New Galilee Potato Festival

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Potatoes!

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When we sat down at the beginning of the summer to compile our bucket list of summer activities

Ozzie had only one request,

“Please, oh please, can we go to the New Galilee Potato Festival?”

We knew nothing about it. We had never attended before. Ozzie’s only exposure to it was reading the signs advertising it

as we drove through town last August.

But he desperately wanted to go.

“I love potatoes!” he explained when I asked why he wanted to go.

I really had no desire to take the family to the New Galilee Potato Festival but since Ozzie rarely asks for anything with such heartfelt pleas I told him we would try.

This week was the festival.

As we looked at the calendar we realized that the only free evening we had was opening night. So on Tuesday night, following football practice, we all went down to the potato festival.

“Why a potato festival in New Galilee?” you ask…

Well I wondered the same thing until a friend shared this background information that was published in Ellwood City’s newspaper:

“New Galilee’s potato festival still has skin in the game.

This year, though, it will share billing with the much-welcomed return of the fireman’s fair.

Launched in 2012, the potato festival celebrates the region’s agrarian roots, especially its ties to the John Gilkey family. Gilkey, an Irish immigrant, came to the area in 1797.

He planted three varieties of potatoes — blue, red and white, according to explorepahistory.com — that within a few years cross-pollinated to form a new variety he named Neshannock, described as a “large and long potato, reddish purple in color, with streaks of the same color through the flesh that generally disappeared after the potato was cooked.”

By the 19th century, it became the standard commercial potato “prized for its size, wonderful flavor and ability to keep,” the website says. But it “gradually fell out of favor” after more productive varieties were introduced.

Locals, though, still think Gilkey’s potato is worth celebrating. And so they will by combining the fireman’s fair, a popular tradition of the past, with a new one — one that has “true meaning and to honor our roots,” said Mark Benes, festival planner, on the event’s website.”

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On our way to the fair Ozzie was shaking with anticipation. He had his allowance scrunched in his hands and he shared his plans for his allowance with us…

“I have been saving up my money for this,” he told us with enthusiasm, “all summer!”

“I am gonna buy me a five-pound sack of po-ta-toes!”

When we arrived we discovered the presence of this majestic root vegetable to be minimal…very minimal!

Ozzie was crushed to discover they weren’t selling bags of potatoes and Grace was saddened to find out the only potato dish being sold was carnival fries.

Despite the disappointment over the lack of potatoes the kids still had a fun time.

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It was late so all the carnival rides were lit up making the ambiance magical.

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Toby bought enough ride tickets to allow each child to ride three rides, but because we were one of a small number of families there the kids were told time and time again that they could stay on their rides and ride again for free.

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I think the carnival workers were bored and so they generously allowed the kids to ride a lot more rides than they actually had tickets for. It was a fun night and we ended up having the place to ourselves by the end of the night.

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The kids especially enjoyed the ferris wheel which allowed them to look down over the fair and the surrounding farms.

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We ended the evening with French fries, of course! Toby bought four orders of fresh-cut fries so we could commemorate the beloved potato…

( at least a little bit.)

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It was a crazy experience but Ozzie wasn’t disappointed in the least. As we walked back to the car he was bouncing with excitement. He grabbed me with a bear hug and said:

“Thank you! This was the best potato festival I have ever been to!”

Yep, best potato festival ever.

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A Week at Home

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There is nothing more wonderful than a day at home with no place to go!

I treasure these sort of “stay at home” days,

probably because they are such a rare occurrence. :)

Swimming lessons wrapped up last week, and we are done with summer camps. so after a busy two months of traveling and shuffling kids to and fro we finally had a week at home with minimal outside obligations.

It was just what I needed.

As I tackled the Mt. Everest sized mountain of laundry in my laundry room, and the 2 inch layer of protective dust on all my vertical surfaces, I felt the weight lifting. As my home became more organized  I felt the weight of anxiety lighten.

“Ok, I can do this,” I thought to myself as I began systematically crossing items off the “to do” list.

This was what I needed.

Just a few uninterrupted days ( uninterrupted except for football practices and therapy) to tackle those tasks that were weighing most heavily…

It was heavenly!

As I focused on addressing all those little worries and frustrations I found the big worries didn’t seem quite so daunting.

Here is a peek into our life this week…

granted most of our activities really didn’t justify pulling out the camera

 unless you wanted a shot of my Mt. Everest laundry pile. ;)

Monday was Gracie’s “one on one” time with me, that one hour of uninterrupted time with Mom to do whatever that child wishes. This week Grace told me that she wanted to use her time to work on her National Honor Society project.

