Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Tough Times never last,
but Tough People do."
Robert H. Schuller

Well, how wonderfully encouraging is that???
Makes me go back to the thought of a few days back on despair,
Never Surrender, Never Give In...

We will last (because we are tough) and our tough times will not!

I'm all full on Hope again...
just had to pass on that fabulous thought for you tonight. Now I think I'll turn myself in before I turn into a pumpkin :) It's been a long day...happy, but long...hope you all sleep well!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Finished Products

Cake Decorating was a hit!

We were very few in numbers tonight...But the great part of that was the extra help each of the girls received.
Guess that means Cake For Breakfast!!!







The girls loved it...take a look at the outcome!

Here was my first shot at "basket" frosting. Guess that's what it's called. Sure was fun! I loved making a basket of flowers out of a cake...how fun is that????

All my girls thought I was amazing, sure glad they're easy to impress :)

Where is my kitchen?

What is the quickest way to destroy a kitchen???
Throw in a bunch of kids, add a little flour, some sugar and a few eggs! (we only dropped one egg on the floor today ~ that might be a record!)
Today we've just been baking away!!! Wow, my house sure smells yummy, even if I can't find half of it!

Cakes and More Cakes and MORE CAKES
First, "D" and the little girls made Texas Sheet Cakes, one for us to eat and one for her to take for her activity tonight to share.

The other 9 cakes (almost done baking now) are for all of the young women I work with on Wednesday nights ~ we are having a cake decorating night -- should be tons of fun! Can't wait to see their creations :)

I'll share them later...

All my kiddos are feeling a little jipped (sp???) that I'm taking away all these cakes! They thought we were going to have cake for dinner, I guess.

Speaking of dinner...what to have??? Well, Cake is sounding better all the time! I'm sure no one will put up a fight with something as delicious as that being served. As some of my kids are quick to point out, it must be good for you since it does have eggs for protein, milk for dairy and your daily dose of grains... I'm not so sure this is too valid, but it will have to pass for tonight.
What happy children I will have! :)
(They might think someone came and took their mother away!)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wheelin' & Squealin'

With Fair Time just around the corner...It's the mad dash to get all the 4-H projects complete...books all up to date, projects ready for showing, ready for judges questions, animals ready (as clean and shiny as can be!)...
Wheelin' & Squealin' is the theme for this years Fair ~
I'm pretty sure there was a little too much squealin' goin' on around here today trying to get everything done before making our first round of judging. And I was definately wheelin' for all I was worth...sounded a little like this around my house "Kids, just hurry and write your very best PLEASE, remember the judges will be needing to read what you write, and then just smile and use your manners PLEASE, and, and, and...and then when we're all done we'll end the day with an ice cream treat!"
What can I say? It worked :) Yes, bribery is worth it somedays!
WHEW ~
Little kids are done with their Interview Evaluations of their project books.




We had a great year...




Entomology was the focus for their 4-H projects.

We worked on all the farm animals also ~ that's a must in this family...









don't know how I ended up here (animals and me really are not the greatest match, but again, just put on a happy face and fake it that I have ANY IDEA at all what all of this means)









All I know is the kids LOVE it and that is enough for me!!!




Here are a few of the animal shots









(we've recently added to our family...5 extras!!!)




4 little baby calves (all boys) I'm tellin' ya they are cutie pies!!! I could even like these animals :)














and Cowboy (no, not A COWBOY) but a little 2 year old horse that "D" is showing for Fair. She's been working like crazy to get him "ready" to show. She's already taught him so much, I am amazed...she has patience that is truly amazing to me!!!









Well, we only have another couple of weeks of 4-H, then we'll have a little quiet time before it all begins again. I do have to say that I believe 4-H is such a tremendous program for kids...it's really worth all the time and effort!
I'm just hoping we can get through the rest of this 4-H season without a tremendous amount of Wheelin' & Squealin' around here...is that too much to ask???
But if there is to be any squealin' ...
Let it be SQUEALIN' FOR JOY!!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Awesome Quotes!

