Fun Fridays with Mom

We, like most people, live busy lives. As a homeschooling mom, you would probably assume that I spend a lot of time with my children. I do, but it’s always time-with-a-purpose. I’m teaching them school, or how to do a chore, or talking to them about the upcoming activities, or correcting them. I rarely spend “fun time” with them. Before our schedule became so packed, I would take a different child grocery shopping with me each week. We would talk and they got to pick out a few of their favorite things for the week (like cereal or yogurt). Life required an adjustment to this routine and therefore, we no longer have this one-on-one time.

I had really missed our shopping trips so I instituted a new thing: “Fun Fridays with Mom”. Each Friday, I take a different child to lunch, their choice of restaurant (fast food). If we have time after lunch, we will go look in a store for something, go to the library, or get a Starbucks drink.  It’s not a time for me to lecture them on something or teach them something, it’s just a relaxing time with them alone. I have enjoyed being able to focus on each of them individually this way; to be able to listen instead of talk.

I haven’t taken a photo every week (because I forget sometimes), but I did get one of each of the kids the first time we did this. I took them in birth order, so Lauren was first.

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Lauren and I went to Dairy Queen together for the very first “Fun Friday with Mom”. The weather was pleasant  enough for us to eat outside!

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Mitchell asked for Greek food, then we went to K-Mart to do some clothes shopping for him.

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Leslie picked Chik-Fil-A and then shopping at Goodwill. (She is very good at putting outfits together!)

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Laci also picked Chick-Fil-A and then we went to the mall to find her an autumn church dress. (I took Leslie and Lauren at anther time.)

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Matt picked Wendy’s and then we went to Walmart so he could spend some of his savings on this:

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If they start up the draft again, Matt is ready!

It’s been a hectic few months with homeschooling, co-op, church secretarial work, and housework. Add in a kid getting hit by a car, some sickness, and the death of our family pet and you could say it’s been downright difficult. The Lord has been so gracious to hold us up through all of the ups and downs. We are bountifully blessed!

It may be a crazy life, but it sure is a wonderful one.

With love,

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Patriotic Fruit Pizza

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Happy Independence Day! I often wish that I could be more cosmopolitan. I’d love to travel to Europe, maybe parts of Asia, or Africa. I even sometimes wonder what it’s like to live in another country, and speak more than one language! But, as I think about being from somewhere else, I can’t help but be grateful to be an American. We have so many freedoms in the U.S.A.! I am thankful for my brave European ancestors who risked everything to come to America for a better life. I have enjoyed many blessed years in my homeland, and by God’s grace, I hope to enjoy many more.

Last week, Laci found a picture online of a fruit pizza made to look like Old Glory. It looked so cute and sounded tasty, so we decided to make one ourselves. I’d never made a fruit pizza, but it wasn’t difficult at all. I found a recipe for Union Jack (the British flag), and made it look like our flag instead. When Terry saw the recipe with a photo lying on the counter, he asked, “Why are we making the British flag on Independence Day?” Ha! That would be funny, wouldn’t it? I quickly told him that I was making the right flag for the day.

Here’s the recipe:

First, line a 9 x 13 inch cake pan with foil, then spray with baking spray. Next, make one sugar cookie package mix according to the directions on the package. Spread the dough in the bottom of the lined cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. I used the Krusteaz brand because the other brands were sold out. The crust was a little thicker than I expected, but wow! It tasted great! Let this cool completely (about 30 minutes) before adding the frosting.

For the frosting:

Mix using an electric mixer the following:

8 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Remove cookie from the foil and put on a cookie sheet or another plate. Spread frosting across the cooled cookie crust.

Use blueberries and strawberries to make the cookie look like Old Glory, and vanilla or white chocolate chips to make some “stars” among the blueberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve. After snapping some photos, we cut the slices and added more fruit, especially blueberries, to the individual servings. Click HERE for the original recipe I used.

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It is a blessing to live in the “Land of the free, and the home of the brave”, but through Christ we can have the greatest freedom of all, freedom from sin.

And God’s grace knows no boundaries.

With love,

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Red, White and Blue T-Shirts

We had a very nice fourth of July at home this year. Terry grilled hamburgers and steaks and we enjoyed eating strawberry shortcake.