For one of her requirements to maintain her membership in the National Honor Society she has to plan a 10 hour service project each year. This year she decided to do a literary day for the 4-10 year old children at church. She is working with some of the other teenage girls at church to plan a day of crafts, activities and lunch all based on their favorite children’s books. She has been preparing for weeks and is very excited.

For her time I helped her do advertising and sign-up sheets for the event.

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Another requirement for her membership in the National Honor Society is a set number of tutoring hours each year. She has been fulfilling some of that requirement this summer by working with Tyler on his reading and spelling skills. On Monday she came up with the creative idea of taping the alphabet letters to the piano keys and letting him spell words. Tyler loved hearing the “songs” different words made.

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I thought it was a clever way to engage her ADHD brother in a task he is not too fond of. She is going to make an awesome teacher one day!

On Monday night the big kids decided to try one of our bucket list items. They decided they wanted to spend the night sleeping on the trampoline. It was a perfect night for it with cool temperatures and a clear sky. Molly was a bit nervous that the coyote would come prowling around so they zipped up the trampoline safety net and kept Winnie, our bulldog, outside with them for the night. They came in the next morning at 7:30 am, declaring it a wonderful night’s sleep.

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Tuesday was Molly’s “one on one” time and she chose to use her time to make a craft she had seen online. The craft was making stained glass light catchers to hang in a window. It was so simple but they turned out very pretty.

Step 1: Decorate clear plastic cups with sharpies.

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Step 2: Place them rim side down on an ungreased cookie sheet.

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Step 3: Bake them in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.

Step 4:Pull them out and let them cool.

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When they are cool punch a hole, string them, and enjoy.

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They turned out so well Grace decided to use them as one of her crafts for her story book camp.

One of the items on my “to do” list this week was to make more allowance envelopes. Kids’ allowances have always been a struggle for me. They are supposed  to receive their allowances on Fridays each week but it  never fails that Friday would roll around and I wouldn’t have the cash on hand. Then I would have to try to remember who I owed what to

when we were at the store and they were wanting to purchase something with their allowance money.

A few years ago I got smart and realized that if I would just plan 6 months at a time the allowance headache that creeped up on me every Friday would be solved. Now twice a year I go to the bank and take out $300.00 in one dollar bills and $100.00 in dimes and make allowance envelopes for each child for 6 months. I use dimes for part of their money to make it easier to pull out their tithing and separate their saving money from spending money. It is a laborious process, taking a couple of hours to count out, package, and label 26 envelopes for each of the five kids BUT it saves me from having to deal with the allowance headache for 6 more months. It is well worth an afternoon of counting out dimes. :)

Counting:

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All done!

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On Wednesday the girls had an activity with their youth group at church. The young women were going to the wave pool to enjoy an afternoon of playing in the waves. This was the first year I wasn’t needed as a driver so I stayed home with the boys while Grace drove Molly and herself to the church to carpool with the rest of the group.

They picked a perfect day for it…at least in terms of the temperature. It was one of the hottest days of the summer, making it perfect for playing the pool. Unfortunately all of Pittsburgh had the same thought, making for a very crowded day at the wave pool. Luckily the girls didn’t mind and had a blast despite the crowds.

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While the girls were off playing in the waves I took advantage of a day trapped at home. Toby had to take my car to work so there was no temptation to leave the house. I was able to tackle the monumental task of registering Molly for high school. This year she will be attending the same school as Grace and Rusty. I am excited for this change and know she will love 21st Century Cyber Charter School as much as her siblings do.

But it never ceases to amaze me the amount of paperwork required to register a child for school. Getting the paperwork completed was my goal for the day and felt another burden lift off my shoulders when all the papers were placed in the envelope and put by the front door to be mailed.

Today was spent on the phone dealing with a delicate situation involving one of Tyler’s biological siblings. Brandon, his older brother who recently lost his newly adoptive momma to cancer has found himself in limbo.

We have arranged to have Brandon spend the weekend with us. We are taking him camping. The whole situation is horrible and heartbreaking and we are hoping to give him a weekend of healing…

a vacation from a heartbreaking reality.

We approach this weekend with caution and hope…

Hope that we can be a blessing, but also that we can meet manage the behaviors and meet the emotional needs of a wounded little boy.

We ask for prayers,

continued prayers,

for Brandon and this weekend ahead of us.

th

 

 

A Secret Fantasy

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I have a secret fantasy.

