Baking soda & vinegar fun

One of my favorite parts about blogging is watching the kids enjoy scrolling back and excitedly exclaiming things like, “Oh, remember how fun that was?  Remember when…” Often, they are also captivated by a craft or something they were doing and want to do it again.  (Immediately; of course!)  When it’s something as simple as baking soda and water, I respond, “Sure.”  (That’s usually a fun surprise for them, too!)

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It doesn’t take long for a sibling to come by and want to join in.  After all, the real deal is always better than the blog.  (Now I better make sure my cabinet is stocked with baking soda and vinegar before I press “publish.”)

Argh, Mateys… Malachi Turned 4!

It’s hard to believe our youngest is not so young, anymore.  He woke-up super excited for his birthday.  I love 4 because it seems like the first time they really anticipate and get excited about their birthdays!  His “under-the-bed present” was a new scooter from his aunt and uncle.  It couldn’t have been more perfect, as he told me right before bed he was becoming a big bo and needed a scooter with just 2 wheels like the other kids at the fire station.  Thanks Nate and Hil!

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We had a birthday breakfast of bacon and french toast, then got to work getting ready for his pirate party!

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I love when I can re-use things.  That birthday sign is from Sierra’s panda party, 5 years earlier!

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The food is always my favorite.  So many fun ideas on Pinterest!  I made all my signs for free on Picmonkey.com.

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Activity #1:  “Coloring Pirates”  (While they did this, Allison made balloon swords she learned for her mission trip to Thailand, and Natalie armed the guests with pirate tattoos.)

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Activity #2:  “Hook the Ring”  This one was a fun creative challenge since the Dollar store didn’t have any pirate hooks.  They did have poster boards for 50 cents, as well as a pack of black cups and a pack of plastic candy canes.  I made the rings using aluminum foil.  This game was a huge hit!

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Activity #3:  “Walk the Plank” (while balancing a pirate hook on your head)  This was another hit with the kiddos!  I used black washi tape for the letters, and an old body board my husband had brought home from work that they were getting rid of.

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Activity #4:  “Pin the Patch on the Pirate”  Another free find from Pinterest!

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Activity #5:  “Knock Down the Pirate”  I found the pirate on Oriental Trading, and the kids had to knock him down with bean bags.  He was a surprise for Malachi the morning of his birthday, and we had a conversation something like this:

Me:  “Hey, buddy… did you see your pirate?”

Malachi:  “Is that a present for me?”

Me:  “Yeah, do you like him?”

Malachi:  “Was he expensive?”

Me:  “Not too bad.  Do you like him?”

Malachi:  “How much was he?”

Me:  “I think $16.  Do you like him?”

Malachi:  “Oh!  That’s a lot of money!”

Silly boy… I don’t know where that conversation came from, but it sure made me laugh!  And in case you were wondering, yes… he likes him!

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Our playground that truly used to be a “pirate playground.”  I’m glad the forecast of rain was totally wrong because the kids sure enjoyed their time outside.

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Opening presents in the birthday chair!

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Sweet baby Jackson.  Malachi specifically told me he wanted baby Jack at his party!

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Happy 4th birthday, sweet boy.

Weekend Crafting

It’s been a while, (at least it feels that way to me), since we had a relaxed weekend as a family.  In fact, it’s been a full month since we’ve all been home, and it has been so nice!  (Maybe it’s that my husband did all the dishes… thanks, Honey!) Saturday afternoon, (since I didn’t have to do dishes!), I decided to have the kids do a little crafting.  We spray painted our old bird houses black, then went to town making them “haunted houses.”

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See why we do crafts outside?  (Thankful for the cooler weather!)

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Isn’t it always the simplest of things that bring the most joy?  A weekend together.  A weekend without dishes.  A craft with the kids.

Hope you had a nice weekend, as well!

Fall Craft Night

Last weekend, a few moms from our homeschool group came over to make some fall coffee cozies.  Just looking at felt, wood shapes, feathers, pom-poms, fall ribbons, and hot glue guns gets me super excited.  But, let’s be honest… coffee cozies aren’t super practical.  (They were really fun to make, though!)  Craft nights are never really about the crafts, but the fellowship.  I feel blessed to have gotten to know these ladies better, and thoroughly enjoyed the night!  (Oh… and they’re also about dessert.   You can’t have a fall get-together without pumpkin chocolate chip cake!)

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I ended up making four cozies, and then left the supplies out for my girls to have fun with the next day.  Yesterday, they spent hours making everything from headbands to pouches with their friend, while Malachi filled a plate with hot glue.  🙂

Spoon People

It wasn’t meant to be a “kid project.”  I spent some time last week preparing for our weekly co-op by making some geography girls to travel the globe with us this year.  It was a lot of fun for me to do a craft on my own while Daniel took the kids out.  When they returned, however, they wanted to join in on the fun… how could I say no?

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The best part is watching them play when they’re done!  They also brought in their rag dolls they made at the fair.  (That reminds me… I’m off to sort fair pictures!)

