Saturday, June 12, 2010

Swimming Season Has Officially Begun

Our neighbor, Hugh and Marlene Gorlitz, opened their pool up this past Thursday, and we were all invited over for the celebratory first swim! Here's a video of Delanie's first time in the water since last year. She is the cutest little frog in the whole pool (you'll understand when you watch the video below). :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wagons Ho!

wagon teams . . .
cowboys . . .
88 degrees . . .
wide open lands . . .
dusty trails . . .
blazing sun . . .
dust devils . . .

. . . sounds like a snippet from your history books, don't it?

Well, lucky us, that was our fantastic day today! Cowboy Cal (my mom's brother, pictured above) and his girlfriend, Sue, organized a huge wagon train shindig that our family got to participate in and be a part of. I donned my cowboy hat, Kevin broke out his chaps (ok, no not really . . . but I wish!), Kaden wore his cowboy boots and the other kiddos brought their enthusiasm for adventure!

And boy, did we get adventure!!! 8 miles, 3 hours of adventure out and all around Maybee, Michigan.

Within the wagon train we had pairs of draft horses pulling double wagons, single drafts pulling wagons, teams of miniature horses pulling carts, single minis pulling carts (little body, BIG attitude!) and a wide assortment of riders. There was a huge span of ages in the crowd too and, of course, the boys quickly made friends with two other little boys on the wagon and back at the farm.

Each of the boys had a blast taking turns riding Uncle Cal's pony (named Pony - so original!) and Elijah even got to try his hand at driving a wagon! I was so amazed at how calmly he handled the horse and cart and was one proud mama!

(I just love sharing one of my passions with my kiddos and family.)

We finished up the afternoon with a huge spread of food that Cal and Sue provided and we pigged out, gathered around tables in their pole barn. What a great time meeting new people and getting to know Cal and Sue's friends and neighbors.

Yes, it was killer hot. Yes, we were all stinky and sweaty. Yes, we are all fried to a crisp, despite applying layers of sunblock. Yes, we all forgot our water bottles and felt majorly dehydrated. Yes, we stopped traffic as we traveled the roads of Maybee. Yes, it was an awesome day and a great memory-maker! Yes, sign us up for next year!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Walking Tall, Walking Proud!

Just less than one week after she turned a year old, Lanie is walking! I am so excited for her and so proud of her!

(even if you don't see an image, click on the play button below and the video will play)

Last night, after dinner at my parents house, we were sitting around enjoying some tea while the boys colored and Lanie cruised along the walls, furniture and moving boxes. My Dad sat down on the floor next to her and called to her, and to our astonishment she let go of the box she was holding onto and took two steps toward him!!! Kevin immediately ran to get the video camera and we recorded her next few brave steps. It was so cute because you can tell that she is extremely proud of herself and enjoyed all of the attention she earned.

I wish I had our Canon with us to document the moment as well, but at least there is a video for you to enjoy and for us to treasure! :)

Honestly, I'm a little surprised it has taken her this long to finally take those pivotal first steps! She has been cruising and walking with assistance since she was nine and a half months old. I thought she would be my earliest walker, but instead she has matched Eli in timing for the latest walker. Kaden walked at 10 months, Ethan at 11 months, and now Eli and Delanie both walked the week they turned one!

You can bet I'm going to be following her around with the camera all day today trying to capture a few more brave steps! My baby is getting so big!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun!

(Click on the photos if you want to view them bigger)
Last night was a rocking, side-splitting, blast from the past! It was 80's Night at our Girl's Night Out Coffee Night!
Although I was just a kid during the 80's, I found dressing the part of an 80's fashionista to be rather natural. In fact, other than a few borrowed accessories (thanks Darlene!) most of my ensemble came directly out of my own drawers and closet!
Uh-oh, did I just admit that?!?!?
However, I think I'll stick to my straightened locks and bangs, and my non-hot pick clothes for just a while longer.
It was so much fun to see the creativity and 80's fashion-sense of all the other valley girls! We had a madonna look-alike, a sporty valley-girl, an 80's prom queen, and so much more!
Have fun spazzing over these totally righteous images. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Trampoline Family Fun!

Tonight was an absolutely GORGEOUS evening, and we just had to enjoy the weather by being outside. I love these peeks of summertime hidden between the blustery days and the rainy days of spring.

As you may have already guessed, before we knew it the whole family was piled onto the trampoline and Kevin pulled out our camera and our new wide angle lens. Kevin and I swapped turns behind the camera and everyone had a blast showing off and performing. Even Lanie got in on the action! :) Check out our fun and funky images . . .

Monday, May 17, 2010

Adventure Time!

This past Saturday was Lanie's birthday and in honor of her, Kevin and my families got together to celebrate! Before the actual party however, my parents, my sister and bro-in-law, Kevin and the boys went to a Summer Camp Preview at the Howell Nature Center. I will post separately about the birthday party, but here are a few images and videos from the kid's adventure. They got to ride a zip line, learn survival techniques and built a shelter from scratch!