"For the child. . . it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused - a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and the unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love - then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response . . . It is more important to pave the way for a child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts that he is not ready to assimilate." Rachel Carson

"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson


Great things to think about...
Have the best weekend ever! I'm gonna stuff my wonderful body into a swimming suit and go play with my hubby & kiddos ~ sure hope I don't see anyone I know...wouldn't want to scare ya to death :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Opposition = Sadness

The scriptures say that there must be “an opposition in all things.” So it is with faith, hope, and charity. Doubt, despair, and failure to care for our fellowmen lead us into temptation, which can cause us to forfeit choice and precious blessings.
The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward.
Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear.

The above statement came from President Uchtdorf and has brought great peace to my heart this morning. Over this past week, I have tried desperately to understand how some people in life can be so mean and uncaring, so contentious and cruel, who thrive on causing drama and trauma to others -- and maybe the most important to point out -- to do these horrid acts to others who believed them to be a friend.

Yesterday, I reached a point of "despair" in my feelings of how to deal with and handle a situation that felt so ugly and uncomfortable to me. My first reaction was not a pretty one...I have to admit when I found out this person had been not only saying horrible things to my face, but then slandering who I am and what I stand for behind my back, I was a tad bit distraught! I wanted with all of my being to make her hurt the way I was, to shake some sort of sense into her, to show her that her actions are so wrong, so inappropriate and that she just cannot treat others the way she continues to...but, after a few hours of quiet space and time mixed with a bucket or two of tears -- I have come to the conclusion that it would do no good, that I need to just move on and let the contention that I have raging inside of me subside. I will not fall into this ugly trap and I will not allow myself to stoop to such a lowly place.

So, instead I have immersed myself in what things can bring me joy and peace. To end, I would like to share the last part of the message I began with by President Uchtdorf...I believe these statements give me all the strength and hope that I need to deal with situations that make my heart break, make me feel "yucky" throughout every single fiber of my body...I know that I am not the ugly things that were said of me...I know that I am here to love others, to lift them whenever I can, to love life and to do my best to share that with others. So with that being said, I will not allow oppostion in my life to equal sadness. I will have hope and I will be happy and strong.

The Lord has given us a reassuring message of hope: “Fear not, little flock.” God will wait with “open arms to receive” those who give away their sins and continue in faith, hope, and charity.
And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.
Never surrender.
Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.
Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.
Of this I testify and leave you my blessing in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

If you would like to spend a little more time learning of what President Uchtdorf said of Hope, the talk I referenced today is titled "The Infinite Power of Hope" and can be found in the November 2008 Ensign (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) It is truly a beautiful and peaceful message.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunshine & Flowers...

I recently went through massive blood tests (checking on my thyroid problems) and the doctor determined that I was also quite Vitamin D deficient ~ I need more sunshine...
He wanted to load me up on med's (I did take some Vitamin D) but decided I didn't need all the other stuff, I just need more sunshine, more fresh air, more time outdoors enjoying life instead of always being too busy inside...

Well, I have never taken the time, nor spent the money, to buy and plant flowers until this year. I had a big garage sale, took the money from that and found flowers that were beautiful and made me smile. A sweet friend of mine invited me over to rummage through some old rusty goodies, I happily used them to do all of my planting. I absolutely LOVE it, it is really Me and yes, it makes me smile each day that I am out watering and caring for them.
Not only do I get to enjoy the sunshine and the benefits of it, but I have a sense of happiness just watching the flowers bloom. I find it fascinating to see the direction the flowers move throughout the day searching for the warm sunshine, it is enchanting to me.


Take a look...








My last thought to leave you with...If you are feeling a little down or a little "not yourself" maybe you are a bit Vitamin D deficient ~ I have found it fascinating to learn how such a small deficiency can affect so many areas of life. I added Vitamin D and Calcium & Magnesium to my daily intake and an hour or so out in the sunshine each day and I feel so much happier. I never knew I could enjoy my flowers and small garden area as much as I have.
By the way, if you were wondering ~ my very favorite flower of them all is the Gerber Daisy...they are just the happiest flower ever!!! Doesn't even matter the color, they all just bring a smile across my face. :)
Hope you have a week full of sunshine and smiles!!!




Thursday, July 8, 2010

Camping In The PERFECT PLACE...

Well after surviving two weeks of Girls Camp, Scout Camp, Cub Scout Day Camps, and 4-H Day Camps...we decided to have a really great campout!

The very best kind ~ yes in our back yard!!!

