Spring Party 2014

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Spring-Party-2014

Don’t you just love a last minute party?  And a last minute party with friends that are all about last minute too is even better.  We quickly planned out this party with a focus on simple but fun.  I even set up decorations!  (something I tend to avoid)

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We made our springy snacks.  Deviled eggs, rainbow fruit kabobs, and cupcakes.

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And set up our springy games.  We had pin the tail on the bunny and pin the stinger on the bee.  We ended with the safest bee around…no stinger!  Zeke ended up closest and actually hit the wall.  The kids were absolutely thrilled with this game.  Our next game was outside for a butterfly hunt.

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We had fabulous spring weather that helped make this party a huge success.

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After the games the big girls painted flower masks out in the sun and the younger kids played outside looking for beetles, spiders and worms.  We had a craft planned for them (just in case) but we were not about to drag them inside for it.  We just saved it for another day and the moms were able to enjoy a peaceful (read quiet) latte with chocolate cupcake while the kids played in the sun.

St. Patty’s Day

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I’m not usually one to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day but this year was different.  This year I discovered the person behind the day and then I was on board.  Not with all the leprechauns and gold at the end of the rainbow but with remembering those from long ago and how God worked in their lives and spread His word to the world.

ImageBorn in Great Britain Patrick did not become a true follower of Christ until his later teenage years.  At 16 he was captured by Irish pirates and taken back to Ireland.  For 6 years he was a slave and it was during those years he remember the teachings of his parents and found Christ.  He was able to escape and made his way back to his family.  Despite being taken as a slave he wanted to share his faith with the Irish and he headed back there as a missionary.  He is known for using the three leafed clover to aid in explaining the Trinity.  For 30 years he spread lived there and Gospel.  He started 300 churches and around baptized 120,000 people!  Amazing work of God in Patrick’s life and a show of how thirsty the Irish were for the Truth.

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To celebrate this holiday we made a quick trip to a friends house for dessert.  Nothing big (or even planned really) but fun all the same!

Homeschool Trip 2013: Part 3

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We left our place at Mt Rushmore in the wee hours of the morning which enabled to catch this great sunrise.  We were on our way south.  Texas or Bust!  Both Greg and I have family in Texas so we were excited to get there.

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This is proof I drove the bus!  Driving through the Midwest wasn’t bad.  Straight and flat…forever.  Major bug issues though.  🙂

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One of the greatest benefits to RVing…ability to crash anywhere.  We made it to Texas without any particular issues.  We were greeted to temperatures just below 110 degrees!  Yes, I was sufficiently thawed out.  After looking back at pictures we realized we hadn’t taken any at my sister’s house and very few of Greg’s family!  We were too busy yacking and catching up.

One thing we did while in the area was the Fort Worth Stockyards.

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I want one of these benches!  Oliver’s face just cracks me up.

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I loved this line of glasses.  If only I could find one that will fit in a cup holder…

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The kids loved these swamp fans.  A great way to beat the heat.

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We did visit the cowboy hall of fame.  Nothing too write home about but we did see all the different types of old wagons and what they were used for.  So a little history.

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One of the things we really wanted to see at the Stockyards was they Longhorn Drive.  We made it there just in time.  Once Oliver saw these guys turn the corner he was not too sure about it.  They are big!  But he quickly found his way back to the edge of the sidewalk.

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Homeschool trip 2013: Part 2: Mount Rushmore

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Visiting Mt Rushmore was our fist “official” home school stop.

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I was so bummed its out of focus but she is still so cute!

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Many, many…many stairs

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We took a lot of pictures of the “faces.”  And just when we would decide they really hadn’t changed and none of them blinked…

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We took one more just to be sure.

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Greg and Zoe reviewed history facts at each stop.  Greg loves history and I loved watching these interactions.

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Each of the kids completed their workbooks to earn their Junior Ranger badges.  There was talk of the trees smelling like something mom would have in the spice rack.  It was suggested we give one a smell to identify it.

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Like any good home school dad, Greg was the first to test it out.

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Unfortunately, we were not able to detect a spice smell.

We left Mt Rushmore and drove through the Black Hills.

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There were many tunnels like this.  Inside, the chisel marks are still clearly visible.

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At the end of the day we asked ourselves “What did we learn?”

Zoe:  I learn about the presidents, the presidents were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. And my favorite thing you learned was how the sculptures used a crane house to get up and down to the faces.

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Ezekiel:  I got a ranger badge from that man.