Popsicle Stick People

It’s Friday… hooray!  One week of school down.  I still haven’t cleaned our office/ school room.  My days are still a little chaotic and not as I like.  But, I am slowly but surely plugging along with some much-needed organization.  Overall, it was a good first week and I am glad we are getting back into a routine.

On a completely different note, here are the girls making popsicle stick people the day before we started school.  The last hurrah of summer, I suppose!

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First Day of School

It seems wrong to go from a watermelon post to a first day of school post.  I guess technically, back to school comes right after summer, but somehow my brain has not caught on yet.  Once the kids went to bed last night, I began planning for the first day.  I don’t like that feeling at all — not being prepared way ahead of time.  By the end of the year, I usually let things slide a bit, but I have never started a school year this unplanned.  You would think my planning involved looking at my curriculum and deciding how the school day would go, etc.  Instead, I planned our first day meals, snacks, and fun then went to bed exhausted.  Priorities, right?

My Bible reading this morning was a great reminder of how much I need God.  Daily.  Every hour.  Every minute.  I depend on His creativity and help throughout the day and school year, as I have always been bad at planning things out.  I am so grateful for His guidance in my life, and His grace, which we need daily!  I could NOT homeschool without it!

All that to say, here are some fun pictures from our first day.  Thankfully, the kids don’t know how “unplanned” I feel.  (They do now, I suppose, since they love reading this blog!)

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The kids came down so excited, as always.  “Happy first day of school!”  “What’s our snack?”  We’ve done rice krispy apples, Rolo/ kiss pencils, homemade donutsapple oreo pops, pretzel crayons, and now this year we did letter/ apple sugar cookies.  Each kid got all the letters to spell out their names.  We even played a little game to see who could get the most words out of their name letters.  Of course, our fifth grader creamed everyone!

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I got the cute bags to put them in at the dollar section of Target at least a month ago.  I also got the plates, straws, and napkins on clearance at Target at the end of last fall.  For their little “gift,” I filled a pencil I made, (free template here), with mini gel pens; also from the dollar section at Target.

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Decorating the cookies was fun… and yummy!  Like I mentioned earlier, my day was super unplanned.  The only other {somewhat} planned activity was making a cover for our new Scripture Art Journals.  Our old ones lasted us two years, and I was excited to have them start new ones.  (You can read more about them here.)  Our new ones came in a 3-pack from… the dollar section at Target.  (Surprise!)  By the way, that awesome carousel was my back to school present to myself from Zullily while they had free shipping in July.  Isn’t it fun? 

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We got in a little math and a little reading.  Though I am not planned, it is nice to ease into things… One thing I have been planning is meals, and I hope to share more here, soon.

One day down!  I am blessed.

Little Things…

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Natalie finished her best friend pillow… finally!  Am I the only mom who has kids that love to start projects and then quickly lose interest in finishing them?  I must say, though, she did a great job!  It turned out super cute.

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These two make me laugh… always!  (unless they make me cry…)  They just look so grown-up in this picture!  My boy has insisted on long-sleeves and socks now that it’s 100+ degrees out.  Yes, they make me smile!

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Summer days with swimming, friends, and games… we start school on Tuesday and I am already missing these days!

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Lately my husband haas been playing his guitar a lot more.  Listening to him worship while the kids dance around our bedroom is the best.

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Every time Malachi gets “boy stickers,” or “boy coloring books” or anything I tuck them away into his special “boy craft box.”  The other day the girls were doing crafts, and he wanted to join in… I got so excited to pull out his craft stuff for the first time in a long time!  He still loves his green and black!

Almost Home!

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And, the countdown is on… just two more full days without Allison and Daniel.  They are two full, busy days around here, so I am hoping that means they will fly by.  I am sure they will.  We are so longing to have our family back!  But, we are so grateful for this experience!  I will have to let my daughter or husband do a little blogging to document this trip.  Until then, we wait…

Rain and Fairies

Apparently, the most rain Southern California has ever experienced in July was 0.28 inches… a record set back in 1886.  The last two days, that record was shattered, and I was thrilled!  Not only is rain a welcome relief from the drought, but I have had the windows open and the house smells amazing.  It is refreshing in so many ways.  I went to bed last night, (windows still open), hearing pitter patter until I fell asleep… it just never stopped!  Before that, I did dishes with a candle glowing and the rain pouring.  Everything about it was wonderful.  I moved all my plants from the porch out to get a good soaking.  I even turned off the sprinkler system!  Glorious.

Since Daniel and Allison have been gone, I’ve been waking up consistently at 5:30am.  I can not sleep later!  I think it’s because I fall into bed exhausted each night.  This was my view out my office window this morning:

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Refreshing, isn’t it?  Just a few minutes later, my girls ran downstairs to let me know they each got a letter from a fairy.  They told me all about it.  The night before, they had written letters to their fairies that they had made homes for in the rain, and the fairies actually wrote back!  So, first thing this morning they were outside making improvements to their fairy homes.  Precious.

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I LOVE rain… (and fairies, and sweet little girls!)