Tag Archives: Pirates

Adventure on the High Seas


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Day 5 of our houseboat vacation brought to fruition another recreation of a previous houseboat memory.

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On our first houseboat vacation with the Hudak family the kids were in 8th, 7th, 6th, and 5th grades. At the time one of the assigned reading novels was Treasure Island. We decided to bring the book on vacation and read it aloud to all the kids as we boated along. It was a perfect fit and made the reading of this classic novel more enjoyable. At the end of the week we decided to surprise the kids with a pirate treasure hunt to wrap up our week of reading Treasure Island.

While the kids were swimming, we slipped a bottle into the water containing a map that led to a buried treasure on shore.

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The kids LOVED it and talked about it being one of their favorite memories of that vacation,


So, on houseboat vacation #2 we knew we wanted to plan something like that again.

On that particular trip we realized that our vacation just happened to fall on

“International Talk like a Pirate Day”


It was perfect!


We had all sorts of fun things up our sleeves for this band of scallywags, including pirate pancakes, pirate crafts and of course a treasure hunt for buried treasure.


This trip we had no real reason for a treasure hunt. We weren’t reading Treasure Island. It wasn’t International Talk like a Pirate day. But we had to recreate this treasure memory at least one more time! Braden needed his turn participating in this beloved McCleery/Hudak tradition.


So, on Tuesday we picked a docking location for the night that gave us perfect access to land. It was a beautiful cove and a perfect place to climb ashore in search of treasure.

Lana and I secretly scouted out the location while the kids were swimming and created a treasure map that would lead them to the buried treasure.


While we were out scouting possible treasure locations, we stumbled across a small box turtle whose had been unkindly wrapped up in string and electrical tape. We carried him back to the boat to help him out.

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All the kids were excited to meet the box turtle we named Jack, in honor of Captain Jack Sparrow.

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Especially Molly, our resident turtle lover.

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Once freed from his bonds, we set him lose back on land to live out his life unencumbered by the cruelty of ignorant human beings.

That evening we packaged the booty in a water-proof container in preparation for our pirate adventure the next morning.

On Wednesday morning the girls woke early and took on the task of preparing pirate pancakes for breakfast.

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The results were charming!

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Then the kids donned the pirate gear that was packed for the occasion, in preparation for the big hunt.

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Gracie helped turn everyone into a more authentic looking pirate with the help of some make-up.

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Then it was all pirates ashore with map in hand, driven by a desire for hidden chocolate.

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(Except Tyler who was too invested in trying to nab an elusive fish hiding beneath the boat to join in the treasure hunt.)

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The kids headed out and began the search…

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They found the hidden booty,

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Returning as victors of the high sea!

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ARRRGGG and Happy Sailing,

From our scurvy crew to yers!


Pirates, Princesses and Pooh… Part 1


Yesterday was our first Magic Kingdom day. Although the day was full of magical moments the theme of the day definitely revolved around the three P’s…

Pirates, Princesses, and Pooh.

The morning was all about pirates.

We began our day in Adventureland by riding “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Like all good Disney rides you get dropped at the end into a gift shop. The gift shop at the end of this ride was pirate themed, of course. My three boys, who are all huge pirate fans thanks to Capt. Jack Sparrow, were in heaven. They all decided that they wanted to use their remaining gift card money on pirate gear and were adding up the cost of a sword, eye patch and hat when we were told about a treasure we hadn’t heard of before…The Pirate League.


For a cost comparable to what they were planning on spending on pirate souvenirs they could have an entire pirate makeover.

They were sold and we signed up.

So how does one go about becoming a pirate, you might ask…

Well, it begins with choosing your look.

The boys were given a “menu” to pick from.


Next step in your pirate transformation is to get your new pirate name, of course. I mean, really, how do you expect to be taken seriously as a pirate with a name like Ozzie. 🙂

The process of acquiring a new name begins with a spin of the wheel. Three turns to the left and the treasure chest is opened.


Inside are two dice. The pirate lass checks your numbers to her book of names and assigns you your new pirate name.


Rusty is now known as Hector Badbones.

Ozzie is now called Sam Damploather.

Tyler will from here on be addressed as Rodger Pondwater.

From here we took a seat and waited to be called by our pirate trainer.

It wasn’t long before we heard, “Argh..where’s me Roger Pondwater?”

Step 1 in the transformation was the tattoo, of course!