This fantasy has become a barometer of my mental health and its frequency is in direct relation to the amount of stress currently in my life.

The busier I am,

the more social obligations press in on me,

the more I find myself daydreaming of my fantasy life.

My secret fantasy is one of isolation.

Ahhhh…

I dream of buying a small cabin in the backwoods of Alaska.

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I fantasize about simple living…

of off-grid living, of cooking on a wood stove, home schooling my children by gas lit lamps.

But the key factor in this fantasy is my location.

It all takes place on a piece of land so remote that it lacks telephone service and requires a Cessna plane to access it.

This is just a fantasy. It will never and could never be my reality,

but I do enjoy dreaming about the simplicity and isolation this lifestyle would afford me.

This is why I use this particular fantasy as my mental health barometer.

When many of my waking hours are spent wishing my closest neighbors were elk and bear I know I am on the verge of a breakdown…

Life is on the brink of engulfing me and it is time to pull back.

It is time to say, “No.”

I struggle so with that simple, two letter word.

I say “yes” until I am drowning and then I begin fantasizing about a life where I am so remotely located that no one can get close enough to ask me to do anything…unless you have access to a Cessna plane. ;)

It is not the tasks of life that wear me down, it is the “face time.” It is the interactions with other humans, trying to meet everyone’s needs, the guilt, and the emotional drama that makes me weary,

that makes me want to run away.

But I can’t run away and then I struggle with guilt over having these emotions.

That is why this particular fantasy has always been a closely kept, dark, little secret.

I mean, what would people think if they knew how much I long to be alone.

I long for the quiet of my thoughts.

I dream of a day when not one person asks anything of me.

I secretly admire those women who NEVER raise their hand to volunteer for those tasks I find myself always agreeing to.

I resent them, sure, but I also admire them.

They feel NO GUILT.

If they don’t want to do something they simply say no…

be still my heart!

Normally I don’t mind being a “Yes woman.” Great joys come from stepping forward and embracing the “yes,” but only when the motives are pure.

This is the lesson I continue to struggle with,

and God’s keeps trying to teach me.

When the “yes” is motivated by the Spirit then the burden is light,

but when that same “yes” is motivated my guilt or pride

that same task brings soul-deep weariness.

I am weary and my soul is tired. I am weighed down by dread and resentment.

When these feelings hit (and they usually do 2 or 3 times a year) I know it is time for some self reflection and reprioritizing.

It is time to reassess the “yes’s” I’ve so freely doled out and for the sake of my mental well being practice saying “No.”

It is time to start “trimming the fat” and cutting out the unnecessary.

It is time to spend more time seeking the Lord’s will and less time trying to please the masses.

It is time to throw myself in the activities that bring the strengthening power of the Holy Ghost…time spent in prayer, in meditation, in scripture study…so that I can take advantage of the guiding and strengthening power that comes from that well spent time.

It is time to let go of the need to please

and be ok with “Just OK.”

It’s either that or it’s time to start honing my cabin building skills…

Alaska, here I come!

thX8S0CDVI

Water and Fire

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Water and Fire…

two of our favorite forms of entertainment during the summer months!

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On Saturday night we had fun with both when we invited our co-op friends over for some slippery fun followed by a bonfire.

Due to the craziness of summer schedules many of the co-op families (past and present) were unable to join us, but we did get to have fun with the Hudaks, Caylors, Holts and McCreadys.

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The kids enjoyed catching up with friends and showing off our newly acquired school bus. :)

Earlier in the day a friend posted a video on facebook of a slip and slide kickball game. It looked like so much fun we decided to make it the keynote entertainment for the night. We already had the bulk of the materials needed.

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We laid out the kick ball diamond in the center of the yard with plastic serving as the path from base to base. Small kiddie pools filled with water served as the bases. The last thing needed was a bottle of baby shampoo to make things exciting!

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The slip and slide kickball game was a hit,

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and the adults had as much fun watching the game as the kids did playing it.

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After the kids had finished their game everyone gathered around the fire to dry off and enjoy s’mores and other snacks.

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When the sun finally set we got out the glow sticks and the kids played night games while the adults enjoyed visiting around the fire.

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It was so much fun catching up and making summer memories with our friends!

Flick and Float

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Last night we celebrated Christmas in July at our local pool.

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It was one of three “Flick and Float” nights our pool offers during the summer months.

