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Oh, Christmas Tree(s), Oh, Christmas Tree(s)

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I love Christmas!  Did I say that already?  I really, really do!

In my house, we don’t just put up one Christmas tree.  We put up one in almost every room!  Add those to the other decorations, and our house is just filled to the brim with Christmas.  No matter what room you are in, you’ll be sure to feel the Christmas spirit!

Here are my trees…this doesn’t include my outside trees!

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I have a teeny little tree in my kitchen.  My cousin made the cute little snow blocks.

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I have a big tree in the playroom trimmed with ornaments older than I am.  It’s been so nice to hand these down to my children.

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Our “Big Tree” in the Living Room is always, always, a live tree.  This tree is trimmed with ornaments from my childhood and my husband’s childhood, including our very first Christmas ornaments.  When we had children of our own, we were able to start buying them ornaments every year to place on the tree.  And, I always hang candy canes on my tree…a tradition I stole from my Uncle Randall.

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And you must have presents under the tree!

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There’s a tree in my son’s room with some ornaments from my childhood and new ones for each year of his life.  Gotta love the blue tree!

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And one in my daughter’s room with ornaments from my childhood and new ones for each year of her life.  And, of course, a pink tree for my little girl!

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There is even a tree in our Master Bedroom!

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Usually, I’m not a red light person, but I was given these red lantern lights that are really old and cool looking.  I have a thing for antiques!

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The book I use to sing carols with my kids is even older than the lights!  Circa 1940.

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I even put a tree in my laundry room.  Hey, you really need Christmas spirit when you are doing laundry!  Maybe I’ll just leave that one up all year!

And, since it is getting late in the day, and everyone will be turning in for a long winter’s nap soon, I’ll leave you with one last picture of my very favorite Christmas wreath…

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Long Time Gone

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Wow!  Has it really been that long since my last blog post?!?  Life in summer is so very busy with gardening and swimming and playing and housework and schooling and church and travel and treehouse building and…you get the idea!  Add my husband’s vasectomy reversal to the list, and things get all kinds of crazy!

Yes, we have two beautiful children who are 7 and 8, and we thought we were content with that, but God had other plans for us.  So, if it is his will, we will be adding to our happy little family of four.  Excited and nervous…are we crazy?!?

So, to make a long story short, I will be blogging, but there may be gaps in my posts.  I have so much to talk about…summer schooling stories, recipes to share, gardening tips to tell, and life events to gush about, but I can’t seem to find enough time in the day.  Stick with me, guys, I’ll work on those time management skills!

Hope you are enjoying your summer as much as I am!

Happy Birthday To You!

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Yesterday, we celebrated my little girl’s 7th birthday.  I am still a bit in shock.  I just can’t believe she is 7 already.  It seems like such a short time ago I was holding this beautiful little baby in my arms.  She’s still my baby, though, and will always be!

So, as is tradition in our family, my little miss got a pancake breakfast…complete with 7 candles.  She went with a slightly more traditional approach than her brother did on his birthday.  She wanted her pancakes topped with butter, maple syrup, powdered sugar, and a big squirt of whipped cream.  Yummy!

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And, of course, we sang “Happy Birthday” to the birthday girl…

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Make a wish and blow out the candles!

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The whole day revolved around my little girl.  She got to play the games she wanted, watch the shows she wanted, and pick the meals she wanted.  It’s nice to be pampered, especially on your birthday.

For lunch, my little sweetie chose a pasta dish I just recently “created”.  It’s a yummy cold pasta with Italian dressing, fresh tomatoes, Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses, and fresh from the garden parsley and basil.  So very delicious and one of my daughter’s new favorite dishes.

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After class, we took a swim in our pool.  This was the first swim of the year, so it was a special treat for my little girl’s big day.  The water was perfect and the kid’s had a blast splashing around…and so did their momma and daddy!

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My little girl was also in charge of deciding what we would all eat for dinner.  And what did she choose for her birthday dinner?  Oh, just Chicken Tikka Masala!  You know, a typical dish for a 7 year old to choose…NOT!  I’m so proud of both of my kiddos for not being picky and (almost) always willing to try new things.  This dish has been a favorite in our family for years.  And my daughter was not disappointed with her choice, both she and her brother devoured dinner!