I thought I’d pass along this very popular craft that we did with the kids this year. You have probably seen it around on Pinterest, Instagram or elsewhere on the net – but I thought I’d share it anyway.

So here’s how you can make American flag tee-shirts!

You will need plain white tee shirts (we bought ours at Hobby Lobby for about  $3 a shirt), red paint, blue paint and a sponge paint brush, and some small pieces of cardboard.

Place the pieces of cardboard inside the shirt, between the layers, to create a firm surface to paint on and to keep the paint from bleeding through the layers. After that, have your child place his left hand in blue paint, coating the hand entirely. Before doing this, we practiced where we wanted the hand print to go. You’ll want it to be near the upper right hand shoulder of the shirt. Then, take your sponge brush and make red stripes coming out from the hand print and at least two stripes below the hand print, as pictured below.  Allow to dry 12 -24 hours before wearing.
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That’s it!

I know, it’s incredibly easy, which makes it my kind of craft!

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It kinda looks like they’re all waving!

“Hello, out there in Internet-land!”

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Happy Independence Day!

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Thanksgiving Day

We usually do some traveling on this holiday, but this year, we just stayed home. I missed seeing my family very much, but there were good things about staying home. We made some great memories. I am hoping that I can “have my cake and eat it too” by seeing my family in the coming year. Here are a few photos from our day. I hope your Thanksgiving was as special as ours was!

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While the turkey and ham were cooking, we pulled out our “thankful box”. We’ve all been writing down our blessings for the month of November, folding them and putting them in a box to read on Thanksgiving Day. I thought the funniest one was by Mitchell: he was thankful for Bing Crosby and Bob Hope! You can tell we watch old movies and TV around here. Each child was thankful for their parents and siblings, which touched my heart. I thought the sweetest one was by Terry: he said he was thankful for a happy home. That one really made me smile.

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I just love my new centerpiece! I got it at Hobby Lobby several weeks ago, using my 40% off coupon.

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I got the napkins at Hobby Lobby, too, on the clearance aisle. I liked the verse that was on them. All holidays should be celebrated in honor of the Savior, the Giver of all things to celebrate!

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We were blessed with more food than we could eat at one sitting! lunch lesliematt

Terry bought the kids special drinks for the meal. Matthew got “Monkey Juice” (whatever that is!) He seemed to like it! 🙂

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After lunch, the kids played several rounds of Twister.

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Lauren won one game. This is her “I’m-pretending-to-be-excited-that-I-won-this-game” face.

This is a short video of Matthew during the game. He was too little to play, so he got to call out the commands (with Dad’s help) for the others to follow. He took on his role with vigor.

After Twister, we all played Guesstures. It’s one of our family’s favorite games.

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Leslie particularly enjoyed it. Here she is doing “itching”.

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I have no idea what this is. But it’s funny.

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No clue here either.

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So many thoughts come to mind about how to caption this photo!

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Laci really cracked us up. She’s still a bit too young for the game, but she gave it her best shot. She had to pass on several because she didn’t know what they were. If she started acting out something, she would keep doing the motion, never changing at all, even if none of us were getting it. For example, she pretended to be sprinkling salt out of a shaker, but that wasn’t it. She said, “I know what this is (in other words, she couldn’t pass on it) so you just have to guess it.” Well, we never did. It turned out that she was “garlicking bread”.  On another one, she acted out “moon” by bending over touching her toes, to make a circle. We didn’t get that one, either, but we had some good laughs! She was good at guessing though! 🙂

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The kids spent the afternoon making ornaments for our tree, which we plan to put up today. After supper (Thanksgiving meal, round two), Matthew passed out. A sure sign of a blessed Thanksgiving.

With a thankful heart,

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Fun on Fort Sill

I’ve had a list of summer activities to do with our family and so far, we’re checking several of them off! A friend of mine told us about some parks located on Fort Sill and I couldn’t wait to show them to the family. I’ve been wanting to see the grave of Geronimo, so last Monday we were able to combine play-time with site-seeing. (And I got to check something off my list. I just love doing that.)  It was lovely weather with temps in the 70’s that morning. Of course, on a military installation, most activities are for our service men and women, but some things are open to all.