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Once a month they close the pool early to the public and offer (by reservation only) free of charge, a movie night at the pool. It is called “Flick and Float” because the staff fill the pool with big float toys to lounge on while you watch the movie that plays poolside.

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We went last year and the kids enjoyed it so much they requested that we add it to our summer bucket list once again.

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The theme for July’s “Flick and Float” was

Christmas in July.

Tyler had football practice so Toby took him to practice and then they joined us for the last hour of the movie.

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The first 30 minutes was free swim while they waited on the sky to darken enough to play the outdoor movie.

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The kids loved all the fun float toys.

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The temperature was just warm enough to make swimming in the unheated pool bearable and as the sun went down the water actually felt warm in comparison to the air temperature.

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It was only getting out of the pool that was painful…Brrr!

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For Christmas in July they showed classic Christmas films like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

It was so much fun to float under the bright summer stars, watching movies in our swimsuits, that are usually reserved for cold, dark, winter nights.

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It was a fun, fabulous, free, family activity!

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Thank you, Ellwood City Pool!

Tyler’s Gotcha Day

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Let me begin by apologizing for the longer than normal blog post. Yesterday was a FULL day. Yesterday was Tyler’s “Gotcha Day,” the anniversary date of his adoption finalization 2 years ago…

The day we went to court and he was officially declared our son in the eyes of the law.

The tradition in our home, for “Gotcha Day,” is that the “Gotcha kid” can pick a family activity of their choice to celebrate the special day. As Tyler’s “Gotcha Day” approached I asked him what he wanted to do to celebrate. Last year he chose to play tennis as a family and go out for ice cream cones.

Ozzie, waiting to hear Tyler’s choice, informed me that he already knows what he wants to do for his first “Gotcha Day” in November. He wants to go to a junk yard and walk around looking at the broken down cars as a family. :)

Tyler finally made a decision and told me that he wanted to go to a playground he had never played at before (and go out for ice cream as a family.)

That sounded great so I asked for playground suggestions from friends

and the Splash Pad in Leetsdale Borough was suggested. It sounded fun so we decided to give it a try.

Before our “Gotcha Day” celebrations could begin, however, we had other things on the agenda for the day…a lot of things!

First was getting Rusty out the door. Rusty is going on High Adventure with his scout troop for the next three days. He is going white water rafting and rappelling and cave exploring. He had to meet his troop at the church at 10:00am, the same time I had to take the little boys for their final swim lesson. It is at times like this I am SO grateful to have another driver in the house. Grace and Molly drove Rusty to church and I took the boys to swimming lessons.

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It was the final day of lessons. Signing them both up was such a good choice. I am amazed at how much they have both improved over the course of two weeks. I am hugely impressed with the instructors at our little pool and how great they are with the kids!

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The final day of lessons focused on boat safety and it was the boys favorite day of lessons…hands down!

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The kids all donned life jackets and learned how to safely evacuate a boat and survive in the water while waiting for help to arrive.

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Evacuating the boat was the boys’ favorite part!

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Everyone took a turn on the raft. When everyone was done they headed to the deep end where the instructors played a game of Sharks and Minnows with the kids.

The lesson ended with a group jump into the deep end and a group photo. :)

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Both boys received a certificate and graduated onto the next swimming level.

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After swimming lessons were done we drove home to have lunch with the girls before we headed to the playground and they headed to their babysitting job. They were asked to babysit two adorable twin boys from church. They had so much fun with them!

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While they were babysitting I took the boys to the Splash Pad playground. I couldn’t believe we had never heard of this place before. It was wonderful!

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There was traditional playground equipment as well as a really fun water playground. The area around the Splash Pad was shaded with big, old trees, perfect for moms to lounge under while the kids played.

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The boys had a blast!

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And all this fun water entertainment cost us $0.00. Amazing!

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The boys could have spent all day there but by 4:30 we had to leave to go home and get Tyler ready for football practice. He now has football practice every night from 6:00-8:00.

Toby took Tyler to practice while I stayed home with the other three. It was Gracie’s one on one time so we had her time while Tyler was at football.

She wanted to make a craft. She found an idea for a message board online and we just happened to have everything she needed for it. We went outside to do our craft in the sun and found Molly outside painting her nails and Winnie’s nails. :)

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Gracie painted an old cookie sheet with chalkboard paint to create a message board for her room that she can write on in chalk or use magnets on to post notes and photos. It turned out really cute and once it dries we are going to hang it in her room with a ribbon.

