Tag Archives: Minecraft

Blue and Gold and GREEN



This past Friday was the Blue and Gold banquet for Tyler’s cub scout troop at church. Tyler is the last cub scout in our family. Rusty and Ozzie are both now in Boy Scouts, but Blue and Gold is a Cub Scout celebration for the entire family, not just the cubs, and my big boys were excited when they heard the theme.

I remember vividly our first Blue and Gold dinner when Rusty was just eight years old. It was a dinosaur theme and really set the bar high for our expectations of what a Blue and Gold banquets looks like. That was Rusty’s first and favorite Blue and Gold dinner.

 It  has been fun to see the different themes the boys have chosen over the years for their Blue and Gold dinner. We have had a camping theme, Legos, and Harry Potter……… (Hands down my favorite one of all! I mean, what is better than ‘Pin the nose on Voldemort’?!)

The theme changes year to year but the night plays out the same. The Blue and Gold banquet is a birthday celebration of the cub scouting program. Families are invited, a dinner is served, there are usually games and skits by the scouts, and awards are handed out.

This year the boys chose the theme of Minecraft, a very popular online game that is a HUGE hit with my three boys, so popular in fact, that it was the theme of Rusty’s  12th birthday party.

The link to Rusty’s 12th birthday post:


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Rusty brought his Minecraft gear to the Blue and Gold banquet.

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Q peeking in “Steve’s eye.” I see you in there, Rusty!


On Wednesday the cubs worked on decorations for Blue and Gold. They made centerpieces and placemats.

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On Thursday night Tyler and I went grocery shopping for Blue and Gold. Each family was asked to bring a side dish and dessert. Tyler decided that he wanted to just bring a bunch of Minecraft snacks instead.

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Friday night arrived and everyone had fun.

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The turnout was great! It is so nice to have so many cubs now, compared to when Rusty was a cub scout.

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The night began with Minecraft games and activities like “pin the tail on the pig” and “knock down the creepers.”

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Then it was time to eat. Fried chicken was served with a variety of side dishes. The cubs were allowed to fill their plates first so they could eat and get ready for their skits, which they performed while we ate.

They sang and performed some classic cub scout skits. Tyler opted to sit in the audience rather than be on stage. The boys did a GREAT job! It was VERY entertaining!


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Then it was time to hand out awards. Tyler and the other Bears were awarded three new belt loops that they have been working on as a pack.

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The night ended with yummy (and adorable) desserts.

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Another successful Blue and Gold banquet!

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Is it Tyler or is it Steve?!

A SUPER Saturday


Saturdays are always busy…especially in the fall!

It is the one day of the week we have Toby home to get things done around the house, run errands, accomplish farm chores or do something as a family.

Sundays are spent worshipping, resting and partaking in quiet activities at home.

Because Saturdays become the day to accomplish everything we need to do for the week, they fill up extra quickly…especially this time a year!

Saturdays are filled with football games, yard work (as we prepare for winter), putting up wood to burn through the winter months, and fun fall activities. October Saturdays are always busy, but some are EXTRA busy!

This past Saturday was one of those days.

It was a day so fully packed that I began the day by writing out a schedule of who needed to be where over the course of the day and posted it in the kitchen to guide the family through our crazier than normal day.

It was my hope we wouldn’t miss any important commitment or lose some child along the way. 🙂

Here are snap shots of our wonderfully busy, completely crazy, super fun, fall Saturday:

8:00- 9:00 am: Wake the troops. We had a busy day ahead of us so everyone was roused, fed, and sent to get their morning chores completed before the craziness began!

9:00- 11:00 am: Grace and Molly attended an art class being taught by a woman at church. In September she sent out an email advertising a free, four-week art class she was offering in the month of October. They were offered every Saturday morning through the month with each Saturday offering a different craft and corresponding art skill. Since my girls love art and because we live close enough to her home that it wouldn’t be a burden, they decided to sign up.

They have really enjoyed this weekly class. This week they were making sculptures with “found” items. They took corks and bobby pins for the materials they chose to build with.

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10:00-12:00: Ozzie and I drove to Cranberry to meet up with Ozzie’s biological sister, Zoey, so that they could have a much-needed date. They haven’t seen each other for a month and Ozzie was struggling with missing his sister, so we arranged to meet for breakfast.

