Speech Conferences/ October Birthdays

Today is a poignant day. It’s the first day since March 2000 since I haven’t been pregnant and/or nursing. It’s been 13 years, so it’s definitely a new stage for me.

Last weekend I attended the Communicators for Christ Conference with my 5 oldest kids. We have been enjoying all we’re learning in ICC (Institute for Cultural Communication) this year. The kids get up in front of a group and present their speeches each time we meet for chapter. At the conference they also had opportunity for group presentations, Model United Nations, and introduction to Debate (which my oldest son loved).

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This little boy, my 5th child, is now seven!

 

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My oldest daughter turned 10, which means we had a big party for her!  (We have parties when our kids turn 5 and 10.)

Just the family:

 

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The girls playing an ice-breaker game:

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They did their hair and nails:

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Pinata time:

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Opening presents:

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Singing Happy Birthday:

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From House to Home {Link Party}: Tea Party Ideas!

My third daughter turned 5 last week, so it was time for her Birthday Party Tea Party!  For her older sisters we went to a tea party restaurant.  But this time we decided to do it at home and were able to invite a lot of friends and family!

 

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We got quite a few ideas from the Fancy Nancy Tea Parties book and from what I’ve pinned on my Pinterest Tea Party Ideas board.

We had a Butterfly theme.  The party favor bags had little tiaras, necklaces, and bracelets that I got at Target.

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We had PB & J sandwiches, ham & cheese roll-ups, and cucumber sandwiches, along with fruits and veggies.  The girls drank raspberry lemonade, while the moms had hot peach tea and iced mint tea.  The cupcakes had candies on them to look like butterflies.  For presents she got  Hello Kitty, Justice clothes, hair items, jewelry–and even a pink football, from her brothers!

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When the girls came in they decorated butterfly placemats and made butterflies out of coffee filters.  They played Fancy Freeze Tag (where they froze in a “fancy” pose) and Pin-the-Face on the Butterfly.

Tea Party Collage crafts and games

We even had one of the moms do braids for the girls’ hair!  It was a wonderful, sweet party for a beautiful little girl!

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It’s time for our Link Up Party: From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 

By the way, if you have a post about your homeschool curriculum, link it up at this other page.  (It will be open for a few months, so come back if you need to!)

 

 

 

 

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See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

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Collage Friday–1st Birthday!

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I can’t believe she’s one!

 

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Collage Friday: Birthdays and Castles

PicMonkey Collage 4-12-2013

It’s been quite a while since I posted a collage.  Here are some pictures from the last month:

1.  My eldest played violin at the Good Friday service at church.  I think he looks spiffy all in black!  We’ve been going to a small church very close to us.  I love that there are so many homeschool families and many opportunities to serve.  The children’s and youth director is a Moody student and was homeschooled himself.  I have no qualms sending my kids to Sunday School and Youth Group there.  It’s so freeing.

2.  We had 2 birthdays–my fourth child is now 8 years old.  She requested pumpkin pie instead of cake.

3.  My second child is now 11!  He had muffins to hold his candles since we sang “Happy Birthday” at breakfast time.

4.  He is working on building a paper model of a castle scene.  We’re studying the Middle Ages right now in history.

5.  My crazy 2-year-old son in his dad’s cowboy boots!

6.  I loved this picture of my baby.  She had grabbed the “World” Magazine off the table and lay back in the pack-n-play to read it!

Exercise update: I’ve had a lot of knee pain this week, so I’ve been doing a sit-down T-Tapp work-out. It’s better than nothing! But I hope to get back to full workouts next week.

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Collage Friday–Soccer, Pumpkins, and 50 Years

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This morning, bright and early, my husband and older two sons went to a Father-Son Camp (will be highlighted in next Friday’s collage!).  So, I took the other six kids to a pumpkin farm festival.  It turned out to be so much fun!  They can’t wait to go back –next year, of course.  It was very cold today.  Thankfully the baby slept in the stroller completely covered up by my picnic quilt to keep out the cold.

This evening we went to the library to pick out some movies to watch.  Each child got one–so we have Elmo, My Little Pony, Hermie and Friends, and A Bug’s Life.  :)

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1.  Last Sunday we hosted a houseful of people for my husband’s 50th birthday party.  It was such a blessing having so many people to celebrate my husband.  He received a special gift  from his parents–a photo album/scrapbook of pictures and mementos from his babyhood until now.  It gave me some ideas of what to save so I can make one for my own kids someday!  This beautiful cake was made by Lovin Oven Cakery.  See another of their cakes here.  A couple of other people gave us gifts of free babysitting–they know a good gift to give us!

3.  Update on our beautiful baby girl:  I put her in her crib at night for the first time this week.  She slept for about 4 hours.  The next morning she had a well-baby check-up.  The doctor said she weighed enough (16 pounds) to sleep 10 hours in a row–but that, of course, it was up to me if I wanted her to.  Last night she slept 8 1/2 hours!  I finally just went in and woke her up  because I needed her to nurse.  The doctor also said that she is also performing some 6-month milestones, at 4 months.  She holds herself up really well on her arms while on her tummy, rolls both ways easily, stands and sits well with support, and rakes with her hands.  I’m wondering if she’s trying to beat her oldest brother’s record of crawling the day before he turned 6 months.  No, I don’t need that record beat!