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We had a wonderful, fun-filled day, celebrating my little girl’s 7th (boo-hoo) birthday!  Now, on to planning for her party this weekend.  I will be a very, very busy momma for the next 2 days, and my sweet little angel is worth every single minute of it.  I am so blessed!  Happy Birthday to you, my sweet girl!

Slip-Sliding Away

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Finally!  Warm weather is here!  I just hope it’s here to stay for a while.

You know it’s warm when you have to pull out the slip-n-slide and the kiddie pools.  My kiddos and I finished up class early yesterday so we could spend the afternoon enjoying this beautiful weather.  Ah, the joys and freedoms of homeschooling!

This momma even gave her kids a tutorial on how to properly use the slip-n-slide, and ended up walking around with a wet front all afternoon.  I had forgotten just how much fun those things are!

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Mr. man loved taking a big, and I mean big, run and sliding.  He even let his toy lizards join in the fun.

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Little miss…slip-sliding away!  Look, there’s her toy lizard sliding, too.

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I think sis won that race!

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After all that “hard work”, it’s time for a relaxing soak in the pool.

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Why, yes, that is a sandal floating in the pool.  It is a “boat” for all those lizards and snakes.

I really love and cherish this time with my kiddos…and I love their fun little imaginations.  Hope you are enjoying this warm weather as much as we are!

Meet Boxy Roxy, The Turtle

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My kids are really into reptiles and amphibians.  Those of you who have been reading my blog know this already.  For those of you who are new to my blog, you should be forewarned that there will be lots and lots of reptile and amphibian pictures posted on here because every time my kids find a new lizard or frog or salamander, they must have a picture taken, and usually insist that I post it on my blog (which they seem to think belongs to them).

So far this year, we have found 8 lizards, 1 salamander, 16 frogs (that isn’t counting the hundreds of tadpoles), and a turtle.

The turtle was found for my kiddos by their cousins.  They have been dying to find a turtle, and having trouble doing it, so this really made their day.  They finally got to add turtle to their list!  And what a sweet turtle it was.  It wasn’t shy at all.  It came out of its shell for a picture, and crawled around all of us (even across our toes), until it finally made a nice little home in my landscaping.  The kids named it Boxy Roxy!  Where do they come up with these names?

Here’s our sweet little turtle, Boxy Roxy.

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Boxy Roxy brought such joyful smiles to my kid’s faces as she crawled around and looked at us with her cute little face.

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Then, she decided she had had enough attention, and crawled into my landscaping to rest.  Bye, Boxy Roxy!  See ya later!

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What will they find next?

Operation DIY Reptile Party…The Event!

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The day of the party arrived, all of the planning and creating and decorating was done, it was time to make sure my baby boy had a blast!  And have a blast he did!

Here he is sitting behind his favorite decoration…the cake.  I’ll never forget his reaction when he first saw it.  Makes this momma’s heart happy.

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While everyone stuffed their faces with snake sandwiches, chips, potato salad, baked beans, and bug juice with worms, my son kept asking, “Can we open presents yet?…Can we open presents yet?”  I informed him that his parties have followed the same schedule since his very first: food, cake and ice cream, then presents.  He doesn’t seem to like this routine any longer.  Maybe we’ll reverse the process next year.

Finally, it was time for cake and ice cream.  After snapping entirely too many pictures in front of the cake, we finally lit the candles (all 8 of them…boo hoo!), and sang “Happy Birthday” to my sweet little boy.  He made a wish and blew out the candles.  Then, proceeded to pick a lizard off his cake and lick the icing from it.  Still, he is waiting not too patiently to open those presents!  Eat the cake faster already!

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“Happy Birthday to you…”

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Make a wish!

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And the licking of the reptile.

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Now, after such a long and painful wait, it was time to open the presents.  Oh, how very excited my little boy was to rip open all the packages!

First, sissy got to give him the present she chose and carefully wrapped for him…one of her very own lizards…how giving my children can be.

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Next up, a lovely poster from his cousin.  She always gets him great stuff.

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Money…always a nice present!  And a growing tongue!  Thanks Wilma!

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A fake knife, a pack of turtles, and a dinosaur tooth from the aunt and uncle…very cool!

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I can’t believe he actually took time to read his cards!

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Hobbit Legos and a stuffed Raccoon puppet from granny.  He has wanted a raccoon for a long time, and he loved this one.  It looks so real!