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Oliver:  I learned nothing, but I got tired on all the stairs. And we looked at a lot of rocks.

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Abigail: I gave a park ranger a high five!

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Mom: I like seeing the pictures of them working on the Mountain. And the fact that they had to use sealant to keep the faces together.

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Dad: That Mount Rushmore was supposed to be a lot more finished.

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It was a great day at school.

Homeschool Trip 2013: Part 1

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As many of you know our trip this year did not end well.  But before everything crashed and burned (or just burned) there were some happy times and good memories made.  So, lets start there.

We left for our trip in the wee hours of the morning.  Wanting to take advantage of less traffic and sleeping kids.  We actually slept in the bus the night before so we wouldn’t have to move kids.  This worked great!  I think Zoe woke when the bus started but did fall back asleep once we got on the road.  Our first destination was Western Idaho to visit my brother and his family.  We had a wonderful visit and were able to see their new house and get a tour of the area. We even headed to a museum for some history!  This is a home school trip after all.

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The boys working on their lake and bridges

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Zoe and her cousin Rose reconnecting

Next on our list was Mt Rushmore.  So, we headed east.  Our first mechanical adventure happened in Billings, MT.  It turns out the bus did NOT appreciate the extreme heat we encountered so, we spent a day at a shop in Billings while they worked it out.  We took over their waiting room (thankful for the air-conditioning) and even did a bit of our school work.  Thankfully, we were back on the road by that evening ever eager to get to South Dakota.

Here are a few photos of our drive there.

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Because we’re all a little crazy

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Lots of cows and “mountains”

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One of the best views we found!

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So great we had to stop to take a family picture

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Beautiful sunsets

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Goodbye Montana!

Greg drove through the night and by sunrise we were driving through the last stretch of woods.

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Cabin in the woods anyone?

Our campsite at Mt Rushmore was awesome.  Probably one of the best we have stayed it.  It was a KOA and they had so many things for the kids to do.  The kids and I were able to head outside to explore while Greg took a well deserved nap.  He was, after all, the one doing all the driving at this point.  We decided just to hang out at camp this first day and hit the ‘faces’ when we were all refreshed.

Here are the kids playing around after a long drive:

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2013 September trip

These jump pillows are one of the best things around! Absolutely loved it.

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New Projects

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Today was a beautiful sunny day around here. Last minute a friend asked if they could could come play. Of course! Having friends over always means more time playing outside and I told her I had a project for us to do while she was here. I was so excited to do this one. It was one of those Pinterest posts that I wasn’t sure I would ever complete but today we did!

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It all started with an outside dining table that was here when we moved in. I liked it at first but soon got it he way on the porch and became one more flat surface it had to keep clearing. For the last year and a half or so it has been moved from one place to another just trying to keep it out of the way from our many other projects. It finally it landed in the “for the dump” pile. But then Pinterest. I had a new purpose for the now slightly rotted table.

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We took it apart, cut it up, and pieced it back together. It has now become our sensory table. We have plans for water play, rice play, corn play maybe even noodle play! The possibilities are endless.

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Some of our methods may have been a little unconventional but in the end it is just what I was wanting and it saved the table from the dump. All the wood was reused and the only thing I have to buy is totes. (The ones pictures go in our playroom). Another exciting day completed.

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The Start of School

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This year we started school with a bang (don’t worry, this was back in September!).  We piled into our friends van and headed down to the zoo.  We were even on it enough to print out packets for the kids to work on on the way down as well as some questions after the zoo.  We had just recently been to the Portland zoo but the one thing we missed seeing there were the lions.  That was the main thing on Zoe’s agenda and they did not disappoint.  It seemed they knew an anxious little girl needed a good look and were ready and waiting when we arrived.  We were joking it looked like a wedding photo.  The groom lovingly gazing upon his new bride.

Ezekiel’s favorite part was the orangutans.  We spent a while hanging out in this area but when the other kids were ready to move on we had to coax him out of there.

We picked a great day for the zoo (maybe it was the rain) it was the first time the bird feeding house was empty.  We had run of the mill of the place and the birds were excited to have some treats.


This is as close as Ezekiel got to holding a bird.  He was close a few times but would freak a little (OK a lot) when they came to him.  Trying to hold Oliver, take pictures, and help Zeke proved to be a challenge.

Oliver was a great trooper hanging in the stroller most of the day.  At the end of the trip we headed into the Zoo-nasium to let the kids play.