Life is made up of many pieces, like a puzzle. Here I attempt to put them all together.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Uninvited Visitor

You can't see it very clearly in this picture but it's the only one we have. Doug came downstairs yesterday morning and found this little critter hopping around our kitchen. We kept him for awhile to observe. It was interesting watching him climb up the sides of the container he was in. He's apparently a tree frog, judging by his slightly sticky skin and his ability to climb. The kids let him go this evening.

Personal Book Study: Ordering Your Private World by Gordan Macdonald

I bought this book about 12 years ago, because I've always enjoyed reading motivational and self-help books. I've always loved reading about time management, organization, etc. My problem is actually applying what I've learned. Maybe, since I have trouble applying it, I haven't learned it, only read about it.


I'm reading the book again, and writing about it as I go, in the hope that putting what I'm learning into words will help me apply it to daily life. I also hope that each person who reads this will enjoy the journey with me. My goal is to post about one chapter each day.

Each of us has different desires, needs, roles, etc., and what I learn may not be what you need or want at this time in your life. But maybe something here will spark something in you that will be useful or helpful to you. Or maybe you will have a comment that will be helpful to me.

Oh, and speaking of comments . . . .

Please, Please, PLEASE, leave some. Let's have a conversation. I would love to hear from, and learn to know better, all of you. Even if you disagree with me, I want to hear from you.

And now with no further ado - I will begin!

In the preface of this book Gordon MacDonald talks about the number of people, even those who seem greatly successful and who seem to have it all together, struggle with organization of their inner life, their private world. There are many books, many articles, websites, seminars, and other resources to designed to help us organize seemingly every area of our lives, and to make us more "productive." Yet there seems to be little that truly addresses the question of internal or spiritual order. And yet their lies the heart of the matter.

In John 15:4 Jesus tells us that He wants us to abide in Him and He in us. For there to be true order in my private life everything must be based on this key component.

Gordan MacDonald identifies five spheres that make up our private world. They are as follows -
Sector One: Motivation
Sector Two: Use of Time
Sector Three: Wisdom and Knowledge
Sector Four: Spiritual Strength
Sector Five: Restoration

I can hardly wait to examine these in more detail in the coming days. Please join me.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Menu and Recipes

Breakfast - Donuts, Apples, Milk
Lunch - Turkey Breast w/Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, Herb Bread* (recipes for starred
items following menu), Milk
Snack - Toast, Bananas
Dinner - PB&J, Cheese Slices, Tomato Soup, Saltines, Apple Slices, Milk
Snack - Graham Crackers, Juice

Breakfast - Pancakes, Applesauce, Milk
Lunch - Roast Beef Sandwiches, Cheesy Vegetable Soup*, Saltines, Bananas, Milk
Snack - PB&J, Juice
Dinner - Chef Salad (additions - bacon, boiled eggs, pepperoni, grated cheese), Apples, Herb
Bread, Milk
Snack - Apple Zucchini Bread, Milk

Breakfast - Cold Cereal, Apple Slices, Milk
Lunch - Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Breaded Tomatoes*, Carrot/Celery Sticks, Milk
Snack - Tortilla Chips, Cheese Dip
Dinner - Chicken Chow Mien*, Rice, Pineapple Slices, Milk
Snack - Grapes, Milk

Breakfast - Cold Cereal, Oranges, Milk
Lunch - Sausage Cheese Rolls*, Potato Onion Supreme*, Pineapple Slices, Milk
Snack - Crisp Butter Cookies, Milk*
Dinner - Egg Sandwiches, Breaded Tomatoes, Potato Onion Supreme, Milk
Snack - Fruit Cocktail, Milk

Breakfast - Toast, Oranges, Milk
Lunch - Burritos w/Salsa, Lettuce & Tomato Salad, Corn, Milk
Snack - Soft Pretzels*, Cheese
Dinner - Liver'n'Onions, Rolls, Salad, Strawberries, Milk
Snack - Crackers, Bananas

Breakfast - Oatmeal, Raisins/Apples, Milk
Lunch - Hamburger/Noodle Casserole, Green Beans, Milk
Snack - Graham Crackers, Homemade Popsicles
Dinner - Gone-All-Day-Stew*, Peaches, Cheddar/Squash Cloverleaf Rolls*, Milk
Snack - Yogurt, Fruit Cocktail


