . We enjoyed trips to Refugio State Beach, Cachuma Lake, and Balch Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains where we camped in the midst of the Giant Sequoias. It’s great to be together as a family and get a break from all the responsibilities of home life, and to be in the beauty of God’s creation.

    We look forward to seeing or hearing from you in the New Year. It’s going to be a great one!

    Merry Christmas,
    The Nims

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