Fourth of July 2015

Would you believe that for all our celebrating of even the simplest of holidays, we’ve never really done much for July 4th?  Swimming, yes.  Barbecues, yes.  Crafting, friends, and decorations… yes, yes, and yes.  But, fireworks?  No.  So many reasons.  For one, our third born is terrified of loud noises.  For another, Daniel usually works this holiday.  And, our kids simply don’t like to stay up too late.  Oh — and we live in a neighborhood where they are illegal, so we’d have to go to someone else’s house in a mother town, too.

But, this year we did it; we finally had an old-fashioned, barbecue on the street, firework and sparkler Fourth of July evening.  I am so grateful to our friends who invited us over!  Warning: lots of pictures ahead!

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Our annual kid picture.  (You can see more here and here and here.)

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Cookie decorating:

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Our Pinterest craft:  paper plate weaving.  The girls loved it!  Though, they didn’t finish it… surprise, surprise!

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Off to our friends for dinner and firework fun!

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Happy Birthday, America!

Hand-me-downs

Sometimes when people hear my son has 3 big sisters, they comment, “Poor boy… all those girls!”

Inside I laugh.  “Poor boy??  Are you kidding me?”

My boy is blessed in so many ways.  His 3 big sisters adore him.  The only thing I worry about is him being too spoiled!  And though he can’t share in his sister’s clothes, (which are not in the best shape by the time they make it to Sierra if they even make it that far), we do have several friends that bless him with clothes.  (The boy has 18 pairs of 3T jeans, and I haven’t even bought him any!)  He also gets some pretty cool boy toys.  Our neighbors across the street didn’t know of any other boys and gave him an entire wooden Thomas the train set with about 50 cars and tons of track.  Another friend gave him a car bed that he thinks is pretty cool — even if he has stopped sleeping on it.  Yet another friend with 2 boys gave him a fun wooden tool table, and today she brought him even more fun stuff!  (Hooray for summer cleaning and organizing!)

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This Rescue Hero set kept him going for over 3 hours — despite the fact that dinner was on the table when he got them.  I finally said, “Buddy, you need to eat so you can go to bed.  It’s dark!”  “Oookaaaay,” he relented.  I’m so blessed, and I hope to do the same with my things as the kids grow out of them.  It is so freeing to share and part with old treasures, (though I know it can be hard!)  I am blessed to be a recipient this time, and for that I am grateful!

Waffles

Breakfast rarely makes an appearance on the blog here anymore because I think I have blogged most of my favorite recipes.  Over the last few years, when it came to waffles I always made my banana oatmeal waffles. (And we do love these!)  But, when it came to the light and fluffy waffles, they came from my husband.  He even goes so far as to whip the egg whites, first.  This intimidated me, so that I never ventured to do “regular waffles” myself… until now!

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Fresh apricots from our tree, along with blueberries and strawberries always make things more fun.  Natalie did a peace sign waffle, and Daniel made the Thailand flag!

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My dear friend, (knowing our affinity for breakfast), recently got me a circus animal waffle maker!

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Anyway, I have found a recipe, (and altered it slightly), for waffles that turn out light, fluffy, and even somewhat healthy!  Here it is:

Waffles:

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another.  Combine.  Enjoy!

Chalkboard Wall

I have an old notebook that’s been around for years.  When I feel I have important projects or ideas, I usually jot them down in there first.  In fact, it still contains several homeschool ideas and goals from before Allison started Kindergarten!  Anyway, each summer I fill it with summer goals, and usually half of them are items I didn’t cross off from the previous summer.  Such was the case with my scripture wall.  Such was also the case with my chalkboard wall, though if I had really painted it 2 summers ago as I had planned, it would have been black and white stripes.  It has since evolved into a chalkboard wall, and I am finally finished!

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My little man was all about helping me remove the magnet strips, playing with my tape, and using my roller as a weapon.

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Nervously, I let them each have a few turns at rolling the first coat.  Thankfully, that was all it took and then they were content to let me finish.  (Side note:  It really is ridiculous that I didn’t get this project done sooner.  I had everything on hand, including not one, but 2 quarts of chalkboard paint!)

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Once all the coats were dry, I let the paint sit for about 3 days, and then I “seasoned” the chalkboard by rubbing chalk all over it.  Apparently, that is what you’re suppose to do?!?!?

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Once I told the kids it was “ready,” there was no stopping them.  They had a lot of fun breaking it in.

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For a final touch, I took an old metal tray I wasn’t using and glued 6 magnets onto it.  It now serves as our chalk holder.

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I was telling my family, this has been in my head for so long now that I almost can’t picture it any other way — even though we just did it!  I am so excited to have a full chalkboard in my kitchen — woohoo!

Summer Snapshots

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Beautiful Sunsets. 
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Going out at dusk to carry each of the 6 chicks into the coop so that a bobcat doesn’t get them.  Then lingering in the garden, (which is a whole other subject for another post… and it’s not good news!)

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Salsa making.  Often.

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Lemonade making.  I’m always thankful in the summer that we took the time to squeeze all our lemons in the winter and to freeze the juice.  Mmmm….

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Drying off after an early morning swim.  Here’s a close-up:

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These are some of the more “fun” snapshots as of recently.  I do have some fun project snapshots to share soon, but lots more unfun organizational snapshots are taking place.  (Ok, so I am happy to be getting organized.  But, it’s not pretty yet!)  Have I mentioned lately how thankful I am for sumer?

Father’s Day 2015

I’m a little surprised at myself… waiting 4 days to post about Father’s Day, for no real reason except I’m “out of the zone.”  I love blogging.  I don’t know that I’ll ever give it up.  But, I have never needed a summer of rest like this summer.  I hope to post more soon, but for now here is some Father’s Day!

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I was fresh out of the shower and needing to get ready for church, but witnessing my oldest read to my youngest while my husband played worship music just made my heart swelter.  I had to grab my camera and capture the moment!

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Has there ever been a cuter selfie?  My men melt my heart.

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After church, Daniel and Allison had to stay for a few hours for their Thailand fundraiser.  But, Allison had this idea to make a Father’s Day game.  So, she left the rules with Natalie, who carried out the making of the game.  I was seriously impressed!  So much so, that I would love to market it.

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We had a blast swimming with dear friends, and then we played the Father’s Day game.  It is definitely going to be a new tradition.

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Homemade cards… a few snacks… some new flip flops… and a picture with the kiddos.

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Happy Father’s Day to my awesome husband, who also happens to be an awesome dad!