Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Adventure Bus Strikes Again

One of the amazing things about a blog is that it's like typing your diary and anyone can see it. Well, except I don't have a diary, and I don't really have any desire to have one. So, scratch that! Having a blog is a lot of fun. It's my family's daily goings on and an occasional rant by me. God has blessed us beyond measure and last week was no different. Except that, for some reason, our children are becoming a bit unsettled. I will use this term because I think it's temporary but I am not sure how to move them beyond it. I think it's because we are off of our routine now that summer is here and we have been doing something fun every single day, nonstop. So when they get to rest they are unsettled because they are used to going and doing all the time. I am working on this. I bought them all "bridge" books - summer school of sorts. To keep them in school but not "in" school. I have found this year, that the most difficult part of homeschooling is the four to five extra hours we have in our day now. If they went off to school, THEY would have the four to five extra hours, not me! But we all have them and some days filling them is not easy. Friday, I sent everyone to their rooms for about 1.5 hours in the afternoon so they could rest and I could do some things - like get the fourth of July banners completed BEFORE Vacation Bible School starts! And we did it! But I am working in reverse here. Here is how our week began:
Monday morning Lindsay, Beatrice, and Lindsay's best friend made pancakes. Megan had a great time making them I think. She and Lindsay have known each other, and been best friends, since they were babies. I don't have any friends like that near me. My cousin is my age and we have known each other since we were babies, too, but I don't get to see her as often as I like. I cherish the friendships our children have because they remind me of my cousin! It is so sweet to see how much Megan and Lindsay love each other. 

Here they are working together. Too sweet!! I can't remember what Tuesday brought because it was so long ago (just kidding, it was only a few days ago, but I believe one of our events was going to the Kangaroo gas station to get drinks for 25 cents. The children used their allowances to buy big huge 32 oz. cups and they can fill them for 25 cents whenever they want at the Kangaroo store. I am so opposed to any kind of drink with sugar in it! Even sweet tea! (You can shoot me now!) But I agreed with the Lord that they would learn how to spend their money better if I didn't interfere with their purchases. It is difficult sometimes but it is working. If it's my money they are spending, I get to have total control, but theirs? They get total control. It is working because they are beginning to think ahead and determine that they might need to save some money to get something big they want. Maddie and Robert are grasping this concept. Beatrice, Lindsay, and Kristine not so much. They have good intentions but walk in Party City, go down the coin candy and party favor aisle some Friday and it could be bedlam! That would be my children eeking the most they can out of their allowance to buy their treasure.

Wednesday was nursing home day and we were celebrating Beatrice's birthday at Mom and Dad's. We were also picking beaker up from Grandma's. She spent the night there. Each of the children have spent one or two days with my parents which is so thoughtful of them! They have had a great time. Maddie may end up going. She doesn't like to stay away from us - at all. In fact, she is going to camp and I know she is going to doubt her decision when the time to go rolls around. She is very excited about it now and I think she will follow through with it with no problem but she is also very nervous. Anyway, Beatrice is holding our newest addition to our American Girl Doll store, er, family. Rebecca. She is so cute with her. That is all she wanted for her birthday so, of course, Grandma was happy to oblige!

We had veggie flowers for lunch. It was such a great idea Mom had. The kids loved it. AND ate the veggies. Here are their creations. 

Beatrice actually had a chocolate raspberry pie for her birthday cake but the candles wouldn't stay in so we used this part of a cake.
And now to the fun part. Our drive home. I have threatened the kids numerous times to put, in neon pink of course, "Adventure Bus" on our van. And this is precisely why:

I finally figured out how to get my videos from my phone to my computer: a mini sd card. They are sooo cute but very easy to lose. So it stays in my nook most of the time. 
Thursday was really Beatrice's birthday. And we surprised her with two outfits for her bitty baby doll. (also an American Girl doll.) She was ecstatic because she thought she was just getting her bike.

Her beautiful cake! :) She asked me to make it three layers of different sizes. It was kind of tiny but nonetheless she loved it.

Our table decorations.

I mentioned the Fourth of July banners, didn't I? Here they are. They were only up temporarily because we had to see if they were the right length. And they were not crooked. Have you ever tried to sew nine feet of straight seams in four rows? Me either!! It was a new experience.

Here are the wonderfully delicious bread loaves we made. They came from this website:
It is sooooo easy! I am making it as we speak for tomorrow. I am going to make a bunch of loaves to give to our favorite older people. They do so much for us and we love them and they will love this. Of course, I need to get them out of the house BEFORE we devour them!

