Thank You {Memorial Day}

017I am proud to have several family members who served in the United States military. I am so thankful that they all returned home safely. I know that not everyone is as fortunate. On this day, we honor the memory of those who sacrificed it all for their country and the ideals for which it stands.

John 15:13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Thank you to those who sacrificed it all, and thank you to their families. Thank you to every veteran and active Service member who was and is willing to lay down his or her life. May the Lord bless and keep you always.

 

April Fool’s Day Dinner

I’m planning an all new April Fool’s Day dinner for this year, but wanted to share last years for now:

My kiddos love a good prank. April Fool’s Day has been one of their favorite days as long as I can remember. We usually try to do at least one thing to make the day memorable. Last year I fooled them into thinking they were eating an undercooked lasagna, when it was actually a yummy dessert. This year, I pulled off a Crazy April Fool’s Day Dinner which was actually breakfast for dinner. It definitely takes some advance preparation and quite a bit of work (at least with as many people as we have in our family) to pull it off, but it is so fun! I’ve done a dinner menu like this before and I feel like breakfast items are a lot easier. I used the basic idea and the menu course printables from Dixie Delights. I made some changes, but the general idea came from her site.

To do this, I gave my family a menu of 16 items with funny names. They also had 4 different menu course sheets. On each sheet they had to put four items that they wanted for that course. Each item has to be picked once so that all items are ultimately chosen. They had to pick for all of their courses before I even started cooking; because I didn’t want to give them any hints with the smells in the kitchen.

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I had one more trick up my sleeve. Number 9 was the CAFD Special. It looked like an egg, but was really just whipped cream and an apricot.

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I pulled out a few Christmas plates to serve this. I also found some “Welcome to 2000” napkins that had never been opened in my party stash. We used those as the Mini Magic Carpet.

Overall, we had lots of laughs. April Fool’s Day is just another good excuse to have a little fun together.

I printed out my menu using Waltograph font from DaFont 

Crazy April Fool’s Day Disney Dinner

1. Mickey Mouse                                         2.Gaston’s Tavern Treat                        

 3. Dinoco Motor Oil                

4. Sugar Rush Icing component        

5. White Rabbit’s Tale                                

6. Three Little Pigs                                      

7. Capt. Hook’s Plank                                

8. Mike Wazowski                                      

9. CAFD Special

10. Pluto’s dinner

11. Merida’s hair

12. Elsa’s bad day

13. Rafiki’s staff

14. Cruella’s hair

15. Dinglehopper

16. Mini Magic Carpet

Here’s the real deal menu:

  1. Mickey Mouse waffle
  2. Cinnamon Roll
  3. Syrup
  4. Powdered Sugar
  5. Whipped Cream
  6. Sausage
  7. Bacon
  8. Egg
  9. Apricot in whipped cream
  10. cereal
  11. orange juice
  12. ice
  13. straw
  14. salt and pepper
  15. fork
  16. napkin

Happy Valentine’s Day

My children woke up to doughnuts for breakfast. I ran to Publix and got chocolate filled and regular glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I then bought a tub of bright pink icing and piped hearts on the doughnuts.

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We made Valentine’s using free printables online from here and Here

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Later tonight, we will have dinner and a special dessert while enjoying a movie together.

I hope you and yours have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

Countdown to Valentine’s

I try to plan out fun things for my family to do for most holidays. Sometimes things just don’t work out or things come up and change our plans, but I usually try to get something lined up anyway.

For the days leading up to Valentine’s day, I wanted to have something heart or love related for each day.

Here’s the tentative plan:

February 1: Make Heart Shaped Rock Candy

February 2: Groundhog day craft

February 3: Build toothpick and heart candy shapes

February 4: Make strawberry cookies

February 5: Heart-shaped cinnamon rolls for breakfast

February 6: Charlie Brown Valentine dinner and a movie

February 7: Make Valentine cards for grandparents

February 8: Heart Oreo Truffles

February 9: Make a pie with Maw Maw

February 10: Valentine tic-tac-toe snack

February 11: Make Valentine slime

February 12: Make friend Valentines

February 13: Make Daddy Valentines

February 14: Valentine Dinner and gifts

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Unique Gift

Back in October, when we went to the Chattanooga Aquarium my husband fell in love with the jellyfish exhibit. He mentioned that he would like jellyfish for Christmas. I was then on a mission to find him some for Christmas.

I asked everyone I knew if they knew where to get them.  Finally, after a quick internet search, I found a company that had exactly what I wanted.

