Thursday, May 31, 2012

Art Kits

Our school/craft/puzzle/game/food/laundry/storage room

quickly gets out of hand
and due to that...
we occasionally lose items
(or forget we even have them!)

My Sweet J had a birthday 2 months ago...
we got two awesome crafty things from my sisters.
They were "put away" in above mentioned "room",
in a neat way - 
but subsequently

So a few weeks ago,
R had his birthday
and I decided it was finally time to 
do some thank you notes!
(a great writing exercise)
So, we made our list of who we were writing
and what we were thanking people for.
As we were going through the list we had an
"OH YEAH!, I forgot about those!"

So, we finally pulled out one of the things 
he received.

It was a "starter pack"
 of Kelly Kits.

Kelly Kits?
What are Kelly Kits?
A cool idea that I had before we left NC,
that someone else had already thought of!
You have seen that my sister occasionally sends 
the kids a paper craft through the mail,
or a cut out and instructions to 
create a scene for their cutout.

(I went back to find the links of the crafts,
but couldn't find them because
I haven't labelled my posts,
so that is now on my to do list!)

Before we left, I asked my sister to send them 
some sort of craft kit in the mail.
Every time she saw my kids
(or close to it)
she would delve into our craft supplies
and come up with something cute for the kids to make.

So she has...
then I stumbled upon these:

We got a gift pack that had 5 different kits in it:
Kelly Klay
Blots and Dots
Kelly Kookies
Anyway Alphabet
Mighty Mosaic
Each kit has supplies for 2 children.

We finally decided to use one of them.
The birthday boy (J), got to pick...
he chose 
"Painting: Blots and Dots"

This is what we found when we opened the kit:
2 mini tempera paints
2 paint brushes
2 popsicle sticks (aka stirrers)
6 pieces of white paper

I read the instructions

away they went!

 First they applied paint to one side of the paper:

Then folded the paper and pressed the pieces together.

And viola!

The littles were asleep when we tackled this project
(yes that was planned)

Since there was paper left over,
I let A have a go at it.

T was supervising.

Look at that concentration!

And her masterpiece!
(no, not the hair - the paper on the table!)

Then when I went to the conference last weekend,
I got to meet the creator of Kelly Kits.
(wonderful lady with a GREAT idea!)

Oddly, the one she had on display,
was the one we had just completed.

However, I didn't consider prompting them to make a design
they did just random dots.

So her's was a bit different - but it prompted me to 
try it again showing the boys this picture as an idea....

A few days later we gave another one a go:
Printmaking - Anyway Alphabet

This one encourages them to make "rubbings".

This one came with:
white paper
triangle oil pastel crayons
letter and number stickers
red paper

The object was to make a word, design or phrase
with the letters & numbers on the
construction paper, 
then use the oil pastels 
on the white paper
placed on top of the 
they didn't turn out quite like I we had hoped
and it just dawned on me why...
so we will have to try this one again too!

So we are getting some great ideas.

My first impression of the product 
(simply based on the info on the website):

Once we used the first two:
Room for improvement

They are a great place to "start".
I intend on building on the products
and ideas she provides.
I would like to see a picture of a sample 
on the instructions I think, so parents
who are NOT crafty and artsy 
(like ME!)
can have more of a guide of the possibilities!!

Overall - I would highly recommend these for those
that are less artistically inclined.

And I have already thought about giving these as
gifts to a certain niece in VA
and a goddaughter in NC.

(Luckily neither of them read this, so no worries
on blowing the surprise...
let's see if I remember this great idea at the Sept birthday
and Christmas - hahahah!!
yeah RIGHT!)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Belated Mother's Day

Mother's Day

As you know we spent Mother's Day celebrating 
the reason I am a mom!  
R's 8th birthday.

And considering how late I was getting 
my mom her birthday
Mother's Day stuff this year
(horribly late!)

It is only fitting that mine was late too...

Last week after church, we stopped by the 
sports store and got my Mother's Day present. 

(I cannot NOT comment on my sytlin' 6 yo here!!
I am loving the outfit - 
he picked it all out himself - 
we did have to request that he change out of his
khaki cargo shorts and into blue jeans)

So once we got this contraption home,
daddy spent the next day or so cleaning and 
checking my bike 
(that hadn't been ridden in probably 9 years)
and his "new" hand-me-down bike from his dad
(who is about 4" shorter)

We finally got the chance to go for our first EVER family bike ride.

The set up!

The cargo/passengers.

And we are READY!!!
(not the most flattering picture of me,
and I considered not posting it, 
but everyone else looks great in this pic,
so here it is...)

Daddy and R ventured up this hill...

J & the cargo and I waited at the bottom for our adventurers...

Show off!

R wobbled quite a bit at the top and all I could do is hold my breath!

 It was fun and we can't wait to do it again!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Its the End of a Season...

Things happen so fast around here I am always 
with blogging...
(not to mention the 4 kids and husband that I have to keep up with).

Instead of this post being WAYYYY too long,
I broke it up into a few updates over the next few days.
I had a REALLY long one, 
then went in and broke them up.
The cool thing is...
I can schedule when you get them!
So here is the first one.
The next 3 are done 
and will be scheduled shortly
and hitting your inboxes later this week!

