Monday, December 5, 2011

Birthday Fun

Today is Nathan and my birthday!

Yes, we share the same birthday. He was God's gift to me on my 31st birthday.

Brian is out of town and sadly missed our special day. But, he gave me a wonderful wake up call this morning, texted throughout the day and called again this evening.

The boys made us each a cake, decorated themselves.

This evening, Nathan and I went to Red Robin for our free Birthday burgers. On Monday nights they have a balloon man who makes all kinds of balloon shapes for the kids. Can you tell what he made for Nathan?

It is a monkey on a tree!

What can beat a birthday cheese burger and fries?

An ice cream Sundae, that's what!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On Our Own

We dropped Brian off at the airport this morning for his flight back to NC. It will be three loong weeks until we see him again.

I am hoping to use this time wisely and keep up the momentum with school and finish the semester well. I also have at least a dozen different lists in my head I need to transfer to paper so I don't forget anything.

The boys and I are so excited about getting ready for our big journey the week before Christmas to pick up Brian in NC and then all of us head down to FL to spend time with my parents! (Hence all the lists!)

Here are just a few of the things I need to organize and not forget.

1. Christmas cards and gifts to put in the mail.
2. Travel food to buy and make.
3. Packing for 5 people for 2-3 different seasons. The temperature will warm up as we go and cool down as we return.
4. Arranging a hold on the mail.
5. Shutting down the house.
6. Don't know what else, but I'm sure it will come to me.

So now you know what I will be doing in the next few weeks.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

They Listened!

The other night we were driving home from candy gathering and spotted the Sonic sign. Corndogs $.50 that night only. Cheap food, always hungry boys? We pulled in. Ordered up 6. They brought out the bag. There were 7 inside. Caleb noticed first. He said we need to tell them. Brian and I said to go ahead. He suddenly got shy. So Jacob took it and went inside to tell them of the mistake and return it. They said go ahead and keep it. So we each got an extra bite, passing it around the table.

I harp and harp on being honest. No such thing as a little white lie, etc. Even if for convenience. Rules are rules. But not only that, we want to do what is RIGHT and honors God.

Caleb knew not telling would be the same as stealing.

We didn't have to say anything. But he wanted them to know.

Proud that the boys listen and want to do what is right, even when it would be easier to keep quiet.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Colorado Adventure Day 6

Woke to our first morning in Woodland Park. We made pancakes for breakfast, cleaned up and then headed to Diamond Campground to spend the day with Grandpa. Once there, we packed a picnic lunch and drove out to a couple land sites Grandpa was looking at. Then we headed to Manitou Springs to make our train up Pikes Peak.

It was an hour + ride up.

40 minutes at the peak and visiting the gift shop. They have a special doughnut recipe they make for such a high altitude. they sell for .99 each or 6 for $5. Bri bought a bag. they were tastey! Everything else in the shop was waay overpriced! Even the other food was outrageous. But they do have to haul everything 14 miles up the mountain. As we were leaving to load up to come back down, it started hailing tiny pieces of ice. Back down the mountain it became sunny and warm! We started with all the windows down but the closer to we got to the top the colder it became. Very glad we all brought sweat shirts and jackets!

Then another hour + ride down.
Nathan was so excited about this train ride! It just plumb wore him out. his head started bobbing. I tried to hold him so he could sleep more comfortably. He kept saying, "I'm not tired!" Ha! I have proof otherwise.

Back at Diamond, we grilled chicken and zucchini and had baked potatoes and salad for dinner. Back to our campground for a good night's sleep!

Colorado Adventure Day 7

Friday morning we fixed breakfast at Diamond, packed a picnic lunch and headed to Buena Vista for our Rafting Adventure on the Arkansas River. We were so excited!

Nathan was too small to go, so he and Grandpa had their own adventure together. They found an ice cream store and then went to a fish hatchery. Nathan was happy to get to feed the fish!

Our time on the river was so much fun! We had a great guide who amazingly enough is from Andover! We told him about our little canoe/kayak business and he knew right where we lived from last years sign! Crazy!

