Saturday, February 8, 2014

What the... Creepy Creature!

I was organizing the pictures on my computer and I came across this gem.  I have no clue what it is, or how it came to be saved amongst the pictures of my happy little life but I am truly frightened by it, like nightmare frightened by it, and while I have no concrete evidence I am fairly certain my oldest son is somehow responsible for its sudden appearance.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Cub Run

One of my favorite places in the area is Cub Run Rec Center. I am certain I have written about it before, but it deserves to be revisited at least once a year.  I especially love going there in the darkest despair of winter because I can pretend it is summer in the balmy warm chlorinated air.  There are two large water slides, a lazy river, a vortex and a smaller kiddie pool with a slide and fountains.  But, the best part is it only costs our entire family $16 to swim for the day.  That is like one movie ticket.  When we went on Friday there was a high school diving competition which was really fun for the kids to watch too.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Cars & Banjos

 Atley is a busy little man, which is a good thing for all parties concerned.  He had his very first violin concert a few weeks ago and it was truly impressive.  His teacher is a magician.  She has 112 fourth graders and they sounded marvelous, Atley included.  It brought me to tears. I was completely and totally shocked at how magnificent the concert was.
January also brings Pine Wood Derby to our little Cub Scout.  There was some derby drama this year resulting in a very late night run to Michael's the night before the race.  But, all is well that ends well. He won some races. He lost some races and most importantly he was very proud of his car and happy when it was over.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Smoothie Factory

I do not like fruits or vegetables or anything remotely good for me. But, the older I get the more I realize that my body functions a whole lot better when it gets fruits and vegetables rather than just chocolate chips and Diet Coke.  One way I can stomach getting my daily allotment is if I drink them-in smoothie form.  Last week for Family Home Evening we created Smoothie Freezer packets to throw in the blender each morning. 
It wasn't fun for everyone as you can tell from the picture. The kids fought over which job they wanted, what fruit combinations to use and anything and everything else you can imagine,  but eventually we got them done and we now have about 30 days worth of smoothie packets in our freezer. 
Here is how to do it:
1. Trip to Costco to buy fruit, quart-sized freezer bags, and ginormous bag of greens.
2.  Add a variety of fruit to each bag. We used apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, raspberries and blueberries to create different combinations, some tasted better than others. I think a banana is almost a must for each smoothie bag. Remember it is an experiment.
3.  Add almonds and/or instant oatmeal
4. Fill the rest of the baggie with greens. We used kale.
5.  When blending you can either add water, milk, or yogurt to the mixture and if you need a little sweetening, like I always do, add a tablespoon of honey.
Each packet makes two large smoothies.
Our smoothies received Nash's stamp of approval. Trust me, he is the toughest food critic in town.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Choosing the Right

(Nash watching the high school wrestling meet)
We try our best to keep the Sabbath Day Holy.  Of course that means something different to everyone. I think it is up to each family to determine what is or is not appropriate for them. We choose not to shop on Sunday or eat out or go to the movies and recently we had to make a decision not to participate in sports on Sunday. We aren't perfect, very far from it.  There have been plenty of circumstances where we have done all of the things mentioned above on Sunday, but we try our best. Recently, I was told by a very wise lady not to get overly involved in youth sports, because eventually each one of those sports will require my child to play or practice on Sunday and then they will be forced to either give them up or live contrary to their beliefs.  In the fall Nash wanted to play Lacrosse with his friends but the games and practice were on Sunday, so we told him he couldn't. It was a little hard to swallow because according to Nash all of the cool kids play Lacrosse.  This winter we put the boys in wrestling only to find out that all of the meets were on Sunday during church.  It would be impossible for us to attend.  Don't think that we haven't been tempted to miss just once or twice.  I certainly have and continue to be each Sunday. I really am dying to see the boys wrestle in those adorable little singlets. The coach said we could still participate in practices each week and honestly, we didn't really mention the meets to the boys.  One Wednesday night all the youth wrestlers were invited to attend a high school wrestling meet where they would wrestle exhibition matches between the high school weight classes.  It was exciting to be at a real meet and the boys were totally enthralled.  But, because they had never been able to participate in the Sunday meets they were not allowed to participate in the exhibition matches either.  I could tell it bothered Nash, who loves to wrestle.  He didn't say too much until I tucked him in that night.  He asked me why he didn't get to wrestle. I told him it was because we aren't able to go to the Sunday matches.  It was only fair that the boys who had been working hard in practice and at the meets would be the only ones allowed to participate.  He started to cry.  I tried to tell him that he was choosing the right.  He didn't understand.  He explained to me that he thought choosing the right would make him feel good inside and he didn't feel good at all. He went on a tiny tirade about not feeling good when he has to miss his friends birthday parties when they are on Sunday, and how he couldn't play Lacrosse or wrestle.  In that moment I realized that I might need to be a little more realistic with my kids about making difficult decisions.  Sometimes doing what you think is morally right doesn't make you feel good. Sometimes it makes you feel excluded and different. Sometimes there are consequences that are anything but pleasant. We have to have faith that we are, or will be blessed for the hard choices we have to make.  The blessing may not be immediate or even recognizable, but I know those blessings will come and that we will be strengthened when we try to live our convictions.

Monday, February 3, 2014

2014 Valentine's!

Practically, the day after Christmas I started getting catalogues full of Valentine decorations and ideas.  I found these adorable little mazes in an Oriental Trading magazine and decided they would be the theme of our 2014 Valentine's!
I actually thought I was being original until I saw that at least 3 million other people had the same idea.  Anyway, these hearts will be glued onto the picture of three of my favorite Valentine's below.