Herb Bread
2-3/4 cups all purpose flour, divided
3 tablespoons sugar
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup warm buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup raisins

In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, salt and baking soda. Combine buttermilk and butter; gradually add to dry ingredients and beat well. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead in raisins and enough remaining flour to make a soft dough, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let fise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. Punch dough down. Knead on a lightly floured surface about 15 times, forming a smooth round ball. Place on a greased baking sheet. Press dough down to form an 8-inch circle. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle dough lightly with flour, cut a 4-in. cross about 1/4 in. deep on the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bread tests done. Remove to a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf

Cheesy Vegetable Soup
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
2 cups coarsely chopped broccoli
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 eggg yolk
1 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese

Melt butter in a heavy 4-qt saucepan; add flour. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly; remove from the heat. Gradually blend in broth. Add next seven ingredients; return to the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. In a small bowl, blend egg yolk and cream. Gradually blend in several tablespoons of hot soup; return all to saucepan, stirring until slightly thickened. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Stir in cheese and heat over medium until melted. Yield: 8-10 servings (2-1/2 quarts).

Breaded Tomatoes
8-10 small to medium firm fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup crushed saltines
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Cheese Sauce
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash white pepper
1-1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Peel and core tomatoes but leave them whole. Dip each whole tomato in melted butter. In a small bowl, combine saltine crumbs and Parmesan cheese. roll tomatoes in crumb mixture, hently pressing crumbs onto tomato. Place tomatoes in a single layer in a greased shallow baking
dish. If there are any crumbs or butter left, combine them and sprinkle over the tomatoes. bake at 475 degrees for 15 minutes or until tomatoes begin to brown and are heated through. Watch closely; they burn easily. Meanwhile, for cheese sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in flour; salt and pepper. Add milk all at once; cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat; stir in Parmesan cheese. Serve over tomatoes. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Sausage Cheese Rolls
1 pound (4 cups) shredded cheddar cheese, room temperature
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black or cayenne pepper
8 ounces pork sausage, cooked and drained

In large mixing bowl, combine cheese, butter, flour, salt, and pepper. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-low speed. Stir in cooked sausage. Form dough into 1-inch balls; place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm or cold. Store in refrigerator or freezer. Yield: about -1/2 dozen.

Potato Onion Supreme
8 medium potatoes (about 2-1/2 pounds)
2 large sweet onions, sliced
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
2 cups (8ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups sour cream
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
Chopped fresh parsley, optional

Cook potatoes; peel and slice 1/4 in. thick. Set aside. Place onions, water and bouillon in a saucepan; bring to a boil., then simmer 5-7 minutes or until onions are tender. Drain and set aside. Combine cheese and sour cream. In a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish, layer half the potatoes, onions and cheese mixture. Repeat layers. Combine crumbs and butter; top potato mixture. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with parsley and several onion rings, if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

Crisp Butter Cookies
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
2 cups all purpose flour
Colored Sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Blend in egg yolks. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Dough will be very stiff. On a well-floured board or pastry cloth, roll out dough to a 1/8-in. thickness. Using a pastry wheel or knife, cut into 2 1/2 in. apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with colored sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Yield: 6 dozen.

Soft Pretzels
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softenend
1 egg
6-1/2 to 7-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons water
Coarse salt, optional

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, butter and egg. Stir in 3 cups of flour; mix until smooth. Add enough additional flour to make a stiff dough. Cover bowl tightly with foil; refrigerate for 2-24 hours. Punch dough down and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, cut each half into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 20-in. rope. Shape into the traditional pretzel shape and place on a greased baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine egg yolk and water; brush over the pretzels. Sprinkle with water if desired. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 25 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until brown. Yield 32 pretzels.

Gone All Day Stew
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) tomato soup, undiluted
1 cup water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 pounds beef chuck, cut in 1-inch to 2-inch cubes, fat trimmed
3 medium carrots, cut in 1-inch diagonal slices
6 while boiling onions or yellow onions, quartered
4 medium potatoes, cut in 1-1/2 inch chunks
1/2 cup celery, cut in 1-inch chunks
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning mix
1 bay leaf
pepper to taste

Mix together tomato soup, water and flour until smooth; combine with remaining ingredients in covered roasting pan. Bake at 275 degrees for 4-5 hours. When ready to serve adjust seasoning, if desired. Remove bay leaf before serving. Serve over noodles or with crunchy French bread if desired.