One of my sister-friends pinned a cute sundress that someone commented it was "cute and EASY". While it was definitely cute, I wouldn't describe it as easy. It didn't take long but it was supposed to be for Beaker (on right). Instead it fit Bea. It looks REALLY long but it goes just beneath her knees and the top part I cut to long but everyone loved it when they saw it. And Beatrice loves it so that's all that matters. Here is where I got it from:

Sometimes I think I have the best job on the planet. I am so spoiled by Mr. Handsome and he loves me so much that he really loves having me home. In fact, I think I will make a loaf of bread for him to bring to work for his coworkers. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Bucket List.... I don't have

You read that correctly. I have been feeling so guilty because so many people have a bucket list. first of all, what is a bucket list? I mean, I have lots of buckets but apparently you're supposed to write all the things you want to accomplish ,or do, or attend, or see. And why bucket? Why not To-Do list? I don't have a bucket list OR a To-Do list. They both encourage To don'ts. If I did have a To-do list or a Bucket list there would only be one thing on both: To see my whole family know for certain they are going to Heaven when they die. That's it. Yep. Not very imaginative or adventurous! I have never written a To-Do list in my life. Nor do I plan to. It's not because I don't want to get things done. I do. A lot. But if I write that list then I limit myself to accomplishing the things in a certain period of time and I will be thoroughly disappointed if I don't accomplish something on the list. If I don't accomplish a lot on the list, I will become depressed, then I will have to rewrite the list and add other things I need to do, thereby creating a LONGER list that will make me even MORE depressed. See the cycle? Now, ask me if I have goals? Yes, I have LOTS of goals. I guess you can tell I was born before 1980, eh? But goals are always moved and adjusted to accommodate where I am at in life. And I don't have to write them down. My lifetime goal is to see our children grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and have a desire to serve Him faithfully in whatever He may have for them to do. Of course, Mr. Handsome has the same goal so we are working at this together. After they all accomplish that goal, we will go visit each of them for two months and then spend two months at home! That way, Lord willing, no one will get tired of us. OH! I do have a goal that is immediate. It is to really work on having a great relationship with my sister-in-law. My younger brother's wife. I never had a sister. I don't regret it. I had a cousin who is the same age and we were pretty close growing up so it was like having a sister. After our trip to Myrtle Beach, I was talking with the Lord and He reminded me that I have an opportunity here. I think Erin's always known it but I have not been as cooperative about the whole matter. So I have decided to work harder at it. And it has been worth it, that's for sure! She is a great friend, too. And our children love each other. She is also not afraid to tell me when I am annoying. Because I am my dad and mom's child: this means I am an overbearing control freak! God has worked with me on this and I am learning to get better and not think about me all the time. Last week was such a great week. I got to spend a few days with Erin, and some time with my sister-friends. Erin and I worked on making pillowcase dresses for Bea, Rachel, and Kristnie the Great. It was a lot of fun.
On Thursday we surprised two of my sister-friends with a birthday party! Their birthdays are a day apart and our other sister-friend (not pictured) was not going to be in town for them so we had it this past Thursday. It was a great deal of fun. Beatrice made the best, melt in your mouth cupcakes EVER! They were from that mouth-of-the-south world famous chef Paula Deen. I have one of her cookbooks - a kids' cookbook and that is where the cupcake recipe came from. Please don't buy me any of her books or send me any of her recipes. I don't have any interest in her. I know a lot of people LOVE LOVE LOVE her. I am not one of them. I am a Julia Child fan through and through. Anyway, these cupcakes were even better than my sister-friend Amy, whose cupcakes rival a professionals'. Robert made homemade lemonade, too. 

Here is everyone eating.

Here is Beatrice at our friends' softball game with one of the cutest babies in the world.

I just realized my photos are backwards. Ack. Oh well. We went shopping for Beatrices' birthday party, which is next week. Well, THIS week. Her birthday is June 21. She is going to be SIX! I can't believe it. Our Oppy-Stoppy is going to be SIX years old. she chose a cupcake theme. And she is getting an American Girl doll from my parents. We got her a new bike and some outfits for her baby doll that goes everywhere she goes. Anyway, we are in our favorite store! Party City! We love to go there. 

