Fun Adventures with My Kiddos

This past weekend was full of travels and adventures. We had a whirl wind trip to southern California.

Day One we explored the Los Angeles Science Center. There are plenty of exciting exhibits as you can see in the photos like:

Wind tunnels that blow hurricane level winds all over the kids.

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which of course he must make it to the top to ring the bell and light the lights up…

then get his congratulatory slam down hug from his sis!

imageThere were “crystal balls” which magically make your brother do ridiculous things!

imageWind poppers that are irresistible to my drum player!

imageThermal Imaging is always fun…

…and of course MY kids were hoping they could create gas that showed up on the screen!

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The science center also has a fantastic aquarium/touch pools.

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There were ICE (real deal COLD) walls

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Quickly my son discovered punching ice, isn’t quite the same as punching snow!

(ouch!)

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lots of opportunities to push, pull, feel, examine, etc…

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and last but not least…the Endeavor Space Shuttle has a home at the science center.

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My kids were thrilled to touch wheels that have ACTUALLY BEEN IN SPACE!

“mom seriously these wheels have been in outer space! touch them mom, they were really in outer space!”

Day Two we met up with some friends and conquered LEGOLAND!

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Day Three we celebrated with my childhood friend and her daughter at her daughter’s “Fancy Tea” themed birthday party.

I can remember as kids thinking when we grow up our kids will play with each other and we will all live happily ever after! ❤

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Well it’s true minus a billion miles between us…amazingly our daughters are really close regardless!

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I was cracking up watching these girls attempt delicate moves! One little girl had a tea-cup airborne giving the host a heart attack,

another nearly ripped her dress trying to break dance and my own sweet daughter ended up ripping off one of the roses on her dress…

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Graceful they were not, but beautiful and happy they were!…these girls loved being fancy for a day!

 It’s great when homeschooling gives you the freedom to learn on the go and share such fun memories with close family and friends!

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Mellow Week

Well I started my blog post on Thursday and forgot to finish it….wonder if I will ever get into the groove of weekly blogging? I hope so! I used to have negative thoughts about blogs, but over the years they have been helpful in many cases. This means I have to conquer a sub-conscience negative feeling toward the process and a weekly goal. I must accept the fact I’m a blogger now! Haha!

This week has been filled with lots of love, snuggles and cuddles! Mostly a mellow week.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day a smidgen early with some homeschooling friends.

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The kids decorated cupcakes and ate way more sugar then they should have, but the mamas saved the kids from licking the frosting beaters….shhhhh it was Delicious!

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And I found lovely notes and chocolates around the house from a secret admirer. (Who happens to need admirer as a spelling word) haha!

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It was a quiet week over all, with a lot of sofa school (which translates to mama Lou reading educational books to the kids and discussing our new-found information.

My son, has been earning all his states on the app “Stack the States” during his free computer time. He loves that game and has learned so much about the various United States thru play.  Next up “Stack the Countries”

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Another fun way we’ve been learning this week is thru the tv show “Horrible Histories.”

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I love when education just happens in a fun and entertaining way! So much more fun then our boring old academic worksheets.

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However a “marshmallow test” is a good incentive to finish your worksheets! (Look close there is a marshmallow taunting him)

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We found a bush that was full of berries. I remember as a child being told to not eat the berries because they are poisonous; yet, a friend of mine thought they might be a berry you can make some sort of edible something with…

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….so this week we have been searching thru various herb and plant books to try to discover what plant it is, and whether or not it is poisonous or useful and in many case it could be both.

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We are having trouble identifying it as there are many plants with similar berries and leaves. We snapped off a bit of it today and will be taking it to the nursery for help with identification.

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We also had fun with friends, making artwork, getting beauty treatments, building Legos, playing with transformers, over all making a giant mess of the playhouse.

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Last but not least! Drum is always a lesson we are excited to go to and practice for!

