Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Candy Corn- themed fall art camp ~ 7 ideas!

Not sure if you remember, but if you've been reading my blog for any length of time at all, you know that I love to do art camp with my girls.  My oldest 3 girls Molly, Frances, and Madeleine especially love art projects. What better time than when the kids are home for Fall Break?

If you want to see our past art camp projects, you can see Easter art camp here and Fall art camp 2016 here.

snack time, inspired by this Monster Munch
having fun!! *

For this year, we used this candy corn template...
idea (1)

It looks best with a template.

idea (2)
Here are the candy corn people that we did. (pictured above!)

idea (3)
We also made a pumpkin banner (Frances and Madeleine) and a candy corn banner (Molly). 
Here is a cute banner tutorial.

Idea (4)
This was a big hit with my kids!
enter #allthepompoms

Print, Trace, Cut it out, and then Decorate!
paint, glue pens, 
(bits of paper and pom poms), and stickers!
Go crazy... I recommend glue pens! :-)~

idea (5)

I had the girls trace the candy corn template, then decorate the various candy corns using collage 

idea (6)

Jackolantern faces using these walmart stickers (similar)

idea (7)
An "I Love Fall" painting with a pumpkin for the "Fall" piece

idea (8)
Candy Corn footprints using paint!

orange and yellow glue pens at work!

finished project! fun and no need to decorate after all of that! :0)

This year, we decided to do it with a "Candy Corn" theme, because I wanted to keep it a theme we could follow through on with our snacks, without getting too fancy... because if you know me, then you know I like simple and nothing too expensive (ever!). ! :)  I tried doing all the fancy snacks for Easter art camp last time, but the sugar intake got out of control.

This time, I just made one big batch of "Monster Munch"-- popcorn, caramel corn, pretzels, graham crackers, and CANDY CORN!  :)  I replenished the supply a time or two, and every time we did crafts, I would pull out a big plastic bag of it and pour some into our "candy dish."

Honestly, it was delicious and the kids chowed down every time I brought it out. And it was super cheap. WIN!

enter #allthecorny!  /:D
Now you shall go forth and try your own #artcamp

*Q: Why are your kids wearing uniforms if they were on fall break? A) we finished (some of) the projects this week after fall break was over.  :)

Friday, October 13, 2017

weekly minutiae vol. 33~ reading and fall break recap

This has been a very good, albeit busy week. The kids were on Fall Break, which means, a break from the usual grind, but utter chaos having six kids at home all week, trying to entertain them, and keep them busy (enough)!

Knowing myself, I took a break from my usual mid-week post to focus on the kiddos here and getting some more reading under my belt.  I'm trying to read 60 books this year, and I'll be honest: it has been harder than anticipated.....  basically,  because I had a baby in May, and, this is the highest book goal I have ever made for myself!  Having Fall Break this week, any extra time was spent reading-- another reason to shy away from blogging for a bit, and these littles and espesh the baby have definitely kept me on my toes.

I read 50 books last year. I have been reading some good stuff, though! I picked up quite a few YA on my last library run.  (If you missed it, I decided to do a book spending freeze until January.  I'm getting the rest of my book for the year's reading challenge at the library!  #myresolution)

Books for the kids: Silverstein, and De la Cruz.
All the rest, yep! They're for me!  :-D
YA fiction: We Were Liars, The Unexpected Everything,The Fault in Our Stars, The Giver (Middle Grade fiction)
Normal people books: Summer Island, Bridget Jones' Baby

Frances built a lego castle (belle's!) and I have to say, she did it totally on her own. I was around to make sure no pieces were lost and they sorted by colors as each new bag was opened. Otherwise, all her! 
The kids had a blast watching/helping/playing with her!  Surprisingly this was not the source of fights (that would be the paint that I bought for Fall Break... UGH)

Frances celebrating 7 Years Old! with some of her friends from church and school!
We went out for ice-cream and it was just the special treat we needed. Frances picked the place and friends showed up and made her so happy!
devil's food cake - with a 7 made out of M&M's -- hard to see but squint and you'll see it, promise

I made my amazing pumpkin spice syrup again this year. It is so easy!

Bring to a boil 1 c. water, 3 tbsp. pumpkin, 3/4 c. brown sugar, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves). Stir 3-4 min. until thickened. Add a shot to steamed milk and 1 shot espresso (or as many shots as you need/want! :)

#31daysofdrinks over on instagram if you so desire! :)
Kids keeping me running in all directions.... all the more coffee to keep me going!!

Conrad-- so much like Daddy's baby pictures. Here he is delivering on his epic belly laugh. Signature Conrad-- so happy, always smiling, loves cooing/babbling and always, always laughing out loud! (He loves to be tickled with our chin/hair-- and he always grabs on tight to our hair. It is super cute but it also hurts! :-0

The last day of Fall Break, we went wading in the creek.

