Thursday, April 29, 2010

A special honor

This week, my 12 yo son received a special honor-he received his next rank-tenderfoot-in Boy Scouts. He just joined the troop this year and has worked very hard on the requirements, attending several campouts along the way. I am so proud of him. He loves being in the Boy Scouts and has set the goal of achieving Eagle Scout over the next few years. Here he is with his new patch on his shirt. By the way, he's not much of a smiler for pictures. :-) He'd probably rather I didn't take it, but I couldn't resist!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Little Builders

On Saturday, I took 5 of the kids to Lowe's for one of their kids' workshops. With aprons on and hammers in hand, they were ready to go! The project? Building a bird feeder. It wasn't too complicated, but it did have a lot of steps, so I helped the youngest ones with putting the nails in the holes and then prayed they wouldn't hammer my fingers (they didn't, but they came close). We only had one mishap-my 7 yo discovered one of her pieces was missing and had to redo the roof part using pieces from another kit. Happily, we hung up all 5 and filled them with birdseed. The birds seem to be enjoying it-and with so many feeders, they're sure to find a vacant one! Here's four of the crew with their finished product! (The fifth declined to be in the shot)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Little Seamstress

Since we have finished up school, it's time to devote our days to some things we don't always get around to doing-cleaning, field trips, and, in this case, sewing! My 10 yo daughter recently sewed herself a skirt and my 7 yo decided that she definitely wanted to do one, too! During our trip to the fabric store, it took her about 10 seconds to pick out the fabric she loved-pink, with butterflies all over it. Perfect. We worked thru the project together and this afternoon, she proudly tried on her new skirt. Isn't it pretty?

She was quite a trooper, with this being her first project. She got a burned finger from using the iron, but besides that, she said she really enjoyed it. I'm so very proud of her for working so hard on it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

English muffin bread

Today I tried out a new recipe for English muffin bread. One of those recipes I had stashed away but had never tried. My kids started asking me about buying English muffins, so it sparked my interest. It was relatively easy to make, so that's a plus. Want to know how it turned out? Well here's how it looked...

Kind of a wimpy looking loaf, in my opinion. I like my bread taller looking, but maybe that's how they meant this recipe to be. After all, english muffins don't really rise a lot when you think about it. I sliced it up and let the kids try it. Everyone seemed to like it and agreed that it did taste like an English muffin. I don't think the texture was the same exactly, but toasted and slathered in butter, I'm sure it will taste quite yummy. I think this recipe will be a keeper!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oh-to be a baby!

Eating is so much fun!

But you have to watch out for those fingers-sometimes they look like french fries!

Hmmm....what an interesting container. But it's hard to push across the grass. What to do?

Look-I can balance on all fours! Ringling Brothers, here I come!

Or I could just sit in it and enjoy the nice day.

And look...I can face the other way, too! Geez, I'm cool.

Stuffed animals are so fun. They make me laugh! What was that? Ponies are only for girls?!

Do you think this one's too big?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Another school year comes to a close

Today marked our final day of homeschooling for this year. For the elementary age, that is. My 2 high schoolers still have work to do through the summer. Lest you think I'm some evil mother, it is by their own choice of not being diligent on their assignments! Tonight after dinner, we had a graduation ceremony conducted by the principal (Dad). We handed out diplomas to each of the five graduates and one preschooler, too!

Afterward, we celebrated with cake and ice cream-yum! This year certainly had it's ups and downs, just like any other year. I am proud of the hard work my kids did and we are looking forward to the coming year. For now, we plan on enjoying the beautiful spring weather and also some fun field trips to places we haven't been, taking advantage of the time we have!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tiny in size, mighty in power!

No, I'm not referring to a person-I'm talking about this.....

Yep, the mini marshmallow. I am amazed at the influence this little mini marshmallow can have on my kids. For example, my 5 yo boy, in kindergarten this year, can sometimes get a little bored/distracted/whatever while homeschooling. Now, I don't ask a lot of a wiggly little boy, but I do like him to get a page of his math and handwriting and do some reading. To help motivate him to want to do it instead of having to push him, I offered up one mini marshmallow for each math problem he completed. Wow! I've never seen him so excited to do his math! He even counts up the problems he did and gives me his number for the day. Believe me, he makes sure every little marshmallow is accounted for. We've also used them with the other kids when we practice our geography. It's kind of like Geography bingo, where you have to locate the countries. A right answer gets a marshmallow. Fun! How about potty training? We're not doing that now, but in the past, treats are a huge motivation. We've had similair success with other treats like m and m's, fruit loops, etc, but the marshmallows are the best in my book because they're cheap-99 cents for a good size bag, all my kids like them, and since one of my favorite candies is m and m's, those would run out pretty quick because I'd be eating waaaaaay too many of them! My kids don't get treats for everything-certainly not-but everyone likes to be rewarded for a job well done and this treat is just enough to keep 'em motivated!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bargain shopping.

I have a Sam's club not too far from my home that I shop at for certain things, but even given the size of our family, not for most of the items we use. Yes, we do need that 36 roll pack of toilet paper, but maybe not the 5 pounds of crackers! Primarily, I buy my shredded cheese, honey, yeast, pepperoni, trash bags, paper towels, peanuts, and some meds. Of course, we get other things depending on the trip, but those tend to be the basics. I also love going early in the morning-they open at 7 am for business members (love it!) I was doing a quick 7 am run this week to get some supplies and walked past the clothing section. I saw some pretty girls church dresses that I had admired in an earlier visit, marked down to just $4.81! I guess they were marked down because it was after Easter. What a steal-these dresses were gorgeous! So I promptly snapped up 2 for my 3 and 4 yo. Here's a picture of it.

