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Friday, November 28, 2008

From This......

......to this!! God has blessed us so much!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Patrick

I hope you had a wonderful 11th birthday!!!

We let Patrick open the gift from Jeff and me before Jeff went to work on Monday morning. Of course, Patrick came in our room at 5:00 to let us know that it was time to get off...he didn't know that Jeff was putting off his workout that morning so he could be home when Patrick woke up at his normal time(which isn't usually 5:00)!! We finally got up and let him have his gift..a video game that he's been wanting. I let his friend, Derek, come over to play it with him after Derek got out of school....we don't do school on the kids' birthdays. In the evening, we ordered pizza then had Jeff's mom and dad come over to have birthday cake and gifts. Patrick was excited about his Bakugan cake...one of his newest interests!
Carter's birthday is next week...exactly 2 weeks after Patrick's. The following weekend, we will have their big joint birthday party with all of their friends. I'm so glad that they are both still okay with having their big party together. They are so close in age and share so many of the same friends that it makes it one big party :)!!
Happy birthday to our first born son...we are so proud of you!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fair 2008

Once again, we went with my sister and her family to our old hometown fair. Because it was later in the year than it usually is, we were COLD! We usually get there early and stay until it closes, but it was all we could do to make it one time around and grab all of the junk food we wanted before retreating back to the car! We still had a great time, as always, but weren't so eager to see it to the end this time!! As usual, the kids all brought home cheap light up fair prizes/toys and bellies full of fair fries and funnel cakes. What I brought home were bruises...one on my elbow and four on my legs from a very intense ride that Carter asked me to ride with him. I will usually ride anything with no problem, but I thought I had gone to hell on this one! Carter and I both screamed all the way through it...him because he loved it SO much....me because I just couldn't figure out how in the WORLD I was going to make it to the end. Needless to say, I was finished riding after that one!!!

It didn't take long to settle everyone down once we got them home and cozy in their warm sleeping bags(notice the girls with their baby carriers. They are never far from their dolls)! With one of Vicki's daughters gone for the weekend, I had her room to myself...at least I thought I would! I ended up with two sleeping partners after all!!
We stayed for the entire weekend, not getting home until late Sunday night. Vicki's son, Stephen, was coming home from the pipeline. We wanted to see him before we left. He has been working on the pipeline with my brother and dad since graduating high school. He is now about to start college. We are all so proud of him.
Thanks again, Vicki, for a great time!! It gets harder and harder to leave every time!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

From the Mouth of a Homeschooler

Carter didn't enjoy our Greek dish very much, so he had a nice helping of it still on his plate when he finished eating his dinner. Before taking his plate to the sing he said, "Mama, I have an idea! Let's put the rest of this Greek food into our Europe continent box!"
Before I could object, he added, "Oh, and then when it molds, we can study some of it in Science!"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Greek Dish

We've been studying Greece and Rome in History, so we decided to try a Greek dish. I pulled up some options and let the kids choose which one they wanted to cook. They all finally agreed on a cabbage and rice dish.
First, we sauteed our onions then added slices of cabbage.

Next, we added some tomatoes and two cups of water. I used stewed tomatoes, but we could have also cut up fresh ones. I just wanted the extra juice in the stewed ones.
After letting this cook for 10 minutes, we added a cup of rice. We let this cook until the rice was done and had absorbed all of the water. I added salt and a lot of pepper.
Here is the finished product! After it was done, I sprinkled lemon juice over the top of it. Patrick and Carter tried it, but they didn't like it very much. The rest of us loved it!!! I will be making this dish again!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Making Jewelry

Only a group of girls can turn this....
Into these....
Madison had some friends over today to do some jewelry making with some new supplies that we have. I was so pleased with the results! Madison has always loved making jewelry and key chains and has even sold some of them. They are hoping to sell some of this stuff in an upcoming craft sale that one of the girls will be helping her mom with. If not, they will just all have fun wearing the stuff :)! I know they had a blast making it!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Election Day Activities

