Archive for August, 2009

Camping in the Back Yard

The girls have patiently waited for their turn to sleep in a tent.  They have watched their brothers go to various camps and really haven’t complained too much, but they have hinted pretty strongly that they would like a turn sometime too.  Well, Dan is such a good Daddy!  This weekend after going to camp with the boys on Friday night and Saturday night, he agreed to set up the tents in the back yard for the girls to use on Sunday night.  Not only that, he also volunteered to sleep outside with them!

The girls, of course, were delighted, and Dan said they did a great job.  Kara and Cosette both reported that sleeping in a tent is a lot of fun.  They even stayed out when it started to rain–there was even a little bit of thunder, so they were pretty brave!  Fortunately, they did come in before the hail started.  ;P

I can definitely see that more sleeping bags are in our future.  I guess it would be fun to be able to sleep outside with the girls on some of the nights when the boys are out.  (To be honest, I personally have never slept in a tent.  Do you think I would be tough enough to do it?!)

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Scout Merit Badge Camp

This past weekend, Dan took all three of the boys to a Boy Scout/Cub Scout camp whose focus was on merit badges.  All three of my boys came home very happy with what they accomplished.

John took a class for the Eagle Scout required merit badge of Citizenship in the Nation.  We had worked on quite a few prerequisites before the camp, and John likes this kind of topic a lot.  He enjoys learning about America’s founding documents and the importance of being diligent to keep our country free.  He also ended up taking a Veterinarian Medicine class, which kind of surprised me.  He basically chose it because he needed something to fit that time slot that he had not already completed.  He ended up loving that class and looks forward to completing the merit badge by doing some observation at a local vet clinic.  In the afternoon, John took a skeet shooting class and got to shoot a shot gun for the first time.  He hit some of the clay targets, so he was happy.  Scouting definitely exposes boys to a variety of activities and career choices, and all of that is good.

Brock enjoyed the camp as well.  He took a hands-on chemistry class and did his favorite scout activity of archery.  Going to these camps always is an adventure in eating, and Brock is getting braver at trying new things.  For this camp, the scoutmaster just mixed up a whole bunch of ingredients to put together a “minestrone.”  All three of my boys told me how delicious it was!  I have known this particular scout master for a long, long time, and it never ceases to amaze me how he can come up with yummy food just by throwing in a little of this and a little of that.  I sure can’t do that–I have to have a recipe!

Dan said that Luke was a “hot dog” scout at camp.  He was one of the youngest boys there, but he jumped right into every activity and did just great.  I guess he even volunteered to do some animal calls on a stage in front of everyone!  He especially enjoyed the games and water balloon activities.

Here is a video of the boys telling about camp:

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This weekend the girls and I were on our own.  Dan and the boys went to a Scout Merit Badge Camp (an entry about that will be posted soon!), so we had the house all to ourselves!

Whenever we have times like this where some of the kids are off doing something special, I try to have fun stuff for the kids here at home to do too.  This weekend was no exception.  I took the girls to the local doughnut shop for breakfast, we played some Wii party games (I got beat terribly!), and the girls got a special treat for helping me get ready to start school.  I will explain:

I have had a very, very busy summer, and am running behind on getting school ready to start.  I guess it snuck up on me, but I really want to get back to the books–starting this Wednesday.  So, I have been cramming to try to get everything done for that.  I really need to remember to start about a week earlier on my school preparations next year!  So, even though I wanted the girls to have a special weekend, I also needed to get school preparations done too.  So I tried to find something fun that the girls could help me with, and I found just the thing!  There were some filing crates and sorting baskets that needed to be washed off before I could get them set up for this school term, so I told the girls that they could put on their swimming suits and have fun in the water while they helped me get those things cleaned up.  They had a BALL!  Of course, cleaning turned into water fights, and after they had everything squirted off, I hooked up the hose to the sprinkler so they could just play in the water for awhile.  They really enjoyed themselves, and they helped me out too.  A good deal for all of us!

We set the crates out to dry, and I planned on bringing them back into our school room downstairs after supper.  Cosette decided on her own, however, that she could do that to help her Momma.  She loaded that stuff up and made several trips in and out to bring everything in, and Kara joined in too.  I was so proud of them!

So, this weekend was a lot of fun with the girls, but I am glad that my boys are home now too.  By the way, I had a great afternoon working on school preparations today, so I think that the goal of starting school on Wednesday is well on its way to being met!

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Guinea Pig Tricks

Our family is continuing to enjoy our pet guinea pigs.  As I wrote in earlier entries, we got them so John could complete the requirements for the Boy Scout Pets merit badge, so he has been the one feeding them, cleaning the cage, etc.  They really have become family pets, though, and it is a common occurance in our house to go play with the silly pigs!

