Sunday, July 28, 2013

Imagination Station

The other day, SaraGrace came up with a new form of entertainment.  This is a child who will take two sticks and pretend they are people--so her imagination is well developed.

She made little people out of paper, cut them out, and then made a whole village for them to play in.  Soon the other kids were intrigued and making little villages to add to hers.

They had birthday parties, mail with real envelopes, books...  anything their little minds could dream up.

Some drew cars...

Some made buses for their people to ride in.

They found some tape that had more than an inch left on the roll.  It made me wonder if they have 27 rolls of it squirreled away somewhere, since there is NEVER an available one when I need one.

The Duck Dynasty fans made a TV for their people.

Jordan made a dinosaur to go with his.

SaraGrace--of course--made a castle.

Here is a close-up of some of SaraGrace's people.

A close-up of their mail, flowers, and even a little picture book.

This kept them entertained for hours!  It amazes me what they can do with paper, scissors, tape, and a bit of imagination.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Yummy Dinner idea

If you are a mom, you probably struggle from time to time with ideas for dinner.
If you're like me, when you find one, you make it over and over until your family begins to hate it.


This is a crock pot recipe that I thought would come in handy for those of us wilting in the current heat wave.

It's adapted from "The Slow Cooker Bible."  I forgot to take a picture of it last night and there were no leftovers, so just imagine yourself sitting in a Chinese restaurant, looking down at a steaming plate of cashew chicken.

I double this recipe and it feeds 10 of us.

Cashew Chicken

1/2 bag of chicken breasts  (I buy them in the freezer section at Target.  You can also use the bag of rib meat pieces, which I discovered yesterday has more meat in it.)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup of celery
1 Tablespoon of soy sauce
1 can of water chestnuts
green onion to taste (or you can skip and it will still taste yummy)
1 cup cashews

The original recipe says to cut up the chicken and fry it.  If you ask me, the whole point of cooking anything in the crock pot is being able to throw everything in and forget about it all day.  So if you want to bother frying your chicken, go for it.  I dump mine into the pot still frozen and dump everything else in on top of it, EXCEPT the cashews.  Cook on high for 4 hours if your chicken is frozen--low for probably 3-4 if thawed.  Stir in the cashews just before serving.  Serve over rice.

It's soooooo good.  And easy.

You will love it.

You're welcome.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Birthday Boys

July is a 3-birthday month for us.  Three of our four boys have July birthday's.

Ryan starts it off with a very cool 4th of July birthday.  Sadly, we haven't spent his birthday with him since he left for the Army--so no photos of him.

Taylor is next and this year he turned 19.  Jillian made him a cake based on one of his favorite beverages...Monster.

"Sitting in front of my candles while Mom insists on taking pictures....urgh."
Please give your grandparents a smile...

That very same day, Jake had an epic event at the YMCA pool.  He passed the swim test!  Woohoo!  We all knew he could have passed it last year, but he was sure he could not.  Several of the life guards remembered him from last season and knew he could do it.  They tried to coax him and assure him that he could pass--all to no avail.  He was petrified of jumping into the deep end.  Finally, I showed him that I could touch the ground on one side of the rope (shallow end) as well as the other side which was still only 5 feet deep.   We also had him practice treading water for 60 seconds, which was required for passing the test.  I don't know if that is what did it, but the next day he announced that he was going to take the test.  He marched into the pool area and confidently jumped in.  Shortly afterwards, he was proudly sporting the green wrist band that gives him access to the entire pool.  Yay!  Since Mommy had uh...forgotten to take Taylor's original cake out of the oven on time, Jake got a cake, too. 

A week later it was Jake's birthday and he wanted a turtle cake.  Jillian had a picture of a turtle design that was actually made from cupcakes.  So cute!

    "Thanks, Jillian.  I love my cake!"

 Happy Birthday Ryan, Taylor and Jake!!  We love you!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Unorthodox Rainy Day Activities

Much of the country has had more than average rainfall this summer.  While this eliminates the need to water parched grass and flowers, it does present a problem for all moms trying to keep kids occupied.

I'm not a mom who is a cruise director.
If my kids say they're bored, I am always happy to give them a chore to relieve said boredom.
However...that doesn't mean that I don't try to give them some tools to use their imaginations or just have fun.

I picked up some packages of water balloons in the $1 section at Target.  I knew they would have a blast with them.

What I didn't know is that they would use them for an INDOOR activity on a day that they were trapped indoors.

How they managed to blow up those tiny water balloons with air, I'll never know.  It makes the glands in my neck ache just thinking about it.  But soon they were giggling and laughing hysterically.

Who knew static could be so useful?
This activity was the brain child of Jillian--who often comes up with creative uses for ordinary things.
How many, and how long will they stick to the wall?
"I think I can.  I think I can..."
"Oh yeah.  That's what I'm talking about."
Zoey was the champion knot tie-r-upper.  She was the only one who didn't seem to have an issue touching the spittle-laden bombs.  Eventually, the kids realized that they could 'tie' them just by twisting them tightly because the wetness held them together.  GROSS!
While Jordan's constantly photo-bombing brother, Jakey, kept sticking his head in front of the lens, Jordan was content to stay in the background perfecting a much more sophisticated project.
He attached his balloons to his paper airplane to make jet propelled engines.  Sadly, though it worked, the balloons were so small that it didn't make the jet fly far.  We need to get some bigger balloons.  But I think he gets the prize for the coolest project of the day.
Chloe used hers as a metal detector of sorts--using static to pick up paper.

So there you go.  Hours of fun with a few $1 packages of water balloons.  And if you're lucky, all that balloon blowing will exhaust them and they might even want to take a nap.

Or in our case.  Not.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Independence Day Interesting Facts

On the 28th of June in 1826, Thomas Jefferson lay dying.  Although his doctor predicted that he would not live through the night, Jefferson prayed that God would allow him to live long enough to celebrate the Jubilee of the Declaration of Independence. 

He miraculously lived until the fourth of July.  His last words were,
"I have done for my country, and all mankind all that I could do, and now I resign my soul, without fear, to my God, to my daughter, to my country."  And then he twice uttered, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace."

Thomas Jefferson left this world at the very HOUR (12:50 PM) that the Declaration of Independence had received its final reading that 4th of July.  Many Americans marveled as they saw the hand of God so clearly evidenced, leading one historian of that day to declare it "A Divine Conspiracy of Circumstances.'

Only five hours later, John Adams, another statesman who championed the Declaration of Independence, also died.  His last words were, "Independence Forever," and "Jefferson survives."

Monday, July 01, 2013

A Little Princess flew to Jesus today

Many adoptive parents around the world were deeply saddened today at the loss of a special little girl named, Teresa.  She was born with a broken heart and was orphaned in China.  More than anything else she wanted a family.  God led a family to her and for the past three years she has lived the life of a 'princess,'  thoroughly loved and introduced to Jesus.  Teresa loved Jesus with all her heart.

Today, after a two week battle to survive a heart transplant, God healed her heart by calling her home to be with Him.  I highly recommend going to her Mama's blog to read their amazing story.  They are all an inspiration and Teresa has brought people together from all over the world.  Their blog is: .