We've got it all goin' on -- the firepit, roasting hot dogs and then perfect smores. The tents, the nice tall shade trees, a fabulous bike track and the calming sound of cascading water (and we don't even have to leave home to enjoy it all!) And maybe one of the best things of all...right inside the door is a nice, clean potty!!! No nasty outhouses or squatting behind trees, now that is my kind of camping!


Family Fun

What a wonderful Holiday weekend we enjoyed together!
Here are some of my favorite photos of our Fun...Enjoy!

To start with we finished up all of our yummy patriotic treats ~ if you'd like recipes, let me know ~ so Delicious!!! Cupcakes adorned with red, white & blue sprinkles and topped off with a special little flag, and then a family favorite...FRUIT PIZZA...oh, it is soooo yummy, I just can't even tell you, you'd have to give it a try! We had quite the line goin' on putting all these treats together, hubby frosting the cupcakes, Momma adding some sprinkles (otherwise they would have all been added to the first two cupcakes and the rest would have gone without...) little boys adding them to the tray and little girls toppin' off with the American Flag! The Fruit Pizza was a hysterical sight to see in progress...add a few strawberries, trying ever so carefully to put them in a straight line, then eat a few, wash up again so we don't spread all our germs to the entire world and then add a few more, then eat, then wash up AGAIN...you get the picture :) But what a masterpiece!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!!! WE MADE SURE TO MAKE THIS THE FOCUS FOR OUR KIDDOS AS WE PREPARED FOR OUR DAY WITH THEM...WE EVEN SANG THE WHOLE HAPPY B-DAY TUNE...PRETTY IMPRESSIVE :)

Sure glad I took a picture as I set it outside 'cause the next time I looked at the fruit pizza tray, it was just about empty...yum, yum, yum!


What is a family day without some swinging fun??? Here are our two little ones and our little granddaughter...they were loving playing together...so many smiles and laughs -- I LOVE IT!

Let the games begin!
Time for a little competition...mostly friendly competition, the boys were a touch more unfriendly than the girls... But everyone had a blast!
We were able to spend the day with all of our kiddos...our daughter and her husband and little ones were with us...what a treat! Here I am with our two oldest daughters by my side ~ are they beautiful or what????
Here's my sweet Dad (known as Poppa to our kiddos) ~ I think he's feeling a touch worn-out with the circus that is surrounding him today...but he sure loves seeing our kids and oh how they adore him!
My Adorable Mom (known as Grammy to our kiddos) and Sweet Sister (known as Kimmy) ~ my mom worked so hard to put today together for all of us...I loved hearing her excitement as I talked with her before our get-together...she sounded so very happy! She truly loves sharing her time with us...they weren't able to join us for the fireworks that evening, but spending our day together was wonderful!
And here is the man of my dreams...our little "C" is taking photos and telling us to smile pretty...
From here, we headed to our next party of the evening ~ at our other Grandpa and Grandma's house...had time for a little face-painting (sure wish I had photos to show you of this, they loved it!) Both Grandma's in our life love putting on 4th of July parties...they do such a great job and work so hard to make everything as perfect as can be for all of us! Grandpa always makes sure to have a MILLION and a HALF (Seriously!!!) Fireworks and FIRECRACKERS for the boys to enjoy!!! The Firetruck showed up (Yes, Really!) to check on us at one point late in the night :) One of my sons is holding some crazy firework that is blasting things out of the end of it!!! aaauuuugggghhhh! Hmmmm...I'm not so sure all this fire and children are the greatest idea on earth (I'm secretly glad it only comes once a year...and so very relieved each year when I come home with my children all having all their fingers and toes still in place!)
We ended our night with the beautiful fireworks display in the park...something about watching fireworks in the sky just above you is such a MAGICAL moment! And all the "oohing and aahing" is really the best to hear from your kids, just makes me smile!
Our littlest one didn't quite make it back to the car...Gotta LOVE these wagons!!!
Hope your weekend was as fabulous as ours!



Saturday, July 3, 2010

4th of July Parade Fun




"D" getting the horse for the parade...Time for some FUN!!! They just finished up with serving a huge pancake breakfast for the community ~ great service for these kids!
Each year we participate in parades for the 4-H Clubs we are involved in ~
Decorate the horses and the parade floats and add a little pizzazz into your hair and you're good to go!!!



Check out those horsey buns!!!! Sporting a great smiley face!