When we started hitting the rapids, the guide, Zach, asked Caleb is he wanted to ride the bull. That meant, Caleb would sit up front with his legs hanging over, holding onto a rope. He did and had a great time! Then Jacob wanted to try. He didn't have a good hold on the rope,and soon went overboard! Bri pulled him back in, everyone laughing! Towards the end, all of the boats beached at a certain spot and those who wanted to, climbed up Jump Rock, 10-12 feet above the water, and you guessed it, jumped off into the frigid cold water below. We all jumped. Even cautious me! I knew if I didn't I would always regret it. Luke and Caleb even jumped twice. At the very end was called swimmers rapid. those who wanted could body surf over the rapids then get pulled back into the boat. Luke, Jacob and Bri did it. It was a little too bumpy for them, but they survived. All in all it was an amazing time!

During our rafting, the guide told us about a small ghost town nearby,and thought the boys would get a kick out of it, so we headed that way once we returned from rafting.

It is a little town called St. Elmo. It was originally a mining town right on the river up in the mountains. It is basically a one street town of old buildings and boardwalks. There is an open gift shop and they are renovating a building into a bed and breakfast. Four wheelers love to drive in and go through the town. What makes it especially fun is the chipmunks! You can buy a bag of seeds and literally feed them from your hand. Unfortunately, my camera battery died so I don't have pictures. :( But we ate our picnic on the board walk
and roamed up and down.

That day was also Grandpa's birthday, so back in town we took him out for Chinese and an ice cream cone for dessert.

Colorado Adventure Day 8

Our last full day in Colorado! Waahh! We spent the morning hanging around Diamond Campground. Kids played at the play ground, took showers, sat and visited with Grandpa. Lunch was a hogde podge of leftovers so we wouldn't be dragging so much food back home.

Then we loaded up in Grandpa's Pilot and went in search of a Rock Shop. Caleb is mildly obsessed with rocks and Bri had told him we would find a neat shop for suveniers. Found a great shop with most everything 1/2 off and pretty cheap to begin with. Caleb chose a carved shark and arrowhead. Nathan chose a whale after much deliberation. Jacob got a split geode and Luke chose a large polished geode half. Everyone was very happy.

Back in town, Bri had seen a wine tasting sign at a local store. We tried to go but it had been canceled. So we went to another place and shared a pint and giant pretzel. The beer was pretty nasty compared to New Belgium in Ft. Collins. But a fun mini-date nonetheless.

Back at Diamond, Grandpa grilled burgers for dinner. Bri and his dad talked awhile and then we had to say our goodbyes.

Early the next morning we made pancakes once more then broke camp and loaded up for the long drive back to KS. Coming down from Woodland Park to Colorado Springs the temperature increased 20*! Everyone was pretty bummed to be leaving beautiful Colorado!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Pert Near Perfect Weekend

We went camping at Toronto Lake this past weekend. I was our third and best time.

The first time we camped there, our kayaks got stolen! They were recovered, undamaged about a month later. The second time was good except for the LOUD drunks pulling into camp with their music blaring in the middle of the night.

But this time, was as close to perfect as you can get.

We rolled in late afternoon on Friday. There was absolutely no one else in the entire tent camping area, so we got a great spot in a shady area right next to the good shower house. I say the good one because there are two. The other one down by the beach is one of those open air affairs.

We set up camp, paid our fee, and went for a hike. Back at camp we had sandwiches for dinner.

The only down side is that there was a burn ban due to the drought this summer, so no cheery camp fire. That night we had a wonderful thunder storm! We were prepared so it was nice to just lay in our tent listening to the water patter and thunder rumble.

Saturday morning dawned cool and beautiful! The sun shade had partially blown over, but was soon straightend back up. After a breakfast of english muffin egg sandwiches, Brian took the older three boys canoeing and Nathan and I went for a hike. Back for a lunch of chili dogs and just hanging out. We got ready for the real reason we were there that weekend.

A WTM computer friend who just lives about an hour away from us, had messaged me a couple months ago about a float trip for their youth group. The group was set to arrive around 2pm. So we took the canoes down to the docks and tied them up. When they arrived it was so nice to meet in person someone you have never met but feel you know because of common interests and friends on the net. A funny side note, Brian had met her already! They went to school together way back when. And She was good friends with one of my Sister-in-laws as young girls. such a small world!

So we got the men and youth on their way in the canoes, and went to the beach with the moms and kids. Later, they graciously shared their snacks with us before heading back to town.

For dinner, we made hamburgers and salad. Everyone took a much needed shower and went to bed.

