Thursday, October 31, 2013


What should a Christian family do with Halloween? I've thought about that a good bit over the last few years and wasn't sure I found an answer I really liked. Over the years, we've trick or treated, we've trunk or treated, we've fall festival'd, we've harvest festival'd. Never felt quite right. I do enjoy the dressing up- true confessions I like the candy too. But the pagan roots of halloween not my favorite.

This year we really enjoyed this whole time. We started last week with Princess and Pirate Night at Chick Fila. We had such a fun night. We had 2 beautiful princesses and 3 handsome pirates! 5 free kids' meals was fun for me :) and the kids loved the princess cow and pirate- well the kids minus Baby C who did not like either of them! Everyone at Chick-Fil-A was so friendly and helpful and that restaurant is really doing a lot of good- in addition to making yummy chicken!

We've also been making some yummy treats like this candy corn smoothie. It's hard to see but there are 3 layers- pineapple, mango, and banana. Not quite candy corn but pretty good! Last Friday we went to Pizza Hut- we really like their book it program. 4 free personal pan pizzas was nice and we had a super waitress too. She was so helpful with our dairy free orders. The rectangular pizza has no milk in the crust so we ordered that with no cheese for C. The kids and I enjoyed our night out. Just wish James could have been with us. 

 Baby C was a little bigger than list year but doing about the same thing- napping on me!
 Until she woke up and found bread sticks!! Yum! Especially if you get dairy free ones!
 After Pizza hut, a great consignment sale, Dollar Tree for Operation Christmas Tree shopping, and Mom's organic, we went to Grace Fellowship's Trunk or Treat. Even though I was worn out :) we had a really fun night. The trunks were all decked out, the games were fun, even bounce houses! A fun night! (and did I say free?)
 There was even a pirate ship for our 5 pirates!
 and face painting

Our fun didn't end there. Wednesday night we went to Trinity's Harvest Party and had lots of fun too. Tons of games, tons of candy, dinner, funnel fries, a pumpkin patch, ... K's highlight was winning at Bingo. T loved the marshmallow shooter. KG loved more face painting. 

But still the fun went on. Before all the fun, we told the kids we were going to do something different this year. Instead of keeping the candy from the fun events, we would give that candy away and give the kids a "switcheroo basket." The kids weren't really sure how to take that but chose the switcheroo given the other option was no events :) We had other fun crafts like our spider sausage
 Not a great pic but I don't want to forget all the fun the kids had splitting the candy into 3 bowls- candy to pass out 31 Oct, candy for Operation Christmas Child, and candy for Mommy and Daddy. and had a blast doing it- and some math practice!
 Our one treat we won't repeat was homemade candy corn. lots of work and didn't turn out so hot
 The kids enjoyed trail rides at the fall festival- beautiful day out

 Baby C enjoyed her car ride :) She got to pet bunnies too. I can't believe how fast she's growing!
 One of the highlights from Trinity was the Indiana (and Arizona) Jones show- I loved the message given at both fall festivals.
 Our cute bunny was too busy to sit still for a picture
 but isn't she cute heading up the stairs :)
 One of our yummy treats tonight

Yes, this is a long post but we had lots of fun and had the best time today. This morning we gave the kids their switcheroo baskets which had a few pieces of candy, a couple small fun things, a few fun needed things, in a lego box. So exciting. We spent most of the day learning about Reformation Day, All Saints Day, Martin Luther, indulgences, justification by faith, priesthood of believers. but it was fun. 

We made yummy treats- banana ghosts, caramel apples/ pears, and super fudge- definitely making that one again. We talked about being a light and the kids had a blast passing out candy to all the trick or treaters. Such a good night!

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's Fall!

and that means...
apple picking, pumpkin picking,

 We had such a good day at Shaw Orchards. We took the hayride out to the pumpkin orchard and found 4 of the biggest pumpkins in the field!

plus Baby C found one about her size :)
 Then another ride out to the apple orchard where we picked 140 pounds of beautiful cameo apples- our favorite!

Then back to Baltimore for super soccer games! I love beautiful fall days!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

K Birthday and PQ 10

I can't believe K is 9 now! How fast it's all gone! We got to have lots of celebrations of his birthday again this year. We started with his favorite- hamburger cupcakes. 