Cheddar/Squash Cloverleaf Rolls
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed cooked winter squash
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve sugar in water. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir gently. Let stand until light and foamy. Stir in milk, 3 tablespoons butter, salt, squash and cheese. Add enough flour to from a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until the dough is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Meanwhile lightly grease 24 muffin cups. Punch down dough. Break off small portions and roll into 1 inch balls. Put three balls into each cup. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled; about 30 minutes. Brush tops of rolls with remaining butter. Bake at 375 degrees for 16-18 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Yield: 2 dozen

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Clean Desk

Here was my little project for today. It was getting a little hard to use my desk.

Before -

After -

Amanda updated her blog today with pictures of two of her pets, Micki and Amber. She dearly loves her pets and is thinking about becoming a vet when she gets older.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sour Cream Apple Squares

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup chopped nuts
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
2 cups chopped peeled apples
Whipped cream, optional

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and butter; blend at low speed until crumbly. Stir in the nuts. Press about 2-3/4 cups into the bottom of an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in baking pan. To the remaining crumb mixture, add cinnamon, baking soda, salt, sour cream, vanilla and egg. Beat until thoroughly combined. Stir in apples. Spoon evenly over bottom layer.Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into square. Garnish with whipped cream if desired. Yield: 12-15 servings.

We had these treats for dinner this evening along with sandwiches and a lettuce salad. Today was the first time I made these but they will definitely be a regular on the menu from now on.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Quiet Monday

It's been a very smooth and pleasant Monday. Most of the day was very quiet.

Two school age children came this morning before school, two one babies during the day, both one year old, and one child off the bus this afternoon. Monday evening is my evening off. My dear husband takes over for me so that I can have a few hours of peace and quiet. I thought this evening we would only have Austin, Amanda, and Michael here but around four this afternoon two families asked if we could take their children for the evening. I asked Doug about it (after all he was going to have the fun of supervising) and he said it would be ok. So, his evening is not quite as quiet as he was expecting. But he'll do fine. The kids love him and he enjoys them.

Our homeschool day went well. Austin and Amanda both seemed to enjoy their work and we had no major difficulties with any of it. We worked on math (fractions), reading, Bible (King David), history (Christopher Columbus), literature (we're reading Ann's House of Dreams, which is book 5 of the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery), science (animal classification), and sign language.

Last week was a little rough for us as we adjusted to new schedules and expectations, although we also enjoyed it and it went fairly well. Austin said today that it's much easier now that he knows the routine and what to expect. Routines are so important to him and I'm glad to see him settling so well into this one.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Book Review

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch was given to me to read by a good friend, and I found it to be a very thought provoking book.

It's a small book with only seven chapters but it packs a punch.

When Randy Pausch, husband and father of three young children was diagnosed with terminal cancer he wanted a way to leave a legacy for his children. He wanted to be able to teach them all the things he would have taught them if he would have been there for them as they grew up.

As I read this book I sometimes found myself laughing and at other times I was wiping away tears. Most of the time his words made me do some hard thinking about how I want to live. Because that's what this book is about - living. The fact that Randy Pausch was dying made him take a good hard look at living and all that goes into a successful life - dreaming, working, learning, laughing, loving. All the things he wanted his children to know about living.

There is also a website called The Last Lecture This website has links to Randy Pausch's actual last lecture that was the inspiration for this book as well as links to projects he worked on and a link to his blog.

I hope you find this book and this site as inspirational as I did.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday Outing

We only had Michael with us today. Austin and Amanda went to spend the day with extended family and there were no daycare kids today so we decided to go visit Doug's parents. They live about 85 miles south of us.

We left around 9:00 this morning and stopped about halfway for breakfast. It's Saturday, we wanted to sleep late and make a day trip, so we didn't make breakfast before we left. We had the breakfast buffet at Country Cookin'. Yummy!

Michael did really well on the way down, although he did get a little bored and try to take his car seat apart.

