DECEMBER DAILY….the first snow!

OK…so this year, I am doing a December Daily album.  It’s small…nothing fantastic.  But I am hoping to record our holiday memories from now until the end of the month.  It’s really supposed to be for the 25 days till Christmas, but our Christmas vacation (from school) is always filled with all kinds of fun, so that has to be included too!  I got the idea for the December Daily album from Ali Edward’s site. Her albums are amazing…I have low expectations for myself on this project (maybe, then, I will actually complete it).

Anyway, the other day I compiled a list of ideas or activities to do with the kids each day leading up to Christmas.  I’ve seen all kinds of super cute homemade advent calendars to use with activities like the ones on my list.  Problem is I just don’t have the time (or the $) to make one…so I still just have the list.  And today, well, we didn’t really have a chance to do one anyway with our crazy schedule.

The special thing about today was it was our first snow…ok, maybe we’ve had snowflakes before now, but this snow has stuck and it has been snowing all day.  It’s not even an inch, but the kids are excited and Max made a snowball tonight when we got home from church.

I also made the kids hot chocolate in our Christmas mugs…OK, they aren’t really mugs.  They are like expresso cups or something, but they are perfect for kids and they have little Christmas reindeer and Holiday messages on them.  They loved it!  I made a big pitcher of hot chocolate and I think the boys each had like 5 refills!  Savannah missed out on the fun.  She was with her dad all night at Magic Club.  We missed her!

Something that Makes Me Smile…

Over 5 years ago (I think) a group of us started a small group at church.  We were all artists, or interested in art.  In our small group, we had a small amount of time dedicated to discuss a book, “The Creative Call” and the rest of the time to work on whatever art we brought.  We met for about 6 months, and then it died off.  Eventually me, Julia, Mary and Sandia were meeting regularly once a week to paint & draw.  We usually met at Julia’s, sometimes at Sandia’s.  Sandia stopped coming and I had a baby and then it was just Mary and Julia.  For the past few months, Mary has been sending me regular emails reminding me and the other recipients that she and Julia will be painting tonight at Julia’s.  I haven’t gone in a VERY long time.  Tonight I went.  I so enjoyed myself.  I felt like drawing in blue…on blue paper.  I equipped myself with my blue sharpie, a lt. blue piece of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper and the coke that I had bought earlier and hadn’t finished  yet.  I didn’t leave my house till almost 7 because I was updating my webpage for school.  I stayed till 10:30!  I drew Julia’s kitchen as she worked on her paintings.  I didn’t get quite done, but I will probably take it with me tomorrow to work on.  I really enjoyed myself.  I forgot how much I love to draw!

Karson’s Birthday Party

I wish I was organized and could (have time to) plan stuff ahead…but sometimes, for me, things just turn out better when they are thrown together at the last minute.  And that really proved true this week.  This party…was the second date.  We were supposed to have it last Friday, closer to the actual birthday day…but I never got the invitations out.  That was mostly because I wanted to make them…but then didn’t have time.  So last Thursday, we decided we would make it this weekend and the invitations went out on Monday. (Still really late-I know). But almost everyone we invited could come.  Then I didn’t do anything all week to prepare for it.  I did clean my house for the Tupperware Party I had on Thursday night, though, so it was fairly cleaned  up.  I cleaned up a little more on Thursday night and made shopping lists for Sam and I.  On Friday morning, I ordered the cake from Meijer Bakery on the way to school.  The lady laughed on the phone when I mentioned I would like to pick it up at 4:00.  She said normally they are very busy, but today it should work out.  I guess I lucked out.  At school during every free minute that I had I made some decorations.  We were going with a Super Mario Brothers theme.  I made 2 chomp dogs, 2 goombas, 2 1 up mushrooms, 3 fireflowers and tubes for them to go in and a banner that said “Happy Birthday Karson”.  After work, I swung over to Meijer and picked up prizes for the games, ice cream, the cake and some Mario fruit snacks.  When I got  home, Jasmin was still at Grandma and Grandpa’s, so it was nice to not have to worry about her.  The boys helped me set up the decorations while Sam and Savannah ran to the store to get the stuff on his list. The decorations were perfect.  The guests arrived and the party started. As the guests arrived, the kids took turns playing minigames on Super Mario Party and then we played Yoshi’s Egg Hunt and Pin the Mustache on Mario.  The kids loved the games and the winners got candy Wii remotes and Mario candy.  Karson had a great time opening presents…and we made him read all the cards to us.  Then we had cake and ice cream and the kids all played with his toys and helped him put together the Lego stuff.  Everyone said they had a good time and I thought it was a lot of fun. And the great thing is…I didn’t have to stress out at all about it!