Here are the videos. They may look blank, but if you click on the play button they will play. :)

There were a few more videos, but blogger won't let me upload them - BAH! If I can work out the kinks, I will upload those too. :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Menu Planning Monday

Menu for the Week of May 10-17th:

MONDAY - Baked Spaghetti, Garden Salad, French Bread
TUESDAY - Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Beef Sandwiches, Roasted Potatoes
WEDNESDAY - Busy Night so Grab and Go!
THURSDAY - Tacos, Mexican Rice, Corn
FRIDAY - Dinner at Buddy's Pizza to Celebrate Jeremy's (my bro-in-law) Birthday

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Menu Planning Monday

No fluff, no frills . . . here's the menu for this week. :)

MONDAY - Chicken Pesto Pasta, Glazed Carrots, Fresh Strawberries
TUESDAY - Homemade Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup, Italian Bread
WEDNESDAY - Brightmoor Bistro
THURSDAY - Hobo Dinners on the Grill, Fresh Musk Melon and Cantaloupe
FRIDAY - Date Night for Us, Kids Night Out for the Kiddos

Monday, April 12, 2010

Menu Planning Monday

Here is the menu for this week. Let me know if there are any recipes you might want.

MONDAY - Tomato Pesto Chicken, Cheesy Potatoes, Steamed Asparagus
TUESDAY - Homemade Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Italian Bread
WEDNESDAY - Grab and Go, busy night
THURSDAY - Chicken and Dumplings, Glazed Carrots, Italian Bread
FRIDAY -Peach and Salsa Chicken (thanks for the recipe, Cheri!), Jasmine Rice, Mixed Vegetables

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Menu Planning Monday

I just came up from the "dungeon" (aka: the laundry room) and the battle with the dirty clothes beast is beginning to look favorable! 2 down, 4 left to go. And that's not even considering the fact that these tamed beasts (aka: clean, folded clothes) still need to be put away! Ack. Alas, I will put my sword and shield away for the night, for I am weary. :)

Anywho . . . here is the menu that I have planned for this week. I may need to be fairly flexible many nights, however, because we will probably end up working out at our new house (!!!) some nights this week. So, if you see a recipe repeated next week you'll know which nights we ended up being spontaneous.

MONDAY - Hamburgers on the Grill, Chicken Rice, Carrot Coins, Buttered Brussel Sprouts (the kids resisted at first, but actually liked them once they tried them!)
TUESDAY - Chicken Pesto Pasta, Steamed Broccoli, French Bread
WEDNESDAY - Leftovers OR Grab and Go Night
THURSDAY - Ham Steaks, AuGratin Potatoes, Green Beans
FRIDAY - Lemon Herbed Chicken, Pesto Linguine, Mixed Vegetables, French Bread

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spunky Says It!

My good friend, Karen Braun, is an extremely well-informed, opinionated, well-spoken political junkie, professional researcher of topics (my personal title for her, lol), blogger, Christian homeschooling mother of six (plus so much more!). I love how forth-right and honestly she writes in her blogs. You will never doubt her opinion by the end of reading any of her entries, for sure!

Her recent post, Abortion During School Hours, really caught my attention with her "Miranda Rights for Public School Parents" at the end of the post. The whole article is alarming and sad, but "Spunky" drives the point home with the fact that when students attend government schools, the government is solidly in charge, not the parents. Most parents do not think about the fact that their rights are denied when the Government believes that it know better, and that parents are simply not required.

I share her blog because I hope that her posts will bring to light some of what occurs when we do not speak up for our parental rights. The Government does not know best for our children and I will not sit back quietly when the Government tries to tell me what to do for them. God gave me my children to care for and watch over, and I certainly know them a whole lot better than the bureaucrats in Washington.

Some may find Government schools a necessity for their family and I understand that, but as long as I am able, I hope to be my child's teacher, guide and most direct influence. Thank you, Mr. Government, but I'll keep my keep my children under my sheltering wing as long as I can.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What a Difference a Week Can Make!

Check out this video of Little Miss Lanie showing off her cruising skills!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Comment to Win a Free Art Program for your kids!

While perusing some of my favorite homeschooling blogs, I can across this giveaway and product review. It is for Artistic Pursuits Art Curriculum. I can't pass up on a contest and figured someone else might benefit from the information too!

This is what the Artistic Pursuits website has to say about their products:
"The ARTistic Pursuits approach to teaching art is a welcome departure from typical art instruction books. This award winning homeschool art program meets the specific needs of homeschoolers at home. A variety of fun applications teach both the expressive and technical aspects of art while allowing children to make choices about what and how they will draw, paint, and sculpt. Assignments work within the stages of artistic development of children and guide them to mature artistic expression in the visual arts."

To enter the contest, go to the giveaway and review on Raising Olives' blog. <-----click there

Good luck!

