Saturday, October 30, 2010

How to Throw a Snake Themed Birthday Party

There isn't much on the web about how to do a snake themed birthday party, but that didn't stop me from honoring my kid's request for a snake birthday party. In case you have a snake lover in your family - here's a few tips on how to have a fun and easy party!

1. applique snakes onto shirts using the same method here. (optional: Instead of letters use their age)
2 let kids make crowns from poster board a decorate with stick on letters and jeweled stickers
3. hide a dozen plastic snakes around the yard and have the kids each find one
4. Fill decorative cups with gummy snakes for them to take home as favors.
5. Cut out plywood in the shape of a snake then cover with green construction paper
6. Line up cupcakes decorated with frosting that matches your child's favorite snake - Coral
7. Use a couple of chocolate chips & a strip of Fruit by the Foot to cut out a snake tongue.
8. Have pizza delivered so there isn't any cooking
9. Have a couple games ("hot potato snake" & the limbo under a snake) on hand
10. Sit back and watch the kids have a ball!

Optional - plan the party for when a nearby park district is having a snake program so you can take the group to see the snakes! (We were almost able to do this, but unfortunately our park snake program was too early in the season) Oh well!

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Monday, October 25, 2010


Big ships

Big wind

Big water slides

Big waterfalls

Big beds

Big luxuries

Big jumps

Our vacation was B.I.G. F.UN!!!!

Then it was home to:

Big laundry piles

Big to-do lists

Big house to clean


But we have BIG memories to look back on and that's really really nice after 6 months straight of working in the campground!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010


frost on the grass outside our tent on the second morning of our Fall Camping Trip 10/3/10

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Alphabitty Moments - The letter R

We're already on the downhill slide for this round of Alphabitty Moments! It goes so fast! By the end of the alphabet this time both my kids will have two books of every day moments to look back at. The beauty of this carnival is that you can do it over and over again because interests and ability change.

I don't know if Sam is going to outgrow is love of racing any time soon but I came across this picture* in my archives and new I had to incorporate it into alphabitty moments somehow.
Running, Racing, all applies to my rough and tumble boy. He LOVES to race. He races his own teammates to the ball in soccer even after the whistle blows. We're working on that.

* I love how this picture shows the perspective how close we are to where we work. There is no doubt we live in the park. (That's our home behind the barn where the campground office is located. I stood in a campsite to take the photo of Sam racing across the island on a beautiful November day last year. The weather is just as nice today so I think I'll take the kids down to the pond for some frog catching. Fun times.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

She is

She's funny.

She's silly.

She's creative.

She's artistic.

She's tough.

She's adventurous.

She's insistent about blowing kisses and waving whenever anyone leaves.

She's capable.

She's pig headed.

She's affectionate.

She's brave.

She's my baby

and she's four.

Happy 4th Birthday to my angel! Mommy loves you!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Healthy & Homemade Granola

I've made other granola's before but nothing compares to the flavor of the one I found at The Kitchen Sink. Kristin's whole site is FULL of wonderful mouthwatering recipes so be sure to visit and see what she's been up to recently! The photo below shows the version I came up with but check out the link above for the real deal. I do have a few recipes posted on this little ol' blog - pie, chili, chicken pot pie, beef barley soup, and probably a couple of others. It's nice to know that I can always look up the family favorites on my blog when I can't find them in the recipe drawer.

Do you make granola too?

Mix & bake at 375 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes. (I cooked mine 25 minutes, but should have only cooked it 20) Kristin suggests a foil lined pan but we don't use aluminum at our house so I sprayed a little olive oil on my Pampered Chef roasting pan and that worked like a charm!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Alphabitty Moments - The letter Q

Ah, the dreaded Q. It's a tricky one to find a relevant Alphabitty Moment for, but thanks to Sam's recent love of Chess, I was able to use QUEEN.

He's been pretending to play chess for a while now but last week PapaBear read a book and figured out how to play and then taught Sam. The next day he taught me.

It's really fun and not nearly as intimidating as I thought! I love sitting down to play a game with Sam - we just need to stop doing it before school so we aren't rushing so much at the last minute. :)

Do you play? How about your children?

(our set was purchased off of Craigslist for $12 - it's from Poland)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

slowing down

Life rarely slows down for our family. Even the little trip the kids and I took to ride bikes on some new trails had a two fold purpose. One, our park system is developing a brochure for the new trails so I was asked to take some photographs while the colors are at their peak. Two, it's birthday month for our kids so I dressed them accordingly in hopes of snapping a few keepers to commemorate their 4th and 6th birthdays.

Our outing was fun and productive. I admit I found myself prompting the kids to hurry up so we could get to the next leg of the trail or hurry up to get their seat belts buckled (they can do it themselves now! Hallelujah!). I can feel my heart starting to race and the pressure mount when they I can also feel that nudge to let them be. Do we really need to hurry up? Sometimes the answer is yes (like this morning when Julia slept until 5 minutes before our departure time) but much of the time I'm hurrying them out of habit.

It's something I want to work on - for their sake and mine. I've started to notice that when they ask for something like a snack or help with something they want me to hurry up! How does that saying go? "Lord grant me patience, and I want it right now!"

Be still and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

Monday, October 4, 2010

Keeping House

I've been doing more of the household chores the past couple of months while PapaBear works with the maintenance staff here at the park. It's not permanent work, but the few paychecks we're getting before the winter months set in are like solid gold to me. I still have my blog book business and my photography business work to keep up but I have really been enjoying the break from the ten hour days away from my kids.

Like the post I wrote almost two years ago I am thankful that I can set my other jobs aside during the day and focus on the kids, cleaning, laundry, errands, & cooking. After two weeks without carbs we have added healthy ones back in. I'm baking with Stevia instead of white sugar and making as much of our meals from scratch as possible. Tonight I whipped up homemade biscuits & white sauce for dinner and Julia helped me make peanut butter oatmeal cookies. It's so much healthier to make things from scratch and I really enjoy baking with my kids.

Does everything run smoothly? Of course not!

Dust bunnies still invade the corners of the rooms with hardwood floors.

I still yell at my kids.

We sometimes eat apples with peanut butter and call it dinner.

I plop them in front of the TV so I can make dinner or return some work emails more often than I should.

My friend, Alyssa, posted something today that was very fitting for where I'm at in my life right now. You can read her response to Psalm 90 here. Like Alyssa, this portion struck a cord with me:

(verse 14) Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

(verse 17) May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.

What is keeping your hands busy these days?

Beginner Knit Hat Pattern

I've been asked so many times if there is a pattern for the hats I make,  but I was too busy filling Christmas orders...