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Friday 1/30 – Thursday 2/5

My new goal is to show a better idea of how our weeks go for those new to homeschooling. I remember how difficult it was to wrap my head around the idea of homeschooling, because I never knew if I would be doing it right. Nearly five years later I can assure you, there is NO RIGHT WAY, in fact over the years we’ve mixed and mingled many styles and philosophies. The bottom line is: if your children are learning, your family is successfully homeschooling.

So this past week we had a few fun adventures outside of our typical academics.

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The kids were enrolled in a Home schoolers Bike Safety Course. The organization that set it up, was fantastic. They had laid out an entire course of faux streets, stop signs, lanes, pedestrians, sidewalks, texting drivers, bushes where random things came darting out towards them, even had car doors that flung open as they tried to pass. I was particularly impressed when they had ten kids on bikes riding in a figures 8 sorting out the intersection issues on their own! Kids are really capable when given the power!

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We also attended a homeschool PE class. (Always cracks me up when people think homeschool kids don’t socialize…still makes me giggle a bit when someone asks me if I am concerned about socialization.)

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This weeks class was dodge ball, which was an all times favorite of mine! After the hour-long class, a majority of us stayed and the kids played for another hour or so. All ages, sizes and genders happily engaging and having fun together!

We hiked up to a painted “cave” (although I’d call it more of a “wall” myself)

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We learned about the Native Americans and the theories on what the paintings mean. I personally thought the picture the experts debate being a bird or a turtle I thought was more of a round circle with nothing more to it, could be a dinner plate, the sun or moon, etc..regardless it was interesting and fun to see.

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We we spent some times at the tide pools. We found some pretty cool creatures, shells and rocks. best part was we had our very own archeologist guide with us to share her knowledge both at the cave/wall and the tide pools!

The weather was BIZARRE…at one point we were freezing and wearing giant ski coats, the next moment we were baking hot and seeking shade!

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My son who at times likes to “be tough and manly” decided today was an ok day to let down the guard and spend some time wool felting a blanket and sewing a pillow for his favorite stuffed animal. Winters can be so cold and we wouldn’t want his stuffies to freeze!

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And last but not least, “Fiesty” (the only hen in the eight eggs we hatched out a while ago) started laying eggs…you can see her “practice egg” below next to an average sized egg. Isn’t that the cutest little yoke you’ve ever seen?! ❤️

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Of of course our week also included academics, horse riding lessons, drum lessons, Spanish lessons, lunch with grandpa, play dates, swimming at the gym pool, etc…

See ya next week…

(please excuse any autocorrection I’ve missed…autocorrect might be the death of me one day!)

New Goals and updates

I have a few new goals this year.

We started a new routine to our day when we started back from the holidays. We are aiming to keep this routine for 100 days. So far we are forming new habits and it’s going well!

Now that is flowing I’m going to try a weekly post on this blog. I am telling myself there is no reason I can’t do this! I have a gap of time every Thursday, and if I make that gap of time blog time in my mind, it should work out.

As for a mini update, here are a few things we’ve been doing (or dealing with)

We hatched out 8 eggs (think I blogged about it in previous posts) well seven of the eight chicks were roosters! Yes I use “were” because a few of them became dinner.

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It it was difficult to watch. I don’t think I’ll be able to endure that again unless I saw something far swifter!

But once dead, I felt it was a waste if we didn’t eat them and honor their life in a way.  My daughter and I plucked them and discussed life and death. It was a nice opportunity to have a meaningful conversation on this topic.

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It was honestly THE BEST CHICKEN DINNER I’ve ever had!

A few lucky roosters have gotten to stay, because they were the least dominate and we weren’t interested in having a lot of cock fights or children being chased after.

Black beard and silver seven (grey one on the left, with his less dominant tail down) got to stay. The grey rooster with his tail up, Greyson, was given to a friend…his outcome is unknown and I don’t want to know because I have a feeling eventually he will be dinner.

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So far silver seven and  black beard are doing alright, but this spring we will need to get them some lucky ladies, as our current rooster Frosty is not sharing his flock what so ever! Not even one hen!

NEW DRUMS!