4.  My little “ballerina” girl, who loves to dress up.

5.  Upward Soccer for 3 of the kids.  I’m on my own with them tomorrow since their daddy is camping–and it’s going to be so cold!

9.  That’s one way to wipe the kitchen table!

 

I have been given a huge blessing this week.  I found a young lady, a recent homeschool high school graduate who hasn’t started college yet, to come and help out with the little ones in the mornings.  She is great with them!  They’ve already done crafts, play-dough, painting, reading, and played at the park.  She’s using some activities from Before Five in a Row.  And I have been able to really concentrate on my older kids’ schoolwork, which has really been a challenge so far this year.

My 2-year-old used the potty a few times.  I’m not pushing it, but am so glad that he’s showing interest!

My grain mill broke a couple of months ago, and I finally got it back yesterday.  I’ve still been making bread, but with store-bought whole wheat flour.  I’ll be glad to grind up some wheat again next week.

Exercise update:  I’ve done 2 work-outs this week and plan to exercise on Saturday and Sunday.  Next week I go to my first T-Tapp seminar!

What God’s been teaching me this week:  Encouragement and praise will yield better results than criticism and expressing disappointment.  May I remember this and practice it more and more!

1 Thessalonians 5:14   And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

And I haven’t posted a Funny Friday in a while.  Enjoy this YouTube!

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Collage Friday: Birthday, Legos

 

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Here’s our Wrap-up of the week.  We’ve been so busy with birthdays lately.  My husband’s 50th birthday party is on Sunday, so as soon as I post this I’m focusing on getting ready for that for the rest of the weekend.  See you next Monday!

1.  We give each child a Bible on their 6th birthday.

2.  My daughter turned 9 this week and got a sewing machine!  She’s going on a special trip to the fabric store today to get some supplies.

3.  This Pinterest-inspired cake turned out well.

4.  This one didn’t!  I’ve never pretended to be a master cake decorator.  And here’s the proof.  (Here’s another for the fail file.)  Don’t know what it is?  It’s supposed to be a treasure chest.

5.  The 2 birthday kids painting their presents.

6.  Melissa and Doug Decorate-Your-Own Piggy Bank

7 and 8.  Pictures of my precious.  Oh, I love her so much!

9.  All the kids, and seven of them actually smiling!

 

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A second collage this week of my son’s new Lego Table (another Pinterest-inspired project).  I’ll be sharing during the first week of November how we made this great Lego table.  Follow my blog (see sidebar) so you won’t miss it!

At the top is a sea turtle going onto the beach to lay her eggs (our science lesson this week).  He used Model Magic (we love that stuff!) to create it.Assorted Colors Crayola Model Magic ClasspackI’ll share more science fun in an upcoming post.

Exercise update:  I’ve done T-Tapp at least every other day this week.  I found out about a seminar coming close to me in a week and a half and I’m so excited to go and get my form “tweaked”!  I’ll share more about that on Monday’s Fitness Challenge post.

Oh, and there’s a great sale this weekend for those of you who love CurrClick!
CurrClick

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Collage Friday 10/12/12: Birthday, Anniversary, Baby

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1.  We spent last weekend at the Grandparents’ Lake House in Wisconsin.  My husband’s brother and family were also there, and we celebrated 3 kids’ birthdays!  It was a nice relaxing time.  But I came down with a cold (which I still have) and it was freezing!  Snowed on Saturday.

2.  Yesterday we did a science experiment to understand how blubber keeps arctic animals warm in the frigid water.  The kids stuck their fingers in icy water and could only keep them in there for a maximum of 30 seconds.  Then they donned rubber gloves which I covered with petroleum jelly and a plastic bag.  They could then stay underwater for 5 minutes (maybe longer, but they got bored).

3.  Enjoying the beautiful fall colors in the Chicagoland area.

4.  Our sweetie pie turned 4 months yesterday.  I’m so sad that she won’t be a little baby much longer.  I tear up every time I think about it.  I know I need to move her into her crib soon–she’s rolling a lot now–but I’m having a hard time letting go of her sleeping in our bed!

5.  My husband and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary this week.

6.  Baby girl is so happy all the time.  Perhaps it’s because she’s never lacking for attention?

7.  We have a new 6-year-old boy in the house.  Pictures of his birthday will be coming next week.

 

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Happy Birthday to a new 4-year-old!

**6-Week Fitness Challenge is coming Monday October 1!

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Such a sweet girl, and now she’s 4!

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I made this Hello Kitty pillow (also a dress, but it was too big, so I’ll post pics of that later!).

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The kids have been “regifting” their old toys!

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Here is a great idea for a baby shower gift (or for yourself!)