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At 8:00 pm we hopped in the car once again for our final stop of the day…

Handels’ Ice Cream Shop.

Tyler wanted to go for ice cream as part of hid “Gotcha Day” celebration so we met Toby and Tyler in town after football where Toby bought everyone ice cream cones.

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Grace chose caramel pretzel ice cream.

Grace chose caramel pretzel ice cream.

Molly chose black raspberry ice cream.

Molly chose black raspberry ice cream.

Ozzie chose buckeye ice cream.

Ozzie chose buckeye ice cream.

Tyler chose chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Tyler chose chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

It was a perfect end to a joyful day.

Happy “Gotcha Day” Tyler! We are so glad you are ours!

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Birthday Party in a Bottle

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The question was, “How do we celebrate a special birthday, for a special lady, when we are miles apart?”

Hmmm…

Next week is Mimi Joy’s birthday and this year we can’t celebrate with our usual birthday celebration.

We can’t take her out to dinner.

We can’t bake her a cake.

But we wanted her to know that she was loved and thought of on her special day,

soooooo… we sent her a

“Birthday Party in a Bottle!”

When the girls suggested it I knew it was the perfect “Plan B.”

First stop was to the Dollar Tree to buy our party supplies. We wanted to include everything she would need to have a birthday celebration with her missionary companion. We bought cake mix and icing, party decorations, balloons, birthday candles, noise makers, candy, some pampering treats for her to enjoy, and a gift card for a pizza dinner.

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The most important item we bought, however, was the BOTTLE! Dollar Tree sells 3 liter bottles of soda as opposed to the 2 liter bottles sold at most other stores.

When we arrived home we began making our “birthday party in a bottle.”

Step 1: Make birthday cards for Mimi. Everyone decorated birthday cards with special messages inside.

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Step 2: Prep the soda bottle. Before we could fill the bottle we had to empty the bottle. We poured the root beer into another container to drink later and rinsed out the bottle.

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Step 3: Remove the label and cut a slit in the side of the bottle. (vertically)

Step 4: Using the slit to access the inside of the bottle, dry the bottle out well, leaving no moisture.

Step 5: Then the fun begins…Time to pack it! Pack the bottle tightly and strategically using every bit of available space you can. It is amazing all you can fit in the bottle.

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Step 6: When the bottle is filled, tape the slit closed with clear packing tape.

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Step 7: Cover the slit with a colorful piece of card stock. On this you can write the address of who it is going to

as well as a birthday message for the birthday girl.

By covering the taped slit you leave the recipient puzzling over how you fit all that birthday fun down the small neck of the bottle.

Step 8: Mail it! Just as it is. The post office will weigh it and put the postage directly on the bottle making for a really fun, unusual package to get in the mail.

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And that is it.

A birthday party in a bottle: the next best thing to being there!

A sad turn of events

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We have seen them all summer…

Coyotes.

Lurking around the property, circling the fence line.

I’m not sure why there are so many this year or what is making them so bold, but we have had to lock up Ellie more than once because of a coyote spotting.

In  past years we have seen them on occasion but they never have been bold enough to approach the animal pen. Our llama always charged the fence and scared them off. He served as protector of the herd and since his passing 2 years ago our herd has been more vulnerable to predators.

Yesterday we were sad to discover that our youngest and most vulnerable herd member fell victim to a bold coyote.

Sometime in the dark of night a coyote broke into the animal pen and pulled Teddy away.

We never heard his cries. The dogs never barked. We only found out when morning came and he didn’t show up for feeding time.

Molly went looking for him and unfortunately was the one to find the remains of a brutal attack.

Sometimes I hate the reality of farm life.

With this life choice comes some amazing joys but also some heartbreaking realities of the cruelty of nature and the circle of life.

Many tears have been shed as we mourn a much beloved furry friend.

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Foster Parents — Top 10 Things to Make a Foster Child’s First Day Easier

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ktmccleery:

Tomorrow we celebrate Tyler’s “Gotcha Day,” the anniversary of the day he became a McCleery. It is hard to believe it has been two years. (Three since he moved in.)
In so many ways it feels like he has always been here.
As we celebrate this special day I have been reflecting on my own approach through that transitional time of his life (and Ozzie’s.) We began the adoption journey feeling confident that we knew…we understood…only to realize over time how little we did know.
We really didn’t get it.
As much as we tried to empathize and do right by these two little boys we have learned how much we did wrong.
I try to be forgiving of myself. I did the best I knew how to do with the limited life/adoption experience I brought to the table.
The biggest realization I have had over the last year is how insensitive we were to the emotions our boys were feeling when they joined our family.
We knew we loved them and would never hurt them. We knew they were safe and that this placement was a good thing, but we didn’t consider the fact that they shared none of that same knowledge.
It wasn’t until recently, with some of our conversations at therapy with Tina and the reading of “Three Little Words” by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, (an AMAZING read for anyone!) that I had my “Ah-ha moment.”
I finally got it. I got some insight into my boys’ thoughts…