On Friday Lindsay had her best friend spend the afternoon with us. We even got to pick her up from school and that was exciting for everyone since they have never had the experience of even being picked up from school. Well, unless you count the times they fell asleep while doing school and I had to PICK THEM up off the floor. Yes, that HAS happened!! It's easy here. They just redo what they missed. 

Notice that there is one little kid missing! They are standing on the edge of the lake with the sign below near the lake. 

Yes, I am a big chicken. Of anything that could eat me. So while they had a grand time at the pond (right near us by the way), I was a nervous wreck, trying to figure out how to escape if an alligator tried to attack us. I just kept thinking, "Serpentine, run serpentine." I pretty much stayed on the path. I used to be this gung-ho, over the top adventurous person. What happened to that person? I left her somewhere in the year 2000 after I had our first child. From that point forward, the things that never worried me, scare me to death. I can't even get more than 6 feet above the ground without feeling like I am going to pass out, get dizzy, and feel nauseous. I did attempt the halfpipe at Jungle Rapids last year and that was a mistake. I nearly broke my neck. I didn't mind the ocean much, but now I will not go in above my ankles. My knees are pretty far away from the water and a great white could probably bite my legs off if I was in knee high water. I do occasionally go out far but I make sure Mr. Handsome is with me and try to keep close to him and pray something tastes him first. That being said, I do love the beach.

Here is a semi-group picture at the park again. Beatrice is awol. She was grumpy because I made her and Beaker walk around the pond. It is 1.24 miles. They both did it and I was so proud of them. It was a bit warm, though I won't say it was hot. 

The speck on the path is Beatrice, very put out that we still have to finish our walk. If you look past her you can see a pavillion. That is where we are walking to. At this point, we have gone one mile. 

On Friday evening, Mr. Handsome and I went out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, that has really turned into a drunken sailor bar. Thankfully, they have an upstairs that is rather nice. This was our view. After dinner, we went to Barnes and Noble and we got Maddie her birthday presesnts: a nook case and a nook stylus. She will be so excited. My parents are getting her an American Girl Doll, too. I am really excited about this because, at some point, she decided she wanted to be a tomboy. I say decided because she was the girliest girly girl there was! Then she found out I was a tomboy growing up and suddenly decided she needed to be one. Dorothy was nice enough to regale her with stories of all the things I did. (Unfortunately, Dorothy also has no restraint and obviously still thinks I was the most horrid kid in the world. Thankfully, Maddie has not noticed that yet and I don't take Dorothy very seriously! I am going to be responsible for picking out her nursing home someday so she has to be nice to me!) So Maddie decided she needed to be like me. She is so cute trying! But she is no tomboy. She is as prissy and girly as they come. We don't ever, ever, ever try to change her, though. We love her just the way she is and as long as she is content and comfortable with who she is and she is what God wants her to be, that's all that matters.

Here is the cake Maddie made to celebrate Father's Day, Beatrice's Birthday, Tom's Birthday, and Oz's birthday. She did great and it tasted wonderful!

Here she is with her cake, too.

One of my sister-friends had the toddler nursery today and Beaker loves her. Her son is her best buddy! He gave Beaker a hug this morning and said, "Dis my fwen!" to one of the other little boys in class and he tried to give Beaker a hug but she wasn't paying attention.

Here she is taking a nap. All the little kids LOVE being under the table! They crack us up. And with that, I think I will take a nap - a loooooooong nap! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Week of F-U-N!

 We began our week - Sunday - with church. Of course! And Sunday night was an exciting night. We had our AWANA awards night. All the children are rewarded for their hard work. And of course, since I am the director of our Trek club (6-8th grade), I did not have time to get ANY pictures of our children with their awards. BUT they were very excited and I am so proud of all of them. Maddie earned the highest awards for her grade and in her club, along with her friend Rebecca. They are both in Trek. Robert earned two of the three highest awards in his club, T&T. Lindsay and Beatrice both earned the highest awards they could earn in their club and level (Sparkies). Kristinie the Great also earned her book award in Cubbies. The total verse count, roughly, that everyone learned this year is somewhere around 400-500! Yes, you read that right! And that is not including the sixty or so verses they each learned for school. Well, Beatrice was probably more like 40 for school. God has blessed us with industrious and hard working children. They don't just do their basic verses, they do their reviews, and extra credit. In Lindsay's case, she did extra extra credit! And Robert set a goal of completing an adventure (which is 7 sections with approximately 5-10 verses) a week. And he finished his book in eight weeks! Most kids finish them sometime in March or April. And Maddie finished her book by February or March (I can't remember which) and she decided to do her challenge sections which are very difficult. And she completed them! I am really proud of them.
Here is my sister-in-law (Chris' wife) and their grandson, Aiden. He earned a participation award because he started kind of late in the year. He is in Cubbies with Rachel, John, and Beaker.

