Beautiful Little Park

Today my son and I went to the closest city park and hid our painted rocks for others to find. My son, of course, couldn’t help but check out the playground.  I found it odd that there were no other children there. It is a Saturday and it was just after lunch. He had the playground all to himself for about 15 minutes.

7-22-2017 Park IMG_6394 Artsy

The heat may have been a bit unbearable for some but not for my child. My crazy son had on a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. He claimed he was fine. What is it with kids using shorts in the cold winter and long-sleeved shirts in the heat of summer?

We also took a little walk to the community garden portion of the park. I love being able to see all of the fruits, vegetables, and flowers popping up everywhere. Here are a few of the photos from today.

Do you have any beautiful flower or garden pictures you’d like to share with everyone? Please feel free to share your pictures in the comments below.

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4 Amazing Family Games

One of the things our family likes to do to pass time is playing table games. Our youngest son’s favorite is Apples to Apples. He’s 11 so sometimes he’ll question a card or two but other than that it’s a hoot to play. Our boys can get pretty obnoxious and then it’s all giggles and farts till the game is over.

http://www.mattelgames.com/en-us/apples-to-apples/index.html

We also love playing Qwirkle, Spot It, and Blokus.
Qwirkle and Blokus takes a little more seriousness to play because it’s all about strategy. These two games are great. We are much more laid back when we play these games and they allow opportunities to communicate with the kids on a deeper level.

http://www.mindware.com/qwirkle-a2-32016.fltr

http://www.mattelgames.com/en-us/blokus/index.html

Spot It is fun and exciting to play. There are several games you can play with the Spot It cards and it can become very action packed. Our boys get so excited and sometimes a card will end up flying here and there. This one makes a great gift for families with children.

http://www.blueorangegames.com/spotit/

We absolutely love that we can sit down, be silly and interact in a positive way. This should be very important in every family. Sometimes there is just so much going on that it gets to be a stress fest. So whether your family’s fun time is going out to the park, camping, shooting hoops, throwing a football, or just playing a card or board game, you are doing something super positive for your family.

Our children grow so quickly. Enjoy every minute that you can with yours.

What is your family’s favorite fun-time activity? Do you have a board or card game that your family loves playing together?

Camping Craziness

Getting ready for camping, whether Boy Scout camp or our own family camping, is often stressful. No matter how many days in advance we insist on getting started on packing, we are usually not ready until the night before and sometimes the day of.

Boy Scout Summer Camp begins tomorrow. It’s our youngest son’s first time attending a full week of camp. Luckily, my husband and our second oldest son will be going to camp as well, but this means that all 3 needed to prep.

Our youngest son started to gather things and pack earlier this week, but he still had a few items missing, so with my husband’s help he finalized his pack tonight.

My second son is also still finalizing his packing tonight. He started packing in earnest last night. He’s a bit more experienced at getting ready for camping. I’m still praying and hoping he doesn’t forget to pack anything.

As for my husband (the Scoutmaster), he’s been working on gathering things earlier this week for the Troop but also had paperwork and emails to finish on top of a full week of work. He’s still running around packing his stuff while ensuring our youngest is ready. I think it’s going to be a late night.

This is just 3 out of 6 of us packing for a camping trip. At the moment I cannot imagine prepping for 6 of us and a dog to go on a camping trip.

We purchased a camper a few years ago. We pretty much got tired of the “blue tarp” camping. No matter how prepared you are to tent camp in Western Washington, you can always count on getting soaked at least a few times during camping season. While the boys have no choice to tent camp when out on scout trips, we felt our family trips should be as relaxing as possible.

This year my husband is still insisting we plan a family trip in the camper for this summer. I wouldn’t have to worry about packing for my husband and our boys but we also have our dog and our now one year-old daughter. We’ll of course need to take extra gear with us. For example: play pen, sleeping pad, things to keep her entertained, etc. This is on top of the dog crate and the normal camping paraphernalia. Our “just the right size” camper, I imagine, will seem very small.

Our controversial solutions are 1. Kick the older boys out to camp in a tent. 2. Sell this camper and purchase a bigger one. 3. Let’s rent a suite at the Great Wolf Lodge and pretend to camp. 4. Not go.

For one, while I wish we could sell our camper and purchase a bigger one, realistically it would not be a financially smart move for us. Two, renting a suite at the Great Wolf Lodge would be fun, but it would be great to take advantage and do awesome outdoor activities in the nice summer Washington weather. Three, it would be easy to just not go on a camping trip but I know I would fully regret not experiencing all the fun we could potentially have. Especially sharing our love of the outdoors here in this beautiful state with our daughter while making so many more wonderful memories as a family. So I think our only camping solution is to kick the older boys out to camp in a tent. Sorry boys!!!

Curve Ball

Two years ago God threw us a curve ball. We had a senior in high school, a sophomore in high school and an almost 10-year-old when we found out we were expecting our 4th child.

To say the least I was shocked. When the doctor gave me the news I cried. I was excited and elated that there was a life growing inside of me but a little crushed because it meant we’d be starting all over again. Life as we knew it was about to change. We were to become parents again. At my age of 43 the medical field calls it advance maternal age.

The shock eventually wore off. Due to medical concerns, the pregnancy was tough and a bit stressful at times but life began to brighten as we began to see our daughter grow and develop via ultrasounds.

Slowly the colors of pink and lavender began to inundate our home. We were finally blessed with the arrival of our first daughter, Jillian, in May of last year.

Having a little girl with 3 older boys has surely been interesting! The boys simply adore her but the boy adventures must simply go on.

Since the birth of our daughter many great things have happen. Our eldest graduated from high school. He earned his Eagle Scout through the Boy Scouts and is now a student at Pacific Lutheran University.

Our second eldest is now the Senior Drum Major in his high school band and is very active in his Boy Scout troop. He is currently working on his Eagle project.

Our youngest son has graduated from Cub Scouts and is now in the Boy Scout Troop. He is also learning to play the trumpet like his oldest brother. (It gets loud in this house.) He’ll be going to middle school in the fall.

It has been a very crazy year for our family. Jillian’s walking…ummm running now. It’ll be fun to see what kind of things she’ll be interested in as she gets older.

In all the craziness, our house at the moment has taken a back burner. This blog will be a great tool for me to help get things back on track.

Effective Lists

Having an organized and clean house has always been a challenge for me. I was always great about making lists but not very good about using them. Lately I been trying a new attempt at list making. I first came across the idea of bullet journaling through Pinterest.com. I’ve just been using a plain ruled composition book for my daily lists but a bullet journal would work so much better. I just ordered one through Amazon.com.

So far my little fancy composition lists have been working. Plus it’s really nice to add little notes here and there about my day in my book. I’ve never really been one to journal so this is perfect.

Trying to motivate teenagers and a pre-teen is a chore in itself. I’ve been experimenting with “journaling” and jazzing up our childrens’ to-do lists. Above is today’s list for our 11-year-old. He got through most of the list. I think this works great for him.

Having a jazzy list for our 17-year-old is a completely different story. I’m sure there’s a lot more running through his mind than our 11-year-old. We’ll try it out for a few weeks to see if his motivation changes.

Do you organize your days with lists? What kind of lists work best for you and your family?

Here are a few links to a few blogs I found very helpful.

http://withoutelephants.com/to-do-lijstjes-die-echt-werken-bullet-journal/

5 Steps to Craft a Better To-Do List