John has been working on teaching the guinea pigs some tricks which is one of the requirements for the badge.  It is pretty cute seeing them!

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New Windows!!!

The windows in our house have never been that great.  They have been rickety, missing openers, etc.  On top of that, they have had a tint put on them somewhere along the line that has gotten old, wrinkled, and cloudy.  So, I have never really liked them, but windows are pretty easy to push to the back burner.  Other projects take precedence, you know what I mean?  So here is how our front windows have always looked:

Old Windows

Earlier this summer we began to prepare our house to paint, and as usual, we were just going to try putting a new coat of paint around the windows and go on with our lives.  That was when we noticed that the wood at the bottom of one of our windows was mushy–yes, mushy!  Not only that, the glass had obviously started slipping within the frame.  Well, we soon figured out that we could try to patch something together and still have a broken-down window or do what we really needed to do to fix the problem:  put in a new window.

We were originally only going to replace the one window, but when we had the window people come look at it, they noticed that the matching window in the next room was in the process of deteriorating the same way.  It just wasn’t quite as far along in the process.  They really recommended replacing both windows, so that is what we proceeded with.

It took most of the summer for the windows to be ordered and to get on the list to have them installed.  We finally got them put in this weekend, and we are thrilled with the results:

New Windows!

Dan and I are so glad that we went ahead and got the problem fixed right!  It is so nice to have clear windows that open and close!  Not only that–I was able to take some of the parts off of the old windows to make the openers on our living room window work too!  Wow–all of our front windows actually work now! Windows that open and close:  what a treat!  🙂

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Last December, I wrote this review of a great book called The Ark, the Reed and the Fire Cloud by Jenny L. Cote. Our family really enjoyed this book.  In fact, we liked it so much, that we just finished reading it a second time in our evening read-aloud time!  This book was the first book in a series featuring Max, a darling Scottish terrier, and Liz, a smart black cat.  The series traces Max and Liz on their adventures through Bible stories and other historical events.  The first one was the story of Noah’s flood.  It was such a great book that we could hardly wait for the next book in the series to come out.  We knew clear back last December that it was supposed to come out in August 2009, so we have been looking forward to it for quite awhile.

The second book is called The Dreamer, the Schemer, and the Robe, and it is set in the Biblical story of Joseph.  I saw it available for preorder on Amazon.com last May and quickly put in my order.  I don’t know how many times my kids have asked me when it would come!  I kept telling them to wait until August.  To help pass the time and help with the wait, we re-read the first book to refresh our memories of the characters and such, and that only made the anticipation grow faster!

Well, the book arrived in the mail today, and sure enough, all of the kids gathered around to see me open the box.  You would have thought it was Christmas!  Brock immediately wanted to look at it to scan through the story.  The others really want to wait to enjoy the story as we all can read it together in read-aloud time.  So, when will the great event begin?  Well, it will have to wait a few more nights.  We are currently listening to the new Jonathan Park series that we had also been waiting for for a long time.  So, we will enjoy those new episodes before we begin the greatly anticipated new story of Max and Liz!

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2009 Fair Pictures

I must admit that we are not big fair people.  We have never been involved in 4-H because we are so busy with scouting, so we don’t have entries or anything.  A certain daughter of ours, though–the tall one–LOVES things like fairs.  She has been DREAMING of going to the fair all summer and wanted to try riding the FAIR RIDES.

Well, Dan is quite a softy and decided to make his daughter happy.  So, we did go to the fair parade earlier this week and last night we took the kids out to the fairgrounds to see the exhibits and ride a few rides.

The kids really enjoyed the fair parade.  Around here, it is a big tradition for the parade participants to throw candy out for the kids in the crowd.  I had kind of forgotten about that and forgot to take sacks for the kids.  It didn’t take them long to catch on to the tradition, and we were surprised how much candy fit in our pockets.  By the time all of the kids emptied out their pockets, there was quite a dish full of gum, candy, and other treats.

Last night we went out to the fairgrounds.  The kids really liked seeing the animals.  John enjoyed the goats because I told him about the goats I had when I was a girl growing up on a farm.  He thinks living on a farm would be so cool–I guess it would be!  Again, this whole expedition was a special treat for our oldest girl.  She sooo wanted to ride on the fair rides.  At first, Dan wasn’t too thrilled with the idea, but our carnival is a home-owned carnival operated by volunteers from the community, so Dan decided to let her try a few “non-risky” rides.  She was absolutely thrilled!  Each of the kids got a few tickets to spend on rides or games, and it was a fun outing.  We had not even gotten home before our big fair fan was asking if we can go again next year.  I wonder how many times the fair will come up during the next 12 months…..

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