Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sand River

Today we went with friends to hike. The kids all wanted to hike through Sand River. Sand River is exactly what it sounds like.... a river of sand. There are also caution signs around it like this one:
Guess what. There's been lots of rain here in the past week. We started on Sand River and thought, well, this isn't so bad. It's just sandy. So, we continued going.
Collin tossed off his backpack for the picture. His hands were cold too so he's wearing my fingerless gloves. :) 

A shot of Sand River. I happen to think Sand River is really pretty. 

Logs were laying across it all over the place. 

See, here are some more.

Okay, I thought this fungus was really cool. It looks like Ferngully fungus. You know, where the little people were jumping from fungus to fungus as they leaped down the tree or whatever. haha! Can't you just picture little fairies dancing from one fungus to the next? No? Just me? Oh well, I still thought it was cool. 
As we went though, it started getting wetter. Soon, the kids were screaming excitedly as we were all (including the moms) falling in quicksand. haha! My hiking The deepest I went in was mid calf. Needless to say, my feet were wet. I could shake my foot and feel the water sloshing around in my boot. LOL!

See how it's getting wet? I didn't take many pictures in the wet parts because I was too busy trying not to fall in. LOL!

We survived the quicksand!! The kids took off their shoes to try to dry their feet.

Then everyone at lunch on the wall. Shoes and socks did not dry so most of them walked back to the cars barefoot. It was probably only a quarter mile to the parking area from here. LOL!
So, that was our exciting hiking adventure today. We're planning for another next week. hehe!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Heritage of the Scriptures

Watch this video to learn (or be reminded of) of the sacrifices that went into giving us the scriptures today. It's 22 minutes long but so worth it to make us grateful for what we have. It makes one wonder why it is so hard for us to read scriptures. So much more than reading a book was asked of people in the past.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Trying out our Christmas gifts

So, as I said yesterday, for Christmas we got backpacking gear. YAY!!! So, today the kids and I went on a hike for 3.5 hours!!! Paul didn't participate because he's still recovering from a knee injury. Eventually he'll be out there with us though. :D

A hiking we will go... a hiking we will go.
Ryanne got a day pack and Collin got a hiking backpack for Christmas. We loading up the packs to get used to the weight and bulk we'll experience on an actual trail. We went a lot slower that way.

This was about 2 hours in. They had a great attitude through most of the hike! YAY!! :) We were taking a break here.  Yes, we were in the woods for 3.5 hrs but didn't hike the whole time. We took several breaks and had a picnic lunch and everything. The kids thought it was great!

This was at the same place the above picture was taken. I learned hiking backpacks make great back rests. :) It was such a beautiful day. It was about 50-60 degrees throughout our hike and the sky was such a clear blue. Absolutely perfect.

We were peering off the steep drop down to the railroad tracks.

My kids love the sand river. Unfortunately, it was after 4 days of steady rain. It was all fun until Ryanne stepped in quick sand and went in up to her knee. I told the kids to stay on the footprints from the horses that had already walked through there. Unfortunately, one of the kids didn't listen well. Her shoes were wet so she took off her shoes and walked the half mile to the van in her socks. LOL! 
Collin knew he loved hiking. He always chooses to go hiking on Mother-Son dates. This is why he asked if we could start backpacking so we asked for backpacking gear for Christmas. Ryanne has now decided she loves hiking too and wants to do it all the time. We may have finally found an activity the introverts and extrovert (note the singularity of extrovert since there is only one in our home) of the family agree on. Hooray!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2014


Christmas Ornaments

We have had a wonderful Christmas.

We started Christmas Eve by watching The Nativity.
Then we went to my sister's house. All 7 of the kids drew a Secret Santa name. They then bought that cousin/sibling a gift from the Dollar Store. So, on Christmas Even they exchange gifts. It's so fun watching them play for hours with their Dollar Store gifts because we do no other gifts that night. We just have the cousins play and eat finger foods. It's fun and low key. Totally perfect. :) 

Christmas morning we let the kids look in their stockings. See what Santa left this year...
We all got the Q-bitz Extreme game.

Paul and I got gloves, hats, and socks in our stockings.
Collin got socks, Brain Builders game, Dragon Slayers' Academy book 2, compression bags for backpacking, and play-do.
Ryanne got socks, Story Dice game, DC Pets book, underwear, and play-do.
Then we had our traditional breakfast of Monkey Bread.

We have Monkey Bread for breakfast every year since Collin was a baby and often change the recipe. This is the best one we've had yet. Yummy! 

Then the kids got to open their gifts. They totally hit the jackpot. The kids get 3 gifts from us.

Fun Gift: 14 in 1 Solar Robot Kit
Practical: Water bladder for backpacking
Homemade: Fort Building kit

I've been asked by several people what was in the fort kit so here ya go.... 2 twin flat sheets from Goodwill. Then I bought a Large t-shirt from Goodwill and cut it into strips and sewed it around the edges so the sheet has ties. I also included flashlights, clothespins, and glowsticks. Pictured is one of the twin sheets. The kids didn't have the second one up yet.
Fun Gift: Spa Kit (she gets to create her own spa stuff)
Practical: Day pack for hiking
Homemade: Dress up doll kit (cuts clothing out of scrap material and glues it to paper dolls)

They loved everything. YAY!!