We had a fun day spending time together and learning a bit of US history, too!

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First stop was Geronimo’s grave. I’m not familiar with our native American history, so we did a quick Google search on our phones so we could tell the kids more about this man and the other Apache Indians buried in this cemetery.

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Matt was interested in the little gifts left at the graves.  It sort of looks like he’s counting it!

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Next stop was a park. They liked this little fire truck. (How cute!)

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Leslie made it to the top!

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We liked this park because of the playground for the little ones, the grassy area for the older ones to play soccer, and the gorgeous trees everywhere for me. (I miss the big, leafy trees back home.)

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We thought we’d go through the museums on post, but they are closed on Mondays. They had lots of big equipment outside on display though, so we took a self guided tour of all of it. We must have started going through it all backwards, because we didn’t see the sign that said “Please do not climb on guns” until we were done. Oops. Please forgive us.

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This one is my favorite! I love how the kids are lined up and how the clouds look.

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Not all of the tanks or guns had signs to say what they were. The gun above can shoot 900 miles away. For perspective, they could fire it from here and hit a target in Ohio. Or Arizona. Wow!

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We ended the day with this statue to the artillery man. Being on post gave us a greater appreciation for our soldiers, especially during these turbulent times. We can often hear the effects of the work on Fort Sill (read: explosions), but this day, we got to see  some of the faces behind the bombs. It was a bit startling  to see a sign that read, “Caution, Howitzer Crossing”.

I’m so thankful for our military men and women. May God bless them and keep them.

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Some Easter Fun

I’m always looking for ways to make memories with my children. While we do not host elaborate Easter egg or candy hunts to attract crowds to our church (because, isn’t the Gospel of Christ enough?), we do enjoy spending time as a family. I try to use the Resurrection Eggs with my kids each year, and we’ve made empty tomb cookies, too. Here are some photos of our first Easter memory in Oklahoma.

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This activity was for my two little girls. The older two were not interested in dying eggs. Matthew wasn’t either, but they were all invited. 🙂

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The girls were good little dippers.

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I just love the bright colors!

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Terry and I hid the eggs in our back yard. This is the time of year when a “shaggy” yard is a good thing…easier to hide the eggs!

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Laci really got into it!

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Oh, why look! Even Mitch wanted to hunt eggs!

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Terry hid one on the lowest branch on this tree. Can you see it?

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See it yet? Laci doesn’t either! It’s right under her nose, in this picture, anyway.

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Lauren found it!

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Yep. Lauren wanted in on the fun, too.

Matthew didn’t feel like hunting eggs, even though we tried to show him how fun it was. He didn’t understand this year. Maybe next year.

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Everyone had a good time, and we didn’t even have any prizes! 😉

Rejoicing that HE lives!

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A Tour of Braum’s

Our first “Oklahoma” thing to do was tour the Braum’s factory in Tuttle, Oklahoma. Braum’s is a restaurant famous for its delicious ice cream. Their food comes fresh to each store, which is why the majority of stores are in Oklahoma. They have to be within a 300 mile radius of the farm and factory so that the truck drivers can be home each night. At the tour, we learned that Braum’s takes no government subsidies; everything is paid for by private funds. In a day in which it seems that everyone everywhere is taking government money, this was refreshing.

We couldn’t take photos inside the plant, but we snapped a few before the tour began.

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While we waited on the tour to begin, we snapped some photos in front of their display.

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(He didn’t want his photo taken!)

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This bus, which actually “mooed” like a cow, drove us from place to place.

It was a bitterly cold day in January when we took our tour, so we were thankful that all of it was indoors! We saw them making bread, cookies and cones. We saw where they packaged nuts – and no, they didn’t try to package me! We watched them make ice cream and bottle milk and juice. We saw where they make yogurt and cottage cheese. It was very interesting at the milk bottling place, because Terry once worked at Mountain Valley Water, running that same machine! He was able to share some personal experiences at that stop. 😉  At the end of the tour, we all got a free ice cream bar, and everyone enjoyed that!

If you’re ever in the Oklahoma City area for a few days, try to schedule a tour of Braum’s! If you can’t take the tour, at least plan to eat at one of the hundreds of restaurants they have around the state. You won’t regret it…unless you step on a scale! 😀

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