Another new addition to the family is my sons beloved drum set. He has put together his own “band” they are named “THE PIXELATORS” remember that name as one day he’s certain he will have a famous rock band!

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Best part of this electronic drum set is….drum roll please…you can play with headphones and it’s quiet! Haha! He can also play loud without the headphones, so best of both worlds!

Recently we had a band practice…it was priceless!!! The Pixelators Rock!

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Another fun adventure is seeing my children find their curiosity! I was worried it left the house, but recently while having free time, they are doing science experiments and art work again! Another good reminder not to worry too much,  life does truly come in waves.

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And of course we are still doing our school work…

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…nothing better than graphing CANDY!

we also attended an acrobat performance. The kids we’re very impressed with this man balancing on six chairs, on top of a stand…

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And this man riding a bicycle with eight passengers!

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This performance has encouraged a few acrobatic activities at home!

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Have a great week…hopefully my goals of working out 7 minutes a day (with the “SEVEN” app) and weekly blog writing will take place! Just a few goals at a time…once these are in place I will add more goals, or new habits!

Glass Blowing Is Amazing!

 

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Recently we had a rare opportunity to watch a glass blower create amazing artwork. Saul (the glass blowing artist) and his wife Gina were both really kind gentle people who took the time to share this incredible craft with our kids.

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He showed the kids all his supplies, how he makes the various colors, how to add colors to the clear glass, showing us all the tools and ovens used to make his creations. (Which are VERY HOT! 2000+ degrees hot!) He also crafted a gorgeous vase for the kid’s demonstration so they could see a ball of scalding hot goo turn into a masterpiece before their very eyes from start to finish.

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Saul is very humorous and entertaining for both the children and adults alike. His demonstration was so captivating, my wiggly giggly kiddos were frozen like statues watching, learning and sucking in every aspect of glass blowing like little sponges. They enjoyed every second of the experience and were in complete awe!

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When he was finished with his demonstration, he took the time to let the kids create a piece of glass work themselves. He was very patient. Words can not describe how great he was with the kids. He is exactly what you would want in a mentor. My son was actually terrified at first of being burnt, but Saul was so good with my son; he was able to conquer his fears and create his bird.

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Both of my kiddos chose to make birds. They were able to pick their colors, manipulate the glass goo ball, use his tools and literally create their very own piece of art.

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In this mother’s opinion, these two birds are priceless!

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As a home schooler, I was thrilled to find out Saul and his wife Gina home schooled their children who are now in college.

If you have the opportunity to see glass blowing I highly recommend it.

Do Homeschool Kids Miss Out?

Each year we have an annual homeschool cupcake decorating valentines day party. This year valentines day happen to land on a public school holiday (Presidents day) so we were able to invite both our homeschooled and public schooled friends which was a special treat.

We had about fifty people here enjoying themselves. And once again, I look around to find a bunch of kids that are very well socialized and have lots of friends. (Mythbuster #1 – homeschool kids have friends and are socialized!)

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Kids were having a blast all over the place, jumping on the trampoline, zipping down the zip line, climbing trees, digging giant holes in the hillside (apparently just a few foxholes and trenches incase we reenact the war during history lessons, haha!) and decorating cupcakes. It is always such fun to see kids being kids and having a ball!

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It is also great to see so many school kids and homeschool kids getting along. (Mythbuster #2 – that homeschool kids and school kids can’t get along.) They all cooperated and worked well together toward similar goals.

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There were lots of various ages ranging from 2-12 and all the kids seemed helpful and able to get along with their peers, which beats yet another myth…(Mythbuster #3 – who’s a peer? same age? same interest? same capabilities? or someone you just like hanging out with regardless of differences?)

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So as I look around and see an amazing group of kids that are very well socialized busting more homeschool myths I feel happy to know we are a part of it all. I love knowing with time the homeschoolers will show the world just how fantastic they are!

I hope anyone that is considering homeschooling understands that the lifestyle of a homeschooler is not some foreign weirdo world. Your lifestyle is up to you. Homeschooling puts the control back into your hands. Your family, home, life is once again yours.