Here are some pictures from the party.

Back to the Routine.

I know it’s been a few weeks.  These last few weeks of summer just flew by.  We have been pretty busy around here. Here’s the latest…

finished up two fairs in August with our Pirate Show

my mom and dad moved into their new house just about 5 miles from us

worked in my classroom, attended PD & 3 open houses in one week

Tuesday we all started school

tomorrow is Friday and Sam & Julie date night, thanks to Grandma and Grandpa H.   🙂

And being that it’s the first week of school…I have to share the first day pics, right?

the kids with Mr. Y., their principal

My Day

Get up, take shower, get kids dressed and ready to go, buy doughnuts at Hinkley’s, visit to school, met new principal, eat my Walnut Fritter, go to fair, open up Pirate Island, see friends, dress people up in costumes and take pictures, consume 1 jumbo lemonade, most of my $3.00 Fiske fries, 3 bites of my kid’s pizza, dress people up in costumes and take pictures again, get sunburned, stand in line for half an hour to find out my son is a hair (literally) to tall for a ride! watch my kids go on the Fire Engine, the Swings, Bumper Boats, the Giant Slide, Motorcycles, Cars, and the FunHouse, sleep for about 10 minutes on the floor of the LQ, dress people up in costumes and take pictures again, see friends, clean up the show, watch my kids ride Bumper Boats, the Freak Out, and watch Jasmin ride motorcyles and cars and the train again, leave the fair, take Jazzy to ColdStone, come home, give Jazzy a bath, soak my feet, put her to bed, do laundry, eat the rest of my pizza sub from Hotline and a glass of ice cold Coke while I watch Law and Order, check Facebook, read my email, do laundry, write this post, go to bed.

Beyond Expectations

So, today was not what I expected. I didn’t *expect* that our old babysitter, Jasmin (sounds weird saying “old” because she’s not…maybe “former” would be better…no that sounds to formal?…anyway…) would call us up last night and ask to take the kids for the day because she misses them.  That was really a great surprise.  And it made for a strange day.  Going to church without my kids is, well, really weird.  I missed them laying all over me, drawing pictures on the encouragement cards and not standing up during the worship songs like they are supposed to.  Funny…all those things are the things that really drive me crazy…but the whole time we were singing all the cool VBS songs (our VBS started today) in Worship…I really couldn’t stop thinking about them.  Sam and I were out of church so fast today, it wasn’t funny!  The promise of a quiet dinner out to one of our favorite restaurants without our kids AND BONUS…without having to ALSO pay a babysitter made us really excited, I guess.  We ate more than we should have and we had a great waitress.

After lunch, we drove over to the fair to clean up the pirate show trailer.  It needed a good washing.  So we did that and got the power hooked up.  We *expected* that we would be able to ALSO set up the tent, but there were cars in the way, so we couldn’t.  We came back home and vegged out till the kids showed up and then we were off to VBS.

VBS was awesome!  Of course, there were a few hitches, but it was our first night…and for the most part it was great.  I love the songs this year.  I’m a crew leader, so I get to learn them right along with the kids.  I love that part!  Our VBS worship team is GREAT!  Lissa led the opening and closing and did a fantastic job along with Clint, your youth pastor, who played the part of the goofy tourist…perfect!  The kids loved him!  Shelby did an amazing job playing the part of Rhoda and told us a story about Peter and how God set him free from prison.  It was just awesome!  VBS at our church always goes beyond my *expectations!*  Just look at this amazing stage…and that’s just one part of the huge transformation our church has gone through for our High Seas Adventure VBS.

I did not *expect* that I would run out of gas on the way home!  That was not fun.  My daughter, 10, was SO emotional tonight it was driving me crazy! Please tell me this is just a stage.  Holy cow!  Luckily my husband was right behind me and rescued us, but we still had to wait in the car…with 6 kids who were either beating each other with flip-flops or crying or having to go to the bathroom in some kind of mosquito paradise near the intersection of Spring Arbor and McCain roads for a half hour.