Here is John, Rachel, and Erin.

After AWANA, two of Maddies' friends came and spent the night. She was so excited! And so was everyone else. We have known them since they were babies. On Monday, they went back to their friends' house to swim and I took Beatrice and Kristinie the Great to a place called Power of Play. I used to call it Power of Bacteria because they place was so dirty and nasty! I am no germophobe - we have the 5 minute rule in our house! But the place was a dump. I was pleasantly surprised to find it had been renovated and it was great! Clean, bright, open, and lots of fun stuff to go on. Here are Beaker and Beatrice on the play jungle.


Kristinie the Great

See saw - I thought these were safety hazards! 

Here is Beaker playing doctor. I think I got fifty shots and my blood pressure taken a million and one times!! I guess I am healthy.

Dr. Beatrice looking all serious!

Monday evening, we watched our grandnephew Aiden. He is 4, six months older than Kristinie the Great. He loves superheros and he was playing batman. Kristinie the Great was supposed to be Starfire but she wasn't getting the whole concept. She kept going in the batcave the wrong way and doing the wrong thing. Aiden was a tad bit frustrated with her! We were enjoying the comic routine. It was sort of like Abbot and Costello - but not.

While the little kids played on the playground, we played badminton with our neighbors, Sidney and Logan. They are Lindsay and Bea's ages.

Here is what happens when your kids get your camera! Lindsay!


Good buddies! The first thing Aiden does is run and jump in Roberts' arms when he sees him. He doesn't care about anyone else. It is so cute.

Fun on the slide with Starfire.

Being the ever industrious person that I am, I was inspired by my sister-friend and made Bea and Kristinie the Great a similar dress. Pay no attention to the grumpy little girl on the right. She just woke up from her nap. And then, while Rachel and John visited, I made Rachel a dress to match. I put it on her and she was so excited, she hugged herself!!! HA HA HA!!

Thursday was knitting and crocheting and we had a great time sitting around and not knitting and crocheting but talking! After dinner that night, we went to Mayfaire Town Centre and walked around. It's an open air mall, sort of. We ended up at Atlanta Bread Company. Did you know, I could eat there every single day and never get tired of their California sandwich? After 8:00pm, their pastries are half price. Mr. Handsome treated us to some delicious pastries! They don't have a huge selection but they had things we liked, so no one's complaining.

Friday was our fun in the sun day. It's the day we head to Landfall pool to swim. As soon as Beaker found out, she ran to dress herself. And this is what happens when a 3 year old dresses herself. In case you are unsure of what you are actually seeing, she put her board shorts UNDER her bathing suit. YES! You read that correctly. She put her board shorts UNDER her bathing suit. We were cracking up. 
The water was very cold because it had rained quite a bit. 

Beatrice underwater! This is our olympus tough camera. And I can honestly say it is TOUGH! I love this thing. AND it takes great photos!


Fight for the ladder.

Erin and Rachel

Lindsay and Maddie

Saturday was a banner day for our Beatrice. She got an early birthday present. Mr. Handsome took her to pick out a bike! She is rather self conscious riding it but she really loves it. It is, of course, pink.

Kristinie the Great didn't want me to forget about her.

For dinner, Robert decided to set the table in a special way. Here is his handiwork. 
That is our week. It flew by and we have one whole week of summer behind us already. We did have quite a few sleepovers last week, too. I will try to remember. Beatrice spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa's. I already mentioned Maddies' friends coming over. There was one more but I can't remember. This will be the summer of the sleepover. OH - and I started working on the Fourth of July banners! Right now, they look like referee shirts - blue and red - but after I add the stars, they will look fabulous. I was thinking that these banners remind me a bit of Richard Simmons because the fabric is so him! Shiny and crazy and just plain fun. I might need to incorporate feathers into my next set. I also made an easy french bread recipe, which you can find here:  I made 15 pounds of mashed potatoes and froze them, as well as black beans and froze them. In hindsight, I should have used seasonings when I cooked them. They are rather bland and hopefully, they will taste good when I use them.