And the answer is NO…homeschool kids do NOT miss out on anything! They have lots to celebrate!

Tis The Season To Be Busy…Fa La La La La La La

I haven’t been keeping up on my blog, because life just has a way of speeding by during this time of the year. We arrived home from our vacation and came home to boom boom boom a long list of events…We start off with Harvest, then Halloween, then Thanksgiving (and Thanksgivukkah this year for our Jewish friends) and POOF Christmas is right around the corner.

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On this particularly busy day, it was a super crazy day. I was going all day and exhausted. The kids were off playing and I saw a window for myself to just have a calm quiet cup of tea. I made myself a cup of tea, got a book, a couple extra cushions for the patio chair, settled myself down. Look over and see this! Seriously! Really? You gotta be kidding me! Ever have days like this!?! Well you aren’t alone! 😉

Here is a photo blog of what has been keeping us so busy and hopefully that will release me of my poor blogging skills guilt! (there’s always hope right!?!? ha ha!) It should make the family happy to have current photos of the kiddos doing what they do. 🙂

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Harvest Time – We generally spend a little time in the vineyard picking grapes with the crews. They often will save us a small plot to pick, because to be honest the crews are MUCH MORE efficient then we are. They can clear three or four rows in the same time we pick our small patch. But it is still fun to be a part of the harvest, eat a few grapes, dodge a few bees, learn hands on what a harvest really is about.

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Horse riding lessons – Each week the kids have horse riding lessons with an amazing trainer. Each week they alternate between English, Western & Vaulting lessons. Their balance and spatial awareness is growing leaps and bounds! In this photo the horse is walking. She is learning various vaulting skills at walk and trot.

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Science Experiments – This was a science kit explaining quick sand. After this experiment I found a better recipe online and we created a larger bowl of “quick sand” that occupied the kids for days and sadly killed many small plastic animals. (no worries though, all were saved by the dishwasher!)

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Pumpkin Patch Farm With Homeschooling Friends – we spent about 6 hours at this farm enjoying every aspect of it. Seeing the fields on a tractor hay ride, running thru hay mazes, feeding the farm animals, shopping their fresh product, eating yummy treats in their restaurant. It was a great day and the kids (mama too!) were tuckered out afterwards!

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And of course we carved pumpkins…Jack O’lanterns are always so much fun!

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More BIG NEWS – “Mom Dad, come see” – sooo we head outside and there she is, riding her brothers bike without training wheels. Apparently big brother helped her learn how to ride his bike. We were able to see the first steps as he ran behind her on his bike, hilariously cute! So dad took the trainers off HER bike and she “relearned” on her bike…she is very proud of her new-found skills!

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And of course “SCHOOL TIME” – both kiddos enjoy desk work (believe it or not!) I have my theories on why my kids think school work is fun…pretty much has to do with the fact it’s THEIR CHOICE.

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“SURFING” on Grandpa’s back – I remember doing these things with my dad as a child and it’s fun to see my kids enjoying the same adventures. He would throw us up in the air, across the pool, we’d swim on his back and pretend he was a dolphin, Surf across the pool on his back. And it appears he still has the touch!

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Homeschool Park Day – Halloween party for the homeschoolers. Some people believe homeschoolers are unsocialized and they never get to play with their peers. I will tell you during this fun adventure I heard a lot of the kids using their words to say things like “please pass the stickers” or “thank you” I didn’t see any pushing, shoving or grabbing going on. I’d say they were very well-mannered and displayed great social skills.

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Trick or Treat – Halloween is always fun! This year we celebrated with some friends. The kids ran from door to door and then afterwards enjoyed a good old fashion candy swap. I think all the kids felt they came out ahead!

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School Math the next day included Candy sorting, charting, adding and the kids favorite SUBTRACTING (aka eating!)

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Homeschool Park Day – Each week we get together with homeschool friends for park day and it is always so fun to see the older kids helping the younger kids and all the kids having fun together just being kids! I love it! So much joy!