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Grandmommy and Papaw got him a pop-up habitat, a boat to build, and an adorable stuffed “Pack Rat” puppet.

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From mommy and daddy, in a reptile cargo crate, he found tons of stuffed reptiles.  He got a Chameleon, a Leopard Frog, a Gecko, a Burmese Python, a Coral Snake, and an Alligator…and a scoop net to catch more reptiles with…preferably not of the snake variety!

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Also, he got a Deluxe Safari Fort Kit.  This was a wonderful idea I found on Pinterest.  It had a sheet set, clothespins, suction cups with hooks, and string placed inside a pillow case and tied up with a label.  Hours of fort making on the cheap!  Best present ever!  I can’t even walk through my son’s room now because the whole place is one giant fort.  I’d say he liked this present.

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I think he had a very, very “Happy Birthday”.  I love to see that smile!

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Now, onto planning for my little girl who turns 7 next month (boo hoo-ing some more!).  They really need to slow down with this growing up stuff!

Operation DIY Reptile Party…Phase Two, Three, Four…

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Phase One of Operation DIY Reptile Party was a success.  The invites were so fun to create, and everyone loved them…especially the birthday boy.

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However, Phase Two ended up being a total disaster.  I love baking and decorating cakes, so I thought I could work with gum paste even though I’ve never used it before.  I didn’t have any trouble creating the shapes I wanted, but they became dry and brittle after sitting out for only a few minutes.  Clearly, I did something wrong.  Also, gum paste tastes about like fondant, which I am not a fan of.  When I let my son taste it, he thought it was disgusting and proceeded to make puking noises.  I realized the gum paste cake decorations were out!  Luckily, I had a Plan B (pictures of Plan B to follow)!

So, on to Phase Three of Operation DIY Reptile Party.  My son wanted party favors in cargo boxes.  How to do this on the cheap and DIY?  I took a paper bag and hole punched “air holes” in it.  Then, I printed off tags that said “Fragile Cargo” and “Live Reptiles”.  Toss in some brown and green tissue paper and some plastic reptiles, and voila, Reptiles in a Cargo Box!  I also ended up wrapping his big present like a cargo box…it turned out really well.

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Phase Four commenced the day before the party and consisted of making all of the party decorations.  I made a welcome poster, and birthday banner, and a birthday card using poster board, card stock, glue, printed clipart, and some twine…all items just hanging out in my office waiting for me to get crafty with them.  And, I thank God for my pinking shears.  They have a way of turning the ordinary into the extraordinary!

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Phase Five…decorating the house…the day of the party!  By now, I’m in frantic mode.  I always stress a bit before parties wanting to make sure everything is perfect for my little ones.  When the party starts, I can relax and have fun with my kiddos knowing a gave them the best I could.  I decorated the table with some moss from Hobby Lobby and a bunch of reptiles belonging to the birthday boy.  I loved using the little mason jars with lime green and white striped paper straws.  We drank “bug juice” in them…with worms!  I put glass vases filled with rocks and plastic plants on the food table.  Then, I floated a couple of frogs in them.  I think I might keep these out for decoration.  They look really cool!

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On to Phase Six…the food.  My son wanted a snake sandwich, bug juice, gummy worms, and chips.  My mom contributed potato salad and baked beans to round out the extremely healthy menu.  The snake sandwich turned out really cute and the bug juice (lime Koolaid) was yummy, even with the gummy worms in it!

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The last, and most stressful, part of planning my little boy’s party was Phase Seven…THE CAKE!!!  After the gum paste fiasco, I was a little nervous about how the cake would turn out.  My son wanted a four layer round cake, half white and half chocolate, decorated with grass and a pond and reptiles.  He didn’t want much, did he?  Well, thanks to Plan B, and the use of plastic instead of gum paste, I think the cake turned out okay.  And when my son saw it, he started screaming and said it was “the most awesome cake ever!!!”.  I don’t need anyone else’s approval when I have my son’s adoration.  Worth all the stress and planning just to see him smile!

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Oh, and here is my son’s contribution to the decorating.  A list of Reptile Rules. He dictated this list of 10 rules to me.  Rules like:  Don’t abandon your home during hibernation, never go north, and stay away from Secretary Birds.  Hilarious!

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And, not to worry, I will post party pictures tomorrow.  So check back!

