Indoor Camping

The kids and I planned an Autumn Fun List back in October. One of the ideas we decided to include was indoor camping. Indoor camping became a tradition of ours about three years ago. It included setting up a tent, making S’mores and binge-watching movies into the wee hours of the morning.

This year we decided to let out friends and family in on our tradition and it was so much fun.

 

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We normally set up the tent for the kids’ to sleep in on the night of the party. Since we had a lot of people over we needed the space so we just used it as a prop.

 

 

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I designed and printed out these arrows on cardstock and taped them to a broomstick because I didn’t have a pole. The broom brush was behind the tent. No one knew hahaha!

 

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Inside of the campfire, there were flameless candles flickering. You can’t see them from the photo but I promise they looked so cool with the light off. 

 

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This little sign was a hit. It definitely made everyone chuckle. The kids chose their favorite bear friends to play the part. 

 

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We used sterno cans to make the S’mores. Be sure to use Ethanol Gel cans because it is food safe. 

 

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The kiddos all enjoying their snack creations!

 

 

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Campfire cookies

 

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The twigs more cool to look at than to eat. None of the kids wanted pretzels and I couldn’t eat them all by myself lol

 

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Needless to say, the Cheeto Puffs were devoured. 

 

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My nephew, who is three, did not want to touch these. He really thought they were bear poop and stayed far away!

 

 

 

 

So, there you have it! A successful Indoor Camping Party!

 

 

 

 

 

Pizza Muffins

What a great recipe to get the kids involved with!

In Dianes Kitchen

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These Pizza Muffins make a great grab and go snack or a meal! I made these as a meal with the Grandkids but my husband is the one that loved them the most! I made these with pizza dough, a lot of pepperoni, cheese and a little sauce. I left the rest of the sauce to dip the muffins in after they were baked. YUM!

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Ingredients – (I ended up not using the butter)

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Cut the pizza dough in half making two equal pieces.

Unroll each piece.

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Sprinkle the chopped up Pepperoni evenly on both pieces of

dough keeping it away from the edges.

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Sprinkle cheese on top of pepperoni.

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Use a spoon and put a thin line of sauce over the cheese.

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Roll up both pieces of the dough starting at the

short end and going to the other short end.

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Using your hand gently squeeze and make the

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Having It All Together

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As a new homeschool mom, I am constantly bombarded with questions about how the kids are getting a proper education. In the past, I would immediately put my guard up because it felt like an attack on my personal ability to be able to fully educate my children. Then I learned that education can mean different things to different people.

To some, it’s important for children to be in a classroom all day learning with a teacher and dealing with their peers. And I totally get why this is “normal” to them. It’s a safe way to make sure your kids are getting their education and they don’t somehow fall through the cracks of society. Afterall, most parents have demanding work schedules and who has time to even help with homework after a long day? I know that struggle we lived it for years. That’s when we finally decided enough was enough with the rat race.

In my opinion, the benefits of homeschooling are just enormous. The kids are free to pursue what their interests are and have time to develop them. Core subjects can be discussed at length and broken down to suit the needs of each child. The field trips can be designed around which subject we’re studying, which causes the subject to become real. Here is an example of our Sea Turtle field trip. This trip made a lasting impression on the kids and they became more sympathetic to not just the delicate balance of marine life but of animals all over the world.

I used to dislike homeschooling families. I thought they looked down on us parents who put our kids in public school. They seemed to have a perfect little life spending time with their kids and creating memories, while I was stuck in an office all day wishing I could be at home. But once we became a homeschooling family I learned that it’s a not a perfect life. It’s a real struggle every day to provide all three meals, keep on task with school work, making sure the kids help with housework, keep them socialized and on and on. It can be tough but the benefits outweigh the negatives by far.

We have become closer as a family. I have learned so many things about my children that I probably would not have discovered if we held to our old way of life just to have that extra income. I know Audy is really into science and engineering. Bri loves art and wants to make video games. Mavi wants to work with animals. These are things we never talked about before because we were too busy. If you’re thinking of homeschooling don’t let self-doubt creep in. Talk to your kids about it and see where they stand. It took us a full year to decide if we were ready.

There is no such thing as having it all together. We take each day one at a time. Each moment as it comes. Why not the next time you encounter a homeschooling family ask questions of course, but also give the kids some words of encouragement?

Because honestly the best thing any of us can do in our lives is just hold it together.

What about you? Have you had to defend your decision to homeschool?

Being Present Doesn’t Mean You’re There

My children have been asking me to spend more time with them more recently. I thought this was an odd request due to the fact that we are always around each other. Choosing to be a stay at home mom was not an easy choice to make. It meant we would be down one income but on the flip side, it would create more opportunities to guide and educate our kids. Our kids will not be so little forever and will eventually grow up and move on with their lives. Work can wait.

Choosing to be a stay at home mom was not an easy choice to make. It meant we would be down one income but on the flip side, it would create more opportunities to guide and educate our kids. Children are only young once and will eventually grow up and move on with their lives. Work can wait.

I told my husband that the kids mentioned they wanted more time with me. He suggested that perhaps I was not as present as I thought I was. Turns out he was right.

The kids and I held a meeting the next day in order to determine what the real problem was. Their number one complaint, drum roll please, was me spending too much time on my phone. The second was not really listening when we are having a conversation.

OK, what parent is not guilty of one of these or both? Back to being a stay at home mom. If you’re honest with yourself, you can admit that it can get pretty boring and repetitive. My phone is an outlet or

Back to being a stay at home mom. If you’re honest with yourself, you can admit that it can get pretty boring and repetitive. My phone is an outlet or a type of escape from the mundane things around the house. However, I never have it out during school hours. The time we spend learning is very important and the kids and I both respect that boundary.

