Duct Tape Flip Flops

Getting back to school after a holiday is always tough for me… tougher than for the kids, I think!  This week we left Canada, but we did one last craft before leaving.  Though our curriculum suggested cardboard snow shoes while studying the Inuits, (Eskimos), we decided to do something a little more practical for Southern California.  Using the duct tape from the Easter bunny, we made duct tape flip flops!

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Our kids are blessed with some wonderful pen pals from Mississippi who often send then duct tape crafts.  They can’t wait to make a pair of these for their pen pals.  (Holly, if you’re reading this pretend you don’t know who I’m talking about!)  They are VERY simple.  I used a tutorial you can find here.  These would make a great summer craft!  My kids have worn theirs every day, and even out and about.  Happy taping!

Scenes from Easter 2014

What a joyous day!  This year our Easter was anything but typical, but lovely.  At church we were able to pray with people and see lives changed.  What a blessing!  We also went out for brunch and dinner, which meant no cooking or food prep… and more time for fun!

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This year the Easter Bunny tried hard to limit the sugar and do more craft/toy-type baskets.  We just have way too much candy in the cupboards at all times, it seems.  The kids didn’t seem to miss it a bit.  They were thrilled with their baskets!

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Peeps were consumed first thing.  How can you say no to that face?

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After church and brunch, we came home and did mint buttercream play dough.  The last time I did this was 3 years ago, and I had said back then that I needed to make it a tradition.  Three years later and we’re just getting to it again!  It is the yummiest treat and has the best play dough consistency!  You can get my original recipe here.

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Finally, it was time for the egg hunt.  This was Malachi’s first ever egg hunt.  (Last year we decided a nap was more important!)  So, that made it extra special.

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Unfortunately, little Malachi’s nap did not allow him to join us for egg decorating.  (Thankfully, he didn’t mind!)

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We also watched “Frozen,” before going out to dinner.  (Ok, perhaps Daniel and I slept through most of it since we had to stay up to see both the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy visit the night before!)

And, last up is a simple Easter craft we did the day before:

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Hope you had a blessed Easter.

Meaningful Easter

As a parent, I can’t help but be drawn into all the cute stuff around for Easter… whether it’s crafts and decor on Pinterest, the dollar section at Target, or even the Easter section at the grocery store.  All of it makes me want to build a garden, decorate eggs, and turn my old glass jars into Easter candy containers.    Finding the true meaning of Easter really does take “work.”  It’s not apparent.  This week as we tried to read the Bible every day, it felt like there was one distraction after another.  But, even that became a lesson… we talked about how easy it is to get distracted and how important celebrating Easter really is.

Our pastor has been encouraging us to pray and invite neighbors to church.  I tried to think of a way to do this with the kids in a fun way, so this is what we did…

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I had the girls collect sticks and used a little twine to make crosses.  Then we wrapped some scrap fabric around a container of fresh eggs from our chickens.  (We’ve been blessed with more than we can use lately!)  We attached an egg with the words to “I know my Redeemer Lives,” which we found on Pinterest.  On the back, we wished our neighbors a happy Easter and wrote the address and church times for our church.  The kids and I prayed over the eggs, and they were ready to deliver!  It was a very easy and non-threatening way to invite our neighbors to church.  Turns out one of our neighbors actually already attends our church — so that was a fun connection to make!  (Obviously our church is quite large and it’s impossible to know everyone.)

Do you have any good ideas for making Easter meaningful?

Easter Bread

There is one baking blog I follow because I love all her beautiful recipes… yet I rarely ever consider trying them.  Sprinkles Bakes.  She’s amazing.  But too amazing most of the time.  However, after seeing these Easter Bread rings and looking at the recipe, I actually thought they were doable.  So we tried them…

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They were not only easy, but fun for the kids!  Twisting.  Painting (icing, that is).  Sprinkles…

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You’re suppose to color the eggs before putting them in the center.  We didn’t get to that part, but they still looked beautiful.  And the taste?

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Wow.  I may not be able to wait until next Easter to make these again.  They ended up being our dinner with that perfectly cooked egg inside.  (Daniel wasn’t home, so when I suggested these be our dinner the kids were super excited!)  You can get the full recipe here.

Camping in April

Camping for just one night is a lot of work…. but I can honestly say it was worth it this time around.  Our dear friends planned an April camping trip to break-in their new trailer and invited us along.  Due to scheduling conflicts, we were only able to make it for one day and night, but I’m so glad we did!

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Though we don’t have a camper ourselves, we rented a little “cabin” with this cool porch swing.  Still no bathroom, but much nicer than a tent!  The kids had the front room with two sets of bunk beds, and we had the back room with a double bed.

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There was also a heated pool… need I say more?

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As if hours of swimming and no naps were not enough to wear them out, the kids also spent a lot of time running around, jumping, and playing tag at the playground and all along the grounds.

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Again, camping for one day was made easy by our friends who graciously made us both lunch and dinner.  How did we get so blessed?

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S’mores were about the only thing that drew the kids back from all their playing.

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Despite being exhausted, the kids still took a while to fall asleep.  Wired, I suppose… who could blame them?

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It just so happens that we were there on the night of the lunar eclipse.  With the kids tucked away, we were able to enjoy the campfire and great talks until late into the night.  In fact, us old folks who are normally early to bed made it until past midnight to see the full eclipse.  It was pretty awesome to watch.

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I feel so blessed that homeschooling and my husband’s job allow for the flexibility to experience things like this on a weeknight.  I also feel blessed by our amazing friends.  Yes, camping for one night is a bit of work… but so worth it!

Butterflies!

Right after Spongie disappeared, we were all feeling a little sad about not having our kitty around.  One day we stopped at the mailbox on our way home from the library and, as usual, we guessed whether the mail would be there yet, how many eggs the chickens had laid, but not whether Spongie would be in or out this time.  Just as we discussed how sad it was that Spongie wouldn’t be there, we were surprised with a fun package in the mailbox… caterpillars!

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Fast forward just a few weeks… (they grow FAST!)  And we have butterflies!  We’ve ordered them before, and it really is a fun process to watch.  However, it is a little disturbing, as well… (something fascinating and a bit weird about cocoons!)  Anyway, look at the picture below carefully:

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Yup… mating butterflies!  They were together about 18 hours!  (Whew!)  Anyway, today was release day!

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I was hoping they would stick around our garden.  They all flew off in different directions.  Happy life to our 5 flying friends!