Sunday morning was another beautiful cool start to the day. We had breakfast burritos and coffee cake. The kids and Bri went for a walk and I enjoyed a little quiet down time. When they got back we went on a family canoe trip on the Blue Water Trail. After that we broke camp, had lunch and headed back home.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Today at the Y a little kid was trying to steal Nathan's toy skate board that he likes to throw and then dive for in the water. I took the toy so the kid couldn't get it.

Later on the boys were in the family room and the kid attacks Nathan for the same toy! Nathan did not do anything to this kid. Nathan gave the toy to Jacob so the kid would leave and then the kid slaps him two times on the cheek! Jacob broke it up. Then the kids mom came up and took care of him and apologized to Nathan.

I am proud of Nathan for not fighting back and proud of Jacob for stepping in to defend his brother.

We have kept the boys in a pretty small fish bowl and now some of the world is seeping in. We really need to continue praying for wisdom in training them up in the way they should go.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Green Tea and Answered Prayer

I have been feeling overwhelmed with pretty much everything lately. Getting the new school year up and running, watering my burned up garden, hoping at least the cukes will keep looking good and start producing, I could go on and on.

This morning I chose green tea instead of my usual cup of coffee. It is supposed to increase metabolism and just be healthier. After Brian walked out the door for work, I just had such a heaviness in my chest. I got the sprinklers going and came in and opened my Bible. After reading a few chapters, I got out my notebook and started writing. For some reason writing my prayers instead of just saying them in my head seems to help. I hadn't done that for a while, and it felt so good just to pour my heart out to God!

Releasing everything back to Him and maybe the energy from the green tea, I feel so energized! I sure need it today! It is grocery shopping day and then we come home and unload, then pack a cold dinner and head to the Y!

I wasn't reading in Jeremiah this morning, but after a text from Brian, I was trying to remember the reference to the For I know the plans I have for you verse. 29:12 popped into my head and so I looked it up. It seemed just as fitting if not more.

Jeremiah 29:12 Then ye shall call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will harken unto you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Patience and a Plan

That is what I need.

We are on day two of school and Caleb alone is a full time job.

He is having melt downs about copy work. Melt downs about all of his work.

That is why I need patience! Now to figure out a plan.

I need to get his schedule set and not move away from it.

I need to make sure he has a decent protein filled filling breakfast.

I need to let him take short breaks.

I need to pray for him. For all of my guys.

I need to give him time for his creative outlets; drawing and painting.
* note to self: buy him more tape and art paper.

That's all I can think of for now.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day One

Everyone has completed their first day of the new school year. I am tired. It went pretty well. I do need to make some adjustments. Mostly more prep work on my part.

Instead of writing in the workbooks, I copy most of the assignment into notebooks for Jacob and Caleb. This way we can pass down the books and not have to buy so much each year.

Nathan did super on his Kindergarten work! I need to up his load a bit. He blew through his work way to fast, and then was distracting the others.

Caleb needs more 1 on 1 time with me. He is a slower learner. BUT that is fine. I am thankful to be the one to teach him!

Jacob is doing well. Stepping up a bit and doing more work independently.

Luke is back in the books this year after SOS last year. It is a bigger work load but he is up for the challenge.

I am glad we started early. I'll need the extra time to get all of the kinks worked out. Mainly time management to help everyone as needed but not run myself ragged!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Early Start

We are hoping to get school started...tomorrow!

We have had an extremely hot summer and it is not letting up any time soon. I'm talking 100+ degrees EVERY DAY with no break. We joined the YMCA in early June and have certainly taken advantage of the wonderful water park. But when we are not there we end up watching too much tv and having too much computer time, which leads to fussy kids and a cranky mom.

So I figured we should go ahead and start school. It will keep us focused and busy. I am praying we can get a good schedule worked out and stay consistent with it. All 4 boys will be hitting the books!

I am excited and the boys are too. We'll see how long that lasts!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

When the Cats Away...

The mice will PLAY!

Brian is away this week for work conferences. The boys and I have had a busy first two days!

After dropping Bri off at the airport early Monday morning we went to visit my grandparents. My Mom is in town and we haven't gotten to see her very much. We spent the entire day then Mom took us all out for dinner.