Step 1 in the transformation was the tattoo, of course!

Soon all three boys were in pirates training. Rusty and Tyler were both getting Black Beard’s look but Ozzie decided to get Black Eyed Jack’s makeover. When his pirate trainer told him to hold still so he could give him his black eye (and then made a fist) Ozzie was a bit nervous. He was relieved to discover the black eye was made with make-up.



The transformation began and in a matter of minutes all my boys had facial hair.



The next step was, of course, pirate accessories. Can you really call yourself a pirate without a bandana, eye patch and gold earring??


After being transformed, the next step was to be sworn into the Pirate League and pledge to:

“Be a true and honest pirate. One who can be trusted not to be trusted, to run from any fight you cannot win, to win any fight from which you cannot run, to plunder treasure with a hearty laugh, and to make your sisters swab the deck.”



“Now and then we had the hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.” -Mark Twain



Once the boys had completed their pirate transformation they were given their sword and sheaths.


They were then allowed to enter Capt. Jack Sparrow’s treasure room to search for treasure.




They found the hidden treasure…


They received their pirate certificates, and were ready to meet their captain.

We were so impressed with the Pirate League experience that we would recommend it to anyone. The experience, the makeovers, and all the extra that came with the transformation really impressed these pirate parents. It truly is one of the hidden gems at Magic Kingdom!


The next stop in our pirate adventure was pirate training with Capt. Jack Sparrow. Ozzie was chosen to go up on stage.



Finally, we ended our pirate adventure with a treasure hunt around Adventureland.




“Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate’s life for me.”


“Always be yourself, unless you can be a pirate…Then always be a pirate.”  🙂

Next stop: Princesses and Pooh 🙂

Raise the Jolly Rancher!


On Wednesday we had the opportunity to join all the youth from church, ages 8-18, for “dollar days” at PNC Park. It was a perfect evening for a baseball game and the weather was ideal. Everyone was excited to go, even my non-sports-loving kids, who just enjoyed the atmosphere of the Pirate’s game. We drove down to Pittsburgh, parked at a local garage, and joined the rest of our group outside the ballpark. As we approached the signs for the park and the Pirate flags waving, Ozzie shouted, “Raise the Jolly Rancher!”

I think he meant “Jolly Roger.” 🙂


Before the game Ozzie asked if we could stay for the entire thing. He told me that he had never seen the end of a baseball game before because he always had to leave early to beat traffic. I promised him we would stay until the end. Little did I know this game would end up being the longest game  in Pirate’s history and would end up lasting almost six hours. Needless to say I broke his heart and my promise.


Even with the large amount of tickets that were ordered for the group we were still  a few short so the  boys (Toby, Ozzie and Tyler) were able to join a friend in his company’s private box to watch the game instead of sitting with the group. It was a special treat for the two little boys who had never watched a game from anywhere but the “cheap seats” before. 🙂

Box seats at PNC park.

Box seats at PNC park.


The girls and Rusty joined me and the rest of the youth in a different part of the ballpark to watch the Pirates play the Cubs. We took advantage of the “dollar days” hotdogs and all enjoyed a ballpark frank… yum!


The girls enjoying the game.

The girls enjoying the game.

It was a great game complete with hotdog tosses, the wave, seventh inning stretch, pierogi races and a streaker. I don’t think the streaker was a planned part of the entertainment but he definitely added to the excitement of the evening. It happened during the pierogi race, a beloved Pirate game tradition, in which potato stuffed pasta mascots race around the perimeter of the ball field while everyone cheers. While the pierogi mascots  were racing a spectator joined in the fun by leaping over the outer wall, running across the ball field, leaving a trail of clothes in his wake, while security guards tried to apprehend him. He made it to the other side with only shorts still on where he was caught by security.

Perogie races

Pierogi races

The streaker :)

The streaker 🙂

The stadium was packed and the energy was high as we went into the 9th inning. At the end of the 9th we were tied so we stayed even longer. Then it went into the 10th inning. We finally left at 11:00pm at the end of  11th inning. Ozzie was, of course, devastated.

“I’ll never see the end of a baseball game,” he lamented as we were walking out.

It wasn’t until the following day when I found out that the game went 16 innings that I felt good about our decision to leave early. In the end it all worked out… the Pirates won, we had a wonderful evening with friends, and we certainly got our dollar’s worth of entertainment…

what with $1.00 hotdogs, 11 innings of fun and a streaker to boot. What a night!