Prayers for #peace. And I won't back down.

Friday, October 6, 2017

weekly minutiae vol. 32~ sadness and heartache

another week, another cappuccino... (no sugar, please, fyi!) :)

I didn't do a weekly minutiae post last week, because I was writing a What I'm Into, for the month of September, which you can read here.
the girls, doing a fashion show with Molly's friend on Saturday :0)

September was really hot and dry here.  I have to admit I was really bummed out on still wearing Summer clothes and sucking it up through these hot, dry days. Our yard looks burnt to a crisp. :(

This week was thankfully just more of the same... sticking to my daily routine, adding photos to my self-inflicted instagram challenge-- #31daysofdrinks, all while caring for the kids and trying to wear.them.out!
Stephen's photo... he took the kids for a hike at a local park! :)

And honestly, I don't want to bring it up, but facing the news of another gruesome mass shooting has put a huge damper on my week.

It has been humbling to read the news as the story has been unfolding, ever since Monday morning.

We are all experiencing the same emotions-- sadness, hopelessness, anger, grief, despair, and the same round and round, curious speculation: Why?

Friends, whether policy addresses mental illness, guns, lawmakers, or citizens, we all need to take responsibility.  State by state, we need to take on the challenge of violence, and do what we believe in needed in each, individual place.

You guys, we are all heartbroken. Let's put aside our differences.  Let's come together, closer than ever, as we are all humans.

Now is the not the time to argue about gun laws, as I have seen people doing all over social media.

Now is the time to love, to open up, to show grace, to pray for strength, and to pray for healing around the world and mostly here at home.

We found a baby lizard in the girls' bedroom this week... it looked like it had literally just "hatched" and crawled out of its egg and into their room!!!!

Frances on her 7th birthday!!! :)

This is our home. It is something to be proud of.  Let us learn from those who lost their lives, how to truly live life to the fullest, enjoy one another, and love one another.  Many people died dancing or singing, many family members held victims in their arms as they died, and they credited the victims as being their "best friends." This is sweet and inspiring, really.

May we all...

(full lyrics available here)

Inspiring also >>> my Aunt Gwenn knew Tom Petty personally... she went on a double date with him and her boyfriend.... to a Janis Joplin concert, no less.  She posted this pic of him in her high school yearbook. (Gainesville, FL) ;)

RIP Tom Petty

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wanted: A Pure Mind

Why, God? Why the senseless tragedy? 
Help us, send us angels of protection!

In the wake of senseless violence (Vegas) and the death of a man who championed lust and using women (Hefner), I think what is needed in our culture today is a pure mind. And of course we need men and women of pure minds, who scorn lust and all of Satan's empty promises!

I remember when I was a young Mom, I participated in a Bible Study every week. Although many times I wasn't in the mood to go, I was always glad when I did!! One week, one of the Moms ahead of the journey- a bit older than me- opened up about her own life when we were talking about having a servant's heart.  

She said, "One day, my husband and I got into a fight.  I complained all weekend about the kids and him not helping out around the house.  On Monday, I woke up with a headache. I admit, I didn't get much done that day.   My husband got home from work, and he said to me, 'Honey, what did you do all day?'  As he (and I) looked around, the house was still a wreck. There were piles of laundry and smudge marks.  I admitted that I had been out with some friends drinking on Saturday, and Sunday even....! When Monday rolled around, I still had a hangover...  I wasn't up to the task of taking care of our home, because I was too busy partying the weekend away."

Another Mom opened up about her own fight that past weekend. She said, "My husband really likes it when I iron his work clothes!!  One day, he came home from work, and I hadn't done any ironing that day. He got really upset, and he soon was barking at me: 'Why didn't you get my clothes ready for tomorrow?' I burst into tears, upset that I had let him down, but also angry and frustrated. I still had to clean up the dishes from dinner and do my own laundry for the day.  Instead of fighting with him, I promptly went upstairs and I ironed one shirt. I swallowed my pride, and I fought back anger and tears, and I just ironed one shirt."

I'll never forget either of those stories.

I think both of those stories speak volumes... and they are each profound in their own way.  The woman who ironed the shirt still comes up in my memory often, when I think about the need to serve my husband and show him love, rather than fighting or wishing for my own way.

A lot of time, we have so much on our plate, that our agendas feel too full to add "Servant's Heart" to our plate. Just ironing one shirt or washing one dish in the sink can feel like too much, like it will send us over the edge! 

But in a family, as in any community, people rely upon each other. We help each other, learn from each other, and of course, serve each other.

The hardest moments in life are when another person really needs us, but it would be easier to ignore their needs, their pleas, and their cries of the heart.  We have to take a deep breath, and sometimes swallowing our pride is just easier said than done.

On the other hand.... as we consider this, another thought springs into my head this day:

Everyone wakes up on the wrong side of the bed once in a while.