The little girls and I take it easy and go for a ride on the parade float! Their favorite part is throwing the candy...Throw a piece, eat a piece, throw a piece, eat a piece! What a breakfast! The cutest part is checking out their Miss America Waves ~ they totally have it goin' on!

Look how nice and patient these sweet horses are...we did the whole Hurry Up and Wait thing...just waiting. A few of the horses enjoyed the hay we were all sitting on in the float trailer. The girls started getting a little worried that they might eat it all and we'd be sitting on the floor of the trailer so they hid the hay behind the many, many flags we had all over! I think the horses were getting a little frustrated ~ but then the waiting was over and we were off doing the whole wave and tossing of candy. Everyone was full of smiles!
At the end of the parade, they all posed for a shot of the 4-H club with their leaders! "D" is the only one of "ours" in the photo ~ the little girls are with me taking photos and the boys and Dad are out for a morning of target practice!
What a great morning and a great start for our 4th of July weekend! Next on our list is making all the desserts and treats for our get-togethers with family tomorrow ~
Patriotic Cupcakes and Fruit Pizzas designed just like the American Flag! (well as close as a mom and a few kids can do, but with any luck at all it will be close enough to at least recognize our attempt!) How fun does that sound??? I'm sure the clean-up will be a blast!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

HOME SWEET HOME

Well for those of you who saw my post not too long ago that looked a little like this...
We were in the midst of complete and total TURMOIL over our situation of where we were going to be living. Not wanting to leave our home that we love so much, but not knowing what we were really to do...well, just this week all is final in this chapter of our lives! HOORAY!!!
We are STAYING and I feel so much peace with this decision. The bank was not great to work with and we don't LOVE everything about the way our loan is structured, but after talking with three separate Financial Advisors, 2 of the 3, advised us to stay. All along, we've so desperately wanted to be here, not to move our family away, but the times were just so uncertain and we felt lost in the moment of what the best decision was for our family.
I am so very happy to say that all of this uncertainty and stress is behind us ~ I can now be a Mom again, I can be Me again, I can find Me again. I think I felt so very lost in all of this and the freedom I feel at this point is so refreshing!
Anyway, I just wanted to pass on our happy news!
HOME SWEET HOME ~ we are here to stay!!!

What about Arlington?

I came across this and feel it is a beautiful reminder for us, especially at this time of year. During your BBQ'ing, Parading and Firework Fun this 4th of July weekend, please take the time to be truly thankful for the blessings and freedoms you enjoy!

I hope that you will take a few minutes with your families to teach them the fact that Our freedoms did not and do not come Free! Others have sacrificed ALL for us to enjoy the blessing of FREEDOM!

Grab your box of tissues for the video...I'm sure you will be needing them! Have a beautiful weekend!

As a Nation it seems that we have a tendency to be complacent. The things we have and what we've been given is simply expected."Thankful" happens only on holidays for many of us, and grateful hardly has a place in society anymore. We know life as it is now, and sadly, we see little need to defend it from our own Government or from other nations, because, as a people we are ignorant to what life is without the freedoms we enjoy.

Valley Forge - The low point of our Revolution.

Out of 12,000 men -most within a walking distance from their warm homes, food, wives, children and other luxuries and necessities they wanted and needed so badly- only 6% went back. The rest stayed in the deplorable conditions.

Why is that?

Because they knew what there was to be fought for and with God's help, they were raised up and supported and they were going to finish what He had sent them there to do.



Could we do that?

Would we stay or would we run?



Really ask yourself that.



Several British POW's held in the Valley Forge camp, after seeing the conditions, reported that they would never beat the American Army. That no European Army would have stayed under such conditions.

The men there were amazing in all aspects of the word. The things they went through were horrific and completely unimaginable.

For that, and many other things, we owe them an unpayable debt.

Today, we may not have the conditions such as those at Valley Forge, but there are still men and women giving us more than we could ask for.



Arlington is a National Cemetery for Service members...

This is a fairly short video set to the song of "What about Arlington".

It's well worth a few minutes of out day to repay those who gave us their lives.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zr0TMnB-ps

Please remember that "If a Nation expects to be ignorant [or complacent] and free, they expect what never was and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson


The most noble, most patriotic thing we can do for our country is not wearing red, white and blue, lighting off fireworks in the street and flag waving or even writing complaints to Congress.



But, the most noble, patriotic thing we can do, is to simply live righteously, as He would have us live, in His land.