Beautiful PNC Park!

Beautiful PNC Park!


Let’s go Bucs!


As I sat down to write this morning I realized that the last time I posted was the day after Tyler’s adoption. The night of Tyler’s adoption, as we sat together as a family for prayers and scripture study, we all went around the room and said one thing we were grateful to God for. Having just signed adoption papers most of our gratitudes were about Tyler’s adoption. When we got to Rusty he paused to think for a moment and then said, “I’m grateful that we will never have to clean our home again!” I think the constant visits and inspections by the social workers took its toll on Russ. 🙂 I told him that I’d give him the week off but eventually we would have to clean again for the sake of health and safety. 🙂  So..that is what we did. We took the week off from everything. I think the stress of always having to be “on” took its toll on all of us because this past week we all collapsed and did nothing productive at all including updating my blog so here is what has been happening at Patchwork Farm..

We have a new litter of baby bunnies. We discovered them when we returned home from the beach. They are now bouncing around and have their eyes open. The kids are thrilled…especially Gracie!


IMG_8579Tyler is now in football. I have been stretched by Tyler. I have found myself humbled time and time again as I have had to face all the “my child will NEVER” comments that I made when Gracie, Molly and Rusty were little. Tyler played football before he came to live with us and has asked us since the day he moved in if he could play again. In the spring we signed him up for soccer and the experience was more positive than I expected. The soccer coaches (a husband and wife team) were wonderful. The practice was once a week, they didn’t keep score, and it was all about learning skills and having fun. I assumed football would be the same, after all we are talking about a group of 6 year olds..right?  Wrong. We have entered another world. When we signed him up last Monday I had no idea we were signing our life away for the next few months. Football is nothing like soccer.. In soccer we practiced once a week..in football we practice five times a week.  In soccer practices lasted 45 minutes…in football they last 2 1/2 hours.  In soccer there was a lot of laughing and goofing off..in football there is a lot of grunting, yelling and no goofing off allowed. When we showed up to the first practiced the coach greeted the boys with this question, “What is the number one rule in football?” The boys shouted back suggestions of what they thought the number one rule might be. When nobody answered correctly the coach shouted, “No! The number one rule of football is: We are mean! We are tough! We are nasty!”IMG_8824 I watched in horror as my sweet little boy chanted this mantra with all the other 6 year olds. They followed this chant with growling and grunting. I looked at Toby, who was loving it, and whispered, ” How about we are kind! We are compassionate! We play fair!” Toby just rolled his eyes at me.  🙂

I will say that after a week of sitting on the sidelines, in a haze of testosterone, I am either becoming immune or resigned to my fate because I am less horrified now than I was a week ago. On the up side: Tyler loves it, he is sleeping better than ever before, and he really responds to the strict discipline of football. Toby thinks this will be the best thing in the world for Tyler..I’m reserving judgement for now. 🙂

IMG_8746On Monday we had the opportunity to attend a Pirates baseball game. Our adoption agency has activities a few times a year that they offer to adoptive families and families waiting for a placement.  One of these activities is a Pirates game. Last year when we were offered free tickets we took 6 because we thought Tyler might be scheduled for his first overnight visit then but it was moved to the following week so he wasn’t able to go. We were looking forward to going as a family this year but then life got in the way. Gracie had a slumber party and Toby and Tyler had football practice so it was just Molly, Rusty and I. Molly took her best friend, Tatum. It was a lot of fun.IMG_8745 PNC park was packed and the atmosphere was thrilling. This was Tatum’s first time there so it was fun to see her reactions to the hot dog gun, the pierogi races and the 7th inning stretch. We sat in a section reserved for adoptive families and it was neat seeing the dynamic of the various families. There were families that adopted sibling groups, international adoptions and infant adoptions. We ended up winning 9-2 against the St. Louis Cardinals. It was a great game and a fun night…Let’s go Bucs!

IMG_8810The following morning we met up with our friends from co-op for a mid-summer get together at the pool. It was nice seeing our home school friends that we haven’t seen all summer and catching up on each other’s lives. The kids had a blast playing and the moms enjoyed visiting without interruptions.


Tyler was especially glad to see his best friend, Simon. He has been wanting to see Simon all summer and has been asking for a play date for months. Now that his adoption is finalized he finally gets to do things like play dates and slumber parties with his buddy. This Saturday Simon is coming over for the day and Tyler can’t wait!