Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 2014 videos

7 years + 6 months

Emily is officially 7 1/2!  This month she has really been into card games and tricks.  This is probably because she found a book from my childhood called 50 Card Games for Children.  She really wanted to show off some tricks when we hosted card club this month.  She even sneaks a deck of cards in her bed at night to work on or invent tricks.  It's not good when you strip beds to wash sheets and find all the face cards in her bedding.

Emily has also really been into Monopoly.   After months of begging, I finally sat down with her while at Village Creek Bible Camp to play a full-version game of Monopoly.  Unfortunately, the camp box was missing all the playing pieces and only had six $1 bills, so we used stones, bark and shared the money.  She got the hang of it pretty quickly.  So, of course, when we got home she insisted on opening the never-before-played full version we have at home.  After another round or two, I decided I would only play Monopoly, Jr., which has a guaranteed time limit of 30 minutes or less.  Luckily, Lincoln is usually up for a game with her.  She basically ends up playing for both of them, they compromise on who gets to buy Boardwalk, and Emily "wins" in the end.

Another thing that has Emily excited is a new subscription to Top Secret Adventure kits from Highlights.  She loves solving the puzzles and learning facts about different countries.

For Dad's Doughnut Day, Emily and her classmates each had to write a story about a dog.  This is Emily's woeful tale about our former dog, Cheney, when she just turned 3 years old.  I don't quite remember it the same. ;o)

Below is Emily's artwork from Art class in school.  It is based on the book Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold.  She is flying over the Mall of America.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Village Creek Bible Camp

Some friends invited Emily & I to join them for a Mother/Daughter weekend camp at Village Creek Bible Camp near Lansing, Iowa.  Emily had never been to a camp before, and I have only vague (not so positive) memories of summer church camp growing up, so it was a great opportunity to create new, positive memories together!  We both had a fantastic time.  Emily got to try out all kinds of new activities.  I was impressed and proud of her bravery and perseverance.  I enjoyed being unplugged (other than taking pictures) and having 48 hours of nothing but positive interactions together.  It was also fun to hang out with friends when we wanted to and be alone together when we needed to.  I highly recommend checking out any of Village Creek's family oriented camps.  Emily is already planning the next one!

We carpooled after school on Friday with two other moms and daughters.  We took a little side trip to Gunder, Iowa to experience a Gunderburger at The Irish Shanti.  I couldn't even finish a half-size one.  It is an experience.

It was almost dark by the time we arrived at the camp.  After checking in and getting our stuff settled, we attended the opening session and had snacks afterwards.  Then it was time to calm down three wound-up girls on bunk beds.  We were fortunate to be put in a bunkhouse room with just our friends and our own private bathroom.  The girls were all about the top bunks.  The moms were happy being on the bottom.  Emily was excited to journal all about her experience.
It was a late night, but it was a beautiful morning.  After a delicious breakfast and opening session, we were free to explore the grounds and participate in all the activities offered.  Here is our day in pictures...

First attempt at archery
First horse ride
First horse ride in like 15 years.

Selfie by the creek
Bungee trampoline
On top of Pulpit Rock
It was quite the hike, and she had more energy than me!
Tree climbing--with some gutsy perseverance she made it up over 20 feet.
"I can't believe I just climbed that high!"

Kayaking on the lake
Beach watch
How far can you throw a rock?
That's a BIG chair!
Helping out with praise & worship
Camp friends
Whew!  Let's just say everyone fell asleep a lot sooner the second night!  It poured rain during the night and rained off and on the next morning.  It cleared up just long enough for Emily to be able to launch the model rocket we put together.  She was the only one who made one during the camp.

We arrived home Sunday afternoon tired but happy.  We're already looking forward to doing it again sometime!  Below is the video I made of our weekend.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy guy!

I bought the first watermelon of the season, and Lincoln was thrilled!

He also had fun cruisin' on his bike this afternoon. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Little helper

Lincoln loves to "help" do things.  His latest craze is helping with dishes.  He usually asks to wash, but that just means he runs lots of water and plays in it.  Austin & I do let him help dry dishes.  However, Lincoln is very particular with what he actually dries.  For some reason he loves doing the coffee pot.  Of course, most of the time this:

 Turns into this:

I also recently helped some friends do some deep cleaning before they moved into their first house.  Lincoln helped for the first 5 minutes.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Easter morning began with Easter buckets and a pack of sprinkle doughnuts...

After breakfast was the highly anticipated egg hunt...

Examining their loot...