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The kids had a great time enjoying the breakfast buffet at Eat n’ Park and catching up with each other. I am so grateful that Zoey was adopted by a woman who is so open to maintaining their relationship and who agrees with us on the importance of maintaining the biological relationship of these siblings. It is hard for them to live apart. I know that they were both placed where God would have them be, but being apart is hard for them, so we make every effort to keep their relationship a priority through regular visits.

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11:00- 5:00: The girls joined three of their friends (Olivia, Tatum, and Chessa) for a fun day in Pittsburgh. Olivia’s favorite author was in Pittsburgh for a book signing so Olivia’s father graciously volunteered to drive the girls into the city to meet Maggie Stiefvater at CMU.


Their first stop was lunch:

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It was a fun treat eating lunch in downtown Pittsburgh.

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Then it was on to the author meet and greet.

It began with the “lecture” part of the meeting where the author spent an hour talking to and entertaining her fans, and then a 30 minute Q and A session. The girls all expressed their delight in how entertaining, engaging, and warm she was.

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Then they had the opportunity to have their books signed…

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How fun!

I love that they were so awestruck to meet a favorite author as opposed to being goo goo over a pop star. 🙂

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On the way home they stopped at Pittsburgh Popcorn where Olivia treated all the girls to a bag of flavored popcorn. Grace picked frankenberry flavor and Molly chose kettle corn. Both said it was the best popcorn they have ever had.

11:30- 12:30: Rusty had some time home alone between the time Toby had to take Tyler to his football game (he has to arrive 90 minutes before the start of the game) and the time Ozzie and I arrived home. He used that time to start playing with the stop-motion Minecraft kit that he received from the Caylors for his birthday. When I arrived home he was eager to show me the “movie” he created using stop-motion magic.

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12:00- 1:00 pm: Ozzie helped me do our weekly grocery shopping, followed by a quick stop at Goodwill and  Party City to get some missing pieces for everyone’s Halloween costumes.

1:30 – 4:00pm: Tyler’s team continued their winning streak. Tyler’s football team is now in the play-offs after an undefeated season. Tyler’s coach warned them that the team they were playing this weekend was very good. Tyler was excited to play.

The game began at 2:00 pm.

For the playoff games (in October) the boys are wearing  pink socks in honor of breast cancer awareness month.

Tyler is #20

Tyler is #20

The game began with Tyler’s kick off. Of all the positions Tyler plays on the team being the kicker is his favorite role. He loves it and is really good at it.

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It was a very cold game. Temperatures hovered in the low 40’s. I was glad we brought blankets to the field. Rusty also brought his birthday gift from the Kirks. Just prior to us leaving for the game he discovered a package in the mail from my sister. He opened it up and was excited to see that he received the newest Guinness World Record  book. He decided to take it to the game. He spent more time reading than watching his brother play. 😉

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It was a good game…a really exciting game. But even with this more equally matched play-off team (they played Hopewell) this was the final score:

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They won another game so Tyler’s team will be playing again next week.

( I don’t know whether to cheer or cry)  😉


4:00- 6:00 pm: Finally we were home long enough to get some things scratched off the “to do” list. The early evening was spent getting some yard work done in preparation for the big fall party being held at our home next Saturday. While Toby and the boys worked outside, I worked inside to fill our freezer with some more freezer meals. For this round of “once a  month cooking” I browned 10 pounds of hamburger meat for 10 “freezer to crock-pot meals.” After browning the meat the rest was just assembly. All the meals were assembled in gallon freezer bags so that they would stack nicely in the freezer, taking up as little space as possible.

We made two batches of each of the following dishes:

Homemade spaghetti sauce,


Taco soup,

Sloppy Joes,

and Beef Hash.

It is such a good feeling to tuck some more meals away to be pulled out on cold falls days and dumped into the crock-pot to simmer all day.

Fix it and Forget it!

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While the boys were busy weeding, mowing, and tidying up outside, they discovered that our second batch of baby chicks were hatching. They investigated after seeing a broken egg sitting outside the mommy chicken’s “nest.”

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When Toby lifted her we found out that, sure enough, 4 of her eggs had hatched and she was still working on hatching the last three.

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It is so fun having all these babies around. The moms are doing a beautiful job of keeping all their babies tucked away under the warmth of their feathers…

Which is a blessing because this weekend ended up being a chilly one!


First snow of the season and it’s only October!

