Monday, June 28, 2010

I’m on the Crew!


I’m excited to announce that for the coming year I have been chosen to be part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, and will be reviewing educational products from various vendors.

Stay tuned for future reviews!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dyed Pasta

About 3 weeks ago, our PAT (Parents as Teacher) educator brought a bin of colored pasta to our house. It was a BIG hit! The boys loved scooping, manipulating and just playing with it. I thought “I could do that”and so here is my feeble attempt. The end product turned out great, but see the bottom for some tips from someone who really didn’t know what she was doing :-)

When searching the Internet, I found all kinds of recipes for how to dye pasta. They were all so different so I just figured I would throw a little of this and a little of that in and see how it turned out.

Here is what I did:

1. Separate pasta into 6 plastic bags, or however many colors you want.
2. Put a little of each kind of pasta into each bag.
3. Put about 2-3 capfuls of rubbing alcohol into each bag of pasta.
4. Drop food coloring into the bag and toss and turn to coat. Keep adding food coloring to achieve desired color.

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5. Put paper towels on cookie sheets and let dry. I just left mine for the whole morning since we had plans that day.

6. When dry, put in bin with bowls, spoons, containers, etc. and hopefully you will see smiles like this…

My first-timer tips:
* put on old clothes that you won’t mind getting food coloring on (why didn’t I think of that?)
*Put newspapers down on counter
*when drying, pasta color will bleed through paper towels/newspaper so I thought of the cookie sheet thing, but not until my counter was covered in color
The kids sure do enjoy this, now I just have to figure out where to store it. ;-)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Today my little Colin turned 2. Let me tell you, it feels like he’s been 2 for about 3 months now. He is my spunky, fearless little daredevil and already I’ve caught myself saying “the terrible twos are upon us”….he has a mind of his own and he wants what he wants, when he wants it. Hopefully someday that strong personality will be of good use to him.

Just for fun, here are a few pics of the day he was born.

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and him at 1 year…

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and now at 2 years old…

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Mommy loves you “Colin-boy”…mwaaa!!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Our Camping Adventure

I wouldn’t really call myself or my husband “campers”, but with two boys, I thought we’d better start getting used to it as I think camping is so great for kids.

Our first trip of the season was to one of the infamous Jellystone Park Resorts starring Yogi Bear himself. It is actually the same park that I went to as a kid so it was kind of a blast from the past.  All in all, the experience was positive and the kids had a great time. Plus, it’s always nice to have a break in the routine and just do something different. Here are a few of the highlights from the weekend.

Swimming! We got the kids these nifty puddle jumper flotation devices that I just LOVE. For the first time, Garrett felt comfortable being in the water by himself and that itself made it worth the price.  They also loved jumping into daddy’s arms.

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And here’s Yogi Bear, the star of the show….

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The campground had a great little play area for kids with a playset, sandbox and jumping pillow. The jumping pillow is kind of like a giant trampoline and the kids loved it. Oh and at dusk they had what else? Vintage Hannah Barbara Yogi cartoons. FUN!

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Then there’s the campfire…the kids were infatuated with making, poking and tending to the fire. I guess that’s to be expected, but it made for one stressed out mommy. It was also a wet day so the fire was not “roaring” to say the least, but it did the job for smores.

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Every weekend has it’s own theme, and this weekend happened to be the Easter weekend, so the kids had an Easter egg hunt and made a few different types of bunny crafts. We also did an egg toss (which Garrett and I almost won coincidentally-our egg would NOT break!) and he had a chance to hit an egg pinata. We also took a wagon ride with Yogi. They loved the activities. I’m not going to post those pics just because I have so many but it was just fun, especially since the weather wasn’t cooperating.

Here we are eating breakfast in front of our cabin.


And my favorite picture of all…don’t you wonder what the kids are doing? Well, we found out shortly after we arrived that we were about 50 feet away from a train track. And oh…there were about 25 trains per day AND night that whistled each and every time it passed the campground. WHHAAAT? I am still in shock about this because isn’t the point of camping to relax? And still, there were people with seasonal sights even closer to the tracks than  us. I guess there are some things in life I am not meant to understand, and this is one of them. We now see trains in a whole new light.


All in all, a nice weekend. Even if we don’t end up being lifelong campers, at least we can pull out the pictures someday and say that we gave it our best shot. I can always blame it on the trains…or the bird that pooped on me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Remembering Keith…


Today is a hard day.  Exactly one year ago, my brother took his own life.  He was 33 years old and seemed to have the world at his fingertips.  He had a great job as a military contractor, a girlfriend whom he had just introduced us to, and a loving family.

Keith was such a fun person.  He was often the life of the party and had a joyous, infectious way about him.  If you were his friend, he would do anything for you. He would definitely “have your back” if he trusted and respected you.

He also had some rough times and we know now that those rough times probably were the result of some kind of depression.  How tragic  that he couldn’t ask for help and didn’t feel that life was worth living.  We just hope that he has finally found the peace that he longed for, and that he is up there looking down on us.  I miss him and what he brought to our family terribly. Rest peacefully brother-I will see you again someday.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June Fun in the Sun

It was a rough winter (being newly pregnant and all), and so I am thrilled that the sunshine is here and we can enjoy the great outdoors. After all, what else should two boys be doing? Here are just a few of the things we’ve been up to lately.

Grant and Garrett’s Fishing Trip
This was a huge success. I knew Garrett would enjoy it, but I had no idea just how much.  Thank you to Hy-Vee for sponsoring the free fishing derby. This could very well be a family tradition.

So when I asked Garrett “Did you catch a fish?” The response was rather unexpected. He said “I caught a turtle”. What? And so here is the picture of the poor turtle and the proud fishermen. Not exactly what we told him he’d be catching, but oh well.

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I love this shot…my peaceful boys. How Garrett sat so patiently remains a mystery to me, but Grant said he did a great job.
The Children’s Zoo Fun Day We’d never been to this zoo before, but it’s been on my to-do list for a few years now. It is a cute little park and perfect for younger kids.  They enjoyed seeing sheep, goats, calves, peacocks, and chickens.  Can you see the animal behind the kids?

There is also some very fun "old-fashioned” play equipment to play on.
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This particular day was the park’s “fun day” and so there was much fun to be had. First there was the Storybook Express train that took them around the park. (that cute little blonde is our neighbor!)

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There were fun games such as the tractor pull. I’m proud to announce that Garrett went 15’5 feet and has the certificate to prove it. (See the tongue? That’s what he does when he’s nervous or when people are watching) Colin? Well he tried :-)

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And finally, a free lunch. We also got bags of goodies. I’m not sure who was in charge of this day, but it was a very good time and we’ll be back next year!

Time to Get the Pool Out! This actually happened in May, but I’ll post a few pics anyway. All of a sudden, the temperature skyrocketed to 90 degrees and so we thought it would be fun to get wet.

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Why are there no pictures of Colin? Well, I guess he was tuckered out :-)

More fun to be had this weekend as we venture out to Jellystone Park!