We should also be quick to extend grace and compassion when someone doesn't offer us a servant's heart.

But most of the time, we have to bite back our anger, or not listen when our flesh wants to run fast. We have to think ahead, and think of others. Rather than partying the weekend away, sometimes having a family means getting more done on the weekend, so that you can really sink into the rhythm of your routine on Monday and get done what you need to do for others. Rather than shopping for more clothes, sometimes being a servant means washing the clothes of those in your family during the time you wanted to go shopping.

In light of recent events...

"It makes no sense," said Paddock's brother.

But if you know anything about the shooter, you know that he was a man with guns, an addiction to gambling, and he stayed up all night frequently, with a father who was a psychopath.

Many celebrities spoke of Hefner in a positive light after his passing.

I can almost hear Paris Hilton saying, "It makes no sense."


Hefner and Paddock have something in common: They are both criminals.

Inside their minds, you are sure to find reasons for crime.

But what we all need to recognize: celebrities, and everyone else, is that there is a difference between someone with an informed conscience and someone who has no conscience. If they do, it is severely misinformed.

Deformity comes in all shapes.  We need to stop celebrating physical perfection and instead look at spiritual examples of beauty, beautiful souls if you will!

It's hard- for not just me, but for everyone... to choose purity and to choose servitude. Because living in a family is hard and making sacrifices is hard. Saying no to your flesh will never come naturally. 

But the sooner you learn to do it right away, the easier it gets, certainly. I tried this recently: just do one act of service for someone else, and see what it does:
takes your mind off yourself
cheers you up
changes your perspective from self-pity to redemption-mindedness!

St. Michael, the archangel defend us in battle against an increasingly violent, impure culture!!!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

monthly recap vol. 48 ~ September 2017


September kicked off with a good labor day; we spent the weekend on the river: going for walks, noticing nature and wildflowers in all their glory, and eating good food that Stephen cooked for us on the grill.
all six kids!

Annabel's birthday was also at the beginning of this month. We splurged on a very special, delicious cake and she got some cute little toys.... she requested Shopkins and Trolls! :0) :-)~ Yes, she is now two, and boy, does she act like it! :0)

I also lucked out by getting to go on a fun trip/adventure to Atlanta near the end of the month. I met my friend Libba in Atlanta; she came up halfway from Athens, and we had a city-adventure for the day, hopping around from Starbucks, to Winn Park, to The Varsity for lunch! So much fun and the perfect amount of time for a get-together!

I capped it all off with a fender bender (almost)*, and whole lot of reading... I'm finally taking my reading challenge for the year seriously, but I admit, I am woefully behind on my goal/ reading challenge.  I am not above admitting that I'll be looking for easy reads at the library for these last few months of the year! :) :)


finished -- The Interestings and They Say We Are Infidels {from August}

read {this month}

Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding
4/5 stars

Reluctant Pilgrim by Enuma Okoro
3/5 stars

All is Grace by Brennan Manning
5/5 stars

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
3/5 stars

Home by Toni Morrison
3/5 stars

Take This Bread  by Sara Miles
(on my kindle but I have yet to finish it)

I don't have much to say in the way of reviews this month. Winter Garden took so much coffee to get through... it was 394 pages about the Soviet Union's sad history of war and famine... I found myself depressed and sometimes snoozy... the book as a whole was satisfying, though.

~Kids Are Reading~


Finally reading chapter books!

Ragweed by Avi

The Critter Club by Callie Barkley

The Candy Fairies by Helen Perelman


Molly is really into audiobooks! She can listen all day when she get the right book/ something she is thoroughly captivated by! ;-)

The Descendants and Counting by 7's -- both on audiobook

~Instagram follows~

Instagram has become an interesting place, hasn't it?!  In the past few months, I have noticed a lot of diversity in my feed and with my followers. Here are some fun, diverse accounts (or accounts that celebrate or embrace diversity!) that I recommend you follow, too!


the Deaf

Asian American

Hispanic American

African American

I am so blessed to call many of this list my tribe.


Ellen has had some interesting stuff on her show lately. I saw this interview with a trans couple (very worth watching, even if just to see what's out there and going on in our world)  and then, this little girl who has a talent with her bunny puppet! {{{.... so cute...}}}

Renee Zellweger Surprises Houston Pet Rescue Group

What an inspirational story!


We borrowed The Illusionist... from the makers of one of my all-time favorite movies, The Triplets of Belleville.  It was very good, and it had a deeper meaning than many movies these days! And we were able to watch it as a family. A+!


this -- so good!

Frances' drawing/artwork of St. Francis of Assisi

I was getting on the interstate, and recently roadwork caused a merge lane to need a stop sign rather than a yield sign. The young girl who hit me didn't see me stop and she hit my car pretty hard! :(
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