Seven Slings wants to give you a promo code for a free baby carrier (a $48 value).  The promo code is “ENBABY”.  Click below, click on ‘Shop Now”, select any baby carrier you would like.  Be sure to go to the sizing page so that you can get the right size carrier for you.  Once you have selected your size, you will automatically be directed to the “shopping bag” where you can enter the promo code “ENBABY “ .  This promo code will take 100% off of the baby carrier purchase and all you are required to pay are the shipping fees.  You can use the code more than once- simply open a new browser window to do so.   Due to it’s nature, this offer can’t last long , so order soon!

New Two-Year-Old!

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Birthday Party for our 10-year-old son!

Saturday was a beautiful day to celebrate our second son’s 10th birthday.  He had 7 cousins and 3 church friends over for his Lego-themed party.

 
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I’ll share some of the details of the party on the next post!

Pinterest Challenge- Lego Car Ramp

In preparation for my son’s 10th birthday party, we built a Lego car ramp in our living room. I got the idea from this pin.  My son (ever the engineer) modified the design making the slope less, adding the music stand for the starting gate, and the chair and pillows on the bottom to keep the cars from crashing. The boys will make their own cars at home and bring them to race at the party. My kids have already been enjoying this for a week! They love it!

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Oops–it crashed off the side!

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Here’s a better view of what the whole thing looks like.

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My 3-year-old built this car herself!

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Some of their creative designs:

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I’ve linked up this post to this month’s Pinterest Challenge.
I'm Topsy Turvy

 

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Happy Birthday to our new seven-year-old!

Yesterday was our fourth child’s seventh birthday.  I think she had a great day.  She started out by opening presents from her parents and grandparents.

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She loved making her butterfly box (from Melissa & Doug–be sure to see the end of this post for a chance to win a shopping spree!).  She was so excited to get her first set of Legos!  And, always a hit–the Melissa & Doug flashlight!

She wore her new dress all day long (and is wearing it today, too!)

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They made these cute placemats for our dinner table:

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And she wanted an angel cake. I made two 9-inch circle cakes. The pictures below show how I made it look like an angel.

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I made my favorite buttercream frosting, and the kids decorated it with sprinkles and Easter M&Ms.

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One of our traditions is to go around the table and say something that we love about the person who is having the birthday.  And I always have my memories of each child’s birth.  Here is hers.

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Our Month in Review: Birthday, Legoland

Well, it’s been so long since I posted our Week in Review that I need to do it for the past month!

We spent the last weekend on a church retreat.  It was nice to get away.

My oldest daughter turned 8 years old.  She is so sweet and such a big help to me!
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We made our annual pilgrimage to Legoland, on the cheaper-ticket homeschool day!  Oh my, how my kids LOVE Legos!
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I saw my first-ever FULL rainbow! These pictures absolutely do not do it justice! I always love to remember God’s promises when I see a rainbow.

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While my husband and older sons were at Father/Son Camp (pictures will be in a separate post) I took the younger kids to a pumpkin farm.

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My little guy found a stray piece of Halloween candy and sure enjoyed himself!

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We’re studying birds for science, and the kids did a nest-building project at their co-op.

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And, finally, the Nutella girl!

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Our Week in Review–Cruises, Apple Butter, and Birthdays

We had an interesting beginning of the week last week!
On Sunday we watched a video on YouTube of a short film called Pilot’s Plight that my husband acted in!  It was written and filmed by a 14-year-old aspiring film-maker in our church.  Here’s the link.  (It’s PG or PG-13; watch it without the kids first.)

Then on Tuesday my brother-in-law emailed us and said he heard our names on the radio.  We had entered a contest for the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise being put on by Family Life Ministries and sponsored by Moody Radio.  I had encouraged my husband to write out the story of how he proposed to me.  I then had to edit it down to 500 words.  And we were one of the finalists!  Unfortunately, we didn’t win the cruise.  I hope we can go on one someday, though.  Today is our 13th anniversary and starting tomorrow I’ll share our proposal story!

My blog was chosen as one of the Top 25 Big Family Blogs on the Circle of Moms website.  They will be featuring I Choose Joy! in the next month.  Thank you so much to all of you who voted!

Back on the homestead, we had a productive week of school.  The kids did a fun project after studying about the Israelite slaves in Egypt who had to make bricks and collect their own straw.  I cooked up some play-dough on the stove.  Then the kids (except for the 10 yo :)  ) formed them into bricks and put grass in them!  They let them dry and then used them to build a building and tower.

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This play-dough recipe worked great:  2 c. flour, 2 c. warm water, 1 c. salt, 2 T. vegetable oil, 1 T. cream of Tartar.  Stir in in a pot over medium to medium high heat until it no longer sticks to the pan.

After our apple-picking adventure last week, I made some apple butter.  Core and cut the apples–about 15 per crock pot.  (I don’t peel them.)  Add 2 cups of apple cider and cook on low overnight in the crock-pot for 10 hours.  In the morning, puree in a blender (don’t liquify!) and put back in the crock-pot.  Add 3 cups of sugar, 2 t. of cinnamon, and 1/2 t. ground cloves.  Cook on low for 1 more hour.  Then put in fridge, freeze, or process for 10 minutes.

Finally, we had a family birthday party for my new five-year-old!

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