First, let me say that all three of my children were very involved with the outcome of this election. It's not because Jeff and I sit around and talk about politics all the time, but because our kids ask us questions that we give them straight answers to. They probably knew more about what both candidates stood for than a lot of people who voted. I haven't said much here about our views on this election, but I will say that we were all very upset about the outcome. I saw not only disappointment in my children, but also fear of what could happen to us. I put aside my desire to sulk and sat them down with a Bible to help make sense of what had happened. I showed them, through Bible verses, that God is in control and has the ultimate power. I reminded them that in all of our past studies of old world history that every leader was there to fulfill God's purpose. We cannot see the big picture. The only thing we know of for sure is the outcome....because we believe what the Bible tells us. Our ultimate responsibility is to cling to our one true leader and let Him do what is best for us, even when we can't see how it can possibly be.
I think that we all felt better after our little Bible study...I know that I did!
Afterwards, we watched some fun videos on this site: http://www.brainpop.com/spotlight/election/ We've learned most of this information in our past studies, but it was great to refresh all of our minds during this time. It's always funner to watch cool little videos than to read the information in a book!
I printed some fun puzzles for the kids to do as well as blank electoral maps for them to color in. Then, I had each of them count the electoral votes for each candidate to help them understand where the numbers came from. It was a fun way to teach them the difference in popular vote and electoral votes.
Carter made the trip with me to vote. Madison and Patrick were afraid of the long lines, but it was worth it for Carter to get to "help" me vote. I think it was a good experience for him, as always!
I haven't put too much emphasis on the race of each of our candidates for a reason. I think that there are issues way more important when deciding on a President than what his/her race is. Yes, I know that it is very cool for many to imagine witnessing the first time that a Presidential elect is not a white man. I also think that it's scary to imagine how many based their vote solely on that concept. After our discussion this morning on God's sovereignty and our responsibility to honor what He has chosen to do, I did mention to the kids that they had witnessed a huge day in history...one that will always be remembered. Even with their feelings of disappointment, I wanted them to understand the significance of that. All we can do now is look to the future and trust God...it shouldn't be our last resort, but our only one!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Halloween Through The Years

I always loved the Disney store that we once had in our mall. Even before I had children, I was in love with Disney. It was no surprise that Madison's first Halloween outfit came from that Disney store...a Dalmatian. Being from the south, it ended up a little too warm for her to wear it for long, but we kept it on her long enough to take pictures and trick or treat at a couple of houses. When I see pictures of her in that outfit, I remember her taking some of her first steps in it. Of course, it wasn't easy with all of that extra weight on her, but she managed a few steps! When Madison was born, Jeff and I both worked at a rehab hospital together. We had a sweet patient who gave Madison a homemade Raggedy Ann Doll. On Madison's second Halloween, I got the idea to put Raggedy Ann's clothes on Madison. Then, Jeff and I made a great red wig for her to wear. It was so cute :)!! When I look at this picture of her, I also think of how close I was to having Patrick...within a couple of weeks we had our first son! When Madison was two, she loved watching The Big Comfy Couch. A good friend of the family bought her a Molly doll for her 2nd birthday, so I thought I would attempt to make a Lunette outfit for Madison to wear for Halloween. I put something together and made a little black wig for her. Once we put Molly in her arms, I thought she looked very close to the real thing :)! Patrick was a couple of weeks from turning a year and walking everywhere, so we used the Dalmatian outfit for his first Halloween as well. When I look at this picture, I think that it was one of the last taken with only two children. Four weeks later, we had our Carter! As fun as we had with Halloween, we took a break from celebrating it for a few years. Carter didn't celebrate his first Halloween until Madison was in Kindergarten. Once she started public school, there was no way to avoid the holiday any longer. So, we approached it with a positive attitude, keeping our costumes as positive and fun as we could. Madison dressed as Barbie and the boys as football players. Jeff had a singing that night, so my cousin, Stacy, and I took our kids trick or treating together. In the past, we had spent most of our time at church festivals on Halloween, but after this night of trick or treating, the kids were hooked!! We haven't missed a year of it since! In 2003, we went trick or treating with Jeff's brother, Jerry, and his family. Madison was a Bratz doll and the boys were Batman and Robin. This would be the first of many Halloweens that the boys would be action heroes! In 2004, Madison was Polly Pocket. Patrick dressed in an army outfit and Carter as a pirate. Jeff and I took the kids trick or treating by ourselves this year. We raised the back door of the van and let them ride in the back, jumping out as we stopped at each house. They still talk about that night and how fun it was to ride back there with the door open. We started homeschooling our children in 2005, shortly before Halloween. One of my concerns was the fact that they would not have the school parties to look forward to anymore. Because of that concern, I have always strived to make holidays funner than ever! I decorate for them and have goody bags and treats waiting when they wake up. We make crafts and bake goodies all day long. None of them have ever mentioned what they might be missing in the public school on holidays. On this first Halloween as homeschoolers, Madison dressed in a dance outfit, while the boys both went as Darth Vader. This was the only Halloween that they had ever gone as the same thing!
On Halloween 2006, Jeff and I had just gotten back from our cruise to Mexico. While there, we bought Carter a Sombrero, which he decided that he wanted to wear for Halloween. I found some material to use as a wrap and pinned it on him to turn him into a Mexican. He completed the outfit by carrying a maraca. Patrick went as The Thing from the Fantastic 4 movie, and Madison dressed in the 50's. I bought a black skirt and sewed a poodle on it. She ended up wearing this outfit again a couple of years later when I gave her a rock and roll birthday party. This was the first year that we went trick or treating with Jeff's brother, Jay, and his family. We have gone there every year since then. Last year, Madison chose to dress in the 60's. We went to the costume shop to find an outfit, but ended up putting something together ourselves. We ordered Patrick a gorilla outfit, and Carter went as the black Spiderman. Patrick loved his gorilla outfit, but had a hard time walking in the feet and seeing out of the mask. I think he ended up trick or treating with Jeff carrying most of the outfit :). Carter still plays in his black spiderman costume. That's one thing about buying the superhero costumes...we always get our money's worth out of them!!I think we waited later this year than ever to get the kids' Halloween outfits. Madison decided pretty early, along with her cousin Kinley, to go as a baby. Patrick saw an Iron Man costume weeks before and decided that he wanted to go as that. As for Carter, he just wanted to go look at the costumes and decide then, which is so typical of Carter. He just lives for the moment. He ended up as a pirate because he, Patrick, and Jeff had been playing Pirates of the Caribbean on the XBOX for a couple of weeks. We had a little trouble finding Iron Man for Patrick, but Jeff finally scored one at a costume shop :)! It has been a fun journey for me, pulling out all of the old albums and searching for Halloween pictures from the past. Because we see our children every day, we forget how much they change. I look at the babies that they were at one time and wonder how we left those babies behind without telling them goodbye. It also makes me realize that they won't always be the same children that they are today. I'm glad that we have these pictures...these frozen little moments in time....to help us remember. I look forward to many more!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween 2008