Happy, Happy Birthday

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Today is my son’s 8th birthday!  I just can’t seem to grasp the fact that he’s 8 years old.  Where did the time go?  I wouldn’t even let him say he was 8 until exactly 4:55 this evening.  I am clinging to every minute!

My little man is having his big reptile party tomorrow, and he’s been in lizard mode for a while now.  I got this birthday picture of him “sunning in the window”.  He’s a cute little lizard, isn’t he?

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Happy Birthday!

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We have a tradition in our house on birthdays.  The kids always get a pancake breakfast, complete with birthday candles.  My son chose the ever popular cheesecake pancakes, and asked that they be covered in butter, strawberry syrup, powdered sugar, whipped topping, and gummy worms…yes, gummy worms.  And, on this day, what the boy wants, the boy gets.

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And, of course, sis and I sang “Happy Birthday” to him before he blew out the candles.

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Make a wish…

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I think he really enjoyed those pancakes…and the powdered sugar…and the gummy worms!

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Today was all about my little boy.  He got to choose what games to play, what animals we would all be for the day (it’s a thing in our house), and what movies we would watch.  He even got to pick dinner…Butter Burger, yum!

I am pretty sure, though, that the absolute best part of his day was the little “gift” his daddy found for him.  While cutting grass, he caught a blue tailed lizard (5 lined skink).  My son went crazy over it!  A real live lizard to play with on his birthday…priceless!

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Poor little guy was missing a tail…thank goodness they grow back.

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A perfect end to a perfect day.  Happy Birthday to my sweet little boy!

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Homeschooling In The Great Outdoors

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Everything was thoroughly hectic and depressing last week, so much so that I didn’t even have time or the desire to write on my blog.  After taking some time to be a big baby, I’m pulling myself up by my bootstraps and living life!  And the best way I find to enjoy life is with my wonderful husband and kiddos…I love them so very much!

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One of my greatest joys and greatest challenges in life is homeschooling my children.  I feel so blessed to be able to have them home with me every day and to be responsible for their learning.  After taking an unwanted break from school last week, we were all very excited to get back in the groove.  Thankfully, the sun was shining today and it was nice and warm outside, and that means outside class!  We look forward to this time of year when we can just pack all of our books and supplies outside and learn while the sun is beating down on us and the birds are singing and the wind is blowing on our faces…perfection.

So, today, we had class outside.  And it was wonderful!  All the stress of last week just slid away as I worked with my kids.  I am always amazed at how well they learn and how much they truly enjoy learning.  Being able to soak up that happy sunshine also helped wipe away the stress!

Learning outside really has its perks.  We got to study ants as we talked about insects in science.  My daughter was able to write her spelling words on the driveway with chalk instead of using paper and pencil.

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We all worked together to make cute little leaf and flower butterfly crafts.

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And, my children used their very vivid imaginations to make “crossbows” with sticks and rubber band bracelets during their breaks.  Silly kiddos!

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Homeschooling in the great outdoors is just one of the many, many reasons I love being a homeschooler.  And it’s a really great reason!

Trek To The Top

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Behind my mother-in-law and father-in-law’s house, way up on top of the ridge, there is a really big rock, and we call it…wait for it…Big Rock!  The hike up to big rock is beautiful, even though it is straight uphill.  When you reach the top of the ridge, you can see our whole little town.  It looks so quaint from up there.  After a short walk on top of the ridge, you reach Big Rock.  This rock structure is really interesting to look at, and a little unnerving to climb on…especially when you have small children in tow!

A few days ago, my whole family decided to take the trek up the mountain to Big Rock, even my 74-year-old momma went with us!  She’s a trooper!  We really had a wonderful day surrounded by nature and family…two of my very favorite things!  I thought I’d share the experience with you, my wonderful blog followers.  If you have a mountain behind your house…climb it!  You will always see something absolutely beautiful…in your own backyard…so to speak.

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Here are my kiddos, breaking for a snack.

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I am so blessed with a wonderful hubby and two totally awesome kids.

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Up on the ridge…

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Here’s the whole gang.  Minus my sis-in-law who was behind the camera.

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This picture was taken by my 6-year-old daughter.  I think she might be a photographer one day!

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The boys…up on Big Rock.

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Big Rock!  I think it’s kinda pretty.

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Me and my girl up on the rock.

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Say cheese!  What a wonderful day.  I love time with family.  I love hiking.  I love Big Rock.  I love my life!

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