Fish Dessert!

>> Thursday, July 31, 2008

This was a very fun "craft" type dessert the children all made. Aqua (berry flavored) Jello, with gummy fish, topped with chunky blue sugar.  


The Catching Up Post

>> Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hello!  It's been a lovely few weeks, but with so much going on it was a little overwhelming to try and document it all, blog-wise.

Horse camp was great. We rode two days--bareback one morning and with saddles in the afternoons. We went swimming in the lake and had some good relaxing time just hanging out in between.  The entire week before Horse Camp started saw temperatures from 108-113 degrees. My sanity was hanging by a thread, wondering how I'd survive camping out in that heat in tents with five children, but God blessed us in the most amazing way with the temperature going down to the mid 90's while we were there. That was a 20 degree drop in one day! I'm still speechless with gratitude.

I have had a tremendously hard time uploading pictures for this, but that's probably good.  For some reason, I got pictures of everyone starting out on their rides. Interpreted for my photography skills, that means that I got everybody's behinds. Real interesting. You'd think I'd ask for somebody to turn around and smile, but no. I was intent on documenting that everyone has a back and a behind. 

 The morning after we got back from camp we had an all day workday to prepare for Vacation Bible School starting the next morning.
It was a very busy week with two of us being leaders and two others being leadees. Attendees. Whatever they are called.  VBS kids.  But what "9a-12p" means is us leaving the house at 7:30a and not getting home until 2p.  It is usually a lot of fun, but there were sleep issues and that created huge fatigue issues which made some of the week seem three months long.  Not to mention some children (Twin One, this means you!) bailing on activities and lying in a pew listening to the missionary story a couple of different times each day while his group went from crafts to games and snacks and wondered where he was. Next year will be better.

Our anniversary didn't end up with any big plans.  Honeyhusband's car broke last week and will need fixing in a major way, so the budget turned in that direction instead of a weekend away.  We did go out for lunch and had a Home Depot date. That is a step up from a dump date, especially if you love hardware stores (and we do).  We are in process of replacing the front door and it includes having to choose a color and paint it.  I love Do It Yourself projects if they work out. If not, well, then not so much. This one could go either way. Painting a door isn't as easy as I thought it was going to be.  Semi gloss on a steel door with a brush? Seems like it should have been a spray paint if you ask me. 

And after four solid weeks of fires, they are finally 100% contained here.  It feels very odd to not have helicopters with the buckets continually going back and forth overhead all day.  At horse camp we were even able to see the helicopters scoop up water from the lake.  How amazing!  But Redding is totally smoky still. The air quality was so bad we weren't supposed to be outside, except that we didn't believe it would bother us and we spent several hours swimming, then the rest of the night coughing. It wasn't until the third day when we were leaving that I finally connected the dots of us feeling bad and the warning not to go out unless we had to. I sometimes have a very long learning curve. Very long. 

Air quality aside, the hospitality from The Dearest was her usual stellar stuff. We were waited on hand and foot and totally spoiled.  She has such a gift!  She's definitely the Calm to my Whirlwind. Because of the busy schedule earlier, we opted to just hang out and swim and not go anywhere except for a shopping trip with my 15 year old son to the nearby outlet stores. We got lots of clothes and it was such a great price and a fun outing we are all excited to take each child in turn, only we need to find an outlet store closer to us.  It would not be nice to presume on The Dearest, plus she'd probably pack up her family and move to Pakistan once she got wind of our plans. 

I think that catches us up. We still have baseball, the pictures for baseball, fundraisers for baseball, and a car wash for baseball this Saturday, along with the finding of all the equipment from game to game.  Twin One misses out from time to time with his shoe issues, but otherwise it's all going well.  

Oh, and I finished the top of the quilt. Hurray! 

I'll get some pictures posted later. 


Art For The Masses

>> Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We've started doing some watercolor lessons from Hearts and Trees and we are having a blast. I got everyone their own set of paints, brushes and watercolor paper and it is a calming yet focused way for all of us to spend about 45 minutes. Oldest son is trying to ignore the classical music by iPoding himself, but yesterday was better. I'm doing it with them and while it is crowded at the table, it was still great fun.


Event Planner Needed

>> Sunday, July 6, 2008

We are about to hit a very busy stretch--appointments, trip to the grandparents, horse camp, Vacation Bible School, baseball three evenings a week and a trip to visit friends (The Dearest), and then our anniversary getaway.

We usually forget about our anniversary so this year I'm trying to plan something special. I have no idea what or where yet, but something besides, "Oh! Hey, did you realize today was our anniversary?" "Sure enough! I thought we were going to try and remember this year." repeated year after year. A trip grocery shopping together would be an improvement over our usual "taking our trash to the dump" dates, so I don't have lofty goals. Still, suggestions would not be discouraged. I mean, I'm the Festive Mother who took the children on a day camping trip, ended up parking on the side of the road at a wide spot, afraid of the propane stove so that our roasted hot dogs and toasted marshmallows ended up being cold hot dogs and plain marshmallows out of the sack. Oh yeah! Let's get this party goin'! Woo Hoo. Three cheers for Mom. 

Yep. Suggestions wouldn't hurt.


Summer Happenings

HoneyHusband took all the children camping and fishing for a few days while I got some total quiet to work on the quilt. They had a great time and caught several fish, swam every day and generally enjoyed the dirt and heat.  It gave me enough time to get most of the little pieces together for the quilt top so that I can continue making progress. If they hadn't left me alone those three days I don't think I would have had a chance, but now it's shaping up and I'm excited to keep working on it.  It's my project for BooMama's Before and After, so it kind of needs to be finished by July 25th. Not that I'm pressured or anything.  And look how happy they look! At least the one with the fish does...


Magic Wands

>> Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I'm a firm believer in the Magic Wand.  I don't really care if it is Fictional, Fantasy or Fir. It could be poplar, beech, bent or broken.  Many times my Magic Wand is a book. I want sense made out of my situation. I want things Fixed. I want things to Work. So really, not to scare some people off by my term "Magic Wand"--anything that helps me is my Magic Wand.  I've had Magic Wand typing programs (Mavis Beacon), Magic Wand cooking helps (Leanne Ely's Saving Dinner and my pressure cooker), Magic Wand Bible Studies (anything by Beth Moore), and, for me, the most elusive Magic Wands would be those for child training. I have an entire collection of Wands for that. Effective Parenting with Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, Mike and Debi Pearl (No Greater Joy) have all been--and continue to be--treasured Wands.   But my newest and most delightful Wand has got to be Reb and Beverly Bradley. Listening to Reb Bradley at the Homeschool Seminar this last week was just what I needed to hear. He spoke God's Wisdom and Goodness to me.  He was talking about Blind Spots in our child rearing and how to overcome that--it was like he spend weeks at my house and gave me his solutions, only in a public setting. Beverly's tapes on our children learning to love each other was one of the best things I have ever heard in my entire life. She took my favorite verse in the Bible--Zephaniah 3:17 and exploded and expanded it until I felt I couldn't take another molecule of God's delight. Awesome.  I'm adding their ministry link on my sidebar and I'm going to see if they will just move next door so I can listen to them every day.