Menu Planning Monday

Last week was incredibly busy so this week we are laying low and playing catch-up on school and housework. I didn't mind not leaving the house at all today either since the weather was so cold and dreary. With temperature's in the low 60s most of last week, it's hard to face rainy, blustery and low 40s without a little sorrow. I can't wait for the cheerfulness of sunshine again! :) According to the local weatherman, we should see sunshine and mid-50s by Wednesday. All I can say to that is, "Bring it on!!!" Yay!

Here is the menu for the upcoming week:
MONDAY - Homemade Biscuits and Sausage Gravy, Sliced Pears
TUESDAY - Northwoods Chicken Stew, Fresh Garden Salad, Italian Bread
WEDNESDAY - Brightmoor Bistro before Church
THURSDAY - Slow Cooker Chili, Cornbread Muffins
FRIDAY - Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Fresh Garden Salad

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

She's Cruising!

Delanie turned 10 months old yesterday and now suddenly she'd rather stand than sit, and is really interested in her walker. Most of the time she will just stand there and hold on to it, but this evening she started walking with it! Watch out world, here she comes!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Menu Planning Monday

Yay! This week signifies a momentous occasion . . . we are breaking out the grill once again! The forecast calls for sunshine and mid-50s all week - sounds like grilling weather to me. Just because we can, I've put 2 grilled items on the menu. Can I get a "yum" anyone?!? :)

MONDAY - Homestyle Beef Stew, Fresh Garden Salad, Crescent Rolls
TUESDAY - Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken (Yay!!!), Green Beans, French Bread
WEDNESDAY - Grab a bite, busy night
THURSDAY - Chicken and Rice Casserole, French Bread
FRIDAY - Hamburgers on the Grill (Yay!!!), Cheesy Potatoes, Fresh Garden Salad

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Winter Bird Feeding & A Spring Trip to the Zoo

The boys (and Lanie) and I belong to a fun Homeschool Science Co-op that meets bi-weekly for a science lesson and field trip. For the last two meetings we've been studying birds and we went on some really fun field trips.

Two weeks ago we made a trip to Kensington Metro Park to look at the Nature Center's bird exhibits and to feed the chickadees by hand. I had my hands full with Lanie and the boys, so I was only able to grab some quick (and really horrible quality) camera phone pics, but here they are:
These two wild turkeys were at the feeders outside the nature center. You don't realize how huge they are until you see them this close in person!
Although they are very cool, they are most certainly not the most beautiful birds I've seen. :)
All the boys tried their hand at feeding the birds, and Elijah and Ethan both had several Chickadees and Tufted Titmice land on their hands right away. Kaden had a hard time staying still enough to attract the birds, but in the end a few daring bird souls were brave enough. It was so fun to watch the boys faces the first time the little birds landed on their fingers and snatched a seed!
Ethan was definitely the most patient of all my boys and stood completely still for over twenty minutes. More than forty birds landed on his hand!
Our friends the Wild Turkeys didn't want to miss out on any free food either and had to come check us out. Here they are sneaking up behind Gavin Burrows.


Yesterday was our second Homeschool Science Co-op class on birds and we also studied a little bit about butterflies. For this class field trip we headed to the Detroit Zoo to view the Butterfly House and Bird Sanctuary. We couldn't pass up the opportunity, however, to visit the reptile house and some other areas of the zoo while we were there too! Here are few more camera phone pics:
Part of our crew all crowd onto the Reptile House tortoise statue for a quick pic.
Kaden is such a ham!
All the boys decided to climb as high up in this tree as they could and then drop down to the ground below. It became a fun game for them to play as we waited for a few others to run to the bathroom. The boys were having a great time until we got yelled at by the zoo staff to get out of the trees. Boo.
Kaden hamming it up again in the Reptile House!
Ethan was pretty wiped out from all the walking and took a quick siesta on a rock outside the Butterfly House and Bird Santuary.
Lanie was fascinated by all of the butterflies flapping around in the gardens. It was cute to see her expression when they landed close by.
I snapped a picture of these birds because they looked so out of place up on the pipeline in the Bird Sanctuary. They were beautiful and fun to watch, however it was a little ominous the way they watched us . . . their stares reminded me of vultures. Haha.
The Bird Sanctuary has stone benches and boulders placed all around that just begged the boys to climb them. They had fun clamoring on them and over them. I'm not sure that's what they're meant for, but they are great mountains to conquer!
Elijah, Ethan O'Dell, Ethan, Evan Gresens and Ally Gresens pose for a pic before we leave the Bird Sanctuary.
Lucas O'Dell, Gavin Burrows and Kaden all peer into an empty pond to study ... not the birds, but the tiny stones at the bottom. Funny kiddos.
A trip to the Bird Santuary wouldn't be complete without at least 10 minutes spent playing with the chains by the exit doors!
The boys has so much fun playing and posing for the camera. :)
I think we discovered Tarzan's long lost hide out!
Here's a quick video of the boys and the chains. Shockingly, no one ended up with a black eye or a welt! :)