I finally understood:
I understood the unwillingness to unpack.
I understood why peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were so unappealing.
I finally understood their “need to know where the bathrooms were at each home we visited…right away…before we greeted our hosts…anxiety.”
The sleepless nights…the possessiveness over the toys…the fear of the social worker pulling down the driveway…
Suddenly it all made sense and I felt SO BAD.
I didn’t get it at the time and I wish I could go back in time and do better.
I would be more attentive. I would expect less. I would assume nothing. I wouldn’t take it so personally.
A friend shared this article and I was impressed by the advice given.
Reading this came on the tail of this week’s therapy session in which Ozzie shared with us the memories of the night he was taken into foster care. He shared the fear he felt as he was taken from his home. He remembers the police lights and the smell of Subway sandwiches in the car of the social worker. He recalls not being able to get his toy cars from the house before being taken away, and being driven to a stranger’s house to sleep. He shared the anxiety he felt about not knowing where the bathroom was and his indignation over being put to bed as soon as he arrived without being shown around the house or being told what happened to his parents. He talked of laying in bed, in a strange room, and not getting to see where his sister was sleeping…
and being afraid to go to sleep for fear she would be gone in the morning.
As he shared his memories I couldn’t hold back the tears. I can’t even imagine a seven year old having to brave such a scary experience, and yet this is the reality for so, so many children every single day.

The words of wisdom in this article are such simple suggestions but could make such an impact on other children facing the same situation.
What a difference these simple gestures could have on a child facing the same scary situation my boys did…
I just had to share.

Originally posted on I Was A Foster Kid:

Dear Foster Parents-

This is for you…. from a FOSTER CHILD’S PERSPECTIVE on how to make the first day easier.   Someone asked me about this and I had written something similar awhile ago.

You can’t possibly imagine how “we” feel being bought to your home….so, please, never take it lightly.

Little things matter and set the tone for things to come.

View original 850 more words

Mini Reunion

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We have been missing our co-op friends.

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As nice as the summer vacation from co-op has been

the one thing I have missed most is that weekly “Momma feeding” that comes from visiting, laughing and sharing with those friends who know us best.

The best decision we ever made in our homeschooling journey, outside of school choice and curriculum choice, was the choice to join our homeschooling co-op group.

It is from this weekly commitment that my kids and I have developed our most cherished friendships.

During the summer months the break from our weekly co-op classes is a much needed break,

especially for the moms who must plan lessons, pack school bags, gather the art and science supplies they need for the classes they teach.

By April more than one of us Mommas are dragging a bit on Wednesday mornings,

so while our kids face the last day of co-op with groans of disappointment the Mommas are dancing a jig inside…

By May it is time for a break!

But as nice as a break as summer is from planning lessons and packing school bags

I do miss the camaraderie that comes from those friendships that have been built over the course of hundreds of Wednesdays spent together sharing our homeschooling journey as we teach each others children.

There is something magical about this core group of women and kids. We have such a diverse group of ladies, of different ages, varying religious affiliations, living in different towns, from different walks of life, who under any other circumstance would probably never cross paths. Yet we have become a intrinsic part of each others lives.

We share one common thread…the way we choose to educate our children.

And from that one thin thread we have formed a connection as strong as steel.

These women are my dearest friends and my greatest support. They “get me” in a way I let few others in. They have seen me at my worst and in the midst of my hardest times. I have shared with them the heartbreaks and struggles I can’t always share with others. They are the women I would call in a crisis and the ones I would trust most with my children.

They are “my people”….my “go to,” “ugly crying,” “call from jail” people. :)

And I love them.

My children feel the same way about their children. Their closest friendships have been formed within the walls of our co-op building…

SO, when we had the chance to get together with these very missed friends after a month apart, we jumped at the chance!

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We met three of the co-op families at the pool for some swimming fun and a picnic. The kids loved catching up and I left the pool feeling recharged after my “mom time.”

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It was a perfect way to spend a beautiful summer day!

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