Then, from grandparents:

hiking backpack
chocolate orange
Triop growing kit
Hand carved Christmas ornaments

Headband making kit
Chocolate Orange
Dollhouse Furniture
Hand carved Christmas ornaments

Yes, my children totally scored. Paul and I got some pretty cool things too -- books, clothing, and I got a hiking backpack!!! :)

I love that we keep our Christmas celebrating pretty simple. We stayed home all day and hung out together. We played games, talked about Christ and ate food. It wasn't a fancy feast or anything... just something simple that was fun and kept me out of the kitchen.

The kids and I were found on the floor most of the day playing with their toys and games. So fun! I love Christmas! I love being able to hang out with family and enjoy a simple day together. :) 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Zoo and Collin's Birthday

The Daisies and Brownies made a trip to the zoo but since it was Collin's birthday, we thought we'd make a family outing of it. So, Ryanne and I did the girlscout things first (see the paper and pencil -- scavenger hunt!) then we met up with the boys and hung out with them. 

We met them at the Gorilla house. This was Patrick and he was not happy because the other male was in the window. He was hitting the wall. It was kind of crazy!

In the past, I have refused to go on the 3 story ropes course with my children because I don't like heights. I have a fear of falling. However, my brave husband decided to go with them. 

Here are the 3 of them on the second level. 

This was the spot where I saw the fear in Collin's eyes. He was doing it and kept going but not higher. He came down and said, "I think I inherited your fear of falling." Poor kid.

Paul wasn't enjoying himself much either as he and Ryanne went higher and higher. 

However, Ryanne was too short to be allowed on by herself and she LOVED it! So, Paul kept going with her. :) Sweet dad. :) 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Toys for Tots with Cub Scouts

For our December service project, we decided to volunteer at Toys for Tots. We managed to finish all the work they needed done and then even made bags for kids so they would be ready in case some people didn't turn in the bags for the "angels" they chose. She said we completed MANY hours of work in 1 hour. YAY for us! :)

Oklahoma State Basketball

My brother in law works for the Oklahoma State Men's Basketball team. He got us tickets to a game against USC. I was so excited. I love basketball!!!! It was an away game for them so there weren't a lot of OSU Cowboy fans. I yelled really loud... so loud that I was hoarse the next day. LOL! Anyways... here are some pics. ;)

 My BIL is facing us with a suit. Trust me, he's there. :)
See, here he is with all of us! :) 

Friday, December 19, 2014


I walked with the girl scouts to the fire station too and then we came back and played games! So fun!

I'm in Girl Scouts too!

 Let's not forget that I'm in girl scouts, too! We can't let the boys have all the fun! The girls made mini compost bins. This meant they had to *wait for it* touch worms! The funny thing is they chose their project! LOL! They chose to make compost bins. It was so funny watching them. Ryanne and I just stuffed our hands in and a couple other girls but so many of them were like, "you want me to do what?" LOL! Too funny! A few of the ones who started off afraid were playing with their worms by the end of it. :) Love the Daisies!

Let me also note that I now have a medium sized planter on my kitchen counter which is the home of quite a few earthworms now and is being used as a compost bin. The kids think it's pretty cool and the other day they found a baby worm in it so now we think there may be a few MORE worms than we started with. LOL!

Cubscouts to the Audubon

I know it's hard to tell in this picture, but trust me when I say there's a bald eagle's nest over there. They even have babies each year according to the guys who run the Audubon. :) 

 So, I grew up in a family of girls -- my mom, my sister, and me. I always heard that when boys get together they do fart noises and their idea of fun is to physically hurt one another but I always thought that was an exaggeration. It is not! I kid you not, these boys sat back there making arm pit fart noises and Indian Rub Burns to one another. Why? I really don't know. Boys are weird. LOL!
I think the boys had fun though! Yay for outings!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I heard people discussing their annoyance with how the children today are so focused on gifts. I've read blogs about it where they discuss how children are disappointed on Christmas morning because they didn't get the gifts they were hoping for. All I could think about was Dudley from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It was his birthday and he was upset because he had less gifts than he had the year before. Of course, this number was well into the 30s. Then his parents promise him two more so he can have more gifts than the year before. Can you imagine having almost 40 gifts for your birthday? That's crazy! Do children really act like this? I hope this is an exaggeration, but from what I've read on blogs and discussed with people -- this isn't so extraordinary but just ordinary. So sad...

Why do children today think this way? Have you watched advertisements lately?

Here are two great examples of advertising. If I were to go off these commercials, Publix absolutely wins my vote!

Now, I'm not saying I do it right and others do it wrong. I'm just saying people need to stop asking why today's children are selfish and worried about all the toys they get. To me it's quite obvious. Our society causes it. We cause it. My children get 3 gifts - 1 fun, 1 practical, and 1 home made. Santa normally brings a family gift (like a board game) and stocking stuffers. My children still want gifts. They're children. However, they know they're only getting one toy from us and they are always excited about it. 

Perhaps we need to change our focus. I'm going to try to make sure that our Christmas is celebrated with Christ central to those celebrations and NOT the gifts. We'll see what I can come up with.