Skip to tucking the kids in…

I am in the boys’ room, tucking them in, saying prayers with them and those little cuties both pray for Jesus to come back into their hearts.  This was something new.  I have never heard them pray like that before.  Now Max says he prayed for Jesus to come into his heart when we were at a fair with Mimi (Jasmin) last summer and Karson told us he prayed that prayer at VBS at family camp this summer.  So when they finished with their sweet prayers we talked.  And I had the opportunity to talk to them about how we should keep Jesus on the throne…well I actually used “chair” which after I thought about, was kind of abstract, but they must have heard that whole concept before…because they were like, “oh, I get it, it’s like the king’s chair.”  “Yeah, like the throne, right?”  “And we are supposed to keep Jesus on the throne by obeying him and doing the right things.  And when we don’t.  When we make bad choices and do what we want, we are pushing Jesus off the throne and sitting on it ourselves and that makes Jesus sad.”  The wisdom…I did not *expect* this conversation.  But I was so blessed by it. It was a great teachable moment!

I am glad God does the unexpected…good & bad…that’s my God sighting for today.  I couldn’t think of one during VBS…but maybe tomorrow I can put up 2 God Sighting stickers on the map!

Movie Night for the kids

So the other night my sister calls me up and asks if i can watch her kids so her and Nate can go out with some friends.  Sure I say.  So the wheels start turning and we decide to turn out Living room into a movie theater.  The boys decided we should show UP, so we got thinking of the theme and decided we would need some balloons.  I will spare you the very detailed horrible story of obtaining those ten balloons at the Balloon Emporium…where I will never ever go again.  But anyway we made it home with nine in our possession and were well on our way to planning a wonderful movie night…ok…I’m lying.  We got home and I took a nap, while Jasmin was sleeping.  I couldn’t handle another second.  I had already cried twice today.  I needed to rest.  You ever have one of those days when you feel like you are not yourself and have lost all control?  That was me, until I took the nap.  After about an hour, I was awakened by my husband, who was calling me so I could look through the piles of stuff on his desk to find a phone number.  I tried to lay back down, but the boys could not be quiet any longer, so I gave up.  Once Jasmin was up, we got ready and went out to get the snacks and popcorn and Max talked me into buying him a belt, since his pants were falling down.  (remember the pants I got at the G sale the other day, Max is so stinking skinny he is swimming in most of them. – but at least he can grow into them).  So we set stuff up, the kids fought over the balloons, it was like pulling teeth to get them to contribute, but they did a little, and it ended up we actually had fun.  My sister’s kids made fake money to buy the snacks and oh, we also invited the neighbor girls, Shelby and Rylie, too. Here are a few pictures…oh, and the movie we watched was UP. I love that movie!

we I made tickets

the snacks for sale at the concession stand

5 of our 9 balloons

buying snacks

yeah! candy! (this is my littlest niece!)

watching the movie

our Adventure Club pins that we made (you’d understand why we did this, if you have seen the movie)

Ava with her balloon

A Trip to Cascade Falls

Ok…so is it just us?  Do other people not take advantage of fun tourist traps in their own town?  We have lived in Jackson for 16 years and I have never visited Cascades once during that time.  I had been here once or twice as a kid, but don’t really remember it being that fun.

I recently found out that on Wednesdays, families get in for just $5.00.  So tonight, after hanging out with Grandpa and Grandma who came up for the inspection on their new house, we ventured over.  Me, Max, Karson and Jasmin.  Sam and Savannah are at Magic week in Colon till Saturday, so it was just us four.

I had no idea what to expect, except that we’d get to see the water in the falls light up and change color and that there would be a band playing and some people dressed up as Disney Characters.  The kids had a blast climbing up all the stairs and discovering the best places to get soaked.  They rolled down the hill and threw quarters in the water, too.  I soon realized that some extra spending money would have been nice.  There were balloons for a dollar and snacks at the concession stands.  But we had fun without spending more than the $5.00 it cost to get in.

The music was fun, we saw people dancing…mostly older people.  That was kind of cool.  I’m sure the kids didn’t even notice the couple dancing by themselves in front of the stage.  He was swinging her off the floor from one side to the other and then dipped her for a kiss at the end…everyone who was paying attention applauded!  It was so cute!  I think those older people really enjoyed themselves, even if they couldn’t climb the falls anymore.