We had a good visit and stayed for dinner, which was largely from Doug's brother's garden - corn on the cob, tomatoes, cucumbers, along with chicken. Oh, and zucchini bread made from zucchini from the garden as well.

Michael loved all the good food!

He also enjoyed playing outside . . .

. . . and riding on the 4-wheeler with Daddy.

And now it's time to go put a very tired and cranky little boy to bed. All this fun wore him out.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Our First Week of Homeschool (This Year)

We've enjoyed our first week of homeschool. There was a little adjusting of the original schedule but for the most part we kept it as planned. Except for today - We took today off. There were fewer kids here for childcare today and it just had the feel of a vacation day so we took advantage of it.

Here are a few pictures of our week.

Austin is doing most of his math and reading lessons on line.

Amanda doing her reading with her pet rats, Micki and Amber, in their cage at her feet.

Scout dreaming of lunch. Having a cat and pet rats in the same house can be interesting!

One of their favorite activities was to take the camera and go for a nature walk. I enjoyed seeing the pictures they came back with. Here are three of them.

And while not exactly school, I had to include these pictures of Michael.

This is what happens when he finds my black permanent marker!

And here he's getting a haircut.

He did such a good job holding still and letting Daddy cut his hair!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Our Homeschool Schedule

Tomorrow officially begins a new year of homeschooling. I'm excited, more so, I think, then the kids. but once they get started I think they will enjoy it. I tried to make the schedule and choose the activities with their interests in mind.

Trying to make schedules for kids on two different grade levels plus a preschool/daycare schedule, plus factoring in for the babies' different schedule was interesting to say the least. Using Google Calender helped a lot with making and comparing the different schedules. And since I could put in what I wanted and have it repeat throughout upcoming calenders, it will be a great time saver in the future.

Both kids were adamant that they didn't want to lose any of their "work" time or earnings just because they had to start school. So their "school" schedules had to be arranged around their "work" schedules. In reality though, I believe learning to work and taking on responsibility, along with earning and learning how to manage money, is a vital part of education so I don't feel we've lost anything with this arrangement.

Now let me see if I can post these schedules without too much confusion.

7:00 kids wake up, dress, make bed, eat breakfast

8:00 daily chores, take care of pets, housework, help with kids;

9:00 Preschoolers (Michael and daycare kids) - story, songs, craft, game

10:00 Preschoolers - outside; Austin - math and reading; Amanda - reading

11:00 Preschoolers - games; Austin - help with kids; Amanda - finish and serve lunch

11:30 lunch

12:00 - Preschoolers - free play, Austin - load dishwasher and sweep kitchen, Amanda -math

12:30 - Preschoolers - storytime; Austin and Amanda - History or Nature Walk

1:00 - Preschoolers - Quiet activities or nap; Austin and Amanda - Bible, Literature, Sign Language. Bible and Literature are subjects that we enjoy doing together and I read these aloud to them. Sign Language we are also learning together.

2:00 Preschoolers - Quiet activities or nap; Austin and Amanda - varies- video or tv show related to subjects being studied, displays related to subjects being studied, science projects, health, nature walks, etc.; Me - get a head start on dinner, plus other little things that need to be done.

On Thursday or Friday of each week Austin and Amanda will use a block of time to work on their blog. On Friday afternoon our read together time will be spent catching up on some favorite blogs together.

By 3:00 our "'homeschool" day should be finished but we all still do a lot of learning, working and playing together the rest of the day. Usually after dinner Austin reloads the dishwasher and sweeps the kitchen floor and Amanda gives Michael his bath. Thursday evenings they spend with extended family, and starting in September they will be at church in a children's program on Wednesday evenings.

I'm sure our schedule will change and evolve as the year goes on but this is our starting point. We will see what tomorrow brings. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rain! Rain!

It was a rainy day. Again!

But we had fun anyway. This morning I got out the games and we spent quite a lot of time playing. We started off with Memory. I think Memory is THE favorite game around here.

Michael wanted to play too but he got really frustrated when he had to wait his turn and did a face plant into the cards. Eventually though he seemed to get the idea and did pretty well.

We also played Alphabet Bingo and UNO . . .

. . . played with puppets . . .

. . .did sticker and coloring activities . . .

. . . and played with cars.

