Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving/ Merry Christmas!

We were really excited to start our Christmas celebration Thanksgiving weekend for the 3rd year in a row. It's been really nice to make our Christmas last longer! Grandma, Pops Leon, and Uncle Brian came up for Thanksgiving and we celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday and Christmas on Friday. We'd been reading Thanksgiving books for a week or so. The kids really know the Pilgrim story well now and we're starting to remember the history of Thanksgiving more. But the big thing we wanted to sink in was being thankful. We definitely have lots to be thankful for- including yummy food! Grandma brought her sweet potato casserole, apple pie, pecan pie. We made LOTS of greens. James Big Easy'd a turkey and smoke a turkey breast- so good. The boys each made a dairy free pie- James said K's pie crust looked better than mine. KG made cranberry sauce.

We're so proud of Brian's weight loss- he's lost a lot over the last few months. I'm so glad that he's making such great changes. You can tell he feels so much better and he did so much more with us! We went on several walks- including a walk to this park a mile away from our house. 
Brian even see-sawed with KG.

 Brian has given each of the kids a Build a Bear for their first year. Baby C got hers Thanksgiving weekend. Such a special gift for each of the kids! Quite a collection here! Baby C's even had a west point cheerleader outfit!

 We all enjoyed giving and receiving gifts.
 Grandma gave the kids such cute clothes!
We really enjoyed our visit! James and I thought we'd go to Lowe's to get a Christmas tree but the kids were so sad to not go to a Christmas tree farm that Saturday morning we went back to Davidson Christmas tree farm. And we were both glad we did. I love traditions and it was really nice. Beautiful day out. Baby C's first time at the tree farm. Nice Christmas music in the car. That night we watched "Why do they call it Christmas?" did some eggnog drinking and decorated the tree. Nice day!

 James even got a little workout in :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

PQ 22-23- Canoeing and Biking

It seems so long ago now that we finished up Park Quest- definitely great memories! Sometime mid-summer I got the bug/ fever/ thought that maybe we could do all 24 ParkQuests. but a big part of it depended on if James could do some with us. We loved when he could go with us but he was away for a lot of the summer. So we did the ones we could without him. But canoeing and biking are pretty tough for one mom, five kids. So we were extra glad we he could go do these with us! 

T and C got to canoe with Daddy

The rest of us hiked and got to see this a couple chipmunks!

two of our hikers

The trail went along the water's edge where we kept watch out for our  paddlers

We love this playground- our third year there and loved it each time- Seneca Creek State Park

Baby C's first time there

T was tuckered out

We loved biking too- Patapsco 

Fun times!

James took the boys and did the big loop. The girls and I did the 4 year old bike. We were very happy for James to come pick us up at the bottom of the hill. One of the things I've loved about Parkquest is it's an incentive to get out and do things. Sure we could have gone biking that day without parkquest but would we? Parkquest definitely makes it into my top things we'll miss about Baltimore when we move. Good times, good memories!

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!