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We made a little road trip to see JACK HANNA in action! he brought a bunch of wild animals to share with us and teach us some interesting facts about animals and various areas in the world.

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Our reading tree is SLOWLY filling. We actually have read way more books, but we unfortunately keep forgetting to add them to the tree. Each item is for a different reading situation, the animals are for chapter books, acorns for readers, leaves for story books, etc…

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Rain Gutter Regatta – This is a cub scouts event. The boys build sail boats and then using their breath power they blow the boat in a race down rain gutters. Its great fun and the kids all design great vessels!

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More School Time – they love their desks and it cracks me up every time they happily work away at their desks asking for more work.

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Another opportunity to do some math, geography, foreign language and character work – each year about this time, Samaritan’s Purse puts on the OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD program http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ and each year I give the kids a budget and a list of approved items. I take them shopping and they can choose what they want to go into their shoe box. They need to stay within budget. They need to scout out items that are on the list and fit in their box. They deliver the boxes to a local church and see all the work people put into making Christmas special for others. They learn about giving. We purchase tracking codes so we can track what country our boxes go to and learn more about that area. And they HOPE a child will return a letter one day. This year we wrote our letter in a couple of languages hoping someone would translate for the receiver. We shall see.

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We read a bunch of books on nature and animal tracks. One of the books suggested looking for an OWL during the day. So we headed out in search of tracks, owls and owl pellets. (which is owl puke, some people think it’s poop. The owl eats a WHOLE mouse and then the fur and bones bundle up together during digestion and the owl pukes it out)

We did find lots of tracks, bobcats, deer, pigs, coyotes, birds, and our dogs! ha ha! At the base of several trees we searched for owl pellets. We looked at the tippy tops of many trees. No owls and no owl pellets. But lucky for us, Amazon.com sells owl pellet kits and has two-day shipping! ha ha!

The kits are great, because they come with little bone charts and the kids can pretend they are paleontologists, digging around for bones and then placing them back together to see if they have a whole animal!

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When it was all over the kids drew pictures and wrote about it in their nature journals.

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On occasion we get to do school with our homeschooling friends.

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and we also get to do pizza parties and arcade games with our homeschooling friends.

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We have a few family traditions that make our Thanksgiving one of our favorite holidays! For starters we eat venison instead of turkey. 1) we’re pretty sure they had venison at the first thanksgiving meal. and 2) no one in our family likes turkey, so who wants to spend all day cooking a big old bird no one will eat. We have a TURKEY SHOOT, which is great fun! The kids blow up surgical gloves and we decorate them to look like turkeys. Take them down to the shooting range and take turns shooting the turkeys. (We use both rifles and bows) And last but certainly not least, we have a pumpkin toss. And all of those pumpkins we collected are tossed down the canyon. We see who can throw the farthest, highest, funniest, etc… Then we hike down the canyon and smash the pumpkins open, getting any aggression out on the poor little pumpkins! ha ha! But this opens them up so nature can take its course and the pumpkins do their part in the cycle of life.

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And then comes the food coma! I couldnt eat another bite!

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We also have piano recitals that keep us moving and grooving!

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Before you know it, it is Christmas tradition time! Poof, three months has flown by! This year for the first time, the kid’s gingerbread houses don’t look like a candy/frosting factory puked on them. This is the first year they both decided to follow some suggested ideas in the directions! I was both impressed and sad to be honest. I was impressed with how well their houses came out (one is in the background, but you can still see it, lovely icicles!) But I was sad to know their childish glops of frosting and uneven gum drops were days of the past now. It has spurred a field trip. We are going to go check out a bakery that makes professional gingerbread houses and see how they do their amazing decorating tricks.

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And with Christmas comes the shelf elves! Meet Sir SugarSocks MacMistletoe and his lady elf friend. They get into mischief in our house on occasion, but for the most part they are decent elves that simply report to Santa how the kids are doing throughout the season!

Please forgive my lack of blogging lately, but as you can see we have been keeping busy with events, friends, family and school.