And after a good lunch . . .

and afternoon quiet time, the sun came out and we got to play outside.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Homemade Finger Paint

Today the kids painted with homemade finger paint. I made the paint yesterday and put it in the refrigerator until we were ready to use it.

Homemade Finger Paint

2 c. flour
2 c. cold water
2. T. salt
1 1/2 cups hot water

In saucepan mix flour, salt and cold water together with wire whisk until smooth. Add hot water and bring to a boil. Let boil, stirring constantly until thickened. If needed stir again with wire whisk until smooth. Add food coloring or tempera paint to make it the desired color.

I made a double batch of this recipe and divided it into six containers. Then I used food coloring to make the colors I wanted.

Because the batteries in the camera went dead I didn't get any pictures of the kids painting but after the batteries were recharged I was able to take some pictures of the finished paintings. Most of the kids painting were preschoolers and just enjoyed experimenting with the colors and feeling the texture of the paint. They always like painting on paper plates and we used them today.

Our Day

T.(8) is going with her family later this week to Chincoteague Island and she's so excited she talked about it all morning long. She's so excited that she said she thinks if she jumped out of the barn onto the trampoline the way her friend did and broke both of her ankles (as her friend did) she would heal immediately. Since we had no barns or trampolines handy for jumping she had to content herself with jumping off the toddler slide.

This morning was really warm and humid so we put water in the water table for the kids to play in. One of Michael's favorite things to do with the water is stick his head in, then run over to the dirt and watch the water drip off his head into the dirt.

Amanda (10) and her friend C. (11) decided that Micki the pet rat should have a birthday party today. So they invited Giant and Razor the hermit crabs, and their owner, Austin as guests. In Amanda's room they hung shirts as banners, along with some balloons off the curtain rods. They used fruit loops, graham crackers, cantalope, grapes and raisins as refreshments (with a little cat food on the side as a special treat for Micki). Unfortunately the camara batteries died and I wasn't able to get any pictures so I'll leave the scene to your imagination. It was a party I'm sure Micki will never forget.

The older boys Austin (12) and L. (7) decided that pushing each other in riding toys as hard and fast as they could, with no seeming regard for life or limb, would be a good form of entertainment. That idea was quickly put to rest. Fortunately the younger boys seemed to value safety a little more and pushed each other around at a more reasonble rate of speed.

It was extra early when the last of the daycare kids left so we're just having a quiet evening.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blog Review

Debi Bouffard writes an awesome blog Who Says 8 is Enough? about life with a family of many. Be sure to read all three parts of her story as they will explain so much about her and her family. Her journey through providing foster care, adoption, difficult pregnancies and the joys of family life will bring tears to your eyes.

Debi has a second blog called Necessities of a Quick Cook's Kitchen that is also a great read, providing some great menu ideas and recipes.

And, a third blog called Who Says 8 is Enough Gives Back is a fundraising blog. Debi uses this blog for fundraising for charitable organizations and worthy causes.

Last but not least there is a blog called The Bouf Kids Have Something to Say written by the kids.

I hope you enjoy these blogs as much as I have.

Photo of the Day

Romans 8:28 And we know in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.

In church yesterday the pastor talked about faith. He talked about how often we are afraid to do what we know God is asking us to do because we can't see the outcome, the end result. And yet, when we read Romans 8:28 we see that we do not have to be afraid. Knowing that God is working for our good, not in some things, but in all things, allows us to step forward in the confidence that He is not, will not, cannot, lead us into anything that will ultimately bring us anything but good.

Recipe of the Day

Hamburger (or Turkey, or Sausage) Chow Mein

1lb. ground meat
1 cup rice
2 cups water
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 small can cream of mushroom soup
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the above ingredients in casserole dish and bake at 350 for 1 hr. When serving sprinkle with soy sauce and top with chow mein noodles if desired.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

How We're Enjoying a Rainy Day

I'm truly amazed at how long the kids can entertain themselves with fuse beads. We've been making fun designs with these off and on for several years and they don't seem to get tired of it. It's interesting to see the different designs each child makes and the effort and time they are willing to put into it.

And then there was a "wedding." I'm not even going to try to explain all these pictures because I didn't understand half of it. But they sure were having fun!

Balloons provided an energy outlet without danger of the kids knocking something down, breaking a window or hurting each other.

And snuggling together in a chair to play a few video games is always fun too.