The "end of season" stuff is in full swing:
School "year"
this season of sports
church classes

Summer is officially upon us!
And our days of nice weather are 
behind us...
we got a reminder of what Texas summers are like
I am NOT looking forward to this!
I can only pray it is not a record breaker 
this summer!


About 10 days ago, we had our end of season
pack meeting with the scouts.
We had it on the "festival grounds" of our church.
Your church has "festival grounds"??
Don't get too excited though - 
it is just because the church has no more room for 
on its TINY property where the church is.
The festival grounds are on
 a beautiful piece of private property donated
(or sold dirt cheap)
to the church years ago!
It has a builders house on it
a 4 car garage/shed,
a sheltered picnic area
complete with bathrooms
and then acres and acres of rolling beauty!
You can see snip its in the pictures below.

Our Pack invited:
first responders,
a couple of sherrifs
2 real life, honest to goodness

I was so excited about the Texas Rangers!
One of them even talked funny like some of the
folks back home and I got so excited,
til I found out he was from West Texas
and no where near "home".

Each of the groups above spoke for a minute or two
about what they do:
most of the responses were 
"I am so and so and I do what he tells me to do"
Then the captain of each group 
got up and said
"I am so and so and I tell all of them what to do"

That got a chuckle out of their captive audience.

Then they broke the kids up into groups
and we got to walk out and see their

(No - no one got put in handcuffs!)

And this bad boy was whipped out
at the request of one of the big kids
in the group...
a DAD!

I was really impressed with the care he took in 
unloading it, 
then handing it off to his partner to check
before he turned toward the kids
with it.

My Mercy!!

J is mesmerized about something here...

the Texas Rangers were
 my favorite!!

I took this pic specifically for my dad!!

The kids got to take turns climbing in the firetruck! 

Even Ms. Priss climbed in there!

Here is our pack and the pack leaders
and our community helper friends.

A even found a little friend,
the two of them enjoyed 
messing with this light during the
What humors me - the little girl on the floor
is only a year older than A...look at
the height difference!!!

Yep - she's petite!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Invigorated, Motivated & Inspired!!!

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending 
the First Annual 

I got in on the "ground floor" of this event 
and was even able to help out a little.

Since we do sports with the kids on Saturdays:
2 soccer games and 1 baseball game,
Daddy agreed to fly solo for a bit 
while I went to the conference for a little while.

When I originally presented him with the idea
I proposed being at the 8am soccer game,
leave from there and go to the conference
then meet him back at the field 
for the 2pm soccer game.

The day of, things changed a little.
I left when they left for soccer
and went straight to the conference
then missed the second game.
but it was worth it 

There were quite a few break out sessions
where they had speakers 
on different subjects:
Reluctant Readers
Frugal Living
Schooling Multiple Ages
Homeschool Graduate Panel
Homeschooling High School
Special Needs
Gifted & Talented

and quite a few more...

I did not get to go to all of them,
but they did make audio recordings of each session
that will be available shortly.

I will be getting a few of them!

I did get the opportunity to go to the Organization one
and made LOTS of notes!!!
I had already been headed down the 
"I need to get more organized"
and had ideas of things that needed to be done,
but it was all in my head.

The biggest thing I learned in this session was to
Write it down!
Make a list!

So I did...
I am still trying to figure out how to best tackle this.
I have started carrying a spiral notebook around with me
that I am writing stuff down in.
It has definitely helped having things on paper
and making a list.
That way I can see what I want to get done
and I can cross it off and it feels GREAT!

I am still working on the boys lesson plans
for next year and getting them in Excel.
The plan there is for me to write down
or print off what their assignments are each
week and they will be responsible for getting it all done.
(with me helping my 1st grader, of course)

I am considering getting them their own "agenda"
as well - similar to what they had in PS.
Still figuring this one out though.

I am also trying to figure out how to do a weekly 
schedule for our family. 
We will have a basic daily one
with EVERYTHING listed out
from sun up to sun down.
And since no two days are the same in our house...
we will adjust times based on the daily activities.
So I am trying to figure out how to manage that without 
doing a full fledged schedule every week, 
just amending the previous week's schedule .
Then this will be prominently displayed in the kitchen
for ALL to see.
Like I said - still working on this one though.
But I have started at least writing it down in my 
"handy dandy - notebook".

I have thought about turning another zippered binder into 
my life on paper.

Back to the conference:
I went to two other sessions,
didn't get anything "earth shattering" out of the second one.
The third one was about preschoolers and 
I got a bunch of great resources for both 
me and the kids from her.
(I have befriended the lady who presented and already
valued her opinion on items and picked up some tips from her)

From her I decided I wanted to look into these things:

*this series of DVDs and "stuff" are a huge HIT in this house!!
unfortunately this game appears to have been discontinued 
now what??
(just did a quick hunt and it is available on ebay - might have to look into that!)

by Stormie Omartian
(I am excited about these - it appears she also has a
devotional to go with Praying Wife!)

by Danielle Bean
*this too looks like it is not currently available
(luckily it is pretty far down on my "to read" list)

(but these are kinda pricey - so I might have to wait on these)

I also got to spend a little time 
"manning the chapel"
for adoration and confession.
That was a new experience,
and I have to admit I was a little nervous.
But it was wonderful getting the opportunity
to spend an HOUR in there
by myself
"sans kids".