We were excited to have our international host student, Andjelka, and her roommate, Aleksandra, come to church with us at Orchard Hill.  It was crazy there.  We got the last seats available in the Community Center 15 min. before the service even started.  The service was awesome, though.  Both girls said they enjoyed the experience.  They come from an Eastern Orthodox background where going to church means standing for two hours in an old stone church/cathedral in a very liturgical service.  Aleks said she liked the "positive energy" she felt at OHC.  I hope they come back with us again sometime!

Both girls stayed for lunch.  I had fun making full Easter fare with my first ever spiral-cut ham using this great new recipe, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, homemade honey wheat rolls and two desserts.  Everything turned out great!  I also provided full Easter dinner for another family, so the kitchen was hopping!

Before leaving, the girls showed the kids how to participate in the traditional Bosnian egg-cracking contest.  Each person holds a hard-boiled egg in their hand and they take turns bopping the ends together with another person's egg.  Whomever has the egg that cracks, loses.  You get two tries per egg (two ends).  Lincoln loved it and shouted, "I win!" every time, regardless if his egg cracked.  There is a video in the April play list.

Thankfully, both kids have a clear understanding of the real events surrounding Easter.  They loved opening the Resurrection Eggs and battled for days over who got to open the last white one (they each got to take a peek at the empty egg).  Lincoln also loves to recite his preschool Bible verse this month: "The Lord is risen indeed!"   Luke 24:34

Saturday, April 19, 2014

4 years + 11 months

Lincoln is on the homestretch to his birthday, and he is very excited!  He has also been really excited about the Adventure Bible Storybook Deluxe Edition I bought for him this month.  He had been asking to read and reread the New Testament version he received as a baby gift from my Aunt Janet.  When he started asking about the Old Testament, I got a complete version along with audio CD's.  He soaked that up, too.  In fact, he's listened to the CD's so much, he has several stories almost completely memorized and can recite them with expression.  The funniest part is that he begins every "reading" with the entire introduction spiel from the CD: "Zonderkidz presents The Adventure Bible Storybook.  Written by Catherine DeVries. Illustrated by John Madsen. Read by...  Directed by..."  followed by a humming of the theme music.  He stumbles and mumbles through some of the names, but pretty much has it down!

Kids Monster PackThe Adventure Bible CD's have been sharing air time with the audio CD's of Dave Ramsey's Junior's Adventures book series that came as part of the Financial Peace Kids' Pack I also recently purchased.  We haven't fully implemented the money plan part yet, but Lincoln loves the books.  It's funny to hear him talk about "Dollar Bill's Adventures to defeat the dreaded Dr. Debt."  Of course, he also has gotten other ideas from the books.  Like, if he wants to buy something and doesn't have enough money, the best place to go is to work.  So he thinks he is going to go to Grandpa Boote's farm every day this summer to help milk the cows and feed the horse and get paid $30/week like Junior did in The Super Red Racer.  (Nevermind that Grandpa's farm is 230 miles away, Lincoln isn't even tall enough to reach the milkers in the parlor and Grandpa is planning to sell the cows this summer.)  He also wants to invite everyone he knows to his birthday party and thinks Grandma is going to come with an extra special gift (an envelope with a $100 bill) like in The Big Birthday Surprise.  Probably not going to happen, buddy.

Speaking of reality, one of Lincoln's (and Emily's) favorite TV Shows is Renovation Realities on the DIY network while eating popcorn on Sunday nights.  Of course, that gets him thinking and asking about what we can renovate next.  We tell him that we're all done, but he keeps coming up with ideas.  Also not going to happen, buddy.

His other current favorite TV show is Phineas & Ferb.  It's actually kind of a cute show about making inventions and creative double story lines.  However, that comes with consequences, too.  Because it's on the Disney XD channel, it comes with commercials.  I haven't experienced the commercials for that target audience in years since we mostly stick to PBS Kids and Amazon Prime videos, but it's just as crazy and powerful as ever.  Lincoln is now asking for Snackeez, and the "Dough that Glows".  (I had to Google that just to figure out he was talking about Lumi Dough).  Sigh.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dying eggs

I bought an egg dying kit on clearance at Walmart three years ago for $.25.  I haven't been brave enough to haul it out since.  Our Wartburg Int'l Student, Andjelka, has fond memories of dying Easter eggs, so she volunteered to come over and help.  She even brought a basket and stickers. :) 

This mom was pretty nervous about egg dye in our brand new kitchen.  I had a thick vinyl table cloth covered in a double layer of newspaper with paper towels on top.  Plus vinyl art smocks for the kids.  Luckily, we had no incidents other than a few fingertips.  The kids got the hang of it by the second dozen eggs.  All in all, it was a success.  Now, who's going to help me eat all those eggs?!?