On his birthday, we did North Point State Park Quest- #10 for us. We did a hike through the woods and found letters to decode the answer to a mystery. We got to see lots of birds, a turtle, and lots of pretty area.
Then we spent the rest of the time swimming!
Except Baby C who enjoyed feeling the sand on her toes!
Another Baltimore birthday tradition- Cold Stone Creamery! Love the birthday club!
I'm so thankful for our 9 year old boy! I'm looking forward to lots more years and celebrations together!

PQ 24

We did it! We did it! do-do-do-do
We did 24 Park Quests
and we're going to the rendezvous
(sung to Dora Theme song)

We finished up today at Greenwell state park. A beautiful day for a nice walk. We found all 14 bluebird boxes. K answered all the questions about birds and trees and decoded the word.

 After the PQ we went to St Marys City, another Blue star museum.
 The kids loved all the hands on activities. They go to help carve a dugout canoe, grind corn, play Indian games
touch all sorts of skins, shells, jewelry in an indian longhouse
go aboard a ship and watch a cannon firing. 
What a super day to complete our Park Quests!

PQ 13 and 14 and Blue Star

Wow I wish I'd finished these blog posts this summer. But better late than never :)

So PQ 13 was Gunpowder Falls. I really enjoyed the hike- but the park quest not so much. The kids were really excited about finding cool water insects but we didn't find any.  the water was super muddy and the path from the walking trail to the water was near treacherous- ok that might be an exaggeration but definitely tough for this mom carrying a baby and for at least the younger two kids. Thankfully we did safely attempt to find bugs and could enjoy the hike back. beautiful area, great weather. PQ 13 complete!

Along with all the PQs we did this summer, we also were able to go to several Blue Star Museums. The kids all love learning about history so we enjoyed them a lot. One day we went to the National Blacks in Wax Museum. It didn't look great from the outside but the inside was really well done. The kids really enjoyed seeing all Revolutionary war figures and the sports stars like Jackie Robinson.

We also went to
  • B&O Railroad Museum every year in Baltimore for T's birthday

  • For PQ 14 we went to Sandy Point and did a puzzle hike. The kids really enjoyed finding the puzzle boxes and did great teamwork to do the puzzles. 

  • We loved the view of the Bay Bridge and the lighthouse from the end of the walk. a great day!
    We also went to Historic London Town and Gardens that day. This Blue Star museum was much smaller than Williamsburg or Historic St. Mary's City but still neat. This pic shows when the oldest cities in MD were established. Fun to go visit some!
    The kids loved the storytime- the book was about a slave girl learning to read. It made our school time seem much less hard.

    Monday, October 14, 2013


    What a great trip! We got home last night from a super end of summer trip to the beach! We love the beach- and it's especially great in September! We've gone at least the last three years to Myrtle Beach for a week in September with my parents and each trip has been super. We've usually spent most of our time in the pool, on the beach, and playing games. This time we did that the whole time- and I loved it. My Dad found a super parking spot for us on check in day and I never moved the truck after we checked in. I did go to the grocery store with my Mom once but she drove.  my parents did make some trips to the grocery store during the week but otherwise my only transportation was walks on the beach, swims in the ocean and pool, and shuttle rides to the cottages. And James was able to be with us a good part of the week! A great trip!

    Most days the kids and I went on a sunrise walk on the beach. We went back to the room for breakfast and a game or two- mancala, uno, rummikub, battleship, trouble, ... Then down to the beach for fun in the sun! James found a great tent which we set up on the beach- shade for the beach and a great addition to our camping gear! After some digging and sand castle building, time for swimming. The changes in the kids in a year was amazing. T is now a real swimmer. K and C looked like little fish going over and under the waves. KG had no fear and loved the crashing waves- especially the ones with "lots of bubbles." and Baby C was a sweetie; Nana usually stayed upstairs for Baby C to nap and then she came down ready to grin and cuddle with Nana and Papa.  She did love the sand too and she's definitely a water baby! Next, the lazy river and swimming before lunch. A first for this year was my Mom brought the slow cooker which we used a lot so we had lots of soup/ chilli and salad for lunch. After lunch more games- sometimes a nap, sometimes straight to the beach or pool. Some days a shuttle ride to the cottages for shuffle board, corn hole and swimming.