Here are a few pictures.  The one of Jasmin, I retouched a little…because it was so cute!  Enjoy!

if you are on Facebook, I posted a whole album of 31 of our pictures for the evening.

Random Thoughts

I just got back from the grocery store and after unloading all the groceries (which took me 4 trips back out to the car), I was sweaty and gross so I took a cold shower and now I feel so much better.  I cleaned out my fridge and put most of the groceries away, but there is still more to do.  I am just stalling.  I’d rather not.  I don’t feel like it.  But I will maybe in a few minutes.

I haven’t posted anything since Friday, so I thought I should…though there is actually very little to say.

Let’s see.  Today is my mom’s  67th birthday…at least I think it’s 67.  Is that right, mom?  I can ask, because she reads this.  We called her today.  I am always kind of sad that we can’t be with her on her birthday.  It’s a long drive for a day trip, though it’s been done before.  I am looking forward to having my mom and dad around for birthdays and holidays this year!  My dad retired this summer and they have sold their house and are moving to Jackson!  Cyndi (my sister) and I are so excited.  The kids are probably even more excited.  It will be great having grandpa and grandma so close!

This week, I have a couple of projects to work on.  I have to clean out the camper tomorrow.  Sam and Savannah are taking it to Colon this weekend for Magic Week.  Also, since tomorrow looks like the only sunny weather for a few days, I think Cyndi and I and the kids are heading to the beach for the afternoon.  We’ll do a picnic lunch and swim a lot and then we will drive home and put the girls down for their naps.  Wednesday, my parents are coming up for the inspection on their house.  So, we will probably have dinner together or something.  I don’t really know what else I will be doing this week, but I am hoping I can get some cleaning done.

Our summer is quickly coming to an end.  After this week, we have two weeks of doing the pirate show at fairs and then I am hoping to get into my classroom the following week, providing I can work out having someone watch the kids for me.

I have a lot of sorting to do at school.  The good thing is all my stuff is in one building…since I only taught art at Memorial for the past 2 years.  But I need to sort it, because Memorial will be K-3 and Robinson will be 4-6.  Once it’s sorted, I can take my stuff back over to Robinson and set up my classroom there, too.  Plus I have orders to do. I usually turn them in before I leave in June, but this year things are a little weird and we didn’t know our budgets…and we don’t even have a principal (that I know of) at Memorial yet!

Anyway…I know, boring.  That’s just what was on my mind.  Now maybe I can finish cleaning up the kitchen so I can get to sleep at a decent hour.  See ya.

Being Green!

I just found a great tutorial on making reusable snack & sandwich bags.  Last school year, I did great with packing lunches for the kids.  We hardly ever had to have them buy their lunch.  The thing is, we go through those Ziploc baggies so fast, that it seems like we are always running out.  And, how much money am I spending on them?  I did go to purchasing the Walmart brand of zipper close baggies, but I have been thinking about how we could save some money here.  Plus, just the thought of all that plastic going in the trash…  So I did some searching and found a great tutorial online.  It is so simple, plus it reuses the mylar bags that our chips come in, perfect!  So today, we ran out to get some Wonder Under and some elastic and Savannah and I sat down to make them.  I have never taught her to sew before, but she sat there with me and I think eventually I will have her make her own.  I just think this could be so cute…we could even make them holiday themed…how fun!  I am hoping the kids will take some pride in their bags and take good care of them.  And if and when they get dirty, they are easily washable or they can be wiped out.  I love that!

Here are a couple of views of our first two snack bags.  The dog one was the first one we made…lots of mistakes.  I was learning.  The second one is much neater.  We used some old jeans to make it.  These little bags were so quick to make, and would be easy to do a bunch of them at once I think.  There is also a larger size for a sandwich, which we haven’t made…mostly because we are out of the mylar material.  I only had one bag that I could use.  So if you could save them for me that would be great!

I also found another tutorial for reusable lunch sacks that I haven’t tried yet, but plan too.  I would love to be able to toss our lunch bags in the wash when they get dirty.  Ours were so gross by the end of the year, wiping them clean just didn’t work anymore.  I was even thinking of having the kids paint their own.  I have some good canvas that we can make them out of.  Maybe they will take a little more pride in them, if they have the opportunity to contribute to them!

I figure that I will be saving about 70.00 this school year if I don’t have to buy ziploc sandwich bags, and about 40.00 if we don’t buy lunch bags…plus we are being GREEN!