Today, we spent the morning and early afternoon with Bri's sister and her two boys. We met at their house then went to the sprinkler park in Riverside. All six boys had a blast playing in the water! Back at the house we had lunch and the kids went out to play. A couple minutes later they came running back in with a screaming Nathan. He had gotten stung 2x! by wasps. Once above his right eyebrow and once on the back of his head! After that we went downstairs to watch the boys play wii. They've decided the golf is pretty fun! So funny to watch them!

On the way home we stopped off at the library. Thursday evening they will be showing a free movie. So the kids are all asking to go see it. Probably will if they behave the next couple days. :-)

Wednesday our plans are to just hang at home for the morning, have lunch then go swimming at the Y. After that I want to stop by the Farmer's Market and see if I can find any amazing deals!

We will also be dog sitting for some good friends. Abby is getting on in doggie years so she will be pretty easy to watch! We are also continuing our cat feeding and plant watering job for some other friends.

Busy bees is what we are when Daddy is traveling!


Friday, June 10, 2011

VBS 2011 Panda Mania Hope CC

We just finished a week of Vacation Bible School at church. Luke and I worked as crew leaders and the other three boys participated as crew members. I just wanted to write down some of the amazing stories the kids learned about and what the leaders did to reinforce them. There was such creativity and love for the kids to hear the truth and remember.

On day one the Bible point was "God made you." The Bible story was the creation. Each crew was given a sack. In the sack were items that represented a certain day of creation. The kids got to use the props and act out what day they were.

On day two the Bible point was "God listens to you." The story was of Elijah VS the prophets of Baal. To demonstrate the story they had a kiddie pool filled with gravel and big rocks. The kids spread out the gravel then built an alter with the rocks. Sticks were laid. We couldn't exactly kill a bull, so something very important to the kids was to be sacrificed instead. It was a Hershey chocolate bar. The kids went nuts! . Then water was poured over all three times. And of course we couldn't really set a fire. A great helper stormed in dressed as a firefighter saying how when Elijah prayed God went a pillar of fire so hot it burned up everything and MELTED the stones. This was all after the Baal prophets had no luck getting their "god" to bring fire. The One True God listens.

On day three the point was "God watches over you." The story was Jonah and the big fish. The drama team made a belly of a fish with giant trash bags inflated with fans that about 25 kids and leaders could all go in. The fans were also blowing the scent of an open can of sardines! Even in the belly of a whale, God watched over Jonah.

On day four the point was "God loves you, no matter what!" The story was of Peter denying Jesus, his best friend. One of the church staff dressed up as Peter and talked about how terrible he felt. At the ending, another staffer dressed up as Jesus and hugged him, forgiving him. Jesus still loved him no matter, and He still loves us no matter what.

Day five the point was "God gives good gifts". The story was of Hannah. The drama team divided the crew leaders from the kids. The leaders were Pininnah, and the kids were Hannah. These two women were both the wives of Elkanah. P had lots of kids, H had none. So the leaders got lots of candy, the kids none. Then the kids each got 1 piece of candy. But then gave it back because H gave Samuel back to God. Then God blessed her with more children.

It was a great week. The leadership team did an amazing job with lots of hard work and prayer. The competition of boys vs girls with raising $ for missions was very intense. One day boys were ahead, the next the girls were ahead. All together the kids raised $1400!! The money will be divided between an India Missions League providing Indian children their own Bible club and discipleship and a missionary in Haiti who just opened an orphanage.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Banana Pops!

My friend Gwen recently shared these amazingly easy delicious treats on her blog. We made them a couple weeks ago and the only reason we haven't again is because I need to grocery shop.

Take a bunch of bananas, peel them and cut in half. Into the bottom of each half, insert a Popsicle stick. Then lay on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Freeze for a few hours.

When then bananas are frozen, make the dip. This is 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, 1/4 cup honey, and 1/4 cup coco powder. Feel free to double if you have a lot of bananas. I had 12 halves and the amount came out just right.

You can also have different roll-ins. All I had at the time was shredded coconut and chopped almonds. You could also use sprinkles, other nuts, mini chocolate chips...

So working quickly, dip the frozen banana in the chocolate sauce then roll in the toppings. The sauce hardens very fast once on the bananas. It also makes a great ice cream sauce!

I hope you will try these with your kids this summer! They'll love the entire process and it is a healthy cool treat to boot!