I was so happy. They wore them to church today and looked so cute. The picture really doesn't do it justice.
During a quick run today to Wal-Mart to get dishwasher soap, I saw ad all their Easter items marked for 10 cents. My 8 yo daughter, who has a birthday in June, had told me recently that she wanted a dinosaur party. I just happened to spot packages of light camoflauge color easter eggs in the mix. Hubby agrees, they really do look like a dinosaur egg! I snatched up several packages that we are going to use in planning some of her party games. Quite the bargain, considering they were regularly $2 a package. I love finding bargains, but these 2 bargains probably weren't due to my "hunting", but more of being in the right place at the right time. But still a great deal!

Monday, April 5, 2010

A lovely visit

This weekend, we had the blessing of hosting my mother-in-law at our house. She traveled all the way from Arizona to spend Easter with us. We had such a great time-and as a bonus, she brought her little dog with her, which my kiddos just adored. Surprisingly, the dog did great and really didn't seem scared at all of so many people, even my 1 yo who can sometimes not be so gentle with his pets. We will miss her and look forward to her next visit. I know some people may not enjoy their in-laws much, but I must say that I love her to death and she is one of the biggest blessings in my life!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

Tomorrow is a very special day to celebrate-the day that Jesus rose from the dead after being crucified on the cross. Hallelujah! He lives! It saddens me to see the world taking such a precious holiday and trying to change the meaning of it. So many kids today grow up thinking Easter is about bunnies, egg hunts, and candy. I love candy as much as the next person, but our kids and the rest of the world need to know the true meaning of Easter. Let us not allow fun, games, and fuzzy bunnies to be the focus of the day, but give thanks for the sacrifice the Lord has made for each of us Had it not been for Him, none of us would have the opportunity to spend our eternity in Heaven forever, but would be condemned to a lifetime of separation from the Lord. Jesus did the first part by dying on the cross for our sins, but still, we must put our trust in Him and choose to follow Him, instead of our own way. So give thanks, enjoy your Easter-and your family! I certainly will enjoy mine, especially since we have my husband's mother here visiting. Hubby has a great meal planned, and for dessert, I baked up something special. I can't bring myself to make bunny cake, so I decided to make a cross cake to honor the day. Yummy! Here's how it turned out....

Happy Easter everyone!!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Birthday celebrations and new furniture

This week we celebrated two of our boys' birthdays. They turned 12 and 15. Their birthdays are withing a couple weeks of eachother, so they elected to have a combination party. For several years now, we've given our kids a set $$ amount to spend on their birthday celebration and they get to budget that and decide what they want to do. Some have chosen to have parties at home and spend lots on decorations and games, and others have chosen to have it somewhere else. Surprisingly, no one has asked to just pocket the money and nix the party.....yet. :-) The boys decided to pool their money together and have their party at the local bowling alley/laser tag place. We went on one of their discount days-Tuesday-when they have half price bowling and 2 for 1 laser tag-and held it in the afternoon (perfect for us homeschoolers!) We almost had the whole place to ourselves-it was great-and they stayed within their budget. Here are the boys opening up some of their gifts from mom and dad pre-party. A new bb gun for our 12 yo. Can you see the happiness on his face?

And my 15 yo received some camping necessities that he will need for Boy Scouts.

Along with our family (a party in itself), several friends came to the bowling alley to join in the celebration. Everyone had a great time and it was a blessing to see the older ones enjoy helping the littler ones out.

Here's Dad with our 2 yo. She had a great time bowling and jumped up and down every time she knocked down the pins!

Even little guy enjoyed just sitting back and watching all the fun. Eventually, he fell asleep.

After bowling, it was on to the cakes. The boys wanted very plain cakes (no goofy characters!), so they got what they requested. One chocolate-one strawberry. Yes, we did realize that one cake was pink . I pre-warned my 12 yo about this, but that's what he wanted. We only had one party guest say, "Why do you have a pink cake?" But when he explained it was strawberry, nothing else was said about it. In fact, everyone loved the cake and scarfed it down. Those teen boy appetites!

Here they are during the happy birthday song. It's not a party until you sing that!

We had a great time-my kids can't wait until the next birthday!

In other exciting news this week, we had a special delivery at our house (no....not the kind that involves diapers and itty bitty clothes), but some new furniture! We had been shopping for a new leather sofa set for quite a while-several months. It was time. Our old set was over 10 years old. We visited most furniture stores in the area and did not like what we saw. Most everything was not 100% top grain leather, which is what we wanted. Most looked nice, but were blended leather or bonded leather. No thanks. We wanted something to last for years to come. The few sets we saw that were high quality were so expensive-almost twice what we could pay. So the search went on. On a recommendation, we decided to look online at Sam's and Costco. They don't sell much furniture in their stores, but have a much larger selection online. We researched and found a company that sells very high quality through Costco and decided to go with them. We ordered, only going off the online picture (!) as we didn't have time to even send away for a swatch, as the set was on sale for only a few days. I prayed I would like it when it arrived-and 5 weeks later, the moving truck delivered it! And yes, I do love it! It's very nice-much nicer than any we saw-and we got a great price on it-about half of the furniture store. Here's my 2 yo napping on the sofa....

There's also a loveseat, but I didn't post a pic of that. The comfiest piece of all, I think, is the big oversize chair and ottoman (aka. dad's seat). It's heaven sitting in it and relaxing. It's great, too, because it fits 2 kids on it!

I'm very happy with our purchase and would definitely go that route again. Well, I'm off to enjoy relaxing in my new couch! Ahhhhhh.............