5:00-6:00 pm: The girls returned back and began preparing for a church dance. (Chessa went home with Woody since she had a commitment at home) The teens all got ready for the Halloween/ Black light dance. They decided not to wear costumes but rather embrace the fact there would be black lights and dressed accordingly.

This was Rusty’s first dance EVER. He dressed quickly in his neon colors, painting his face with glow in the dark paints and spraying his hair white so it would glow with the black lights.

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Then he waited for the girls. He struggled to understand why they took so much longer to get ready. 🙂

When everyone was dolled up we headed to Cranberry.

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7:00-10:00pm: While Toby stayed home with the “littles” and worked on projects around the house, I drove the big kids to the dance. The decorations were amazing. The gym was decorated in glow-in-the-dark décor, complete with a graffiti wall they kids could write on with highlighters,

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 a “make your own glowing eye glasses/ mustache station,”

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and yummy appetizers.

The leaders went above and beyond to make a really cool night for the youth.


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Rusty’s first slow dance was with Tatum:

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Awww…Love it!

Everyone had a great time.

10:00-11:30pm: I delivered everyone home.

12:00am: Bed, sweet, bed…Oh how I love you!

The Blessing of Friends


This weekend was one of those weekends where everything hit at once. Somehow we managed to fit a mass of fun into a mere 48 hours and now that the weekend is done I feel like I need another weekend to recover from this past weekend! 🙂

Preparations for our fun-filled weekend began on Wednesday with date night. It was Tyler’s week to go grocery shopping and out to dinner with me while the other kids stayed home. I usually try to time date nights so that when we have a holiday or party coming up I take one of the girls grocery shopping. They can handle the longer shopping night better than the boys and are a better help when it comes to helping me party plan and shop. This time, however, it worked out that it was Tyler’s week. I was a bit nervous of how he was going to hold up since in addition to our weekly grocery shopping I had shopping to do for Rusty’s birthday party, Halloween shopping, shopping for Sunday dinner company and supplies  needed for a youth fireside at our house on Sunday night. I knew it was going to take twice as long as a “typical” date night and was worried Tyler would start to melt down before we hit the frozen food aisle, but to my surprise and pleasure he was a champ! Not only did he hold up but he was a huge help as we picked out treats for Rusty’s party. As we waited in line to check out he visited with me and helped me unload the cart. Once again I was amazed at how far he has come and how much he has matured in the last year.

After shopping we went to dinner. Tyler chose Wendy’s for his date night. It was an extra fun date night. They were giving out balloons to all the kids so Tyler picked a green one. He ordered a kid’s meal for dinner and was pleased to find out he got the toy he was hoping for…the Donkey drinking straw and ears. As we were leaving someone gave him a coupon for a free frosty. He couldn’t have been happier!

Tyler as Donkey.

Tyler as Donkey.

On Friday Rusty had his birthday sleepover. The theme for his party was Minecraft, a popular computer game with the boys. He was inviting friends over and they were all bringing their laptops so that they could spend the evening playing together in the virtual world.  When we allow the kids to have a birthday party with friends, which isn’t every year only milestone birthdays, we give them a budget for their party. They can use it however they wish. The girls typically will use their budgets for a craft, decorations or party favors. When I asked Rusty what he wanted to get for his party he chose to keep decorations to a minimum, the idea of a craft or games were vetoed, and instead all his budget went to food..typical boy. 🙂  He decided that he wanted a variety of snacks with a Minecraft theme. He went online and printed off pictures of items found in the game and then found snacks to match the tags. He had a lot of fun with it.

Minecraft snacks..

Minecraft snacks..



Rusty asked Gracie to make the cake which she happily agreed to. She wanted it to look like a Minecraft world which is composed of squares and straight edges so she used Rice Krispy treats to make a hillside and then added some of Rusty’s snack items to the cake as well. The end result was perfect. Rusty was thrilled.


At 6:00 the boys began to arrive and the girls were picked up for their night away at their best friends’ home. Toby brought home pizza for dinner and then Rusty opened his gifts. The gifts were all so thoughtful and perfect choices for Rusty. One of the gifts was a Minecraft theme. His friends bought him a Steve head and filled a box with drinks and snacks they had labeled with Minecraft terms like “potion of fire resistance” and “potion of instant health.” It was so creative!