It is the rest of the day where we all seem to go our separate ways, right through dinner and until bedtime.  I do in fact get my “me” time by carving it out. The early morning hours is my time to focus on myself. This includes workout, meditation and Bible reading. I am by no means a morning person but I found this was the best time to focus on me.

So after our meeting, we decided to put a few things into practice:

  • Absolutely no electronics at meal times.
  • If someone is speaking, put down the phone and be engaged and give a thoughtful answer.
  • Understand that at times we may not be heard and that is OK.

Kids need to know the world does not revolve around them. So, naturally, there will be boundaries in place that are aimed to help them understand that nagging is not tolerated. If I said no once then don’t ask me another million times in an attempt to try and wear me down.

Also, they understand that not every moment of the day can and will be spent with them. They need to use their imagination to play and create moments for themselves.

I am confident that moving forward that I will be able to be more present and not just merely there.

Have you had to overcome a similar challenge? Sound off in the comments!

Autumn Fun List

Fall Fun list


Two Summers ago the kids and I made a Summer Life List and we had a blast with it.

The list served a few purposes:

  1. It forced us to get out of the house and into the sunshine.
  2. It helped us grow closer as a family.
  3. The activities ensured that the kids would be busy.
  4. Lasting memories would be made.

Now that I am thinking about it I am not sure why we didn’t do the same thing this year. It wasn’t until the Summer was over that Audy brought it to my attention that we didn’t have a Summer Fun List.

Fast forward about a month and here we are in Autumn. Er, as Autumn as Southeast Texas can get.

We sat down and thought about the fun things we could do in the Fall and came up with some fun ideas.

Starting this weekend and continuing till the end of October we will try to get everything done on the list.


Fall Fun List: 

  1. Go Stargazing
  2. Bake Pumpkin Bread
  3. Make Smores
  4. Make Candy Apples
  5. Make an Autumn Wreath for the Door
  6. Drink Apple Cider
  7. Go on a Nature Walk
  8. Fall Photo
  9. Have a picnic
  10. Visit a Corn Maze
  11. Indoor Camping
  12. Fall scented candles
  13. Make a Pine cone Bird Feeder
  14. Fall Scavenger Hunt
  15. Roast Pumpkin Seeds
  16. Try a New Hot Cocoa recipe
  17.  Leaf Rubbing Art
  18. Decorate the House for Fall
  19. Make Popcorn balls
  20. Binge watch Movies all afternoon

 

How do you prepare for Fall? Leave a comment below!

Eclipse 2017

The kids and I have been eagerly awaiting the eclipse that was to happen here in North America. Today was the day and we were not prepared!

(The featured photo is from NASA. The link is below)

Since we live in Texas, visibility was only at sixty percent so we knew it would not be a huge difference. We did however, notice the sky had changed and it looked a bit like early evening.

Unfortunately, we did not have viewing glasses and I never got around to making the eclipse viewer with the kids. ( Yeah I know :/)

We did go outside and try to look up at the sun but like I said without the glasses to cancel out the surrounding light it was disappointing. It was still nice to go out and experience the light change in the middle of the day. Another thing I noticed it was also not as blazing hot outside for the middle of the day.

Here are our pictures:

 

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This photo was taken at 1:16 p.m. The sun was still pretty bright. 
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A view without a filter. The lighting outside was a bit darker as you can probably tell from the color of the tree.  This photo was taken at 1:25 p.m.
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A friend of mine was able to capture this photo from Houston.  Photo Credit: Olya Valyan

Here is the link to the site for NASA. You can see more photos of the eclipse and get more information.

The next eclipse will be in April 8, 2024 and here in Texas we will have greater visibility.

Were you able to see the eclipse? Share your experience below.

OMG! LOL! A Surprise Emoji Party!

Well, I did it! I threw a surprise party for the kids.  This was on my life list!

It was a real challenge to keep my mouth closed.

One night while the kids were upstairs they overheard me talking to a friend about the party and they immediately came downstairs to ask me about it. I was so upset that I let it slip so I told my husband about how I failed to keep quiet.

He came up with a solution that we would tell the kids that something came up and we needed to push the party back. It was a genius idea!

In order to make time to decorate I asked my mom to keep the kids overnight so I could set up without them noticing.

Before I got started my husband bought me a great dinner from one of my favorite seafood restaurants! We got to enjoy a meal with peace and quiet!

After that much needed meal I had the energy needed to get decorating!


Decorating

The first project I worked on was the Instagram frame for the photos!

This was a big hit!

I originally wanted to buy this pre-made but I wasn’t able to so I thought to make my own.

Materials Used:

  • Foam Poster Board
  • Exacto knife
  • Foam Sheets in White, Red, Gray and Blue
  • Foam letters
  • Printer to print out photos and text
  • Instagram reference photo

Instagram Frame


I used tablecloths from the Dollar store to make the backdrop. The emojis are napkins because I wanted to save time. If you scroll down a little bit you can see the plates I turned into emojis for the food table backdrop. I intended on making a bunch of those but I was short on time.

We had meatballs, hot dogs, ham and cheese sliders, veggies trays, mashed potato bombs, cupcakes and chips and salsa. Perfect finger foods for kids on the go!

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Candy Table with the Poop Emoji Pool Float
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Candy table
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The table before I added the food.
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I made this sign for the food table
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My son likes to send this emoji to me because Koalas are his favorite. I thought it would be fun to make this for him.
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We love to play the game Portal so I thought this would be a funny joke for my kids. They loved it!

 

Here are some pictures from the party.

 

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My parents with the grandkids. We are missing one who is five months old.