Then I was bad and skipped my second child's soccer game
to listen to this man!

I had never heard of him and wasn't planning on staying for him.
But everyone I spoke to seemed so excited about this fella.
So I figured I would stay
(at this time, I thought I would be able to see him, 
then rush out and make it to the last part of J's game -
but I was off on J's game time by an hour - oops!
yes, it was in my phone at the correct time
don't ask)

I am so thankful I stayed.
His credentials are outstanding
and I recall reading somewhere
that he did some stand up comedy, maybe??
Sometimes I do feel like we are in the minority
(which we probably are now-a-days)
in how we raise our kids,
but I honestly think they are going to come
out a little better off for it.
So its nice to hear that we are not alone...

I hustled out of the room planning to run to J's game,
but stopped by his "table" real quick to look at the books he 
had mentioned.

I would up purchasing 3 things from him.
And then jumped behind the table to help him.
He didn't have back-up 
people were asking questions
waving money around
wanting autographed this 
pictures of that
(well pictures of him, but "that" sounded better).

So after I played cashier, 
I hurried back down to the vendor hall
(aka - gym)
purchased a few religion books from Seton
that were very highly recommended
and I wasn't completely happy with the religion
we were currently using.
We will see how this goes.
I think I will use both
and make sure I pick out the pages that correspond to the same
lesson out of each book.

Then I finally saw that my hubby had sent me two texts:
2:23p - Are you coming?  Game is half over already
2:35p - Game is over

But I am really excited about the things I picked up
from Dr. Ray:

(not that I think we need it, cause I think we have it pretty good,
but it can *always* be better!)

and this DVD
I can only HOPE that he has the same humor in this
DVD as he did in the speaking engagement at the conference!

I am so excited about these books!!

I have started reading 
"What Catholics Really Believe",
but only gotten through the first 2 pages (twice).

BUT, with my new found desire for 
some sort of order in this house,
I have,
yes *HAVE*,
successfully set an alarm 
and gotten out of bed BEFORE 6:30a
3 out of the last 5 mornings
#4 - I was up around 7am to get ready for church
#5 - well, no comment on that one.
(3,4 out of 5 ain't bad!)

So I think I have been doing well!
Downstairs, showered and ready
before I see or hear my beloved children.

baby steps 
gotta start 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Catching Up (Again)

So besides our mini-vacation last week...
what else have we been up to?

For starters, I have been working on a project
that I am SOOOO excited to share with you,
BUT, its not quite complete
I am doing 8 sets,
so it is taking me a while.
My mom and mother in law each received a set
last week.

Once the others have been completed,
mailed and received...
I will share...
but I am SO excited!!

We had some friends come over to play 
a few weeks ago.

The kids that were over 
are literally almost
the exact same age as my older 3
and same sexes...
so it was PERFECT.

A had a sweet little girl to play with.
She asked if we had dolls,
um, a few...
then she wanted clothes for them.
Hmmm...I don't think we have any sweetie.
You see, my little sweet girl is growing up in a house full of boys
and with a mommy that doesn't really remember playing with dolls.
I am sure I did - 
but we have purchased dolls 
and such for her
and she just never shows much interest.

So I showed her what we did have in A's room
and left them up there.
Then a few minutes later, she came down
asking me to help her take her dress off...
boy you should have seen the look on my face,

Then I finally figured out they had found the little 
princess dresses on the back of A's door 
and they wanted to play dress up.

So I helped her get into the little dress,
and showed them where A's little dress-up earrings
and bracelets and bows were.
Oh and shoes - they needed shoes!
The little friend (L), left her headband at the house.
And A has been talking about her friend, L
and saying her name
(that is a first for my kids, they all have the memory of 
their momma and can't remember their friends' names!)

Off with the bow box to play dress-up.

So there were 7 kids in our house
and God decided to make it rain.
Thank you, sir.
No I do not really want 7 kids
yes I am happy with the 4 I have,
now please make the rain stop so they can

Notice the girls still in their dresses.

Ok kids, time to switch.

I was not about to allow the littles on the trampoline
with those big boys.

That evening,
daddy did a little weight lifting.
He frequently does this with one kid at a time...
they were too wiggly to successfully do 2 at a time.

So mommy decided to challenge him to do
arm raises with our oldest.

(don't ask what we are watching - it appears to be a show
they are not supposed to be watching!)

Then a few months ago 
(Christmas I think)
one of my sisters sent a nifty packet of 
hand tattoos for the boys.

Haha - look mommy - he's eating him.

Baby bird update:

These were taken before we left for our trip.

when we got back, we discovered that they had learned
how to fly in our absence!  

They are still coming back to the nest every night,
but they love to perch on the top of the trampoline netting
during the day.
Which means there is TONS of poop on the trampoline now.