Jellyfish Art is a company that sells everything you need to get started with jellyfish ownership. They have a detailed instruction book and several You Tube videos to help along the way. They also have an Arrive Alive Guarantee that ensures the jellyfish will be alive and living for at least 10 days after they are delivered.

 

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I ordered the aquarium about a week and a half before Christmas Eve. It came with everything needed for quick setup (except spring water). The instruction book said that we had to wait two weeks before redeeming the jellyfish in order to have the proper environment for them. I hadn’t known this when I placed my order. I took our water to the local pet store to be tested and it was perfect! I sent an email redeeming the jellyfish. The company informed me that because I wasn’t waiting the two weeks, the Arrive Alive Guarantee would be voided. Since our water was perfect, I decided to proceed. I hid all of this in my big girls’ bathroom, knowing my husband would never go in there.

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On Christmas morning, he was quite surprised.

The jellies have since been relocated into our bedroom. They are so relaxing to watch.

I feed them with a pipette and watch them eat. A few minutes later, the food has moved into their clover-shaped stomachs. It is all very intriguing. The aquarium has different color lights and a remote. It’s fun to see the jellyfish in different colors.

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This is a unique gift that was such a pleasure to give. If you are looking for something for someone who has everything, a jellyfish might just be a great choice!

 

Charlie Brown Christmas Dinner and a Movie

My children and husband had never seen Charlie Brown’s Christmas. I bought the movie and planned one of our Advent activities to be dinner and a movie so we could fully enjoy the experience together.

I found a roll of Charlie Brown wrapping paper at Dollar Tree. I decorated the table with that and the new nativity set I convinced my husband I “needed” for Christmas.

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I made chicken with Peanut sauce, Pig Pen’s not that dirty rice, pigs in Linus’ blanket, and Peppermint Patty brownies.

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The children did truly enjoy the explanation of each dish. After dinner, we watched the movie. I have to admit that for many years I have felt like Charlie Brown. This year, I decided that I was going to let the world do its thing with Christmas and that I would do mine. I have enjoyed it more than I have in years. I still haven’t gotten everything done and still feel stress, but it’s way less than Christmas passed.

If you’re wondering what Christmas is really all about, Linus explains it best.

 

Linus’ King James version scripture reading from Luke 2: 8-14, read:

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

 

More Advent Ideas

Each day of Advent we do our reading and one of the children gets a treat. Some of the days have an additional treat to do as a family. Some of the examples include:

*picking up Starbucks and driving around to look at lights

*making a gingerbread house

*Charlie Brown Christmas dinner and a movie

*making treats for our teachers

* watching a Christmas movie

*going to a Christmas concert

Some of the gifts that I give them are:

*pajamas

*Christmas movie

*hand sanitizer with a cute holder

* Christmas ornament relating to each one’s birthday party from the year

*one gift specifically for them

They each look forward to when it’s their turn.

It does take some planning and there have been moments of selfishness that have made me think about calling the whole thing off. I tried to turn those moments into learning experiences instead of punishing everyone. They turned into talks about people who are less fortunate, the meaning of the season, and the fact that Advent (just like Christmas) isn’t about “things”.  It’s about a the birth of a baby sent to save the world.

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Grinch’s Grow Your Heart Breakfast

This morning, I put together this little breakfast. I love the Grinch Grow Your Heart program and all that it represents. If you aren’t familiar with it, it basically is a program that encourages good deeds around Christmas-time and then gives books to underprivileged children. It’s super easy! Just go to their website and put in the three good deeds that your child did and submit it. Random House books then will give a child a book.

There are lots of activities that you can print out and do on the website. My children love the Bingo game. It has a bunch of different good deeds that they can mark off. Some of them are: call or spend time with your grandparents, make a card for your teacher, play with someone who seems lonely, help make dinner, clean your room, plus many more.

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I made bacon hearts, heart-shaped cinnamon rolls, strawberry milkshakes. I also served green grapes and watermelon.

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I printed out the Bingo game and we talked about what they were going to do.

This is a fun little activity that helps the children be motivated to do kind things and that benefits others in more ways than one.

I hope you’re having a nice start to your holiday season!

Christmas Countdown

December 1 is right around the corner. We usually start our Advent readings on that day. We also will start the Grow Your Heart challenge again this year. December always feels so full of activity. Since December is so busy, I thought I would re-post a few things from last year to give anyone out there a head start in getting ready.

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What we do for Advent

Grow Your Heart

Teacher Gifts

Snowmen Oreo Balls

I have a few new things planned for this December that I hope to get to share with you.