Tag Archives: fun

What Do You {Want to} Know?

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Seven years of blogging.  I think it’s time for a little Q&A.

But first, let me tell you why I’m happy as a lark

Sunday is Jeff’s birthday, and Lena’s is coming up too, so we’re having a Double-Whammy Birthday Cook-out Saturday… I thought about renting a bounce house (‘space walk’, for those of you who grew up with me and real roller skate, not those inline things), and researched a few options in this area.  And then I realized if we were willing to spend $__ on a bounce house for one afternoon, we could spend nearly the same amount and get a trampoline that my kids would love for years.

And if I’m really honest, I really wanted a trampoline as well.  How else is a mother of six supposed to get a workout?

After all, it would give my kids a little something more to play with than the ONE swing (the other one is currently broken, and a bucket of rocks.

Ridin’ His Wagon to Town

So tonight after dinner, we took all the kids to Academy, and just started walking around.  They had no clue we why we were there.  They really enjoy that store anyway, because there are so many fun and exciting things- the guns, the toys, the bikes, the battery-operated cars…

But when we ended up standing in front of the boxed trampolines and they realized what we were doing, they could not contain their excitement.  I’m pretty happy about it, too.

Gather ‘Round

Surprising your kids is so fun, isn’t it?  Especially when they’re asking sweetly, “please, can we get a trampoline?  I really, really want a trampoline. Please with a cherry on top?” – when you’re planning all along to buy them one.  It’s why you’re there.

Hm.  There’s a spiritual lesson in that, I think.  But I’ll let it stew.  Time for Q&A.

However, we have to have some Q before there are any A.

Here’s where you come in.  You have to click the ‘reply’ link above this post, and leave me a comment.

So what questions do you have for a broken, messy mama of six kids?  A mama who used to be pretty crafty and DIY... a mama who’s been the only white face in a sea of beautiful Asian ones (and kind of forgot I was a minority)… a mama who crossed the ocean twice to bring home a brown-eyed boy and a hazel-eyed girl (who turns seven next week)…

What do you want to know?  Talk to me!

Meanwhile I’ll be assembling my new exercise equipment!


Winding Down a Long Hot Summer – Part 2

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I’m practicing my “who me?” look

Ah yes, we’re catching up with pictures.  Since Olivia was born in April, we’ve been busy with birthdays in June and September… and celebrating being home from Ukraine One Year… we’ve just enjoyed the lazy days whenever we can get one.


Growing up before my eyes…

There have been lots of smiles and giggling galore.

Sister Love

When God provided a way for us to purchase a Toyota Sequoia – a vehicle large enough to fit our family of 8 comfortably with no parents riding on the floor (not that we would do something illegal like that, right?) – we celebrated!  We took a walk from our front door to the seafood restaurant hardly a block from our house.  It was so fun to walk there (the kids thought that was wild – they weren’t around when we lived in China and walked everywhere), and fried seafood is something we enjoy just a few times a year.

No seafood for me yet!

We had a great time divvying up the food.  Actually, I had a great time eating the food.  And Christopher in particular loves fried fish!  He had it for the first time at my uncle’s house last Thanksgiving and he ate his weight in fried catfish… they’re already planning another fish fry for him this year.

I came to America to eat fried fish. I came, I saw, I conquered.

It’s not unusual for us to get some stares and comments while we’re out.  Most of the time it’s positive, and this time we were particularly blessed when a sweet woman came to our table and said they had been watching us and what a nice-looking family we have – how it was wonderful to see large families.  I don’t really think of us as a large family, but I appreciated her kind words.  We later found out that she and her husband had paid half our bill.  I was moved to tears.  And that night we prayed that God would thank them for us.  It’s a gesture I won’t forget.

Maybe it was this guy’s charm that brought on their good will.

Carson can nearly always be counted on to pull out the charm.

There’s another little one in our house who promises to be a charmer….

Sucking her fingers just like Lilly did.

… when she’s not Sleeping Beauty.  This was yesterday before getting ready for church.  Good thing we had an extra hour with setting back the clocks…

I didn’t even attempt to get us all standing still and facing forward.

I didn’t realize until yesterday afternoon that it was Orphan Sunday.  We had a baby dedication at church for Olivia, and also dedicated Christopher and Lena.  I nearly cried when our pastor gave them both a nice ESV Bible with their names imprinted.

What a way to wind down the summer… and if you think it’s odd that I’m talking about the end of summer when it’s November, just remember in the armpit of Texas, November means you can turn off the A/C on some days… and you can keep your flip flops out at least another month!

Be Blessed, ya’ll
(I don’t actually say that)



MIY Monday: Play Doh!

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Simple No Cook Play Doh

I began today needing something that would ‘kill two birds with one stone’. (Wow, how’s that for a statement that is probably no longer politically correct? Ha! Well, just in case you’re an animal rights activist, please be informed I do not go around killing birds. Often. )

Anyways, today I needed something that would 1) Be special and fun for my kids, and 2) Provide a helpful Make-It-Yourself Monday post.
And here we are. Or here I am. You are there. I am here.
I really shouldn’t write these blog posts at 11:00 at night…
So, here’s what I came up with: Homemade Playdough
I used a simple, non-cook recipe I found on the web, and altered it just slightly:
– 3 cups flour
– 1/3 cup salt
– 1 cup water
– 2 Tbs. cooking oil
– 1 t. cream of tartar (optional to add to elasticity)
– food coloring (optional)
I’ll show you what I did and give you my review of this method at the end of the post.
Step One:
Mix Dry Ingredients. Then add water and oil.
Step Two:
Knead. Knead. Knead some more.
C’mon, give it some elbow grease.
Step Three:
Separate into balls and…
Add food coloring to the center of the dough balls. You don’t want to get the dye directly on your hands. I’ll talk more about this at the end of the post.
Adding the coloring to the already kneaded doh gives the play doh a more ‘marble’ look. This isn’t what I was going for, but my kids didn’t care.
After they played with it for a while, the color looked smoother, as you can see in the ‘cake’ Maggie’s making here.
Every day is a birthday in her world.
My Review:
This method is pretty simple, but I think I’ll try a cooking method next to compare. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, I’d put the dough in there to knead – I really had to work with this for a while, but really liked the texture of it when I was done. I didn’t think of using my mixer to do my work until I had already finished. That’s what I get for talking to my Mom on the phone while I was working!
If I use this non-cook recipe again, I will mix the food coloring into the water first, to give a more smooth, all-over color. And I’ll use more dye to make a richer color. But this means I will only have one color of dough, because I will not be making separate batches for every color.
While I wanted more vibrant colors, I did like that no matter how much my girls mixed the colors together, it didn’t turn to an ugly dark brown-purple, like regular play doh does.
Pretty. I sealed it up to play with again another day.
Finally, I liked the texture of this dough. And it was easier to clean up than commercially produced play doh. Plus, you can add essential oils to the mix. I think next time I’ll add lavender… maybe it will have a calming effect on my children. Ha!
This did keep my kids happily occupied for over an hour, which never happens with the other store-bought stuff. I think maybe that’s because they watched me make it, and it was like bread dough I sometimes give them to play with – so it’s more ‘realistic’.
Have any of you made play doh – tell me what you think!
Bless you all – Happy Monday, everyone!