I love setting everything out for Halloween Day. I always do it the night before so the kids can wake up to it on Halloween morning. We don't do school on Halloween Day, so we have the entire day to play.
The kids made cards for Jeff and me. They were happy that Jeff missed his workout that morning, which meant that he was home when they got up. They were able to give him his card before he went to work. We started the day with cinnamon rolls with orange icing. I was able to find them with the icing already orange last year, but this year I had to color it myself. I thought they turned out okay...they tasted great.
We found the "Crafty Crawlers" kits at Target on clearance a few weeks ago. We made little critters that came with motors so they could walk around. They were so fun, though Ginger was a little confused with them walking around the house!

We made caramel apples and more of our ghost cookies to take with us when we went trick or treating with Jeff's brother and his family.

Madison chose to dress as a baby this year, complete with the pacifier and a diaper bag to put her candy in. Her cousin, Kinley, came up with the idea and wanted Madison to go as the same thing. We tried to get Kinley in on our Halloween plans, but it just didn't work out. Patrick went as Iron Man and Carter as a pirate. The kids even dressed their Build a Bear babies for Halloween. We bought them little baskets for their candy!

As always, we had a great time with Jeff's brother and his family....eating Frito Pies and trick or treating. They live in a nice, safe neighborhood. I'm thankful that they invite us to celebrate Halloween with them each year. The cousins love being together for it!

When the kids were babies, Jeff and I went through a few years of refusing to celebrate Halloween. We fell into the thinking that it was evil and knew that the kids were too young to ask us why we weren't trick or treating anyway. As they got older and entered into the school system, it was harder to avoid it. We got back into celebrating it with some reservation. Then, it just became part of us again. As we were doing some of our Halloween crafts, Carter asked my if Halloween was invented so that we could have fun. I paused as if to go into detail about the origins and give him a lesson on how we avoid thinking of it that way. Instead, I looked at him and simply said, "Well, Carter, it might have been started for the wrong reasons, but we choose to celebrate it just as a great way to have some fun!" That was all he needed....he was satisfied. When it's all said and done, the fun is what he remembers....oh, and the buckets of free candy!