The rest of the evening was spent playing Minecraft. Rusty let Tyler join the big boys. Toby and I went to our bedroom to watch a movie. It was so funny listening to them in the livingroom. You would have though a full contact football game was taking place outside our bedroom door by the way they were all hooting and hollering. I peeked out and all the boys were sprawled around the livingroom playing together in their virtual world. It was so different than a girls’ sleepover! 🙂 Eventually we had to be the bad guys and tell Tyler it was time for bed. The deal Rusty made with Tyler was that he could be part of his party for the game time but he couldn’t sleep with them, so when it was starting to get late Toby went out to tell Tyler it was time for bed. He thought there might be a fight but was pleasantly surprised when Tyler hopped up and called out goodnight to the boys. Once again I am amazed at how he has grown. He climbed into bed and was asleep in minutes. Meanwhile the big boys went upstairs to continue their party and got very little sleep. 🙂


This is what a boys' party looks like :)

This is what a boys’ party looks like 🙂

In the morning we woke the boys early to get everyone fed before 9:00am pickup. It was an earlier pick-up than usual because I was going to a scrapbooking event with friends and was dropping off some of the boys on the way. My day was spent scrapbooking with friends. It was wonderful and log overdue. I hadn’t scrapbooked since January and was behind. My goal for the day was to get Tyler’s scrapbook current. All my kids have multiple scrapbooks from their first year on but Tyler doesn’t. He didn’t come to us with any pictures of his life before us and I can tell it bothers him when the kids pull out their scrapbooks to look at. I have tried to be diligent about recording his life in this blog so that down the road he will have a recording of his first year with us but that doesn’t help now. The words on the screen aren’t a tangible recording of his life that he can flip through and look at so it was my goal to get his book caught up. I want him to at least have one book (for now) that he can pull off the shelf and flip through with pictures of him in it. It was a productive day and I was able to finish 90% of his book as well as have some much-needed girl time with friends.

At 5:00pm I packed up my supplies and left to pick up Gracie and her friend Olivia to take them to a church Halloween dance down in Cranberry. They were all ready when I arrived. Grace and Olivia dressed as butterflies and Gracie did the face painting on the two of them. They both looked beautiful!

Two beautiful butterflies!

Two beautiful butterflies!

Grace and Olivia

Grace and Olivia


Molly and her best buddy, Tatum. :)

Molly and her best buddy, Tatum. 🙂


They had a wonderful time at the dance. They danced their little feet off and at 10:00 we headed back north to drop off Olivia and pick up Molly.  We arrived home and finally crawled into bed for a much-needed sleep around midnight. A few hours later Molly woke up in a panic because she was having trouble catching her breath. She was wheezing and you could hear that her breathing was labored. She said she felt like her throat was tight. We put a bag of cold peas on her neck and took her outside on the porch to see if breathing the cold air helped. After sitting out in the cold for a while and debating whether to head to the ER she started to improve. We put her in our room to sleep so we could listen for labored breathing.

Sick Molly :(

Sick Molly 😦

In the morning we woke up and got ready for church. This was a big day for Rusty. He was graduating from Primary (the children’s program) and moving into Young Men’s. He had completed the Faith in God program and was going to receive his certificate so even though Molly was still feeling lousy we prepared for church. Mimi Joy was meeting us there so we didn’t want to be late. Molly and I stayed long enough to see Rusty receive his certificate and then we left the rest of the family at church and headed over to MedExpress. We found out that the swollen throat was due to Strept so it was a good thing we went in. We got Molly’s antibiotics and headed back to church. Molly stayed in the car and watched a movie in the parking lot because I didn’t want her spreading her germs around church. When church was done we headed home and Mimi Joy joined us for lunch. Poor Molly went to bed.

Rusty and Mimi Joy

Rusty and Mimi Joy


Sunday evening we prepared for the last of our weekend guests. We were having the young men and women from our church over for a fireside devotional and smores. It was a wonderful evening and the turn out was great. It was a perfect way to end the weekend!

Fireside devotional

Fireside devotional

This weekend made me realize how incredibly grateful I am for the friends in my children’s lives. They are blessed with good kids for friends. I am grateful for the parents that raised such good kids. I am grateful that my children have made wise choices in the friendships they have developed. I am grateful for the leaders that plan fun, wholesome activities for my kids to take part in. I am grateful that in this world with so many negative influences my children have found a safe place to grow into the adults they are going to become.

They say you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with…I am grateful my children have chosen wisely.